Tuesday, February 24, 2015

antelope island + uncommon goods ...

This post is brought to you by Uncommon Goods. A privately owned retailer out of Brooklyn New York that features unique and mostly handcrafted designs created in harmony with the environment and without harm to animals or people. Most of their products are made right here in the USA, and one-third incorporates recycled or up cycled materials. They use their business to impact the world in a positive way, supporting non-profits such as RAINN, American Forests, Women for Woman!   

Thank you for being supportive of the sponsors on this blog so we can continue to bring you good content!
My little family loves an adventure, so we decide to take advantage of no school on President's Day and head out for some fun.  We are so lucky to live in Utah where there are so many places to see and things to do outdoors.  One weekend we may be skiing in those mountains, then the next exploring Antelope Island at the Great Salt Lake!  I am loving this hand embroidered state pillow from Uncommon goods.  Utah pride! So cute! So many other fun personalized gift ideas here, and here!
Antelope Island is always a favorite with the whole family!  There are real buffalo, and wildlife roaming around right in front of you!  On the island they have buffalo, coyotes, deer, antelope, many types of birds and more!
At this State Park, they usually keep about 500 or so Buffalo on the island.  You can see glimpses of them all over the island, and usually at some point a big herd of them.  
One time we were out on the island and the herd decided to make it's way down the mountain.  Hundreds of buffalo ran right in front of our car!  It was crazy!  
I snagged this Geode from the gift shop. Isn't it pretty!  I decided I'm going to collect geodes from all our travels around from now on and display them in our home!
As a family, we love to go hiking together, and we decided to head out and see what we could see.  It was pretty windy and chilly, but we decided to do it anyway.  There were some buffalo not to far off our trail.  You do have to be cautious when out hiking to not disturb them since they are wild animals.  
My youngest Thomas is quite the mini adventurer at only three years old.  He literally ran to the top! I  had to chase him up the mountain!  I swear he must be half mountain goat.  But, I'll never forget when he got to the top, he looked out and said, "That's what I'm talking about mom!"  Ha! This kid, while only three can appreciate a good view.  He says that kind of thing to me all the time!
He also assures me that he can climb mountains, and that he is a real rock climber. 
It was real windy! (Outfit: Mus bags, Albion Fit leggings, Columbia Fleece, Smith Sunglasses)
We made it to the top to be able to see the view of the other side with a nice view of White Rock Bay.
I love nothing more that to explore with my little family, and show them all there is out there to see!

My goal is to show my children the world, one place at a time.  I hope they can gain a great appreciation for the beauty of our earth, and the many amazing scenery that is out there that God created for us!
I love this Scratch Map from Uncommon goods!  You can track your travels and scratch off where you've been, and when you scratch off the areas you have been it reveals adventurous pops of color that give geography lessons and domestic treasure hunts!  How cool is that!  I want to hang one up on our wall, and slowly uncover the world!

Here's to many, many more adventures!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

banana valentines ...

Armelle Blog Banana Valentines Free Valentines Free Printable Non-candy Valentines
I have one last Valentine printable to share with you today.  My friend Kersey gave me one of these rad banana pens, at Alt Summit a few weeks back.  I tracked them down because I knew they would be a perfect little something for my kids to give to their friends at school for Valentine's day.
You will need:
Yellow Cardstock paper
Banana pens or favors (I found some cute banana candies from Oriental Trading that we also gave out, you could also give out real bananas for a healthy option!)
Washi tape (optional)
1) Print the free PDF download for the Banana "I like you a BUNCH" Valentine onto yellow card stock paper. Click here to download.  (please let me know if you are having trouble downloading the printable)  -Just a reminder that these Valentine Printables are for Personal Use only.  You may not sell these for money or alter.  Copyright Armelle Blog 2015.
2) Cut out the Valentines.
3) "Pair" it with your favorite banana item.
Armelle Blog Banana Valentines Free Valentines Free Printable Non-candy Valentines
Like I said, these banana pens and candy are just adorable, but you could easily give a real banana to your Valentine, easy as that!
Armelle Blog Banana Valentines Free Valentines Free Printable Non-candy Valentines
I love these little cellophane bags with the lip with tape that seals in the back, I sealed it, then added a little washi tape back there. (all sources in items list)
Armelle Blog Banana Valentines Free Valentines Free Printable Non-candy Valentines
Hope you enjoy!

I just love putting together class Valentine's for my children!  And, having non-candy options is always fun!

{all photos by me}

Monday, February 9, 2015

slam dunk basketball valentine's ...

Boy Valentine Basketball Valentine Free Printable Valentine Free Valentine Cards
We are in Valentine mode over here at our house, and I wanted to share with you some Valentine's I'm putting together for my children to pass out to their friends at school.  

My oldest Ezra is quite the sports fanatic, so I knew that anything to do with sports, he would be in!
I saw some cute basketball Valentine's over on Minted, but of course didn't get my act together to get them ordered in time, so I put together my own version of the Slam Dunk Valentine!

