Cheater’s Chili Recipe


As a bitter, “never forget Deflate-gate” Seahawks fan, I’m calling this recipe Cheater’s Chili in honor of the Patriots being back in the Super Bowl yet again!  Super fast and easy and tastes delicious even with the seasoning shortcuts and canned beans! This recipe does not require long hours stewing away in the slow cooker. You can make this right before the game or in advance!



1 pkg. McCormick Chili Seasoning Mix (I use the mild variety; Jake adds cayenne and hot sauce to his servings)

2 lbs. lean ground turkey (I like Butterball brand) or lean ground beef, or a mixture of both

1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained

2 cans (16 oz. ea)  Bush’s Chili Beans, undrained

2 cloves garlic, minced

Assorted toppings as desired:  shredded cheese, sour cream, chopped onion, corn chips (we like Frito’s or Dorito’s), hot sauce, cayenne, diced jalapenos


  1. Brown meat in large skillet on medium-high heat.  Drain fat.
  2. Toss garlic in with meat and cook for 1 minute more.
  3. Stir in seasoning mix, tomatoes and beans.
  4. Cover.  Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Serve with toppings as desired

You can also add ½ cup beer or cola (I prefer Dr Pepper or Root-beer) or a teaspoon cocoa at step 3 to bring out additional flavors.

Serves 8.  We like to serve cornbread  with butter and honey alongside.  If also goes great in mac and cheese or on nachos, fries or a hot dog. Of course a cold beer is the perfect  beverage accompaniment.  For game day you can prepare this early and then transfer to a crock pot on warm or lowest heat to keep for game time.  Enjoy!


Seahawks game against the Rams (ironic) in 2015!

Penny’s Peanut Butter and Pumpkin Dog Treats


As a self-proclaimed obsessive dog mom, I am always trying to find ways to not only show love to my pooch, but to also keep her happy and healthy.  I’m sure you have seen the news reports and commercials and are well aware that dog food these days can be chock full of less than nutritious, and sometimes downright harmful ingredients. To combat the abundance of less than healthy foods bombarding the market, we have dogtreat4always made sure that Tilly has the best kibbles money can buy, and we plan to start making her homemade dog food so we completely control ingredients. We have already started making her homemade dog treats.  One of the easiest and most loved recipes I got from my mom.

My parents have a Golden Retriever named Penny, who has a sensitive stomach and sensitivities to a variety of foods.   The recipe I’m going to share is one that contains just 3 wholesome pup-friendly ingredients that Penny and Tilly both absolutely adore! They have been lovingly named Penny’s Peanut Butter Pumpkin Dog Treats.

You will need: 

  • Food Processor or Blender
  • Baking Sheet
  • Saran Wrapdogtreat3
  • Parchment Paper
  • Rolling Pin
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Measuring cups
  • Wooden spoon


  • 1 cup old fashioned, 1-minute, or instant oats to make into oat flour (I use old fashioned)
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin pureé (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter

Preheat oven to 300F

Measure 1 cup of oats and add them to your food processor or blender. Blend until it makes a fine powder. Dump oat flour into mixing bowl then add in pumpkin and peanut butter. Mix ingredients together until a soft dough is formed. Instead of using more flour, line your counter with saran wrap, then dump dough on top. Place another sheet of saran wrap over the dough then roll out using rolling pin to about 3/8 of an inch or slightly thinner if you want them to be a little more crispy. Cut treats out using a cookie cutter of any desired shape (I prefer mini bones! You can find these on Etsy and Amazon!)

On your parchment-lined baking sheet, lay out dog cookies in a single layer and bake for about 25-30 minutes. They will be dry and hard like a cracker. Once they are cool they are ready for your pup to eat!

Make sure to store these in a airtight container. Your dog will be begging for these yummy treats!

I love this recipe because it is SO easy to make and only takes three ingredients. This recipe is also wheat-free which is perfect for dogs who have sensitivities to wheat, like Penny. Make sure when you are buying your ingredients that you purchase all natural peanut butter. Many peanut butters can be dangerous to dogs as they can have Xylitol, a sugar alcohol that is used as a sugar substitute. Xylitol can be deadly to our canine friends so it is very important to be aware of what is in your peanut butter!

I hope you and your pup enjoy this quick and easy snack recipe! Do you make homemade dog food or treats for your pup? If you try this recipe out, let me know in the comments what your doggo thinks!

XOXO, Cait B.

Bills, Bank Accounts and Budgets


“Adulting” can be really hard. It seems that as a kid, being an adult is what you are working for. You imagine living in a beautiful house, driving to your dream job in your luxury car, without a care in the world about your income, bills, or 401Ks. It’s quite blissful until you are rudely thrust into reality. Suddenly you find yourself driving to your studio apartment in the used car your parents bought you in high school. You have your diploma in one hand, miss-matched socks on your feet, and not a clue what to do next.

After I graduated from college with my nursing degree, I moved directly to a new state to join my then fiancé/now husband. I was lucky enough to have a good job lined up, but I had never really had to worry about a budget or bills. I have always been very frugal and conscientious about spending money, but I never had to worry about having enough to pay the ‘big bills’. I have fantastic parents (who are great at managing their money) who handled the ‘big bills’ while I was getting my education. This was great when I was in school because I did not have to worry about having money for rent, utilities, car insurance or even my cellphone bill. I took care of all incidentals, clothes, and food. You might say I was a little spoiled, but when I was launched into the ‘real world’ it was a tough learning curve. I had SO many questions. I did have great resources in my parents and husband, but like anything, you have to figure out what works best for you. I have compiled a list of what I do to organize my bills and make sure I pay them on time.

