Simply Sweet Home

Recipes, Decor, Crafts, Product Reviews, Giveaways and more.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Festive Fall Garlands

Fall is such a wonderful time of year. Whenever we go shopping during the fall, I'm amazed at all the wonderful decorations for the inside and outside of the home. The colors are so bright and beautiful. And it really puts you in the mood and gets you excited about all the traditions of the season. Today I'm sharing a collection of fall garlands with you. Below each photo, you'll find a link that will show you where you can purchase the item or how you can make the item. Enjoy!

Fall Leaves Garland from Plow & Hearth. The front door is the first thing people see before entering your home. A wreath and garland like the one shown here will make a wonderful impression on your guests. The colors add so much warmth and everyone will feel at home as they enter your door.

Fall Garland from Simply Nice Gifts. Look at how much a little garland can add to the look of your table. I love the simple elegance of this! It would be perfect for a Thanksgiving party.

Dried Fall Garland from BHG. Deck the halls with dried fall garland! It looks like this is hanging over a hall tree, wash stand, or dresser. But it would look great hanging over your door way, or hanging in front of a buffet table.

Fall Garland from Williams-Sonoma. This one looks a little more rustic. I love the wreath that goes with it. This would be so lovely on your mantle piece, hanging in the dining room, or hanging on your front door.

Corn Garland from Martha Stewart. Has anyone ever seen corn garland before? I thought this was so unique! And just like with the very first picture, this garland really adds a lot to the doorway and just makes you want to go inside!

For more great ideas visit Hooked On Houses.


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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Nature Valley Granola Nut Clusters Snack Pack Giveaway

My friends at MyBlogSpark sent me a Nature Valley Granola Nut Clusters Snack Pack with all the items pictured below. While in school, I often ate granola bars and cereal bars in the mornings and in between classes, so I was happy to try out this new Granola Clusters snack.

I received four 5oz packages of Nature Valley Granola Clusters. The four flavors are Nut Lovers, Honey Roasted Peanut, Roasted Cashew, and Roasted Almond. These bite-size snacks are perfect for home, work, or when you're on the run, and they taste great!

My favorite flavor was the Honey Roasted Peanut. The back of the package says it best: "Imagine a lightly sweet, yet salty combination of honey roasted peanuts gently rolled in Nature Valley granola and a touch of honey. It's a taste of nature one delicous bite at a time."

These also passed the husband taste test. I wasn't sure if he'd like them or not because I don't really think of him as a granola fan. But when I gave him one cluster to try, he immediately snatched the bag from me and started eating them as if they were chips or popcorn.

I definitely recommend these to anyone who's looking for a healthy, tasty snack.

One Simply Sweet Home reader will win a Nature Valley Granola Nut Clusters "Snack Pack" prize pack that includes all 4 varieties of the Granola Nut Clusters along with a sling backpack, stainless steel water bottle, flashlight and binoculars!

To win this prize, simply leave me comment telling me your favorite element in nature OR your favorite snack item.
Giveaway Closed. Winner to be announced.

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Just A Few Announcements

Congratulations to Trisha Burgess! She has won the 18x24" Poster from Uprinting.

Thanks everyone for entering all of the current giveaways, and please keep returning to Simply Sweet Home, because there's more to come, including a couple that all you Cooks and Kitchen Divas are going to love!

Also, I want to thank everyone for all your lovely comments. I read them all, and I appreciate them all! If you've commented and I haven't replied or commented on your blog yet, please bare with me. I always try to respond to everyone if possible. I'm a little behind right now, but I will back to you shortly!
Thanks for reading!


Monday, September 28, 2009

Broccoli Cheddar Chicken & Mashed Potatoes

My husband loves this recipe. Sometimes I make it with whole pieces of chicken (as in the picture below) and sometimes I chop the chicken into pieces (like above). The original recipe calls for the chicken to be served on top of mashed potatoes, but I've included a couple of alternatives here that work just as well. Either way you choose to make it, it's a delicious meal! And it's not too fattening either, which is always a plus. Enjoy!

