Thursday, July 24, 2014

5 Irristible Summer Desserts

While this time of year is considered the dog days of summer, we're really only a little more than halfway through. There is still plenty of time from now through Labor Day for BBQs, picnics, and weekend or day trips. In fact, take it a couple weeks past Labor Day and, weather permitting, keep feeling that summer sunshine. I encourage you all to make the time for a summer outing and when you're planning your outdoor menu, choose one of these delicious summer desserts!


Pistachio Triple Layer Bars from Lady Behind the Curtain. I'm a huge fan of pistachio, so when I saw this recipe, I immediately had to try it. It's a bit more of a formal dessert, but it's beautiful, decadent, delicious, and really not hard to make. It doesn't get much better than that!



Raspberry Cheesecake Bars from Midwest Living. Raspberry, cheesecake, and almond are a refreshing and delicious combination for these summer dessert bars. They look as good as they taste! Make these ahead of time, so they are nice and chilled for serving.



Coca Cola Cake from My Recipes. I have to admit I have not made this yet, but it looks too good to pass up. This is now on my list for my next baking adventure!


Cherry Peach Galette from Eat Drink Love. Nothing tastes quite like summer than the combination of peaches and cherries! This is a great dessert for a BBQ and paired with a nice sweet wine.



Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Milkshakes from The Stay At Home Chef. Delight your guests and revisit your childhood with these tasty milkshakes. Whether you choose to buy the sauces or make your own, these are sure to be a hit!


Have a happy day!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Thoughtful Presence Giveaway: Take a Break with our Summer Spa Gift Set

It's the latter half. You're wondering why the summer goes so fast. You're wishing vacation was still ahead of you instead of behind. And you're starting to seriously think about back-to-school. Well, folks, this is it: the dog days of summer.

But rather than feeling anxious that September will come too fast, or dwelling on the fact that summer is too short, take a break. Relax. Renew your spirit. Make a list of 10 summer things you can still accomplish before Labor Day. Then schedule them, so they don't slip by undone.

For me, July and August are spent planning for the rest of the year, especially Christmas. And boy if that doesn't rush things along! But I still take time to water my garden, plan a picnic, and squeeze in one more camping trip.

And to help you along with your dog days relaxation, we're giving away a summer spa gift set, perfect for gifting yourself or someone else if the occasion fits.


And tell us in the comments what is one thing you've yet to accomplish between now and Labor Day?


Have a happy day!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

July Product Review and Giveaway!

Today we kicked off a great giveaway along with a product review in partnership with Eighty MPH Mom blog! It's been awhile since we offered a gift card giveaway, and we're thrilled to bring this your way! Eighty MPH Mom has great ideas and finds for food, crafts, DIY and more! So head on over and check it out. There are lots of great ways to enter, and you could win a 50.00 gift card to our store!

 Product Review and Giveaway

Have a happy day! (oh, and Good Luck!)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Favorite Recipe: Caesar Potato Salad with Sugar Snap Peas

I love a good potato salad for any summer BBQ, but not so much the rich ones made with lots of mayo. I like the flavor but not the calories! This potato salad from Bon Apetit became a favorite a few years ago. It's a lighter potato salad with a nice mix of veggies and tasty Caesar dressing. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
  • 1.5 lbs. unpeeled fingerling potatoes or baby potatoes, cut crosswise into 1/2 inch slices
  • 8 oz. trimmed sugar snap peas
  • 3-4 radishes, trimmed, thinly sliced 
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 T. lemon juice
  • 1 T. Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Steam potatoes over boiling water until almost tender, about 10 minutes. 
  2. Add sugar snap peas and steam until peas are crisp-tender and potatoes are just tender, 1 minute longer. 
  3. Transfer vegetables to large bowl. Cool slightly. Add radishes and onion. 
  4. Whisk next 4 ingredients in small bowl to blend. Whisk in Parmesan. Season dressing with salt and generous amount of pepper. 
  5. Add dressing to potato mixture; toss to coat.Season with more salt and pepper, if desired. Serve warm or at room temp.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Fun Kids' Crafts for Your Fourth of July

Whether you're preparing handmade decor for your 4th of July party, making gifts for the grandparents, or just looking for a fun 4th of July activity, these fun 4th of July craft ideas are super cute, easy, and make a beautiful finished display! Enjoy!

