Momma Told Me: January 2017

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#DoingThe99 This Valentine's Day: D.I.Y Concrete Planters And Living Herb + Bulb Gifts

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #99YourValentinesDay #DoingThe99 #CollectiveBias
Do Valentine's on a budget. Do the 99. Amazing D.I.Y gift ideas for living Valentine's gifts from mason jar bulb planters to hand poured concrete planters. #99YourValentinesDay #DoingThe99 (AD)
Momma Told Me: Let's do the 99!

As many of you know we recently moved from a condo, into a house. As magical a time as these past few months have been, there have also been a lot of unexpected expenses and trimming of the budget. The first place we focused our gaze was towards holiday gifting. You know, those 'unnecessary' expenditures that really aren't necessary but just make the entire year a little more pleasant? And, on top of it I'm one of those people- who have to give a little something to just about anyone who crosses their path or impacts their life. Postal workers, neighbors, league-mates, family, and friends- even the kids at the daycare always get a little something from me when the holiday rolls along. Valentine's Day is no exception.
Live plants outside the local 99, great for seasonal gifting. Everything from stunning florals to fresh herbs. #DoingThe99 #99YourValentinesday (AD)
So, when my holiday budget was cut in half this year I had apocalyptic visions of all the people I would disappoint, all the glittered hearts I wouldn't get to play with. Then something magical happened, on a trip to the corner gas station, in the 'new to us' neighborhood I discovered a new to me 99 Cents Only Stores location.

As someone who had quite literally camped out at the grand opening when the 99 had at last come to her old neighborhood I was delighted to see I was now even closer to an even larger store! If you don't know the 99, then this may all sound like blabbering, but it truly was akin to a toddler walking into their first toy store. From the very moment I set foot out of the car in that parking lot I know I was about to enter a playground of amazing brands at amazing prices.
Do Valentine's on a budget. Do the 99. Amazing D.I.Y gift ideas for living Valentine's gifts from mason jar bulb planters to hand poured concrete planters. #99YourValentinesDay #DoingThe99 (AD)
In fact, we have a little saying in our household, and it's about to be said a lot more often- "Let's do the 99!" Not because it's some day trip, or planned adventure, but rather because it's a shopping experience unlike any other in our area. When we have a $20 bill burning a hole in our pocket we make a beeline for the 99- there's always something new to discover! Whether we're looking to stock up on movie theater snacks, throw together a house warming gift for a new neighbor, explore new ingredients and dinner options with fresh, affordable produce- or just walk around for creative exploration, it's one store Jay and I can both agree on visiting. 99 Cents Only stores have all of our favorite brands at prices that just can't be beat!
So, getting back to me little holiday budgeting dilemma...

We recently did some ordinary repair and upkeep work on the new (to us) home with concrete- and I'd been looking everywhere for something practical to do with all of the leftover mix taking up space in our (new to us) garage. It just so happened, on this particular visit to the 99 that the fresh live herbs and flowers cart was parked right by the entrance. Instant inspiration! This year for Valentine's Day I'd make handmade concrete planters and living (floral) bulb gifts. For just a few dollars a person I could give each individual on my Valentine's Day gift list a meaningful, and living gift.
Do Valentine's on a budget. Do the 99. Amazing D.I.Y gift ideas for living Valentine's gifts from mason jar bulb planters to hand poured concrete planters. #99YourValentinesDay #DoingThe99 (AD)
It shouldn't surprise you that I got all of my supplies for this project at the 99. The first thing one see's during this time of the year, when you walk into a 99 Cents Only Store is the seasonal/holiday aisle. With all the gorgeous shades of red and pink, I was drawn in and hopelessly lost to all of the potential for serious cute. every great D.I.Y. project needs a little decoration and a lot of style. From heart lined ribbons and stunning pink bows, to gift sized Ghirardelli chocolates and pink paperweights, there was no shortage of seasonal decor to personalize my holiday project.
Of course there were a few practical supplies I needed to stock up on for my project as well. For my poured concrete planters I was going to need a wide range of disposable containers. And by disposable I mean containers that weren't going to break the bank when I had to cut them in half and toss them at the end of my DIY. Thankfully there was an entire wall of options to choose from- whether it was a child's plastic sand bucket or a multi-pack of food storage containers, I found exactly what I needed, and even found a few fun shapes and sizes I could use for molds.

