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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

Summer Pizza on the Patio

I am having a bit of an anxiety attack. It’s almost July! What the heck is going on? It seems like just yesterday I was wishing for the snow to go away here in Massachusetts and dreaming of the warm summer weather. Now that warm weather is here, I feel like it’s going by too fast. Part of our summer enjoyment consists of BBQ’s and social gatherings outdoors. Keeping our refrigerator and freezer stocked with quick meals is the key to our enjoyment, especially when it involves kids. The last couple months I have shared our love of Ellio’s Pizza and how we incorporate it in our daily lives. Whether it be a movie night or pizza party, Ellio’s is staple in our freezer. It’s a quick and convenient meal that everyone loves.

summer pizza on the patio

We are stocking up our freezer this summer with our Ellio’s favorites (5 cheese is my favorite). Not only can I make these in a snap, my husband and kids can too! In just a quick couple minutes, Ellio’s is done via the toaster oven. It’s doesn’t get much easy than that.

summer pizza on the patio-12

Many of our meals are spent on our patio near the pool. Personally, I love a cold glass of ice tea with my pizza where the kids prefer lemonade.  Summer entertaining for us, usually means using paper plates when possible. NO washing necessary.  We always have a basket full of paper plates, napkins and utensils ready to go. We are all about quick and easy when it comes to meals and entertaining.

Ellios near the pool-12

One of the best things about Ellio’s pizza is that tastes good and is made with 100% real cheese with no artificial flavors. Not bad in my book. Try Ellio’s pizza for your next outdoor summer BBQ, playdate or social gathering. It can be served a variety of ways. Try cutting it up in squares as an appetizer or serve full pieces on a platter with fresh mozzarella (or cheese of your choice) and whole baby tomatoes. As I mentioned in my previous posts, Ellio’s has been around for decades. In fact, I grew up eating it as a kid. Looking for more information on Ellio’s Products or where to buy then? Check out their Ellio’s Pizza Store LocatorFacebookTumblr and Twitter page.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Ellio’s Pizza. All opinions are 100% mine.

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My grandfather is wearing his socks around his wrist! {DIY wristband}

My grandfather makes me laugh. He is constantly walking around the house looking for one thing or another. Yesterday, he was outside walking around his truck looking for a bag of potatoes. I couldn’t help but laugh because I knew they were probably still at Walmart (he loves Walmart) in the checkout line.

Anyway, as he was getting out of the car, I noticed a funny looking thing on his arm.

The man cut his sock in pieces and put it under his watch so it wouldn’t rub on his wrist. My grandmother is mortified that he wears that around in public.

They make me laugh!!!

Grandfather's DIY Wristband

I said, “what the heck are you doing with your sock on your wrist?

He said, “it keeps my watch from rubbing my skin raw!”

Now tell me, isn’t that the best DIY solution you have seen in a while?

Quick, no cost and functional.

That’s my grandfather for ya!

 

Organizing tips: How to organize your jewelry in under 10 minutes!

Hey messy jewelry, you are not wanted anymore! Do you ever feel like your jewelry is all over the place? Tangled and spread out all over a drawer or piled up on top of each other in jewelry box? Or better yet, somewhere in your house that you forgot where you put it? I remember as a kid, my  mom always had this really large jewelry box on her bureau that opened up and a little wind up ballerina spun around to music. All of her jewelry was nicely hung or pushed inside those little velvet holders. I don’t know what they are called but they kept things in place and it always looked so pretty. Today, I am here to share organizing tips for your jewelry  as part of Laura’s 10 minute idea series over at Finding Home.

How to organize your jewelry in under 10 minutes

I don’t have a cute jewelry box with a singing ballerina but I do have this adorable tiny dish from my great grandmother.

How to organize your jewelry in under 10 minutes

Over the years, I have accumulated some fun jewelry but I tend to wear the same pieces over and over. Mostly fun costume stuff.

How to organize your jewelry in under 10 minutes

I always end up tossing it wherever I take it off. The kitchen counter, the family room coffee table or my night table. I decided this cute heirloom would be perfect for keeping jewelry safe on my night table.

How to organize your jewelry in under 10 minutes

 

There are so many DIY jewelry organization ideas out there. One particular idea that I love is using a small tiered stand. I wish I had one of those little guys! How about you, how do you keep your everyday jewelry organized? Be sure to check out these other fabulous 10 minute organization ideas over at Finding Home, Thistlewood FarmInspired by Charm, Julie Blanner and Dream Green DIY.