The kids are sure to enjoy wearing this American flag shirt on the 4th and all summer long!

Photo taken from Kids Activities Blog

 These popsicle stick flags from Moms by Heart are great to make and save to use year after year. Give them to Grandparents as a gift and they will be delighted to display them year round!

 Popsicle stick flags from MomsbyHeart
Photo taken from Gingersnap Crafts

This garland from Girl Loves Glam is so easy to make and will be a favorite for scrapbookers since you probably already have this paper on hand! (I know I do!) Vary your designs according to the paper you choose - a great idea for all occasions.

Photo taken from Girl Loves Glam

These suncatchers from The Suburban Mom are easy to make, and can be hung in the window or outside to bask in the sunshine.

 The Suburban Mom suncatchers
Photo taken from The Suburban Mom

Who doesn't love the age-old craft of rock painting. Fun for kids to create their own designs and display as part of your table setting, around the garden or give as gifts. Love these!

Photo taken from MultiplesandMore.com

Happy 4th of July and enjoy your crafting!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Our Favorite Fourth of July Recipes

While I've been scouring the web for recipe ideas for our 4th of July BBQ, I've captured some of the best looking festive foods to share with you. Most are easy and one is a bit more challenging, but all are perfect for an Independence Day bash. Pick the one that works for you and let me know how it goes.


For a great salad, these lettuce wedges are all-American and summer refreshing! Add some chopped tomatoes and crumbled bleu cheese if you'd like!

Photo taken from allyou.com

If you like a traditional macaroni salad, you can't go wrong with this all-American favorite from allrecipes.com, Amish Macaroni Salad. It's pretty traditional in flavor but includes dill pickle relish for a sweet and tangy twist. This is one of my personal favorites!

Photo taken from allrecipes.com

And for a couple of main dish options, still in the category of all-American BBQ, savory burgers from feedmephoebe and Carolina style BBQ chicken from Food Network.

Photo taken from feedmephoebe.com

Photo taken from foodnetwork.com



And for desserts, I give you one easy recipe and one challenger!

From The Rebel Chick, this berry and brownie trifle looks oh so festive and quite tempting!

Photo taken from therebelchick.com

And my ultimate challenger comes from BHG and includes video instruction, so if you're feeling ambitious and time allows, give these shooting star cookies a go. They look so much fun to make and eat!

Photo taken from bhg.com
Have a happy day!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Blog Roundup - Top 5 Posts of All Time



Every time I look at my blog, I think of ideas for a redesign. Between creating gift baskets, enhancing Thoughtful Presence website, planning contests and giveaways (hint, hint, one is coming soon!), it's hard to find the time (um, or budget) to redesign my lifestyle blog. Ah well, one of these days, it will happen!

The other day, as I was looking at the site, I recognized that my top blog post of all time had over 1100 views. That might not be a lot for some bigger blogs, but for me, it was a big deal! That post was written about puzzles over a year ago. Who knew so many people were into puzzles! It was actually about Scramble Squares, specifically.  I know from calls I've received over time that Scramble Squares are very popular and can be hard to find. Last Christmas I sold a bunch of them to a customer who wanted them for all of her nieces and nephews. No gift baskets needed, just the puzzles.

Anyway, that got me thinking it's time for a roundup of my top blog posts of all time. So I haven't done a weekly roundup or monthly as some blogs do, but I do enjoy some of my old posts and if you haven't seen them, you may enjoy them too. So after this roundup, I may occasionally republish some of my old favorites, hoping you will enjoy them again too!

Stay tuned, and here are my top 5:

Unique Gift Ideas, Themed Puzzles Add Pizzazz

Unique Party Themes and Gift Baskets - In Celebration of the Hot Air Balloon

5 Baby Shower Themes to Love

New Baby Gift Baskets - Something for Everyone

10 Fun Healthy Snacks for Kids


Have a happy day!