I was also sure to pick up a drop cloth (found near the automotive and house care items), some dish gloves to wear while mixing and pouring, safety goggles and masks, scissors, vegetable oil, a mixing bucket, paper towels, a wooden spoon (for mixing my concrete) and a few pinwheels, potting mix, and flower bulbs from the gardening section.
While this is an incredibly easy D.I.Y, having all the necessary items for yourself and your space are a must. I go through a lot of gloves, masks, goggles, and tarps working on my projects and the bottom line is always a little cheerier thanks to my ability to find these items at the 99.

Start by covering a sturdy, flat surface with your tarp- in a pinch a shower curtain liner, or tablecloth, doubles as a great work surface if tarps aren't available. Decide which containers you will use for your molds. Play around with different shapes and sizes. Ultimately one container needs to fit inside another as to create a cavity large enough to accommodate the root system of whatever you are planting. If you struggle with dimensions, consider using your concrete planters for succulents, air plants, or fake succulents (also found at the 99 from time to time.)

Thoroughly grease the inside of your bottom container, and the outside of your top container with some vegetable oil and a paper towel. This will help the cured pots to release from their mold.
Follow the instructions on your concrete mix's packaging to prepare the mixture for pouring. Keep in mind that this project calls for a concrete mix (not cement) which means the dry product will be a blend of cement and some sort of sand like binder. Feel free to add up to double the packages recommended water to reach a thick, sludge-like consistency. Otherwise your concrete mix will be functional but require additional curing and hard packing for stability.

Pour your wet concrete mix directly into your bottom mold container. You will need to eyeball about how much each mold will require depending on the side of the internal mold and how big you want your posts to be.When possible fill your molds to as accurate a portion as possible (by eyeing it) then place your greased top/inner mold in the center, gently pressing down. The inner mold will instinctively want to pop up over time, so add a little cat sand or some jars inside your top molds to help weigh them down. Give your containers a few quick taps on a hard surface to help expell any air pockets and flatten the top edges.

Your pot's outer walls should be a minimum 1/2"thick for strength. Press any decorative glass gems, rocks, or shells you may have found on your trip to the 99 into the top to add a little extra character.
Do Valentine's on a budget. Do the 99. Amazing D.I.Y gift ideas for living Valentine's gifts from mason jar bulb planters to hand poured concrete planters. #99YourValentinesDay #DoingThe99 (AD)
Do Valentine's on a budget. Do the 99. Amazing D.I.Y gift ideas for living Valentine's gifts from mason jar bulb planters to hand poured concrete planters. #99YourValentinesDay #DoingThe99 (AD)
Depending on the type of concrete used (most home concrete mixes are quick-set and will range on the shorter side) your pots will need 24 hours to 5 days to cure. Once you are satisfied that your concrete has cured remove the outer mold. Your outer mold should pop right off if you slowly tilt it upside down- be sure to support your pot as your turn it so it does not come slamming out!

The inner mold will likely give you a little bit of a fuss. Feel free to cut a slit down the center of this inner mold to help relieve some pressure and allow air into the inner bottom pocket. Gentle twisting and rocking may also be needed. Just be patient, it will release!

