In brown sugar cake cinnamon delicious dessert dump easy fall festive food holiday ice cream ideas party pear potluck recipe treat whipped cream winter

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pear Dump Cake

Have a holiday pot luck coming up and can't decide what to make?  This brown sugar cinnamon pear dump cake has all the festive flavors you need for a delicious fall/winter dessert. Plus, its incredibly easy to make.

Things you'll need
2 cans of sliced pears in heavy syrup
Brown Sugar
Vanilla cake mix
1 Stick of butter

Empty the entire contents of one can of pears into a baking dish.  Use only the pears from the second can, leave out the syrup.  Top with a layer of brown sugar (about half a cup) and cinnamon. Empty the cake mix on top.  Slice butter and place evenly over the cake mix. Finish with another thin layer of brown sugar and cinnamon on top.

Bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees or follow the instructions on your cake mix box.

After all that hard work, treat yourself to a banana pear smoothie.  Take the last bit of pear syrup and blend with one frozen banana and half a cup of milk.  Now sit back and enjoy your smoothie while you wait for the cake to bake.

When the cake is ready, serve with a generous amount of ice cream or whipped cream!

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In coconut delicious easy food frozen ice cream ingredient lychee recipe simple sweet treat vegan

Coconut Lychee Ice Cream

This delicious coconut, lychee ice cream is incredibly easy to make.
It's just the right amount of sweet and creamy.  Plus, it's a great vegan option.
All you need is one can of coconut milk and one can of lychee in syrup. The two cans should be the same size so that there will be more coconut milk than syrup once the fruit is removed.

Remove the lychee and save it for later. Mix the coconut milk and syrup together. Follow the instructions for your ice cream maker.  If you don't have an ice cream maker, just put the mixture in a freezer safe container and let it freeze. Stir up the mixture every 40 minutes to an hour until fully frozen.
Dice up the lychee and store it in the fridge.  Once the ice cream is finished, use it as a topping!

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In adventure couple couples date dates dating different fun ideas Life lifestyle unique

5 Fun and Unique Date Ideas

Sometimes dinner and a movie just gets a little old. Whether it's your 2nd date or 200th date, it's always fun to mix it up a little. Step out of your routine and try some of these date ideas to keep things interesting!

1. Environmental tours
Be an enlightened explorer and take your date on an eco tour.  Bike, hike, and kayak to new places. Learn about plants and animals in their natural habitat.  There's a good chance your tour will benefit local conservation efforts.

2. Take a class together
If you live in the city like I do, there's likely to be a bunch of classes available in your surrounding areas.  Find something you're both interested in and haven't tried before.  I've found introductory classes for cheese making, aerial acrobatics, archery, and more. A new skill and fun date is just a Google search away.

3. Visit a Farm
Hang out with some farm animals and pick some fruits and veggies!   Check your local farms for what's in season.  It's a great way to get some outdoor bonding time and you'll both have fresh produce to enjoy afterwards. As an extra bonus, you can feel great about supporting your local farming community.

4. Be a tourist
Check out local museums, visit famous landmarks, or take stroll through public gardens.  Take a day trip to your neighboring city if you're looking for something new to do. 

5. Visit your local theater
See what your community's performance arts center has to offer.  The schedules could consist of plays, musicals, concerts, and more!  You could even check out the productions that the local high school puts on.

We're always looking for fun things to do and these are some of our favorites. Let me know if you've tried any of these and how you liked it! Do you have any unique date ideas to add?

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In bake chicken DIY dogs healthy jerky oven pets recipe tasty treats wholesome

DIY Chicken Jerky Treats

I'm always on the hunt for healthy treats to feed my crew. We do our best to stick with wholesome options that use quality ingredients. Instead of buying bags of pricey, processed snacks, I've been making chicken jerky at home.  Not only do my dogs go crazy for them, they're also ridiculously easy to make.

Ingredients: Chicken Breast
Start by partially freezing the chicken breast for easier slicing. 
**Thawing an already frozen piece is not the same thing. The outer layers will thaw out first and the inside will still be too frozen to cut. I learned that the hard way. **
Preheat oven to 250°F
Get rid of as much of the fat as possible. Create thin, even slices and lay out on a tray with parchment paper. The thinner the slices, the easier it is to dry.  Use a paper towel and pat off any excess moisture.
 Stick it in the oven for around 3 and half hours. For crispier jerky, leave it in for a bit longer.
Once the chicken has dried, it can be stored in an air tight container for several days. 

