Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Eggnog Desserts Roundup

There are so many amazing flavors floating around at this time of year - peppermint, gingerbread, pumpkin, but I am a sucker for eggnog.  My mom makes the most amazing homemade eggnog every year and I can never get enough!  I'm so excited to see how many yummy eggnog recipes there are this year - eggnog breads, eggnog cupcakes, eggnog lattes - and I am determined to try as many of them as I can!  So here is a roundup of some of the most exciting/delicious/beautiful eggnog desserts I've seen over the last few weeks!

amazing eggnog desserts gluten-free

1. Eggnog Cheesecake Bars with Gingerbread Whipped Cream.  *drool, drool*  Everything about this recipe from All Day I Dream About Food looks amazing!  Plus it is low-carb which is nice during a carb-heavy time of year!  I feel like I could eat gingerbread whipped cream on everything, just sayin'. 

2. Eggnog Cookies.  These super soft eggnog cookies from I Heart Naptime would be perfect for a cookie exchange...sooo pretty!

3. Eggnog Fudge. I am a huge fan of fudge (remember when we made 2-ingredient fudge for Valentine's Day?).  So when I saw Eggnog Fudge on I Heart Naptime's blog, I was hooked!  It is a simple recipe and I think it would be a great treat to share as a gift!

4. Spiced Eggnog Monkey Bread.  This monkey bread from Cheeky Kitchen looks amazing!  My favorite part is the description: "It is like Merry Christmas for your mouth!"

5. (Gluten-free!) Eggnog Cheesecake Muffins.  These beautiful cheesecake "muffins" from Food Network are what started my obsession with eggnog everything!  I'm going to make them with the eggnog frosting for a party next week!

6. (Gluten-free!) Pumpkin Bread with Eggnog Glaze.  I love the idea of a subtle eggnog glaze to give a little bit of holiday flavor on a quick bread and this recipe from Spoon and Saucer is gluten-free (which is great!).

7. Starbucks Eggnog Latte.  I love me a good Starbucks eggnog latte, but specialty coffee can get very expensive quickly, so I love the idea of making it at home!  This recipe from Diethood looks amazing (and probably has fewer calories than its Starbucks counterpart!). 

8. Pumpkin Eggnog Cheesecake.  I've seen a lot of recipes combine pumpkin and eggnog together, which intrigues me!  This pumpkin eggnog cheesecake from Mom Foodie looked tasty since it combines pumpkin + cheesecake + eggnog = perfect Christmas-y dessert.

These are just a few of the amazing eggnog-inspired treats I've found!  I will definitely be trying some of them ASAP.  What about you all?  Do you love eggnog?  Do you agree that homemade eggnog is a million times better than store-bought nog?
Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Pumpkin recipe round up!


So if you've been around awhile with us here on Domestic Bliss Squared, you know we love pumpkin. It borders on obsession. And we've posted several of our own pumpkin creations before as well. Today we thought we'd round up our favorites from the last two years and give them all to you in one giant, pumpkin-y dose!

Without further ado, our list of our top 6 pumpkin recipes from the blog (in no particular order, they're all amazing):

1. Pumpkin Pie Pancakes:



2. Quick n'dirty pumpkin butter:



3. Three Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins:



4. Hilary's amazing Paleo Pumpkin Banana Smoothie:



5. Gluten-Free pumpkin oatmeal muffins:



6. Grain-free pumpkin almond butter cake:



There you are! Now that we've made you all hungry, go try one out! We hope you love these recipes as much as we do, and get as much pumpkin-y enjoyment out of them as we have. And as always drop us a comment below if you've got any questions or suggestions!



Friday, October 31, 2014

A Christmas giveaway!

What would you do with an extra $500 to spend this holiday season?

How about I make the answer to that question a little easier with your chance to win $500 Paypal Cash in the
Santa $1,000* Paypal Cash Giveaway!

Thanks to some amazing friends and supporters of A Peek Into My Paradise we were able to come together collectively with a CASH PRIZE of $1000; which will be awarded to two very lucky winners of $500 each through Paypal Cash!

