Pumpkin Spice & Everything Nice

I accidentally discovered the greatest thing I’ve eaten since….well I can’t remember when. I’ve put it on whole grain toast and apples, and in yogurt and muffins. It’s so creamy and decadent that I even eat it with a spoon.

What is this creamy decadence you ask? I’m glad you asked. It’s pumpkin spice cookie butter. I am in heaven. I can’t get enough because it combines two loves — cookies and pumpkin.

It’s much like Trader Joe’s Speculoos cookie butter, which is essentially made from everything unhealthy. Actually it’s pretty simple — cookie crumbs, oil, flour, sugar, and milk. There’s other stuff in there too.

I found this small jar of magical goodness at my local Food Lion, which is featuring pumpkin everything through November.

Basically it’s like peanut butter, but better. Everything you could imagine eating with peanut butter just substitute cookie butter. Here’s how I used Nuccina pumpkin spice cookie butter:

Mix it up

I first of course tried scooped a heaping spoonful of cookie butter because I wanted to just try it by itself. I didn’t want to take away from the flavor by adding all sorts of stuff. It is indeed good all on its own. But then I then I wondered how would it taste with my morning vanilla yogurt.

I usually eat yogurt plain and on occasion with some fruit. I mixed a dollop of cookie butter in with vanilla yogurt and to take the pumpkin flavor to the next level I sprinkled in some pumpkin flavored granola. It was heavenly.

Pumpkin spice cookie butter mixed in with vanilla yogurt and pumpkin flavored granola. https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Pumpkin spice cookie butter mixed in with vanilla yogurt and pumpkin flavored granola.
https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

I love a good pumpkin flavored tea, but what about coffee? So I thought why not try it in my coffee. While the coffee was piping hot I swirled a scoop of cookie butter in it and added my hazelnut creamer. It was heavenly.

Just a dollop of pumpkin spice cookie butter swirled into a piping hot cup of coffee. https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Just a dollop of pumpkin spice cookie butter swirled into a piping hot cup of coffee.
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The way I mostly ate the pumpkin cookie butter is in a thin layer on toasted whole wheat bread. It was just enough to satiate my sweet tooth and the whole wheat toast made me feel as if I was sorta eating healthy. While the toast was still hot I would spread a nice amount of cookie butter onto the bread. It melted perfectly.

A thin layer of cookie butter makes whole wheat toast even better. https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

A thin layer of cookie butter makes whole wheat toast even better.
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Ok so some other ways you can mix it up, layer it on, or scoop it out.

A few ways to eat cookie butter. https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Try cookie butter with coffee, on a toasted bagel or drizzled over apple slices.
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Ways to eat cookie butter. https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Drizzle cookie butter on frozen Snickers or mixed in with your favorite ice cream.
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If you try any of these 16 ways to eat pumpkin cookie butter or any cookie butter, let me know in the comments below, share your pictures with me on instagram or twitter.

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Fall Bucket List: 30 Fun Fall Things To Do

Fall is my absolute most favorite season. It’s the perfect mix of cool temperatures that are sometimes warm and a little rainy. It’s synonymous with hot cocoa, orange and yellow leaves, football, and of course pumpkins.
It’s that time of year where you can wear sweaters, scarves, and boots. Soups are heartier and meals are more comforting. Here in Salisbury we have fall festivals, corn mazes, hayride and family events downtown.

Oh and I must say I do love some pumpkin. Now that is the best part of fall for me. It’s my favorite scent hands down. I love it in candles, breads, cookies, tea, soap, Pop Tarts, cookie butter — everything. I go pumpkin crazy each year during the fall. You will be seeing more of it on the blog in the coming months.

There’s so many activities I want our family to take part in this time of year. I figured what better way to share some of those plans than with our family’s fall bucket list. Below are the 30 fun things we plan to do this fall.

 

The Walker family fall bucket list has lots of fun things to do. https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

The Walker family fall bucket list has lots of fun things to do.
https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Comment below and tell me what’s on your fall bucket list? Or tweet me or tag me on instagram.

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15 Smart Ways to Reuse Newspaper

I’m a reporter so to say I value newspapers is an understatement. I appreciate being able to fold the paper and read while sipping on a cup of hot coffee. But other than recycling it, what can be done with it? The answer is LOTS. Some of the tips I’ve used myself and others I researched online. I wanted to compile a unique list for you with some tried and true uses and some maybe you’ve never heard of, so here goes:

Barbecue cleaner

  • Turn off the barbecue, allow it to cool. Soak newspaper in water and place the sheets over the warm grill. Close the lid and walk away for about an hour. Afterward remove the newspaper and wipe off the grill.