The dogs followed me around while I took these pictures. They all put on their best puppy eyes while licking their lips in anticipation.

You can't beat healthy, delicious, and cheap!

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In breakfast Chinese Dinner easy eat egg food Korean lunch Microwave quick recipe Sesame Oil steamed tasty

Steamed Eggs

I'm going to be honest with you.  I am a lazy cook who hates measuring.  Attention to detail is not one of my strong suits.  You know how people write "Great attention to detail!" on their resumes? I can't write that. It doesn't apply to me.  And yet, somehow, I've managed to get by okay.
Anything I post on this blog that is related to making food will be kept short and sweet -or savory. I will strive to fake fancy and skirt along the edges of healthy, but it will always be easy. Hopefully, you'll also find these recipes tasty!

Steamed eggs are a traditional Asian way of cooking these universally consumed sources of protein.  The dish is popular in both Chinese and Korean cuisine and can be served with any meal of the day.  It's my favorite way to make eggs when I'm in a rush and don't have time to cook a whole meal. Steamed eggs are usually made, obviously, by steaming.  In order to speed things up, I use my handy dandy microwave.

2 large eggs
1/3 to 1/2 cup water - depending on how you prefer the consistency
1/3 Tsp salt - I personally like to use garlic salt
1 Tsp sesame oil
Chopped scallions

As I mentioned earlier, I don't usually measure things out so this is a close approximation. I like my eggs to be mildly runny with garlic salt and lots of sesame oil.  The less water you add, the less runny it will be, so adjust to your preferences.

Add all the ingredients together and combine thoroughly.

Microwave for approximately 2.5 to 3 minutes and check the consistency.  If the eggs are not adequately firm, microwave for an additional 30 seconds at time.

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In Life Productivity School Weekday Work

5 Tips for a Productive Work Week

Happy Monday!

We're at the start of the week once again.  Whether you have school or work, chances are you've got things to get done.  Being able to focus has always been a challenge for me and it greatly affects my ability to be productive. Here are a few things that help me sit still and get through my work.

1.  Take care of yourself

It's commonly known that our brains function best with good sleep, nutrition, and physical activity.  It's also commonly known that it's way easier said than done.
As great as coffee might be, it doesn't make up for a full night of solid rest. So lay off the late afternoon caffeine, get to bed early,  and put away those cell phones. 
Eating healthy foods and maintaining a regular exercise schedule can help with those afternoon slumps. Keep lots of leafy greens in your daily diet and stay away from sugars and fats. If you're not a gym person, take a nice long walk outdoors. Increased oxygen flow to the brain keeps you alert and ready to tackle new challenges throughout the day.

2. Plan ahead

Make lists; Prioritize; Set goals
Write down all the foreseeable things you'll need to accomplish within the upcoming week.  Having a visual of your workload will help you with managing your time. Prioritize tasks and schedule them into a weekly calendar. Set daily achievable goals and keep them short and specific.  Don't overwhelm yourself with long lists and focus on what you need to have done for that day. For an extra sense of accomplishment, check them off as you go! 

3. Create a comfortable work environment

Working in a cluttered room can cause unnecessary stress. Imagine being on a deadline and constantly having to search for documents! Start your work week by organizing your desk. Throw away things you don't need and put away things you aren't using immediately. Everything should have a cabinet or container. Drawer organizers are a great way hid pens and pencils when they're not in use and keeps your desk organized from the inside out. If I'm working at home, I find that my mind works better if my home is clean.  But, that might just be me going overboard. 

4. Focus

This is the part I struggle with the most.  I find working at home to be very difficult because I'm constantly giving into my urges to nap.  To prevent the lure of my very comfortable bed, I frequently go to my local tea shop.  Once I'm sitting among hard working and focused individuals, I feel encouraged to fit in.  If a quite space isn't attainable, bust out those earbuds! Listening to mellow music drowns out the noise and provides you with a steady beat to work to. When working on monotonous tasks that require minimal brain effort, try out some podcasts. I highly recommend This American Life or Planet Money.  I'm always learning something new and the podcasts are so engrossing that I almost never want to leave my seat till the podcast is finished. 

