Thursday, June 28, 2012

Summer Advertising Special

If you've been wanting to advertise with The Vanilla Tulip than this is the perfect time!
I'm offering a fun Summer Special!

Buy TWO months and receive the third month for FREE.
So you will purchase July and August and receive September for free.

I am applying this to any size ad.
This is a fantastic deal if you purchase the Feature Ad spots.
That would be $50 off!

All information about my ads and blog stats can be found here.


It's going to be a fun summer on the blog!
Lots of fun announcements and collaborations planned!
I would love to work with you in promoting your blog or shop!

To reserve your spot e-mail me at thevanillatulip (at) yahoo (dot) com

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Chicken Salad Bar

On the menu for dinner tonight was Chicken Salad Sandwiches.
My sister and I began talking about how we like our Chicken Salad.
She prefers hers chicken only.
I prefer mine loaded with grapes, celery and walnuts.

I began to think about how different chicken salad can be.
Sweet or savory.
Loaded with stuff or just plain.
And obviously everyone likes it a certain way.

Tonight's Chicken Salad Bar was quickly thrown together.
But how fun would it be to have a bunch of girlfriends over for lunch and offer a Chicken Salad Bar?!

Here's what I did tonight (at the bottom of the post I've got a few more ideas).

I thought it would be a great idea to start with a base chicken salad.
Shredded Chicken, Salt and Pepper and Mayo.
I then chopped up grapes, celery and walnuts for whoever wanted to add them to their salad.
Travis, Kaitlin (my sister) and the kids all ate their chicken salad on Sweet Hawaiin Buns.
If you haven't ever purchased these they are a HUGE treat in our house!
They make any sandwich taste 100 times better!
I served my chicken salad on a bed of lettuce.

 If I were to ever host a large group and serve a Chicken Salad Bar here are the ideas I had.
 Have your chicken shredded and dry so that everyone can put their dressing of choice on.
I'm thinking disposable bowls and spoons would be perfect for everyone to mix their own salad in.

Poppyseed Dressing (my friend Robin suggests the Brianna's brand)
Ranch Dressing

Dried Cranberries
Hardboiled Eggs

Hawaiian Rolls
Crescent Rolls
Green Salad
Cooked Pasta 


What am I missing?
What would you add to the list?
How do you like your chicken salad?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday Heat and Mish-mosh

 It is hot, hot, hot here in Texas.
And at our house both inside and out.
All three of my kids have had fevers the past few days.
Sweet Emma is the last of the three to get it.
She laid on the couch all afternoon and evening and kept moaning and saying "ohhh mannn."
Poor little pup!

I've got quite a few random bits that I'm going to throw into this post.
So hang on. 

First up... let's talk summer produce!
My father-in-law always has a beautiful garden and he is so generous to give us bagfuls of the bounty.
This past weekend he brought two large bags of tomatoes and green beans.
There is nothing better than a fresh grown garden tomato.
For dinner tonight we just ate rice, tomatoes and white beans.
It tasted so fresh and summery!

The biggest and best news of the day is that my youngest sister who just graduated high-school
came to stay with us for two weeks!
This is her third summer in a row to do so.
I LOVE having her here!
I feel spoiled to have her in my life.
She's an incredible baby wrangler, house cleaner and cook.
You name it and she can do it.
While she's here we always try to plan a few craft projects, work projects and fun outings.

Speaking of work projects.
July is our month to get done any work projects around the house.
Such as anything that needs fixed, organizing cupboards/cabinets...
basically getting our household in tip-top shape.
Because once the end of July hits we kiss Travis goodbye to football season
until the beginning of November.
It's become a good ritual.
While he still spends the nights here I just pretend he isn't here as far as the work load goes.
I live like a single mom from August to November.
And it works awesome for us!
There's no frustration when chores don't get done because he's not home 
or he comes home later than I thought.
I just take care of it.
It totally eliminates any arguing.
Which leaves more time for enjoying each others company when he is home!

So back to the chores.
That's another thing my sister is helping me with these next two weeks.
Getting our house in order :)
She's a gem I tell ya!

Off to make chocolate milkshakes and lists with her!
Hope your weekend was great!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Saturday Morning

Good Saturday morning!
Today is our first FULL day home after being gone almost three weeks.
It's been a good three weeks but I'm ready to slow down.

The big kids and Travis went out on the lake this morning.
Cade is taking his morning nap.
And I'm sitting here trying to figure out a meal plan for this next week.
Easy and light is the theme I'm going with.
I'm thinking lots of grilling, sandwiches and salads.

I hope your past few weeks have been good!
I'm excited to get back into the blogging groove!
Lots of fun things to share with you in the next few weeks!
Happy weekend :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Peanut Butter Crispies

 I knew this week would be a bit hectic so I asked Ashley from Sugar Mama Bakeshop to guest post for me today!  She's sharing a delish recipe for Peanut Butter Crispies!
Thanks Ashley :)

Hey again, I'm Ashley! I'm a wife, a mama & a baker. I also blog over at Sugar Mama Bakeshop. I guest posted on The Vanilla Tulip awhile back and shared some tips for how to feed your family gluten free & vegan on a seriously tight budget.

