shark cakes

Shark Week Party with Homemade Shark Cupcakes

Guess what?!  It’s SHARK WEEK!!!  Do you guys celebrate it like we do in this house??  Maybe you have a summer themed party coming up?  Or perhaps just a little shark lover at home looking for some shark shaped treats for their upcoming birthday?  Well I got you, Girl!  Or Boy! These shark cupcakes are adorable and are sure to WOW the crowd!  I’ve also included some adorable shark-themed party decorations and favors to help make your bash a hit!

Two things to note before we start:

  1. I am not a Baker. 😂
  2. This is not my recipe, and I just followed the instructions of the New York Times Best Selling Book Hello, Cupcake! 

I say those things for you to know that I am just an average joe trying to make some fun summer cupcakes.  And if I can do it….you can DEFINITELY do it!

Tutorial

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Patio Inspiration

Patio Inspiration & Outdoor Decor

Howdy Ho Friends!  Thought it would be fun to play a little game of THIS or THAT with you guys! So I put together some “mood boards”, if you will, with some patio inspiration to see which styles y’all like better!  Make sure to vote in the comments!  Or, if you follow me on Instagram, you can vote there in my stories too!

Hope you have fun and find some inspiration along the way!

Patio Inspiration Looks 1 & 2

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Homemade Ice Cream

Homemade Ice Cream + Fun Bonus Tie Dye Projects

Summer is in full swing at the Cantu Household and it seems like I’m constantly scouring the internet for fun, hands-on ways to entertain the kids.  This year, for the first time, we created a summer bucket list!  That has definitely helped me in my attempt to keep the boredom at bay!  So this week we’re tackling 2 items on our list: making HOMEMADE ice cream, and completing a tie dye project!  (And thanks to our Walmart+ Membership, I didn’t even have to leave the house to prep for them! 😂) You can probably guess which one was my idea ✌🏼🎨. Oh, and don’t forget, I always share more close ups and details in my Instagram stories so you can head over there for more cray too 😉.

Our summer bucket list

Summer Bucket List


BEFORE WE JUMP IN, AS ALWAYS, I JUST WANNA SAY REAL QUICK, THANK YOU SO SO MUCH FOR ANY AND ALL AFFILIATE LINKS THAT YOU MAY USE THROUGHOUT THIS POST.  I APPRECIATE MORE THAN YOU KNOW WHEN YOU SUPPORT THE BRANDS THAT HELP TO SUPPORT THIS LITTLE BLOG & OUR LITTLE FAM!!
ALSO, A HUGE THANKS TO Walmart+ FOR SPONSORING TODAY’S POST AND HELPING US create these summertime memories

Homemade Ice cream

Making homemade ice cream has been on my personal bucket list for awhile now…ever since a friend of mine made buttered rum ice cream.  SO GOOD!!  But I knew this was a little project that the kids would love too, so we decided to add it to our Summer Bucket List!

Buuuut…unfortunately, we didn’t have anything we needed to actually MAKE the ice cream, so what did we do?  Logged into our Walmart+ account and ordered alllll the things!  That’s one of my favorite things about our Walmart+ membership….you can get same-day delivery from your local store (for groceries and such, $35 minimum & restrictions apply so just check out the benefits in your area), or you can order your goodies from Walmart.com, get FREE SHIPPING, no order minimum (excludes freight & Marketplace items) and super fast delivery!  It’s the best of both worlds!
Homemade Ice Cream

So that’s what we did! We got our creams, milks, fruits, toppings, etc. delivered and ordered our brand new ice cream maker (this is the one we chose, the reviews are AWESOME) from Walmart.com with FREE shipping.  And then we got to work!

Mix IT UP

By the way, if you’ve ever not your own homemade ice cream because you were afraid of how much work it would be (guilty 🙋🏻‍♀️), rest assured, this contraption does all the heavy lifting for you!  It’s so easy to use!  You just dump in the ingredients, mix it up, and stuff your face!! If you’re looking for a slightly more affordable option, here’s another really cute one!

See!  So easy! (Well, except the one little strawberry pouring mishap 😂).

Serve it up

And because it was so easy, we each made our own favorite flavor and then served it up buffet style!  This little ice cream board is the perfect setup up for a party, get together, or even just movie night!  We had so much fun with this one!