5. Take breaks

Don't burn out.  Get up and go for a short walk.  Rest your eyes and stretch.  Do things you enjoy! Sitting for long periods of time is not only bad for your healthy, it also decreases the quality of your work. Get a fresh perspective by going out into the world and interacting with human beings. 

Just hold on and Friday will be here in no time!

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In adventure aesthetic camping forest glamping holiday tent travel Treehouse vacation wanderlust

10 Aesthetic Escapes - in the US

Sometimes it's nice to just get away from it all and go somewhere a little different.  Recharge and get inspired with these surreal retreat spots across the US.

This beautiful, grown up tree house in
New England, Vermont

An aesthetically pleasing and pet friendly safari tent in

Or a romantic, luxury safari tent in

A fully equipped, pet friendly tipi in
Lake Wales, FL

These simply serene, also pet friendly, safari tents in
This luxury tree house with 360 forest views in
Spicewood, TX
Or this amazing waterfront Treehouse in
Rio Frio, Texas
Enjoy luxurious glamping with your four and two legged friends in
Olympia, Washington
Or get adventurous with these riverfront tents in
Coloman, California

Enjoy views of the Gulf of Mexico from these comfy tents in
Panama City, FL

As much as I love traditional camping, there's definitely room on my adventure list for a few luxury stops.  Especially if it looks like these!

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In Bed cheap contemporary cute Design DIY do it yourself Dog easy how to inexpensive Modern pets Platform sewing upholstered

DIY Upholstered Dog Bed

I had been looking for a spacious, modern design dog bed that matched the rest of my furniture.  Unfortunately, nothing I saw fit my specific expectations. I'm not super handy but I managed to put together this upholstered dog bed. My pups are a little spoiled but they love this bed!

Wood Plank
Suede Fabric (Frame)
Super Suede Fabric (Pillow)
Polyester Filling - I used stuffing from old pillow
**You can also purchase it through my affiliate link here**
Staple Gun and Staples
1/2" thick foam
Sewing Machine

I purchased a single wood plank from home depot and had them cut it into 4 pieces for me. The measurements would obviously change depending on the size of your pup. I honestly didn't even bother to measure and just eyeballed it.
Once I got home, I nailed the four pieces into a square to build the frame.

I cut the foam to wrap around the frame. It took several pieces of foam and I just lined them up as best I could to cover the whole thing. The foam should be wide enough to cover the edges on both sides with a little extra so that you can cover it with fabric. I stapled the foam down and left a little bit of edge. The important part here is that the foam should be flat and tight against the frame.
Then I measured the exterior of the frame using a piece of string and sewed up the suede fabric using those measurements. It should fit snugly over the frame without being too tight.

I wrapped the fabric over the edges of the foam and stapled it down. If your dogs like to chew on furniture, I would recommend finding a different way to do this in case they end up getting the staples out. It's not an issue with my dogs but please proceed with caution.

I made a giant overstuffed pillow using the super suede fabric. The stuffing inside is from some old pillows we didn't use anymore.

Feel free to comment with any questions!

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In adventure camping kings canyon national park nature sequoia national forest sequoia national park travel wanderlust

Sequoia National Forest


 The hubs and I took a four day trip to Sequoia National Forest and Kings Canyon over Labor Day weekend.  Before we made plans, I checked the NPS website for the rules on bringing dogs.  The site  states that dogs are allowed on all trails in Sequoia National Forest.  What I didn't realize was that the National Forest is not the same as the National Park. Silly me. We ended up not being able to visit a few famous attractions but we had a great time none the less.  If you're thinking of taking your pets camping with you, I highly suggest reading the NPS website carefully before planning your trip. 


We stayed at the Hume Lake Campground and I can honestly say it's probably the best campground I've ever had the pleasure of staying at.  Each site is spread a fair distance apart and surrounded by towering trees.  The campground itself is secluded, quite, and clean.  If you feel like kayaking or swimming, Hume Lake is within walking distance.  We brought our inflatable boat and took it out on the lake every afternoon when we got back to camp.  At night, the sky is packed with stars peaking between tree branches and it's absolutely breathtaking.

We enjoyed the additional benefit of having a convenience store and gas station a short drive over at the Christian camp. They sell various camping essentials and have recreational rentals for the lake. If and when I go back, I'll definitely be booking here again.

