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Author Archive | Jessica Bruno

Jessica Bruno

We are a crew of four generations all living together under one roof. We share our
Do-It-Yourself renovations, project tutorials, room makevers and bits of what life is like living together under one roof. Could you live with multiple generations?

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Here are my most recent posts

Spring into action with 3-Way lighting!

I know this sounds silly but I love 3-way light bulbs. How on earth could a light bulb make me so happy? Well, here’s the thing, when you live with so many people under one roof, you tend to have so many opinions about how bright the room should be. So for me, I love the option to turn it down a notch at night if I am relaxing. That is why the 3-way bulb is perfect for me. I gives versatility when it comes to lighting and for us, keeps the bickering down between us ;). This year as we begin spring cleaning,  we are creating multiple spots in our home that will serve a multitude of purposes. Part of that is changing out our bulbs using Cree LED bulbs. Last year I was contacted to participate in the Cree LED bulb ambassadorship and I was thrilled to join. Fabulous lighting is right up my alley!

Moving around our family room and getting ready to welcome the warmer weather makes me happy!

Why I love 3 way bulbs / versatility and mood lighting

I love to sit on our couch and watch TV at night and surf the net on my lap top. Who wants a bright light shining over them when they are trying to relax? Not me! The first click on a 3-way lamp is perfect for my down time, quiet mood at night. BUT, when my dad wants to brighten up the room with 4 different lamps set to the brightest level, well he can do that. He has a thing for brightness! ha.

Why I love 3 way lighting Cree LED 3-way

Did you know that these bulbs last for 20 years? They are super cool looking too. For us, Spring cleaning consists of cleaning the windows from the winter elements and allowing the outside in! Re-arranging furniture and accessories also happens to be on my list as well when it comes to spring cleaning. I get bored easy so I love to swap out accent chairs, sometimes larger furniture pieces, lamps and accessories to create a new mood to go along with the new season. This also presents the opportunity to clean under furniture that normally would be forgotten.

If I had my choice, every lamp in our home would be a 3-way. Our playroom/study room is a prime example of when we need light options. This year we are changing out most of our lights to Cree LED and I will be investing in a couple more 3-way lamps as well.

Why I love 3 way lighting Cree LED 3-way

When the kids are playing, obviously it needs to be bright and cheery but when my mom or I want to sit and read a book or simply have some quiet time, a dim soft light is necessary. I am loving this time of year, well I will be loving it more once the snow is completely gone but we are in the home stretch! I never thought I would enjoy spring cleaning this much but after the winter we have had, I can’t wait! Be sure to check out our post a couple months ago to read all about the facts, figures and how energy efficient these bulbs are. They are quite the little rockstars in the bulb industry ;). See just how cool they are here, in this quick fun video.

creelightbulbbadge

Disclosure: I am a brand ambassador for Cree Bulbs. I was provided with complimentary bulbs and compensation. All opinions and words are 100% my own. These bulbs are fantastic! 

 

 

Fun kids apps all within a touch or hand gesture!

Technology continues to amaze me and I often wonder, what technology will be like in 30 years when I am my parents age. Yikes! My parents and especially my grandparents are so overwhelmed with all the gadgets and electronics available today. My parents are starting to come around, they finally upgraded from the flip phones! ha. I was recently contacted by HP to try out their new HP Intel Envy notebook. Being a blogger, I have been presented with quite a few cool opportunities and this happens to be one of them. Do you know this computer actually lets you use hand gestures to play games, scroll through recipes or simply have fun being creative? It’s amazing! You can either touch the screen to navigate or simply use the control pad/key board. My son found this computer so much fun to play games and especially interact with the RealSense kids applications.

Fun kids game apps all within a touch

Kids are so adaptive to touch screen technology. It’s amazing how quickly they catch on. With a simple touch to the screen or click, you are on your way to find thousands of kids game apps.

Fun kids game apps all within a touch

Easy as 1, 2, 3.

Fun kids game apps all within a touch

The going fishing app was a big hit.

Fun kids game apps all within a touch

The Madagascar app with RealSense technology was by far, my son’s favorite.

Fun kids game apps all within a touch

What this 30 second clip of my son playing Madagascar using his hands and motion to play the game.

Isn’t that fun! I actually tried out the kids apps myself using hand and gesture control and found it super cool. I will be back next week to share my turn using gesture control while cooking!

Disclosure: #spon: I’m required to disclose a relationship between our site and Intel. This could include Intel providing us w/content, product, access or other forms of payment.

All opinions and words are 100% my own, the lap top is pretty cool!

Amazing White Chocolate Oreo Bark Recipe

White chocolate is dangerous in our house. Even though I am trying to stick to a low fodmap diet, the rest of the family loves treats on occasion and last week while grocery shopping, I came across the new spring Oreo cookies. Oh my, they are delicious. I decided to make a quick white chocolate munch using Oreos, pastel colored m&m’s (perfect for Easter) and melted white chocolate. Any excuse to buy Oreos works for me.

