How to Flash Freeze Cookie Dough

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How to Flash Freeze Cookie Dough

Love warm homemade cookies but hate making a mess in your kitchen? Here’s how to make the dough ahead of time so you can whip up a batch whenever you’d like!

 

1. Mix your favorite cookie dough (I use this one.)

2. Drop in spoonfuls onto baking sheet (I place them close together since they won’t bake together on a sheet, you’re just using the sheets to freeze them.)

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3. Place cookie dough in freezer while on baking sheets.

4. Freeze dough until completely frozen.

5. Remove dough from freezer and place cookie dough into large plastic bags or plastic storage container. (I’ve read that you should wrap them with in plastic or wax paper first, but have never done that and the dough has been just fine.)

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6. Store frozen for up to 3 months.

7. To bake, place on parchment paper and bake according to original cookie dough recipe. Enjoy!

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(See how I recently whipped up a triple batch before flash freezing over HERE. Yikes!)

Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

And try out my all time favorite cookie dough recipe if you’re looking for the best chocolate chip cookies!

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If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

 

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Our Backyard Makeover Part One (& 5 Reasons Why You Should Do It Yourself)

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I have been waiting and waiting and waiting to share some backyard updates with you all, and we’re finally getting close to the finished results! 

Last summer when we moved from Alabama to Ohio, we were so unprepared for the state of our yard. In Alabama folks live outside just about year round, and we’d spent ten years fluffing up our backyard until it was one of our favorite spots.

(Our Alabama backyard – see more pictures HERE. We loved that yard!)

So when we moved to a new home in Ohio we were shocked at the lack of landscaping (goodness, we had no grass!) for our first summer. For a jillion reasons we were unable to get sod or any kind of green stuff in our yard all summer long. We moved to Ohio in May, and here’s a peek of what our yard still looked like in August.

Crazy.

(In Alabama this would have been unheard of ~ to say it was a long summer for our 3 kids with nowhere to play outside is an understatement!)

But we learned a few things (isn’t there always something to learn?) Many nights we’d head outside, walk around our rocky yard (it was so rocky that you could hardly walk without wearing hiking boots) :) and imagine what we wanted for our yard.

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(this is that same yard in the above picture one year later after grass and we added stone – amazing what a year will do!)

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We slowly started picking up all the rocks that were in the yard (because we knew the landscapers who were handling the sod wouldn’t take care to remove smaller rocks), and ended up with a huge pile of stone that we could work with. Not knowing what to do with all that stone, we decided to slowly create a bed around one of our first flower beds. We didn’t spend a penny (other than our labor), and while it doesn’t look at all like many of the beautiful stone borders I’ve seen, it does look much better than nothing at all (and it was free! I love free . . . ) 

 

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Here’s the view from our breakfast room the day our sod was finally delivered – such a glorious day (no joke!) 😉 

 

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Since last summer we’ve gotten grass (WOOHOO!) and all of our flowers have started to fill in. While we’ve paid folks to have some of the work done we’ve done a bunch of it ourselves, and I’ll be sharing what we’ve finished over the next few weeks.


So what’s the value in doing it yourself? Here’s what we’ve learned (after nineteen years of oodles of DIY’ing . . . )
  1. We care about our own home more than anyone else. While we choose sometimes to pay people for certain projects in our home, no one cares about our home like we do, which means we can give ourselves the very best finished product!
  2. It’s often hard to find good help, and if you’re impatient (like me) waiting for them to get something done can make you crazy. While there are projects that we’d love to pay people for, the fact that I can decide to paint a room, head to my home supply store, purchase what I need, and come home and paint it myself all in a few hours is much more appealing than waiting for a contractor to do the work for me. So, while it may take me some time to do, I’m more than happy to work on it because I’m in control of each project’s time frame!
  3. It’s great exercise. Working in our yard has always been one of my husband’s favorite things to do, because he loves getting the exercise and just being outside. If he paid someone else to do it he wouldn’t enjoy those benefits (and isn’t someone who naturally loves to exercise), so this is an added (free!) bonus.
  4. Doing it yourself gives you a fantastic sense of accomplishment. It’s fun to have a project completely in your home, but it’s so much more fun when you can say you learned how to do something new all by yourself. I’m lucky enough to be married to someone who’s willing to learn how to do just about anything (and frugal enough not to pay people all that often), but we started out just like everyone else and have learned so much along the way.
  5. You will add a ton of value to your home when you do things yourself. The first two homes we purchased were huge fixer uppers, however we spent very little to update them because we did just about all the work ourselves. Doing things ourselves in those early years helped us put basically free equity in our homes, and has increased the value of our home each time we’ve moved.

