MicroLuxuries, Recipes

Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches

If you’re looking for the perfect crowd-pleasing dessert for your summer barbecues, you can stop looking now. You’ve found it.

These sweet little Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches never fail to bring the Oohs and Aahs, and they are crazy simple. Better yet, they are made ahead of time and pop out as individual desserts, so there’s no cutting a cake or hearing people ask for a “small slice of pie- no maybe a little bigger than that- okay now it’s too big.” Which Drives. Me. Bananas. So all you’ve gotta do is pass these bad boys around and then you’re free to accept all the compliments (and eat all the Ice Cream Sammies).

Dessert recipe for simple brownie ice cream sandwiches, a sweet and cool summertime favorite. Crowd pleasing and perfect for sharing!
The perfect summer BBQ dessert- individual Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches! So simple, but sure to impress!

Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches
Makes 6-8ish

Ingredients:
One batch of brownies, 9×13, fully prepared
Half gallon vanilla ice cream

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Prepare and bake a 9×13 size batch of brownies. Any moist recipe will do (sorry if you hate that word, but there’s no appropriate substitute), but I use a box mix because EASY.

Line a cupcake pan with Saran Wrap (please don’t skip this step. You’ll hate yourself for it when it’s get-them-out time).

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Put your ice cream on the counter to soften.

Get a little handful or spoonful of brownie and mush some into each cupcake space. Don’t use more than half of your brownies to do this step, or you won’t have enough left to do the bottom of the sandwich.

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Top with vanilla ice cream. Put cupcake pan in freezer to harden for twenty-thirty minutes.

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Remove pan from freezer and top with remaining brownies. It should form a little ice cream sandwich.

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Return to freezer until fully frozen. Lift the Saran wrap and remove the ice cream sandwiches from the pan. Place on a plate and keep in freezer until ready to serve.

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Try not to eat them all before your guests arrive.

Kids' Activities, Mama Mojo, MicroLuxuries, momlife

It’s Fun to (LIVE) at the YMCA!

birthday party
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Now, let me preface all this by saying I don’t know what the YMCA is like where YOU live.  It might be just a gym. It might be a shady place where you wouldn’t dip your pinky toe into that grimy pool. It might be more of an afterschool place, where the kiddos in your neighborhood can hang out and play until their parents get off work.

But in my neighborhood? In my neighborhood it is HEAVEN and I LIVE THERE.

I mean, first and foremost, it’s a “gym” and I “work out there.” They have “treadmills” and “barre classes” and “boot camps.” I mean, that’s what I hear anyways. But the gym is like one tiny part of the experience.

The outdoor pool is sparkling, smells like chlorine instead of pee, and is always a toasty 86 degrees. They have puddlejumpers my kids can use so they can just kind of bob around in there like a couple of rubber ducks while I supervise and perfect my doggy paddle.  They have a hot tub that, while filled with other people most of the time, still feels a little bit like a massage, and if I close my eyes I can kind of pretend I’m at Glen Ivy. Sort of.  And there’s even a sauna, where I can sweat in peace because no one else is crazy enough to want to sweat on purpose, I guess except someone who is trying to hide from everyone in absolute silence for ten minutes (I’m telling you. It’s the DREAM.)

They’ve got Karate and Ballet on the cheap, and each session is something like eight weeks long. So when my daughter dreams of becoming a ballerina forever, and then on week three of class decides she hates ballet and the tutu is itchy and the bun is too tight and SHE DOESN’T WANT TO PLIE EVER AGAIN? Well, I don’t let her quit, because Torrezes don’t quit (obviously). But I only have to carry her crying into ballet class five more times. So that’s something like a win in my book.

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But the real kicker, the absolute number one reason I love the YMCA- the Kids’ Room.  For one beautiful hour, my children can enter a kids’ playland, filled with toys and books and an outdoor playspace, and experience high quality childcare while I do anything else but watch my kids. Maybe I leisurely stroll on the treadmill while I talk to Christine.  Maybe I sit in the lobby and work on my bullet journal without someone trying to steal my colored pencils.  I might swim by myself, or relax in the hot tub. I might sit on their gosh-darned patio and read a book with a warm latte in my hand. Because, as I tell myself, this place is supposed to be a wellness center, and that stuff? That stuff is what makes me WELL.

