Life of the Party No. 59

caramel_apple_poke_cake_3

Apple-Pie-Grilled-Peanut-Butter-Sandwich-4

Hey yall!  Welcome to the Life of the Party link up!  Its that time of the week again – the time yall get to show off your creativity with us!  Woohoo!  And its Friday.. so its like an extra celebration, right?! 

Most viewed:

Healthy-Molasses-Raisin-Oat-Muffins1

Healthy Molasses Muffins :: Luv a Bargain

My Faves:

Apple-Pie-Grilled-Peanut-Butter-Sandwich-4

Grilled apple pie and peanut butter sandwich :: Lemons for Lulu

 

caramel_apple_poke_cake_3

Caramel Apple Poke Cake :: Wine and Glue

Now let’s party!

LOTP-2

 


Life of the Party No. 50

lifeoftheparty

Hey yall!  Welcome to the Life of the Party link up – the time for you to take over our blogs!  And we are so happy that you do!  The most viewed link from last weeks party was:

ifyougiveateacheracookie

If you give a teacher a cookie printable from 30 handmade days!

 

My favorites from last week were:

homemade oatmeal packets

Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets from I should be mopping the floors

Creamy-Frozen-Mudslide-1

Creamy Frozen Mudslide from A night owl blog

Now let’s party!

LOTP-2


Strawberry White Chocolate Muffins

Strawberry white chocolate muffins recipe

You know what I love? Waking up on a Saturday morning and baking while the kids watch toons and Ryon reads the news. It sounds silly but it’s my favorite day of the week. I can watch the kids from the kitchen, chat with Ryon and whip up treats like these strawberry white chocolate muffins. Actually strawberry white chocolate muffin Saturday is my new all time favorite day of the week.

Strawberry white chocolate muffins recipe

Everyone in the house were battling allergies this past week. Ryon has real bad allergies and unfortunately the kids inherited the same sensitivity. It’s hard to watch them all suffer with sniffles, watery eyes and coughs. I thought so light and tasty muffins would help them feel better.

strawberry white chocolate muffins

As soon as I turned on the mixer, ryley came bounding in the kitchen. “Whatcha making momma? Can I help?” I can’t ever say no to that, so she was in charge of adding the strawberries. And of course taste testing. Ninety percent of the sweets I make have ryley fingerprints in the batter. But it all bakes out, right?

Delicious strawberry white chocolate muffins

I had Ryley line the muffin tin and we waited for them to bake. I set up my little area where I take pictures while they were in the oven. Both kids ran and grabbed their fisher price cameras and helped me take pictures.

Easy strawberry white chocolate muffins

It was seriously the cutest thing ever. I teared up as they started to click away at the fresh baked muffins. It makes me happy that they are able to join me in baking. I make and photograph recipes multiple times a week and I don’t ever think they are paying attention to me. But then they grab their little cameras and become mini photographers with me.

Strawberry White Chocolate Muffins
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups flour
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  5. 1 large egg
  6. 2/3 cup milk
  7. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  8. 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  9. 1 cup strawberries, chopped
  10. 1 cup white chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 and line a muffin tin.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  3. Add egg, milk, vanilla extract and oil. Stir until combined.
  4. Fold in strawberries and white chocolate chips.
  5. Place into 12 muffin tins.
  6. Bake 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Enjoy!
The Grant Life http://thegrantlife.com/
Be sure to check out these other great recipes:

Life of the Party No. 43

lifeoftheparty

Hey yall!  Welcome to the Life of the Party link up!  The time for yall to take over our blogs and share your latest and greatest!  We are currently driving up to Michigan.  Yes, you read that right.  We are driving from Texas to Michigan.  With two kids.  I promise we are not crazy folks.  But ask me again when we get home. 

LOTP-2


Cast Iron Love

Cast iron love - fun pieces to add to your collection!

I think I have a problem.  [I see you shaking your head up and down.]  My problem is, I’m in love with my cast iron and I want more!  Like, a lot more.  The funny thing is, I only have one cast iron skillet and I can’t even tell you what brand it is.  I bought it on clearance a few months ago but we quickly became bffs.  Like serious bffs.  But like I said, I want more!  So I found my skillet some cast iron friends.  Here are my favorite cast iron products that I would love to add to my kitchen!  

Cast iron love - fun pieces to add to your collection!  

