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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

How to make Tacos {flat bottom shells}

Today I wanted to share how my mom and I make tacos. It’s not really that hard but there are a few tricks to make taco night fun and yummy! We are not that crafty where we make our own corn shells. We prefer quick and easy dinners. My mom was so excited when I told her we were partnering with Ortega to try out their new Fiesta Flats. Did you know that they now have flat bottom taco shells? They are so cool!

How to make tacos / flat bottom taco shells

This is such a fun meal for kids too. They absolutely love making their own taco and adding the fixings.

How to make Tacos {flat bottom shells}

Ingredients

  • 1 box of 12 / Ortega Fiesta Flats (taco shells)
  • 1 packet of Ortega taco seasoning (I prefer mild)
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Shredded cheese (I prefer Mexican but any cheddar/mozzarella mix will work)
  • Scallions
  • Sour Cream (optional)

Instructions

  • Brown beef in skillet and add taco seasoning (follow directions on taco seasoning packet)
  • Dice lettuce, tomatos and scallions
  • Brown taco shells 2-3 minutes in over (follow directions of taco shell box)
  • Create a platter filled with fixings and let everyone make their own tacos!

how to make tacos/flat bottom taco shells

Brown ground beef and add taco seasoning. Dice up lettuce, tomatoes and scallions.

how to make tacos / flat bottom taco shells

I love how the shell is flat on the bottom. They look like cute little boats ;).

how to make tacos/flat bottom taco shells

Creating a buffet style taco bar is also easy on my mom, especially when we are all eating together. Four generations living under one roof makes for a very large gathering and buffet style works great for us. Especially if it’s a busy night and everyone has places to be at different times.

how to make tacos/flat bottom taco shells

Sour cream is a must for when have having tacos. The more the better!

how to make tacos/flat bottom taco shells

Whether you are getting ready to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, movie night or a kids playdate, these new Fiesta Flats are fabulous! The fact that the sides are higher and the bottoms are flat, you can layer on your fixings and not worry about everything falling out. They are also super easy to eat.  My grandfather loves that everything stays “put” once he bites in ;). No mess! ha.

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

Grandparents + stubborn + 911 again

You know something, it’s a crazy thing sometimes living with the elderly. I often wonder if I will end up as stubborn and one sided about help as my grandparents. My grandmother fell yesterday and was on the floor for 2 hours and nobody knew. The sad thing, I was home and had no idea. I was in and out of the house and never heard her yelling. My grandfather returned home from doing errands and is the one who found her. Of course, I called 911 for the 2nd time this year and fortunately, she didn’t have to go to the hospital again. The paramedics helped her up and checked her out and thank goodness, she didn’t break anything. Here we are a few weeks ago at my cousins wedding…..that is my brother in the background ;).

grandparents + stubborn + 911

BUT there comes a time when you have to say to yourself, enough is enough. They don’t get to choose anymore. I mean seriously, had she been wearing a Lifeline monitor or some sort of medical alert system, she could have simply pressed a button and we would have been alerted along with the ambulance service. Up until yesterday, they had the choice about whether or not to have it. I am in the process of researching medical alert systems and which one is the best for their needs. They are not happy that I am insisting along with my dad that they wear one. Hopefully they will change their attitude. It’s not really a choice anymore as my dad told them, it’s mandatory. What is so difficult about wearing a necklace or a watch with an alert button? I don’t get it but maybe someday when I am in my 80’s, I will understand. I don’t know about you but laying on the floor hurt for 2 hours vs. 5 minutes with a medical alert button, well, I think we all know which option makes the most sense. Do any of you have any experience with Lifeline or any other medical alert system?

 

 

How to decorate a red bookcase for Spring

Are you changing things up a bit in your home now that the warmer weather is here? Spring is such a welcoming season for us here in the Northeast. Our winters are horrible and 50 degrees can feel like heaven after a long winter. One of the things my mom and I love to do in the spring, is change around furniture and create fun springy vignettes. We had the pleasure of receiving the beautiful complimentary bookcase a couple months ago from Sauder and today, we wanted to how to decorate a red bookcase for spring.

how to decorate a red bookcase for spring

Isn’t it cute? It fits perfectly in our family room next to the back door. It’s got swing doors that open allowing for storage inside.

Decorating a red bookcase - Four Generations One Roof-2

The red bookcase adds a pop of color to the room and looks great against the white wide pine planks.

Decorating a red bookcase - Four Generations One Roof-3

I prefer to use baskets whenever I can. Not only do they keep things organized and from falling over, they are pretty!

Decorating a red bookcase - Four Generations One Roof-4

Our family room is rather large so by adding a lamp and chair alongside the bookcase, this creates a reading area as well.