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So find yourself a little slice of heaven. Maybe it’s at the YMCA, maybe it’s one of those kids’ places where the kids play and the parents can sit and passively watch them. Maybe it’s in your own backyard. It doesn’t matter, really. Just find your place, pack your bags, and move in. You live there now.  At least for one glorious hour a day.

Bujo, Mama Mojo, MicroLuxuries, momlife, Tips & Hacks

Micro Luxury Monday: For the Love of Bullet Journaling

This post includes affiliate links, which means we’ll earn a small commission off of purchases made by clicking through. Thanks for supporting The Salty Mamas!

When I was in high school, my 10th grade History teacher made us all take our notes in a spiral notebook – the bane of lefties everywhere, but I digress – and part of our assignment was that we had to make them artistic. Whether it was doodling in the margins, using markers for headings or drawings, or trying different handwriting fonts, we were to do something to enhance our notes. The idea was that it would engage us more and we would retain the information better. There were groans from much of the class but I started to fantasize about the markers I was going to ask my Mom to get for me. I loved making the pages beautiful and making my notes come to life with my drawings – bad as they probably were. I’m no artist, but that wasn’t the point. The point was to connect in an artistic way.

I’m grateful for that teacher that made us make that artistic component a priority. As the years went by, the markers fell by the wayside. There wasn’t much room for doodles in college and grad school. Working life presented even fewer opportunities to play artist. Then came parenthood….I looked forward to getting to bust out thick coloring books with my kids, opening a new box of Crayolas and running my fingers across my old friends. Reality was harsh. My perfect pages were quickly destroyed enhanced by my small assistants. Unhappy to stay on the perfectly good coloring books I gave them, they wanted to “help” me with mine. I soon realized this was not going to be the fantasy I had….I gave up. We made coloring a team project. Crayons went outside the lines, trees were purple, dogs had rainbow stripes, the ocean was orange. And I was going crazy inside.

I needed something for ME.

Enter: Bullet journaling.

Part day planner, part LIFE planner, part coloring, I am living for my bujo (what the cool kids call the bullet journal). I would LOVE to dedicate about an hour a day to making it beautiful, but alas reality is more like carving out 15 minutes to dedicate to it’s pages. Some days I can be more creative other days I just have to get my grocery list down before I forget everything. There’s a TON of info out there about bullet journaling, so we’re going to focus on what has worked for us! You’ll have to play around to find out what works for you 😊

So, here are my basics:

I use a Classic Notebook from May Designs. It’s available in a larger size as well, but I like the classic because it’s small enough for me to toss into basically any purse. I use my bujo as a very functional journal that goes everywhere with me, so that’s important for my use. You’ll want to get the dot grid for the inside which will help you draw your calendars, lists, basically anything. I love the May 20668189_10214250399720253_793223806_nDesigns books because there are TONS of seriously stunning prints available for your cover and you can personalize your book with your monogram, family name, at home company, etc. I probably spent about three hours trying to decide what I want my covers to look like, but that’s because (a) Libra and (b) there are just that many cute choices.

I mentioned I am a color junkie, so I go big and use markers. These triplus fineliner Staedtlers have been my favorite so far. I use these basically like pens. I also like to have something with a thicker tip for coloring and decorating, so I use these Duo Tip Staedtlers for that. Now, this FREAKED ME OUT when I started. Because I’m also a little anal about things being perfect. And when you eff up with markers you’re just screwed. So I just decided to be perfect all the time. Wait, no, that is the opposite of what happened. I messed stuff up. Not a lot, but definitely more than I’d like. And for a hot second it stressed me out. But then I was like, who cares? No one else is going to see this! Well, until now. 20705946_10214250399320243_760964557_o

Yikes. That hurts.

20684217_10214250399240241_1648788619_oBut the beauty is I can get used to it, I can incorporate it into the design, or I can cover that shit up with Washi tape. Yep, there was a big ol’ mistake under there, then wham, bam, apply Washi tape and make it look like that was your plan the whole time! Plus, washi tape is ADORABLE.

