DIY Playroom Sign

I continue to love making our home a special place for our future kiddos! (You can read about our foster adoption journey on THIS PAGE.)

Pinterest, oh how I love thee! 🙂 Seriously, my friends were on Pinterest at least a year before me….

I tried signing up once,

took one look at it,

didn’t get what everyone liked about it,

and then never went back.

That is, until I realized how GREAT Pinterest really is! 🙂

I came across the idea on Pinterest of making a playroom sign….it was a painted one, and I decided to switch the words up a bit and make it with a frame, 7 pieces of rope that I staple gunned to the back of the frame, mini-clothespins, and card stock. (Similar to how I made this ARTWORK DISPLAY.)

Our upstairs playroom area is red, purple, white, and black, so I used all different types of fun fonts in those colors to tie it in nicely with the room. I really, really love it!

Here is what it says:

Welcome to our playroom where we giggle, use kind words, play nice, tell the truth, laugh, use our imagination, include everyone, make memories, make messes, clean up after ourselves, try new things, help others, read books, say please, thank you, and I am sorry, act silly, share, watch movies, and have fun.

Heading over to Fiesta Friday with my fun new DIY creation!

What do you think? Have you made something like this? 


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Stuffed Sweet Potato

Sometimes the best tasting things are those you create when you have yet to go grocery shopping for the week and only have random ingredients to choose from. 🙂

Yellow Sweet Potato + black beans + Cilantro + creamy avocado sauce = Surprisingly Delicious

Not only delicious and easy to make, but lots of nutrients and good-for you-stuff wrapped up into one meal!

Thought I would bring some to the party. What party? Well, Fiesta Friday of course! Its been a few weeks, but I am excited to be back with my fellow party-goers….can’t wait to see what you all have brought! 


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Creating a Room for our Future Children

I can hardly believe I am saying this, but I have almost finished one of the rooms for the kids! Yes, there is another room I have been working on too. 🙂  (For those of you who don’t know, we are going through the foster-adoption process, hoping to adopt a sibling group).

So, what all have I been doing in there?

  • I painted the entire room
  • I painted, distressed, and put together two twin beds
  • I sanded, painted and distressed a nightstand
  • I painted, distressed, and put together a dresser
  • I painted and distressed a shelf
  • I sanded, painted and distressed a bookcase/shelving unit
  • I sanded, painted, and distressed lots of frames to put on the wall and filled them with fun art

So, what is left for this room?

  • Painting and distressing one more dresser
  • Getting the mattresses and making the beds
  • Hanging the turquoise frames on the walls

Not bad, huh?

I really love the way a distressed finish looks on furniture! It is sort of ironic to start with a brand new unfinished piece of furniture with the goal of making it look old. 🙂 Love the way both of these beds came out!

I’m also having fun with little details. Since the room is grey, red, white, and turquoise, I took this plain white shelf and used turquoise washi tape to add a little flare to it. This matches perfectly with the frames I painted and distressed that I am going to put on the wall.

So, let me show you a before picture of the room when we bought our house. What you won’t see in this picture is that one of the walls was purple and one had a tree with pink flowers painted on it.

We just couldn’t do it…..had to change the colors!  And we love the colors we decided on! This is the first room I have ever painted all by myself. Love the red accent wall!

My mom has been hosting a virtual baby shower for us since there is so much we need in order to get ready for the home study (the next step), and many generous people (some of whom I have never met) have been blessing us and our future kiddos with all sorts of needed things: first aid kits, comforters, car seats, pillows, music, baskets, baby safety things, toys, books, movies, car organizers, stuffed animals, sheets, rugs, bath toys, etc.  My heart is overflowing with gratefulness! You can see some of the stuff in the picture above.

I love this little corner with the red rug. I haven’t totally decided yet, but I think I am going to do some sort of decoration on the wall there that has words like: Create, Read, Explore, Have fun, etc. It is a cozy little area where they can sit and play, enjoy a good book, or create something fun.

And I just had to add this picture of some stuffed animals a friend got us…aren’t these little guys the cutest?! We are praying that things like this will be a blessing and a comfort to our future kiddos.