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Meet your phenomenal co-hosts!
Santa Paypal Cash Giveaway CoHosts | APeekIntoMyParadise.com Santa $1000 Paypal Cash Giveaway | APeekIntoMyParadise.comFrom top left clockwise: Cathy | A Peek Into My Paradise ♥ Natasha | Epic Mommy Adventures ♥ Elena | Cropped Stories ♥ Angie | God's Growing Garden ♥ Angie | Juggling Act Mama ♥ Ellie | Creative Geekery ♥ Carrie | Curly Crafty Mom ♥ Linda | Crafts a la Mode ♥ Jillian | Baby Doodah ♥ Barb | Second Chance to Dream ♥ Laura | Not A Trophy Wife ♥ Katie | He Calls Me Grace ♥ Ady | Just Add Glitter ♥ Amy | Love Amy Becca ♥ Maria | Simple Nature Decor ♥ Debra | MsMoozy Open House ♥ Hilary | Domestic Bliss Squared ♥ Sofia | Something On Everything ♥ Evelyn | My Turn For Us ♥ Shea | Dixie Chik Cooks ♥ Angela | Shake Bake and Party ♥ Ruthie | Cooking With Ruthie ♥ Nicole | Nibbles by Nic ♥ Kathleen | FC Mammas ♥ Wanda Ann | Memories By The Mile ♥ Christina | Mama's High Strung ♥ Laura | Pies & Plots ♥ Laura | Michigan Saving & More ♥ Lisa | Bloghetti ♥ Ashlynn | A Beauty Moment ♥ Stephanie | Year-Round GivingBarb | Barbara's Beat

Please be sure and thank the amazing women who helped me put together this phenomenal cash prize for you to win!

These fantastic bloggers are truly wonderful and there is an amazing assortment of blog types represented. From personal to family blogs, fashion to having fun in the kitchen, there is a blogger for everyone to love!

And a huge thank you to our sponsors!
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Tell us.....What will Santa put under your christmas tree if you win?

Giveaway is open worldwide to participants with a verified PayPal account.
All entries will be verified. In the event an entry can not be verified participant chooses to forfeit that entry and another winner will be chosen.
Winner has 48 hours to respond to the winning email.
Giveaway will run from October 31st, 12 AM Pacific Daylight Savings Time to November 21st, 12 AM Pacific Daylight Savings Time.
Any taxes or fees associated with the winnings of this contest are the sole responsibility of the winner according to their county, state and/or country laws.
CASH prize is in US Dollars and will not be converted to any foreign currency.
Void where prohibited by law.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Our Favorite Affordable Baby Products (plus a chance to win a Target giftcard!)


 A few weeks ago, we shared about our obsession with Target!  Jessica shared this adorable picture of her son eating Target "pa-corn" and reviewed some of their new beauty products.


We had a great response from you all, so today we are sharing our secret for the number one way we save on baby supplies: buy generic!  And since we share four kids between us, we have tried a lot of different brands of generic baby supplies.  Our number one choice is Target's up & up brand, hands-down.  We buy all of our children's medicine, diapers, wipes and even formula (Hilary's pediatrician recommended it over Enfamil!) at Target, and we only purchase the up & up brand when we do!  Here are our top 3 favorite/most-used up & up brand baby products:

Diapers. Probably the most expensive thing you buy for your little ones is diapers!  Formula is pricey for sure, but you only buy it for a year or so.  Diapers on the other hand are something you use all day and for the first few years of your children's lives!  I shudder to think how many diapers I've used between two kids over the last few years. *shudder*  When I was a new mom, I tried different brand-name and generic diapers at other stores, but one day I tried using the up & up brand (since I was already at Target drooling over their clothes), and I never went back!

Here's why I use Target up & up brand diapers:
Price, price, price!  They are dramatically cheaper than most name-brand diapers.
They are super absorbent.  Both of us have struggled with leaky diapers, but up & up brand diapers rarely leak, even at night.  I always buy them one size bigger than my baby needs and it keeps them dry at night.
Gentle on the skin.  My son has terrible eczema, and a lot of other brands of diapers would irritate his super-sensitive skin.  I have never had him get a rash or outbreak around the edges of the diaper, which has happened with other brands.

When I went to Target to get diapers today, I noticed that they've improved their diaper design.  The up & up diapers now have a cotton-enhanced layer, which is supposed to absorb liquid better and reduce leakage, but is still super soft on the skin (crucial for little ones with sensitive skin!).  I was happy to see they are still the same price (sometimes when companies improve their products, the price goes up too) as the original diapers.  They still have the same cute design and stretchy waistband so the diapers fit my super, super busy, constantly moving son!



Diaper Wipes. I use the up & up brand sensitive skin diaper wipes all. the. time.  Here's why I love them!