Homemade Ice Cream

And yes…it is ice cream and it does melt so you have to be quick about it! Lol.  I set up my whole board and just left the ice cream out of the bowls until I was ready to serve.  Then you add the ice cream and your guests (or in my case my little minions) can build their own sundae!

Homemade Ice Cream

 

And as you can see, E wasted no time digging in! 😂


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Bucket List Item #2: Tie Die All The Things

I’m not gonna lie, this bucket list item has been something my kids have been asking to do FOREVER….and I’ve been putting off because of the cleanup 😂.  It actually wasn’t bad though!  Just make sure you have a tablecloth and gloves and you’re golden!

My son and daughter both chose to do shoes!  They saw the idea when I shared my Summer Activities for Kids {Educational & All Under $25} post just a few weeks ago.  They loved the idea of being able to design their own shoes! So we ordered some plain white ones through our Walmart+ membership (gotta love that Free Shipping) and went to town! (If you wanna see the video, go check my Instagram stories—you can see the whole process there)



Didn’t they do a great job?!  If you’re wondering how we kept the white parts white….painter’s tape!  Here’s what I mean:
Tie Dye Shoes

Made all the difference!

I will say, some of the dye still leaked below the tape in places but all we did was take a cleaning spray and a paper towel and wipe them clean! Came right off!  I’d suggest doing this while the shoes and dye are still wet though.

We also got some leakage down into the shoe but that didn’t bother any of us at all because you’ll never see that when the kids are wearing them.  If that bother’s you, you may want to add something inside to the show to protect the sole before you get started with the dye.


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Checking Things Off!

Well that’s it!  Two more items crossed off our summer bucket list!

Homemade Ice Cream

We had so much fun with these projects because they were so hands on!  The kids had such a blast and were entertained for ours!

Oh, and don’t forget to check out Walmart+ like I mentioned before!  Our membership has just made life so much easier! I didn’t even have to leave my house to get everything we needed for these projects!!  Plus, I get all my groceries delivered straight to my house (same delivery at that, from my local store!), and I get free shipping on SO MANY items online.  Not to mention the mobile scan & go streamlines the shopping process in-store, and the member fuel prices save us money each week!  Make sure to check out the benefits in your area when you sign up! You WILL NOT regret it!

What’s on your summer bucket list??  If you complete either of these projects make sure to tag me!

Talk soon buddies!

My Rustic Retreat Signing Off

 

 

 

 

Summer Tablescape Ideas

Sweet Summer Tablescape

I feel like it’s been a minute since I’ve shared any fun tablescape ideas with you guys!  But as more and more of us are hosting family and friends this summer season, I wanted to make sure we all had plenty of sweet summer tablescape inspo to wow our guests and provide the perfect centerpiece for our gathering.

So….here’s what I came up with!  What do we think?!

Summer Party Ideas

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Playroom Storage Solutions

Super Easy Minimalist Wall Decals

And just like that the small update in the kids’ playroom is COMPLETE!  We added a few super easy minimalist wall decals, moved some furniture and some toys around, and voila!  Big changes on a tiny (and I mean next to nothing) budget!!

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Plants

My Plant Picks from Target

Well hello there plant moms and dads (or maybe soon-to-be plant parents)!  I’m so glad you’re here! My guess is you stopped by because you, like me, love what plants do to brighten up your home and connect you to nature!  Now, while I have been trying my hand the last 2 years or so at real plant care, I’ll be honest, GOOD faux plants can be just as beautiful and a HECKOFALOT less work!

That said, I took a little stroll through Target this morning (shocker I know), and happen to come across the launch of Hilton Carter’s new line in collaboration with Target.  Y’all.  Show stoppers!!!!  They had real and faux plants mixed in together and I couldn’t tell them apart!!! It was AMAZING!!!  I have never seen such real & BEAUTIFUL looking faux plants!!  So naturally, I had to share them with you guys!  I picked up two new live beauties myself, but of course the live plants can’t be purchased online.  Soooo…instead I’ve rounded up my favorite faux picks, as well as one or two gardening accessories that I love! You guys, I saw these plants myself in-person today.  They are BEAUTIFUL and the quality is amazing!!!