Know how much money you will have and when you will get more. Obviously, when it comes to paying bills, you need to have money. Most banks have apps now that allow you to keep track of your bank account on the go. My bank’s app lets me see both my checking and savings accounts, as well as what is due on my credit card. It will also let me transfer money within the app and deposit money into my accounts. I like how visual this app is; it clearly displays how much I have in my accounts at any one time. I like to plan ahead and know what’s coming in all aspects of my life, this is the same with money. I get paid biweekly, on Fridays. Although, this seems like an obvious thing to remember, some weeks run together. In order to make this easier on my brain, I went into the calendar on my iPhone and added in “payday” events biweekly to easily keep track. The last thing I do to be realistic about what is in my bank account, is transfer money as soon as I have it. My paycheck is directly deposited into my checking account, but I have a savings account as well as a specific savings account for bills. As soon as I get paid I transfer a set amount into my both of my savings accounts, this way I know it is there for when I need to pay my bills, and that I cannot touch it as it is not linked to my debit or credit card. At this time I also pay off or put a payment towards my credit card bill- this helps to build credit, too. Having a strategy for my money makes me feel more secure and makes my life less stressful. I will say, I rarely waiver from the amounts of money that I take out per paycheck for my savings and my ‘bill-savings’ but some months you need to be flexible. For example, I knew last month (December) I would be spending

Okay. Whew. Now that you have money and know when you will get paid you can utilize other options to organize your payments!

Make a large monthly calendar that you can make changes to. I bought a large cork-board from Walmart for about $8 and a pack of regular sized post-it notes and mini post-it notes in a variety of colors. Using the standard size post-it notes, I wrote a number 1-31 in the upper right corner. These are your calendar days. Then I used one color of the mini post-it notes and wrote one day of the week on each. Once my days of the weeks and days were arranged on the board, depending on the month, I was ready to start


Found this dry erase wall calendar at Target for $3!

adding in the important stuff. I looked forward into my calendar to see when my bills were due. Although some bills, like our phone bill is always due on the same day, other bills fluctuate. Looking them up helps me be proactive and plan my month. I use different color sticky notes for different things. For example, green is used for bills that are NOT automatically paid; pink is used for bills that ARE automatically paid, and blue post-it notes are used for events. I include events on my calendar because usually money will have to be set aside for these occasions. I am a visual person, so this big monthly calendar is helpful for me to plan and see what is coming. That said, you do have to be committed to keep it up to date!

I also use weekly planners, lists and sticky-notes to stay organized. It is very satisfying to be able to cross something off of your list or to take down a sticky note you have completed. The last thing I really utilize is the “reminder app” which is standard on the iPhone. I put in running alerts for bills. For example, each month on the 30th, I get a reminder to pay rent on the 1st. This reminder will stay there until I mark it as completed. Just another thing that makes me more accountable.

The last thing I do to organize my bills, is to use a small filing system. I have a variety of sections that help keep not only my bills and payments organized, but also other aspects of my life. I go through this annually and clean it out. I do not do this in January, rather I billswait after we have filed our taxes in March.

I know it seems like a lot, and honestly, it might be overkill but this is what has worked for me. I have always been someone who abides by due dates (turning in anything late always made me feel guilty and gave me heart palpitations) so knowing I am doing everything in my power to make sure I stay on track, is comforting to me. If you struggle paying your bills on time, I would suggest starting off with maybe one or two of these methods and see what happens!

“Don’t worry, kids. Being an adult is mostly just Googling how to do stuff.”

I hope this post helps you organize your bills and payments a little better. Let me know if you add any of these tips and tricks into your daily routines. What other ways have you organized your life?

XOXO, Cait B.

‘Resolution’- Choosing Myself in 2019


I have never been much for New Year’s resolutions. The resolutions I have made in the past usually involve losing weight which great until March rolls around and I find myself back on the couch with a box of Cheez-It crackers at my side. I found I would fail at my resolutions more than I would succeed, which was discouraging. Therefore, this year instead of making a “resolution,” I decided to focus on what I need to do to increase my happiness and well-being.

2018 was a rough one for me: I started a new job with a steep learning curve, we had to move with only a 30-day notice (thanks Army), and we had to deal with some fairly serious health issues with my husband. It was one thing after another, constantly moving, never really relaxing or having time to vent or really assess all the stress I was under. It eventually all caught up to me. The week before Christmas I suddenly felt like my heart was racing as though I drank a liter of Mountain Dew and was completely wired. I was short of breath and my blood pressure was through the roof. I ended up having to leave work and go to urgent care. Despite being a nurse I really didn’t know what was going on. I felt okay: no chest pain, no numbness or tingling–I did a head-to-toe assessment of myself as I sat shaking in the waiting room trying to diagnose what was going on. After running a couple tests and an EKG (which was normal) the doctor discovered I was having a massive panic attack.

Now, I have always been high-strung and have dealt with anxiety most of my life, but I have never experienced these kind of symptoms before. After finally calming down, I really started to think about 2018 and thought to myself ‘Something has to change. I am 25. I should not be feeling this way.’ I have always been the kind of person to put everyone before myself and my own needs. After reevaluating the year I had, it made me realize I hadn’t taken much time for myself. I was so focused on the people and things going on around me that I forgot to care for myself and listen to my own needs. I was not a priority. I decided that this year has to be different and that I am going to invest more time and energy into my well-being. This may sound a little selfish, but here is my rationale: If I invest more time and energy into taking care of myself, I will end up being happier and healthier and in a better mood which in turn will make things around me happier too.