Remember how I said I take it everywhere? Well I also like to take most of my pens everywhere. And I actually have a few bujos for different things (one for life, one for 20731164_10214250296677677_117642145_nmy Thirty-One gig, one for Salty Mama stuff). That’s a lot of stuff rolling around in my bag, SO I keep it all in a Swap It Pocket. I love, love, love this product for my bujo because it has two pockets with zippers that fit the classic notebooks PERFECTLY. It keeps them flat and protects the edges from getting bent (which has happened when I just toss them into my purse solo) and I can keep markers and things in the middle section or the other zipper side. If I have the pens in the other zip pouch, I can put my wallet and cell phone in the center. Then when I change purses I just move the whole shebang over. And if you are already bullet journaling or have a planner that works for you and is larger? There’s also a Super Swap It Pocket 😉

SO, that’s what I use daily for my bujo!

Coming soon – I’ll show you some of my most used spreads and layouts and some Mommy specific ways I use my bujo, including the time I used it to measure which kid was my favorite! Can’t wait? Check out our Facebook video where I show off all these products and some of my favorite bujo pages!

Bullet Journal
Caffeine, Cheapskating, MicroLuxuries, Tips & Hacks

Mini MicroHustle- Have You Had YOUR Break Today?

There’s a bright spot in my day lately.  A beautiful oasis in a hot, hot landscape.  The promise of refreshment, enjoyment, a tiny little break.  And this magical oasis? It is likely very near to you indeed- just under the Golden Arches.

Today’s post is spotlighting the rare combination of both a MicroHustle and a MicroLuxury. Odds are, most of you already know about the glory that is the $1 Any Size Fountain Drink campaign, a rare bird that flies in each summer to make the long, warm days more bearable.  And since there is a McDonald’s on basically every corner, and most people are able to carve out a dollar here and there, and you can get to it in a drive-thru format, it is the perhaps the most accessible and the most attainable of all of life’s little luxuries.Me, Lila, Diet Coke.And as if that wasn’t enough (which, if you’ve met me, or read my blog before, or seen my Instagram -you get the idea- you know it would be enough), McDonalds had to go and outdo themselves by making an app.  A pretty darn good app, at that. Not only does the app offer perks like mobile ordering and location finders, but they have some SICK coupons and deals.   They’ve got some of the more standard discounts, like $2 off a $10 purchase, which of course I won’t turn down. But they also regularly offer a TON of good freebies. When the Dodgers win, for example, I get a free six piece nuggets with any purchase (including those $1 fountain drinks!).  Hello, snacktime! And when the Angels win, I get a free signature sandwich with purchase of fries and a dollar coke (so basically a whole meal for $3ish). On FRYdays, you can get a free Medium fry.  And, for most of the summer, I have been able to get a free McFlurry with purchase.

You heard me right, that soft-serve Oreo goodness has been within my reach somewhat regularly for free.  So basically, I can bribe  reinforce my children’s good behavior with ice cream almost any day of the week, AND get myself a Diet Coke the size of my head, for just a buck and tax. Because dreams DO come true people (as long as your dreams are as little as mine, that is).

So if you’re as into either McDonalds or Diet Coke (etc.) as I am, do yourself a favor and download the app. Then find yourself a McDonalds with a Playplace and move on in.  WiFI, endless soda, and free ice cream? Your summer has been solved. You’re welcome.

This is so not even a sponsored post. I just love McDonald’s that much.  But, how you doin’, McDonald’s? Feel free to hit me up if you WANT to sponsor us.

 

Using the McDonald's App to Get Free Stuff
Mama Mojo, MicroLuxuries, momlife

Salty Mama GIVEAWAY WEEK!

Happy one month Blogiversary to US! But we wouldn’t even be celebrating if it weren’t 20394810_10102375932703917_1705905480_ofor YOU, so we’ve got a week full of fun and giveaways that we’re excited to gift to you!

We’re gonna keep on blogging all week, so you’re going to want to make sure you’ve liked us on Facebook to keep up with all the ways to win! Once you like us on Facebook, comment DONE here and you’ll have your first entry!

You can also follow us on Instagram and on Twitter for more chances! We’ll have mini prizes all week long, from Salty Mama swag to Starbucks gift cards to shop credits at our favorite Etsy shops!

Next Monday we’ll draw our grand prize winner to see who will win a Sweet & SaltyMama Double Duty Caddy from Thirty One (told you my side hustle could benefit you ;)) full of goodies including a SaltyMama apron, SaltyMama water cup, a MicroLuxury starter kit, and a $25 Amazon gift card!!  Good luck!!

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Earn more entries by posting your #saltymamaselfie telling us what makes YOU salty using #satlymamasnightout and make sure to tag us on whatever platform you post!!