I also came across these fun basketball pens over on Oriental Trading.  I knew my Ezra would be obsessed with them since they resemble one of his favorite toys, the Kendama (He also sells Kendama's, he's quite the little business man)

There are so many little basketball items you could use instead out there.  Small foam balls, dollar store balls, basketball stickers, basketball chocolates, basketball bouncy balls.  Just browse your local dollar store or party store, and I'm sure there will be a lot of choices.
I tried to make these simple with just black ink so anyone could print them off, and not need a color printer.  The key is to use orange card stock paper to print them on so they resemble little basketballs!  I think the textured orange card stock is cool since it looks kind of like the texture of a real basketball!
 Basketball Valentine Download
You will need to download the free printable, and print it onto orange card stock paper.
Download the free printable, by clicking here.

I also just need to remind my readers that when I offer free printable downloads, it takes me a long time to create, and it is my property.  I am allowing you to use them for your personal use only.  It is not ok to alter, or sell this file or use for commercial use in any way.  I feel bad that I have to point this out, but recently it came to my attention that someone was selling my free printables on Etsy using my photos and downloads.  I can't imagine why people would think that it is ok to steal someones work to sell?  But, just don't do it.  Because the internet is a small world, and people always find out.  Plus, my lawyer husband will have to write you a letter, and let's just not have to do that, ok? Anyhow, moving on..
After you print out the PDF onto orange card stock, cut out the basketballs.
Address the basketballs to your favorite friends, and attach the pen to the paper basketball with a little tape.  I like to use washi Japanese tape.
Boy Valentine Basketball Valentine Free Printable Valentine Free Valentine Cards
Hope you enjoy!
Let me know if you have a problem downloading the basketball PDF download.

If you end up using any of my Valentine printables, I'd love to see!  Tag me on instagram @armelle_blog and hashtag #armellevalentines

{all photos by me}

Friday, February 6, 2015

decadent chocolate tart …

Recipe Chocolate Tart Raspberry
Can you believe it's already Valentine's Day next week?!

I'm excited to partner with Harmons Grocery to share with you an amazing chocolate tart with berries and pistachio recipe.  It its decadent, and the perfect show stopper to present to your Valentine.  Everyone has different love languages, but I'm sure you've guessed that one of mine is making the ones I love something amazing to eat!
Harmons Grocery has an excellent baking isle to bring your desserts to the next level.  My little secret in the pastry crust is a little bit of vanilla bean paste that I swear by, and you can find it in the Harmons baking isle.
Harmons also has an impressive high quality chocolate section where they sell some of the worlds most amazing chocolate!  Only the best!  And, if you're not the baking type.  They have an amazing section of homemade tarts and treats for your Valentine, along with an amazing floral department all ready to pick up and deliver to your sweetie!
I decided to add a little bit of crunch to the top of my chocolate tart.  Harmons bulk section sells pre-shelled pistachios that I roughly chopped with a knife and sprinkled over the top with some raspberries and blackberries.  You really could use any berries you'd like.  I think berries and chocolate always scream romance, am I right?  Or maybe I've been watching too many episodes of Bachelor.  Wink.   Either way.  Can't go wrong with chocolate and berries!
Decadent Chocolate Tart with Berries and Pistachios

Pastry Crust:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cups powdered sugar
2 sticks (1 cup) un-salted butter
pinch of sea salt
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

Place the flour, salt, and sugar into a food processor.  Pulse until combined.  Add one tablespoon of butter at a time until the dough starts to form, add vanilla bean paste.  It will be a tad bit dry, but the crust is almost like a shortbread consistency.  Place the dough and form into an un-greased tart mold.  I like to use the rectangular molds with the bottom that pops out.

Cover with tin foiled and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until set.

1 cup heavy cream
6 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
6 ounces good quality dark chocolate, chopped

Place the chopped chocolate in a medium glass bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream until hot, just before a simmer and pour over the chopped chocolate.  Allow the hot heavy cream to sit over the chocolate for about one minute, then stir well until incorporated.  It should be fairly sweet with the crust, but if you like a sweeter ganache, you could use all milk chocolate, or add some semi-sweet instead of the dark chocolate.

Poor the ganache into the cooled pastry crust. Allow to cool for about ten minutes in the refrigerator.

Top with washed and completely dried berries, I used raspberries and blackberries, and chopped pistachios.

Allow to set and cool in the fridge for at least three hours before serving.  Store in fridge.

Hope you and your Valentine enjoy it!

{all photos by me}

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

target one spot valentine's ...

