Apr 25, 2014

Pretty Pantry Makeover

Finally! It is time to share my Pretty Pantry Makeover. Can you see me doing a little jig? You are missing out.

I have given quite a few sneak peeks of my pantry redo on Instagram over the last month or so (follow me @larissa_another day, you know you want to).

Now the time has come for the reveal. Eek. I love reveals.

Our pantry door is actually a glass door. It had a frosted window design that had the word Pantry on it, among other designs. I was not a fan since we moved it.

I got the notion to make it a chalkboard. I was a little worried about painting over the glass with chalkboard paint. However, I used Rustoleum Chalkboard paint and it covered like a dream. DREAM. I followed the waiting and curing time to the letter. Then I actually waited like another week just to make sure.

Once the door was seasoned, I sharpened my piece of chalk and did my best first-time-chalkboard-writing.

The door just gets you ready for the organizational glory within.

I also just want to state that I have kept the inside this organized and pretty for over a month.

With that being said, on to the reveal of the inside.

I organized the inside with baskets, jars, crates, tubs, and trays. Some I had, some I purchased.

I also have a shelf just for pretty things, like my cake plate, a few of my many white bowls, and these delightful little crystal dessert bowls that I got at Ikea.

These are baskets I have had for years. They are on the top and hold treats, cake decorating supplies, and snacks.

For the bottles of oil, vinegar, and boxes of partially eaten pasta I used these crates that I painted white.

I have a whole shelf dedicated to baking supplies. Tins for some things like vanilla, cocoa, and powdered sugar. Then jars for the things like sugar, flour, and oatmeal.

I also have my Breakfast Central tray setting on one shelf.

These new plastic buckets are my favorites. I found them at Target in the bathroom organization section. Yup you heard me, bathroom. They hole school lunch makings.

In order to have a place for jars and cans, I put a small crate in there.

One more shot of the jars, which can be found at The Mart and Target.

Just to end this little reveal here is another shot or two of my new chalkboard pantry door.

Apr 24, 2014

Make a Cake Mix Taste Homemade

I wish I were a skilled baker. I most especially wish I were a skilled cake baker. Now don't get me wrong, I have constructed some decent cakes in the past. When my two oldest were younger I went all out making their cakes. However, they were not especially spectacularly baked.

I could construct and decorate a cake decently, but the cake baking itself was just eh, so-so.

Fast forward several cakes, a few parties, and realizing that we always had left over cake, and I eventually just stuck with making cupcakes for birthday parties.

Occasionally though, I still want to make a small birthday cake.

Like for Little's Robot Birthday Party, for example.

I shared the Robot Birthday Party details yesterday. This party came together in under a week. Basically, I was WAY behind, and I wanted the making of the cake to not take up too much time. So I scratched off making a birthday cake from scratch off my list...hehehe.

However, cake mixes from a box don't offer the density and structure that a good from scratch cake does.

Did you know that you can use a cake mix as your base and with just a few extra ingredients you can make it more like a homemade cake?

Well, you can.


Mind blown!

I have actually tried a few recipes that claim to achieve this "from scratch" cake mix. I have been disappointed many times, not really getting the results I wanted.

I finally found the perfect recipe to create this Make a Cake Mix Taste Homemade. Perfect, I tell you.  Don't judge the recipe by my less-than-perfect decorating. The cake was great, and it all started with a regular old store bought cake mix.

Make a Cake Mix Taste Homemade
midget momma

1 box cake mix (I used vanilla)
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
dash of salt
1 cup sour cream
1 cup water
3 eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a bowl. In the bowl of a mixer, combine the wet ingredients. Add in half of the dry ingredients and mix until smooth. Then add in the rest of the dry ingredients and mix the batter for two minutes.

Pour the batter halfway up a prepared pan (or 2/3 full cupcake tins).

Bake at 300 degrees for 20-30 minutes depending on the size of the pan. Then, while keeping the oven door closed turn up the heat to 325 and cook for the same time.

Cake is done when a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool on a cake rack.

Now go on out and make yourself a not-so-from-scratch from scratch cake.

Follow along with Just Another Day in Paradise

Instagram        Facebook        Pinterest        Twitter

Apr 23, 2014

A Robot Birthday Party

It is about to get all Robot-tastic up in here.