Grab and Go Summer dining essentials

My mom had a great idea the other day. She created a basket filled with summer dining essentials for our outdoor dinners. We use paper plates, cups and utensils when we can during the summer because, what’s the point of washing dishes right? We created a grab and go basket full of everything we use on a daily basis.

Create a grab and go basket full of summer dining essentials

By having everything is a basket with handles, you will save time fishing through drawers and cupboards looking for stuff before dinner. My favorite storage solution is the container with all the utensils. It’s a simple silver bucket from the dollar store. I love that!

Create a grab and go basket full of summer dining essentials

The great thing about this basket is it’s pretty too! It looks great on the counter top or outside under the porch. We love simple ideas to make our dinners go smoothly. How about you, do you have a way to keep your summer dining essentials organized?

Delicious Breakfast Casserole {sausage + potatoes + cheese}

First, let me say happy Father’s Day to all the dad’s out there! We hope you enjoy your special day :). Today we have a fun breakfast casserole to share with you . Breakfast is one of our favorite meals. We eat breakfast sometimes for lunch or dinner! My dad cooks a full breakfast every weekend and waking to the smell of it is simply, the best. I cannot remember a Sunday morning where I didn’t wake up smelling bacon or fresh toast. A couple weekends ago, my mom and I made a delicious breakfast casserole that I swear, I could eat every single day. It’s so easy to make and feeds a ton of people.

Delicious breakfast Casserole with eggs, potatoes, sausage and cheese. Perfect for large crowds!

 

It’s become a tradition in our home since we moved in almost eight years ago and my grandfather, dad and my son enjoy it the most ;).

Delicious Breakfast Casserole {sausage + hashbrowns}

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Ingredients
  • 1 large bag frozen hash browns (about 8 cups)
  • 10 - 15 frozen sausage links
  • 8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (1 large bag)
  • 12 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • cooking spray or butter (to grease bottom of pan)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Add the frozen potatoes (or hashbrowns), sausage, and cheese to a large bowl and mix together. Pour the mixture into a 9 x 13 baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray or coated with butter. I used mini casserole dishes in addition to the large pan.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk, salt, and pepper
  4. Pour the egg mixture over the hash brown mixture and pat down.
  5. Bake for one hour.
  6. *the middle should be firm and the edges golden brown when done

Quick breakfast casserole with sausage egg cheese
Doesn’t it look yummy?
Quick breakfast casserole with sausage egg cheese
You can also add broccoli as well if you prefer a veggie in your casserole. Ham is also a great substitute for the sausage too. Try out this quick and easy breakfast casserole this weekend, you won’t be sorry!

Surprise mini-deck makeover for my gram {starts today – before}

My grandparents have a cute little deck that overlooks our backyard and I must say, it’s kind of dismal :(. My grandparents are both in their mid-80’s and neither one of them can get around very easily. Growing up as a kid, my gram took care of their yard and it was amazing. She was constantly mowing the lawn, planting flowers (phlox are her favorite) and pulling weeds. They had such a pretty yard! The last few years I have planted her window boxes for her as she can’t do it herself but this year, I decided to give their deck a mini-makeover.

Surprise deck makeover for my gram {starts today - before}

Their table is an old rod iron one that I had years ago at one of my previous homes. They are extremely frugal and would NEVER spend money on an outdoor table. I plan on spray painting it and adding an umbrella.

Surprise deck makeover for my gram {starts today - before}

My grandfather made this little stool over 20 years ago and is insisting we keep it. No problem gramps, a little sandpaper and paint will me this little guy shine again.

Surprise deck makeover for my gram {starts today - before}

The deck needs to be stained again as it’s peeling and looking a bit sad. The winter absolutely destroyed our decks and patio so thankfully, Sherwin-Williams is donating the paint to make these guys look new again. Thank you Sherwin-Williams!

Surprise deck makeover for my gram {starts today - before}

 

Stay tuned. The deck is being stained in the next couple days and some new fun items are on the way to spruce up this space. This is the perfect time of year to update and get started on a mini deck makeover. I don’t anticipate this taking longer than a weekend so I am thrilled that they will have the remainder of the summer to enjoy it. My grandfather could careless what the deck looks like, but my gram loves flowers and a pretty place to sit. I am sure my gramp will secretly love it too :).

