Behind the Scenes of Small Things are Big Things

dirty-side-of-blogging-logoA pretty instagram from @karanoellawsonI have met a ton of rad people through blogging.  One of my favorites is Kara Noel from Small Things are Big Things.  I do not know her well, but she amazes me in every capacity.  She is a fantastic mom of 4, super crafty, funny and totally real.  While she shares cool DIYs that she makes and also her adorable children on instagram, she is not afraid to show you her behind the scenes chaos either.  I’m so glad that she is sharing this with us today.  This top photo is of a craft she made on a book case, that she probably also made, in her home.

A behind the scenes look at some of your favorite bloggers #dirtysideofbloggingAnd this is what was behind her while she was taking that shot.  This scene is totally familiar to bloggers with children.  BTW I get kind of stalker-y about her youngest daughter.  She is so darling!

A behind the scenes look from @karanoellawson and most other bloggers #dirtysideofbloggingAnd these are the shelves below the one that made it on to Instagram.  I totally remember having the great divide on book shelves when the kids were small.  Our nice vases were on the top half and the kids books and toys were on the bottom.  I’m so happy to report that my kids have outgrown that stage!

Thank you, Kara, for keeping it real!

Small Things are Big Things

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Monte Cristo Roll Ups for Easter Brunch with King’s Hawaiian

*This post is sponsored by King’s Hawaiian.  All opinions are mine!

Monte Cristo Roll Ups Recipe.  \\   www.cupcakesandcutlery.comSo I have a thing with Monte Cristo sandwiches.  My mom and I used to head to a restaurant in South Coast Plaza (anyone remember Magic Pan?!) for their Monte Cristo’s, salads with raspberry vinaigrette and delicious rosemary bread.  It is where I fell in love with the salty and sweet sandwiches.  And now when I see them on any menu, I HAVE to have it.  Because you don’t find them that often.  And I have a thing about brunch.  I “go pupule” over a good brunch.  When I was thinking about the perfect recipe for Easter brunch, I thought a Monte Cristo would be perfect.  Easter is all about ham, everything is better with cheese and raspberry jam just about screams brunch, am I right?  What the heck is “go pupule?”  It means go crazy in Hawaiian.  Add this phrase to your lexicon.  It is super fun to say.

Easy to make Monte Cristo roll ups.  \\  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comWhile a traditional Monte Cristo is pretty much a sandwich made on french toast, I decided that sweetness of the King’s Hawaiian bread would work perfectly for this.  And I also decided that sandwiches are too boring.  I wanted to do this dish a little bit differently. So I decided that Monte Cristo Roll Ups just made sense.  It takes only a few ingredients, and not a lot of time, so I think it is a great dish to add in to your Easter brunch entertaining.  The key is SEEDLESS raspberry jam.  Ain’t nobody got time for all those seeds.  And you need a good gruyere – one that is salty and smells a little bit like feet.  Trust me, it makes this taste the best.  I “go pupule” over a feet-y gruyere.

King's Hawaiian bread for Monte Cristo Roll Ups.  \\  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThe other step that is a must for this Monte Cristo Roll Up recipe is rolling out the bread.  While King’s Hawaiian is known for its soft, fluffy amazingness, the roll up works better when you make the bread flat (less tearing).  But you could totally skip this step if you want to just make these as normal sandwiches.  But then I might think you are lazy…

A super easy Monte Cristo recipe for Easter Brunch.  \\  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comRoll out your bread, layer on the jam, sprinkle on some shredded cheese and add some ham.  So easy.

Baked Monte Cristo Roll Ups.  \\  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comPlace the roll ups seam side down on a baking sheet.  It is ok if there are a few small tears.  The ham sort of acts like a barrier to keep the cheese from oozing out all over the place although it will melt out the ends.  You bake them until they are melty and golden brown, about 10 minutes.  And once they are out, you can dust them with a little powdered sugar, which any self respecting Monte Cristo has.

Monte Cristo Roll Ups.  \\  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThese roll ups would make a great appetizer if cut up in to slices (does that then turn them in to pinwheels?)  and are perfect for kids.  They could also be made ahead of time and just heated through the morning of.  They are the perfect mix of breakfast in lunch in one dish and are sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Monte Cristo Sandwich Roll Ups for Easter Brunch.  \\  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAre you a Monte Cristo fan?  Are you a King’s Hawaiian fan?  They just released their first ever TV commercial.  So exciting!  This family run company is awesome and I’m so excited for them to continue their growth and success.  They are truly the nicest people!  So take a sec and go check out the commercial here.  Please make sure you are liking them on Facebook and don’t forget you can get more recipes right on the King’s Hawaiian site!