Veggie drawer liner

  • Line sheets of newspaper in the bottom of the vegetable crisper drawer of your refrigerator. The newspaper will absorb odors and keep the drawer dry.
Line layers of newspaper in a vegetable drawer to keep it dry and absorb odors. https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Line layers of newspaper in a vegetable drawer to keep it dry and absorb odors.
https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Pick up broken glass

  • Once you pick up the larger pieces then use several sheets of wet paper and blot the area to pick up shards of glass. The shards will stick to the paper.

Ripen tomatoes

  • Individually wrap tomatoes, leave them out at room temperature. You can also wrap hard avocados to soften them.
Individually wrap a tomato and leave at room temperature to ripen. https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Individually wrap a tomato and leave at room temperature to ripen.
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Oven cleaner

  • Use a few sheets of moistened, crumpled newspaper to clean up spills in the oven.

Catch car leaks

  • Use layers of newspaper to prevent oil or other fluid stains on your garage floor.

Decorative fluff

  • Place newspaper in a paper shredder and use the strands in gift bags.

Stuffing

  • Place tightly wadded newspaper into a purse, hat or shoes to keep its form.
Stuff wadded newspaper into a purse or shoes to help keep its shape. https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Stuff wadded newspaper into a purse, hat or shoes to help keep its shape.
https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Deodorize food containers

  • Stuff balled up pieces of newspaper into a lunch box, thermos or plastic food containers, seal it and let sit overnight. This can also be done to draw out musty odors from old suitcases, briefcases or duffel bags.

Window cleaner

  • Use newspaper to wipe clean mirrors and windows.

Dry rain-soaked shoes

  • Stuff loosely wadded newspaper into the shoes, which will help absorb moisture as well as allow the shoes to dry much faster.

Wet boots

  • Keep a pile of newspaper near the entryway during the winter to catch water from slushy, wet boots or place layers of newspaper on the floor mat inside the car to keep the carpet cleaner.

Preserve fruit longer

  • Keep apples from rotting by putting them in a dry place and wrapping in old newspaper.
Wrap apples in newspaper to keep them fresher longer. Store in a dry place. https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Wrap apples in newspaper to keep them fresher longer. Store in a dry place.
https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Prevent ice on windshields

  • During the winter when there is ice or snow out, place newspapers on the windshield to prevent the windows from icing over.

Clean frying pan

  • Before you wash your pan that was used to deep fry, wipe it with one or two wads of newspaper. The newspaper will soak up some of that oil and make it easier to wash.

If you know any other creative uses for reusing newspaper then comment below or tag me on twitter or instagram showing me how you reused newspaper.

Mommy Review: Lysol Multipurpose, toilet cleaner

I was in my in my favorite store — the Dollar Tree when I came across these two amazing finds. First off I must confess I’m in this store a couple times a week (sometimes more than a couple) and there’s the usual merchandise but every now and then I score a little DT treasure. This was one of those times.
I was in need of cleaning supplies and found this Lysol Tap Top Multipurpose Cleaner. Why was this a score? I’m glad you asked because it retails for anywhere from $4.59 to $6. This was a total blessing. I bought two mostly out of skepticism. I wasn’t sure if I would like this product. It turns out I do. This is actually a genius item.
I bought this Lysol Tap Top cleaner at the Dollar Tree. I tried it and like it. https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

I bought this Lysol Tap Top cleaner at the Dollar Tree. I tried it and like it.
https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Lysol Tap Top

It’s been around since early 2015 so I’m late to the party. I don’t hear or see it advertised much anymore, at least not where I live. You just twist and press your sponge or cloth on top. Let’s get right down to it.

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Smells great and lasts
  • Cleans and disinfects
Cons
  • Slightly caustic
  • Must use separate applicator
So my pros first are simple. It’s really easy. It smells great to me. Sort of powdery but definitely fresh and clean. The smell lasted about 2 and a half days, which is about how often I wipe down the sink, toilet and tub. You know it disinfects because um hello it’s Lysol. Who wants a cleaner that just spreads scent without any cleaning power?
My major con is this product is slightly caustic. What I mean is after I used it (to clean the bathroom and kitchen sinks and the toilet) my hands were dry and peeled a bit. I didn’t use gloves but I would definitely recommend you do. My hands for a couple of days looked as though I had touched a hot burner. They were white like a “burn” for a lack of a better word. I had to really moisturize for several days after. Now that said I’m not sure if it wrecked my hands because of the strength of the product or because I cleaned so much. Now I always use a rubber glove.
The Lysol Tap Top cleaner is easy to use. Just twist the cap and press a cloth on top. https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

The Lysol Tap Top cleaner is easy to use. Just twist the cap and press a cloth on top.
https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Unlike my Lysol wipes that I swear by you have to use a sponge, rag, or in my case, a reusable cleaning cloth. The wipes are easy because the product is already infused.
This is not a deal breaker though since you don’t have to actually spray any cleaner or pour any onto a cloth. Overall I give this a 4.5 stars out of 5.