***You may wish to carefully drill some drainage holes on the bottom of larger pots, depending on what you are planning to plant in them.
Do Valentine's on a budget. Do the 99. Amazing D.I.Y gift ideas for living Valentine's gifts from mason jar bulb planters to hand poured concrete planters. #99YourValentinesDay #DoingThe99 (AD)
Do Valentine's on a budget. Do the 99. Amazing D.I.Y gift ideas for living Valentine's gifts from mason jar bulb planters to hand poured concrete planters. #99YourValentinesDay #DoingThe99 (AD)
Now for the fun part- decorating and filling your handmade planters-

Keep in mind that you should not disturb the root balls of any living plants, and should take this into consideration before attempting to transplant a plant into a container that is too small. Cutting the root ball will ultimately damage the plant. Thankfully the 99 has plenty of options for living plants***, and decorate plants to accommodate homemade pots of various sizes. For my smaller pots I found fresh living herbs, such as mint and rosemary transplanted perfectly.

***99 Cents Only Stores stock varies by location, region, weather and other factors. Living plants or herbs require specific transport and environment factors so you may not find them always stocked or available. Here in sunny SoCal, we are lucky and see them often. If living plants are note currently in stock at your local 99 visit the gardening department for seeds and bulbs.
Do Valentine's on a budget. Do the 99. Amazing D.I.Y gift ideas for living Valentine's gifts from mason jar bulb planters to hand poured concrete planters. #99YourValentinesDay #DoingThe99 (AD)
I had fun playing with various ribbons and, bows, and Valentine's decorations from my trip to the 99. I tend to lean more towards pink, rather than traditional red and white, so I was happy to have such a great range of 'cute' Valentine's decor to play with. Sometimes you just don't want to give the mail lady a 'one true love' kinda gift, right?
Do Valentine's on a budget. Do the 99. Amazing D.I.Y gift ideas for living Valentine's gifts from mason jar bulb planters to hand poured concrete planters. #99YourValentinesDay #DoingThe99 (AD)
Of course, deciding on Valentine's gifts for the men in one's life isn't much easier. So I was happy yo add a decorative, but masculine touch to this double planter I made for succulents and fresh herbs. I knew my father's girlfriend would appreciate the little "All you need is love"plaque and heart paperweight, while my dad would appreciate the pop of blue in the glass beads. Of course I scored all these accents on my trip to the 99.
Do Valentine's on a budget. Do the 99. Amazing D.I.Y gift ideas for living Valentine's gifts from mason jar bulb planters to hand poured concrete planters. #99YourValentinesDay #DoingThe99 (AD)
As awesome as my planters turned out, there are still a few people on my Valentine's list it's not quite practical to give a handmade concrete planter to. For those smaller, but still thought of, and typically mobile, people I put together individual bulb kits with some seasonal floral bulbs and adorable Valentine's containers found in the seasonal aisle at the 99.
Do Valentine's on a budget. Do the 99. Amazing D.I.Y gift ideas for living Valentine's gifts from mason jar bulb planters to hand poured concrete planters. #99YourValentinesDay #DoingThe99 (AD)
I tossed a little potting soil and a bulb, or two (depending on the size) in each and cut out the package growing directions to string onto the containers with curling ribbon. An instant gift for under $3. I even found a few ombre glass candle holders I could sprout some wildflowers in to give as gifts with individual chocolates or a card from the 99.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-4tjJzvAMc9azB6SExKQk1WczA/view?usp=sharing
When all was said and done I made 6 large, decorated and potted, concrete planters and 12 mini individual Valentine's day floral gifts for under $40 spent at my local 99 Cents Only Store. Of course, now that I've inspired you, you'll want to head on over and have your own adventure at the 99 too. Be sure to grab our printable shopping list for this project- you'll find all of these items, and so much more at the 99.
Do Valentine's on a budget. Do the 99. Amazing D.I.Y gift ideas for living Valentine's gifts from mason jar bulb planters to hand poured concrete planters. #99YourValentinesDay #DoingThe99 (AD)
I don't want to say the 99 Cents Only Stores saved our Valentine's Day, but they kinda did. Discover a 99 location near you, and check out all the other amazing project, recipe, and party plan ideas on a budget from other 99er bloggers at the Social Hub. There's also some especially great inspiration for party planners in this Facebook video as well- so be sure to check out all the fun ways you can 99 your next party! Now, for a little fun- tell me about a project or event coming up that you'd like to 99, and I'll tell you how to 99 it!