So I am bringing this room to this week’s Fiesta Friday….as always, a big thank you to Angie and the co-hosts! Hope you enjoy looking at the room make-over and all the DIY distressed furniture, while you are snacking on all that yummy food at the party! 🙂  Looking forward to seeing what you all create…you are an inspiration and continue to expand my foodie horizons! 🙂


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Cinnamon Pork Chops with Homemade Apple Sauce

What do you think? Is it true? Is it really better late than never? 🙂

Well, here I am “late” to Fiesta Friday! But it is not just any Fiesta Friday, it is the final week of celebrating the 1 year anniversary! Angie, did you ever imagine it would become what it has?! It is a place to get to connect with other bloggers, have fun, learn from one another, make friendships, and get to share our creativity. I have been blessed in all of these ways by being a part of the party! Thank you Angie for beginning something that would be impactful for so many people!

Surely most of you are stuffed by now, but what about a bite of these delicious cinnamon pork chops with homemade applesauce? Yummy!

I covered the chops in olive oil, cinnamon, and black pepper and fried them for about 30 min. You want to make sure that the inside is completely white. I don’t know what got me thinking I should put cinnamon on them, but that’s exactly what I did, and I definitely didn’t regret it. Delicious flavor!

For the homemade applesauce, I cut these apples up and used my Ninja to do the job for me. I think I added some water and a little bit of honey….experiment around with different flavors. It was so good! No preservatives, no refined sugar….love making things homemade!

Happy Fiesta Friday! And Happy Anniversary Angie!


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Cinnamon Sweet Potato Muffins with Dark Chocolate Chips and a Cinnamon Topping

It was a really busy week….filled with both some very difficult things and some very wonderful things. Things which kept me out of the kitchen and away from the craft room.

But in the midst of what happened to be a very good day today, though full from 7:30 am until 9:00 pm tonight, I found an hour to bake something for Fiesta Friday! I literally had just enough time to get these muffins done before I needed to walk out the door again. This girl just couldn’t miss out on the party!

When my friend and I walked in the door tonight, I loved the smell that greeted our noses. It smelled like Fall. It smelled like cinnamon. It smelled like sweet potatoes.

I had no idea how this recipe was going to work out…as usual, I was making it up as I went along. 🙂 Let’s just say this: my sweet potato-hating-hubby really, really liked them. My friend really liked them. And I really liked them!

Will you like them too?! I sure hope so, because I am bringing plenty to the party! 🙂

Cinnamon Sweet Potato Muffins with Dark Chocolate Chips and a Cinnamon Topping

  • Servings: 14 Muffins
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*Created by Lori at

Ingredients for Muffin:

  • 2 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup cooked, mashed sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

Ingredients for Topping:

  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp grapeseed oil


  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  • Cook 1 Medium sized sweet potato. You can just do this in the microwave for 5-7 minutes. Take out the insides, mashing them well.
  • Mix all the dry ingredients for the muffin batter in one bowl, and the wet ingredients in another. Then combine all of them together, mixing well.
  • Line a muffin pan with papers, or grease it well.
  • Pour the batter into each slot, 3/4 of the way full.
  • Combine the honey, grapeseed oil, and cinnamon for the topping.
  • When this is made, pour some over each muffin.
  • Bake for 20- 25 minutes.

Angie at The Novice Gardener has made Fridays all the more fun for all of us! Thank you for that Angie! And to your co-hosts for the week…thank you as well! You are appreciated!

Please come join the party! Click on the badge below! 

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Lemon Sour Dough French Toast with Homemade Strawberry Syrup

I LOVE french toast! There is something about the smell of it cooking on a Saturday morning…still in your pj’s, coming down the stairs with your slippers on, a cozy blanket welcoming you as you wait for this delicious treat. For some reason it makes me smile. It brings out the kid in me. It makes me think of family.

I thought it would be fun the other day to add a little twist to our normal recipe…some fresh lemon, along with some homemade syrup. The combination of lemon and strawberry…wonderful!

This french toast was delicious! And I will honestly say that even without the lemon, I love this recipe more than any other I have ever had.

So to my Fiesta Friday family…stay in your pj’s, curl up with a fleece blanket, smell the aroma of the french toast cooking, and enjoy a big plate!

Lemon Sour Dough French Toast with Homemade Strawberry Syrup

*Created by Lori at

Ingredients for French Toast:

  • 6-8 pieces Sour Dough Bread (This is a low-glycemic bread. Use a gluten free bread if needed)
  • 4 Eggs
  • Almond Milk
  • Honey
  • Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Lemon for Fresh Lemon Juice

Ingredients for Syrup:

  • Strawberries
  • Honey


  • Combine the strawberries with the amount of honey you want in a food processor to make the syrup.
  • Combine eggs, almond milk, honey, vanilla, and lemon juice in a mixing bowl.
  • Grease a frying pan.
  • Dip each piece of bread into the egg mixture, covering both sides.
  • Cook on each side until slightly browned.
  • Serve on plates, adding butter if desired, along with the syrup.

