Mel's Favorite Things Birthday Giveaway!

It's my Birthday!
Which means it's time for:
{me on my 5th Birthday}

So, what are some of my Favorite Things?
Let's see......

Giveaway # 1 - Lil Blue BooLil Blue Boo is all about encouraging others to find their creative streak through our DIY Blog, Sewing Patterns and Clothing Line.
The Lil Blue Boo blog is where a love of sewing, painting, printing, power tools, recycling and motherhood all collide. This is where you will find a wide variety of tutorials, free downloads, business and photography tips, and so much more.
The pattern line grew out of a love of new and reclaimed knits. Sewing patterns by Lil Blue Boo are easy enough for a beginner, but include a variety of options for advanced sewers.
I love Lil Blue Boo. I first found out about Ashley & her clothing in 2009. My first purchase from her was a dress for Kate (see below) it was for Kate's 3rd Birthday Photo Shoot and was one of the first purple items I bought for Kate. I also had them custom design a ladybug dress for Claire's 2nd Birthday Ladybug Party last year. All their clothing is up-cycled.
Lil Blue Boo is giving away their ENTIRE pattern collection (12 patterns!!!!) to one lucky reader!
If you can sew, this giveaway is perfect for you!!!
Find Lil Blue Boo here:
Blog * Shop * Facebook

Giveaway #2 - Totally Desperate Mom

My friend Wendy (aka the Totally Desperate Mom)
wrote a book & it came out last year!
I read it last summer & it is a must read for all mom's out there!
It will make you laugh, make you cry & make you feel better about yourself.
Wendy is also one of my favorite people & I am so thankful for her friendship
(and for her girls that are buddies with my girls)
Wendy will send one lucky person a signed copy of her book!

Find Wendy here:
Blog * Book * Facebook * Twitter

Giveaway #3 - Funky Vintage Lovely

I won a giveaway on April's blog a few weeks ago & I won one of her super cute Keep Calm & Carry On necklaces. (I also have a pair of her adorable mum earrings)
April's shop is full of funky & lovely jewelry (and other products) which are vintage inspired. She is inspired by color and texture. She only create items she would personally wear, use or decorate her home with.
The necklace came at the perfect time, right after I wrote Claire's Terrible Two's post.
But, I must Keep Calm & Carry On! And, you can too!
April is giving away a Keep Calm & Carry On necklace to one of my readers!
In your choice of green or aqua!

April is also offering my readers a 10% off discount on purchases in her shop which is full of fun earrings, rings, necklaces, bobbie pins, pillows & more!
Use code: HAPPY10

Find Funky Vintage Lovely here:
Blog * Shop * Facebook * Twitter

Giveaway #4 - Gussy Sews

Do you like ruffles? I LOVE ruffles & I love Gussy.
I have one of her laptop bags, but her shop is full of other fun ruffley goodness.
Tote Bags, Zippered Pouches, Ipad covers, Headbands & more!
All with that signature Gussy ruffle!
Gussy is giving away a $40 store credit to her shop!
Find Gussy here:
Blog * Shop * Facebook * Twitter

Giveaway # 5 - Primele Studios

Primele is the design studio of sisters Patricia, Rachel, and Kim Mumau.
They create calligraphy stationery stamps, custom wedding invitations and addressing.
I have one of their return address stamps & I LOVE it.
They just developed a new stationery line called Fawnsberg.
Fawnsberg is the product of our enthusiasm and home of our new stationery papers. in the spirit of our love for letter writing, we are devoting the debut of our line solely to boxed letter sheet sets. our hope is that these designs will bring your most delightful everyday reflections, your most affectionate thoughts, and your coziest words of warmth to paper for those you love.
They will be giving away a boxed set of Cora Boquet, one of their new stationary sets.
Boxed set contains 20 printed and 30 blank letter sheets, 20 tissue lined rose envelopes, and a convenient line guide for those who like to write neat notes. 6.125 x 7.625 inches.

Find Primele here:
Stamps * Stationary * Website

Giveaway #6 - Shabby Apple

Have you heard of Shabby Apple?
I am in love with Shabby Apple Dresses.
They are an online dress boutique selling women’s dresses, casual dresses, skirts, and women’s apparel. They recognize that finding the perfect dress can sometimes be challenging, which is why strive to design highly fashionable dresses for all types of women.
Shabby Apple now has a jewelry line & they are giving away their Key to my Heart Necklace to one of you!
They are also offering a 10% off code for all my readers!
Use code larsonlingo10off which is good for the next 30 days!
Find Shabby Apple here:
Shop * Facebook * Twitter

Giveaway #7 - Baby be Blessed

Baby be Blessed is a doll ministry, spreading the Word of God...one handmade doll at a time.
They offer personalized dolls for boys & girls and have personalized stuffed animals.

