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Cinco de Mayo free printable

Tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo, which for us means homemade Mexican Food! I have been out of town so I haven’t had much time to prepare or plan this year. But that is not going to stop me from still having a delicious menu and bright colors to decorate with!

If you are prepping last minute like me and need some colorful printables, I have one for you (actual size 2″):

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All you have to do is download, print and cut.

Use this on your table (I’m using it on my plates to add a little flair!), as a fun sign for food (think guacamole) or as a cupcake topper. My favorite idea is to tape 2 of these back to back on a long shish-kabob skewer and put it in a vase with flowers. I’d love to see this in a bouquet of sunflowers!

Our menu plan is: Carne Asada tacos with all the fixings, homemade garden salsa, chili con carne, and corn chips. For dessert: Fruit Salsa and cinnamon pita chips. I found some beautiful mangoes, apples, pears, blackberries and kiwi for our fruit salsa. Ole!

And because my husband insisted we may also be having TAPIOCA PUDDING! (Does that even qualify as an approved dessert on Cindo de Mayo?!) Either way, it is delicious!

Here are the free printables for you: (be sure to like my page first here:

Then download the printables with the link below this picture:

fiesta-tags-full-page

fiesta tags full page (personal use only. I’d love for you to share these, but point back to my site for credit. Please do not alter, sell, or claim as your own. Thanks!)

I’d love to hear about your plans for Cinco de Mayo.

May your days be filled with sunshine,
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kari-smelling-roses

The Flower Fields

We just got back from a glorious vacation to Southern California and oh, how I loved the weather over there! But my absolute favorite part of our trip was the visit to the Flower Fields in Carlsbad, California. The Flower Fields are only in bloom in April (thru Mother’s Day) and the flowers grow in beautiful stripes of color on the side of the hill!

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I probably took well over 100 pictures while we were there because I was so delighted at every angle of these fields of flowers. The ranunculas are certainly the star of the show and they cover about 55 acres of land.

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These pictures don’t even do the beautiful scene justice, but I hope it gives you some of the inspiration we felt while we were there. You are not allowed to walk into the fields of flowers (don’t try it because there are guards in little golf carts watching you!), however there are some green carpets laid down so you can walk into each color stripe of flowers about 5 feet in. That is how we got to take some really fun pictures that look like we are in the middle of the field of flowers:

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The sun was shining, the breeze was blowing and it was a perfect 72 degrees that day. Haven’t you always wanted to frolic in flowers?! Opa  didn’t want to kneel in the flowers, so he stood there holding a yellow ranuncula…he doesn’t have the same look of wonder on his face, but believe me, he loved these flowers fields like the rest of us did!

The workers at the Flower Fields are busy picking the most beautiful ranunculas to bundle up in a set of 10 flowers. They  bundle 12,000 up in a day to be delivered asap to the shops and stores that have already ordered them. 12,000 a DAY!! That’s a lot of flower bundles. And I must admit, I wanted to take a bundle home with me!

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They did have other flowers there besides ranunculas. Like this Planter of Petunias. And a trellis garden filled with amazing-ness:

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There was also a greenhouse filled with Orchids, a greenhouse filled with Poinsettias, and a maze made out of sweet peas. And of course a complete Nursery of flowers available for sale as you leave. And don’t forget the ROSE garden!

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The flowers that grow in Southern California are just amazing! My husband and I have always loved flowers and gardens, and it is such a treat for us to notice all the color and beauty growing in California.

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If you get an opportunity, go see the Flower Fields at Carlsbad…it may be the perfect Mother’s Day gift to take your mother (or grandmother)! I hope you enjoyed this tour of the Flower Fields!

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May your days be filled with sunshine,
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Dose of Sunshine Monday — Choose to Be Happy

Happy Monday! Today, I will leave you with one simple idea: If you have a choice, choose to be happy.

I am working on this at times there are things that bother me, but I remind myself that I do have a choice! And I can choose to continue to worry, or I can choose to be happy. It’s much more fun to be happy! Have you mastered this?

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Have a super-great week filled with happy!

May your days be filled with sunshine,
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thinking-of-you-citrus-small

How to make an Orange Slice out of Felt (and a free printable)

Today I am going to show you how to make that felt orange slice that we used to adorn our Orange Blossom Cookies.

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It is incredibly easy to make and looks surprisingly realistic next to real orange slices. You only need: Orange felt in 2 shades, white felt, ribbon, needle & thread, fabric glue.

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Watch the quick video tutorial below: (and please leave some nice comments if you are watching on YouTube)

Voila! Nice and easy, right? And it adds a little somethin’ somethin’ to your orangey gifts! Think of using it for more than just orange cookies; Tie one around a mason jar or carafe of Orange Juice, Wrap up a bag of oranges and use it to dress them up. Actually, it doesn’t even have to be an orange gift, but it does let the recipient know what to expect.

If you are ready to try the best orange cookies ever, then click here for the recipe!