 *All the links below are affiliate links which means I will get a small portion back at no cost to you.  Things like this help me maintain this blog!  Full disclosure here.

Le Creuset Signature Cast Iron Round Skillet Grill, 10-1/4-Inch, Soleil


Lodge L10SC3 Iron Cover, 12-inch

 

Lodge L4LP3 Loaf Pan

 

Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron Panini Press Skillet Grill Set, Marseille

 

Lodge SCRAPERPK Durable Polycarbonate Pan Scrapers, Red and Black, 2-Pack


Lodge ASHH41 Silicone Hot Handle Holder, Red

Norpro Cast Iron Round Bacon Grill Press

Old Mountain Cast Iron Preseasoned Biscuit Pan 10 Impression

Cast Iron Skillet Big Flavors: 90 Recipes for the Best Pan in Your Kitchen

Cast Iron Cooking Recipes

Can I just say that looking at cast iron products online is slippery slope?  I started with one skillet and quickly realized I need a lid, then hello.. panini press!  Ohh!  A bread pan?!  I need that!  And a bacon press?  I’ve never pressed my bacon, but I need it!  And yes, I need those scrubby thingies.  And the hot handle holder thingy.  And why yes, I do need cook books for more recipes.  Boom.  Kelley is broke.  Be careful out there friends – cast iron skillet shopping is tough.  

And if you’re looking for some skillet recipes, check out: 

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Instagram Blog Hop

Instagram Blog Hop

Welcome to the Instagram Blog Hop! If you’re new around here, the Instagram Blog Hop is a party where you link up your Instagram account, find and follow new Instagram friends, and be continually inspired by what you see in your Instagram feed! NOW ON SATURDAYS! No need to have a blog, just an Instagram account! So come hang out with us every weekend!

Instagram Blog Hop

The Rules are Simple:

1. Follow your HOSTS:

Instagram Blog Hop Hosts

Kimberly of A Night Owl | Instagram: @anightowlblog
Erin of My Thirty Spot | Instagram: @mythirtyspot
Angie of Little Inspiration| Instagram: @blogali
___

2. Follow your CO-HOSTS:

Instagram Blog Hop Co-Hosts

Kelley of The Grant Life | Instagram: @thegrantlife
Claire of Live Love Create | Instagram: @livelovecreatex
Kendall of
Songbirds and Buttons | Instagram: @songbirdsandbuttons
___

3. Link up your Instagram Web Profile:

Just link up your new Instagram Web Profile (http://instagram.com/username) -OR-
Webstagram Web Profile (http://web.stagram.com/n/username) in the linky below!

___

4. Check out and follow a few fellow Instagram friends.

Tell folks you follow that you found them through the IGBH!
___

5. SHARE THE IGBH LOVE!

Before you link and run, we’d love for you to SHARE THE IGBH LOVE! We’d love to grow this lovely community, so we’re asking you to share – with your friends, on your social media! Tweet about it, share it on G+ and Facebook or post about it on Instagram! And TODAY to celebrate our new day, we’re having a little giveaway! Enter to WIN a $15 Starbucks Gift Card below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


No Poo Shampoo

No Poo Shampoo.  Ditch the chemicals!  (And have your hair feel great too!)

For the past month and a half I haven’t been washing my hair.. with regular shampoo and conditioner.  I have ditched my old shampoo and conditioner and I have gone “no poo”.  What’s no poo shampoo?  Well, I use baking soda and apple cider vinegar to wash and condition my hair now.  [Yes, really.]  Let me tell you more about my no poo journey.

No Poo Shampoo.  Ditch the chemicals!  (And have your hair feel great too!)

So that sounds weird, doesn’t it?  To just leave your favorite products and wash your hair with common household items.  And to be honest, I wasn’t sold at first.  I did a lot of research and checked out tons of sites that talked about the chemicals in normal shampoo and conditioners.  Here is a laundry list of what is in my favorite Dove conditioner:

Water (Aqua), Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethiconol, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Fragrance (Parfum), Behentrimonium Chloride, Dipropylene Glycol, Potassium Chloride, Lactic Acid, Disodium EDTA, DMDM Hydantoin, TEA-Dodecylbenzenesulfonate, PEG-150 Distearate, Gluconolactone, Adipic Acid, Sodium Sulfate, Trehalose, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Yellow 5 (CI 19140), Blue 1 (CI 42090)

Water I can handle, but the others are just crazy.  Here are a few examples of what’s really in my favorite shampoo.