 

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Here are the basic projects we’ve been working on in our yard (I’ll show the steps over the next few weeks):

  1. Getting grass (this was included in the purchase of our home but didn’t actually happen until almost four months after we moved in. Crazy!)
  2. Stamped concrete patio (we paid someone to do this because it was too big a project for my husband and I to do. I’ll update with pictures next soon.)
  3. Build a small deck off the breakfast room so that we could keep our grill at the top of the steps so we could easily grill outside in the winter time.
  4. Create a flower bed using stone around the patio.
  5. Build a stone fireplace (this is a huge project to tackle, but my husband’s doing an incredible job and we’re saving almost $10,000 by doing it ourselves!)

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Stop back next week to see more updates (above is just a peek), and follow me on Instagram if you’d like to sneak peeks as the work progresses. Such fun!

 

 
I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

 

See previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Guest Bedroom Update Part #3: The Finished Room

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See part one and part two.

 

I am so stinkin’ excited to finally share some updates of our guest bedroom with you! Remember a few weeks ago when I shared how I used homemade chalk paint to repaint a $48 Goodwill headboard? Well I also used it to update the furniture in the bedroom, and painted the room as well.

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The guest bedroom is a small room in our basement with just one small window (which actually leads out to a window well so there isn’t much light in that room.) I’ve never painted anything grey in my life (and really have never been a big fan of grey?), but after seeing it more and more often in rooms as I’ve scrolled through Pinterest, I decided this was my chance.  Here’s a peek at the before and after . . .

Before

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AfterIMG_2419

 

Here’s how I did it on a (mostly) penny pinched budget . . .

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1. Re-used lamps from our dining room by re-painting them white. (Perfect as I recently replaced them with Goodwill lamps that were spray painted as well.)

Cost = $16 for 2 new shades at the Ballard Design Outlet in Cincinnati 

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2. Added curtain panels to window and tied them back using hidden clothespins.

Cost = $14.99 for curtains and $19.99 for rod set at TJMaxx

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 3. Added a chair and mirror from other rooms in our house that were no longer being used. The chair had been painted black and the mirror was off white, so I just repainted them to match.

Cost = $0 (I already had the paint on hand)

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 4. Added a simple wooden set of hooks for hanging clothes.

Cost = $0 (I picked these up years ago from my the basement of my in-law’s home because they were no longer in use – love that!)

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5. Re-painted these super cute nightstands in grey.

Cost = $10

These nightstands are my favorite garage sale deal ever. About nine years ago my neighbors were selling them – both he and she had made them in shop class in high school but they didn’t match (I think one was oak and one was maple.) I paid $10 for them and have repainted them three times depending on the room they’re in!

 

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6. Updated these old wall hangings with a little fresh paint.

Cost = $0

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 7. Repainted a Goodwill headboard with chalk paint.

Cost = $48 for the headboard, $.50 for the chalk paint by using a mismatched sample in the bargain bin

8. Repainted the bedroom

Cost = $38 for paint

I used the higher grade paint at Home Depot because it goes on easily with one coat – so worth it for me to save time and extra paint!

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9. Bought new bedding at TJMaxx.

Cost = $129

This was by far the biggest expense in the room. I just didn’t see any thing else that I loved, and I love the way fresh white bedding looks in a guest bedroom. Since everything else was pretty penny pinched, this was a worthwhile splurge!

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The total cost of the update came in at $217.98, and I do wish I’d looked a little harder for less expensive bedding (but I really do love how this looks in that space!  The only thing I didn’t consider before updating the room was the color of the carpet (eek!)

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Honestly, until I saw it in these pictures I never even noticed it was so beige (it looks pretty neutral normally, and I just didn’t pay attention to it at all!) It does show up a bit more in the pictures, but I’m still pretty pleased with the results.

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I really do love the grey though, and it was a great way to try out a new color in a safe spot that could be different than the rest of the house.

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So there you have it! Do you have any other suggestions on how to update a room on a budget? I’d love to hear your ideas – leave a comment to share! (And feel free to share your updated pictures on the PPP Facebook page – I’d love to see what you’re up to!)

I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

 

See previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

Looking for more penny pinched recipes? Here you go!

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We made this recipe from Eat at Home Cooks two weeks ago and I loved it, so much so that while visiting my in-laws I made it for them again last night! It’s such an easy way to cook up a bunch of veggies, and since the sauce is gluten free (my mother-in-law eats a gluten free diet), we easily cooked up gluten free pasta to make a simple gluten free meal for her too.

 

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I’ve just about decided it’s my new go-to simple crockpot meal because it tastes great, and there’s just nothing like coming home to a home smelling like a yummy Italian meal. It’s an easy way to change out every day spaghetti, and we’ll definitely add it to our menu plan at least once a month!