What Daughter Says: The fun never ends with a little inspiration from the 99- there's always something new to discover, and always favorite brands to enjoy!

Grape-Chia Chicken Field of Greens Salad Recipe

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #Welchs #WelchsChia #CollectiveBias
Grape-Chia Grilled Chicken Field of Greens Salad with Welch's Chia Concord Grape Vinaigrette- #Welchs #WelchsChia (AD)
Momma Told Me: If you eat too much of that- you're gonna turn into it!

When I was about 4 or 5 years old my father's parents, who were big into holistic living in the form of acupuncture and herbal supplements, began carrying a large shaker of flaxseed to every meal. Because they lived on the opposite side of the country, and I only saw them fora  few days twice a year, it didn't seem out of place at first. Then, a few years later, the practice my father has laughed off as 'yet another holistic fad' not only had stuck around, but intensified. My grandparents sprinkled flaxseed on everything from their morning toast to an afternoon blended coffee beverage. As you can imagine, at the time, the young girl I was I fancied it a miracle seed, the way they regarded it's presence with such importance.
Chia Smoothie
Of course, now 30 years young myself I know there is no such thing as a magical food, or even magical ingredient. That true smart eating comes from a deliberate, and somewhat complicated balance of dietary composition that changes day to day with our busy lifestyles. This being said, there has been quite a lot of talk over the past couple of years about a group of 'Superfoods' which offer magnified nutritional benefits when incorporated into a well balanced daily diet. As someone who is 1.) notorious for eating like a bird and 2.) has cut most meat out of her diet unintentionally (I just tend to eat chicken or tofu or veggies these days) Chia has been a big part of my own personal Superfood movement.
#WelchsChia Spreads at Ralph's #Welchs (AD)
So you're probably thinking why would I want to put something that traditionally sprouts out of a ceramic head (anyone else remember Chia Pets?) in my food? A serving of Chia seeds may provide up to 20% of your daily dietary protein, while being packed with Omega 3 Fatty acid ALA (but not DHA) and also offer a unique texture twist to just about anything you might sprinkle them on, or put them in. I haven't quite reached the 'carrying a shaker full of Chia Seeds' stage, like my grandparents, but I have been using this ingredient in pretty much anything I can think of- mainly smoothies and atop salads as of lately.

