The Real Housewives of Bucks County is now East Coast Creative!
Make sure you update your favorites to to keep seeing new content! Thanks! -Monica and Jess

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Come Meet Nate with Us! {Giveaway}

Well, this is really exciting.

The wonderful people at the Nate Berkus Show have given us TWO EXTRA TICKETS to the show we'll be taping on September 1st in
New York City!

That could be YOU sitting in the audience within an arm's reach of Mr. Cutiepie himself! (And note to self: do not wear super low-cut top, ie: woman in white shirt below Nate. Who knows what might hang out that you don't want seen on tv?)

Shout it From the Rooftops Contest
This is a spread-the-word contest.  We want to see what creative ways you can tell the world about The Nate Show and our Debut! This is a totally subjective contest... no involved! We're picking the winner based on pure awesomeness!!

 Here's what you need to do to score these tickets:

Creatively Spread the word about The Real Housewives of BC being on The Nate Show.
(Ex:  Rent a highway bilboard, Make us your Facebook status for 15 days straight, Get a tattoo announcing the big news and head to the beach, you get the idea...)

You have 15 days to be as creative as you can and to reach as many people as possible.  We're looking for quality and quantity and we're sure we'll get a few laughs in there too!  We have a tentative date for the tv airing of the episode, but it's not concrete, so you need to direct people to the blog and facebook to find out when.  We'll let you work out the details on your own.  We told The Nate Show producers that our readers would do an insane job promoting this upcoming episode of their show, so make us proud, and we'll thank you in person in NYC!!

To Enter: you need to email us and let us know what you've done to spread the word  ( )  We'd also LOVE to see a picture of what you've done. The Nate Show wants to see it too! Who knows, maybe you'll be their next guests??!!?? All entries must be recieved by August 15th.  We'll be looking over all the entries and annoucing the winner on Wednesday, August 17th!

The Prize: The Winner will get TWO tickets to the September 1st live taping of The Nate Show! We'll both be there and will be so excited to meet you!! (If for some reason you can't make the 9/1 show, let us know a date that works and we'll get you tickets for that show instead).  Sorry we can't fly you there or anything fancy-schmancy, but we would if we could!

So, Who's going to win? 
Who's coming to NYC with us?? 
 Leave us some comment love and let us know if you're ready to WIN!

Friday, July 29, 2011

{Fab Find Friday}

This is a GREAT blog. I actually stumbled upon it as I was searching for great giveaways in blogland to share with you.  As soon as I found A Little Etsy Love, I immediately stopped, dropped and rolled. (Ok, I didn't roll, just stopped searching and dropped everything I was doing. Made for a good visual, though, didn't it?) The entire purpose of this blog is to feature amazing Etsy vendors and give away their stuff.  Just look at some of the recent products they've given away:

They have some seriously great giveaways, with a couple of them going on RIGHT NOW.  Also, if you have an Etsy shop, email them with the details, and they just might pick you to be featured!

Go enter, and Good Luck!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Party Planning the Mangin Way...

We party hard in the Mangin family... We I love themed parties and have for about 10 years... before all the party planning websites and pinterest existed, I actually had to be creative and come up with ideas on my own {gasp!} I used to go a little extreme with the parties, but the hubs made me scale back I learned a little self control.  I never went nuts like ponies and millions of dollars, but party prep would take FOREVER and other wifey duties would be ignored.  Right now I'm planning Kira's 4th birthday party.  She's wants a DOLPHIN themed party... UGH. I just designed her semi-dolphiny, semi-nautical invitations.  I'm going to go with an ocean/dolphin party.  She's cool with it. 
I thought it would be fun to pull up some old party pics and get the creative juices flowing.  These pics weren't taken for a blog, so go easy on me!

 Kitty Party
Obsessed with cats, we did a kitty theme.
Pink. Black. All things Cat.
 Probably my favorite cake ever. 

 Pumpin Party
I took the easy way out and went with the fall theme since it's a November birthday. 
Pumpkin Mini Golf
 Bobbing for Apples

Garr... Pirate Party
It's been done 100s of times, but he loved pirates!
(Oh, my word... do you love that I accidently drew him a french mustache instead of a piratey one?)