I have broken down my 2019 goals into a couple categories:

Instead of making weight loss a goal, I think the idea of ‘getting healthy’ is much more realistic. It has less to do with a number, and more to do with the amount of energy you have and how you feel.
-Eat more color: This is not referring to artificially orange Cheetos! By eating more color I mean more fruits and veggies. I was told once that your plate should look like a rainbow!
-Hydrate: I am so bad at drinking water! I get distracted at work and at home and put drinking H2O off to the side. My goal is to increase my intake in 2019. Water helps with your skin and digestion, and staying hydrated can help you lose weight and feel more awake!
-Walk more: This activity is for both mind and body. Walking is, of course, great exercise, but I also believe that getting out of the house into fresh air is one of the best ways to relax your mind, plus getting a little Vitamin D makes you feel better and puts you in a better mood. I am hoping to take Tilly for a walk 3 times a week (she gets a walk with our dog walker daily). I love spending time with my little fur ball so this time with her will also elevate my good mood.

Wellness is more focused on taking care of my mind and focusing more on my own needs.
-Journal: Writing has always been my best and favorite way to express myself. My goal this year is to take the time to sit down and collect my thoughts in a journal when I am feeling stressed, and not to just push it to the side. I also plan to blog more (a new post at least once weekly.) I love to write and connect with my followers. It is such a great outlet!
-Skincare: I have never had a true skincare routine. I have always bounced around from product to product never really committing to anything. Your skin is your largest organ and does SO much for you, and now that I am in my mid-20s, I think it is time to commit! My goal is to develop a skincare routine that works, is easy to stick to and does not break the bank. I will be searching for new products and recommendations and will take you all along on the journey with me!
-Allow for Small Luxuries: I am not afraid to say that Jake and I basically live paycheck to paycheck. As most young adults, money is always on our minds. We do put a large portion of our earnings into saving in the hopes of kids down the line (or more dogs ha) or possibly a dream vacation. Due to having tight purse strings, I have let some of my own personal care go by the way-side. For example, I no longer get my nails done unless it is for a special occasion, and I had not gotten my hair cut for over 6 months (embarrassing, I know.) I was so focused on saving a few extra dollars that I kind of forgot why we had that money in the first place. I’m not planning on blowing though our savings, but maybe developing a small fund where I put away 10-20 dollars at a time so I can feel like I can indulge a little bit. Getting pampered, even if it means buying a peel off mask and a bath-bomb can be such a great stress relief and can make you feel refreshed! (Don’t worry, Jake has said he is totally okay with this! Make sure to talk with your significant other if you share a bank-account before you start funneling money away!)
-Declutter: Clutter drives me a little crazy. We are usually pretty good at keeping our house clean, but we are awful at folding clothes and putting them away! One final goal I have is to put our clothes away in a timely fashion! This is such a small thing but getting organized can be so satisfying and can make you feel like your life is more in order. If I can tackle our laundry room, I will be one happy girl!

Setting goals and making resolutions can be hard and frustrating. My advice is to be easy on yourself and be realistic! Think of it more as a lifestyle change instead of a resolution. You might have set backs and bad days but do your best to not give up and throw in the towel! I know I will have my ups and downs and will have to remind myself that I am only human. All we can do is try. Remember, if you do not succeed, there is always next year! 😉

What are your resolutions and goals for 2019? How do you plan to stick to them?

XOXO, Cait B.

Honey Garlic Glazed Chicken


I work full time, five days a week, plus an hour commute each way. Let me tell you, once I get home, there is very little I want to do…. least of all cook dinner. It is usually around 6 pm when I finally get home and feel like I do not have the time or energy to create an elaborate meal. To combat this, I have collected some “go to” recipes that are easy to make, home-cooked, but still taste great (in me and my hubby’s opinion.)
One meal my husband and I make almost weekly is Honey Garlic Glazed Chicken with Rosemary Potatoes. I personally don’t eat a lot of red meat, so I’m always trying to reinvent the average baked chicken by making different marinades or using a variety of spices and seasonings. The glaze for this recipe is great because it uses ingredients that I typically have on hand in our pantry, and you just toss it all together in a bowl and mix it up! The potatoes are even easier, but first lets tackle the chicken!

You will need:
2 baking sheets
Nonstick spray

Honey Garlic Chicken Glaze
2 lbs. boneless chicken breast
2 tablespoons olive oil
Half a stick of butter (2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 HEAPING tablespoons minced garlic (less if you aren’t a garlic lover!)
1/2 teaspoon basil (dried)
Pinch of salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
First melt the butter in the microwave, then combine the rest of your glaze ingredients, mixing well so the sugar dissolves. Boom. You are done with the glaze! Now spray your baking sheet with nonstick spray and arrange your chicken. Brush or spoon the glaze on to the chicken so that it is coated. Once this is done you are ready to place it in the oven! Bake the chicken until it is completely cooked, about 20-25 minutes. Make sure the internal temperature of your chicken reaches 165 degrees F. (I suggest using a digital thermometer.) And that’s it! So quick and easy! If you do not have time (or if you are not feeling potatoes), you can serve this with rice or steamed veggies or just on its own! YUM)

Simple Rosemary Potatoes
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 lbs. baby Red or Yukon Gold potatoes (I leave the skins on)
1-2 tablespoons Rosemary (I honestly eye-ball it!)
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Wash and pat dry the potatoes and cut them into medallions. You can cut them into cubes or quarter them, but I find that the potatoes do not cook as evenly or crisp up as well. Spray your second baking sheet with non-stick spray, arrange potatoes in a single layer. Drizzle olive oil over potatoes then sprinkle on salt, pepper and rosemary as desired and give a good stir. Bake for approximately 45 minutes, or until you can easily pierce potatoes with a fork. The edges should be slightly crispy. That’s all, folks!

I usually stick the potatoes in the oven first, and about 20 minutes in I add the chicken so it all finishes around the same time. I usually serve this meal with steamed broccoli. Since I’m all about home cooked AND convenient, I use “steam fresh” veggies that are ready after five minutes in the microwave –I always have at least 5 of these in my freezer!