While we love our international fans, this contest is open to residents of the US and Canada. It would cost a million dollars to ship this thing overseas, and we ain’t got it like that…yet anyways 😉 

Mama Mojo, MicroLuxuries, momlife, parenting

MicroLuxuries

This post contains affiliate links, which means we’ll receive a small commission off of purchases made by clicking these links. Thanks for supporting The Salty Mamas!

 

Imagine, if you will, a delicious three day cruise with your best girlfriends. You buy some tickets, pack some things, kiss your kids goodbye, and sail off into the wild blue yonder. I’m talking about three days of independence, doing things on your own time, eating meals you don’t have to cook and drinking cocktails that are included in your package, and spending SO.MUCH.TIME. with your best friends. The lap of luxury here, folks, or at least the closest thing to it that an exhausted mommy can get.
And then you go home. And basically immediately, it’s back to wiping booties and buying your daughter clearance-aisle Lunchables for a treat.
So, yeah, it was a harsh awakening.
But once I was back on land and thinking back to the cruise, do you know what I missed the most? Reading a book on the deck. Drinking a hot latte with a few more sugars than I usually allow myself. A ten minute chat with a friend. Going swimming. Eating French toast every single day. And I mean, what the hell, guys. It’s not like my favorite part was shopping for diamonds. These were things that are absolutely attainable within my every day life, I just don’t do them.
So I decided to start doing them. Every day, giving into at least one micro-luxury. I sucked it up and took my kids swimming at the YMCA, then soaked up some sun afterwards while they played. I saved up and bought myself a sweet Ninja coffee bar system (via Ebates, using coupon codes, while earning Kohl’s cash and Yes2YouRewards. Obviously.) and made myself some fancy-ass coffee. I put my kids in the childcare at the gym and then sat on the patio and bullet journaled all by myself. And then a few days later, I called up Christine, made a couple of lattes, and we stuck ALL of our kids in the gym’s childcare, and we sat on the patio together and drank coffee and had a little friend date of our own making. I made myself delicious French toast while the baby was sleeping and Lila was at playgroup, and I just sat there and ate it. I went to cocktails with a friend once the kids were asleep. Like real people do. Things started changing, I started taking advantage of more little snippets of time throughout the day, and it gave me the balls to carve out increasingly larger chunks of time for myself. And little by little, I am starting to remember what life was like before kids, and to take back the parts of that life that I miss the most. Because they’re still out there. I just had to start getting them.
So yes, I was very lucky that I got to go on an amazing vacation with my best gals, and visited the lap of luxury for a couple of days. But I am even more lucky that it reminded me that are a million tiny luxuries within my grasp all the time, and that I just have to make them happen.
A few of my favorite little indulgences…
• Make yourself a fancy coffee. Even if you don’t have the coffee bar, it is totally doable to add some foam or flavored syrup to your daily brew.
• Give yourself a pedicure. I like to add these cheap little stickers and pretend a talented nail artist put them on there in a salon.
• Take a detox spa bath and put on a charcoal mask. The more ridiculous looking, the better.
• Sit on your patio/in your front yard/at a park with a smuggled cocktail and a good book.
• Take advantage of the childcare in a gym, either for working out, or if your gym permits it, for not working out. I mean, my gym calls itself a wellness center, and being kid-free for an hour makes me WELL.
• Make yourself some French toast. Or buy yourself a donut. Whatever floats your boat.
• Take turns hosting wine dates with your friends when the kids are asleep. Put them to bed, give your hubby a kiss, and head out. We take turns in our little circle- if your husband goes out of town, you buy a bottle of wine, make some brownies, and open the place up to your best gals.
• Find some kind of exercise you enjoy. A Zumba class with friends, or a yoga class that makes you relax all the way down to your toes. I am a regular treadmiller, but once every couple of weeks I make a point to go for a run in the evening, just me and my dog, and it feels like a teeny tiny vacation from the monotony of the gym.
• Take a minute to write down the things you love to do and just don’t do. Maybe it’s going to a comedy club, or hitting the beach, or sewing a quilt. And figure out a way to make it happen, soon. Start actively saving up for it, talk to your spouse about how to fit it in, calendar some time to get it done. Even if you can’t do it RIGHT NOW, taking steps to make sure it happens soon can feel pretty damn indulgent.

 

Which do you want to try? And what would you add to the list?

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