Recipe for Broccoli Cheddar Chicken & Mashed Potatoes

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 (10.75 ounce) can Condensed Broccoli Cheese Soup or Condensed 98% Fat Free Broccoli Cheese Soup
1/3 cup milk
2 cups fresh broccoli flowerets or frozen broccoli flowerets
4 cups hot mashed potatoes

Heat oil in skillet. Add chicken and cook until browned.
Add soup, milk and broccoli. Heat to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat 5 minutes or until done. Serve over potatoes.

Tips & Suggestions:

-The mashed potatoes really add a lot, but if you want, you can leave them out and just have the Broccoli Cheddar Chicken by itself.

-Or you can make the Broccoli Cheddar Chicken and serve it on top of baked potatoes or a bed of rice or pasta. Yum!



I'm posting a link to this post on the following sites:
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday is hosted by
Blessed With Grace.
Homemaker Mondays is hosted by
11th Heaven’s Homemade Haven.
Tasty Tuesday is hosted by Balancing Beauty & Bedlam.
Ultimate Recipe is Swap is hosted by Life as Mom.
Friday Feasts is hosted by
Works for Me Wednesday is hosted by
We Are THAT Family
Hooked on Fridays is hosted by Hooked on Houses

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Vinyl Banner Giveaway

Another great giveaway for you!

Did you know that Uprinting offers banner printing? Vinyl banners are a great decoration for any party, from birthdays to family reunions, to holiday parties. You could also hang a banner up in your business, featuring your business name or logo. Or create a banner for your church or community group and display it at your meetings or use it to advertise your organization.
These banners are highly durable and look great! They come with heavy metal grommets that make them easy to hang for any event, and the durable material and archival ink will ensure that these banners will last for years to come.

Today I'm giving one Simply Sweet Home reader the chance to win a 24 x 36" Vinyl Banner w/ grommets ($62 value).

Giveaway Closed. Thanks for participating!


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Greeting Card Giveaway

Would you like to win some custom greeting cards? Uprinting is great place for greeting card printing. One Simply Sweet Home reader will win 250 7 x 5" (folded to 3.5 x 5") Custom Greeting Cards. This is a $96 value!

These would be great to use for your business: use them for sales and promotions, gift certificates, and so much more. Or use this prize to create your Christmas cards this year. The possibilities are endless!

Giveaway Closed. Winner to be announced.


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Sweet Thursday: Cookie Round-Up

Sweet Thursday time! The other day a reader left me comment, saying that Sweet Thursday "sounds dangerous." I told her that it can be dangerous for the waistline! LOL. So there's your disclaimer. You have been warned!

Still here? Good! Then take a look at all the cookies!

Thanks again to everyone who participated!

Joining The Round-Up: If you'd like to be a part of this round-up and submit your own cookies, you can still send in your link to, and I'll add you.

Next Round-Up: Our next round-up theme will be Fall/Halloween. This one has unlimited possibilities. I can't wait to see what everyone makes! Send in your submissions to me by October 29. Thanks!

Mint Chocolate Oreo Crunch from Finding Joy in My Kitchen

Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies from Thrifty Craft Mama

Texas Sized Almond Crunch Cookies from Snooky Doodle Cakes & more

Light Big & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies from Snooky Doodle Cakes & more

Chocolate Chip Crunch Cookies from Snooky Doodle Cakes & more

Flourless Brownies from Chaya's Comfy Cook Blog

Pumpkin Streusal Bars from Sweet and Savory Says It All

Brownie Drops from Sweet and Savory Says It All

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies from Millie's Place

Lemon Glazed Shortbread Cookies from Millie's Place

Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookies with Walnuts from Millie's Place

Lemon Chocolate Cookies from Nina's Recipes

Candy Coated Oreos from Her Cup Overfloweth

PB&J Cookies from How To...Do Something

Fruity Pebble Cookies from Simply Sweet Home

Peanut Butter Cookies from Simply Sweet Home


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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Easy Autumn Pear Cake

I posted this recipe last year, and I'm reposting it for Fall Festival over at Life as Mom. This recipe comes from Kraft. It's called Easy Autumn Pear Cake, and as the recipe name implies it's easy to make and a perfect recipe for fall. It's always great to find recipes like this. It's sweet, but not too sweet, which makes it perfect for all occasions and for just about any group. Try it out for some light snacking at home, or serve it up at your family's potluck dinner this Thanksgiving.

