Thursday, January 31, 2013

thrift store finds!

I've been checking out the local thrift stores here around our new house. It's a little bit more hit or miss then I'm used to, my local Goodwill in Washington was huge and well stocked, and it's a bit different here for sure! We are now living in a much more rural area which makes for slimmer pickings at the thrift stores.

But I still managed quite the haul yesterday!

This clutch was $0.95. It opens up into a full wallet, and I needed a new wallet.

thrift store finds


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

whip it up Wednesday: DIY almond coffee syrup


Last weekend on our first Boise shopping extravaganza, Hilary and I stopped at Moxi Java in West Boise and got what is arguably the. Best. Coffee. Ever. I'd never been to a Moxi before but now I'm totally hooked! In WA I had my fabulous local Forza coffee shop that I adored, but I think I may have found the Idaho equivalent in Moxi. The best coffee I've had here yet, and a child friendly atmosphere! Seriously, they had a children's movie playing. It was genius.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Thrifty Tip Tuesday: DIY Children's Sensory Board

diy children's sensory board

This winter has been an especially cold one this year in Idaho.  We've spent TONS of time, sitting inside and me drinking way too much coffee.  I (Hilary) grew up in California, so this snow stuff drives me nuts!

I've really had to stretch my brain to figure out good indoor activities (hello, four hundredth game of Candyland) and interesting toys to keep my kids occupied.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday morning update and a sneak peek!

Wheeee! SO happy to be together!

This morning Hilary and I are finally able to enjoy our first cup of coffee together (in person, NOT on the phone!) at my house. I am working really hard at unpacking my boxes and furniture, but we still found time to go shopping in Boise on Saturday!

We hunted high and low for a ceramic pen to correct my *ahem* sharpie mug fail for her birthday. We finally found one at Hobby Lobby! God bless Hobby Lobby, they have crazy stuff that literally no other craft store has, apparently. We looked at three other stores before we found this baby:

who knew this would be so hard to find?

Yuck! Please excuse the bad cell phone picture. 

This week we will be back up and blogging more regularly I promise! We even have a giveaway planned for the near future, which I'm really excited about!  I will leave you all with a sneak peek at just one of the projects we have planned for this week...


Friday, January 25, 2013

Pinterest Friday: The Infamous Sharpie Mug (of doom)

I'm sure everyone has seen these Pins on how to make decorate ceramic dishes with Sharpie all over Pinterest by now, they're one of the most common Pins I've seen out there. And I've also seen mixed reviews, because about half the people who try this say it works perfectly, and half say it completely doesn't work.

Hil and I are both in love with fun coffee mugs, so I decided to try this out for her birthday present. I found a perfect mug at a thrift store for $.49, grabbed my Sharpie and got to work! I chose a cool quote by Sherlock Holmes because Hil is obsessed with him, and this quote perfectly describes her.

 "My mind rebels at stagnation. Give me problems, give me work."
      --Sherlock Holmes, The Sign of the Four

I followed the instructions to a T. I wrote on my mug with Sharpie, baked my mug in the oven and then send it through the dishwasher to see if the Sharpie would stick:

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Whip-it-up Wednesday: Four-Step "Frankenberry" (Tri-berry) Cobbler

(We're back!  Jessica is moved here safely and staying with Hilary for a few days.  Four adults and four kids under the age of five in one house has been a little crazy, but we will be blogging consistently by next week!)

four step tri-berry cobbler

Berry cobbler is my husband's absolute favorite dessert. He prefers straight blackberry, but for today's Whip-it-up Wednesday, I had a 'cobbled together' (see what I did there, I made a funny!) mess of frozen berries from our freezer. I think it ended up being about an equal mixture of blackberries, blueberries and raspberries. Don't judge, it was still delicious! The best part? This is the world's easiest dessert! It's only four steps and prep time is almost nonexistent.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Pinterest Friday: Recycled t-shirt bracelets

I've been making some of these recycled T-shirt bracelets lately, they're really simple. I simply cut up some old T-shirts into strips and braided them together, then sewed them together at the back.


I love using them at the gym, they're kind of a fun accessory and when I get them sweaty from wiping off my face I can throw them into the washing machine with my gym clothes! I feel like they're a little more stylish then a gross old hand towel, you know?