Since this meal serves my husband (who basically eats 2 servings) and me with some leftovers, I would approximate that this meal yields about four servings.


XOXO, Cait B.


Happy Howliday!

Lifestyle, Uncategorized

The holiday season is always the busiest time of year! It is so hectic running from one place to another, keeping the house clean for company while simultaneously decorating every inch with tinsel and sparkling lights. Even though the holiday season can be stressful on us humans, it can be just as hard on the mental health of our four-legged friends.

Although I have always had a dog in my life, I became a true dog mom in 2017 when my husband and I adopted the cutest little pup from the SPCA. Tilly is our spoiled little princess; we treat her as if she was our child. I have never loved a little creature more than I love her — she is the light of our lives. That may sound a little extreme, but I believe that all the dog moms and dads out there relate and understand: There is very little I would not do to ensure Tilly is happy and healthy. I always consider her well-being, especially this time of year when things get a little out of routine.

Dogs are creatures of habit. They generally wake up at a certain time, and get their meals, walkies, and potty breaks, all according to schedule. Growing evidence points to dogs having a rudimentary concept of time. They intuitively know what and when to expect things that are routine to go to plan. I cannot even begin to describe the dirty looks I get from Tilly when we are late on presenting her with her evening treat, but I get those looks because to her, something is different, or wrong. During the holiday season especially, a dog’s routine is really put to the test. There are new things in their space (aka trees, ornaments, stockings, wrapped gifts, etc.); visitors are coming in and out, and their people leave for an evening out to shop or attend a holiday party only to miss out on regularly scheduled snuggle time. Although these little changes can seem insignificant to us, they can send our pups into a tail-spin (pun-intended.)

The best way to help your pet through the holidays is to be aware and try to understand how small changes in routine and activities can impact their stress levels. You know your dog better than anyone else, so it should be relatively easy to pick up on the SOS signals when something is wrong or stressing out your fur baby. Dogs do have specific body language that demonstrates stress, including a tail that is straight and bristled, raised hair near their shoulder blades, ears forward and lips curled. These could all be indications of aggression. Many dogs become aggressive or defensive when they are stressed. It is important to understand in these situations the source of the stress, and to try to remove or modify it. After we hung up our stockings this year, Tilly became very agitated when walking by them— barking and growling. After we moved the stressful socks to a new location she was perfectly fine. Although it may not make sense to us, to Tilly, those stockings were out to get her. Once they were out of her territory she was back to being a happy girl.

Other common signs of stress include avoidance of people or other pets. This could mean that your dog is overstimulated and might need a time out away from the chaos to regroup. Dogs also show stress by not eating or having gastrointestinal issues. Just like humans, when dogs get stressed they are wound up, and do not feel the need to eat. Also like humans, when dogs are anxious, they can experience constipation or diarrhea. If it is the latter, and your dog has an accident inside, please remember it is an accident. Scolding them will only make the situation worse. Your dog also might be sleeping in excess. Be sure to keep an eye on your dog if they do develop any of these symptoms and the symptoms continue, or if your dog is losing weight or becomes weak or lethargic, follow up with your veterinarian.

Some surprising signs of stress in your dog include licking their lips and yawning. Lip licking is an early sign of stress that can be easily missed. If you start to notice your dog licking, examine the situation to see what could be bothering them. This can also be an indication of nausea! When it comes to yawning this can be a little subjective. Tilly has some of the most dramatic dog yawns I have ever heard, but she has done this since we adopted her at 10 weeks old, so this is her norm. It is important to weigh what is normal for your dog and what seems abnormal. If you notice your dog is yawning more than usual or opens their mouth extra wide, it could be a sign of stress. Really, if you notice any kind of behavior that is out of character, your dog could be trying to tell you something. For example, when Tilly starts stealing socks or chewing on things she knows are off limits, I know something is wrong. She might need attention or something might be bugging her. Part of being a dog parent is investigating, as dogs cannot come right out and say what’s going on in their lives.

Some of the best ways to combat stress during the holidays and year round is to first, stay calm. Dogs are very intuitive and sense your emotions. If you are stressed, anxious or angry, dogs feel that and respond. By staying calm, you in-turn help your pup to relax. The next step is to make sure your dog is positively stimulated. One of the best ways to do this is to make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise, especially leading up to a stressful event, like a Christmas party you are hosting at your home. If you are not able to go for a walk or play fetch due to your busy schedule, you can also hire a dog walker. I have used Rover and have loved their services! They can be a real life saver! Other ways to stimulate your dog include puzzle games—if they like them, that is…Tilly won’t go near one—or a special toy or treat, like a filled frozen KONG that will occupy their time. One final thing you should do to keep your dog mellow, is to develop a safe space for your pet that is out of the way of the ‘craziness.’ For some pets this could be a crate with a blanket over the top, or their bed in a cozy corner. Tilly goes to lay in our office when things get a little “too much” for her. She has her bed and baby blanket in there, and it is usually dark. She likes to look out the window in that room as well, which I think helps detach her from what is going on elsewhere in the house. Your dog might ‘tell you’ where their safe space is. For example, your dog might really want to go lay in the laundry room, although it might seem odd, that could be a place where they feel safe and protected.

Some final notes to keep your dog happy and healthy during the holiday, especially when entertaining, is to remember that this is your dog’s home, not your guests. Now, I am not saying not to be hospitable and welcoming to guests, but remember that your home is also your dog’s domain. It is important to talk with your guests about engaging with your animals. For example, not everyone knows that feeding pups leftover human treats can easily cause serious stomach upset, and many may be unaware of what foods are dangerous or poisonous to your animals. If you have kids visiting, make sure they are always supervised when playing with your pets- even if your dog is great with kids! Finally, remember dogs have sensitive ears and loud voices, or sudden sounds like fireworks or New Year’s Eve party poppers can startle and scare pets increasing their stress and agitation. If your dog is sensitive to sound, it is always okay to put them in their safe space with a yummy treat, even if that means they are not attending the party or ringing in the New Year with you.


