Sunny with a Chance of Sprinkles

3 Steps to a Cleaner Kitchen (+ a giveaway)

Thank you to Double Duty Divas and Dawn Dish Detergent for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

I hate cleaning the kitchen. There, I said it. Cleaning the kitchen is similar to doing laundry, in my opinion, because in all reality your job is never really done. Just like you'll have more clothes to wash tomorrow, you'll have another mess to clean up after the next meal you cook. It's just one of those never-ending things, you know? One thing I've learned though since becoming a mom and a wife and having two more people other than myself to clean-up after is that it's so much easier if you keep on top of it and clean a little bit everyday.

It may seem like a bit of a drag, but that's honestly the best advice I have for you and the one thing that's worked best for me. Just keeping things a little bit clean makes those "deep clean" days a little less deep and time consuming. Easier said than done? I bet you'd surprise yourself!

Here's how I keep a cleaner kitchen in 3 easy steps:

My kitchen counter tops see the most dirt, grease and grime and therefore I try and spend a little bit of extra time everyday giving them a little bit of TLC to keep them shiny and germ free. (Especially now that it's cold and flu season.) All it takes is three quick and easy steps and my counter tops sparkling in no time!

001. Grab a cute sponge and squeeze on some Dawn Dish Soap. Run the sponge underwater until you've created some cleansing suds.

002. Wipe down your countertops with the sponge.

003. Dry off with a towel.

And voila! Your counters are clean and sparkling and ready for whatever messes will come their way when your husband cooks next. Kidding... sort of! But seriously, is it just me or do guys make more of a mess in the kitchen?

Don't forget to enter the giveaway below for a chance to win a Williams Sonoma 7-piece Pot Set with an approximate retail value of $650! How amazing is that? Plenty for you to get cooking and get cleaning with!

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If you're interested, Dawn and Double Duty Divas will be hosting a fabulous Twitter Party and Pinterest Party and YOU'RE invited! I hope to "see" you there! Here are the details:

Twitter Party:

When: Tuesday, October 28th at 9pm EST
Hashtag: #DawnBeyondtheSink
Prizes: Rowenta Iron/Sorter Combo + Dawn ($100), Shark Stick Vac ($100) + Dawn, $100 Williams Sonoma GC + Dawn, Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer ($350) + Dawn and just for RSVPing, Dawn products!
RSVP: To participate please RSVP here: and don't forget to follow your hosts: @DoubleDutyDivas, @BridgetteLA, @CeceliaMecca @AngieKcom @WhatMommiesNeed @RamblingChick, and our sponsor @Pampers!

Pinterest Party:

When: October 27th through November 24th
Prizes: weekly prizes of $250 Target Gift Cards and a Grand Prize of a $700 Home Depot Gift Card.
Hashtag: #DawnBeyondtheSink

You can even start by pinning from this post if you feel so inclined ;) Remember-- you can enter daily and you have the chance to win prizes daily! I'd say your chances are pretty darn good!

How do you keep your kitchen clean?

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Pirates and Pirate Ships and Captain Hook -- Oh My!

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That's exactly what Miss Alea said when she received opened her Jake and the Neverland Pirates LEGO® DUPLO® set from Disney Junior! She always knows how to make me giggle. We had so much fun putting our LEGO® DUPLO® set together. As soon as it arrived of course, because when fun packages like this arrive you can't just leave them sitting around for too long!

I'm usually one to go by the book and follow the directions, so I followed the instructions on the booklet that came with the set. Alea, however, likes to do her own thing and decided to make it her own. She and fun taking apart all of mommy's hard work and adding her own spin on things. Are your kids that way, too?

That's the fun part though! You can completely customize your pirate ship any way you'd like-- that's the fun part about LEGO®s right?

I think Alea's favorite feature of this entire set is the fact that the rocket launches cannons! Typically you would aim them at Captain Hook and knock him down, but if you're Alea you'd rather direct them at your mom when she's least expecting it. The laughter never stops! And it's especially funny to watch mom fall over when said cannon hits her. Yep, that gave her quite the laugh as you can see!