Recipe for Easy Autumn Pear Cake

1 egg
1/2 cup BREAKSTONE'S or KNUDSEN Sour Cream
4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened 1 pkg.
yellow cake mix
7 Tbsp. butter, melted, divided
1 can (15 oz.) pear halves, drained, sliced into 1/2-inch slices
1 pkg. (4-serving size) JELL-O Lemon Flavor Gelatin
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped PLANTERS Walnuts

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Beat egg, sour cream, cream cheese and cake mix in large bowl with electric mixer on low speed just until cake mix is moistened, scraping side of bowl often. Blend in 1/4 cup of the butter. Beat on medium speed 2 min. (batter will be thick).

SPREAD batter into lightly greased 13x9-inch baking pan. Arrange pear slices evenly on batter, pressing lightly into batter. Sprinkle evenly with dry gelatin mix and cinnamon. Drizzle evenly with remaining 3 Tbsp. butter; sprinkle with walnuts.

BAKE 40 to 45 min. or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature. Cut into 24 pieces. Cover and refrigerate leftover cake.


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Fall Traditions

Fall's always been my favorite time of year. While the fall season is used as a symbol for old age in literature, I've always associated the season with new beginnings: new school years, new football seasons, a new harvest, etc.

And it's a season filled with exciting events and traditions. I have so many fond memories from childhood and my teenage years of fall traditions, and each year I look forward to the season's events and deciding which activities we'll be participating in and which traditions we'll share with our children in the future. Here are just a few:

Football games - There's nothing like going to a hometown football game on Friday night: the home team marching on to the field, the spirit of the fans, the band playing, and familiar faces everywhere. And then of course, there's college football on Saturdays when we watch The Tide Roll!

The Jam - Each year, we have a weekend event nearby with about 4 or 5 stages set up. They have music artists from just about every music genre: country, pop/rock, R&B, Christian, and classic rock. It's a chance to see a lot of big names in one place for one ticket price, and it's a blast!

Founder's Day Celebrations & Local Events - There are several local events that are held in our area each fall that are complete with music, food vendors, craft booths, competitions, car shows, and more. It's such a relaxing and fun way to spend your day.

Haunted Houses & Haunted Hayrides - When you're a kid, going to the local haunted house or hayride is such a thrilling adventure.

Fall Leaves - Each year I look forward to seeing the leaves change color and hear them crunch beneath my feet as I walk.

The Great Pumpkin - I can't let Halloween go by without seeing "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown."

Decorating - As a kid I loved getting my pumpkin to carve and putting our homemade scare crow out on the porch. And today I look forward to decorating my own house for the fall.

Scary Movies - Halloween is a perfect excuse to camp out on the couch and watch some scary movies.

Wanna share your favorite fall traditions? Head over to Simply Sugar & Gluten Free and link up.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Blog Hoppin' Tuesday: Why You Should Read Simply Sweet Home

For this week's blog hop everyone is telling readers why their blog is worth reading. So here's a few fast facts about Simply Sweet Home, and why you should come here ALL time!

1. Recipes - I always post a featured Recipe of the Week, and sometimes I post additional recipes or recipe links for you to check out.

2. Sweet Thursday - Each month I host a dessert carnival, complete with yummy looking photos and links. At the time of the carnival I announce a theme for the next month, and you can submit your dessert and be featured in the next carnival.

3. Giveaways - I host a few giveaways each month. You can win all kinds of prizes including jewelry, print/media products, website memberships, and much more. (In fact, I have 3 awesome giveaways going on right now and couple more coming up in honor of my blogiversary!)