Baby be Blessed is a doll ministry. We are a family of stay at home Christian Moms who love the Lord and desire to share His hope and truth! Each handmade doll has the child's name on it & a verse printed on a patch & sewn to their belly. Our mission and deepest desire is for each child to know, understand and live for Jesus Christ.
Last Easter, I bought my girls personalized dolls from Baby be Blessed.
Each doll is handmade & personalized by you!
You get to pick hair color & you get to personalize the font, the name & the scripture you want on the doll. The scripture I picked for my girls was the ones that we read at their dedications.
My girls love that their dolls have their names on them!
Baby Be Blessed is giving away a $56 gift certificate to their shop, which is the price of a personalized doll of your choice!

Visit Baby be Blessed here:
Blog * Shop * Facebook * Twitter

Giveaway #8 - Ruffled Sunshine

Meet Jen of Ruffled Sunshine:
My shop has become my way to contribute to raising money for our adoption expenses. It is one of the best ways for me to be a stay at home Mama to Ivy and feel like I'm helping out. I have several styles of shopping bags along with a few other things. The best part about each one of the bags that is sold, I'll be donating a book to the Joyful Life Library. It's a triple win. Babies get books, I get a baby, you get a bag!

Jen is giving away one of her handmade tote bags!
I love her cute bags and I love that for every bag that is purchased she donates a book to my friend Heather's Joyful Life Library that I support!
I love people who do things for other people out of the goodness of their hearts!
Find Ruffled Sunshine here:

Giveaway #9 - Allora Handmade
Allora Handmade
Please tell me you have heard of Allora Handmade!
If you haven't, you are missing out!
Allora Handmade is known for their rosette necklaces, like this one that I have:
But she also makes a variety of handmade fabric rosette accessories like earrings, bracelets & headbands for women & little girls!
I love the wide diversity of gorgeous colors and products offered! Just look at all these lovely colors to choose from! These colors make me happy!
One lucky person will get $25 gift certificate to Allora Handmade!
Find Allora Handmade here:
Blog * Shop * Facebook * Twitter

Giveaway #10 - The Pleated Poppy

the pleated poppy blog
Meet Lindsey of The Pleated Poppy:
I am married to an incredibly supportive husband and am mom to 3 littles, 7 and under. my days are full of sewing, trying to enjoy home schooling, crafting, snuggling, avoiding the laundry, sneaking bites of chocolate, and wondering “is it naptime yet?”. I am also the fabric-hoarding, late-night working girl behind the pleated poppy, my little online shop where i get to create bits of goodness and send them out to customers far and wide.

Lindsey also hosts the weekly, "What I Wore Wednesdays" party.
Her shop is full of fun handmade products....bags, purses, pouches, pins, ipad cases, covered notebooks & more!
Love her petal pusher pins:
And, my favorite thing, her ruffled scarves!
I have one of Lindsey's adorable ruffled scarves in mustard. I wore it so much this Spring.
I LOVE it!
Guess what?
Lindsey is giving away one of her Ruffled Scarves to one of you!
Look at all the beautiful colors you can choose from:
Find The Pleated Poppy here:
Blog * Shop * Facebook * Twitter

I'm so excited for this massive giveaway of my favorite things and hope you are too!
10 giveaways & 10 lucky winners!

Here is how you can enter:
1. Mandatory Entry:
Tell me your favorite birthday gift that you have ever received OR given.
{My favorite birthday gift that I gave was when I surprised Kevin with a puppy (our yellow lab Boulder) for his 30th birthday}

Additional Entries:
2. Follow my blog
3. Tweet, Blog or Facebook about this giveaway

I hope some of my Favorite Things become some of YOUR Favorite Things!
Giveaway ends next Sunday, June 5th and winners will be announced Monday, June 6th.
Winners will be chosen via www.random.org
This is not a sponsored post.
All of the people hosting giveaways are doing it out of the kindness of their hearts because they are Awesome! Be sure to support these shops if you ever need gifts for yourself or others!

***********Giveaway Now Closed***********
Winners will be Announced June 6, 2011


End of the School Year {2011} + A Free Printable

Kate's school year ended this week
(I still have 2 more weeks left....Summer is almost here!)
Kate loves school & was so sad it was ending.
She has just thrived in the school setting this year.
Look home much she has physically grown this year:
And, here is a "self portrait" that she did in school the first week & the last week.
I can't believe how much her art has improved in 9 months!
In honor of the last day of school, we made her teachers some gifts.
I totally dropped the ball during Teacher Appreciation Week & didn't get them any presents.
Mom Fail. Mom who is a teacher FAIL.