DIY Herb Planter {cobalt blue + tea}

Who loves fresh herbs in their ice tea? We do! Our two favorite tea herbs are lemon balm and spearmint. A couple weeks ago, I picked up a lemon balm and spearmint plant at Home Depot, brought them home and realized I didn’t have small enough planters to plant them in. I searched my mom’s left over containers as well as my gramps workshop (shhhh….don’t tell him I was poking around in there, he will flip!) and found nothing. I ended up finding two planters in a clearance aisle that were perfect for my tea herbs but I wasn’t impressed with the color so I spray painted them with a can of cobalt blue spray paint.

DIY Blue Herb Planter {tea herbs} How to spray paint a planter and create a fun planter full of lemon balm and Spearmint.

Step 1 – spray paint your planter (or use one you already love).

DIY Blue Herb Planter {tea herbs} How to spray paint a planter and create a fun planter full of lemon balm and Spearmint.

DIY blue herb planter-13

Next, fill almost half full with soil. I used Miracle Grow soil.

DIY blue herb planter-14

Next, place your plant inside and fill around the plant with soil gently pressing plant into the soil.

DIY Blue Herb Planter {tea herbs} How to spray paint a planter and create a fun planter full of lemon balm and Spearmint.

Next, I used sticky back chalkboard labels that I had picked up from Michaels Crafts last year. Instead of using chalk, I used my favorite chalk marker. I LOVE this thing and it washes off with water. You must try one of these markers if you are a chalk lover.

DIY Blue Herb Planter {tea herbs} How to spray paint a planter and create a fun planter full of lemon balm and Spearmint.

I wrote spearmint and lemon balm and each and that’s it!

DIY blue herb planter-12

This quick and easy DIY herb planter literally took under one hour and that’s because I had to wait for the planter to dry after spray painting.

DIY Blue Herb Planter {tea herbs} How to spray paint a planter and create a fun planter full of lemon balm and Spearmint.

Don’t you want a fresh cold glass of ice tea now with spearmint or lemon balm?

DIY Blue Herb Planter {tea herbs} How to spray paint a planter and create a fun planter full of lemon balm and Spearmint.

 

Lemon balm or spearmint compliments any glass of fresh brewed ice tea. Simply add a few pieces of either (wash first) to any glass and you will be amazed at the delicious taste of your tea. It also looks pretty floating in a mason jar filled with ice tea. What better way to serve yourself or your guests. A fun ice tea stand or buffet featuring your DIY planter filled with fresh herbs. I think these guys are keepers!

Did you know? Be a Learning Hero Website!

From time to time, we may share stuff here on our blog that has nothing to do with DIY, home decorating, family recipes or our insane living arrangement but does provide valuable information. As a parent and a mom, this topic is important to me. I was contacted a couple months ago about spreading awareness on the Common Core and the Being a Learning Hero website. Many of you might be thinking, “what the heck is Common Core?” Don’t worry, I thought the same thing when I first heard the term. In Massachusetts, the state has Common Core State Standards with regard to teaching. The Be A Learning Hero is a website for parents that provides straight answers and helpful resources on the Common Core State Standards – which are now being used in more than 40 states – and Common Core-aligned assessments like PARCC and Smarter Balanced. The tools, tips and resources on Be A Learning Hero help parents understand the new standards and assessments and support their children’s education at home.

bealearning hero logo

Four Generations One Roof / Common Core standards Massachusetts

This little guy happens to be what makes my world go around. He is the most important little person on the planet to me and when it comes to school, teachers and that kind of stuff, you better believe I will do whatever necessary to be up to speed and knowledgeable about his education. There are so many aspects involved these days with education and state guidelines, that I find myself overwhelmed sometimes. I was hesitant to share this topic on our blog as the opinions vary so much on what is the right or wrong way to teach students. This post isn’t about that, it’s about having the correct answers. After I reviewed the website and read a bit more about this topic, I found myself understanding some of the items I had no clue about! ha.

Four Generations One Roof / Common Core Massachusetts

The Be a Learning Hero Website is made up of parents, educators, community leaders and members of the media who are dedicated to providing parents with the information and resources they need to support their children’s learning.

Watch this cool 2 minute video, this teacher sums it all up! I think this is a great video ;).