Recently Welch's released their new Chia spreads range of NON-GMO, real sugar, spreads free of preservatives and high-fructose corn syrup. They're jars full of the real Welch's fruit flavor your love, and packed with over 700 chia seeds in every serving. You'll currently find them in the jelly and jam aisle of your favorite major grocery retailers. I found both the Strawberry and Concord Grape varieties at my local Southern California Ralph's. In fact, if you're lucky, for a limited time, you'll find a coupon on select bottles of Welch's Chia Concord Grape Spread at a store near you. It's the perfect reason to pick up a jar and try today's featured recipe!
Grape-Chia Grilled Chicken Field of Greens Salad with Welch's Chia Concord Grape Vinaigrette- #Welchs #WelchsChia (AD)
Grape-Chia Grilled Chicken Field of Greens Salad with Welch's Chia Concord Grape Vinaigrette- #Welchs #WelchsChia (AD)
Grape-Chia Grilled Chicken Field of Greens Salad with Welch's Chia Concord Grape Vinaigrette- #Welchs #WelchsChia (AD)
I'm pretty used to using Chia as an ingredient in my day-to-day recipes- but most curious about this Superfood might not know where to begin. Welch's new Chia spreads offer a great way to experience the texture of Chia in a delicious natural fruit spread. I found that Welch’s Chia Concord Grape Fruit Spread is really versatile and easy to work with, thanks to the generous helping of real Chia seeds, which makes it bind beautifully as a baste for some freshly grilled chicken. In fact, I sear off 2 grilled chicken breasts, and baste each side in a thick layer of Welch’s Chia Concord Grape Fruit Spread, then send them directly to the oven on a cast iron skillet to finish reaching temperature.
Grape-Chia Grilled Chicken Field of Greens Salad with Welch's Chia Concord Grape Vinaigrette- #Welchs #WelchsChia (AD)
Grape-Chia Grilled Chicken Field of Greens Salad with Welch's Chia Concord Grape Vinaigrette- #Welchs #WelchsChia (AD)
Grape-Chia Grilled Chicken Field of Greens Salad with Welch's Chia Concord Grape Vinaigrette- #Welchs #WelchsChia (AD)
While my chicken finishes cooking I use a few tablespoons of Welch’s Chia Concord Grape Fruit Spread to whip up a light vinaigrette with fresh lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, and Omega 3-DHA Canola Oil. The result is a fragrant fruit vinaigrette that tosses into a bowl of fresh greens for the perfect sweet-citrus flavor to bring this delicious salad to life.
Grape-Chia Grilled Chicken Field of Greens Salad with Welch's Chia Concord Grape Vinaigrette- #Welchs #WelchsChia (AD)
When your chicken emerges from the oven it'll have a gorgeous cranberry color glaze that reminds me of Thanksgiving turkey. Don't be fooled, there's only a touch of sweetness from Welch’s Chia Concord Grape Fruit Spread's real sugar. In fact, most of the sugars in the spread bake off during the 2nd stage of cooking (in the oven) and this grilled chicken has a wonderful flavor that is light and addictive all at once. 2 large breasts, thinly sliced will provide us with 2-3 generously portioned meals for 2. And that's perfectly fine with me, because I wouldn't mind eating this salad every day of the week.
Grape-Chia Grilled Chicken Field of Greens Salad with Welch's Chia Concord Grape Vinaigrette- #Welchs #WelchsChia (AD)
As amazing as the flavors are when combining the Grape-Chia grilled chicken and the Vinaigrette, there are a few other star ingredients I suggest to make a flawless salad. While it might seem logical to put actual grapes in your salad, don't. For an extra layer of texture and natural sweet-tart that will go far to bring out the delicious Welch’s flavor, thinly slice some sticks of Granny Smith Apple and allow them to soak in fresh lemon juice while preparing your ingredients. A slivered red onion will also help to balance the acidity of the plate, while crumbled goat's cheese will bring in a bitter creamy element that I especially love when chia seeds are present. To top it off- candied pecans make this one irresistible salad, great for any season.
Grape-Chia Grilled Chicken Field of Greens Salad with Welch's Chia Concord Grape Vinaigrette- #Welchs #WelchsChia (AD)
Be sure to toss your greens in the prepared Grape-Chia Vinaigrette prior to building your plate- a little goes a long way and you really want that powerful vinaigrette flavor to interact with all of your ingredients! Nervous about how the chia seeds might impact your textural culinary experience? Don't be! You'll hardly notice they're there among all the other texture profiles in this dish!
Grape-Chia Grilled Chicken Field of Greens Salad with Welch's Chia Concord Grape Vinaigrette- #Welchs #WelchsChia (AD)
As someone who reaches for Chia to incorporate into her meals on a day-to-day basis, Welch’s Chia Concord Grape Fruit Spread is a great way to take the mess out of a thousand tiny seeds and still enjoy the goodness that Chia has to offer. With 700+ seeds per serving, it likely is more than I'd organically put on or into my food in the first place, and it really offers a delicious flavor boost of natural grape that works wonders with smoothies, breakfast bowls, and even grilled chicken! Now, tell me, have you ever tried Chia seeds in a recipe? What might you do with Welch's new Chia spreads?

What Daughter Says: Balance is the biggest key to smart eating. There's no such thing as a magic ingredient, but smart ingredients can help make decisions easier.





Grape-Chia Grilled Chicken Field of Greens Salad with Welch's Chia Concord Grape Vinaigrette- #Welchs #WelchsChia (AD)
Grape-Chia Grilled Chicken Field of Greens Salad