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Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore (adapted from Eat at Home Cooks)

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds frozen chicken tenders
  • 1 sliced onion
  • 1 sliced green pepper
  • 1 sliced red pepper
  • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb cooked pasta

Directions

  1. Place frozen chicken in the bottom of slow cooker.
  2. Add sliced onion and green peppers on top of the chicken.
  3. Mixed together crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper, then pour sauce over chicken and veggies.
  4. Cook on low 7 hours or high 4-5 hours.
  5. Serve over pasta with fresh parmesan cheese and enjoy!

 

If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

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Summer Weekly Menu Plan Ideas

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Since it’s almost June and I haven’t made a single menu plan since the first of May, I decided to take a break for the summer from sharing menu plans here (although I’ll be making some very simplified menu plans at our house!) While my kids are home for the summer I’d rather be hanging out with them then getting these gathered up, and hope you understand. 😉

I’ve had menu plans out since last August though, there are plenty you can still choose from. Here are the links to keep you full of menu ideas all summer long . . .

 

Most of these include free printable lists as well, so you should be all set for summer!

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Do you have anything yummy on your menu plan this week?  I’d love to hear what you’re having, and if you have any great recipe ideas please leave a comment to share!  

 

 

Check out my recipes to try board on Pinterest, and see more penny-pinched recipe ideas.  

 

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Beef Stir Fry {In Less Than 30 Minutes}

Looking for more penny pinched recipes? Here you go!

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With fresh produce in season, there’s no better time to use tons of fresh veggies as you cook! We had this (super) simple beef stir fry last night and I loved that it was loaded with vegetables and protein, and cooked up in under 30 minutes.

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I noticed this recipe also at All Recipes (it looked so good!), but since the marinade needed to mix for several hours I opted for this simple recipe. The flavors are all so good on their own that you don’t need to add too much, and you can have dinner done in less than 30 minutes. Love that!

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Beef Stir Fry (in Less Than 30 Minutes)

  • Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound beef sirloin, cut in 2″ strips
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 green pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • broccoli florets or carrots (I didn’t have those but they would have been great to add in!)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds (optional – we were out but I wish we’d had them!)

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Directions

 

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  1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat.

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  1. Cook beef until browned, 3 – 4 minutes.
  2. Put beef on one side of the skillet, then add in veggies and garlic and cook for about 2 minutes.

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  1. Mix in beef and add in soy sauce and sesame seeds.
  2. Continue to cook until vegetables are tender, for another 3-4 minutes.
  3. Enjoy!

Adapted from All Recipes. If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

 

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Guest Bedroom Update Part 2: Spray Painted Wall Art

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See part one HERE.

This week has been crazy.

 

Crazy, folks.

 

I had big plans of sharing all the pictures of our updated guest bedroom, but with a quick night of family in town, three kids going different directions (or almost worst, just staying home some days . . . ), I didn’t get time to take pictures to really give you a peek of the finished results. 

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(Our basement bedroom is DARK, so to get decent pictures I have to be there right when the light comes through the window, which is only for an hour or two each day!)

 

So, here’s a peek of one more finished project I tackled in there. We had these wood hanging art pieces (if that’s what you call them?) in our old foyer, and even though they didn’t match our in our new home, I hated to just get rid of them.

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Here they are hanging in the hallway when the kids made a yarn obstacle course a few years ago – can’t believe I don’t have any other pics of our old foyer!

 

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I sprayed on a little spray paint, and witha few coats they work perfectly in our guest bedroom!

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Next week I’ll share the whole room (surely things will settle down around here . . . ) but in the meantime don’t miss how I updated this $48 Goodwill sleigh bed. I just love this little space!

 

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Love decorating but don’t want to spend too much? Don’t miss my favorite 7 Stores to Shop when Decorating on a Budget. 

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Looking for penny pinched projects? Here are a few of my favorites . . .

I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

 

See previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

 

 

 

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4 Ingredient Bisquick Mix Recipe

 Looking for more penny pinched recipes? Here you go!
4 Ingredient Bisquick Mix Recipe

I don’t know about your kids, but mine love morning waffles in the summertime. And, since these days with my kiddos feel like they’re fleeting way too fast, I try to indulge them as often as I can. (Thankfully they’re all pretty busy kids, so whatever they eat for breakfast they wear off throughout the day!)

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Our favorite waffle recipe is this one, but I’ve been looking for a way to simplify things in the mornings and finally decided to try out a Homemade Bisquick recipe. Since all that’s really in it is flour and a few other ingredients, I knew I could make it for next to nothing, and I love knowing exactly what’s going into it! Here’s what you’ll need:

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Homemade Bisquick Mix

Ingredients

  • 6 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 cup cold butter

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Directions

  1. Mix together flour, salt and baking powder in large bowl.
  2. Using a pastry cutter, mix in butter until the mixture is crumbly (I use this pastry cutter and love it, but you could also use a food processor to mix it all in!)
  3. Store covered in refrigerator until ready to use, for up to 4 months (makes enough for 3 to 4 days of pancakes and waffles at our house – so double the recipe if you need more!)

