Saving for a SUNNY Day

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So often when I think of saving, it’s with the intent of being prepared for the “what if’s,” for a rainy day when things just don’t turn out like you think they are going to. You know the ones, like the day you move into a new house and a week later the HVAC system bites the dust (that is a current worry with our new house and definitely a rainy day we are saving for by making sure that $$ is always in savings). And while it is important to be prepared for those “what if’s,” SunTrust is inspiring us to also save for a goal, to think a little differently about your savings….to look at putting the Benjamins away, and LIVE for a SUNNY day too. 

People’s ideas of a sunny day are different. For a friend of mine, they are always saving for travel, for my brother and sister, a mission trip to the Philippines. Other’s sunny day funds include a new purse/shoes or season tickets to watch your favorite team!

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My Dream Kitchen 

We are currently saving for our Sunny Day! And like most things right now, it revolves around the new house (we close on it today!!!). When we moved into our current house we did A LOT of updates at once. This house is a step up in our world and the renovations/updates are part of a long term game plan. III has even whipped up a Capital Improvement Plan in Excel that includes future updates, approximate costs, and the year we would like to accomplish the projects. It’s been great to see it all laid out. Our first Sunny Day fund went to new appliances in the kitchen and will also cover granite, back splash and new cabinet pulls. Then we will start contributing to our next Sunny Day, when we replace the downstairs hardwoods/carpet with new, darker hardwoods. Saving for a sunny day is exciting and theses particular sunny days are really going to make our house feel like a home!

Looking for your own Sunny Day inspiration and motivation to reach your savings goal? I want to encourage you to sign up for SunTrust’s bimonthly Shine Newsletter. If you want even more financial tools and tips check out their amazing Resource Center.

At SunTrust Bank their purpose is lighting the way to financial well-being. When you feel confident about your money, you can save for your goals and spend knowingly on what matters most to you.  They know we all live for the sunny days and want to you help you live yours.

Subscribe to the Shine newsletter and receive inspiration and advice twice a month to help you live for a sunny day.  Subscribe here

Want to get your sunny day started now?  Visit the SunTrust resource center anytime for help achieving your financial goals. 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust. The opinions and text are all mine.

 

Carrot Cake Trifle Recipe

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If you are a peanut butter lover, you have to try my Peanut Butter Chocolate Trifle and those who are OREO obsessed like my husband, then this OREO Brownie Trifle is to die for. But if you aren’t a chocolate lover (hey mom!) then this Carrot Cake trifle is about to rise to the top of your favorite dessert list! Promise.

As you might can tell I LOVE a good trifle. However, I don’t always have a great reason to make such a huge dessert, so when the opportunity does present itself I always jump. Last week my Sunday school class got together and each of us brought different parts of the meal. I brought dessert!

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This trifle turned out absolutely fantastic, and I couldn’t wait to share it with you! Let me explain a little more about the goodness that is a trifle. They are like cake, but not exactly….it doesn’t come out in a nice clean slice, more of a glob so grab a spoon. The cake stays super moist since it’s surrounded by other creamy goodness. AND you get the perfect cake/icing combination in EVERY bite. It won’t last long at any party! So let’s get to it!

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Carrot Cake Trifle Recipe

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Serving Size: 10-12 people

Ingredients

  • 1 box of Carrot Cake Mix & required ingredients
  • 1 Carrot
  • 8oz of softened cream cheese
  • 1.5 sticks of softened butter
  • 3.5 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 16 oz Cool Whip (two regular tubs or one big one)
  • Chopped walnuts of pecans

Instructions

  1. Prepare the carrot cake recipe as instructed (I like to add shredded carrots to the mix to make it feel a little more authentic) in a 9x13 pyrex baking dish. Allow to cool when finished then cut into cubes.
  2. For the whipped mixture: Using an electric mixer on medium/high speed cream together the softened cream cheese and butter until it becomes light and fluffy. This will take 3-5 minutes and you will need to scrape down the sides. Turn the mixer down to a low speed and add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until combined. Pour in vanilla and mix for another 2-3 minutes as it continues to fluff. With the mixer still on low add the Cool Whip a little at a time until everything is combined.
  3. In a trifle bowl or deep glass bowl, place in one layer of carrot cake pieces/crumbles. Then add a layer of your whipped cream cheese mixture. Repeat ending with the whipped cream cheese on top. Add the crushed walnuts or pecans to the top and refrigerate until it's time to serve.
  4. Enjoy!
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Chickadee LOVED licking the whipped cream cheese spoon after all was said and done! And I even felt okay letting her have a little bit after dinner because after all it’s a “veggie dessert” right?

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If you are feeling really adventurous, and have the time, this dessert would look really cute layered in individual mason jars. A perfect Easter dessert/gift too if you ask me!