Now, as promised…here is the free printable to use with your felt orange slices. (This is for personal use only. Please do not reproduce, claim as your own or sell. Thank you!)

thinking-of-you-citrus-small

(The download will not have my website on it)

Like my page here:

Then download the pdf version here:

thinking of you

May your days be filled with sunshine,
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two-cookies-with-orange-slices

Orange Blossoms (a favorite recipe)

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We have four beautiful orange trees and today they were calling to me. One of my favorite things is to enjoy the fruit from our CITRUS trees here in Arizona. We have a new lemon and lime tree, too, and I’m hoping soon they will produce! But now, it’s time to harvest the rest of these sweet oranges and MAKE something. I went to pick some low hanging fruit and came in with a basket just full of oranges ready to juice, zest, and slice.

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Aren’t they beautiful!? Of course, we love our fresh-squeezed orange juice, but today I’m thinking my very favorite orange cookies: Orange Blossoms. My sister, who lives in Utah, made these the other day and sent me a picture…she said “These cookies always remind me of you!” So thank you, dear sister, for the inspiration!

I will warn you now: this post has a lot of pictures! I couldn’t help it…these darlings made such a photogenic subject and I got a little carried away. I even got my husband in on the picture taking (you will see his picture at the end of the post).

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I love the simple ingredients: oranges, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, brown sugar, eggs, butter, and buttermilk. We just happened to have some buttermilk on hand that I needed to use up, but if you don’t have buttermilk you can add a little lemon juice to regular milk (see how to do this here).

{Have you used one of these microplane zesters? It’s one of my favorite tools in the kitchen, especially when I’m working with citrus!}

Mix up the ingredients and drop by tablespoons onto a cookie sheet. Today, I made them regular sized, but if I’m having a ladies’ lunch or tea party, I will make them half this size. And they turn out so cute!

on-cookie-sheet

Bake them up and while they are baking, make the orange glaze. It’s a simple mixture of butter, powdered sugar, orange zest, and orange juice. You will want to frost these cookies while they are still warm because the frosting melts and enrobes the cookies a little bit.

I love these little cookies. They are more cake-like and when you bite into them it is just. like. heaven.

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Can you see the bits of orange zest in the frosting? There is zest in both the cookie dough AND the frosting, which adds up to a great citrus-y kick of flavor!

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Doesn’t this make a pretty picture? It screams luncheon (or tea party) to me! Or the next best thing: which is to wrap them up pretty and take them to some of my favorite people.

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OK. That orange slice (out of felt!) and printable is so cute for this little gift! Click here to get instructions on how to make it AND get the free printable!

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This is the fantastic photo my husband captured with all the prettiness and citrus colors! I love it.

So, will you go try this recipe and just see if you love these delicious Orange Blossoms as much? And then let me know what you think! Enjoy!

Orange Blossoms

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1 c. butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 T. grated orange peel (zest)
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 3 c. sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 3/4 c. buttermilk

Instructions

  1. Cream brown sugar and butter.
  2. Add eggs, orange peel and vanilla. Beat until fluffy.
  3. Sift together flour, baking powder, soda, and salt.
  4. Add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating after each addition.
  5. Drop onto greased cookie sheet.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. While cookies are warm, frost with orange icing
  7. Orange Icing: Combine 1 T. grated orange peel (zest), 3 T. orange juice, and 3 T. butter. Stir in 3 c. sifted powdered sugar.
http://www.sunshineinmypocket.com/orange-blossoms-a-favorite-recipe/

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May your days be filled with sunshine,
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my-favorite-reeses

Taste Test Tuesday — Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

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For this very important taste test we were in search of The Perfect Reese’s Ratio! I really don’t think you can go wrong with any of these Reese’s options, but in the quest for truth and best taste to report back to you, I just knew that this taste test could not be overlooked!

We tested the original Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, the Reese’s Big Cup, Reese’s Miniatures (wrapped in foil), and Reese’s Mini Peanut butter Cups (unwrapped), all pictured. EDITOR’S NOTE: It was my intention to add the Reese’s Easter Peanut Butter Egg to our taste options, however, when I went to check my stash, I discovered they had all been eaten! (Who would’ve done that?!) So we stuck with the four options.

I think it’s important to show you the difference in peanut butter and chocolate ratios for each.

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You can see that the Big Cup has some serious peanut butter! With the Miniatures coming in with not quite as much peanut butter and then originals. Let’s check them out side by side:

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It may look like the minis have just as much peanut butter as the originals, but they are actually covered in a thicker amount of CHOCOLATE, with just a bit of peanut butter enrobed in the center.

I do realize that taste tests are very subjective and dependent upon what each individual panelist prefers. But that is why I had a LARGER group to discover the truth for you. And the winner won by an overwhelming majority! (Care to take a guess before I reveal the winner?)

THE WINNER (drum roll, please….)

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First Place: ORIGINAL PEANUT BUTTER CUPS ARE THE WINNER!!! Yes. I love that the original peanut butter cup won!