(My husband and I before I chopped my hair waaay off :) 

Today I'm super excited to be back and I have a recipe to share!

Peanut butter rice crispies are one of my all time favorites! But since they're packed with butter and marshmallows I can't ever have them anymore... So I created a new version that fits my diet AND I actually love them better! Plus they have actual nutritional value, not just sugar. That's always a nice benefit :)


Peanut Butter Crispies 

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 3 1/2 cups rice crispy cereal (gluten free) 
  • 1 cup melted chocolate chips

  • In a large glass bowl melt the peanut butter and agave in the microwave for about 1 minute.
  • Stir until smooth and then stir in the cereal. 
  • Spray an 8x8 pan with cooking spray and spread mixture into pan.
  • Put into freezer for about 20 minutes to set before adding chocolate.
  • Melt chocolate for 1 minute in microwave and then stir.
  • Continue to melt the chocolate at 30 second intervals until smooth (I add 1 TB shortening to make it smoother).
  • Pour chocolate on top of crispy mixture and spread over the entire pan.
  • Put back in the freezer or fridge to set and then enjoy! 

Just about as simple as it gets but dang, we love them!
I hope you do too :)
Hop on over and visit me.
I have lots of other recipes, like my fave scones plus adventures with my baby girl, Lily, and lots of farmers market updates!
I would love to see you!


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Camping Vacation Part 2 of 2

This post is going to be pretty much identical to last nights :)
Minimal words... maximum pictures.
In case you missed yesterdays post, here is Part 1.

I am so thankful for Vacation Bible School... such a fun week!
However... I honestly have no clue how you working mothers do it.
I. am. SO. tired.
And my house is a disaster.
By the time we get home from church everyone lays down for naps including myself;)
Then it's up and scurrying to get laundry done and dinner made.
Then baths and by the time everyone is in bed it's time to get clothes and bags around for the next day.
Holy mackerel. 
Countdown for next week and my slow paced life at home has begun;)

Heading off to bed!
Hope your Tuesday has been great!

-My little cousin Willie with Colt-

-Emma showing my Grandma a bracelet she beaded-

-Emma and my cousin Kinsey-
My Aunt Rhonda made the girls matching dresses... the girls loved them!
She has an adorable Etsy shop if you're in the need for a sweet dress like theirs.

-The kids loved Uncle Justin's truck :) -

Monday, June 18, 2012

Camping Vacation Part 1 of 2

 The kids are tucked into bed and I'm following in their footsteps shortly.
A week of camping and then jumping right into Vacation Bible School week at our church
is about to do me in. :)
I'd say we're all overly tired from the looks of this picture of Colt from last night...

Our camping trip this year was the best one to date.
Last year the temps were in the high 90's.
This year the temps were low 80's...almost on the chilly side.
The kids were happy and this was our first year to camp with three WALKING kids.
In years past I've always had a little one who was crawling.
Which was pure torture since there's nowhere to crawl.

My grandparents, uncle, aunt and cousins all met us from Colorado.
It's such a sweet time getting to see my grandparents each year.
I love that my kids are making memories with my grandparents!

I'm headed to bed.
Round two of pictures will be up tomorrow!
Hope your Monday was great!

Saturday, June 16, 2012


7 nights of camping
7 days of fun in the sun
1 rainy, windy day
3 browned by the sun and dirt happy kids
17 hours in the car
1 night out to eat at our favorite restaurant
7 afternoon naps in an air-conditioned camper...glorious!
6 hot breakfasts cooked on a griddle
22 family members
4 campsites
1 change of sheets mid-week
500 long walks to use the bathroom
3 jet ski rides with Emma and Colt
  1 afternoon out for icecream
2 water tube rides for Emma
2 exhausted parents


A great week of vacation!
More to come this week.
I'm going to go take a hot bath and crawling into a bed with fresh sheets!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Feature Sponsor- Rustic Living

Hello! My name is Ashley from Rustic Living

I'm a country girl from Idaho that loves to share furniture transformations, DIY projects, handmade pillows, and a passion for the country lifestyle. My favorite style is "rustic chic", which you will see in most of my projects. If I'm not busy turning an old, boring piece of furniture into a lovely piece of treasure then I'm probably creating rustic chic pillows! I love how much character they can add to a bedroom, living room, or even an entryway bench. I began to think how fun it would be to create customizable pillows for others celebrating a very special day in their life . . . their wedding day. 

I opened up an Etsy shop for this purpose and have really enjoyed creating pillows with a personal touch for the happy couple to be. I also sell decorative pillows, usually with a touch of burlap, that add a rustic chic feel to any room. 


