Friday, January 18, 2013


Welcome to the second edition of...

Five Fabulous Finds Friday!

Today I have some really great things to share with you, including an amazing photography tip, a new product in my kitchen that is saving me a ton of time,  a gorgeous, inexpensive lamp makeover, a fantastic article on "real change", and a super easy and delicious recipe for low carb garlic "breadsticks"!

Let's get started!

#1.  One of my favorite and most informative blogs is a website called Between Naps on the Porch!   It is an insightful and inspiring blog about all things home!  

Susan writes about everything from home decor and gardens, to DIY projects, to beautiful house tours and tablescapes...and much more.  She even has a great section with tips for bloggers!   

I'm quickly learning that a big secret to creating a great blog is to be able to take great pictures.  I'm definitely NOT there yet, but I'm learning a lot, thanks in part to Susan at "BNOTP"!   In this article, she shares a really neat tip and talks about a special time in the day when our pictures can really stand out....the "Blue Hour". 
The above picture is from Susan's site, as is this article.  Notice how warm and cozy this room looks, and notice the GORGEOUS blue color out the windows???  If you like photography, you'll love this tip!   

The Secret of the Blue Hour!  

#2.  If you're looking for an inexpensive way to jazz up a lamp for the chilly winter months, and you have 3 dollars and your lamp, you'll want to check out this elegant lamp makeover!

Beth Bryan at "Unskinny Boppy" has made an ADORABLE new lampshade from a thrift store sweater.  This looks like it belongs in Better Homes and Gardens magazine!  

She's entered into a contest for the best lamp makeover at, so while you're visiting, I'm sure she'd appreciate your vote if you have the time!  

The picture above and the entire tutorial on how she made this lampshade is found at this link:

$2.99 DIY Sweater Lampshade Makeover

I really want to make one of these!

It's also worth checking out her site for the gorgeous room decor where this lamp now resides!   =)

#3.  I am ALL about easy when it comes to making meals.  Being a homeschool mom with a career and a blog keeps me hopping, so if I can save time in the kitchen...count me IN!

When my father (who is an AMAZING cook) was here for Christmas he was telling me about one of his favorite new tools in the kitchen...the STICK BLENDER!   

He was going on and on about how much he loved this thing for making smoothies and gravies and all kids of stuff.  I have my own food processors in two different sizes and a blender(which are up in my cabinets, only occasionally used)  so I kind of just listened to my dad, thinking.."That's great, Dad." but not really considering getting one.  

Then, a few days after Christmas, a stick blender shows up from my dad that he got from! 

About 2 weeks later I decided to just try it out.  

I can't believe how much I LOVE THIS THING!   It has simplified my cooking tremendously and is so much easier to clean than my clunky food processors!   
I am able to make one of my favorite low carb side dishes, Mashed "Fauxtatoes" (recipe on that coming soon)  with ease, now that I have this very versatile tool.   I highly recommend getting one if you haven't got one already.  I'm a believer!  lol   If you are looking at buying one, try to get one where you can take off the blade makes them SO easy to clean!

#4.  For my "recipe" find, I'd love to share a recipe with you for garlic cheesy "breadsticks." 

As much as I love living the low carb lifestyle, there are some things that I just miss sometimes. One of those things is Olive Garden's garlic breadsticks. They are so buttery and delicious!

Problem is, those yummy bread sticks will RUIN a low carb diet. So, I ended up finding a way to make a buttery garlic cheesy "bread" stick that totally takes away my cravings.

I am pretty sure I found this recipe on a low carb website, but I am afraid I can't remember which one, since I've been using the recipe for years!

The best part is, these are so easy to make and so fast that I can make it anytime as a yummy snack. It only has 3 ingredients! String cheese, butter, and garlic powder!

First, I melted a pat of butter in a large pan. There are a few tricks to getting these just right. 

One, make sure your string cheese is RIGHT out of the fridge.  

Second, make sure your heat setting is right.  I put mine right between medium-low and medium.  If you put it too high, it will burn without heating through, if you put it too low it will melt (either way is still delicious, but there's a certain consistency that comes with putting it on the right temperature.)

Next up, I sprinkle garlic powder over the cheese sticks in the pan.  To taste.  I am definitely not stingy with my garlic powder...haha!

Keep an eye on them and flip them over when they start to turn golden brown or even a little before that, and you can just keep turning them until both sides are a golden brown. 

I let them cool a bit until they are easy to pick up with my hands and dip them in my favorite pasta sauce!  (I was trying to garnish my plate with some dried italian didn't look as nice as I'd hoped...haha!)

Guilt free and delicious, I love these for a quick and easy snack.  AND I never have to crave garlic breadsticks again, as long as I'm making this recipe!!!  

#5.   Are you wanting to see REAL CHANGE in your life in 2013?   I am...definitely!

I first became acquainted with Ann Voscamp's writing when a friend recommended her book "1000 Gifts" to me late last year. She is a homeschool mom of 6 and an author with the gift of words!   

Her writing style is like reading poetry, with vivid descriptions that you can almost see as you read them, and beautiful nuggets of wisdom that are worth more than gold! 

 I needed that book at that time in my life. 

Here is a wonderful post from her blog site with a challenge to create REAL change this year.  This post even includes a free printable to help with the organization side!  

She is a true inspiration!   Here is the link if you'd like to check it out!

How to create real change - Part 1 - How to begin New  Habits (Free Daily Planner Download)

Well, that's it for this week's 


I hope you have a wonderful weekend and I look forward to hearing from you, if you try out any of these "fabulous finds", I'd love for you to share them with me!  

This post was added to the following sites:
Common Ground's Be Inspired Friday
The Foley Fam's Sunday Fun Day
Stone Gable's On the Menu Monday


  1. Loved all your wonderful features and tips today. It is an honor to be included it this post! Those bread sticks looked totally yummy!

  2. Thank YOU, Susan, for coming to check it out! You are a true inspiration to so many, including me! I hope your blog's success continues to grow. Thank you for all you give to others through your blog! Have a great weekend! =D

  3. Thank you for commenting on my get to know you post so I could come back and follow you! We may be long lost sisters based on all our shared interests/traits! I too am a huge fan of Susan, Ann Voskamp, and you had me at cheese and butter :)
    looking forward to getting to know you better, my new friend!

  4. Hi Jessica! You're so welcome! Thank YOU for coming on over to my blog! We COULD be long lost sisters! Haha! Aren't Susan and Ann great?!?! =D I'm looking forward to getting to know you better as well here in the "blogosphere"! Have a great rest of the weekend!!!

  5. I popped over from your link at Yvonne's Stone Gable On The Menu party. So glad I did; I cannot wait to try your "breadsticks" recipe! BNOTP is also one of my most favorite blogs. And a stick blender has long been on my wish list! I look forward to reading more of your posts (having also enjoyed your Thrift Addiction Thursday post). I'm subscribing so I don't miss your future posts!!

  6. Hi Tammy! I'm so glad you stopped by!!! Thanks so much for commenting too! It's great to "meet" you and I will definitely come check out your blog as well! I also LOVE dishes so I know we're gonna get along JUST FINE! haha! Have a great day!