Monthly Archives: January 2014

Make a lovely upcycled vase from an empty bottle

After making Chicken Caesar Sandwiches, I have empty glass salad dressing bottles that are the perfect size for a small vase.  I generally recycle the bottles, but this time I decided to upcycle and turn it into something new.Make an upcycled vase from an empty bottleI used the empty, clean bottle to make one of the wrapped vases that I’ve seen floating around on Pinterest.  This project was easy and fun – and turned out so cute!

Before - upcycling a bottle into a vase

Before – turn twine and an empty bottle into a vase.

Making an upcycled vase is so simple.  It takes just a few materials:  the bottle, some twine or yarn, and glue.

My upcycled vase was free since I used twine that I already had on hand, along with regular school glue to attach it.  You probably have all these items on hand as well.  Don’t you love it when you get lovely things for free?!

Before getting started, I wondered if regular glue would hold the twine, or if I would have to break out the hot glue gun.  When I peeled off the dressing label, its leftover adhesive helped hold the twine in place as I wrapped it around the bottle.  No hot glue gun was necessary – the school glue did the job.

The twine wrapping went quickly until I got to the bottle neck.  It didn’t stay in place as easily on around the curve of the bottle, but it smoothed out as I added more layers and pushed the twine down.

At the top I glued down the cut end of the twine and held it in place until it adhered.  For the final touch, I added a simple ribbon bow, then found some flowers for display.

I love how my little upcycled vase craft project turned out!  Now I need to finish off some additional bottles to make more!

This project is linked at some of these link parties.

Do Tell Tuesday

Easy Chicken Caesar Sandwich

As a busy mom, I love meals that are fast and easy.  Crock pot cooking is a fabulous way to get dinner on the table.

Learning to make shredded chicken in the crock pot was a great kitchen revelation since it gave me several dinner options.  One of our family’s favorite meals is a Chicken Caesar Sandwich.  It’s a delicious sandwich that couldn’t get much easier!Easy Chicken Caesar sandwich

This Chicken Caesar Sandwich recipe has just three ingredients:

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts trimmed of excess fat.  I use about two pounds for our family of five, but you can scale this up or down as needed.
  • Caesar dressing.  Pick your favorite.  I’ve used several versions, and they’ve all turned out well.  I usually buy Cardini’s Light Caesar dressing.  It tastes great with less fat than the regular version.
  • Buns.  Pick your favorite.  Our new preference for these sandwiches is pretzel buns – with Hawaiian buns in second place.

Put two cups of water in the crock pot and add the chicken (the water should just cover the chicken).  Cook on high for about three hours.  The cooking time may vary depending on your crock pot.  The chicken will be cooked through (no pink) and shred easily when done.  I take the chicken out with tongs (carefully because it’s already falling apart) and shred it on a plate.

Turn off the crock pot and drain the water.  Put the shredded chicken back in the crock pot and add your desired amount of Caesar dressing.  I use about 6 ounces of dressing (half of a 12-ounce bottle).  Allow it to heat through.  I usually sprinkle in some Parmesan cheese, but it’s not necessary.

Build your sandwiches and garnish as you like.  I add lettuce to mine, but my hubby and kids like theirs plain (go figure).  As a bonus, any leftovers heat up nicely.

Make this Chicken Caesar Sandwich recipe once, and you’ll have it memorized.  I hope you enjoy it as much as our family does!

I link up at these link parties.

5k events that put the fun in running

This year one of my resolutions is to complete at least two 5k events.  I’ve been looking for fun runs to motivate me to get those running shoes out and start training again.

I couldn’t find a complete list of 5k events so I compiled the run series that sounded fun.  Have I missed any on the list below?

There are a lot of great events out there!Run Pic

Color Run – “The Happiest 5k on the Planet”

This is the only 5k I have run, and it was so much fun that I’m ready to do it again this year!  What’s not to love?  You get doused in colored powder at various color stations as you run the course, so you end up looking like a running rainbow.  Or like a Smurf in my case – I really got hit with the blue!  After crossing the finish line, it’s fun to join the color throws at the stage to complete your vibrant look!