They are hypoallergenic.  Any mom who has a little one with eczema knows that just because wipes are labelled "sensitive skin" or "hypoallergenic," that doesn't mean it won't irritate your baby's skin. However, the up & up wipes don't irritate my son's skin.  At all.  Just finding wipes that don't hurt his skin was an amazing moment.
Price, price, price!  The wipes are also super affordable and come in individual packs, 3-packs and 9-packs (which is what I normally buy).
Durability.  My biggest pet peeve is when you are changing a diaper, you go to grab a wipe and it falls apart before you can use it!  Target's wipes are super durable.  Like you can scrub poop off a carpet with them and they won't fall apart (and yes, we've had to do that before...).  And because they are strong, you don't have to use as many to clean up a blowout, which saves you money in the end!
A flip top lid. I love the flip top lid.  The wipes don't dry out and it makes it easy to throw them in a diaper bag.


And one of my favorite newer products is this:
Diaper Pail Refill. I received a Diaper Genie II from a friend when I was pregnant with my daughter and I've used it faithfully ever since!  However, over the years, the refills have gotten more and more expensive.  I was SUPER excited to see that up & up now makes their own version of the refill ring and it is $2.90 less than the name-brand refill!  Woo-hoo!  $3 doesn't sound like a lot, but over time, it adds up!  In the past, we've used garbage bags to save money, but they are not nearly as efficient as these bags when it comes to minimizing smell!

When you have kids, every little dollar saved counts!  Even saving $3 on the diaper pail bags refill meant I could grab three art books from Target's dollar spot for Christmas gifts!  Hooray!

When we shared our favorite Target beauty supplies a few weeks ago, we told you about this awesome content where one of our lucky readers will win one $100 Target GiftCard®!  The contest is still going, so to enter for a chance to win, all you have to do is simply leave a comment and let us know what your favorite Target product is!  Good luck!
Sweepstakes Rules:
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 10/22/2014 – 11/22/2014.
Be sure to visit the Target’s brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

breakfast burritos, two recipes


It's the school year, y'all. And for those of us with school aged kids, that means scrambling in the morning to get everyone out the door in time, and if you're really super extra organized you might have time to throw a granola bar at your kids on the way out the door. My own kids frequently eat in the car, on the way to school.

I'm not super organized, I won't lie.

My solution to this was freezer breakfast burritos. The most amazing, delicious, easy to make in massive bulk and easy to reheat on the go in the morning. Or, if you're me, at 9pm as I write this.

Freezer Breakfast Burritos (makes about 50 burritos) 

2 lbs sausage
2 dozen eggs
2 green peppers
1 red pepper
1 whole onion
1 lb shredded potatoes
1 lb shredded cheese
between 45-50 fajita sized tortillas*

*note on the tortillas, these will work WAY better if you use real, actual tortillas. Nothing against the grocery store brands, but tortillas made by actual people who know how to make them will microwave much better. It's because of the lard. Real pig lard makes for excellent tortillas that re-heat like magic.

  1. Cook your sausage in a (very) large pan. Drain and set aside.
  2. In the same pan, cook your peppers and onions. Once they're starting to get a bit done, toss your frozen hash browns on top. 
  3. In a separate pan, cook all two dozen eggs over medium low heat, scrambling them as they cook.
  4. Mix together your eggs and sausage mixture, get everything really good and incorporated. 
  5. Spread about 1/4 cup of toppings onto the center of your tortilla as shown. Top with cheese.
  6. Roll up your burritos by folding in the sides, then folding in the top and bottom. This makes for a really good seal on the burrito that won't come undone when you're microwaving it. 
  7. Stick your burritos into individual snack sized ziploc bags. They should fit pretty much perfectly, and this is by far the easiest way of packaging them. Originally I had thought to use plastic wrap, but that was a miserable sticky failure. It's a bit tedious, packaging them all individually, but totally worth it in the end.
To reheat these babies, stick them in the microwave for 1 minute on one side. Flip, and microwave 30 seconds on the other. And you're done!

There's another variation to these which I actually greatly prefer. The original version is awesome for my kids, because they'll actually eat them. But the second one involves jalapenos, which make this girl very happy.


For variation 2, you'll need salsa (to taste), about six jalapeno pepper, and hot sauce of your choice. What I did was set aside about four cups of my sausage/eggs/pepper/onion mixture for this part.


