Another Game Day Fave: Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

Two words: Buffalo Chicken
I will eat buffalo chicken in just about any form: wings, dip, strips...
Because a restaurant buffalo chicken sandwich tends to be heavy and a bit on the greasy albeit delicious side, sometimes it's nice to be able to satisfy your buffalo chicken craving at home with a slightly (yes, just slightly) lighter version.

My husband says this one is a winner- see if you agree!

Sparkle-Mint Play Snow!

Strep hit our house last weekend, so we had a few good pajama days. Because it's still so cold outside, we were looking for fun, crafty activities we could do at home.

I've seen quite a few recipes for play foam, fake snow and other simple and inexpensive kids' sensory crafts and have come up with my own version to help ease the pain of day after day of indoor play. Mine is sort of a cross between play foam, sand and fake snow and can be molded, sprinkled, piled, sifted and mashed.
It's everything a sensory activity should be: soft, crumbly, smooshy, smelly, messy and FUN.

Some funnies to brighten your day!

Memes make me happy.

I thought I'd share a few of my faves I've come across lately...

On crafting and DIY:

Game Day Fave: My Absolute Favorite Salsa Recipe

Game day food is the BEST, isn't it?!
Any time I make either Mexican or apps, I always include my super quick and simple salsa. I'm a make-it-from-scratch kind of girl 99% of the time, but I absolutely swear by Rotel as my go-to for a quick and yummy salsa any day of the year! This has passed the husband test, the mother-in-law test and has earned compliments from every guest I've fed it to over the years. The ingredients are super accessible, and it only takes a few minutes to whip together. 
Spicy, garlicky, brightly acidic from the fresh lime...Delicious!

Five Minute Door Hanger!

I've never met a craft store I didn't like. 

On Saturday, I seized the opportunity to drag my family to both Hobby Lobby and Michaels after a run to Jungle Jim's (aka Best Grocery Store Ever) to fill up my husband's growlers. I've been wanting to change up my front door decor by adding a bouquet-style hanger, but I've had a really tough time finding anything I liked. Until Saturday at Hobby Lobby :)

For just shy of $20 I was able to create this fun and foolproof door decoration perfect for late winter (hello Valentine's Day!). It required nothing more than a few supplies and a pair of scissors. 

Odds and Ends

Here's the scoop lately!

Because I can't go more than a few days without spray painting something gold... 
These three little vases were a fun (and almost free!) find at Goodwill. The Catfish and I popped in after dropping off some donations, and I found these plain vases and a little silver heart-shaped dish perfect for my entryway table. My total purchase came to $3.47! Since I already had the paint, I was ready to go. It was seriously a five minute project and most of that time was spent washing and drying the vases!
 I just washed, dried, sprayed.

Recipe Recap: The Happiest Belly's Best Recipes!

I've gotten a few requests for some of my favorite recipes and wanted to share the link to my first ever blog written when I was home on my maternity leave with Sweet Thing. The Happiest Belly was my outlet for sharing my favorite recipes, kitchen tools and cooking shortcuts. I loved writing this blog, but I ended it when I began blogging about my experiences teaching special education. Since leaving teaching to stay home with my little turkeys, the Happiest Belly came back into existence as This Life Well Loved. I wanted to continue to share my cooking adventures, but I also wanted to share my DIY, decorating and life-as-a-SAHM adventures.

Here are links to some of my favorite Happiest Belly recipes. Pardon the pictures! My photography skills are a work in progress, ha!

Baked Jalapeno Poppers

I'm not a football fan (sorry, dear husband!), but I absolutely love any excuse I can find to make game day food! To me, the perfect game day food is indulgent without being stuffy: this game day favorite is cheesy, smoky, spicy, bubbly..the perfect addition to any game day feast or just on a Tuesday- that's how we roll at our house!. My mini-obsession started a few months ago with these fantastic baked poppers our family had at a little restaurant up in Chicago. My sister-in-law made an incredibly delicious version for Thanksgiving, and I have been hooked ever since. My version combines four creamy cheeses with smoky bacon. It's baked until bubbly. The mild heat of the peppers is a delicious contrast to the richness of the filling. You can play around with different cheese combinations here; my SIL added goat cheese, and they were fantastic!

I rationalized eating like fifteen of these because I baked instead of fried them.

Rodan+Fields Review

My childhood friend, Sara, recently became a Rodan + Fields consultant and sent me a few samples to test and review.  I have crazy sensitive skin, so I enlisted my wonderful neighbor and stellar Girl Scout cookie buyer, Scott, to try out the products. 
 Scott received both a pre-shave exfoliator and a mini-facial kit.