Have you seen the previews yet for Disney Junior's Jake and the Neverland Pirates in the Battle of the Book? Alea saw it on TV the other morning and immediately declared that we would be watching it with popcorn and chocolate milk in hand. (Chocolate milk is something she only gets on special occasions, and boy did she deem this as a special occasion!) Obviously! If you or kiddos haven't seen it yet, grab them and see what all the excitement's about in this 30 second preview:

Don't forget to tune in to the Disney Channel for a special Disney Junior Family Night Special Event with Jake and the Neverland Pirates in Battle of the Book! This episode airs Sunday October 26th at 6pm EST/5pm CST! And don't just watch, play long! You and your little one can build along using your own LEGO® DUPLO® sets at home and be part of Jake's Epic Battle Build! You can even share photos of your kids and their Epic Battle Build on Facebook for the chance to win some exciting prizes!

You better believe we'll be tuning in on Sunday night with our overflowing bowl of popcorn and glasses of chocolate milk in hand! We hope you'll join us as well. There's plenty of popcorn and chocolate milk to go around!

Now which photo should I use to enter the Epic Battle Build contest?
Who's your favorite Jake and the Neverland Pirates character?

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Disney Junior.

Click below to visit this month's featured sponsor:

Mason Jar Salted Caramel Coffee Mug Cake Gift

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #TastetheSeason #CollectiveBias

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening? In the lane, snow is glistening! Okay, okay maybe it's a little early for Christmas carols, but it's certainly not too early to start thinking about Christmas gifts. Sure, we still have two weeks until Halloween, but I already have a few people crossed off my Christmas shopping list and am well on my way to crossing a few others off. It's all about pacing yourself and giving yourself enough time to budget out Christmas so you don't feel completely broke come December, right? That's how I feel!

Some of my favorite gifts to give during the holiday season are ones that I've made myself. A couple years ago I made snowman mason jars with the dry ingredients for Oatmeal Raison Spice Cookies. (Why did I never blog about them?) Not only were they cute, but the recipe you could make with them was absolutely delicious! This year I wanted to do something similar and thought it would be fun to use some of the extra twine, burlap and lace from our wedding to decorate the mason jars.

I'm really loving how they turned out!

Mason Jar Salted Caramel Coffee Cake Gift


001. Chocolate or Vanilla flavored cake mix
002. Angel food cake mix
003. Kraft Caramels
004. Bakers Coconut
005. Maxwell House Coffee
006. Course sea salt

Wet Ingredients Needed:

001. Water
002. Cool Whip

Makes 6 single-serving mug cakes.

Layer the ingredients listed above in a mason jar and cover the top with burlap and keep burlap in place with twine. I used the leftovers from our wedding and absolutely love how they turned out-- plus it was free!

Recipe to Include:

001. Mix the flavored cake mix with the angel food cake mix until thoroughly combined.
002. Scoop 3 tablespoons of mixture into a coffee mug.
003. Add 2 tablespoon of brewed coffee.
004. Add 1 tablespoon of water.
005. Add a sprinkle of sea salt and a 1/2 teaspoon of coconut.
006. Whisk the mixture together with a fork.
007. Place 4-5 caramels in the middle of the mixture.
008. Microwave on high for 1 minute and 15 seconds.
009. Top with whipped cream and enjoy!

This would be the perfect gift for neighbors, teachers and for friends that you work with, don't you think? I can't wait to make a big ol' batch and share them with friends and family this holiday season.

If you need more inspiration, check out the Cooking Up Good website. They have recipes, sweepstakes, loyalty programs, coupons and more! What's not to love? If you're looking for a new dinner idea or a chance to win some awesome prizes, be sure to check it out! And buying all of your ingredients at Walmart, like I did, will definitely save you a buck or two!

What's your favorite homemade gift to give during the holiday season?

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