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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

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.

Happy Easter!

We are hosting Easter this morning for about 20 so it will be loud, fun and a day full of yummy food and celebration!

Happy Easter from our family to yours!

Enjoy the day ;)

 

Spring Cleaning + SteamMop Plus Giveaway

Spring cleaning. Ugh. We all do it and we all most likely dread it. I am sure there are varying degrees of obsessiveness when it comes to cleaning. I am towards the higher end of the spectrum. Something about Spring (probably the fact that we have been buried in snow for 3 months) makes us motivated to clean every part of the house. There is nothing better than having clean windows and the fresh air of spring flowing through your home. We recently partnered with HomeRight to share their new SteamMachine Plus. We have had many steam mops in the past, whether they be ones we purchased or reviewed, and this one by far, excites me the most. Keep reading, you can win one of your own!

Spring Cleaning tips + SteamMachine Plus Giveaway / kills 99% of germs/ Chemical Free Cleaning + incredible steam heat

It is super easy to assemble and comes with a variety of cleaning attachments. You can clean/steam floors, tile, grout, your mattress, fabric, furniture (only certain fabrics), drapery and more. It’s insane what this thing does! The triangle head allows you to get in corners and still have the ability to steam. I love that! I also love the fact that it’s chemical-free.

Spring Cleaning tips + SteamMachine Plus Giveaway / kills 99% of germs/ Chemical Free Cleaning + incredible steam heat

You only add water to the reservoir and that is a huge benefit when you have dogs that like to lick the floor.

Spring Cleaning tips + SteamMachine Plus Giveaway / kills 99% of germs/ Chemical Free Cleaning + incredible steam heat

Living with four generations under one roof plus two dogs,  our floors are constantly disgusting. Whether it be drool, paw prints, muddy kids shoes or my dads gross work boots, our floors take a beating. Of course we mop and clean them regularly but the ability to steam mop them with a high level of heat on occasion is amazing. The SteamMachine Plus heats up to 205 degree F steam and kills 99.9 percent of germs and bacteria including e-coli, salmonella, and staph. It also has a run time of 20 minutes. One of the best advantages of the machine over competitors is that it heats up in under 30 seconds. I don’t have a lot of time so this feature is perfect.

Spring Cleaning tips + SteamMachine Plus Giveaway / kills 99% of germs/ Chemical Free Cleaning + incredible steam heatOnce the windows are cleaned each spring, we always wash or dry clean the drapery. Of course, drapery never looks great once it’s been washed so steaming or ironing is necessary. This machine steams drapery in seconds. The power of the steamer on this machine is like none other. We also have drapery in our dining room that doesn’t wash well so I tried steam cleaning it with this machine and the dust vanished. I was pleased to save that drying bill! ha

Spring Cleaning tips + SteamMachine Plus Giveaway / kills 99% of germs/ Chemical Free Cleaning + incredible steam heat

Many of you know we have a white sectional in our family room. I know, it’s a daring move when you have kids and two dogs but I refuse to live without something I love because of kids or dogs. Things can be cleaned and I am fine with that. I love our family room and it’s the most lived in room in our house, besides the kitchen. The dogs are constantly rubbing up against the couch and parts of it, especially along the skirt area where they lay, has turned brown. The covers are washable so I decided to give the SteamMachine Plus a try in an effort to remove the dog stains on the couch.

Spring Cleaning tips + SteamMachine Plus Giveaway / kills 99% of germs/ Chemical Free Cleaning + incredible steam heat

I used one of the scrubbers as well as the drapery steam attachment. The scrubber worked great for the piping and gross dried up drool marks.

Spring Cleaning tips + SteamMachine Plus Giveaway -5

Spring Cleaning tips + SteamMachine Plus Giveaway -6

*TIP: try a small portion of the fabric (a part that isn’t seen) first to ensure the heat level of the steam doesn’t destroy or discolor the fabric*

Can I just tell you, this machine removed most of the stains. This is HUGE for us because washing the covers on the couch is a lengthy process and to have the ability to quickly remove stains is a benefit that I love! Everyone loves the chaise portion of the couch so I decided to try steaming the entire chaise in order to freshen it up and remove any dust/dirt that was on the surface. It worked like a charm! I am thrilled with this machine and can’t thank HomeRight enough for sending us one. It definitely makes Spring cleaning a little more fun ;).

Are you ready to win your own SteamMachine Plus by HomeRight?

Enter below via the Rafflecopter widget.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Winner will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be drawn*

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by HomeRight and I was provided a complimentary machine as well as compensation. However, all opinions and words are 100% my own. This machine is a rockstar! ;).

Quick & Easy Cake Batter Treats

Can you believe that Easter is right around the corner? We usually have a family breakfast that my mom and I prepare and of course, it’s full of treats too! Cleaning and cooking is sometimes a daunting task and we are always looking for ways to speed up the process. Not only do we love quick and easy recipes but we love quick cleaning tips too. Easy-Off offered us to try their Easy-Off oven cleaner and I was pleasantly surprised with how fast it cleaned. Spray and wipe. That’s right up my alley. I mean, who has time to spend hours cleaning their oven? Not me! I would much rather be baking something fun for the kids to eat. Cake batter treats are one of the kids favorites although, I think my grandfather might enjoy them just as much. He is the biggest kid of all!

Quck & Easy cake batter treats

For me, I love when my house is clean and tidy and the same goes for the oven. Food always tastes better when baked in a clean oven ;). I tried out the Easy-Off heavy duty spray and in under 5 minutes, the grease splatter was gone and our oven was ready to go.

Quck & Easy cake batter treats

 How to make easy cake batter treats!

Easter Cake Batter Treats

Ingredients

  • 1 box vanilla/yellow cake mix (don't make the cake according to directions on box)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsb vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sprinkles (pastel for Easter)

Instructions

  • Mix first 5 ingredients
  • Stir in chips and sprinkles
  • Spray 11x17 pan
  • Spread mixture and add more sprinkles on top if desired
  • Bake 20-25 minutes or until center is done (when knife or toothpick is removed clean)
  • Cool 30-40 minutes
  • Once cool, refrigerate for an hour or two. They are delicious served cold!

Don’t they look yummy?

Quick Cake Batter Treats {perfect for Easter}

Once I cleaned our oven in the main kitchen, my grandmother said, “Jess, I know of another oven that needs to be cleaned!” haha Gram. Is your oven gross and nasty? Try Easy-Off! It works great and best of all, it doesn’t require much effort on your part. Cake batter treats are quick, easy and perfect for Easter or any holiday for that matter. Just change up the sprinkle colors that are relevant to the holiday.

 

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

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