The partner organizations supporting Be A Learning Hero include: Common Sense Media, Council of Great City Schools, the National PTA, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC). The site has some great “grade by grade” learning tips, videos and practice exercises. The site has some valuable information to help you understand how math and english are taught now and assessed. Like I said earlier, whether you agree or disagree with these standards, it’s important to have a resource in addition to your kids teacher, to go to. I am a big believer in being fully involved with my son’s teacher as well as his daily/weekly assignments. If I don’t understand something on his homework or graded assessment, (it’s only going to get worse as he gets older because I am lucky I can add 2+2 haha) I am quick to send an email or schedule an appointment. If you are looking for more information on this topic, be sure to check out the Be A Learning Hero website, facebook and pinterest page.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Be a Learning Hero. The opinions and text are all mine.

Healthy Turkey Sandwich + Cheddar + Cucumber {low fodmap}

It’s been almost 8 weeks since I started my low FodMap diet and what a world of difference in my stomach. I have been on a turkey sandwich kick lately for lunch and wanted to share this quick and easy sandwich if you are trying to eat foods low in FodMaps and avoid a bloated painful stomach. For me, turkey is super boring and honestly, not very appetizing. Cheddar cheese and cucumber are among the foods that are considered low in FodMaps so I always add them to my sandwich.

Turkey Sandwich + Cheddar + Cucumber sandwich with gluten free bread {low fodmap lunch}

I have also cut out about 80% of gluten from my diet and the Udi’s Gluten Free breads are by far my favorite. I prefer the whole grain or the flax & fiber.

Instead of using mayo on my sandwich (it upsets my stomach) I use a teaspoon or two of Fage 100% greek yogurt. At first, I was like, this is going to be disgusting but it’s actually really good in place of mayo. Plain hummus is also a great alternative to mayo and much healthier. I prefer a premium brand gluten free oven roasted deli turkey breast, one that is low in salt. I add my sliced turkey, cucumber and a small amount of shredded cheddar to a piece of gluten free bread and toast for about 5 minutes. I then add the greek yogurt or hummus once it’s toasted and that’s it, a delicious healthy turkey sandwich that doesn’t make my stomach blow up ;). Check out more of our family recipes or low FodMap recipes on our kitchen page.

Best Playdate ever + giveaway + 25K makeover – enter now!

I wanted to share something fun with you that we were recently approached by Quaker Oats to share. Playdates can many times, get a overwhelming and honestly a little exhausting for the adults involved. Quaker® Chewy® Granola Bars asked if we would like to partner with them and share their “keep playing” series. Personally, I am thinking I need a “mom” version of “keep playing” for me and my girl friends but that’s for another day :).

Best Play Date Ever

I am sure many of you are familiar with Quaker and their yummy Chewy Bars.  They are perfect, hassle-free snacks that provide energy and fun for a great time.  Quaker sent us this really cool playdate kit filled with games including a Bocce Ball set, treats and a Gazillion Bubble Monsoon bubble machine . My son loves when he gets to be a part of fun blog stories!Best Play Date Ever

A quick and easy solution to serve snacks is to fill a tray with drinks in mason jars and fill a basket full of Quaker Chewy Granola Bars. Not only are they delicious, they contain 8 grams of whole grains in every bar and come in delectably fun flavors like Chocolate Chip, S’mores and Oatmeal Raisin. We actually buy boxes of these each week as my dad, husband and grandfather love them too as quick grab and go snacks. Quaker Chewy Granola Bars are one of my favorite snacks for kids and the best part, all kids love them.

Best Play Date Ever

One thing to note though, if you have kiddo’s at your playdate who have a nut allergy, please know that they Chewy bars may contain traces of peanuts and tree nuts. I remember as a kid having friends over and my mom always having fun little treats for us to eat. Many times I am scrambling around trying to do 10 things at once and preparing for a playdate can freak me out if I am pressed for time. That is why grabbing a box or two of these Chewy bars paired with a fun drink makes life a whole lot easier when it comes to having kids over to play.

Best Playdate Ever

Would you like to win your own “Keep Playing” playdate kit?

Enter below via rafflecopter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also, Quaker is giving away a $25,000 makeover to one lucky person in celebration of “Quaker Keep Playing!”  Head over to the www.ChewyKeepPlaying.com website and enter for a chance to win $25,000 to make over their family’s favorite play space. To enter, submit a photo of your family’s favorite play space and share how you would like to see that space made over and why. See www.ChewyKeepPlaying.com for official rules.

Disclosure: : Quaker is providing the prizes for this program at no cost to me. This program is not administered or sponsored by Quaker or its affiliates, but solely by Four Generations One Roof

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Quaker Oats. All opinions are 100% mine.

Good Luck!

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