Ashley is offering you readers 25% off of anything in her Etsy shop!
Enter "thevanillatulip" at the checkout 

You can also find Ashley and Rustic Living here:

Monday, June 11, 2012

Guest Post- Life Chasers

 I am on vacation this week camping with my little group and also my side of the family!
I have some great Guest Posts going on this week for y'all to enjoy!
Kaylee of Life Chasers has become one of my dearest friends.
This girl is as sweet as it gets.
She loves the Lord and her family.
She has great recipes that she shares.
And her photography is amazing!
Just love her!

Hello dear Vanilla Tulip readers!
I am so grateful that Ashley has invited me back here again.
Don't you just love her?!
For those of you who are new here, I am Kaylee and I blog over at Life Chasers.
I love everything that being a homemaker entails including all the little bumps along the way.
That's what I write about.
I'm married to a handsome, rugged man and a mom to our 2 vivacious little girls.
We recently moved to North Dakota, my home state, to start a business in agriculture.
It's been a wild ride!
>>> <<<
I have been a wife for almost 4 years and a mom for almost 3.
There are days I feel like I have it all together and others that I feel like such an amateur. 
But whether you are a novice or a seasoned pro, I think we are all looking for ways to simplify our day.
A clean house is important to both my husband and I. 
Here are a few tips I use to make that possible:

Prepare the night before.
After baths at night and we are getting the girls ready for bed, I lay out their clothes for the next day on top of their dresser.
Ashlynn likes to dress herself so in the morning she grabs them and does just that.
(without going through her clothes and making a mess.)

Lay out my gym clothes/shoes so getting out the door is quick and painless.

Figure out what I am doing for dinner the next night so that if there is meat I can take it out of the freezer first thing in the morning.

Straighten up. I usually just make sure that the toys are downstairs and the pillows in the living room are put away. It makes it feel like I'm not waking up to chaos in the morning.

Jump right in.
As soon as I get back from the gym I take a shower, put makeup on and start my day.
If not, the sweats will stay on and it is SO hard for me to not just sit and have a second cup of coffee.

After I get ready I do a sweep through each room and straighten up.
Make the bed, put the dirty clothes in the hallway, make the girls bed, throw any toys in the bin, pick up the bottles and pacifiers and bam. The rooms are clean.
Once I do that I have all of the laundry in one place to take to the laundry room and separate it and start a load.
If I don't start one then, I just won't later.

Find cleaning products you like.
I'm serious, if you like the way it looks/smells, you will use it more.
I love using this lavender spray for my kitchen counters.

Maintain throughout the day.
Our room stays clean but the girls room/living room/kitchen/playroom all get a lot of traffic. 
If I go through a room and there are toys I consolidate them into a pile until I go to the girls room/play room to put them away.
During nap time after lunch I do a quick pick up, right before dinner (moments before Ryan gets home), and right before bed again.
This has proved to be the BEST way to keep house for me.
It literally takes 1-2minutes a room and you don't feel like you are living in a pigsty.
It's not so overwhelming then when you have to do it all at once.

Teach your kids to help.
Ok so Ashlynn isn't a huge help (at 2 1/2) but I have started her with making her bed, putting garbage away, putting her toys away etc.
It may be faster to do it yourself but in the long run, this will save your hind end.

Make lists!
I LOVE making lists.
It keeps you organized and feels so good to cross something off.

Take time.
If you get a moment, take time to sit and breathe.
It will fuel you up to keep going.
Plus, if your house is picked up, you won't feel guilty while enjoying your iced coffee. :)

These are all simple things but have changed my days.
It frees me up to do other things and feel like my home is being maintained at the same time.
We are called to steward our homes, it is not something to be taken lightly!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Camping Food

 We're almost to our camping destination!
We traveled to my parent's yesterday and will leave tomorrow for the campsite.
Today was spent stocking up on food for the week.
We cook every meal except for one night where we go out to eat as a group.

The name of the game during the week is EASY meals.
My favorite part of camping is the snacks!
There's nothing better than sitting by the lake with a Dr. Pepper and a bag of chips ;)
 Food tastes better in the sunshine and fresh air in my opinion!

Here is our menu plan for the week.

Saturday- Overnight Muffaletta and Pasta Salad
Sunday- Burgers, Hot Dogs, Baked Beans, Fruit and Chips
Monday- Crockpot BBQ Sandwiches and Coleslaw
Tuesday- Fish Tacos
Wednesday- Hobo Packs (Potatoes, Sausage and Corn wrapped in tin foil over the grill)
Thursday- Out to Dinner
Friday- Burgers, Hot Dogs and Baked Beans

(on rotation)
Uncrustables for the Kids
Sandwiches (lunch meat and cheese)
Chips and Dip
Crackers, Cheese, Summer Sausage and Fruit 

(on rotation)
Pancakes and Bacon (pre-cooked)
Egg, Bacon and Cheese Sandwiches on English Muffins

String Cheese
Applesauce Cups
Fruit (bananas, grapes, oranges)

I'll try to check in at some point during next week.
 I have a few guest posts scheduled.
I know you'll love them!!!
The girls who are posting are top notch :)
Enjoy your weekend!