I asked Kate what she wanted to make her teachers & she said cupcakes.
(We make a lot of cupcakes around here!)
So, we made Mason Jar Cupcakes.
So easy to make. You make any flavor cupcake.
I made my Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes.
Take them out of the liners, place one at the bottom of a mason jar, add some frosting, add another cupcake & then more frosting.
I added some mini chocolate chips on top for fun:
Then, put on the lid & add some ribbon for decoration.
I also made personalized stickers for each jar:
And, I added a spoon so they can eat it right then :)
I had Kate decorate the bags as her "Thank You Note"
She had a fun year of school & had really great teachers.
She is already asking when school starts again.
She told me yesterday that she loves school so much and wants to be a teacher like Mommy when she grows up.
And, she wants to be a swim teacher in the summer.
(First, she needs to learn how to swim!)

I still can't believe how fast this school year went for Kate.
Hoping the next 2 weeks fly by for me!
It has been a LONG week for me at school, this 3 day weekend has come at a perfect time.
Hope you have a nice Memorial Day Weekend.
So thankful for those who have risked their lives for our freedom.

And, don't forget to come back Monday for "Mel's Favorite Things Birthday Giveaway!"

Here is the printable for you to use!

Vanilla ButterCream Frosting Version:
{Click to download. Right click & then Save.}

Coffee Buttercream Version:
 {Click to download. Right click & then Save.}


My first (and last) post about Oprah.

Today is the day.
Oprah's final show.
In college, I have fond memories of watching Oprah everyday at 4pm after soccer practice.
And, during the summer after college, I would get home from working at soccer camp and relax by watching Oprah.
Before we had kids, I would come home from school & everyday at 4:00 I would sit on my couch drinking a Diet Coke, eat Wheat Thins, grade math tests and watch Oprah.
Pretty much every single day. Ahhh..those were the days. Ha!
But, since having the girls, watching Oprah everyday has certainly not been a priority.
I just don't have time to watch her everyday.
So, I just DVR episodes that look interesting.
But, now that is all coming to a close.
My Bucket List item of being an audience member at the Oprah show isn't going to happen.
Have you been watching this week?
Will you watch her farewell show today?
You could make some cupcakes & these Oprah cupcake toppers.
LinkAren't they awesome?
I will miss Oprah's different hairstyles.
I will miss her fun & entertaining guests.
Do you have a favorite Oprah show?
My favorite one was the 2 part series on Hoarders a few years ago.
And, of course the Tom Cruise jumping on the couch one was hysterical (and embarrassing)
I will miss Dave Letterman telling Oprah jokes on the Late Show.
And, of course I will especially miss her "Oprah's Favorite Things Show"
Those were the best!
Speaking of Favorite Things....be sure to check my blog next week.
In honor of my birthday next week, I will be doing a "Mel's Favorite Things Giveaway" on Monday! You won't want to miss out!


Easiest Dinner Ever.

Get ready for one of the easiest meals ever.
This is the most viewed recipe on my blog. You either love it or your hate it :)

Of course it involves the crock pot!

I have also converted this to an Instant Pot recipe, Click HERE for the Instant Pot version.

Here is what you need:
- Bag of frozen Chicken Breast Tenderloins (2.5-3lb bag)
- 8 oz block of cream cheese (don't use Fat Free! 1/3 less fat or regular is fine)
- Can of Black Beans, drained & rinsed. (or Pinto Beans if you prefer)
- Can of Corn, drained.
- Can of Rotel

Put frozen chicken in the crock pot.
Put Cream cheese on top of the chicken.
Dump in the Black Beans (make sure they are drained & rinsed!!!)
Dump in the drained corn.
Dump in the Rotel,
Cover & cook in your Crock Pot on low for 6-8 hours.
Every 2 hours, I stir the ingredients.
You can shred the chicken when it is done, or just leave it as tenderloins.
This is what it looks like after 6 hours:
I turn the crock pot off & let it sit for about 30-45 minutes.
It is a little soupy, but letting it sit causes it to not be as soupy.
I serve this over rice. The rice soaks up some of the soupy-ness.
It makes a lot, it feeds 6-8 adults. You could have it for dinner a couple nights & for lunch.
I actually like it better on the 2nd day, when it isn't as soupy.

UPDATE MAY 2017: I have also converted this to an Instant Pot Recipes....click HERE to see the Instant Pot directions for Easiest Dinner Ever! 

So, you could make this the day before & then keep it in your fridge overnight.
When we have it on a leftover day, sometimes I combine the rice & the cream cheese chicken mixture and use it for burritos. Add a tortilla, some lettuce, cheese & salsa.
Easy. Good. Healthy.
And, you could use pinto beans instead of black beans.
Make a tostada or a rice bowl.
So many options!
Whatever floats your boat!

I don't even have a name for it.
I call it "Cream Cheese Crock Pot Chicken"
But, it is like Cream Cheese Chicken Goodness.
Call it whatever you want. It is yummy & so easy to make!

***Edited to Add***
Some of you have said there isn't much of a kick, so if you want to add more flavors, you can add a packet of taco seasoning, or a packet of dry ranch dressing mix, or use Hot Rotel (or Hot Salsa).


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