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Cool Whip Dyed Easter Eggs

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Yall I’ve discovered the most amazing Easter egg dying technique ever, and I am soooo glad I have each and every one of your to share it with!!

Last year Chickadee was about six months old for Easter, and I must say she wasn’t quite up for dying Easter eggs. And do you know what I found out this year….1.5 year olds aren’t up for dying them either, because well, it’s boring to drop eggs in vinegar dye and wait. So we went a different route. 

When you dye eggs with Cool Whip (or you can used Shaving Cream) the little ones and big ones too can get right in there and have FUN! It becomes an involved activity and you can really get your hands dirty. I found with Chickadee Cool Whip was better in case she stuck her fingers in her mouth. Also if you plan on eating the eggs and are worried about the cream getting into any cracks, Cool Whip is the solution.

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So here is the how to:

You’ll need Cool Whip (or Shaving Cream), food coloring, and hard boiled eggs (here is the a recipe for hard boiled eggs in the oven

Using a shallow, glass baking dish fill the bottom with Cool Whip. Then choose your colors and put in LOTS of drops. Some of the food coloring boxes have directions about mixing colors too if you are feeling adventurous. Swirl around and then place in your egg. At this point you it’s time to go to town. You want to make sure EVER part of the egg is covered in dyed Cool Whip.

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Now let me explain how fun this is for a 1.5 year old in a few pictures. First, a picture of Chickadee while dying the eggs.

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And now a picture when I had to tell her we were finished….

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It’s obviously overexposed but you get the point. She wanted egg dying to continue FOREVER and trying to convince her we would do it again another day was not working. She came around eventually, thank goodness. I think this picture proves my point, though. It’s fun!

Once the egg is nice and covered, pick it up gently and place it on newspaper or cardboard. 

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The longer you leave on the dyed cool whip, the more intense the colors will be. I actually ended up sticking them in the fridge overnight to get the brightest ones. The next morning we used a paper towel to wipe them clean & the most beautiful Easter eggs were left behind.

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I’m pretty sure we will dye Easter eggs like this from now on. And when you are done looking at how pretty they are…you can make egg salad! 

 

How to Make Hard Boiled Eggs in the Oven

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Yall I can’t stay long today. We are up to our shoulders in moving boxes and still seem to have things everywhere. How on earth have we accumulated so much in 5 years of marriage? I declutter all the time, yet their is still a Yard Sale in our future! We move at the end of the week & I for one can’t wait!! 

Since all of our craft supplies are packed up I’ve been getting creative in the kitchen. I have some Cool Whip dyed Easter Eggs coming for you later in the week! But today I wanted to share a tip for hard boiling your eggs this Easter, or anytime really!

How to Make Hard Boiled Eggs in the Oven

Ingredients

  • Eggs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Place eggs in muffin tin
  3. Cook for 30 minutes
  4. Place in a bowl of cool water to stop the cooking process
  5. Peel & Enjoy!
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Yall, it’s sooo easy and they turn out perfect every time! Back to packing… 

 

S’more Rice Krispie Treat Pinwheels

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We meet with an awesome small group bible study every Sunday night. These folks have become some of our best friends in Atlanta and we are so glad they are a part of our lives. We take turns hosting and usually there are always treats to be made if it’s your turn to have everyone over. Last week I decide to try a recipe my cousin made over Christmas, S’more Rice Krispie Treat Rollups. 

They didn’t end up looking as “pinwheelish” as I would have liked, but they tasted AMAZING! So I am foregoing having the BEST picture for Pinterest because I have to share this recipe with you. 

S’more Rice Krispie Treat Pinwheels

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 16 pinwheels

Ingredients

  • 6 cups of Rice Krispies
  • 1 bag of JUMBO marshmallows
  • 1/2 bag of mini marshmallows
  • 3tbsp butter
  • 1 sleeve of crushed graham crackers (about 8 crackers)
  • 2 containers of Marshmallow Cream
  • 1 cup of Chocolate chips or 4 bars of Hershey Chocolate

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and then smear on butter.
  3. In a large pot prepare Rice Krispe Treats according to package instructions, however when you add the rice krispies also add the graham crackers.
  4. Spread out rice krispie mixture into a rectangle on the parchment paper
  5. Allow to cool
  6. Spread marshmallow cream over the top
  7. Top with chocolate chips or Hersey bars
  8. Place in oven for 2-3 minutes until the chocolate starts to melt and then spread with a spatula
  9. Let cool
  10. Roll up jelly=style, like a cinnamon roll, longways
  11. Place seam down and all to set in the refrigerator for about an hour
  12. Slice into "pinwheels" with a bread knife
  13. Enjoy!
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 Don’t they sound amazing??? Are you drooling?

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They really are the perfect treat for everyone…kids and grownups alike! III has even asked that I whip them up again for his birthday next week. Maybe I’ll get a “Pin”worthy picture to add to the post? For now I’ll leave you with this imperfect perfection!

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