These are just some little tactics that have worked for us and Tilly in the past. Again, you know your dog better than anyone else — you will find what works best for you and your fur babies during the holiday season! Hopefully some of these tips will keep you and your pup off the naughty list this year!

XOXO, Cait B.

Santa’s Speedy Christmas Cookie Plate


I cannot believe that Christmas is just days away! If you are like me, you have finished your last minute shopping but you still need to complete (or start!) your holiday baking. Baking is always the last thing on my checklist because one, I want it to be fresh for my guests, and (mostly) two–I generally don’t have time to spend during the week for baking! I have compiled four easy treat recipes fit for Santa’s Christmas plate that fit into my “last minute baking” time slot. These recipes are great for anyone short on time, or those who are not very comfortable baking!

Chocolate Covered Pretzel Rods
I have always loved chocolate covered pretzels. The mix of salty and sweet is absolutely delicious and is a classic combo. Making chocolate covered pretzel rods is one of the easiest and quickest treats to make.

You will need:
Pretzel Rods (amount will vary depending on how many guests. I generally buy two bags baking_3of rods to account for breakage (and since I will nibble on some as I go!)
Chocolate Candy Melts- these are not chocolate/baking chips. I used milk chocolate and white chocolate for mine, but they also come in a variety of colors like green and red
Sprinkles to decorate
Wire cookie cooling rack, paper towel for under rack
Foiled lined baking sheet

Heat your chocolate candy melts per package instructions. Once your melts are melted, start dipping individual rods. I use a spoon to make sure the pretzels are coated evenly. Once they are dipped place cookies on wire rack to let excess Baking_1chocolate drip off. Once the chocolate is tacky (not completely dry) you can add on your sprinkles! Make sure to transfer the pretzels from the rack to the foil-lined baking sheets before they cool completely. If you don’t, the chocolate will harden around the rod making it difficult to remove without breaking them. Let them cool completely on the baking sheet, then remove and keep at room temperature.
That’s it! Quick but yummy and festive! You can be as elaborate as you would like with your decorations. I have been known to add bacon bits to my milk chocolate rods, to add another layer to the sweet and salty combo. If you have more time, you can melt different color chocolates and drizzle them over your rods!

Choco-Scotch Bars
The second easy Christmas treat is a riff on your traditional Marshmallow Krispy Rice treats. Whether you call them Scotch-A-Roo’s or Choco-scotch bars, these little treats are addictive! My grandmother used to make these all the time and they have continued to be a family tradition!

You will need:
Cooking spray
9″ x 13″ pan
6 cups crispy rice cereal (Kellog’s Rice Krispies or store brand)baking_6
4 tablespoons salted butter
1 16oz. bag mini marshmallows
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
Sprinkles (optional)
Spray a 9″x 13″ pan with cooking spray

Although the normal recipe for marshmallow treats tells you to melt the butter over the stove, I utilize my microwave–after all we are trying to save time! In a microwave safe bowl, melt your butter. Add in your marshmallow and heat for 30 seconds at a time, stirring between each time until the marshmallows and butter have combined and marshmallows are smooth. Next, gradually stir in cereal until all is combined. I use a spatula that I continually spray with cooking spray to make it easier to stir. Once the ingredients are combined, spoon mixture into your prepared pan and squish it down until it is even. Next, melt chocolate chips and butterscotch chips in a microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds at a time, stirring between times, until melted. Pour choco-scotch mixture over marshmallow rice and spread to cover surface evenly. Add on sprinkles to make your treats more festive. Let the chocolate set at room temperature, then cut and serve!

Christmas Crack
The next recipe that is a Christmas tradition in my family is Christmas Crack! It is given such a “loving” name because this is another addictive sweet! It is slightly more time consuming than the other recipes but is totally worth it!

You will need:
Foil lined baking sheet (standard full size)
Cooking spray
1 sleeve saltine crackers
1 cup salted butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Optional toppings (chopped pecans, sprinkles, mini M&Ms, toffee morsels)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
Line baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spraybaking_10
Place crackers on baking sheet in a single layer. Next, melt the brown sugar and butter in sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a low boil and stir constantly for three minutes, watching the mixture closely. Do not overcook the ingredients they will crystallize and you won’t be able to pour over the crackers. Pour melted sugar over crackers, be very careful as this mixture is extremely hot and will cause severe burns! Once your crackers are covered, bake Baking_11them for 8 minutes. Once they are done baking, sprinkle chocolate chips on the top and let them melt. Once they have started to soften, use a spatula to spread chips into a smooth layer. You can leave your toffee like this or at this point you can add your toppings! Place your baking sheet in the fridge (or freezer if you are trying to speed up the process!) Once your crack is solid, gently break it into pieces. This is really cute as a gift for friends or neighbors when it is packaged in a cute holiday tin! If you do not have saltines you can substitute these for regular graham crackers, chocolate graham crackers, or Ritz crackers.
The final easy Christmas treat is the always popular delicious peanut butter and chocolate Buckeye! If you are a fan of Reese’s peanut butter cups, you will love these!

