Sunday, July 20, 2014

Berry Cultured Butter with Lifeway Kefir

This shop has been compensated by #collectivebias, Inc. and its advertiser. 
All opinions are mine alone.

Hi friends!

I am usually all about simple recipes. I love quality food that doesn't take a long time. However, some things are worth waiting for.

Cultured butter is one of those things.

The creaminess of butter with the tanginess of yogurt. Yes, please! It gets even better when you use something delicious like the flavors that Lifeway Kefir offers. Throw in some fresh berries and now you really have something amazing!

Ready to make the most amazing butter you have ever had? Here is what you need:
  • 1 quart heavy whipping cream 
  • 1/3 Cup Lifeway Kefir
  • a pinch of salt
  • berries of choice 
  • a large jar or bowl

OK, here we go...

Pour your cream and your kefir into your jar. Cover it up and let it sit out for 36-48 hours. Yes, that long. I didn't make it up, go ask America's Test Kitchen. Lift the lid to let out any pressure and give it a shake every now and then. The cultures in the kefir will be growing and multiplying and doing their cultury thing. 

Give your cream a taste. It should have that nice tang to it. When my cream came out of the jar it looked like this:

See how it got all thick and lucious? It's like yogurt, is yogurt!  Go ahead and add your salt. Now it is ready to churn. What? You don't have a butter churn? Well neither do I, so you're all good! You can use your stand mixer or your blender. You pick! I used my stand mixer and mixed my cultured cream on 6. You're going to want to throw a towel over it while your mixing. Trust me on this one

After a minute or two the solids and liquids will start to separate. Take a break from churning and pour off the liquid. Look what you have now...buttermilk! I don't know about you, but I never have buttermilk when I need it, and I never use a whole carton. I threw this into ice cube trays, so now I have it waiting whenever I need it!

Now go back to churning. In theory, the solid/liquid separating process should start again. For some reason mine didn't, and it just sort of became whipped butter. I'm totally OK with that. At this point I threw in some cut up berries and mixed it for just a few more seconds. That took me from this:

to this!

You might want to eat it with a spoon at this point. Some people might judge you for that. Not me.

This is way more butter than you want sitting in your fridge. One of the great things about butter is that is freezes beautifully! Use a spatula to scoop portions of butter onto some plastic wrap.

Roll up the plastic wrap and twist the ends until you have a nice little bundle. Throw those babies into the freezer. Now you have cultured berry deliciousness any time you want it!

Make sure you keep a little bit out to eat now. Spread it on toast, put it on your waffles. Stuffed french toast with berry cultured butter? Yep.

Want to find even more ways to use Lifeway Kefir? Check out #kefircreations on Instagram and Twitter! You can even sign up HERE for coupons!

Have you ever had cultured butter?
What would you spread it on?

Be blessed!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

How To Throw A Simple Frozen Party Without Losing Your Mind (or blowing your budget!)

Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale - Up to 92% Off! 

 Hey there friends!

Abbey turned 5 last month. FIVE!

And, like every other 5 year old girl on the planet, she wanted a Frozen party.
I love throwing themed parties. I really do! They give me a direction for planning, and get my creative juices flowing. Her rainbow party was so much fun to do! However, it can be so easy to see all of those beautiful parties on Pinterest and get a little jealous. I can't ice custom cookies, I don't have 15 cake stands, and let's be honest...those parties take a budget much larger than mine! They are beautiful, and lots of fun, but you can absolutely throw a great themed party with an every day skill set, and a small budget.

Here are my favorite ways to keep it simple:

Simple Decorations
Even with a theme, I try to stay away from the super theme specific stuff. Rather than decorating with pictures of Anna and Elsa, I created a mini winter wonderland. Some easy-peasy tulle pom poms and some snowflakes easily transformed our deck. Think outside the box for your decorations. Ignore the big party stores and hit up your local craft stores. The snowflakes came in a pack of 24 in the wedding section of all places! Thinking in terms of "white and sparkly" instead of "Frozen" really helped me find things in my budget.

Simple Treats
I keep food simple at parties. Our local grocery store makes amazing fried chicken, so we usually do that and simple sandwich fixings. Add in some picnic sides (fruit, veggies, chips...) and some lemonade and you are all set! However, I do like to let the sweet treats help with the theme. This time it was cupcakes. I love cupcakes for birthday parties. Everyone get some without the hassle of cutting and passing! Again, I went with white and sparkly. White cake, white frosting, edible glitter and white candy balls. 

Due to my previously mentioned lack of cake stands, I picked up a plain cardboard cupcake stand. Easy on the budget, but not all that pretty. A quick addition of one of the snowflakes from the deck adding a nice little flair. This looked beautiful on the gift table!

Another thing that I like to keep simple is goodie bags. How many times have you come home from a kids party with a bag full of candy and toys that just get tossed in the trash? Why waste the money? I made some of this Frozen slime from Growing a Jeweled Rose. I put it in some gift tins from Hobby Lobby and wrapped those in glitter tape. Done! Everyone gets a fun treat to take home for less than $10!