  • DMDM Hydantoin – formaldehyde releaser preservative.  Although it has been deemed that a small amount of this is not toxic, I don’t want to be continually exposed to this toxin.  See more here
  • Adipic Acid – I couldn’t find much information on this one but this is Merriam Websters definition: “a white crystalline dicarboxylic acid C6H10O4 formed by oxidation of various fats and also made synthetically for use especially in the manufacture of nylon”.  Um, no thanks. 
  • Trehalose – not a harmful chemical but is considered a sugar substitute.  Its made from insects and fungi.  Fun. 
  • Methylchloroisothiazolinone  – Can be a skin irritant and people with sensitive skin should watch out for this ingredient. [Source.]
  • Methylisothiazolinone [or MIT] – “Another study found that exposure to MIT caused dermatitis, while a recent 2012 study found that brief exposure to MIT is toxic in low concentrations during neural development, increasing the risk of seizures and visual abnormalities.”  Its ok in low doses but has been limited in some countries due to its toxic nature.  [Source.]
  • Yellow 5 – a synthetic food coloring that is added to food and beauty products.  It can cause a severe rash, as well as trigger asthmatic reactions.  Scary.  [Source.]
  • Blue 1 – Im not sure what food coloring is doing in conditioner, but when I looked up this ingredient this title “9 Food Additives That May Affect ADHD” from Health.com came up.  Really?  I know its for food but come on! 

Basically I was done.  Done with taking the risk with these and so many other chemicals in my bathroom.  So I went no poo. 

How do I wash my hair now?  Its actually really simple.  I use that little plastic container and add 1/4 cup of baking soda and then fill it with hot shower water.  I pour it over my head [avoid contact with your eyes and CLOSE your mouth.. just a tip] and rub it in like I would shampoo.  All that it is doing is getting rid of the dirt.  Rinse.  I then add 1/8 cup of apple cider vinegar to to the container and fill it with water again.  I work that in my hair the same way, focusing on my scalp and ends.  I let it sit while I finish in the shower and rinse it off.  Easy peasy. 

no poo shampoo

Its actually a lot cheaper then regular shampoos as well.  And I dont have to worry about any of those harmful chemicals.  Plus, my hair feels just fine.  I talked about a transition period in the video and you do need to give it time if you are first starting a no poo routine.  Your hair is overproducing oils because they are being stripped by commercial products.  Give it at least 2 weeks before you decide if its for you.  And if you don’t want to go full out no poo then check out your ingredient list before buying.  There are also shampoos out there that have less harmful chemicals, like Deva Low Poo

What do you think?  Have you thought about or have you tried no poo shampoo?  I’d love to hear your thoughts! 

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Natural Living: 30 Day Mom Challenge

Hey yall! Happy [day and a half late] New Year! Its a new year and Im excited to start a new series here at the Grant life. I’m joining a group of moms and we each have picked a 30 day challenge for our families. I picked 30 days of natural living.

30 Days of Natural Living

About my challenge
It is something I have been slowly starting to incorporate into house by eliminating things from our everyday lives. I will sharing ways to get rid of harmful chemicals and processed foods from your home. Its something we have been working on at our house for awhile now. I am going to share a new natural living post every day for the month of January. A few things that I have in store are:

Natural cleaners
Natural health care products
Easy homemade natural recipes
Eliminating processed foods

Oh, and Im going to also do a video blog for all [or try to] of my posts. One of my blogging goals is to add more video blogs to my site, so you will be seeing my face a lot more. [Oh happy day, right?] Be sure to check out the other ladies that will be joining me in the 30 day mom challenge. [Follow the hashtag #30daymom to find us as well!]

30 days to overcome our challenges

Please follow along as we all face our challenges for the month of January!

