The Perfect Easter Cake

Happy Easter! Hopefull you’re reading this as you’re sprawled luxuriously on the couch, watching someone else do all the work to prepare for your Easter dinner later. 😉

Most likely, however, you’re probably the one in charge of getting dinner together, and if you’re like me, you’re a huge procrastinator when it comes to entertaining. I swear! I have the best intentions and grandeur ideas, but the prep work and follow-through aren’t always executed as well as they could be. 

This cake, however, is a procrastinators dream! You can literally get everything you need last minute at your local CVS or Walgreens. 

I originally found this recipe on The Organised Housewife, but tweaked it a little to meet my own needs. 

There are so many cool tutorials out there on Pinterest, and I couldn’t even BEGIN to get into the world of food preparation and photography blogging. I mean, how do they keep their stuff from burning as they stop between steps to get those perfect shots?! Nope, not for me. But I will show you how mine turned out and give you some references so you can make your own this year.

For this project I bought:
Cake mix
Frosting (2 ct) OR  Cool Whip
Easter malt eggs (I prefer the pastel colors!)
Kit-Kats
Finish with a bow (I had some on hand)

You can easily do an all white look with white chocolate kit-kat bars, use MnM easter eggs, and switch out frosting for Cool Whip to make it your own. (I did this because the frosting and candy combo were just too sweet the first time!)

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Presidents Day Decor

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Just a couple quick shots of my Presidents Day tablescape decor! This literally cost me nothing because I brought in a plant from the front yard and placed it in one of the baskets I had lying around the house. And those napkins? I told you those puppies were versatile! I linked where you can snag them.
*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links
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Valentines Day Entertaining

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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links
Gearing up for Valentines day over here at the Behrens household! As many of you may know, I still don’t have the hubby back in time for sweethearts day, but I’m not letting that ruin my love for this holiday! I’ll be hosting a Valentines dinner for some close friends and Andrew will join us in spirit. 

Normally, Andrew is a huge romantic and seriously plans the best dates. It’s almost fun for him! He likes to get creative with ideas. No bragging here though, we aren’t the type to do regular date nights so an extravagant evening out every once in awhile is more than welcome.

You might remember these adorable gingham fabric napkins from my summer 4th of July post. These guys are so classic and extremely versatile. You can create amazing summer picnic, fourth of july, and valentines day tablescape themes using these guys, they’re awesome. Charger plates are also a go-to for entertaining, they add so much to the look of your table and help minimize the spills onto your table or tablecloth. The drink stirrers are a new little obsession, (it started here!) they’re so cute and perfect if you’re a mimosa fan like we are. Throw some raspberries in with your favorite champagne and orange juice and you’re set!

As for the monogram napkins, these babies come in a 32 or 90 pack and are perfect for intimate dinner parties where theres no time for napkin folding and washing. Just lay one of these guys across the plate and voila! Insta-fancy.  The candy heart drink stirrers were so much fun to make with Isla. Just lay a popsicle stick down and hot glue gun two candy hearts on each side. Easy peasy. 

I got most of my stuff from amazon, but some of it was from TJ maxx or Homegoods. I’m linking my amazon haul as well as some similar items. Enjoy, and happy Valentines day!

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Gift Ideas for the Lazy Mom

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Hey mamas! We’re halfway through January already, can you believe it? This month has been great for getting my household back on track and catching up with good friends you’ve missed during the holidays. It seems as though everyone has January babies – so many birthdays this month! Now if you’re like me, you have absolutely no idea what to give people for gifts. My friends are so blessed and it seems as though they (and their kiddos) have everything! Plus, it’s not exactly like we all have time to plan extravagant birthday parties. Sometimes birthdays fall on a workday and there’s just no time for surprise visits. 

This is why these two are my favorite go-to gifts for friends and kids of friends. If you don’t already have an Amazon Prime account, TRUST ME when I say this service pays for itself in so many ways. With a prime account, you have access to Prime now. If you already use this service, scroll down, but if not, can I stress how much this service simplifies my life? If you have kiddos, you understand grocery shopping struggles. It can truly be infuriating, but with Amazon prime you can literally grocery shop from your couch. Depending on your location, different stores will be available to order from. I personally have access to shop at Sprouts, Amazon now of course, and a couple other specialty stores. I can purchase all organic, affordable produce, meat, and household supplies from my phone or computer and have it delivered to my door in two hours. It’s incredible. 