Robot Birthday Party fantastic that is.

This little Robot Birthday Party for Little marks the end of my birthday party throwing season.

Whew is all I have to say. Oh, and can I get an AMEN!

I do love to throw parties, but by the end I am run down a little and I look forward to a little party planning break.

Before I sign off on my birthday party madness I want to show you our Robot Birthday Party.

Warning, there is a photo overload, but that is quite simply because there is a cuteness overload.

I got my color scheme from the robot place settings that I bought from Target a few months ago. Once I had the colors, I went a little crazy with the orange, turquoise, lime green, and navy blue. One of my favorite features were these turquoise folding chairs I got on clearance at Ikea.

I used a lot of fabric and paper in my decorations. Two things that are really easy to find.

This garland was a hodge podge of geometric shapes and print outs of robots. For the robots I downloaded a robot dingbat font. I sewed them all together.

The robots found themselves on top of a very simple square cake.

There were all kind of edible robot bits.

I was even feeling a little brave and served some bright blue punch in this AMAZING glass Aladdin jar pitcher which I picked up from The Mart.

Oh, these Circo robot glasses from Target really started it all. Ack, they are so cute.

These polka dots are pretty cute themselves.

One of the activities the kiddos did was building robots. I made rice krispie treats in a sheet pan and then cut them into squares and rectangles. Then I dipped them in color chocolate.

Each kiddo got to pick their colors. Then they got to build their own robot.

There was a lot of concentration.

Oh how cute are these robot builders?!

Little was pretty overjoyed wit his party. Here is another photo of him in his Mr. Roboto T-shirt. Just because I can't handle his cuteness.

Here is the party kids after they played a giant game of Robot Memory.

What a fun way to wrap up our birthday season.

Now pardon me while I go take a nap.

Follow along with Just Another Day in Paradise

Instagram        Facebook        Pinterest        Twitter

Apr 18, 2014

Mr. Robot Stuffed Toy

Of all the parts of our recent Robot Birthday Party, these Mr. Robot Stuffed Toys that I made for our party guests to take home were my absolute favorite.

My. Favorite.

Years ago one of my Little Misters actually got a robot sewn from this same pattern for a birthday present. I loved everything about it, and he loved it too.

So fast forward a few years to when Little asked for a Robot party, I immediately remembered the robot toy we already had. I wanted to make more. Lots more.

So I went and bought the pattern from the amazing Wee Wonderfuls. The pattern is the Spaceboy and Robot pattern. Such a stinkin' cute pattern.

I love that it allowed me to gather a bunch of different fabrics that all coordinated with my party colors.

Every little detail of this robot is the cutest. From the antenna on top of the cheery head, to the little claw arms.

One of my favorite parts of this pattern is the opportunity for me to embellish the "control board" however I wanted. I trimmed. I stitched. I scrapped. I buttoned.

Funny thing though, I had a little duh moment.

As I was decorating for the party and getting all the last minute things ready, Little came in and looked at the robots and loudly declared, "Mom! You forgot their eyes!"

Say What?!

Why yes I did.


In fact, I not only forgot the eyes, but I also forgot to stitch on the little mouth.

Eek. With 30 minutes before guest arrived I decided to forgo the little smirk mouth and to hot glue on the eyes instead of sewing them on. Hehehe. A girl does what she has to.

Oh, but I love them so much. This pattern is perfect and allowed me to make the perfect thing to give our party guests to thank them for coming to our Robot Birthday Party.

Follow along with Just Another Day in Paradise

Instagram        Facebook        Pinterest        Twitter

Apr 16, 2014

Mister Roboto T-Shirt

Anytime I think anything robot, I sing these words to the oh-so-famous 80's song. The Robot Birthday Party we just threw was no exception, and I found it necessary to incorporate the well known words onto a t-shirt for Little to wear to the party.

Funny thing is I have actually never heard the whole song. I just know these words and upon singing these words I find it absolutely necessary to break out not only my robotic voice, but also my robotic dance moves. One really can't be done without the other.

So while making this shirt, there was an awful lot of robot singing and dancing.

This led to Oldest having a thought or two.

None of which were how awesome and unbelievably cool his mom is. What does he know anyway?

One of the thoughts he had was, "What the heck is this song?" Another one that he voiced quite readily was, "Uh, I don't think that is a real song."