Chrissy at The Taylor House

Challenge: 30 Day Pantry Challenge – Chrissy Taylor is a wife, Mom, blogger and property manager. She and her husband of 16 years are raising two active boys in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota. Chrissy enjoys blogging about cooking, crafts, gifts and household tips. You can connect with her at: The Taylor House * Facebook * Twitter * Pinterest * Google+

Kelli at 3 Boys and a Dog

Challenge: 30 Day Fitness Challenge – Kelli lives on the beautiful Alabama Gulf Coast with her 3 Boys, Husband, and actually 2 dogs. :-) Blogging since November 2006, Kelli is your go to source for all things homeschooling & homemaking. Follow 3 Boys and a Dog on: Facebook :: Pinterest :: G+ :: Instagram :: Twitter

Crystal at Crystal & Co.

Challenge: 30 Day Busy Mom Dinner Challenge – Crystal is a Dallas mom blogger to five boys and in the mist of raising a blended family. She believes in the power of meal planning and loves creating easy recipes. She speaks in the Dallas area to mom and parenting groups and loves helping busy families get dinner on the table. Follow Crystal and Comp on: Facebook :: Pinterest :: G+ :: Instagram :: Twitter

Holly at Kids Activities Blog

Holly writes Kids Activities Blog all about fun things to do with kids. She is taking on the 30 Day Challenge to get her kids to do chores – which hasn’t been so much fun in the past. She has three boys ages 8, 10 and 12 who can’t remember to pick up their dirty clothes or take out the trash. You can follow her adventure on Instagram, G+ and as @Texasholly on Twitter. (psst.. she also has a rockin’ Pinterest!)

Shannon at Milk and Cuddles

Challenge: 30 Days Declutter ChallengeShannon traded in her sensible NYC TV producer shoes (they were best for taking the subway), for a pair of Texas Cowboy boots when she married her best friend! He’s at fault for making this Yankee a Texan! Shannon’s blogs at MilkandCuddles.com where she writes about all things that make a house a home. Her chief blogging inspiration is being the proud & slightly neurotic mom of a preschool age daughter. You can find Shannon on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and her new favorite place to hang out, G+.

Dianna at The Kennedy Adventures

Challenge: 30 Days of Reading with My Kids – Dianna Kennedy is the soon to be mother of six. Her home base is The Kennedy Adventures, where she writes about managing a large family, classical homeschooling, and living her Catholic faith. Follow The Kennedy Adventures on: Facebook :: Pinterest :: G+ :: Instagram :: Twitter

Sherri at Luv a Bargain

Challenge: 30 Days of Clean Eating – Sherri is a wife, Mom of 2, and blogger. She and her family live in New Hampshire and enjoy a simple, healthy, frugal lifestyle. Sherri loves blogging about saving money, recipes, crafts and DIY. Follow Luv A Bargain on: Facebook :: Pinterest :: G+ :: Instagram :: Twitter

Megan at Coffee Cups and Crayons

Challenge: 30 Days of Fruits and Veggies – Megan Sheakoski is the creator of Coffee Cups and Crayons, a blog that shares fun and useful ideas for modern parents. She believes that small, intentional acts of kindness {and really good coffee!} can change the world. You can follow all of her learning activities, kids crafts, and party inspiration on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and G+.

Andrea at The Greenbacks Gal

Challenge: 30 Days of Sugar Detox – Andrea Green of The Greenbacks Gal is an organic coupon expert who loves using her coupon finds into whole food recipes. Nothing makes her happier than to help people realize being organic and following a whole foods diet doesn’t have to cost more. Follow The Greenbacks Gal on: Facebook :: Pinterest :: G+ :: Instagram :: Twitter

Kelley at The Grant Life

Challenge: 30 Days of Natural Living – Kelley is the mama behind the Grant Life blog where you can find easy homemade recipes, crafts and household tips! The Grants are one husband, two toddlers, two dogs and two very large cats. They love to cook together, get messy, chase each other and laugh way too much. The Grants believe that everyday chaos is normal and the Grant life shares that! Follow The Grant Life on: Facebook :: Pinterest :: G+ :: Instagram :: Twitter

Jamie at Hands on as We Grow

Challenge: 30 Days of Kids’ One-on-One Time – Jamie learned to be a hands on mom by creating activities, crafts and art projects for her three boys to do and shares them on hands on : as we grow. Jamie takes the creative outlet as a way to get through the early years of parenting with a smile! Follow Hands On As We Grow on: Facebook :: Pinterest :: G+ :: Instagram :: Twitter

Tiffany at Eat at Home Cooks

Challenge: 30 Days of Meaningful Meals – Tiffany King writes the blog Eat at Home, where she shares simple, family friendly recipes. The site also offers Weekly Meal Plans, including an All Slow Cooker version with grocery lists and printable recipes. Tiffany is married to Jim and they have four kids. Follow Eat At Home Cooks on: Facebook :: Pinterest :: G+ :: Instagram :: Twitter

Top Recipes Posts of 2013

Top Recipes of 2013!