Decorating a red bookcase - Four Generations One Roof-5

 

Sauder has some fabulous furniture pieces and I was pleasantly surprised at how easy this bookcase was to put together. Often times when your order furniture that you need to assemble, it turns out to be a nightmare. This was so easy and it looks great! Be sure to checkout the Sauder lookbook where other bloggers are sharing their decorated furniture pieces as well. Find more inspiration on Sauder’s facebook, twitter and pinterest page.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Sauder. The opinions and text are all mine. I was compensated for this post.

Roasting hot dogs in the snow {campsite winter vs summer}

Didn’t you know you could go camping in the snow? Just kidding. We took a ride a couple weeks ago to our campsite where our camper lived through the winter to check things out. Needless to say, there was still a substantial amount of snow on the ground and covering the lake. We were pleasantly surprised to find our neighbors there roasting hot dogs and marshmallows over a fire. Last year was our first year camping and we are looking forward to our second.

our campsite in the snow {before & after winter-summer}

This was a couple weeks ago. We are hoping that this weekend when we return, the snow is gone!

our campsite in the snow {before & after winter-summer}

Isn’t it amazing how seasons change? Here is the same view from last summer.

our campsite in the snow {before & after winter-summer}

We seriously can’t wait to get back here. Early morning sunrises on the water with a cup of coffee. It’s pretty sweet ;).

our campsite in the snow {before & after winter-summer}

This was a first for me, roasting marshmallows and hot dogs in the snow. Our neighbors are veterans. They know how to camp! ha

our campsite in the snow {before & after winter-summer}-3

Most of the snow is gone at our house except for a couple random mounds. Fingers crossed the campsite is snow free! Looking forward to roasting hot dogs and marshmallows in the sun and 80 degree weather. Looking for more camping projects and fun, check out our deck over the lake overhaul, building a deck along the camper, staining the deck in the muck of the lake and decorating our dock.

 

 

Buffalo Chicken stuffed Crescent Roll

Last Thursday night was girls night at our house and I decided to try one of the Pillsbury crescent roll recipes. Growing up I had a group of girls all through elementary and  high school that were my best buddies and we still are. Every month, we get together for wine and dinner and catch up. We recently pulled out our high school year book and had a good laugh. We graduated in 1990 so needless to say, we all had huge hair. Gosh, 1990 seems so long ago!

Easy Buffalo Chicken Crescent Roll

Buffalo Chicken stuffed Crescent Roll

Ingredients

  • 1 rotisserie chicken (I purchased buffalo flavor but traditional will work) or bake your own chicken.
  • 1 8 oz package cream cheese (softened)
  • 1/4 cup red pepper sauce (optional) use a milder sauce if you don't want spicy
  • 2 cans refrigerated Pillsbury crescent dough sheets (or dinner rolls)
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
  • 1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • blue cheese dressing (serve in middle as dipping sauce)
  • *if using dinner rolls, lay rolls around cookie sheet creating a ring/circle and fill individual rolls with chicken mixture.

Instructions

  • In small bowl, mix cream cheese and hot sauce until smooth. Mix in chicken and shredded cheese just until combined.
  • Spread dough out on cookie sheet and slice in half , creating 5 or 6 slices
  • Fill center of dough(length wise) with chicken mixture and sprinkle blue cheese on top
  • Close up crescents by wrapping and twisting like a pretzel
  • Create a circle of chicken filled crescents around sheet
  • Bake 375 18-25 minutes or until dough is golden brown
  • Serve with blue cheese dressing
  • Carrot sticks and celery {optional}

You have to try this appetizer, it’s delicious and so easy!

Easy buffalo chicken wrapped crescent ring

I ended up using crescent “dough” vs dinner rolls because I already had the dough on hand. Next time, I would like to try using the rolls as shown below from Pillsbury.

Easy crescent roll buffalo chicken ring cresent dinner rolls filled with buffalo chicken

Absolutely one of the easiest yummiest creations ever.

Buffalo Chicken stuffed Crescent Rolls-1-2

We are definitely add this recipe from Pillsbury to our favorites list. It’s perfect as an appetizer or even served as a sandwich option for brunch. Check out our kitchen for more fabulous family favorites.

Yard Work Made Easy! Get the weed wacker out!

I don’t know about you but yard work is kind of a bummer. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I (we) love a beautiful yard but getting it that way can be painful. We are always looking for ways to simplify the process and we were recently asked to try #TruPros, which is a is precision-engineered premixed fuel with synthetic lubricants and advanced stabilizers that are specially made for your 2-cycle and 4-cycle outdoor power equipment. In my world, that means no more mixing gas and oil for our weed wacker! Hello, that is fabulous! I never get the mixture right and my dad claims I add to much oil. Well, this stuff is so simple to use, it’s almost a no brainer to not try it.