I didn't really use a single tutorial for this project, but sort of cobbled together a couple of them.

I used the braiding and sewing techniques from this Pin from Henry Happened:




And the cool center knot technique from this Pin from Cook Collect Create:




I love recycling old T-shirts, and this project was quick and fun, something I can do while watching TV and between kids demanding my attention.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Boot Cuffs Crochet Pattern...Free!

free crochet boot cuffs pattern

I had a friend who was dying for some boot cuffs, and I've been wanting to figure them out for a while now. I agreed that if she would supply the yarn I would make up a couple of pairs for her. Turns out, they're super easy to make!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Whip-It-Up Wednesday: Buffalo Mac 'N Cheese

We eat pretty healthy around our house, partially for health reasons and partially because we don't eat gluten, which limits things like french bread and chicken nuggets.

My husband's always been a huge fan of homemade mac 'n cheese.  Me, not so much.  I find it to be heavy, greasy and too salty.  One day, my husband brought home a jar of Ragu's Double Cheddar Cheese Sauce.  Scratching my head, I tried to figure out what to do with it.  I saw veggies in my fridge, the cheese sauce, and some Frank's Red Hot Buffalo Sauce.  And my buffalo mac 'n cheese was born.  We eat this all of the time.

gluten-free buffalo mac and cheese


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Thrifty Tip Tuesday: Beauty Stuff!

So this week has been crazy! Jessica is in the huge process of moving and will be here in a few days (hooray!) and has all of her craft supplies packed up...

Jessica's living room.  Eek!

 ...and my (Hilary's) camera died. 

So instead of a Domestic Bliss original post, we are doing a round up of other people's awesome posts and ideas! 

Beauty stuff (lotions, exfoliants, face masks) are a fun way to treat yourself, but often cost money. Even a few dollars here and there can start to add up. So we are always on the lookout for cheap, but effective beauty tips and things you can make at home. 

Here's a few of our favorites! 

 1. Two-Ingredient Heel Scrub. 

This awesome step-by-step tutorial is on ehow.com.  It literally calls for water and Epsom salts. A great way to get your heels ready for flip-flops and sandals!


2. Lemon Sugar Scrub.
A friend made this as a gift for Jessica. Sugar kind of freaked me out, but it works really well, smells amazing and is quick and easy to make. That way, if you make some as a gift for a friend, you can double the recipe and make some for yourself!  Here's a great how-to from By Stephanie Lynn:

Lemon Sugar Hand Scrub {for Mom}
Totally gorgeous picture and jar too!

3. DIY Microdermabrasion. 
 Two ingredients. Baking soda and water. So easy and works amazingly. Helps with acne and leaves skin soft!



These are just a few of our favorites! Make these and give yourself a spa day.

 What is your favorite thrifty beauty tip?

Monday, January 14, 2013

I've Been Working On...Necklaces

I've been on a serious jewelry making kick lately, and so I thought I'd post some pictures of what I've made. I've been trying to build up some stock for our Etsy store (and also make myself some pretty new presents!) None of these really require a tutorial, it's just simple stringing on beads. I'm still new at this, but pretty happy with the results!


These are my two favorite colors for jewelry, white and red! I love the natural stones. I've been wanting a coral necklace forever and now I have one, I'm so excited.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Pinterest Friday: Amigurami Doctor Who

We are more then a little obsessed with Doctor Who in our house. My Girl has been known to run around shrieking "Exterminate! Exterminate!" and my husband and I wait with baited breath for Saturday nights. Since the Doctor is so much a part of our family life, I thought that the Dude should probably be indoctrinated early before he has a choice. I searched until I found a few patterns that I loved and started my project.

It's David Tennent as the 10th Doctor Who! In amigurami form! Epic. I decided he would be the perfect way to try out crocheted plush characters.

That was a mistake.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thrift Store Finds!

What with moving out of state looming, I really don't need to be doing any shopping! But the lure of a good thrift is sometimes just too much to resist, and it's escapism at it's best when I'm stressed. So, last night I went out with the Girl to our favorite Goodwill and we found just a couple of treasures:


Score! I've been looking for a pair of basic red flats literally forever! These are adorable and comfy all at once, and the best part? They were only $2.99! Can't beat that! I'm going to need more warm weather footwear soon too, because spring comes to Boise a lot earlier then it does in Spokane.