But we did have a few judges who disagreed: one voted for the Big Cup (more peanut butter), one voted for the Minis (more chocolate). There was a bit of an argument on the Big Cup…because even though it was a favorite for one judge, another said it was too rich to eat a whole cup at one sitting. I love it when our judges disagree. 😉

Have you given this taste test a try? Which one is YOUR favorite?

Really, you can’t go wrong with any of them! So, why not buy them all to shake things up a bit. (Reese’s did not pay me or compensate me in any way to do this blog post, by the way!)

Second Place: Miniatures (wrapped in foil)
Third Place: Big Cup
Final Place: Minis

I would LOVE to use the minis for baking (think cookies or cupcakes). And when I do, you’ll be the first to know. Wink.

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See you at our next taste test!

May your days be filled with sunshine,
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earth-i-love-u

Dose of Sunshine Monday — Earth Day Free Printable (Do not print)

It’s Earth Day! And to celebrate, I thought I’d make you a free printable! But for Heaven’s sake, don’t print it. Because that would take paper, which is made from trees…and that might completely negate my good will toward Earth on this very special day.

So, maybe it’s not a printable. It’s just a little sign I created for you to enjoy on this day! :)

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And to further celebrate and pay homage to this day, here are some ideas:

1) Use real plates (not paper plates)…my son Nate would love this one! He is much in favor of NOT using paper plates

2) Plant something. A tree, a flower, a garden item.

3) Recycle.

4) Take some pictures of nature. Really appreciate it. (And share, share, share!)

Enjoy this beautiful Monday and enjoy our wonderful and amazing Earth! It’s a great place to live. 😉

May your days be filled with sunshine,
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fabulous-felt-roses

How to Make Felt Roses

I love roses! Love them. In fact, I have a rose garden just outside my kitchen window so I can look at my roses as I’m doing dishes (what could be more inspiring)? It seems I have been extra inspired by roses this week! See my rose photo inspiration here.

So, to stay with the rose theme, today I am showing you how to make a FELT rose. And, oh, they are adorable! Felt roses are one of my favorite things to use to dress up a small gift. :)
Click here to see the video on how to make felt roses:

And after you have watched the first video, take a look at some ideas on how to use these felt roses on gifts to spread a little sunshine:

By the way, these are a few of my very first videos up on this blog and on my YouTube channel. So, let me know what you think! (Be nice! *Wink*)
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Thanks for visiting today…see you next time.

May your days be filled with sunshine,
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sneak-peek-reeses

Announcement for Taste Test Tuesday

Taste Test Tuesday: Questions Answered

Hello! And Happy Tuesday. I’ve been working on the next Taste Test Tuesday and I’m pleased to tell you that this is going to be a DELICIOUS taste test. I just love to conduct these taste tests! Life is good.

But before I announce what our next taste test is, I’ve been asked a few questions about Taste Test Tuesday that I will answer now!

First, let me tell you: What is Taste Test Tuesday? 

Taste Test Tuesday is a tasting opportunity that I report on every other week. I conduct taste tests of many {important} food or beverage items. Then I report the winners and runners up for you, my readers. I hope it will help you to eat more deliciously! It is a small gift from me to humanity you. I hope you enjoy my gifts as much as I enjoy putting them together!

Why do you spend your time on Taste Test Tuesday?

This is something that I really enjoy. I love gathering each panel together, I love designing the taste test forms and the “logos” for each one, I love researching different brands, and I love compiling results to find the winner! With all these things that I love put together into one Taste Testing Opportunity, I feel so alive! I know, it sounds cheesy (which reminds me of another taste test I must conduct), but I really do LOVE it. And we all need to do more of what we love, don’t you think?

How can I participate as a taste test panelist?

I’m always looking for panelists, but I am very particular in the panelists that participate. Not only must you have good taste, but you must also pass a series of taste testing requirements, such as: must be over the age of 17, must have no food allergies, must be able to discern a variety of tastes, must make it to the assigned time, and of course must live in Arizona! So far I have not conducted virtual taste tests. :)

Can I suggest a Taste Test Tuesday item?

Absolutely! I love to hear ideas about taste tests! Simply comment on this blog post and let me know what you’d like to see tested. (But do keep in mind that this is NOT “Fear Factor.” Ha!) Thanks!

And now, a sneak peek at our NEXT TASTE TEST:

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Oh, yeah. It’s gonna be a good one AND one that I am privileged to conduct. {I take this responsibility very seriously.}

Click here to read the Reese’s Taste Test

See you next week!

May your days be filled with sunshine,
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rose-inspiration-comes-to-those-who-seek-it

Dose of Sunshine Monday — Inspiration comes

Happy Monday!  I hope your weekend was filled with inspiration. I had a fantastic weekend learning and growing and networking at Bloggy Boot Camp in Phoenix. I was inspired so much and now I have so many new ideas! (Now which to start first?)

I spent Sunday unwinding and thinking…and enjoying the garden. Look at this beautiful image I captured at just the right time of sunset. I hope it reminds you that inspiration is everywhere!

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I hope you find your inspiration today. Take a deep breath and enjoy your week.

May your days be filled with sunshine,
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