Lysol Click Gel

The second product that I instantly liked was the Lysol Click Gel, which essentially didn’t require a whole of effort on my part.
I bought these Lysol Click Gels from the Dollar Tree and they make keeping the toilet clean pretty effortless. https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

I bought these Lysol Click Gels from the Dollar Tree and they make keeping the toilet clean pretty effortless.
https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Pros
  • Effortless cleaner
  • Long lasting
  • Fresh scent
 Cons
  • Price
I don’t particularly care for cleaning the toilet, which I clean every 2-3 days. So the fact that the inside of the bowl has remained fairly clean is a bonus in my book. I still wipe the outside of the toilet every 2-3 days.
According to Lysol’s website, a 4-pack should last a month, which means each gel should last about a week. Mine is going strong at a week, is still intact and still smells great with every flush.
I paid $1 for each individually wrapped gel but if bought in the store it comes in a 4-pack that retails for $2.88 (at the low end). I bought 4. You do the math. Not really a great savings but I would not have found this product if I had not been at DT.
The directions for the Lysol Click Gel are simple. 1. Remove applicator from wrapping. 2. Remove protective seal. 3. Press applicator to underside of toilet. 4. Flush. https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

The directions for the Lysol Click Gel are simple. 1. Remove applicator from wrapping. 2. Remove protective seal. 3. Press applicator to underside of toilet. 4. Flush.
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The smell isn’t off-putting. It’s just clean. The scent is similar to the Tap Top. I give it 5 stars because I can’t control the price. It’s the Dollar Tree.
Overall as a busy mama I found these two products to be genuinely good and they will remain as part of my cleaning arsenal.
If you’ve tried either of these let me know your thoughts on them in the comments below or share with me via Twitter or Instagram.

Note: This is not a sponsored post. I bought both items with my own cheddar, but Lysol if you’re reading this, let’s talk.

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Scrubbing Day…it’s a Holiday

Ok so cleaning isn’t a holiday, but it is if you’re Pippi Longstocking. I remember getting to watch the movie The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking in elementary school because it was a free day. I don’t really remember much of the movie, except the song. One guess what it was called.

It was catchy with a little island flair. In the song she and two other kids scrub the house and get suds everywhere. Contrary to the Pippi method that the only way to clean means getting suds and water everywhere, suds don’t automatically equal clean.

I was recently cleaning my daughter’s bottles and nipples when I thought about that song. At any rate, I’m going to show you the two ways I really get her bottles, nipples, pacifier and other parts deep down clean.

First, I have to make her bottles for daycare and it saves so much time to make them the night before. The daycare requires the bottles be labeled with her name and the date so we do that as well.

I use the Medela quick clean micro-steam bag when I really want to deep clean. This bag can also be used to disinfect breast pump accessories and sippy cups. The only item that is not recommended is the breast pump piston and cylinder and the tubing. It takes three to five minutes depending on your microwave’s wattage. Plus you only need 2 oz of water.

You just need 2 oz of water for the Medela micro-steam bag. https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

You just need 2 oz of water for the Medela micro-steam bag.
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You must be careful because their are vent holes on the sides so be careful. One bag can be used up to 20 times. I use a Sharpie to mark the back after I’ve used the bag.

The bags retail anywhere from $4.99 for a small pack up to $29.99 for a large pack. You can purchase a 5-pack from Walmart for just $4.92.

Now if you don’t want to go out and buy steam bags then just boil some water and let the bottles and other parts soak for about five minutes and you’re done. I boil water in my electric kettle, plug the sink and pour in the hot water. I leave it to soak and do other things around the house. Once the water has cooled I hang the bottles and nipples on our drying rack or drying mat (we have both).

Boiled water is the method we most use to deep clean baby bottles. https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Boiled water is the method we most use to deep clean baby bottles.
https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

I admit this is the method I use the most because I can deep clean more bottles at once versus the bag, which you can only fit a few at a time, and I can soak them and walk away. I deep clean everything once a week and do a regular cleaning with our Dapple baby bottle dish liquid soap. You can buy the soap in a pump in Walmart, Target or Babies “R” Us. It’s really less than $5.

How do you clean baby bottles, breast pump or other similar accessories? Share your tips with me by commenting below or via instagram or twitter.