DIY Valentines, Jar Valentines, Valentine Candy Valentine Tutorial
I'm excited to team up with Target's One Spot to create some fun Valentine's using their darling products from their One Spot from American Crafts.
DIY Valentines, Jar Valentines, Valentine Candy Valentine Tutorial American Crafts
They have some really amazing American Craft products in their One Spot section right now ranging from only $1 to $3!  They have over 40 amazing products ranging from washi tape, to paper straws, to glittery paper.  Be sure to head to your Target asap, because they are bound to sell out quick!
DIY Valentines, Jar Valentines, Valentine Candy Valentine Tutorial
I decided to make a few tasty Valentine jars for some friends!  Here's how I made them.
DIY Valentines, Jar Valentines, Valentine Candy Valentine Tutorial
You will need:
Glittery Paper- American Crafts from the Target Dollar Spot
Heart Straws- American Crafts from the Target Dollar Spot
Mini Burlap Bows- American Crafts from the Target Dollar Spot
Fast Drying Craft Glue or Hot Glue Gun
Sparkly Trim or Sparkly Pipe Cleaners
Glue Dot adhesives
DIY Valentines, Jar Valentines, Valentine Candy Valentine Tutorial
Valentine Candy- Tai Pan Trading
Glass Jars with Handles- Tai Pan Trading
DIY Valentines, Jar Valentines, Valentine Candy Valentine Tutorial
1)  Cut out Paper Valentine Hearts with the American Crafts Glitter paper.  (I used a die cut machine, but you can also cut them by hand or print out a template) My hearts were about 1.5 inches
2) Cut out strips of silver glittery paper. My strips were about 1 inch by 12 inches.
3) Fold the paper strip back and forth accordion style.
4) Glue together the ends.
DIY Valentines, Jar Valentines, Valentine Candy Valentine Tutorial
5) Fold the accordion in, and secure the middle together by gluing in with fast drying craft glue or a hot glue gun.
DIY Valentines, Jar Valentines, Valentine Candy Valentine Tutorial
6) Take your cut out heart, and hot glue some sparkly trim or a pipe cleaner around the back rim of the heart.
7) Glue the sparkly trimmed heart to the center of the glittery paper accordion.
8) Print out a few Valentine sayings on to white card stock.  Some I used were- Be Mine, Valentine, I Love You,  Heart Eyes, I Heart You, Love, You're Awesome, You + Me.
9) Cut out the strips of paper then, fold each end down near the end and beginning of the words then back up, and trim the edges in a V shape.
10) Glue the white paper strip to the heart, then secure it to your glass jar with some glue dots.
DIY Valentines, Jar Valentines, Valentine Candy Valentine Tutorial Valentines Day Ideas
11) Fill the jar with candy, and place a little mini burlap bow onto the paper straw and place inside the jar.
DIY Valentines, Jar Valentines, Valentine Candy Valentine Tutorial Valentines Day Ideas
Cheers to homemade Valentine's for your loved ones!
DIY Valentines, Jar Valentines, Valentine Candy Valentine Tutorial Valentines Day Ideas
DIY Valentines, Jar Valentines, Valentine Candy Valentine Tutorial Valentines Day Ideas
DIY Valentines, Jar Valentines, Valentine Candy Valentine Tutorial Valentines Day Ideas
Happy Valentine making!

{all photos by me}

Thursday, January 29, 2015

hive ...

So, if you've been on social media you may have seen a little  buzz about HIVE.  HIVE is a new company that specializes in Smart Homes.  Home automation, security, entertainment and audio!
It connects your entire home through a sleek little fella here that they call the HIVE, and through it you can control your entire home- temperature, lights, security, locks on your doors, music to name a few!
I'm super interested in the HIVE SOUND.  This beautifully designed speaker is controlled through the hive through bluetooth, and is simply just plugged into your wall outlet!  We just built a new home, and built-in speakers in the room just weren't in the budget, so this product is something I'm really interested in!
I've been able to attend a few of HIVE'S events, and have enjoyed learning a little more and more about the company.  They were one of the sponsors at a favorite blogging conference of mine, Alt this year, and threw an amazing TOKYO DREAMS party that was hosted by a few of my good friends!  It's been exciting to see the buzz spread, and excitement spread for the Hive with this fun community!

I'm excited to learn more about the products, and get one in my hands for my own home. (just dying to try it!)  I can really see they are going somewhere!  I mean the design alone is enough for me to want one!
Look how beautiful it looks in my friend Jane's home?  It fits right in and isn't an eyesore which is really important to me, because as you know I love to look at beautiful things.
I think it's so important in the home to have beautiful things, whether it's a garbage can, or a large piece of furniture.  Good design goes a long way.

If this all sounds like something you'd be interested, you can be a part of the buzz too!!

Hive has an amazing rewards program if you get involved and help spread the word!  You have opportunities to make money, and earn amazing products!

You can also get involved by donating their Kickstarter campaign that just launched!

Click HERE to join the community and learn more.  Click join and type 'armelle' for your access code!

And, click HERE to help back their Kickstarter campaign!

{Thank you HIVE for sponsoring this post, all thoughts and opinions are my own}