 Wish this picture was better, but we made two huge plywood boats so the kids could have cannonball wars and walk the plank!

So, no we're not fancy-schmancy, but my kids LOVE their theme parties, and their mommy does too!
All our friends know how we roll and they're great sports...
Minute to win it anyone? 
Starwars Babyshower anyone?? 
 Little fella was going to be named Lucas after Luke Skywalker!

Ok, looking back at these made me laugh and inspired me to get my butt in gear and get all dolphiny!
Here's a few pins to get me going...

How do you partay?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Our lives have been so crazy lately. I've picked up a couple extra shifts at work in the evenings, my hubs has been playing 2-3 softball games per week, and we're trying to cram in as many summer activities as we can into each day. That leaves very little time for planning and eating good meals. Remember one of my very first posts on this blog about being intentional with meal planning? Well, that idea has gone right out the window this summer. And that's ok. We'll get back on track when life settles down (hooray- softball ends this week!). All that to say, I miss good food.

Source: via Jessica on Pinterest

I totally agree. I just love food. Anyway, every recipe that catches my eye on Pinterest makes my mouth water. Here are three recipes that I can't wait to try, and I thought you might be interested in them too. We'll start with an appetizer/snack, then a dinner item, and then, of course, dessert.

Fruity Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip

Ingredients(Makes 6-8 servings):
  • 1/2 cup fruit-flavored yogurt*
  • 1/2 cup natural runny peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar (or 1/4 cup honey)
  • Fruit/veggies for dipping
*To customize the flavor, use 6 tablespoons of yogurt and 2 tablespoons of any fruit jam.

Mix together all of the ingredients completely making sure there aren’t any clumps. Move to a serving dish. Serve with chopped fruit and vegetables.

 Grilled Chicken Tzatziki Wrap
(Mmmm....makes me long for my days in Greece. Such delicious foods!)

  • Extra yogurt for garnish

For chicken marinade:
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice + 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tsp hot sauce
  • 1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • Pinch salt
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

For cucumber relish:
  • 1 English cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 cup seeded, finely diced tomato
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red onion
  • 6 tbsp coarsely chopped and pitted black olives
  • 4 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tsp fresh lemon juice
To prepare chicken marinade, whisk all ingredients except chicken breasts together in a bowl. Combine marinade with chicken breasts in a large zip-lock bag, seal and gently shake to evenly distribute marinade over chicken. Place in refrigerator and chill for 2 to 4 hours.

2 Meanwhile, prepare the cucumber relish. Lay cucumber slices in a sieve placed over a bowl and sprinkle with pinch of salt. Leave for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until cucumbers soften and their liquid begins to drain into the bowl. Stir occasionally.

3 Combine the tomato, onion, olives, parsley, dill, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Stir in drained cucumbers, then cover the bowl and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

4 Grease grill and preheat to medium-high. Remove chicken from zip-lock bag and discard marinade. Grill chicken breasts until cooked through, about 15 to 18 minutes. Remove chicken from grill, let rest for a few minutes and slice thinly on the diagonal. Lay chicken slices on top of each pita round and divide relish evenly among them. Garnish with a little extra yogurt and serve.

Gooey S'Mores Dip

  • 1½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
  • ½ cup marshmallow creme
  • 1 box (13 oz) graham cracker honey sticks
1) In small microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips and condensed milk on High 1 to 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chips are melted. Stir to mix well. Pour into 9-inch glass pie pan, spreading evenly.
2) Drop marshmallow creme by tablespoonfuls randomly over chocolate mixture. Microwave on High about 30 seconds or until marshmallow creme is softened. Immediately with knife, make several small swirls through marshmallow and chocolate, creating a marbled appearance.
3) Serve immediately with graham sticks for dipping.