A BIG thank you, as always, to Angie at The Novice Gardener and her co-hosts this week! 

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Baked Sweet Potato with Chocolate Sauce and an Almond Crumble

I love sweet potatoes.I always have.

I love chocolate. I always have.

But sweet potatoes and chocolate together?!

I never, ever would have guessed that these two things taste amazing when they are combined!

When I cooked my hubby this the other day for lunch, somehow I ended up making myself this rich and delightful sweet potato that you see here.

You have to try this! And as encouragement for you to do just that, I am bringing it to the party this week. Fiesta Friday…don’t we all look forward to this day each week? Thank you sweet Angie…the creative brains behind this! And thank you Selma and Elaine for co-hosting! You both are two very lovely ladies who I enjoy!

Baked Sweet Potato with Chocolate Sauce and an Almond Crumble

*Created by Lori at


  • 1 Sweet Potato
  • Cocoa
  • Grapeseed Oil
  • Honey or Agave
  • Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 cup Almond Flour
  • 1-2 tsp Pure Almond Extract


  • I took the quick route and cooked my sweet potato in the oven for 5 minutes. Check on it at that point and if it is not cooked enough then cook for a few more minutes.
  • Make the chocolate sauce by combining cocoa, grapeseed oil, vanilla, and honey/agave. I am not putting amounts here, because it just depends on your tastebuds and how sweet you want it. Stir well. When you get the flavor you are looking for, you can microwave it for 20 seconds if you want it to be warm.
  • Make the crumble topping by mixing the almond flour, some grapeseed oil, some honey/agave, and almond extract.
  • Pour the chocolate sauce over the warm potato and then sprinkle the crumble on top.


Come join the party: foodies, writers, photographers, artists…all are welcome!


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Vanilla Muffins with a Dark Chocolate Filling

I feel like saying, “Just call me the muffin queen.” Because yes, I am bringing muffins again to the party! 😉 But don’t worry, I’ve created a new recipe that I hope you will love!

I love muffins. Muffins are fun. Muffins are versatile. You can eat them for breakfast. You can eat them for snack. You can eat them for dessert. Kids love them. Adults love them. They can be savory. They can be sweet.

When we invited a couple over for dessert, I knew right away that I would be creating a new muffin recipe. I had thoughts of what I might do running through my head all week. Then the day arrived.

It was a long day, and I made the mistake of putting my head down for “5 minutes.” Oops. I woke up an hour before they were supposed to get here. My new muffin recipe that had been percolating in my mind now had to be created at warp speed and half asleep. 😀

Imagine my hearts content when the wife stopped our conversation to say to her hubby, “I need another muffin.” And he came back with another for himself as well.

They didn’t know at the time that my muffins were: low-glycemic, no refined sugar, dairy-free, & gluten free. I love that you can have a healthy muffin that tastes so yummy that people are convinced it is full of refined sugar, etc.!

So here I come Fiesta Friday party goers with my bad-for-you tasting good-for-you muffins! 😉

Vanilla Muffins with a Dark Chocolate Filling

  • Servings: 12 muffins
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*Created by Lori at

Ingredients for Muffin:

  • 3 cups almond flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

Ingredients for Chocolate Filling:

  • Cocoa
  • Honey
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Pure vanilla extract


  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  • Mix all the dry ingredients for the muffin batter in one bowl, and the wet ingredients in another. Then combine all of them together, mixing well.
  • Line a muffin pan with papers, or grease it well.
  • Pour the batter into each slot, halfway full.
  • Combine the cocoa, honey, grapeseed oil, and vanilla. I did this more by taste, which is why I don’t give the specifics on how much of each. It depends on how sweet you want it, etc. And note that you don’t need to make tons, just a little bowl full.
  • When this is made, pour some into each muffin..
  • Now pour more batter to cover the chocolate, leaving the batter 2/3 of the way to the top.
  • Bake for 20- 25 minutes.

Thanks Angie….you always brighten Fridays in the blogosphere! Sylvia, and Andrea – excited you are co-hosting this week! Thanks!

Come join the party!

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Crusted Zucchini with a Sweet & Tangy Lemon Cheese Sauce

After being here for 3 weeks, my mom left to go back home. It meant so much that she would fly all the way here and help us with our move into our new house. She painted my hubby’s office for us, she helped me unpack, she cleaned, she cooked…what a blessing! Thank you mom! And we just had a whole bunch of fun together! We laughed, we laughed, and we laughed!

