Monday, August 22, 2011

Pumpkin Chai Tea Latte - DIY!

So people that know me well, know that I despise coffee! I can't even stand the smell. Yes really!

It's true. Sorry to all you coffee lovers. But it means more for you, right?

My aversion for coffee kept me away from Starbucks for years!! That is until I tried their chai tea lattes...YUM!! I was hooked.

The only thing I wasn't so keen on being hooked on was the cost! Geez!! If I bought one every time I wanted one, I'd be flat broke! They are just that good!

So imagine my joy when I found that they sold the concentrate inside their coffee shops. At $5 I was willing to try my hand at making one at home. But the best part is that $5 is for the whole box of concentrate that makes around 8 drinks! Score!!!

After I was completely addicted, Starbucks stopped selling it in their stores. Do what???? How could they do that to me? Dang you Starbucks, got me again.  Or DID they??

They are now sold in several grocery stores. I found my latest box at H-E-B here in Texas for $4. Before moving here, I was able to find it at WalMart I believe. But also for only $3 at the military commissaries on base, for all you military wives :)

Start off with the supplies: Tazo Organic Chai concentrate, milk of your choice, microwavable measuring cup, and your choice of flavoring syrup (optional, but OH so worth it!!).

I'm not sure how much beverage you get at Starbucks, but I normally make mine 1 cup. Using the measuring cup, fill to the 1/2 cup mark with concentrate.
Then fill to the 1 cup line with milk. Our house uses 2%, but you can use whatever milk or milk substitute that you prefer.
At this point, the only thing left is to heat. Again, there are several different ways to do this, but the easiest way is using the microwave!! AKA- the fastest route to my tummy!!

For 1 cup, I normally heat for a minute and a half.

For some people, you would be done now. Pour into your favorite mug, and enjoy. But I can't bring myself to stop there. Once you try a flavored you just might be hooked like I was.
My favorite flavor is caramel. It's found in the coffee aisle at the grocery store, and caramel can normally be found all year round.  On my latest trip to purchase more, I found pumpkin pie flavored!!  Having tried pumpkin at Starbucks, I had to give it a try!!

Now would be the time to add in your syrup and stir. Pumpkin pie is SO yummy!!
Disclaimer: you will be addicted to this drink. I can not be held responsible for any lost sleep over thinking about your next fix. And for less then half of the cost of going to Starbucks.

You're welcome! ;)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Drink up! - Bottle cap necklace

While out on a recent shopping excursion, my daughter spotted some really cute bottlecap necklaces. As I was bracing myself for the whining that follows her asking to buy one, and mean 'ole mom saying no..... my little girl surprised me!

She simply said something along the lines of :

"Hey Mom, I like these but I know we could make them ourselves."

My daughter say WHAT??
(Said in my best Hannah Montana fast talking impression)
You can't even start to imagine how proud I was at that moment. No matter the fact that I had no freakin' clue what supplies we'd need. But where there is a will there is a way, right?
Enter my husband. While he normally doesn't have much to do with any of my projects, he did have a small hand in this one. And I'm sure it a sacrifice he would do time and time again. But don't go feeling sorry for him. It was simply to drink the bottled beers in the fridge. Rough life, right??
So on to the steps.
First drink a bottled beverage, and save the cap. Wash and dry.
Next, using a nail, make a hole in the bottlecap where the sides meet the top. Insert a 9mm jump ring and close. (Sorry there aren't pics of this part.)
Once you have the jump ring closed, spray paint the back side of said bottlecap so that no one can tell your sweet young daughter really has a beer cap hanging from her neck :)
Now comes the fun part. Coming up with what you want the inside to look like. For this example, I cut out a 1 inch circle from houndstooth paper, and the letter A out of cardstock using my Silhouette. But of course you could cut any design you want using scissors as well.
Using liberal amounts of ModPodge, glue the circle into place under the jump ring. Cover the top side of the circle as well, and adhere any embellishments. Then give everything a nice coat to seal it all together. Don't worry, it will dry clear.
Once it is all dry, fill in the bottlecap with Dimensional Magic. This stuff can be tedious to work with some times, but there are a lot of tips out there in "blog-land".
Once filled, leave the bottlecap on a flat surface to dry overnight. The directions say to let it dry for 3 hours, but that is most likely for a smaller amount than what I used. And whatever you do, resist the urge to do a touch test. It's the hardest part of this whole thing. Remember that feeling when you smudge your nail polish cause you just can't wait any longer?'ll feel the same way in this case. So do yourself a favor, and wait it out.

And just when you can't it ANY's done! Hang it from your necklace of choice and wear your creation proudly.
And here's the original that started it all.
I'd love to see if any of you make any!
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