Depending on where you regularly shop, it’s really not that much more expensive. I bought a weeks worth of groceries for Isla and I, including some random baking supplies (yum) for just over $50. There is a $30 minimum and you have the option to tip your delivery man/woman. This landed my total with a $5 tip at $57. It is so worth it and I’ll definitely be doing the majority of my shopping through them from now on, you just can’t beat the ease and convenience. If you sign up through the link below, I’ll get a small commission so go ahead and try it out! I promise you won’t regret it.

On to gifts! I have a good friend who has been extremely supportive through Andrew’s deployment, and she opted for a low-key birthday at home with the family. Even though I couldn’t be there to celebrate, I still wanted to let her know I was thinking about her. I logged onto Amazon now and picked out a fresh bouquet of tulips, a 4-pack of gluten free cupcakes, and a bottle of Meiomi Pinot Noir and had it delivered to her door in a couple hours. It was the perfect “I’m thinking of you but I respect your privacy” gift and it was just too easy. (Oh, I didn’t mention you can get alcohol delivered to your door *wink*)

On to the kiddos! If you haven’t already heard of Robert Sabuda, I’m about to change your life. This is the absolute perfect gift for any kiddo, any age. He authors some incredible intricately detailed pop-up books. I discovered him after one was gifted to us for Isla’s second birthday. Story time has always been Isla’s favorite thing to do, and she already has quite the collection of books. Regardless of your child’s favorite hobby, however, these books will be a win. I bought 5 for Christmas and gave them out to all the kiddos in my life, ages 3-10. 

I’m not one to over-gift my kid, you guys. She’s three, and we seriously have such a big family that we’re busting at the seams with all the things she’s been gifted with. These books, however, I have no problem gifting at the appropriate times. Reading to your child is so important and these are the types of books she won’t really ever outgrow. I plan on collecting all of them for Isla and I’m sure I’m way more excited than she is about it.

So whether you want to spoil your own kiddo or you just need a good gift idea, these books are a solid go-to gift option under $30. Happy shopping!
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P.S. If you guys were wondering, here are Isla’s room details!
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New Year, More Organized You!

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Happy New Year everyone! Time to get back from our Christmas vacations and really reflect on our lives a bit. I always have health and weight loss goals, it’s a lifestyle that I’m constantly working on. This year, however, my new year resolutions are geared more towards organization. 2016 was truly a crazy year for the Behrens family! We bought our first home, Andrew deployed again, and I ran for public office. We are a busy family! So this year, I want to focus more on organization and making our lives easier, more efficient, and more comfortable. 

Getting organized can seem like such a daunting task, especially when there’s so much to do. It’s truly overwhelming and in the midst of that angst, we can procrastinate. Guilty! That’s why I started with the small stuff. Pick something small and start there. It’s a rewarding process and will encourage you to find something else to organize! I went on to organize my pantry, tupperware, and refrigerator. Can you believe all the amazing products out there to help you get organized? I’m obsessed. I linked a couple of the things I ordered for our space. I feel like a rockstar, even as I’m sitting here typing this with crazy mom-bun hair and coffee breath. 

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Entertaining for the Holidays

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Disclaimer: This post contains afilliate links.

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Happy holidays everyone! Today I’m talking tablescapes and entertaining on the Holidays. This is one of my favorite parts about holiday entertaining, the tablescape! The creative outlet is a welcome break from all the hustle and bustle going on in the kitchen. And while I admittedly am not the most organized entertainer, lucky for me I have an experienced teacher. My mother-in-law is on it you guys! She is the ying to my yang when it comes to preparing our Christmas feast. I handle the creative process and she keeps me on schedule, it’s a beautiful partnership. 

Decking out the table has become a tradition in the Behrens household for the last five years. I love the creative process behind this endeavor. Of course, I am a pinterest fanatic, but I’ve learned the best way to decorate is by using whats available to you. I love all the beautiful ideas on Pinterest, some people are just so creative, I swear! But their stores are going to have different options that yours will and you’ll kill yourself trying to find their exact pieces. The best way to plan any tablescape is to brainstorm and then window shop. Get a general idea of the color scheme and necessary buys and then fill in the rest with what you see and like.

I browsed the $1 section of Target and bought some festive tree stirrirs and place cards. The candles on the table are a Target staple because they’re so versative and only $1.50 each! I’ll reuse them throughout the year. 

Now, to the best part. The garland. I felt like such a stinkin genius when I discovered this little trick. Go to your local fresh Christmas tree farm a day or two before your event and ask for their trimmings. It’s free! It added so much drama to the table and was easy on the checkbook. Win.