Amazing White Chocolate Oreo M&M bark munch

Quick and easy treat and perfect for Easter or any holiday.

Amazing White Chocolate Oreo Bark Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 package Spring Oreo cookies (or any flavor)
  • 1 bag m&m's (I used pastel for Easter)
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 2 bags Ghirardelli white chocolate wafer melts (you can use any type of melts)

Instructions

  • Line large cookie sheet with parchment paper
  • Crust Oreos and spread on pan
  • Mix in 1/2 cup to 1 cup M&M's (more or less depending on how much you love them!)
  • Mix in 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • Melt white chocolate
  • Drizzle melted chocolate over Oreos and M&M's
  • Cool for 30 minutes
  • Place in freezer or refrigerator for minimum 1 hour to harden. (I keep mine in the fridge as we love them cold!)

Step 1, crush up the Oreos. I used the end of my vegetable peeler and it worked great.

Amazing White Chocolate Oreo M&M Bark Recipe

Step 2, mix in candy.

Amazing White Chocolate Oreo Bark Recipe-2

Step 3, drizzle melted chocolate. You may need to use a spatular or spoon to mix up the cookie and melted chocolate mix.

Amazing White Chocolate Oreo Bark Recipe-3

These are addicting, so be careful! You might just eat the entire thing yourself ;). For more of our favorite recipes, check out our kitchen page.

My latest HomeGoods happenings

Just wanted to stop in real quick and share what I have been up to over at HomeGoods. Last month and a part of this month has been all about getting ready for spring inside your home. Although, I would love to move outside soon! ha. It is so strange to look outside at 7pm and have it be sunny and bright but still have a few feet of snow on the ground. Melt away snow ….please!

Head over to HomeGoods to see my latest stylescope quiz results. Do you know what your stylescope results are? Come take the quiz with me!

My HomeGoods happenings

Boot winter out with throw pillows 

my homegoods happenings  Dress up a wall with art work

My HomeGoods Happenings / Decorating with Wall Art Lazy Susan that isn’t so Lazy!

My HomeGoods Happenings / Lazy Susan

Some serious inspiration over there at the Design Happy blog. Be sure to check out and say hello while you are there ;).

Quick Chocolate Cupcakes fill with pudding slime

Who would have thought that making chocolate monster slime cupcakes would be so much fun! My son loves to watch Nickelodeon and of course, the upcoming 2015 Kids’ Choice Awards Ceremony is marked on our refrigerator calendar. I remember last year he asked, “mom, can you take me to the kids’ choice awards next year?” I told him I was afraid to be slimmed! ha. This year we are partnering with Nickelodeon and Bounty and sharing how we get ready for the big event and what fun slimy things we do during the show.

Monster Slime Cupcakes

My stepdaughters are also fans as they love the performers and my son, well is is fascinated with the slime! If you have ever watched the Kids’ Choice Awards, you know that the green slime is everywhere. Bounty wants to keep the slime rolling! I love that and love Bounty. We stock up once a month and trust me, with four generations living under one roof, we use Bounty a lot!!

monster slime cupcakes

Here is how to make Monster Slime Cupcakes:

Monster Slime Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1 box chocolate cake mix
  • 1 vanilla instant pudding
  • green gel food coloring
  • green frosting
  • edible eyeballs (baking isle or Michaels Crafts)
  • orange edible sparkle gel (I used Wilton brand / baking isle)

Instructions

  • Make cupcakes according to directions on box
  • Make pudding according to directions on box
  • Once pudding is done, add a small amount of green food coloring.
  • Once cupcakes are cooled, cut out a small hole and fill with green pudding. Add cutout top back to cupcake and frost.
  • Decorate and have fun!

These guys are so cute and my son had a blast making them! The bigger the mess the better as far as he is concerned.

monster slime cupcakes filled with green pudding

 What do you think? Easy enough right?

how to make monster slime cupcakes

Bounty has been a longtime favorite in our house for cleaning up all kinds of messes, even monster messes! Have fun if you try making these monster slime cupcakes. The kids in your life will definitely have fun. The Kids’ Choice Awards Ceremony is March 28th on the Nickelodeon channel. 

Head to @NickBreaks and enter #SlimeOnSweeps for a chance to win prizes thanks to @Bounty plus Get more slime content and tweet your own with #SlimeOn

Visit Sponsors Site

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Nickelodeon for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

Ikea Hack Vittsjo Shelving {spray paint + wood shelving}

Who loves Ikea? I do! We are fortunate to have a new store about an hour from our house, just south of Boston. I don’t get there as much as you would think, considering we live so close but I did make a trip last fall to pick up a set of black Vittsjo shelving units for the playroom. What do I love about Ikea? Most of their items are inexpensive and excellent quality. I never feel bad about modifying anything from Ikea.