  1. Slice fresh jalapenos and cut out the membranes and seeds.
  2. Chop them super finely, then add them to your sausage and egg mixture.
  3. Add roughly a cup to a cup and a half of salsa, and about 1/2 cup hot sauce. Mix well, then place into tortillas and fold as shown above. Prepare for your taste buds to be blown off!
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do, we've eaten through about half of these bad boys so far, and I made this first batch a month ago. A huge hit!


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Make over boring cork boards!

DIY make over an old cord board with spray paint

Today I'm going to show you step by step how I went from the ugly, stained cork boards above (from the thrift store, of course!) to the fun, bright wall art below:

DIY make over an old cord board with spray paint

I started by spray painting the whole cork board with white spray paint. I was not careful about sanding or cleaning off the wood like Hilary, and I probably should have been, because it took me twice as long to paint as it should have...mostly because I kept having to wipe away dust in the middle of painting...

DIY make over an old cord board with spray paint

...but I finally got it all white and pretty! There was some speculation between Hilary and I about whether or not the cork would be able to hold paint, or if it would simply absorb the paint and need six coats. It turns our that cork can be painted effectively! And it only took two coats to get it fully covered:

DIY make over an old cord board with spray paint

Once I had let them dry for six hours or so, I covered the cork board by layering newspaper and brown packaging paper over it, then taping it down with painter's tape. I left the white frames exposed:

DIY make over an old cord board with spray paint

I then sprayed the frames turquoise, using about two coats to fully cover the white. Also, look! You can totally see my toes in this picture:

DIY make over an old cord board with spray paint

The designs on the frames were made using Sharpie paint pens from the hardware store. I used orange and lime green:

DIY make over an old cord board with spray paint

I just free-handed the design of the green lines on the larger cork board (which of course didn't show up on camera, boo) and the orange polka dots on the smaller board. I both love and hate how this turned out. I'm a perfectionist and these aren't perfect, identical dots by any stretch of the imagination. But I do kind of love how they look fun and wonky. I think it works in a playroom setting.

DIY make over an old cord board with spray paint

I chose these colors to match the tissue paper poofs that we already have hanging in the room. These poofs are left over from our boy's first birthday party! Can you believe they've held up so well? We showed you how to make your own when we threw their monster-themed party in march.

DIY make over an old cord board with spray paint

Here's the final pic of the large board, hanging in our playroom. The light in that room isn't great, so please excuse the sub-par picture:

DIY make over an old cord board with spray paint

The letters above the larger board were a stroke of genius. I have a tutorial for this super easy and fun kid's craft coming up soon!

DIY make over an old cord board with spray paint

And here's the small, polka-dotted board:

DIY make over an old cord board with spray paint

The smaller signs were just some polka dotted cardboard scraps that I free-handed words onto and let the girls color. I wasn't even careful cutting it out, so they're really uneven around the edges, but the kids really got a kick out of being a part of the creative process for the artwork in the playroom:

DIY make over an old cord board with spray paint

These aren't perfect, I didn't follow all of the careful steps like Hilary did when she spray painted her shadowbox, but I think for a play room the slightly wonky cork boards are a fun touch. And now the kids have a place to put their own artwork on the walls, and not on my refrigerator door!

~Jessica
Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Coffee Bean Makeup Holder

So a little backstory first...I had just purchased a bag full of coconut cream-flavored coffee (yum!) and was making a pot of coffee.  I went into the back of the house and heard a crash!  I walked out to my kitchen to see my son dumping out the. entire. bag.  I looked closely and saw that my brand new coffee beans were now mixed with the old cheese from last night's dinner.


Gross!  I hated the idea of throwing a pound of yummy coffee away, so on a whim I made this:


This was the easiest project ever.  I've seen the idea of using coffee beans to hold up makeup brushes floating around for a few years, but I was skeptical.  Did it work?  Did it really release a yummy coffee smell when you grab your makeup?

I grabbed a teal container I had laying around ($1 at the Dollar Tree!) and filled it with the beans:


I stacked all my makeup in it:

(See the Mary Kay blush?  I wasn't kidding when we talked about how much we love Mary Kay makeup in our Mary Kay giveaway post!)

And voila!  The easiest project ever.  So what about my skepticism?  The beans do release a nice coffee smell whenever I grab my makeup.  Now my brushes and lipsticks and eyeshadows smell like coffee, which always makes me smile when I use them!

Since I only filled the container halfway with beans, only a few have popped out onto my dresser.  They stay contained for the most part.  I set mine on my dresser, just in case it got knocked over.  I definitely wouldn't put this on a tiny bathroom counter with young kids!