4. Tips & Ideas - I post on a lot of ideas for home and family, including organizing tips, home decor, party planning, crafts, and money saving.

5. Personal Posts - This year I've worked to make the blog a little more personal: I share items from my home, shopping trip finds, and fun photos of my kitty cats. (And when hubby and I have a baby, there will be a lot more personal stuff featured here!)

6. Special Events - From time to time I host special events on my blog. In December I'll be hosting my 2nd Annual Christmas Festival.

7. I strive to make Simply Sweet Home a fun and informative place for everyone. I've been blogging here for 2 years, and though the topics may vary from week to week, the goal is still the same: Sharing ideas on how to create a Simply Sweet Home!


MckLinky Blog Hop

Special thanks to Grace Jacobsen for sponsoring this blog hop.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Feathering My Nest for Fall

Several bloggers are working together this week to host a Fall Festival. Since fall is my favorite season, I thought it would be fun to participate in some of this week's festivities. Today's theme is "Feathering Your Nest," and it's being hosted by Hoosier Homemade.

So what do you guys do to get ready for fall?

In the next couple of weeks, I'll be decorating my home. I just love pulling out my pumpkins, scarecrows, and fall leaves to place out on the front porch. Everything looks so fun and festive! In this post I've included some of my photos from last year, and in the spirit of fall and my blogiversary, I plan on posting some more fall decor ideas next week.

I also have a couple of things that I put up in the kitchen: a fall tablecloth, fall pot holders and towels, and some fall leaf window clings. It may not sound like much, but it does add some color and flare, and it really gets you in the spirit of the season.

Fall is also a time when I like to stock up on ingredients and get ready to cook. My husband's life practically revolves around football, and I love making snacks and appetizers for us to eat during the games. I especially love making different kinds of dips to eat with chips, and I love making sausage balls. We're also huge fans of buffalo chicken fingers and chili dogs.

And then I also have a few tasks that aren't so much fun. There's some general fall cleaning to do, and then one thing I must do is sort through all of our clothes. The closets in our house are very small, so we store a lot of clothing in drawers, and we're forced to pack up some of our clothing to store in our outbuilding. So it's getting about that time to do a survey of the closets and do a little re-arranging, organizing, and packing/unpacking. (I can't wait!)


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fruity Pebble Cookies

I've always been a big fan of Fruity Pebbles cereal. I ate them all the time as a kid, and I still like to have a box of Fruity or Cocoa on hand. (shh...don't tell anyone.) So I'm always intrigued when I see desserts that people make using this cereal.

Today I'm sharing a recipe for Fruity Pebbles Cookies. These were deliciously sweet. And they'd make a great party cookie. Just look at the festive colors! I think they'd be perfect for birthdays and other holidays, particularly Halloween, Christmas, and Easter.

And if you want to change this one up a bit, you can easily make this into chocolate cookies with Cocoa Pebbles in them. (I'll definitely be trying that in the future...I think it may actually be even better than these!)

This recipe will also be part of the Sweet Thursday cookie round-up this week. If you'd like to have your cookies featured here, simply email your link to be at and I'll be happy to add you.

Recipe for Fruity Pebble Cookies:

1 package yellow cake mix
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup water
1 large egg
3 cups Fruity Pebbles Cereal

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat cake mix, oil, water, and egg with spoon until blended. Add cereal and mix well. Drop dough on to a cookie sheet (about a tablespoon for each cookie) and place them about 2 inches apart. Bake 11 minutes or until lightly browned.



I'm posting a link to this post on the following sites:
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday is hosted by
Blessed With Grace.
Homemaker Mondays is hosted by
11th Heaven’s Homemade Haven.
Tasty Tuesday is hosted by Balancing Beauty & Bedlam.
Ultimate Recipe is Swap is hosted by Life as Mom.
Friday Feasts is hosted by
Works for Me Wednesday is hosted by
We Are THAT Family
Hooked on Fridays is hosted by Hooked on Houses

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