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Decorate my planner

My Planner Organization & Planning Go-To’s

This blog post has been a loooong time coming!  You guys have been asking me FOREVER to share my planner organization faves and I’ve FINALLY had the time to sit down and gather it all together for y’all!  Also, the new Life Planner launched from Erin Condren TODAY and I’m LOVING IT!!!!  Y’all know that is my absolute go-to to keep my life in order (well, somewhat in order 😉)!  I can’t remember things without it, seriously.

Anyway, this new launch gives even more options for personalizing and customizing so y’all be sure to check it out!  I’ll be sharing everything I got from the launch here so you’ll get a sneak peek!

Alright, so enough chit chat, let’s jump right in here!!

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Travel Makeup

Travel Makeup Capsule: Lightening the Load

Alright.  Let’s talk travel makeup.  Who here is guilty of overpacking? 🙋🏻🙋🏻🙋🏻  This is a judge-free zone, so it’s okay, you can admit it! In fact, admitting you have a problem is the first step,😉.  I’m kidding of course, but my guess is, you probably consider yourself to be an over-packer as well since you’re here with me!  Well let me tell ya, I used to be TERRIBLE! I mean, it was borderline embarrassing how much I would pack.  So unnecessary; and let’s be honest, when you’re traveling, the lighter the load the easier it is to get around!!

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Healthy Oat Muffins

Healthy Oat Muffins (No Flour, No Sugar, and Only a Few Ingredients)

So apparently I missed the boat on sharing the recipe for these Healthy Oat Muffins with you guys a couple weeks ago!  My bad!  I took all the video and could have sworn I shared it on my Instagram page…but apparently…I did not.

Healthy Oat Muffins

So instead, I figured I’d throw a blog post together so you can see the video of me actually making them!  The best thing about these (besides how healthy and delicious they are) is that they only require a few ingredients, are super easy to make, AND can be customized with your favorite toppings.

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Thanksgiving Camping Trip

This Year’s Very Unexpected & Not So Traditional Thanksgiving

Before we jump in, as always, I just wanna say real quick, THANK YOU SO SO MUCH for any and all affiliate links that you may use throughout this post.  I appreciate MORE THAN YOU know when you support the brands that help to support this little blog & our little fam!!
Also, a HUGE thanks to Walmart+ for sponsoring today’s post and Our wonderful thanksgiving holiday!

Well y’all, Thanksgiving 2020 is in the books!!  And I have to admit, I have NO IDEA why I was so surprised when it went NOTHING according to plan! 😂. I mean, that’s just the kinda year it’s been, am I right??  We couldn’t let Thanksgiving get away with taking it easy, it just wouldn’t have been right (has me a little worried about what Christmas has in store but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there).  😂 Seriously though, different doesn’t always mean bad!  We still had an amazing holiday even though it was NOTHING like we expected!

The Original Plan

If you follow me on Instagram then you already know we had intentions to rent a cabin in the woods and spend time with my immediate family for the Thanksgiving holiday.  My family is INCREDIBLY fortunate to live here together in the metroplex.  And because we are so close, we’ve been able to quarantine and remain socially distanced in the community while still being together. I thank my lucky stars for that because I know how rare that is in today’s climate.  Anyway, like so many others this holiday season, we decided it was best for all those involved to cancel our plans and spend Thanksgiving with our own respective nuclear families.  HARDEST DECISION EVER, but definitely the most responsible choice.

I have no doubt that so many of you reading this are in the exact same boat.  And as sad as I was to spend my first Thanksgiving ever without my extended family, (and here comes the silver lining…y’all know me, there HAS to be one) me and this little quartet of mine had the BEST time just enjoying each other.

Thanksgiving 2020

Getting your dog to look at the camera when it’s set on a timer is impossible 😂

24 hours leading up to our trip

The 24 hours leading up to our trip were kind of a whirlwind!  Plans were cancelled and then changed and then changed again, and then cancelled, and then changed again.  It was pure chaos.  I had already packed the kids for a week long trip and I had all my clothes ready to be rolled into the suitcase.  Now if y’all are anything like me, you think unpacking is the WORST!  Well, unpacking WITHOUT having even gone anywhere, not an option for me. 😂

So Matt and I started brain storming…and where do you think we landed?? Yep!  Of course.  The camper!!  This was EXACTLY why we bought the camper.  So in these volatile times, we could just pick up and go and still stay safe and socially distanced!

the new plan

Also that was it…camping!!  The new plan!  Matt got online and started frantically searching for campsites (we knew we still wanted to go to Arkansas since we’d already packed for that weather) and I immediately logged into our Walmart+ account and started planning and buying all the supplies for our trip.  If you guys haven’t heard of or signed up for a Walmart+ membership yet, I’m telling y’all….GAME. CHANGER!!!  It‘s truly what made our Thanksgiving trip possible!