With indignation we let him know "It is too a song!" No we did not stick our tongues out at him, though it was tempting.

Then Hubby played it for him.

That is when it was determined by all that the song was pretty stinkin' weird.

Oh well, that certainly did not stop me from using the phrase for this Mister Roboto T-shirt.

Here are the quick details about this shirt.

I like to buy my plain t-shirts at Walmart...aka The Mart. The Mart has a great selection of Hanes t-shirts and they are under $4.

The vinyl for the shirts is flocked heat transfer vinyl, and I buy mine from Expressions Vinyl. I love this blue color, but you will want to make sure to wash it inside out in cool water (otherwise it can bleed).

I used my Silhouette machine to cut out the words and the robot. The words are in the font bauhaus. The robot image is also actually a font. It is a Robot dingbat font that I downloaded to my computer. I went through the alphabet and picked a dingbat that I like most.

After this dingbat of course.

 The result was this very cool Mister Roboto T-shirt on this pretty cool kid.

Stay tuned for some more fun projects from Little's Robot Birthday Party, including a party wrap up.

Thanks for stopping by.

Follow along with Just Another Day in Paradise

Instagram        Facebook        Pinterest        Twitter

Apr 14, 2014

Parmesan Bow-Tie Pasta with Ham, Leeks and Peas--My Weekly Menu Plan with All You Magazine

‘This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and All You Magazine, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #lifeforless http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV.”

As a busy mom of four always hungry Little Men and one regular Hubby Man, I am always on the look out for super yummy meals that I can make for a good price and that I can whip up really quickly.

Recently I went to a great source for family and budget friendly recipes, my latest issue of All You Magazine. After running to the oh-so-lovely and forever-my-favorite-store Target to grab the April edition, I poured over all the recipes.

I found a TON of recipes that I instantly wanted to try. One of my favorite set of recipes was the Feed Your Family: 1 Week, 5 Easy Meals.

I picked a few and put them into my Weekly Menu Plan.

The first recipe I tried was this awesome Parmesan Bow-Tie Pasta with Ham, Leeks, and Peas.

 Instant crowd pleaser for my hungry rowdy crowd.

The meal came together SO easy. I mean like WAY easy. I put it all together quick enough that the villagers didn't have hardly any time to raise a famished riot. Then once the villagers were happily devouring their food there was not a single word to be heard. Okay, maybe there were a couple of muffled sounds between bites. After all they are rowdy boys.

I didn't alter the recipe at all. This pasta dish turned out perfectly and it will make it on to the Weekly Menu Plan again. We also made the Baked Chicken Spring Rolls.

Man those were tasty as well.

I love that they have family friendly recipes with a grocery list that went with it.

Not only was I inspired by these yummy recipes from All You Magazine, but I was also inspired to put together a Weekly Menu Plan printable. One I can print out and hang on my fridge.

I typed up my weekly menu onto a blank form.

Blank Weekly Menu Plan download

I know this Parmesan Bow-Tie  Pasta with Ham, Leeks, and Peas will make it back in our menu rotation very soon.

Parmesan Bow-Tie with Ham, Leeks, and Peas
All You Magazine

salt and pepper
12 oz bow-tie pasta
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 leek, white and light green parts, chopped
2 cups frozen peas
1 cup half and half
4 oz deli ham, chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente, about 10 minutes.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the leek and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add in the peas and half and half and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to low and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in ham. Season with salt and pepper.

Drain the pasta, reserving some pasta water. Add the pasta into the skillet along with the cheese and toss to coat. Add some of the reserved pasta water if the pasta seems dry.

Serve immediately with  more Parmesan.

I am telling you, you need to try this recipe out. You should also try the Baked Chicken Spring Rolls. Heck, all the recipes in the April All You Magazine look amazing.

Run to Target, like I have to really tell you to do that. So go to Target, like I know you want to anyway, and pick up the April issue of All You Magazine. Print off your $1 off coupon HERE (while supplies last).

Also, since we all love Target how about a little giveaway. You know like a $50 gift card to Target giveaway. Feel free to jump up and down. I won't judge. I mean $50 gift card to Target...that is awesome. AWESOME!

Enter to win below.


Follow along with Just Another Day in Paradise

Instagram        Facebook        Pinterest        Twitter


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...