And that's what's for dinner, a few more weeks. ;)  What's on your menu for tonight?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Farmhouse Table Remix {Tutorial}

**We've gotten so many great comments and questions about this project that there's a Q & A follow up post that you can 
check out here.  If you still have questions, just shoot us an email. 
We love to hear from you!**

I am sooo excited to finally reveal our dining room table with all of you! Not only am I going to show you the finished product, but just in case you want to try this (which you totally should) Eric and I are going to give you a little play-by-play (aka longwinded tutorial). Blue is Eric and Purple is me!  If you haven't been following along with the journey to making our own table, check out this post first, so you know why we started this crazy project.  I'll warn you that this post is a little long but, I think it's worth it in the end!
Now, the play-by-play...
How to Make a Farmhouse Table (our way)
1. Aquire a table or two to be the foundation (aka find an old junky table)
2. Plan the length and width of your new farmhouse table
3. Build a Sub-frame from cheapy wood
4. Choose planks for the table top
5. Cut, Cut, Cut
6. Determine the layout of the table top boards (kind of like a puzzle)
7. Sand, sand, and sand some more (or buy a good router)
8. Screw, Screw, Screw
9. Create trimming edge
10. Stain the wood (I love the grey we created!)
11. Paint the legs and base
12. Seal the table
Ok, Monica wants me, (her wonderful husband), to do a little explanation on what we did to make our new, gigantic table.  I'll do my best to describe.  Let me explain, though, that I am NOT a skilled wood-worker or craftsman.  The only thing is that I'm not afraid to try something I've never done.  If you take anything away from this long-winded explanation of what I did, you should take this – anyone can do this stuff.  You just need to be patient, determined, and not afraid to try and try again.  Ok, that's all the pep talk you're gonna get.  Here goes… (I must interject here that I think my hubs just gave all of blogland a motivational pep talk, and I love it and love him!)

1. The foundation…  Monica had ideas as to what type of table she wanted.  She wanted it about 10 feet long and 4 feet wide.  She had several sample ideas, but all of them required me to build the whole foundation of the table and the only tools I own are a miter saw, drill and hammer.  Crafting the legs, frame and everything else seemed like more than I wanted to take on at the time, so we decided to look for an old, beat-up table that we could just make a table top to place on top of.  We got the perfect answer when Grandpop Bunney (yes, that's really his name) called and said that at their retirement community, someone was selling two, identical, 5-foot long tables for  $20 EACH!!!  In case you're one who struggles with math (i.e. Monica), two 5-foot long tables put next to each other make a 10-foot table!  We had our foundation!

2. Planning…  So the length of the table was good, but it was only 3 feet wide.  This is just too thin for our big family.  So, I spent a lot of time planning and researching to see what to do.  My final plan ended up coming down to what could I do, as easily as possible, and without totally screwing it up. 
 3. Create a Sub-frame...  The plan was to build a "sub-frame" on top of the existing table-top and then just lay the new table-top on top of the "sub-frame" (that's a lot of tops).  I don't even know if "sub-frame" is a word, or if it is the right word for what I made… but, basically, this sub-frame is just some thin, skinny boards laid across the old table-top that would extend out past the edge of the old table-top and thus, create support for expanding the width of the new table top to 4 feet wide.  The wooden supports are staggered because I changed my mind about the width after my wonderful husband had already cut all the pieces. Typical Monica move...Oops!
4. Choose your wood…  I looked at all kinds of wood, but the nicer it gets, the pricier it gets.  Monica wanted wood that was had some character to it, so she wanted some knots in it and some distressed marks on it.  Also, she knew that we have 4 kids who still think that the primary purpose of a spoon and fork are to play drums on the table instead of eating, so this table was not going to last long without some dings and scratches no matter how nice the wood was. I also didn't want to be a psycho host that was always worried about my friends and family marking it up.  I went to Lowes and they have 1 inch thick, by 8 inch wide by 10 feet long pine boards for just $13.  This is not your nice, cleanly cut wood.  This is the uglier, knottier, more distressed looking wood.  Believe it or not, I wanted to get the nicer wood, but Monica wanted to cheaper wood (b/c of the character).  At just $13 per board, I didn't mind giving in and using the cheap wood. Really, who needs a truck when you have a mini van?? Table wood and bootcamp supplies all fit!