Vittsjo IKEA Hack {spray paint + wooden shelves}

Ikea Hack Vittsjo shelving {spray paint + wooden shelf}

We needed a small shelving unit on either side of our fireplace in in the playroom and these shelves were perfect but they were the wrong color and had glass shelving.

Ikea Hack Vittsjo shelving {spray paint + wooden shelf}

I removed the glass shelves and spray painted 2 coats of gold Rust-oleum.

Ikea Hack Vittsjo shelving {spray paint + wooden shelf}

I picked a windy day to get these sprayed and I remember thinking, “why am I doing this right now?”

Ikea Hack Vittsjo shelving {spray paint + wooden shelf}

Once they were sprayed, I let them dry a couple hours in between coats. Two coats did the job. Once I removed the glass shelving, I custom cut pieces of 1/4″ plywood to create new shelves. I used the same measurements as the glass inserts. I decided to paint them the same color as the walls in the playroom to help create a cohesive look.

Ikea Hack Vittsjo shelving {spray paint + wooden shelf}

Nothing fancy and I was lucky, we had a large piece of plywood left over from a previous projects so my new shelves were free!

Ikea Hack Vittsjo shelving {spray paint + wooden shelf}

After two coats of paint on the top, sides and bottom, my new wooden shelves were finished.

Ikea Hack Vittsjo shelving {spray paint + wooden shelf}

They are perfect for books, games and other smaller items that you would find in a playroom.

Ikea Hack Vittsjo shelving {spray paint + wooden shelf}

In my opinion, glass is not appropriate in a playroom especially when there are usually 2 or 3 eight year olds in there at a time creating chaos. The wooden shelves were a perfect solution. The Ikea Vittsjo shelving units are only $49 a each. So for the cost of the metal shelves and spray paint, I was able to add functional storage that is designer friendly. I am hoping to share the entire room soon with the new shelving and a few new accessories. You should see what the room looks like behind these pictures! A mess!!!

Chicken Bites and Mozzarella OH MY!

For those of you who have been around our blog for a while, you know we are all about quick and easy meals that just about anyone can make. That also stands true for snacks and treats. The men in our family love a table full of snacks especially on game day. Right now, they are obsessed March Madness. It’s kind of madness in our home all year long but this month it’s all about basketball madness. My son has no idea how lucky he is to have this experience of living with his grandparents and great grandparents!  When I do my grocery shopping I am always grabbing quick, on the go snacks to make for them during game day. When Farm Rich asked if we would like to try their new chicken bites along with their other snack hacks, it was an easy decision because my family already loves them.

Chicken bites and mozzarella / Quick snack ideas for family movie night or entertaining

The first question my dad and grandfather ask before the game is, “Jess, what are you making for us to eat?”

Chicken bites and mozzarella / Quick snack ideas for family movie night or entertaining

Farm Rich chicken bites, mozzarella sticks and loaded potato skins are their favorites. I think my husband would eat boxes of the chicken bites if he could. The beautiful thing about the Farm Rich snacks are even my gram likes to join in the fun, even though she could careless about basketball. She is in it for the food! ha.

chicken bites & mozzarella

As a mom on the go, sometimes I don’t always have time to cook from scratch so I am always looking for quick wholesome snacks that are tasty and something fun. I mean, game day is fun so you need fun food too! I love that the mozzarella sticks are made with 100% real mozzarella cheese
,  breaded and seasoned to perfection, a good source of calcium and protein
 and 0g trans fat per serving. Many of their products also come in a variety of sizes as well.

chicken bites and mozzarella quick and easy snack ideas / perfect for family movie night

In under 15 minutes, I have a cookie sheet full of cooked delicious snacks ready to go. For me, I add all the snacks to one cookie sheet, bake for 10-15 minutes at 400 degrees, place on a serving platter once cooked and they are ready to go!  The chicken bites come with a tangy bbq sauce and I always add sour cream and a marinara sauce to the tray as well. These are perfect as well for playdates. I have served these yummy treats many times as a snack break when my son has his friends over and while I often wonder if they actually taste how good they are (they inhale them), I know for certain they love them ;). We would love to hear what you are doing for March Madness this year. Do you you host game day? Share in the comment section below!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Farm Rich. The opinions and text are all mine.

Stowe Vermont Winter Vacation

Every year for Christmas, my parents purchase a trip for the family. We love this idea because it allows everyone to get together for a week and spend time together. My brother and his family join in the fun and my parents love hanging out with their grandkids. So for Christmas 2014, my parents chose Stowe Vermont as the destination. It’s always a surprise for the kids at Christmas and they talk about it for months leading up to Christmas – Wondering where grammie and gramps will take us!

stowe mountain lodge

 Stowe Mountain Lodge

The Stowe Mountain Lodge happens to be one of our favorite places to go during the winter. So a couple weeks ago, we packed up and headed to Vermont.