You will need:
Wax paper
Baking sheet
1-1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 cups powdered sugar
4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chipsbaking_12

Mix together the peanut butter, butter, vanilla and powdered sugar. The dough will look crumbly and dry. Using your hands, roll dough into 1 inch balls and place them on wax paper lined baking sheet. Place a tooth-pick into each ball. (This makes them easier to dip later!) Chill the balls in the freezer for 30 minutes or until the balls are firm. While the balls are cooling, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave for 30 seconds at time, stirring between each time. Dip frozen peanut butter balls in chocolate using the toothpick as a holder. Leave a small bit of peanut butter showing at the top to make them look like buckeyes. Once they are dipped, place the buckeyes back in the fridge and keep them in the fridge until it is time to serve. You can roll your buckeyes in sprinkles before the chocolate dries to make them more festive. Then enjoy!



These are just some of my quick and easy treats to get you through the holiday craze! Let me know if you attempt any of these recipes. What are some of your holiday treat traditions? Are you interested in more complex baking recipes?

XOXO, Cait B.

Lash Extension Love


I originally started getting eyelash extensions right before my wedding. I was used to wearing false eyelash strips for both dance and theatre growing up, but I didn’t want to have to deal with them peeling off on my big day, or have to worry about my mascara running with all the happy tears and snow (yes, it snowed on my wedding day!) My sister had gotten lash extensions before and I loved the way they looked, so I thought I would give them a go! I have continued to get them done ever since.

I love my eyelash extensions because they make my life so much easier. Because my lashes are so blonde, I always felt like I had to wear mascara or I would look 12 and boyish. I would need to coat my lashes multiple times, plus add in eyeliner, which would take up some time each morning. Getting lash extensions has made my morning routine on work days much faster, as I wear very minimal makeup on the job. I have been getting lash extensions for about 1-1/2 years now, and I am very happy with the results. Lashes are my one beauty splurge and I think they are totally worth it. That said, there are a few things you need to know before you get lash extensions applied.

You MUST do your research.

Know your Technician: As with any beauty treatment, you need to make sure you are going to a reputable lash technician since they will be working on a sensitive area of your body and using different chemicals. You must make sure that your lash tech is certified. Many states also require lash technicians to hold cosmetologist or esthetician licenses. Bottom line: Be aware of the laws in your state. Before scheduling your appointment, be sure to ask if your tech is certified, and at your appointment you can also ask to see their certification if it is not already displayed. This is not insulting to your tech; if they do seem hesitant to show you their credentials or become defensive that could be a big red flag.

Make sure the area is clean. My salon puts paper down on the table, just like a doctor’s office to ensure cleanliness between patients/clients. My tech always washes her hands in front of me, and wears a mask so she is not breathing on my face during my session.

Know Your Lash Options: Once you have established trust with a technician, you will need to know your options for your lashes. First, lashes are made from three different materials: Synthetic fibers, silk, and mink. I would recommend sticking with either silk or mink, as synthetic lashes are exactly that. Made of synthetic (processed) materials that could more easily irritate your eyes. Mink lashes are the highest quality and the most natural looking, however they are also the most expensive. I get silk lashes. They are still great quality but are more cost effective.

Lashes come in different lengths as well, ranging from 6mm to 17mm (this could vary depending on where you get your lashes done.) They also come in different curls, like C or J. C shaped lashes curl into a shape like a C, just as J curls are less curved and look more like a J. You will also get to choose the overall shape of your lashes. Salons may have different names for each style, and they should go over all of your options with you as well as recommending the length and curl that they think will be best to achieve the look you desire. I tend to get a “cat-eye” where the lashes gradually get longer as you move to the outer edge of the eye. I tend to get a mix of 10mm, 11mm and 12mm, C shape extensions as I like my lashes to look a little more natural. For my wedding I opted for longer, volumizing lashes for more drama. You can talk to your technician to see if they offer this option. Some lash salons also offer different colored lashes as well. Prior to your first appointment, your lash tech should consult with you to discuss what you are looking for. Prior to every follow-up, your tech should ask how you like your lashes and if you want to ‘tweak’ anything.


Know The Types of Glue: Eyelash extensions are adhered to lashes using lash glue. You need to verify the type of glue that your technician will be using. This glue needs to be medical grade glue and safe to use on the body and near the eyes. You might have heard in the news about severe reactions to eyelash glue– this glue IS NOT medical grade, and often contains formaldehyde, which releases fumes and causes burning and redness. If your tech is using medical grade glue, this is much less likely to happen. Although irritation is less likely with the correct glue, reactions still do happen. If you have very sensitive skin, or have had reactions to adhesive in the past, you should first ask to put a sample of the glue on the inside of your wrist to see if you develop any kind of reaction. During your session, if you develop any kind of burning, irritation, or start tearing, you need to inform your lash tech. They might need to switch to a “sensitive” version of the glue. This type of glue generally does not hold as well, but is an option if you have sensitive skin/eyes. Be aware that you can also develop a sensitivity. This happened to my sister. The first few times she got extensions she was fine, but after a couple more sessions, she had a reaction to the glue and could no longer have her lashes done at her original salon. Do not lose hope; not all salons use the same glue, so you might be able to go elsewhere. Pro tip: if you are unable to brush through your lashes easily, your tech used too much glue, or glued one lash extension to multiple natural lashes, instead of an individual one. This can cause clumping and discomfort as your lashes grow out. If this happens to you, talk with your tech or see someone else with more experience!

*IMPORTANT: Know the difference between an infection and an allergic reaction. A licensed and experienced lash technician will not let an infection occur, but some symptoms could include swelling, redness, warmth around the eye, discoloration of the whites of the eye and a thick discharge. If this occurs seek medical attention. Unfortunately, if you’re allergic to the glue, you’re still going to be allergic, hygiene will not change this fact.