Monte Cristo Roll Ups for Easter Brunch with King’s Hawaiian

Ingredients

  • Original King's Hawaiian Sweet, Sliced Bread (about 8 slices)
  • 1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
  • 1/2 pound black forest ham sliced from the deli
  • 8 oz. good gruyere cheese, shredded
  • powdered sugar, optional (for dusting once out of the oven)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Roll out 8 slices of King's Hawaiian bread (to about 1/4" thick).
  3. Spread on seedless raspberry jam.
  4. Top with 2-3 TBSP of shredded gruyere cheese.
  5. Add a piece of ham that is slightly smaller than the slice of bread.
  6. Starting at the bottom, begin rolling up the sandwich away from you.
  7. Place seam side down on a baking sheet.
  8. Bake for approximately 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and the tops are golden brown.
  9. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.
http://www.cupcakesandcutlery.com/monte-cristo-roll-ups-easter-brunch-kings-hawaiian/

 

 

Birthday Gift Ideas

Someone buy these things for me okay? \\  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comMy birthday is this weekend!!  Yeah!!  I have no real plans at this point aside from a date night with my hubby.  This year doesn’t feel like it requires a crazy big celebration.  It does however, require a pedicure.  Here are some birthday gift ideas you all can buy for me.

Birthday Gift Ideas

A clutch that screams my name  .  a new sunbrella to keep me shady   .  cool shoes for my feet  .  this super fun picnic  basket/box  .  it’s time to start working on my summer wardrobe and this dress should be part of that  .  and this dress – I wear the heck out my other Novella Royale pieces and I love this print  .  and this fantastic gold tray wants to be in my house.

(You may notice that the link for the shoes is different from the shoe shown.  My husband explained that they change out their selection frequently.  And I’m too lazy to redo my collage.  And in fact I like the shoes in the link even better.)

See last year’s birthday post here.  It’s insightful.  I promise.

Choosing a Rug with your Spouse

*This is part one of a two-part post series I am doing for Flor Modular Carpet Tiles.  All opinions and arguments are mine.

I'm just a girl on a computer shopping for home decor. \\  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comYou may remember that I got a new dining room rug not too long ago.  It is from Flor and we LOVE it!  The colors make me SO happy and it really was the catalyst for making me want to bring more of my personality in to my home.  So now we’ve decided to add a Flor area rug to our living room.  At the moment, we have a rug in there that we bought two houses ago simply because we had a ton of space to fill and needed cheap rugs.  The color is boring and I just can’t wait to see it go.  Since I picked out the first rug, without even a mention to my husband, I knew it was important this time to let him weigh in on it.  So I browsed the site and he browsed the site and we compared our picks.  Choosing a rug with your spouse takes much compromise, discussion and bribery…

Great Flor Tile choices for a living room area rug.  \\  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comOh hey, color.  How are you?  And patterns, welcome to the party.  These are my picks.  I felt like I was playing it safe with #2 but thought it might be an interesting choice and a way to really add color to the room with accessories.

1  .  2  .  3

Dark Neutral Flor Tile options for living room rug.  \\  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThese are my husband’s picks.  A little bit different feel, wouldn’t you say?  When I got these choices from him I wasn’t that surprised but knew we would have to both compromise a little.

4  .  5  .  6

There are certainly things we need to think about, in terms of the space, that guided our choice.  But I think men and women think very differently about them.  We have two young boys so it had to be something that would hide stains pretty well.  Also this room is very dark by late afternoon.  We aren’t quite ready to get rid of our couch so the rug would have to at least go be able to play nicely with it for the time being.  And since this room adjoins the dining room, where our other fantastic rug is, the two rugs should probably speak the same language.  This was much harder than I thought it would be.

Flor Tiles are a great option for families with children.  \\  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAre you dying to see which one we chose?!  I can’t wait to share it with you!  Our plan is to put it together this weekend so be on the look out soon!

*Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Cupcakes and Cutlery going.  All opinions will always be mine.  Thank you Flor!