I am a bit late getting a post ready for Fiesta Friday because I was so tired last night that I fell asleep at about 7:30. As I was closing my eyes the idea of getting on the blog and posting for FF floated into my head, but it just as quickly vacated the premises. 🙂 We had to wake up at 3 a.m. yesterday to bring my mom to the airport, and that was way earlier than this girl is used to getting up. 🙂

Here is a pic of us at the airport saying, “See you later,” as my mom would say. 🙂 We miss her already!

I cooked this recipe while my mom was still here. It was inspired from a fellow foodie blogger, Cathy at Food Radical. When she made this summer squash appetizer I knew my family would be seeing something like it in our own house soon! 🙂 Thanks Cathy for the inspiration!

Crusted Zucchini with a Sweet & Tangy Lemon Cheese Sauce

  • Servings: 3-4 people
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*Lori at

Ingredients for Zucchini:

  • 2 small zucchini, sliced
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup Romano cheese
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 2 eggs for dipping

Ingredients for Sauce:

  • 1 can coconut milk (the thick part)
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Romano cheese
  • Fresh rosemary
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 lemon for its juice


  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  • Grease a large baking sheet.
  • Mix the two flours and the cheese together.
  • In another bowl, put your two eggs for dipping.
  • Dip the slices into the eggs and then dip them into the bowl of flour, covering thoroughly on both sides. Set each piece onto the baking sheet.
  • Let cook in the oven until the pieces are tender and golden brown.
  • Meanwhile, make the sauce by combining all the ingredients for it together in a large mixing bowl. Heat on the stovetop on low to medium until the zucchini is ready.

Angie at The Novice Gardener has turned Friday into a day that we bloggers look forward to here on the blogosphere! Thank you for that Angie! Fridays would not be the same without “Fiesta Friday!” And so sweet of Hilda from Along the Grapevine to co-host with Angie this week! Thanks Hilda!

If you have yet to join the party, please do! Whether you are a foodie, a writer, an artist, etc…..all are welcome! It is always so much fun to see the variety of things people bring!

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Vanilla Cherry Chocolate Chip Muffins with a Cherry Sauce

I have always loved the combination of fruit and chocolate. When I was a child and was given a box of chocolates, I would take a bite of each one and set it back if it wasn’t filled with the taste of orange or raspberry or cherry. Looking back, I am sure hoping those boxes of chocolate were mine alone or else someone got a fun surprise when they opened the box and saw that they all had a bite out of them. Reminds me of Goldilocks and the Three Bears….except it would go something like this, “Someone’s been eating my chocolates!” 😉

From the mouth of my mom when she tasted these: mmmmmm, mmmmmm, mmmmmm, mmmmmm. That does a girl’s heart good when someone moans their delight the entire time they are eating! 🙂

She said, “All’s I can say is WOW!! That was the most scrumptious breakfast I’ve ever had!”

When I asked her if she would ever guess that these are gluten free or don’t have refined sugar in them, she said, “It never would have crossed my mind.”

The final words from my mom, “I am saving the rest for lunch!” 🙂

How could I not bring something my mom loved so much to Fiesta Friday?! Of course I had to make an extra batch for you all, because mom won’t let me give away the rest of hers! 😉

Vanilla Cherry Chocolate Chip Muffins with a Cherry Sauce

  • Servings: 12 muffins
  • Print

*Created by Lori @ Creating Beauty in the Kitchen 


  • 2 3/4 cups almond flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup honey + 1/4 for the sauce
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 10 fresh red cherries + 11 for the sauce
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Wash and chop up the cherries.
  • Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl, and the wet ingredients in another. Combine the two, mixing well.
  • Add in the cherries and chocolate chips.
  • Use liners or grease a muffin pan.
  • Pour the batter 3/4 of the way full in each slot.
  • To make sauce, blend the 11 cherries with 1/4 cup honey (I ended up with extra sauce).
  • Pour sauce over the top of each muffin.
  • Cook for 25 minutes.

Happy Fiesta Friday Friends! Can you believe it is already Angie’s 30th?!! Wow! Speaking of the lovely Angie, I hope you know how grateful we are for you! And to your co-hosts….the party wouldn’t be the same without you!

Come join the fun…all are welcome…foodies, crafters, photographers, writers, etc……just click on the icon below.


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