Know The Time Frame: Your first set of eyelash extensions could take anywhere from 90 minutes to 2 hours, depending on how many lashes you have and the condition of your lashes, as they are gluing on the individual lashes one at a time. After your initial visit you will need to return to have your lashes filled. Our natural lashes are always growing and eventually fall out, so your extensions will also grow out, or soon fall out. I have my lashes retouched about every three weeks. This takes about 60 to 90 minutes depending on how well my lashes held up over the prior couple of weeks.

Know what you can and cannot do:
Water: After each session you cannot get your lashes wet for 48 hours. This includes steam, so no showering, unless it is cold or quick! This is to allow the glue to dry and adhere properly. After this 48 hour period, you are free to shower, just do not scrub your lashes or submerge them in water for too long, as it will eventually loosen the lashes or make them fall out.
Makeup: Do not use any oil-based makeup or lotion around your lashes as this will degrade the glue prematurely. I would also recommend NOT using mascara on your lashes (not that you will need it); especially water proof mascara as it will cause the lashes to clump in unnatural ways, and you will not be able to wash it off.
Caring for your lashes: Your lash tech should provide you with a clean spoolie brush to groom your new lashes with. Most techs instruct you to brush your lashes when you wake up, after you shower, and before you go to bed. You can do this if your lashes become out of line too. Make sure you never pull on your lashes to ‘rearrange them.’ This is what causes damage and breakage to your natural lashes. If you do get tired of having lash extensions, I recommend having a professional remove them for you, as removing them yourself can result in painfully ripping out your lashes, or damaging them.
Common questions I get about extensions:
Q: Aren’t you worried about getting glue in your eyes?
A: No! Your eyes are closed during your entire session, so no glue will ever get into your eye.

Q: Does it hurt?
A: Not at all! I find having my eyelashes done to be very relaxing and have even fallen asleep during sessions. The only discomfort you may have is from the glue (which you need to speak up about!) or when they remove the tape from your face (many techs use medical tape to hold your skin as they work so they can better see your lashes.) My eyes do tend to water when they first turn on their bright light, as my eyes are inherently sensitive to light, but they soon adjust and I am quite comfortable.

Q: Could it cause blindness?
A: No. Again, if you are working with a credible lash tech, you will be in good hands. Your lash professional should be trained and competent in applying glue and lashes in a way that is harmless to you and your anatomy. Your eyes are closed for the procedure. No matter how bad an allergic reaction may get, you will not go blind- you just may need some medicated eye drops.

Q: Will they ruin your natural lashes
A: This is easily the most asked question I get and the biggest myth regarding lash extensions. Extensions will not destroy your natural lashes if they are applied correctly and taken care of properly. Again, be sure not to rub your eyes or tug or pull on the extensions because this WILL cause lash damage and loss.

I love my lash extensions, but they do require maintenance. There is also a cost associated with getting your lashes done and keeping them filled which has to be factored into the “splurge” budget. I have been able to find a very reputable, yet more affordable location near me, but many lash salons charge a hefty price. For me, this is one splurge that I find completely worth it for my lifestyle, but if the price is a problem, you can always try high-quality false eyelash strips. Let me know if you are interested in a tutorial on how to apply these falsies by commenting on this post!

XOXO, Cait B.


**Disclaimer- this information is from my personal experience. I do not consider myself an expert on this topic. If you have specific questions regarding your lashes and if extensions are safe for you, talk with your optometrist or with a professional lash technician.**

Christmas Table Decor



I have always loved planning for parties. Organizing the menu, the playlist, and the theme was one of my favorite things to do growing up. Even when I was very young, I would plan “parties” that took place in my bedroom, complete with made-up party games, music and drinks (Dixie-cups filled with water from the bathroom sink.) I would invite my parents and my sister and all my stuffed animals, and they would all put on a charade, acting like it was the event of the year.  As I grew older, my love for planning continued to grow, even as my love for attending parties faded.

I was so blessed to grow up with my mom. Our house was always brilliantly decorated for every holiday in a way that was beautiful but still ‘homey.’ I was so in awe of her inventiveness and her eye for combining simple silk-flowers with other house-hold items and dollar store signs. To this day, I get so much inspiration from her, and her superior hosting skills. I like to think, just as we have similar personalities, we also have similar aesthetic.

When it comes to setting my holiday table, I prefer rich jewel tones. Many people lean toward wintry blues, whites, and silvers or the even more popular farmhouse faded whites and muted greens and gray; but for me, Christmas is all about tradition and nostalgia, and my table reflects that. I like to start with a neutral base. Our table has a light brown tablecloth on it from Walmart. I like this tablecloth for two reasons. First, although the color is brown, it is not one dimensional. It has some gold to it which catches the light, which was a pleasant surprise! (I won’t lie, I had low expectations as it came from Walmart! Sorry WallyWorld!) The second reason I like this tablecloth is because it only cost me about $10.00. If I was to get a similar tablecloth from a home decor store, like Pier 1, it would be three to four times that price! On top of our base, we added neutral placemats which are also from Walmart. These are a chocolatey brown color, but again, have a metallic finish which works well with the gold in the tablecloth. These were about $10.00 for a 4-pack ($2.50 each.)