Entertaining with Mason Jars from Aladdin

*I was sent product by Aladdin, via Mom Trends, to show how entertaining with mason jars can be easy and fun.  They weren’t wrong.  Plus, I had a blast.  All opinions are mine. Throw a pajama picnic for your best gals with gossip mags, drinks and yummy food. I think I am about to commit blogger blasphemy.  Are you ready for this?  I am not a fan of Mason jars.  What?!  I know.  I can hardly believe it myself.  There is nothing wrong with mason jars.  They just aren’t my cup of tea.  I was apprehensive, to say the least, when I opened up a big box from Aladdin filled with their newest Mason jar entertaining collection.  But as I started to peruse all their products, I found myself excited.  For the most part, these jars are plastic (which is huge considering we are currently building an outdoor space for my family to hang out this summer) and the colors are bright and fantastic.  Aladdin wants people to know that they can entertain with ease with this new collection, found at Wal-Mart.  So I decided to gather some girlfriends for a relaxing girl’s night in.  A pajama picnic is what we would have.  What the heck is that?  We all wear pajamas, we order in dinner, and the host provides yummy drinks and a dessert.  Easy.

A super simple girl's night in: pajama party picnic.I can certainly get carried away when it comes to entertaining.  But I made sure to keep it simple this time.  I set up the one table I would need early on in the day so that I wouldn’t be rushing during homework and bath time for my kids before my friends arrived.  I didn’t leave that fruit water out all day but wanted to take a photo in better light for the purposes of showing the set up to you.  From this shot you can see three of the different products Aladdin has out right now.  The beverage dispenser is SO fantastic!  The jar on this one is glass, which I really prefer in a dispenser.  And that teal color is going to be perfect for all my summer entertaining.  You can see the mason jar drinking glasses and reusable acrylic straws and then the extra-large, hot pink mason jar that I decided to use for flowers.  There were a ton of other great products but in an effort to keep it simple, I decided to not use them all.  My favorite product, however is a double walled mason jar cup with a handle and lid.  It is now my cup of choice for my ever-present ice water.  It doesn’t leave water rings!  Its genius.

Entertaining doesn't have to be hard.  But it should be colorful. As you can tell, I like to mix colors.  So I loved that there wasn’t a set of matched jars in the box.  Mixing colors keeps it feeling relaxed and casual.

#spon I love a good beverage dispenser.  Don't you?  For me it HAS to be a glass jar like this one from @aladdinpmiAs I said, I didn’t want to get carried away but I did add some strawberries to the water.  Crazy, I know!  It really took so little effort but I felt like it was a nice touch and would make my guests feel like I really put some thought in to the preparation.

Put our a super simple beverage bar so your guests can serve themselves. For the drinks, I wanted to make sure we had all our bases covered.  This was a weeknight so I knew some of us wouldn’t want a drink.  But you never know what kind of day people have had.  I’m a people pleaser so it is just as easy to set out some fun options and let the guests have exactly what they want.  I’d been dying to try the Nekter cocktail mixers so I thought this was the perfect time.  They are perfect to mix with alcohol, but you can also just drink straight or mix with club soda.  It was delicious!  It was so fresh tasting and vibrant.  I will be getting that again!

Use scrap leather to cut out drink markers.I used some leather scraps that I had to cut out some quick drink tags.  We could have gone by the color of the cup but who wants to have to remember that? :) I just tied them on with some scrap fabric and I was done.  Super quick and totally in keeping with the theme of easy entertaining.

Add fresh flowers for a pop of color.Since Trader Joe’s has the BEST prices on flowers I picked these up to add another color and some height to the table.  I used one of the super sized Aladdin mason jars as a super easy vase.  I think the bright pink of that jar goes perfectly with the bright yellow of the flowers.

Colorful plastic mason jars make for fun entertainingWith that little bit of prep work done ahead of time, all that was left was to relax with my friends.  We poured our drinks, Erika picked up some dinner on her way over and we were set.  They either arrived in pajamas or put them on once they got here and we enjoyed each other’s company and some reality TV.  I can’t think of an easier way to entertain your girlfriends.

Go check out the rest of the Aladdin Mason jar entertaining products at Wal-Mart.  They will be perfect for all your summer and everyday entertaining.

*Thank you for supporting the brands that allow me to keep Cupcakes and Cutlery going.  These gals would have been drinking out of plain old glasses if not for Aladdin.  Boring.