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Family-friendly Volunteer Opportunities

Parenting is overwhelming emotionally and physically. It is beautiful and raw, challenging and rewarding, but it can also leave our tanks empty as individuals. Our goals and aspirations don’t suddenly disappear once we have children. They might go on the back burner for a couple years, but they are always there. I think maintaining that sense of identity is so important, not just for ourselves and our own mental health, but for our children and the role models we become for them.

For me, maintaining a sense of identity means staying civically engaged and volunteering as much as possible. As parents, however, it’s difficult to offer our time as volunteers because this often means calling a babysitter or spending precious time away from family. For this, I offer a solution: take them with! 

For stay at home moms-what a better way to take up some time in the morning before nap time or in the afternoon when they wake up? As a stay a home mom- I understand the struggle of constantly finding ways to entertain your children. Kill three birds with one stone; fill the emotional tank, entertain your kids, and give back to the community. I’ve compiled a list of kid-friendly volunteer opportunities to dedicate your time to! 

Traveling Stories – This organization is by far my favorite. Story time has always been such an important bonding experience for Isla and I, and I was so excited to be able to share that experience with local children. This company sets up reading tents at community events and recruits volunteers to read to children in an effort to provide positive, social reading experiences that encourage and promote reading. I bring Isla every Friday to the Traveling Stories tent at the Imperial Beach farmers market. If she gets too fussy, I leave a bit early. Don’t sweat it, you’re volunteering! Most companies will be very appreciative of the effort and time you contribute, regardless of how long you stay.

Volunteer at your local food pantry – This one is great for older kids. I used to volunteer at the local food pantry when I was a teenager and recently volunteered with the Imperial Beach Hunger Coalition’s Citywide Food Pantry. A truck-load of food was donated to this organization and they needed help unloading, packaging, and distributing the food to those in need. There is no better way to teach our children to be appreciative of their blessings. For the younger kiddos, I’m not going to lie, I let Isla relax nearby with a snack and an iPad. Oops.

Foster, Walk, or Transport Dogs – Organizations such as the California Labradors, Retrievers, and More Rescue look for volunteers to foster, walk, or transport dogs. This sounds like one of the most fun ways to volunteer! Give your kiddos a new buddy to play with (kid-friendly dogs, of course) while helping support local dog rescues. 

I will be adding to this list as I find more opportunities to serve. I recognize our role as parents can often become all-encompassing, but taking time for ourselves in order to keep the emotional tank full is just as important as any other aspect of parenting. Give to yourself by giving to others!

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Nursery Update

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Baby Pink Curtains: HERE, Dresser (DIY project): similar styles HERE and HERE

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Hey guys! I am so excited to give you just a mini update on Isla’s nursery since we moved into the new house. If you’ve been following me on social media for awhile, you saw that last year I fixed up this Craigslist find into Isla’s dresser. This thing is by far my favorite project, because I bought this French Provincial style dresser for $14. Yes, $14. As you can see, it was in pretty bad shape. It had been written on with Sharpie, tons of stickers, and the backboard had tons of holes and was coming apart. 

Just a quick recap of how I fixed this dresser; I wiped down the outside and cleaned the inside. I replaced the backboard, and scraped off the stickers from the drawers. As for the Sharpie, a couple coats of this Ralph Lauren pink paint and it had disappeared completely. I took off the hardware and spray painted them Gold, and did the same to the claw foot legs. For the gold trim, I had originally bought this beautiful Ralph Lauren dark golden paint, but when applied it just looked like dark brown, and most of the glimmer was not noticeable. I used this paint on other projects instead, and they came out beautifully. For this project, however, I decided to tape off the sections around the trim and go for spray paint. It came out so much better than I expected!

Now for the style of Isla’s room, I’m going for light pinks and gold. I really wanted the pinks in the room to be subtle, no brights, so for her curtains I grabbed these light pink curtains to match the dresser. I want all the pinks and creams in her room to be very pastel in nature so that the gold accents really pop. I linked her exact curtains along with some similar styles!

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Space-Saving Custom Bookshelves

Soo many nursery updates this week! Since Andrew has been home we’ve been able to tackle and finish up a lot of unfinished projects around the house, including this custom bookshelf for all of Isla’s books. I cannot take credit for any part of this, my husband built and erected it all on his own. Isn’t this such a great idea?! You can’t do anything with that space behind the door, so we custom built very narrow shelving to accommodate the ridiculous amount of books that Isla has accumulated in her two years of life. Thanks grandma and family members! (and some amazing friends as well).

We still have some finish work to do, but as you can see the door can open completely, and all of her books fit with some room to grow. Such a great idea for those of you who don’t have the room for a stand-alone bookshelf in your child’s room!

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