In a few days it will be 2014 and I still can’t wrap my head around where the time went.  I think that 2013 was a great year, despite a few setbacks.  I learned so much, spent a ton of time with my family and loved on my kids as much as possible.  Plus, I created a bunch of new recipes and shared them here!  I’m not sure how many new recipes I shared [Im going to guess at least 50] but these are the top 10 most popular recipes from this year. 

Top Recipes of 2013!

Here’s to more baking/cooking/broiling/whisking and taste testing in 2014! 

Pumpkin-spice-chai-latte.-Perfect-way-to-start-fall-

Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte – This was one of my favorite posts too yall!  Why?  Well, it was super easy to make and it tasted delicious!  People sure love their pumpkin spice (chai) lattes!

Crockpot-Mashed-Potatoes-via-thegrantlife.com_.-These-would-be-perfect-for-Thanksgivng-or-a-dinner-party.-

Crockpot Mashed Potatoes – Another super easy recipe!  Set a few potatoes in the crockpot and mash em later.  Easy peasy. 

Reeses-Covered-Popcorn-by-the-Grant-life

Reese’s Popcorn – The first of many Reese’s recipes, but still one of my favorites.  Very easy, quick and perfect to snack on!

Halloween Puppy Chow 1

Halloween Puppy Chow – Michaela really hit it out of the park with this one!  Sweet, salty and chocolate-y all in one easy recipe. 

Smores-Brownie-Bars-So-easy-So-gooey1

S’mores Brownie Bars – S’mores in brownie form.  Do I even need to go any further?  Well, you know I will.  These were amazing!  So easy, so ooey and gooey.  And I didn’t even have to put a stick in a fire pit to make them! 

Easy-crockpot-sweet-potatoes.-Perfect-for-a-busy-Thanksgiving-dinner-

Crockpot Sweet Potatoes – Similar to my crockpot mashed potatoes, but with add sweet potatoes and marshmallows.  And oh man were these good!  [And would you believe me if I said they were easy too??] 

Easy-crockpot-tacos-perfect-for-any-weekday-meal-via-thegrantlife.com_

Crockpot Chicken Tacos – My go to dinner for busy nights.  Chicken, beans and corn all tossed in the crockpot and ready to be devoured when you get home.  Mmm. 

This-looks-so-easy-Pumpkin-banana-bread-with-chocolate-chips.-I-love-fall-baking

Pumpkin Banana Bread – The trifecta of desserts; pumpkin, banana and chocolate.  Betcha didn’t know that the three are amazing together, huh?  Well, they are.  Oh so amazing. 

Pumpkin-Caramel-Cake-Your-friends-wont-believe-how-easy-it-was-to-make

Pumpkin Caramel Cake – Do I even need any words to describe this one?  Pumpkin and caramel.  Cased closed.  

Easy-pumpkin-chocolate-poke-cake

Pumpkin Chocolate Poke Cake – Hands down my favorite dessert from this year.  A basic pumpkin cake with chocolate poked into it and covered in homemade whipped cream and caramel sauce.  I think I just drooled on my keyboard a little. 

 

From my top 10 recipes I can come to the conclusion that yall like pumpkin and crockpot recipes.  Which is totally cool with me, because I love pumpkin and crockpot recipes.  So maybe 2014 will be the year of pumpkin and crockpot recipes here at the Grant life.  I think I can handle that. 

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Financial Friday and a Change?

Hey yall!  I’ve mentioned before that I have been doing Financial Friday for almost two years now and I love it!  Its so fun to see all the great posts that people link up each week.  But I think its time for a change.  I think its time to change the name of our weekly link party.  I think Financial Friday confuses people on what they can link up each week.  All posts are welcome here!  So I’m thinking of changing the name to something fun.  But what?  I’d love some suggestions on a new name for the link party.  And maybe Ill have a little something for the person who comes up with the best name.

For now lets get the party started!  [And please be sure to visit at least two links from the party.  We all love comments!]