The other thing we found was a vintage Polly pocket case. No Pollies were included but no matter, my Girl has a drawer full of vintage Polly Pockets and has enough Pollies to play with this one. I think this thing is almost as old as I am...

Look at that '90's awesomeness. This makes me want to rock a scrunchie again.

That brings back so many memories of my own childhood! I was so obsessed with these Polly Pocket sets. My girl loves these things almost as much as the modern version. She (ok, and maybe me too) was so excited to add this play set to her collection, and for a whopping $.99 I didn't mind buying it for her.

Not too much bought today, but overall not too shabby for $4! Thrift stores are the best, you can find so much stuff for under the cost of a latte. I can't wait until Hil and I can go thrifting together!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A little History and a BIG Announcement!

The history of US! (for the big announcement, scroll past the nostalgia)

Summer 2010
Hilary and I (Jessica) have known each other for about nine years now, since we started dating brothers and eventually married them. We really bonded and became best friends during our first pregnancies with the Girls in 2008. 

The blue is because we thought my daughter was a boy! BOY were we wrong!

The Girls are only two months apart, and we even had a joint baby shower! During our pregnancies we talked almost every day. And after we had the Girls we kept each other sane as we took our initial steps into motherhood together. 

"Hey Cuz'! Let's go drool on some stuff!"
The Girls met in March of 2009. Here they are, checking each other out for the first time. Hilary and I have always tried to do a bi-yearly trip to see each other, but this was our first one ever. We had so much fun my Girl and I went back three months later!

We saw each other again at the reunion camping trip for our husband's side of the family in 2010:

Summer 2010, with the Girls...I've never noticed before that they are dressed identically in this picture!
Then we didn't see each other until 2011.

At our favorite coffee shop in Idaho!
During this time we both struggled painfully with various health issues, not the least of which was trying to get pregnant (at the same time). But once again we were able to share our hopes and dreams and frustrations and build on our already amazing friendship. Then in September of 2011 Hil and her husband and daughter made the trip to visit us in WA, and we both had a secret...

September 2011
...you can't tell, but we are both in our first trimester in this picture! 

That's right! God decided not just to bless us both with pregnancies, but at almost the same time!

We even kept up our tradition of seeing each other bi-yearly by having me visit Hil in Idaho when I was almost six months pregnant:

Winter 2011
Then we had these little monsters in 2012, they are only two weeks apart!

The one on the left is the Dude, but will you check out the knee fat on my nephew?
That's right, we both had BOYS

And while the boys got to meet in September of 2012, the Girls were also so, soooooo happy to see each other again:

They "cheers-ed" matching dresses instead of champagne
So were their Mommies!

Looking fly at our cousin-in-law's wedding
For those of you guessing that we're pregnant again, you're WRONG! We have even MORE exciting news! For five years we've talked on the phone almost every day, logged countless hours skyping and texting and spent God knows how much money on airplane tickets, and finally...

FOR THE BIG ANNOUNCEMENT:


...MY FAMILY IS MOVING TO IDAHO!!!!!!

That's right, the Washington sister is moving to Idaho!

We are so excited and blessed to finally (after years of plotting and planning) go from being "two sisters in two states" to "two sisters in ONE state (and one city)!"

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Thrifty Tip Tuesday: Thrift Store Magic!

Just the other day, Jessica and I were laughing about how few posts we have about thrift stores since they are an important part of saving money!

I had two job interviews this week and needed a business suit.  I LOVE the whole blazer look and figured that I could wear it with dress pants to be professional and with jeans to be casual.

Gorgeous!!!!  And under $25!  Click on the link to check it out:
G by GUESS Janay Knit Blazer, JET BLACK (XS)

I hunted at all my usual stores, Target, Kohl's, Ross and couldn't find anything I loved.  On a whim, I stopped at a thrift store on my way home and BOOM!

Monday, January 7, 2013

DIY Dress Up Mermaid Tail

diy dress up mermaid tail sewing tutorial

We have a big fan of mermaids in our house. We've now seen the mermaid Barbie movies about 1,000 times, and Merliah is my Girl's favorite character. And Ariel. For Christmas I looked at dress up mermaid tails for her, and was shocked at the prices and the extremely cheap quality! I quickly decided that this was something I could easily make myself, for less money and then my Girl could help pick out the materials. She has been so excited!