Simple Fun
I am a firm believer in the idea that kids are perfectly capable of having fun on their own. For that reason, I like to make sure that birthday parties have a good combination of free play time and fun activities. For this party we had two crafts.

1. Snow painting
This one was easy. Blue construction paper, some rhinestone stickers and some cloud paint. Ready, set, paint! All the kids had a great time creating just like Elsa!

2. Do You Want To Build A Snowman pops
The kids had a lot of fun with this one. Here is what you need:
  • craft sticks
  • marshmallows
  • chocolate chips
  • carrot noses (starburst, shaped into carrots)
  • pretzels
  • frosting
  • toothpicks

Each child got to build their own snowman. Use the toothpicks to stick pieces on with frosting. 


Want some other craft and game options? I've put together some of the best stuff out there in this Pinterest board!
Follow Heather's board Frozen Fun on Pinterest.
And there you go! A Frozen birthday party that is full of frosty fun without draining your budget. It may not make any of the big party planning websites, but it sure was fun!
Do you like throwing parties?
What is your favorite tip for entertaining on a budget?

Be blessed!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Share Your Story Saturday

Hi friends! 

I'm co-hosting Share Your Story Saturday again this week. There were some great link ups last week. I would love to see even more this week! 


I will choose a few favorites to highlight next week during our Share your Story Blog Hop.

The fabulous hosts:
Becky at Tales of Beauty for Ashes (host)
Please send me (Becky) an email at talesofbeautyforashes at gmail if you would like to cohost!
I have some awesome co-hosts this week, please stop by and say hello to them:
Keri at Living in This Season (cohost)
Heather at It’s a Long Story (cohost)

Here are my favorites from last week:

This adorable Western Themed Party at Apples to Applique Blog. 
My husband grew up going to and working at a guest resort ranch, so I am sure there is a cowboy themed birthday party in our future! I want to learn to do a bandana cake like that!

FREE Printable Western-Themed Pennant Banner (includes all letters and numbers) | Apples to Applique #western #party #cowboy #cowgirl #birthday

DIY Foaming Hand Soap from Little Leaf Life. 
I am learning more and more about Essential Oils, and I actually have all of these ingredients right now! Abbey just ran out of bathroom soap in a foaming pump, so this is perfect timing!

Alright, that was the fun last week, now let's get this party started!
Link up below, then take a moment or two to find a new blog and leave a comment.

Be blessed!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Get Ready for Kindergarten with LeapFrog!

This post is sponsored by Leap Frog. All opinions are 100% my own.  
Hi friends!

At this point it's pretty much common knowledge that we're big LeapFrog fans around here. When I learned about the new Get Ready For Kindergarten series I knew it was going to be fantastic! The new series includes a game cartridge for the Leap Pad, as well as books and activities for the Leap Reader pen. Both series center around four students, Chris, Pilar, Daniel and Grace, who are starting Kindergarten. Throughout the games the learn new skills, explore their new classroom and have lots of fun!

Take a look at the Leap Pad game:

Abbey loves this game!
 Math is her favorite subject, so she spends lots of time playing Counting in the Dragon Cafe. She loves the dragons. I love that it keeps her challenged. Leap Frog is so good at making games that really stay just a step ahead of kids, while not letting them feel overwhelmed. It is the perfect combination of confidence and challenge.
Another thing I love about these games is that it gives Abbey the chance to practice skills that we aren't actively working on anymore. Just because she knows how to write her letters doesn't mean she shouldn't still practice. Just because she knows her letter sounds doesn't mean a little review is a bad thing. Kids naturally stop doing things when they are ready to move on. If she wants to keep practicing letter, I say go for it!
Next up is the Leap Reader collection:
This is a great set! 3 books, 45 skill building activities, and over 30 sheets of mess-free practice pages! 
This set focuses on Math, Reading and Science, with one book for each subject.

Each book can be read aloud, either independently or with the help of the Reader pen. And, like other Reader books, there are built in activities. On top of all the fun in the books, there are all of these great puzzle pages! They all work with the Reader pen for mess-free play.

One cute addition to this set is the daily calendar. Circle time is a huge part of the Kindergarten experience, and this poster is a great way to get kids used to that piece of the day. We'll be adding it to our routine!
I cannot say enough good things about these two new Leap Frog products. They are already well loved here in our house. I love that I can count on the fact that they are developed by educators, specifically focused on quality and appropriate developmental skills. I love that Abbey sees these games as a treat, not work. I love that they keep her challenged and motivated.

Don't have a Kindergartener? Want to see what else Leap Frog has to offer to get your child ready for their next grade? Check out the Summer Success Resource Center!

What do you do to get ready for a new school year?
Do your kids struggle with "summer slide"?

Be blessed!

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