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To make life easier in the mornings, I leave the pancake and waffle recipes right on the container so my kids can whip up a batch themselves if I’m working in the morning (my Caroline is an expert already!) Here are the recipes we use . . .

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Waffles
  • 2 cups mix
  • 1 1/3 cups milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Pancakes
  • 2 cups mix
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs

 

You can also use them to make these Red Lobster Cheddar Biscuits. Yum!

4 Ingredient Bisquick Mix Recipe

If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

 

 

 

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How To Make Homemade Chalk Paint + Our $48 Goodwill Sleigh Bed

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See the finished guest bedroom pictures over HERE.

Have I told you lately I love me some thrifting? 

 

Good gracious, I do.

 

A few weeks ago I went to Goodwill with my daughter and was so proud that I managed to make it out the door without a single thing.

 

Until.

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I glanced out of the corner of my eye and saw a sleigh bed headboard and footboard for $48.

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Forty. Eight. Dollars.

 

***Did you hear me?***

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(Guest bedroom before – yikes! I bought that comforter in a pinch before we sold our last house because I just needed something, but have absolutely hated it from the minute I bought it. Bleck!)

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Needless to say I made a beeline for a tape measure to see if it would fit the queen bed that we have in our guest bedroom. And sure enough, it did.

 

WOOHOOO!

 

It’s only a few years old (I found a sticker with a 2009 date on it underneath), but was pretty seriously beat up. While I would love to have kept it stained, there were a few parts in it in horrible shape and it would have taken a lot of work to refinish, so I decided to try making my own chalk paint.

 

Now, I’ve shared before how I’ve purchased Annie Sloan Chalk Paint for projects (check out this one too), however that stuff is not cheap (about $34 per quart + the wax you’ll need to have), so my daughter and I made a trip to Home Depot to see what we could find.

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As luck would have it, my oh-so-wise-she’s-her-momma’s-favorite-this-week- girl found a mismatched paint sample for 50¢ that was exactly the color I was hoping to use. So for a whopping 50¢, I had everything I needed to tackle the job.

 

Success!

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Here’s what we used:

  • 1/3 cup plaster of Paris (found in the paint department – we had some in our paint supplies but it costs around $5)
  • 1/3 cup cool water
  • 1 cup latex paint
  • paste wax (you can also find this in the paint department – I had some left over from my last chalk paint project so I just used that)
  • stir sticks
  • measuring cups (don’t use them again for food – we measured everything out in paper cups to not ruin our measuring cups!)
  • plastic bucket for mixing

 

How to Make Chalk Paint (find more detailed instructions here)

  • Mix together 1/3 cup cool water and 1/3 cup plaster of Paris in small bucket
  • Add in 1 cup latex paint and stir completely.
  • After paint has dried on your project, rub paste wax into wood to finish the project

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I spent all weekend painting last week, and have a whole new room to show for it now. I’ll share the complete room with you next week (every single thing in it is thrifted except the bedding), so be sure to stop back by!

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Looking for more projects like this one? Here are a few of my favorites . . . 

I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

 

See previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

 

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Red Robin Whiskey River Barbecue Chicken Wrap

Looking for more penny pinched recipes? Here you go!

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Not sure this qualifies as real cooking, but if you’re in a hurry and need a quick meal this week, this recipe is perfect. My friend Shannon keeps reminding me about it, so I figured it was time to update the recipe and picture from when I originally posted it way back in 2012. 😉

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Grill the chicken yourself of make life easy on a busy night like I did and take advantage of pre-cooked chicken. Either way dinner will be done fast, and your family will love it! Here you go . . .

 

Mix together equal parts barbecue sauce and ranch dressing and warm chicken up in microwave.

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Add chicken to wrap.

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Then add lettuce,

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and onions (red onions are my favorite.)

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Sprinkle with cheese . . . img_2070

Top with tortilla chips or French’s onions.

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Drizzle with ranch dressing and barbecue sauce mixture,

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Wrap it all up . . .
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And enjoy!

Red Robin Whiskey River Barbecue Chicken Wrap

Ingredients

  • 1 package flour tortillas (we use the Mission Spinach variety)
  • 1 cup cooked and sliced chicken breast (to make life easy I used pre-cooked Tyson Grilled & Ready Strips, but you could easily make them yourself – try out this chicken marinade!)
  • 1/2 cup light ranch dressing
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • lettuce
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 red onion
  • tortilla strips or French’s onions we used stockpiled French’s onions
  • bacon (optional)

Directions

  1. Mix together barbecue sauce and ranch dressing, set aside.
  2. Chop onion.
  3. Warm chicken according to package directions and cook bacon.
  4. Add lettuce, chicken, bacon, cheese, onion, and tortilla strips to wrap.
  5. Drizzle with barbecue sauce dressing mixture, and enjoy!

If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

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