I loved knowing that there was no pressure with this run.  It’s not timed and is all about having fun.  My husband ran it with me last year, and we’re thinking of running with our kids this year to make it a whole family fun run.  There were plenty of kids out there last year, and it was a family-friendly atmosphere.

The Color Run has events scheduled across the U.S. and overseas during 2014.  In 2013, 170 events were held in 30 countries, so there’s sure to be one near you!

Flying Powder Fun Run

This event is similar to the Color Run.  The web site shows a run in Boston on May 3, 2014, with other cities to be added.

Hot Chocolate 15/5k  “America’s Sweetest Race”

Will run for chocolate!  This 15/5k features finisher’s mugs filled with hot chocolate and chocolate fondue with snacks for dipping.  The run is timed, with results available online. The web site notes that runners must have a 15-minute mile pace or faster to be sure of course support. The event benefits the Ronald McDonald House Charities and is scheduled for 14 cities across the U.S. in 2014.


How great to combine Disney with running events!  Disneyland is hosting three events and Disney World has five events planned during 2014.  There’s something for everyone, with 5k, 10k, half marathon, and marathon lengths available. 

Great Urban Race

The Great Urban Race is a race for teams to solve clues, complete challenges, and win prizes.  The race takes participants throughout the city for physical and mental challenges that vary from city to city.  Not exactly a run, participants can also take public transportation between locations they find based on clues.  In 2014, this event is planned for 14 U.S. cities as well as Toronto.

Night Glow Runs

  • Neon Dash The Neon Dash is an untimed color 5k that takes runners through a nighttime course lit by black lights.  Neon powder or water is sprayed at intervals on the course for a colorful glow.  Events are planned in 23 U.S. locations in 2014.
  • Glow in the Park – This nighttime 5k takes runners through foam, glow water, and neon powder.  The pre-race goody bag includes glow accessories and paint to make the most of the light-up-the-night experience.  In 2014, 19 locations are planned.
  • Glow Run – Glow Run features black light zones, a glowing finish line, and runners wearing glow gear.  This untimed run is planned in 18 locations in 2014.
  • The Glo Run – This run is planned for 13+ U.S. cities in 2014.
  • Firefly Run  – The Firefly Run was scheduled for 18 cities in 2013; the web site for this 5k/10k race has not been updated with full 2014 event dates and locations {as of 1/16/14}.

 Obstacle Runs

  • 5k Foam Fest – The 5k Foam Fest is a mud run that features various obstacles through water, mud, and foam.  The Death Drop slide looks particularly fun!  Events are planned for 36 locations across the U.S. in 2014.
  • Spartan Race – The Spartan Race is an obstacle challenge event with three race distances:  the Spartan Sprint (3+ miles / 15+ obstacles), the Super Spartan (8+ miles / 20+ obstacles), and the Spartan Beast (12+ miles / 25+ obstacles).  This trail/mud run is being held throughout the U.S. and in 15 other countries in 2014.
  • Tough Mudder – The Tough Mudder is billed as an adventure challenge series with hardcore obstacles designed by British Special Forces.  This team-based event has locations planned throughout the U.S. and around the world in 2014.  The Tough Mudder supports the Wounded Warrior Project. 
  • Warrior Dash – The Warrior Dash course covers 3-4 miles through rugged terrain with 12 obstacles.  The event is self-timed, with an optional competitive wave that enables the top 25 males and top 25 females be eligible to compete in the 2014 Warrior Dash World Championship event.

Zombie Runs

Several zombie runs are available that allow participants to choose whether to join the zombie horde or run from the zombies.   

  • Zombie Run – Formerly known as Run for Your Lives, The Zombie Run is planned for locations throughout the U.S. in 2014. 
  • Zombie Run – Zombie Run is available in 13 cities in the Eastern U.S.  Three types of runs are available, both with and without obstacles.
  • The Zombie Mud Run  – Seven locations are currently planned for this 5k obstacle event in 2014.

I can only vouch for the Color Run, which was fantastic.  Have you tried any of these other events?

I link up posts at these link parties.