5. Cut, Cut, Cut…  So the boards are 10 feet long and 8 inches wide, right?  So planned to just lay 6 boards across and we have a table that's exactly 4 feet wide (6 x 8 inches = 48 inches, for those of you mathematically challenged).  I cut and laid the whole sub-frame for a 48-inch wide table. 
One small problem… when Lowes says that the board is 8 inches wide, they don't mean that it's actually 8 inches wide.  Each board was 7.25 inches wide!  WHAT THE HECK!!!  I built the whole "sub-frame" to the wrong width!  This is definitely where my inexperience comes in.  Just b/c Lowes says it's 8 inches wide, doesn't mean it's 8 inches wide.  Why doesn’t Lowes just make the boards 8 inches?!?  DUMB!!!  I guess I should have known that though… everyone knows a 2x4 isn't actually 2 inches by 4 inches.  Idiot!  Well, now our table was going to be 7 boards wide, and each board is 7.25 inches.  So our final width was 51 inches.  I cut 7 boards 110.25 inches long to make the length of the table and then two 51-inch horizontal end pieces to cap it off.  
6. Sanding… The whole table is cut and ready, now it's time to sand.  Grandpop B lent me his hand-held electric sander, and boy am I glad.  Typically, you would use a router to round the edges of the wood and give them that finished look.  But, did I mention that I don't own too many tools?  I spent my evenings sanding the edges of the boards until they had a rounded, finished look.  Sanding was definitely the most time-consuming part of the whole project.
7. Screwing… In my mind, this step was going to be simple.  Just lay out the cut, sanded boards on top of my "sub-frame" and screw them in from the bottom.  The problem was that since we used those cheap, $13 boards, NONE of them were straight.  They all had curves in them so when I would lay them side-by-side, there was always a large gap between the boards.  I could live a small gap (1/8 inch or less), but I'm talking about about a ½ inch to 1 inch gap at some spots.  Monica and I spent about a ½ hour laying out different boards to see which ones would have the smallest gap in between when laying next to each other – it was almost like putting together a puzzle.  Once we had an order, I screwed the first board starting at the outside.  For all the table-top boards, I screwed from the bottom, through the table top, through the sub-frame and into the new table-top boards.  After the first board was in, I just went down the line, screwing in the other 6 boards.  The Pine boards were pliable enough that I could push any gap in between the boards almost completely closed tight before I screwed it in place.  After all 7 long boards were in place, I screwed in the final 2 end cap boards in place.

8. Staining…  At this point, the table looked pretty cool, but I was worried.  Monica and I paint a lot, and we're pretty decent at it but, I HATE staining!  It just never seems turn out well.   
 Since we both are afraid of stain...I used lots of extra wood to create sample boards... I first wanted to figure out how to go about distressing the table.  This was my arsenal of tools...
 Unfortunately, it looked like... well, it looked like I had attacked my wood with a bunch of random tools.  Ugh.
I decided to wait on the distressing and focus on the color.  I wanted a farm-table-meets-Restoration-Hardware grey color stain for the table.  I tried about 14 techniques.  Honestly, I did.
Fortunately, Anthony Lelli, a friend of ours is a painter and he talked with Monica and got a custom grey stain for us that was EXACTLY what she was wanted. Yippee!! After some practice stains and several calls to Anthony for staining advice, I did it.  Apply the product… wait a minute… wipe it off.  Piece of Cake!

10. The finished product… 
We could not be happier with the color and look of the table.  The cheap pine (at least for now) looks awesome.  It may get beat-up way faster than a nice oak or maple table, but for only about $200 total, we have a huge dining room table that can easily fit 14-16 people
Seriously, I LOVE this project.  When we first started thinking about building our own table, when neither of us are woodworkers, well we were very unsure.  We couldn't have imagined how cool our 8 legged farmhouse table remix would turn out. 

So, are you ready to make one of your own? 

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