After testing out both products, here are his impressions:

As I read the instruction card and looked in the mirror at my dreadful winter skin, I opened the product and applied. I was a bit apprehensive at first; however, that soon subsided. Just a bit of background on my skin: I’m combination as I have some dry and a few oily places throughout. I’ve tried abrasion products before which ultimately produces an acne breakout or an adverse reaction. I’ve had no adverse reactions and my skin looks as smooth as silk this morning.

I wet my face before realizing that, with this product, doing so was unnecessary. This was definitely a brownie point since you can apply it right out of the package! As I applied the product, it had a fairly neutral spa smell which I appreciate. I gently put the product on and gave my face a good scrub for around a minute and then washed my face.

As I dried my face I immediately noticed the smoothness and that a lot of the dry “wintery” look was gone. As I moved on to the capsules I was instantly sold on this product. Upon opening the capsule and applying it, your skin is instantly smoother than silk.

The final step is a capsule for your lips. I was a bit skeptical but I woke this morning and my lips were smooth and all the dry winter chapping was gone! Definitely an easy and quick product with tremendous results!

I'm super excited by Scott's experience! I get "good neighbor" points with him, Sara gets a customer, and R+F gets some great feedback! 
Everybody wins!

For more information on how to snag these products at 10% off with free shipping, contact Sara at:

You can order directly from Sara by visiting

Mention This Life Well Loved, and Sara will send you a free gift with your order!

Happy Weekend :)

Anniversary Potatoes

Yesterday we celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary with a quiet family dinner at home followed by a surprise dessert. On Saturday we'll head out for a grownups only anniversary date, but we were super excited to celebrate at home with our sweet girls. They were so excited to have an anniversary dinner - let's face it, our 9 years have been made incredibly blessed by these two yahoos, so dinner alone would feel incomplete. 

The Catfish and I got busy making barbecue ribs, a yummy salad, cheddar biscuits and some fancy hasselback potatoes. The Catfish has determined that these are "anniversary potatoes", and she is totally right! They are super easy to make but have such a great 'wow' factor. Perfect for a special dinner of any kind. 

The Perfect Post-Holiday Appetizer Spread and a Marinated Mozzarella Recipe!

I'm excited to share some super simple, colorful and (mostly) healthy appetizers I served over the holidays that are perfect for any post-holiday get-together.

Since our whole family was in town visiting from Chicago over Christmas, I decided to make a few appetizers for everyone to snack on until our big evening meal was ready. I went with an Italian theme because it's well within my comfort zone and each appetizer pairs beautifully with a good glass of wine!

I decided on serving a variety of veggies with a pesto dip:
along with super simple grilled vegetables dressed with a garlicky balsamic vinaigrette: 
and a colorful antipasti tray:

Winter Decor Update and a Super Simple DIY!

The holiday season has officially come to a close.
 Although I'm sad to see it go, I'm excited to decorate for Winter, especially since it's our first Winter season in our new house. 
I tried to re-purpose anything I could from the Christmas season and found that there were quite a few things I had out for the holidays that would also work until Spring makes her entrance. 

Here's how I reworked my kitchen decor:
I added a bud vase with a white faux hydrangea leftover from a different project. I changed out the wine bottle holding the gold branches from dark green to silver (thank you, my good friend, spray paint!). I emptied the hurricane vase that previously held ornaments and added a little fake snow and a boring white candle that I spray painted gold (see below for instructions on this project). I placed the bud case and sweet little cupcake block on a white tray embossed with snowflakes. 
Total cost: $0

Cocktail Time: Raspberry-Infused Champagne!

The worst blogger ever is back after a bit of a hiatus- to make it up to you, I'm sharing my favorite cocktail from the holidays! Next week once we're back to our old routine, I'll share a holiday recap with a few little recipes that would be great for entertaining over the winter months.

This cocktail was is served at Nordstrom's annual holiday party and has a pretty entertaining story behind it. After drinking it at last year's party, my friend, T., and I were obsessed to the point that I hounded one of the shoe salesmen for the recipe months later. This is how great Nordstrom customer service is: the poor guy took my email, did some recon and actually emailed me the exact recipe four months after the party!

I discovered Gruet Brut at the recommendation of a stranger with beautiful accessories at Jungle Jim's grocery store the other day only to find later that this particular bottle was written up as a best buy by Food and Wine! At $15.99/bottle, you can't go wrong! 
Highly recommend!

 So without further ado, here it is: 

Raspberry-Infused Champagne

Gruet Brut
Frozen raspberries
Raspberry simple syrup