Next, we add in our plates and flat-ware. The plates and utensils that are pictured are our ‘every-day’ serving-ware. We did not put fancy China on our wedding registry, honestly because it seemed like such a waste! We like our every-day plates, and find that they go with almost everything! (During the times that it does clash, we have plain white square plates from Walmart.) Our current dishes we received as a gift for our wedding. They can be found at Bed Bath and Beyond and are called Noritake® Colorwave Coupe in the color Graphite. (Currently, you can get the four piece place setting for $27.99.) Our flat-ware is also from our wedding registry at Bed Bath and Beyond. They are Artisanal Kitchen Supply® Edge 20-Piece Flatware Place Setting in Satin and are currently $49.99. To finish off the place setting, the glasses on the table are from Bed Bath and Beyond, as well and are Bormioli Rocco Dailyware Bodega Glasses (set of 16) currently priced at $29.99. Be aware that diningware could change with the menu. For example, if you are planning to serve salad make sure you set the table with salad-forks (if you’re all about proper etiquette.) This is the same for glassware, if you are serving wine or special cocktails, be sure you have appropriate glasses (;

Finally, the really fun part! Since the base of this table is very neutral, it is very flexible. It’s the little details that you add to it to change it up that makes it special for your theme or special occasion! For this specific table, I added in red tartan fabric napkins from Marshalls. Marshalls and HomeGoods are in my opinion, the best places to find adorable and affordable quality home decor! For a set of 4, these cost me $6.99, that’s about $1.75 per napkin! I also found a bag of 10 metal cookie-cutters when I was at Marshalls for $8.00. For a cute and unique holiday touch, I placed one on top of each napkin. Not only is this pretty and simple, it is a thoughtful nod to many peoples holiday traditions and memories! (Even if they were not the ones making the cookies, I can guarantee they have memories of eating them!) These cookie-cutters are also great because your guest will have a little something to take home after their visit.

For the center piece, I had a small faux potted fir tree I got years ago from IKEA. If you wanted to recreate this look, you can find faux baby fir trees at Walmart or even the dollar store during the winter months. (You can also use a real baby fir!) I will say, if you are entertaining this tree is a little tall. You could exchange this for a shorter tree, or a simple center piece of fresh holiday flowers. You can also make your own center piece by arranging a display of candles and cranberries or holly. If you are still looking for inspiration, here are 28 Best DIY Christmas Center Pieces, you can do yourself!


Be sure to iron or steam your tablecloth! (oops)

I hope this post gives you some ideas for your holiday table! Like this post if you want to continue to see easy table-scapes and home decorating tips! Share your favorite table decorating tips in the comments! Do you decorate your table for holidays?

XOXO, Cait B.



Adorable little bag that the cookie-cutters were package in!

Two easy DIY Holiday Wreaths


Have you ever walked into Michael’s or Hobby Lobby during the holidays and been awestruck by the beautiful wreaths, only to be struck with sticker shock? Same.

Around Halloween I was on the hunt for a cute wreath and could not find anything cute for less than $60! I was so annoyed that all the wreaths I liked where so expensive when it looked like I could make them myself- and then it hit me, I could make it myself! I took inspiration from some of the wreaths around the store and on Pinterest, then got creative! The first kind of wreath I made was a ribbon wreath.

Here is what you will need, I purchased these items at Michael’s but they can be found at any craft store:

  • A wire wreath base, I used a 16″
  • A variety of different ribbons, approximately 2-3 rolls of each (I used 4 different kinds. One with a solid color, one with a pattern, one with a different texture, and then a thinner glittery one to add some bling and catch the light.)
  • Scissors
  • A ruler (if you want to be precise)
  • A cute sign to go in the center (optional)
  • Extra ribbon for hanging the wreath

To make the wreath you want to start by cutting the ribbon into pieces. I did not use a ruler, I eye-balled about 2-3 inches for each strip. I like the look of the different lengths of ribbon but if you want your final product to look more uniform I would recommend IMG_2983measuring. Once you have your ribbon strips start tying them on the wire frame. There is really no rhyme or reason to the way you tie them on, just make sure there is not one kind of ribbon all in one area, unless you are making a pattern. And that is it! SO simple! Once you have finished tying the ribbon all the way around the frame you can attach your sign for a cute final touch. All that’s left is hanging up your wreath and posting your handy work on insta! You can also substitute the ribbon for tulle to give it a more filled-out look. This wreath cost me about $35; HALF the price of a store-bought wreath!

The second kind of DIY wreath is an ornament wreath. Super cute and festive, especially with Christmas approaching! I made this particular wreath to support my alma mater, Washington State University (Go Cougs!) I used our school colors, crimson and gray and added in some silver. For this wreath you only need a couple things:

  • Straw Wreath Base, 14″
  • Round, shatter proof, plastic ornaments
    (I got mine at Hobby Lobby. I really like the set I got because it included glittery, shiny and matte versions of the colors I was looking for. There are always deals at Hobby Lobby so it is usually fairly reasonable. If you do not have a Hobby Lobby near you, Walmart also has cheap ornaments this time of year.)
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Garland for filler (mine is from Walmart)
  • A way to hang the wreath, I used parachute cord- my husband is in the Army so I had it laying around!

For this wreath you will just need to hot glue the ornaments to the wreath base, gluing the ‘stem’ side down so it cannot be seen when the wreath is hanging. Just like the ribbon cougwreath you can make a pattern with the ornaments, or put them on willy-nilly like I did. Once you like how the ornaments look, cut up your garland and stuff it into the holes. If you are planning on putting your wreath outside, I would add some extra glue to your garland ‘puffs.’ Attach your hook (or parachute cord, ha!) and you are good to go! I added the Cougar logo to mine by printing it off the web and gluing to some sturdy cardboard.
This wreath cost approximately $25!

Voilà! TWO holiday wreaths for the price of one! You can use any type of ribbon or color scheme for these wreaths and you can make a wreath for virtually any occasion. You cannot mess these up, so be as creative as you want! I will say, these wreath can be a little time consuming, so sit down in front of your Christmas tree or menorah and have at it!


Let me know if you recreate either of these wreaths and send me a picture of your final product! Would you like a video tutorial on how to make these wreaths? What are you crafting this season? Let me know in the comment section!

XOXO, Cait B.

Make sure to download the Michael’s and Hobby Lobby mobile apps to receive coupons for extra savings! 50% off of ALL Christmas at Michael’s, going on NOW!