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But Wait, Coffee First — Create At-Home Coffee Station

I like big cups and I cannot lie. All you other lovers can’t deny. When a venti walks in with a…..OK I’m done. I’ve been drinking coffee since Kimmy Gibbler started bursting in the Tanner house uninvited. So me and coffee, we go way back.

My first taste was when I was 8 years old and asked my uncle T for a sip of his coffee. I was hooked even though my mom told him not to give me coffee because “it would stunt my growth.” I didn’t care, I mean I was already one of the shortest kids in the school. It just tasted so good.

He made his with lots of sugar and milk and actually to this day, so do I.

I’m not one of those coffee drinkers that has to have a venti half-caf vanilla latte, blah, blah from Starbucks or someone who only drinks coffee from the locally owned, organic, fair trade place around the corner. I pretty much like it all. I’m not knocking the Starbucks drinking, fair trade havin’ individual I’m just saying I don’t discriminate.

My boss once told me I wasn’t a real coffee drinker if I didn’t drink it black. Hello where is that rule and who made it because we need to have a talk. On the rare occasion my mother drinks coffee, she drinks it black. Eh, to each his own.

Ok now that I’ve totally rambled on about my coffee story. I really want to share with you how I created my at-home coffee station. I’d gotten to the point where I was constantly having to stand on a chair to reach my favorite cup and dig around in my pantry for my coffee and supplies. So something had to be done.

Here are just some of the items you'll need for an easy at-home coffee station. https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Here are just some of the items you’ll need for an easy at-home coffee station.
https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

I mostly used items I already had on hand, but you can purchase a few inexpensive items. You really can make it your own. I do recommend using a tray or basket to chorale items together. It just looks neater, but you can use a wooden cutting board, a marble slab or a simple plastic or acrylic tray. Whatever suits you. I went simple with a single small silver tray.

Gather all of your favorite coffee or tea items. https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Gather all of your favorite coffee or tea items.
https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

The biggest thing is make it personal by adding your favorite coffee or teas, syrups, sugars, and creamers. The sky is really the limit. You can fancy it up by adding a towel rack and shower hooks to hang your cups or you can leave a clean cup out the night before, like I do.

I place a few of my at-the-moment favorite tea and coffee. I have some flavored syrup that adds a splash to any coffee or tea. Right now I’m loving hazelnut. I like my coffee with cream so I threw in a few Mini Moo’s creamer, but you can use the powdered non-dairy variety or keep some in the fridge or use the Coffee Mate to go squirt bottle. It doesn’t require refrigeration and comes in several flavors.

In our house we still use the same Mr. Coffee Jr. I had when I was in college, but we also use the Keurig we received for a wedding present. We like both. If I need to make a big batch then it’s the traditional coffee maker, but if we are going single cups then Keurig all the way.

My quick at-home coffee station is so simple, but you can fancy it up by adding different trays and canisters for your coffee. https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

My quick at-home coffee station is so simple, but you can fancy it up by adding different trays and canisters for your coffee.
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Here are some inexpensive items you can use to create your own coffee station. I love IKEA so most of the items are from there, but really nowadays Target is a great spot for home decor and so is Kirkland’s, Big Lots or even Walmart. If you are looking for a high end coffee station then I recommend Wayfair or Z Gallerie.

Just a few items to set up your own coffee station at home. https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Just a few items to set up your own coffee station at home.
https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

 

If you use any of these ideas share them below or if you have your own coffee station please share with me via instagram or twitter I’d love to see them.

S’mores — No Campfire, No Problem

Who doesn’t love the ooey gooey manna from heaven that is when you combine chocolate, marshmallow and graham crackers? I love S’mores. I mean I really love S’mores. It’s great camp food or in my case a quick, delicious at home snack. You don’t have to have an open flame to make great S’mores. You don’t even have to stick to the three traditional ingredients. Mix it up by trying marshmallow fluff, Nutella or add peanut butter for a nice twist.

So in honor of National S’mores Day (Wednesday) here’s my no campfire S’mores. You can not only make these in the oven, but also in the microwave or in a toaster oven. Hope you enjoy.

S'mores in the oven are so easy. https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Enjoy S’mores in the oven as an at-home snack.
https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

 

These turned out so fabulous. I would’ve included a picture of me eating them, but it’s a bit embarrassing. Let’s just say I needed to a wet paper towel to wipe my face of the melted marshmallow and chocolate that coated my chin.

Press another graham cracker on top of the melted chocolate and marshmallow. https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Press another graham cracker on top of the melted chocolate and marshmallow.
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If you try this let me know in the comments below how they turn out. I’d love to see a picture of your delicious S’mores via twitter or instagram. Tag #NationalSmoresDay and #houseofwalkersmores if you try them.