Yard cleanup made easy. Love this premixed high octane gas and oil mixture

How many times have been motivated to do a yard project but have no gas in your equipment? OR you have gas but you don’t have the gas/oil mixture for certain power equipment? That would be me …..all the time.

Yard cleanup made easy. Love this premixed high octane gas and oil mixtureThis high-octane ethanol-free fuel protects your investment, saves you time, and helps your equipment run the way you need it to. I mean, it’s premixed (I can’t mess that up!!). There is no need to bother with the measuring and mixing of fuel and oil. Did I say how much I love that fact?

Yard cleanup made easy. Love this premixed high octane gas and oil mixture

Not to complain or anything but going to the gas station with my little o’l red gas can is a pain in the butt. Even my mom could handle doing this ;). She doesn’t go to the gas station….ever. So she would love this!

Yard cleanup made easy. Love this premixed high octane gas and oil mixture

TRUFUEL® has a shelf life of 5 years and will not separate and damage your equipment during off seasons. It also stays fresh for 2 years once opened.

TIP: we did empty our old gas/oil from the weed wacker before adding Trufuel. I figured it would be best to start clean. I am not sure if that is necessary but that is what we did. 

Not convinced this stuff is cool, check out this video 

Yard cleanup made easy. Love this premixed high octane gas and oil mixture

The snow is finally gone here in Massachusetts and we have been busy weed wacking, cleaning out the flower beds and getting ready for new mulch. The beautiful thing about Trufuel is it can be used for a variety of power equipment. For example, if you have a 2 or 4 cycle leaf Blower, chainsaw, power washer or Hedge Trimmer, Trufuel will work! I purchased mine at my local hardware department in the section with all the lawn power tools. Why not make yard work a little easier and have a bottle on hand? Be sure to Follow TRUFUEL on Twitter! and Follow TRUFUEL on Facebook! . 

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

Visit Sponsors Site

My grandfather and his tiny pickup truck

My grandfather is a character. He is doing well but as time goes by, he is getting more and more forgetful……..and slower. He started going to work again in the morning with my dad about a week ago but he has agreed to cut back to 3 or 4 days at the most. He still insists on sweeping the floors. He still has his license and loves his tiny pickup truck. It’s over 13 years old and only has 30,000 miles on it. This is his parking spot below and if someone visits and parks in his spot by accident, he flips out. I remember last summer, someone was visiting my mom and they parked in his spot and when he pulled in the driveway, he just honked his horn over and over for about 5 minutes. Needless to say, my mother went outside and gave him a piece of her mind. That was funny!

my grandfather and his tiny pickup truck

It’s absolutely filthy inside but he doesn’t care. I move his truck often as we tend to  shuffle cars around in the driveway and last time I moved it, I found a random gas cap cover, 100 or so screws and random lolly pop sticks. I asked him what the gas cap was for and he said, “well, you never know when you might need one.” He grew up during the depression and he keeps everything. I mean, everything.

gramp old picture riding old bike

My grandparents have seen so many changes in the last 80+ years. I mean, his tiny pickup truck compared to his bike above when he was 20 years old is quite amazing if you think about it.

my grandfather and his tiny pickup truck

He is still pretty excited to hang out with my dad on the weekends when we are building things and he loves to still put his two cents in. In his mind, he is still the boss. I guess in a way, he is! ;) Be sure to check out our workplace and see where he sweeps. As far as he is concerned, he has the most important job.

Home Improvements made easy with LightStream

As many of you know, we are big on home renovations, DIY projects and anything that will improve the value of our home. Of course, many of our renovations have been to increase the space or enhance existing space to accommodate the nine people in our family. If you are new here, yes, we have four generations living under one roof. Lets face it, we all have a bucket list of items we want done around our home but having enough money to complete the project might be what stops us. We are very selective with which sponsors we work with. They must be relevant to our family or projects we have going on around our home. We were recently contacted by LightStream, an online lending division of SunTrust Bank. Did you know that they have a home improvement loan option? I didn’t and I must say, their options and process seem fairly simple.

LightStream believes that people who have responsibly managed their finances over the years, deserve to have their good credit rewarded with a better loan experience. I remember as a kid, my parents always drilling in my head, you have to pay your bills on time and more importantly, you need to build good credit.

