DIY: Summer tulip wreath

It's possible my Christmas wreath is still on my door. I didn't say it definitely is... just that it's possible. (It is.) In my defense, it's a plain red berry wreath. There's no excuse. I'm a DIY-er failure!

Time to fix that disgrace with minimal time and cash. Enter the tulip wreath! The picture above is from Pinterest. Sold.

I ran to the craft store and purchased my materials.

You'll need about 25-30 large fake tulips on stems, a vine wreath and wire cutters. If you don't have specific wire cutters, check your pliers - some of them have a wire cutter part below the pliers.

Cut the stems at the base. If you cut them so the leaves are still attached, the leaves will make the wreath look a little fuller. But you can also make the wreath with only the tulip heads and no leaves.

Then arrange the tulips by sticking the stems in the wreath, moving in a circle. It can be a little tricky to wiggle the stems in, but you don't need glue or twist ties to hold them in place.

Once you get all the way around - voila!

Total cost: $10. Seriously. The flowers were BOGO and I already had the wire cutters. (If you don't have them, they're a good thing to have around so they're definitely worth a few $$ to pick up.)

Here are some variations from the wonderful world of Pinterest!

Photoshop soapbox: Be proud of imperfections

I recently saw this Buzzfeed article posted by a friend on Facebook.

Four women participated in a professional photo shoot, and their pictures were then retouched to look like cover models.

Then their reactions to the finished photos were filmed. They were somewhat horrified.

I had a similar experience last year taking my KATV headshot. The incredibly talented photographer took fantastic pictures on the bridge downtown.

I picked the one I liked (the one on the left)... and then he sent me the one on the right.

Um, who is that?

It's a bizarre feeling to see a "perfect" version of yourself. I never notice the moles on  my chest and neck -- until they were gone. I know I have smile lines, but honestly, I like them. I have them because I smile a lot!

I may be the first person to ever ask this photographer, "Um, could I have my moles and lines back, please?" but I don't care. My lines, moles, blemishes... those make me me.

What we see in magazines isn't real. There are tons of links out there showing celebrities in photoshoots with the real pictures versus what we see in the magazine. They aren't perfect either. We aren't perfect on the inside or the outside, and that's what makes us who we are.

So be proud of those laugh lines - it means you laugh often! Imperfections make us real. We all have them, so let's not strive for something unattainable.

Recipes: Almond Flour Blueberry Pancakes

Who doesn't want to wake up on Sunday morning to a stack of moist, warm pancakes?

No one. 

Here's a recipe I cooked up using half almond flour and Greek yogurt to make these pancakes melt in your mouth.

1 cup flour (sifted)
1 cup almond flour (sifted)
2 cups Greek yogurt
2 eggs 
1/8 cup Splenda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp salt

Sift the flour. This is especially important for the almond flour/meal, and will help keep the pancakes fluffy. Beat the eggs and combine all ingredients. Add a little cooking spray to your pan and cook on medium heat like normal pancakes. However, these won't bubble like normal pancakes so you'll just have to watch and check every few minutes.

For the blueberry glaze, combine 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen), enough water to cover the bottom of a small saucepan and 1/4 cup Splenda. Bring to a boil, then let thicken on medium-high heat, stirring frequently.

DIY: Pumpkin Power

Halloween is my favorite holiday. Besides it being at the start of fall when the leaves are starting to change colors, you've got the costumes, haunted houses and pumpkins!

Carving is fun, but then the pumpkins don't last as long and sometimes you just need a little something new. These ideas will get you started.

Elmer's glue (I like the clear kind) and glitter make mega-sparkle pumpkins in seconds! To avoid getting glitter everywhere, after the glue dries you can either use spray-on sealer or Mod Podge to keep the glitter in place.

An old pair of patterned tights over a pumpkin = endless possibilities! You can go for a web-like look, like this one, or use a pair with chevron or polka dots. Netted tights work best so you can see the pumpkin through them. Also, be sure to use a smaller pumpkin so your tights will fit!

Okay, so men aren't all that into arts and crafts usually. But this is a pumpkin the boys in your life will love! Paint on a few coats of brown, wait for it to dry, then paint on the laces. This one was made by a man -- proof it can be done! (By the way, it even has the correct number of NFL regulation laces. Not something I would have thought of!)

When painting pumpkins, once the paint is dry it's a good idea to give it a coat of the spray sealer or Mod Podge like with the glitter pumpkins. This will help make it waterproof and keep the paint from flaking off.

This one is just painted letters. You could do the first initial of your family's last name, kids' names, sports teams... the possibilities are endless.

But at night, the letters won't light up... unless you use glow in the dark paint! You can find glow in the dark paint or glow in the dark puff paint at any craft store. You could also use it for a traditional pumpkin face, and avoid all the carving and scooping. Plus, the pumpkins last much longer whole!

Happy Halloween!

Recipes: Lightened Up Potato Salad

Who doesn't love potato salad? But we don't love the extra calories and fat it packs. This lightened up version got rave reviews with only a fraction of the calories and fat!

8 cups red potatoes, cut into chunks
1/2 cup red onion
6 scallions, diced
1 Tbsp honey dijon mustard
1 Tbsp reduced fat or fat free mayo
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil potatoes, let cool, then mix all ingredients. Refrigerate until serving.

Recipes: BBQ Shredded Chicken

I am new to the world of Crock-Pots and recently discovered you can throw chicken in them with nothing else and the perfect, moist chicken comes out. I plunked in 5 (trimmed) chicken breasts and cooked them on low for 7 hours. Cooking chicken this way is perfect for shredding.

This BBQ sauce is healthy and got rave reviews from my guests on supper night!

2 small cans tomato sauce
1 small can tomato paste
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 tsp natural hickory liquid smoke
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp cinnamon (optional)