Overall, I am happy with the project and although I didn't get to drink my coconut cream-flavored coffee, its nice that I didn't have to throw it away and I get to enjoy the smell.  Its been several weeks and it still smells pretty!

Do you want some makeup to put in your coffee bean holder?  Don't forget to enter our Mary Kay makeup giveway ($100 Visa debit card + a collection of Mary Kay makeup) open until October 7, 2014!


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Style: Amanda

Today I (Jessica) get to introduce you to one my favorite young women I've met here in Idaho, my friend Amanda. This gorgeous girl and I met when I complimented her dress...she was wearing a floor length formal dress in a very casual setting with low-key accessories and was pulling it off. My kind of girl! And that kind of style takes guts when one is only seventeen and living in small town Idaho, and I do like my friends to have some guts.

As it turns out, creative fashion is kind of her thing. She's always rocking either fun, quirky clothes, daring makeup, or both. So when we decided to do a "back to school" post, I knew I wanted to showcase her independent style.


This dress was her favorite, because of the sheer black overlay, a slightly different take on the current high/low hem trend. "I LOVE it!" She told me, "It's so simple and elegant." I loved that she added her signature fun eye makeup art, it kind of looked like a butterfly heart to me. Gorgeous!


To make it more casual, she threw on a black cardigan and flat sandals. Because why not? Now it's something she can wear to school!



I knew when we started shooting, that I wanted to photograph her in front of this awesome mural of a mustached man, which is on the side of the Puffy Mondae's building in downtown Nampa, Idaho. This was so perfectly Amanda, quirky and fun. This outfit is about as basic as Amanda gets, which is to say not basic at all!


I had to get the combination of the gigantic eyeball in the background and her creative eye makeup.


This last dress was my own favorite, because it's a dress after my own heart! She found this black dress with white embroidery at a thrift store, but it had terrible boning in the top, and was an unflattering mermaid shape. Rather then let such pretty details go to waste, she cut off the top and turned it into a classic knee-length dress instead! She made it more casual with a knit cardigan and knee high boots.


She managed at the same time to look both so sweet and so unique!


I had so much fun shooting this amazing girl! There's nothing I love more then spending an afternoon having fun with good friends, and showing off the talents of people I love. Amanda always inspires me with her choices and her risk taking, and I'm so glad I could share that with you all today!



Monday, September 8, 2014

Another love letter to Target...plus a giveaway!


As you all know, we LOVE Target.  There is one super close to us and we go there all the time. Sometimes we shop for clothes and home decor (remember when we shared our favorite Target finds in March?) and sometimes we buy things for our homes (like toilet paper, beauty supplies and home decor).

One of the best parts of Target (besides their gorgeous clothes and quieter atmosphere than other stores) is their up & up product line.  Up & up is Target's generic store brand, and over the last few years, we've noticed that Target has expanded the number of items under that brand.  This excites us since we are always looking for lower-cost items for our homes and children!  Hilary used up & up formula for her children (on her pediatrician's recommendation!), we both use the up & up diapers, and most of the medicines in our cabinets are up & up brand.

Just for a laugh, Hilary took pictures of just a few of the up & up products she uses at home:

As you can see, we're not kidding. We love Target.  The products are as good as their brand-name alternatives and they are always really affordable.  So when we found out that Target was adding new products to their up & up line, we jumped at the chance to review them!  We literally go to Target about every second day around here. Our kids even get excited to go, mostly for the $1 popcorn. Check out this cuteness, Jessica's son Ender (yes, that's his real name!) eating his "Pa-corn."


I (Jessica) got to test out a couple of newer up & up products Target provided for us. But I have to be honest, some of this stuff is actually things that we already use around here! The mouthwash and the children's body wash are things I've purchased before:


I was however, super excited to try out the nail polish drying spray! Our local Target hasn't had this product in stores yet. I painted my nails especially to test it out, and it worked perfectly. Score!


My daughter was also really excited to try the "new octopus body wash." Previously we've only used the bubble gum flavor, and a different sea creature on the front was a huge selling point for her.

And since we love Target so much, we are excited to giveaway a $100 Target GiftCard® to one of our lucky readers! Are you excited? Because WE wish we could enter too! To enter, simply leave a comment and let us know what your favorite Target product is!
Sweepstakes Rules:
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#OnlyAtTarget” and “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher.com email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 9/8-10/22.
Be sure to visit the Target up & up brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!
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