Friday, January 4, 2013

What We're Loving!

Now that the Christmas whirlwind has died down, here are the things we're loving going into the new year! Here is what we're starting out 2013 obsessing over:


Jessica:
1. (Tasteful) Off the Shoulder shirts:
 Admittedly I am a mom of 2, so this needs to be done super carefully in order not to have wardrobe malfunctions, especially when my wiggly baby boy wants to be held. But I love this slouchy comfy look and have been wearing it everywhere!

2. Doctor Who:
My hubby and I waited for what seemed like years for the Christmas episode with the new companion...we're giant nerds! I can't believe we're going to have to wait until April to see the new episodes! This was what I crocheted for my son for Christmas:


In case you don't recognize him, that's David Tennant as the 10th Doctor Who. Oh yeah, and my son's toy T.A.R.D.I.S. that hangs out in his bedroom.

Hilary:
1. I am trying to lose weight and recently found an article on SparkPeople.org, a free site with food trackers, fitness trackers and forums and support.  I signed up a few days ago and am really impressed with the site!  Here's to losing the last 10 pounds of baby weight!

2. I also recently cut my hair short (cut off at least three or four inches) and I've been trying to find a good product to protect it from all of the straightening, blow drying and curling I'm doing to it!  I also recently highlighted it, so I needed something that can smooth without weighing it down.  I've been using Super Skinny Balm Unisex Balm by Paul Mitchell, 6.8 Ounce and loving how it makes my hair feel.  It smooths it without making it greasy (which almost always happens with hair products and my hair)!  Just put a little bit into damp hair, then style as usual.


3. Last, I am totally obsessed with One Good Thing by Jillee, an AWESOME site with tons of homemade, easy and chemical-free cleaning types like the Make Your Own Homemade Deodorizing Disks and How to Clean Your Humidifier.  She also has a bunch of recipes (including gluten-free) and craft ideas.  You should check her out and if you want, you can always say Domestic Bliss Squared sent you... :)


So what about you all out there?  What products or things are you loving right now?



Disclaimer: These are not sponsors of our site; we just want to share the things we are using and loving right now!  The link for some products goes to Amazon.com as part of the Amazon Associates program, which gives us a little kickback if you buy anything!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Homemade Vanilla-Raspberry Coffee Syrup

homemade vanilla raspberry coffee syrup

A few nights ago, I wanted to take my daughter to get a steamer from Dutch Bros. (an amazing coffee chain).  A steamer is simply steamed milk with a shot of flavored syrup in it.  Its great for kids because it has no coffee in it, and great for me when its late at night and I want something sweet, but decaffeinated!

Unfortunately, the coffee shop by our house was offering buy one, get one free, so the line of cars was immense.  We came home and my daughter wanted a homemade steamer.  I looked everywhere, but we didn't have any syrup in a cupboard.

Finally, I realized that I could make my own!  I found some great tutorials, including this one at A Beautiful Mess (this is an awesome website by the way), where they discuss not only how to make multiple flavors but also how to package them to make them pretty!

I always get a raspberry-vanilla steamer and decided that instead of making some vanilla syrup, then some raspberry syrup, I would make a syrup with both of those flavors!

In addition, a lot of homemade raspberry syrups call for real raspberries.  I didn't have any, so I used raspberry jam and adjusted the recipe!

So here you go: raspberry-vanilla syrup from things you have lying around your kitchen!

1 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. raspberry jam

1. In a small pot on the stove, put water and sugar in and heat over medium-high heat.

2. Bring it to boiling and let it boil for five minutes.

3. Add vanilla extract and jam.  Use a whisk to mix it.

4. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until thickened.

5. Take off heat and ta-da!  Done!  So easy!

I accidentally cooked it too long and it became a hard candy (oops!), so I simply added a little bit of water and whisked it together until it was a smooth syrup.

To use:
I heated a cup of milk in the microwave, whisking it every 30 seconds to create a "foamy" milk, then poured a tiny bit of syrup in (1 tsp at most), whisked it again and served it.

homemade vanilla raspberry coffee syrup

You can also use this in coffee or as a way to gently sweeten plain yogurt.

I stored it in a tupperware container in our fridge and have been using it all week!

~ Hilary

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