The first day was spent exploring Kings Canyon's incredibly vibrant rivers.  The drive down into the canyon is lined with beautiful rock formations and stretches of speckled granite. I have a fear of heights and the roads were on the edges of some pretty steep cliffs. Needless to say, driving was left to the hubs on this stretch of land.

Once you get down to Three Rivers,  you can stop at the many pullouts along the side of the road and go for a swim! There are signs everywhere with warnings that the water is ridiculously cold and the currents can be unexpectedly strong in certain areas. Make sure to proceed with caution!

That being said, this is probably the most beautiful place I have been to date.  The colors in the river are intensely rich and vibrant. The air was comfortably warm on the day we went and the water was cool. As you can see, the kids thoroughly enjoyed their time there.

There are several waterfalls in the King's Canyon area.  Since we had the dogs, we were only able to visit Grizzle Falls.  It did not disappoint.  The waterfall is only a few steps from the parking area and has several picnic tables where you can eat and enjoy the falls. We had our lunch there and took pictures when the crowd thinned out a bit.



On the second day, we drove around the National Parks and stayed near the main roads where dogs were allowed. There were tons of giant sequoia trees and the pictures we took really don't do them any justice so I've decided to leave those out.  You'll just have to go see them for yourself!

Here's one last picture of dogos in a blanket on a cold mountain morning:

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In decor Design home interior minimalist

The Minimalist In Me

Minimalism is beautiful in theory.  When my room is decluttered and bright, I get the feeling that I've really got my life together.  It's usually followed by a sudden need to accomplish every goal I've ever set for myself.. In practice, it's not easy to be ever vigilant of the endless piles of clutter that seem to add up.  Where does all this stuff even come from?

Tips for a happy minimalist home:

Organization is key.  The whole idea of a minimalistic home is based on this point.  If you don't need it, put it away or throw it out.  Storage boxes are magical and pretty display containers are life savers.  Keep paper statements and other important documents in decorative folders. Hide electrical chords and stash keys out of sight.

Brighten things up.  Direct sunlight is always best but it's not feasible for every room.  Paint the walls with colors that attract and reflect light. Having a minimalist home doesn't necessarily mean basking in bright white all the time. Add contrast with different shades of gray for a calming affect.  You can also add the occasional pop of color if you prefer something a little more exciting.

Add shapes and textures.  Minimalism has a great appreciation for fine lines and smooth edges.  Geometric shapes draw a lot of attention in these otherwise simple homes.  Breaking up the lines with an occasional textured accessory, rug, or plant helps to fill the room and makes it more lived in while still maintaining it's simplicity.

Bonus picture.
Our foster kitty Joey.

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In bedroom breakfast cheap décor Design display DIY easy home marble

Breakfast on Marble

If you follow any design Instagram accounts, you've probably seen at least a little bit of marble.  It's a trend I'm absolutely in love with and also absolutely unable to afford. But who needs to shell out big bucks when you can just fake it? Shh.. No one needs to know it isn't real!  Make marble contact paper your new best friend.  I just bought myself a roll so you'll probably be seeing a lot of it as I go marble happy on every possession I own with a flat surface. Just kidding. Maybe. We'll have to see how this goes.

I had some serious room envy when I saw white marble trays laid out with morning breakfast on a bed overflowing with moody gray pillows. To make my own, I purchased a small sample roll of contact paper off Amazon for $8 (you can get it at my affiliate link here).  Then, I went to Michael's and bought one of their pre-made wooden trays. The trays come in a pack of two, one small and one large, for around $5.  I had some 80 grit sand paper, white acrylic paint, and foam brushes left over from a previous project.  If you need to purchase these things, the total should come out to no more than $10.
I gently sanded down the edges of the tray to smooth out any imperfections, wiped it down with a damp cloth, and let it dry for a few minutes.  Once the tray had dried, I painted on three coats of white paint, letting it dry in between each coat.  You can also add a layer of top coat for a smoother, glossier finish. 

Measure and cut out a sheet of contact paper for the bottom of the tray.  I recommend starting on one side and smoothing out any bubbles with the edge of a credit card as you peel.

And that's it!  It looks very real as long as you don't pick it up. Marble is heavy and our faux tray is convincing visually but lacks the weight needed to pass a feel test. Use it for serving, displaying, jewelry and more!


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