Stowe Vermont Ski Trip 2015

It’s like a tiny little village nestled in the mountain.

stowe mountain lodge at night

Stowe Mountain Lodge

My grandparents didn’t join us on the trip. They get tire easily and when we go away for a week, it’s hard for them to keep up.

Stowe Vermont Ski Trip 2015

My mom bought everyone a Patriots SuperBowl hat so we thought it fitting to do a group photo sporting our favorite team ;).

Stowe Vermont Ski Trip 2015

My son and step daughters, along with their dad, love to ski so I decided to suck it up and take a lesson. Being cold and blown over by the wind, riding down a mountain on sticks isn’t really my thing but I realized that this is the one sport that we can all do together so I gave it a try.

Stowe Vermont Ski Trip 2015

I actually really liked it even though I wiped out getting on the magic carpet ride and almost killed myself getting off the lift a few times. That thing is scary!

Stowe Vermont Ski Trip 2015

My dad, well he did a lot of hanging around and trailing my mom on excursions. He would be happiest sitting in the lodge sipping on a rum and coke. I can’t say as if I blame him.

Stowe Vermont Ski Trip 2015

My mom took the kids on their own sleigh ride. Stowe Vermont Ski Trip 2015

One of the best things about having a blog is that it’s an online memory album for my family. I am not great at creating photo albums so the blog will have to do. My hope is that someday, the kids will enjoy looking through the years of our lives and remembering all these fun moments!

Stowe Vermont winter vacation

It’s hard to believe that our winter, which I might say has been insane with over 108 inches of snow, is coming to a close. While we loved our winter vacation in Vermont, we are ready for summer here in Massachusetts ;) .

PS. houses are finally coming back on the market after a loooooong winter. We are headed to look at a few fixer uppers…..stay tuned!

 

 

7 Easy Crock Pot Recipes

We are all about easy crock pot recipes in our home. Over the last year since we started the “our kitchen” page, many of the recipes are cooked in the crock pot. The crock pot is perfect for someone on the go or someone like my gram who doesn’t want to be bothered with making dinner late at night. Although, they eat at 5pm sharp or my grandfather is crabby. He is very old school and my grandmother is happy to oblige. I guess when you were born in the 1920’s, that is how you grew up. That’s a topic for another day. Here are our 7 easy crock pot recipes that anyone can make.

7 easy crock pot recipes

7 Easy Crock Pot Recipes

Chicken and Dumplings

7 Easy Crock Pot Recipes

Corned Beef & Cabbage

7 Easy Crock Pot Recipes

Crockpot Lasagna

7 Easy Crock Pot Recipes

Seafood Chowder

7 Easy Crock Pot Recipes

beef stew

7 Easy Crock Pot Recipes

Mom’s Chicken Stew

7 Easy Crock Pot Recipes

 Clam Chowder

We love crockpot meals. Occasionally, we can muster up a gourmet meal or two but 90% of the time, our meals are quick and simple. Are you loving easy crock pot meals as much as we are? We tend to over use the crock pot in the fall and winter and then store it away during the spring and summer. Once grilling season starts, we are all about being outside and enjoying a burger or steak on the grill. Isn’t it funny of seasons change our food and dinner habits?

How to hang a mirror with painters tape

How many times do you buy something, get it home, and then realize…..how am I going to hang this? My dad would have a complete geometry problem on paper on how to hang the mirror and get the exact measurement. Me….not so much. I use painters tape. I know, sounds silly but if you tried our “how to hang shelves with painters tape” method that we shared last year, you know it works.

how to hang a mirror with painters tape

Here is the blank wall above the fireplace.

how to hang a mirror with painters tape

Here is the mirror. I bought this mirror at Horchow after Christmas when it was on sale and I love it!

how to hang a mirror with painters tape

Take blue painters tape an run it across the back covering the hanger hooks on either side of the mirror.

how to hang a mirror with painters tape

Use a black marker and mark where the hanger hole is on the tape. Take the tape off and stick to the wall at the height you want the mirror to hang.

how to hang a mirror with painters tape

Use a level to ensure your tape is straight. If not, peel the tape off and adjust until it is level. I just noticed that the old hook from the previous picture is still there in the my photo! ha

how to hang a mirror with painters tape

Tap a nail hole where the black marker spot is.

how to hang a mirror with painters tape

Peel off the tape and add your hooks to hang your mirror.

how to hang a mirror with painters tape That’s it!

How to hang a mirror with painters tape

Once my hooks were up, I used a larger level to ensure that the two hooks were straight (level). See that dad, my painters tape method works just as well. ;)

 

 

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