Here are a few take-aways that I found impressive about LightStream:

  • Since March 2013, LightStream has provided unsecured (no collateral!), fixed rate loans for virtually any purpose to people who have good credit.Whether it be autos, adoptions, home improvements, preK-12 tuition, family travel or medical expenses, LightStream delivers loans up to $100,000, with NO FEES—period. Those are just a few of their options. Kind of nice right?
  • Getting a LightStream loan is an entirely online process, with an application that takes just minutes to complete. The best part, you may get an answer that day! See here for more same day details.
  • Funds are deposited directly into the borrower’s bank account, often as soon as the same day of application.

The benefit of everything being automated, allows them to offer low rates while still offering great customer service. Even though they are an online lender, they still have a customer service team that is available during business hours to quickly answer phone calls and emails. I don’t know about you, but I like speaking to a human when I need help! Read more about their guarantee of your best loan experience here.


A February 2015 survey from SunTrust shows that 57% of homeowners plan to take on a home improvement project this year. I don’t know about you but we plan on doing a kitchen renovation that will include new cabinets, counter and flooring along with possibly enclosing our deck to create an office for me! Yay! We would loose this pretty space below but I am in desperate need of a home office. We would need everything from windows, sheetrock, doors and more. This is a big job and will cost a few bucks.

summer covered porch makeover-4

The good news is, from March through May 2015, LightStream is offering a special home improvement loan, with rates as low as 3.99% APR with AutoPay for customers with excellent credit. Read more about the special here. I don’t know about you but a low rate sounds great! What are your home improvement dreams? Do you have a wish list of projects that you thought were unobtainable because of money? Home improvements are one of the best ways to add value to your home, not to mention, make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside ;).

Visit http://www.LightStream.com/2015HomeReno for additional details, rates, terms and disclosures.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of LightStream, a division of SunTrust Bank. Opinions and text are all mine.

Strawberry Smoothie + honeydew

Looking for a healthy smoothie to start your day off? Try this strawberry smoothie with honeydew, almond milk and plain greet yogurt. My grandfather wasn’t a fan because it wasn’t sweet enough. I told him sweet equals not healthy. His response, “I am 85 years old, I eat and drink what I want and I like sweet!”

Strawberry smoothie + honeydew/ greek yogurt + almond milk

I prefer the unsweetened almond milk but the sweetened version definitely adds a bit more flavor. Although, it’s higher in calories and sugar. I have found for me, the higher sugar content seems to be what bothers my stomach. Sugar content is usually comprised of high fructose or some other sweetener. High fructose is considered high fodmap so the fructose is likely the culprit.

Strawberry + Honeydew Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups almond/coconut milk {lactose free/unsweetened} I prefer Almond Breeze brand
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1 cup strawberries (cut up) about 6
  • 1/2 cup diced honeydew
  • 3 ice cubes
  • makes 16 ounce cup

Instructions

  • Blend all ingredients together in blender and serve.

It’s amazing how much better my stomach is now that I have limited high FODMAP foods in my diet. Be sure to check out our kitchen for more fun smoothie recipes, dinners and snacks. Stay tuned, we are ripping up carpet and starting

Banana Smoothie + Pineapple + Spinach {Fodmap friendly}

There is nothing better than a green banana smoothie in the morning. I didn’t use to feel that way though. Drinking spinach was never a plan of mine until I started a low fodmap diet. I started sharing my stomach issues a few weeks back and have decided to share my drinks and food concoctions along the way. This is one of my favorites! While banana is considered a low fodmap fruit, too much of it constipates me so I have to be careful how many bananas I eat. I am sure you are glad to know about my constipation issues. haha . My husband called me the other day from work after he read my post about “poop” (he never reads my blog so I was shocked when he called about it) and said, “have you lost your mind talking about poop on your blog!?” I asked him why all of a sudden he is reading my posts and he said, “well, the title read – lets talk about poop….so I was curious.” Geesh, that’s what I have to share to get him interested ;).

banana smoothie + pineapple + spinach {fodmaps friendly}

Ingredients to mix in blender:

2 cups unsweetened almond/coconut lactose free milk (or water)

3 ice cubes

1 banana

1/2 cup pineapple

1/2 cup plain greek yogurt

1/2 cup chopped fresh spinach (I usually grab a small handful)

*This makes enough to fill my 20 ounce sip & go cup 

Banana pineapple Spinach smoothie {foodgawker}-1

I have never been good at getting my daily dose of fruits and vegetables and I must say, this idea of blending them together 1x a day is perfect for me. I try to mix them up though, sometimes I use water and other times I use the lactose free almond/coconut milk *unsweetened*. Water supposedly digests easier but I didn’t feel a difference when I used the milk. It’s gets a little boring using just water. Looking for other Fodmap friendly recipes, be sure to check out our kitchen page.

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