Even though I had done a lot to pack clothes and incidentals for the trip, I didn’t have food, cleaning supplies, entertainment, cookware, etc.  Basically, I had nothing ready to prepare for a trip to the woods. 😂. So, I started adding allllllll the things to our cart and made sure to select “DELIVERY” because there was NO WAY I was going to have time to run to the store before we left for our trip in under 12 hours.

Walmart+ Delivery

Of all the benefits Walmart+ offers (mobile scan & go, member prices on fuel, etc) the free unlimited delivery is HANDS DOWN my favorite!  I can place as many orders as I need to and they’ll all deliver FOR FREE!!  As long as I hit my $35 minimum (restrictions apply) (which let’s be honest, when do I NOT hit that 😂) then they’ll bring it right to my doorstep!  Or anywhere else I need them to bring it, as long as the benefit is available in that zip code!  (More on that once we actually arrive to the campsite…yes, they delivered to us there 🤯).  Seriously though, I DEFINITELY encourage y’all to head over to the Walmart+ page and learn all about the benefits available in your area!!  They were a LIFE SAVER for us on this trip!

Campsite #1

Camping at Thanksgiving

So because Arkansas is quite a haul from where we live in Texas, we decided to break the trip up and stopped in a KOA Campground in Mount Pleasant.   We arrived  at the site, unpacked, and immediately realized all the things we forgot to bring amidst the chaos over the past 12 hours.   That’s just how it goes though, right? 😂.   Toothbrush? Forgot it.  Shampoo and conditioner? Forgot them.  Games for the kids?  Nope.  Camping chairs?  Still in the other car from soccer.  What about our coats and hats for sitting around the campfire in 40º weather?  Of course not….why would we remember those!! 😂 You know what though.  I swear, my usual semi-anxious self didn’t panic at all!  Know why?  Well one, I was on vacation and I was NOT about to let anything ruin it for a 2nd time…but two, because I had already checked the campground address and Walmart+ would deliver anything we had forgotten!!  Thank God, cuz we forgot A LOT! 😂  So we ordered the essentials (plus a few fun extras, duh), they delivered (FOR FREE), and it was smooth sailing from there! (Honestly, I still can’t believe they delivered TO OUR CAMPSITE!!!  I’m a Walmart+ member for life!!!) Thanksgiving camping trip

Staying busy

The next morning we made breakfast and the kids actually helped!  The meal of choice was pigs in a blanket (which is a super easy camp food by the way)!  If you haven’t made these with your kiddos, I highly recommend it!  They’re super easy and the kids love rolling them up!  Plus it got us through the early morning hours where it was just a little too chilly to play outside.

Thanksgiving Camping Trip

Once we had full bellies we spent the rest of the day outside!  Playing games and laughing and crafting and telling stories!  It was exactly what Matt and I envisioned when we said we wanted to buy a camper!

Thanksgiving Camping Trip

Once night took over (which as we all know happens pretty early these days), I was so thankful I had purchased coloring supplies in our Walmart+ order.  Boy did they come in handy!  We also bought some board games, but as every parent knows, you can’t show all your cards at once so we decided to save those for another night. 😂

Thanksgiving Camping Trip


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campsite 2: the ozarks

It was a pretty quick turn around in Mount Pleasant because our real goal was to get out to the Ozarks.  By this time, (thanks to Walmart+) we were finally prepared to make the trek out there!   So we made the 4.5 hour drive, set up camp, and relaxed our week away!!

Thanksgiving Camping Trip

We spent as much a time as we could outside but with rain in the forecast, we had the board games prepped and ready!  We’re definitely a family of gamers so when it didn’t rain, we took the games outside! 😂  I mean, it’s not “glamping” without board games, am I right?

Now, possibly Matt’s most BRILLIANT idea of the trip: adding an Apple TV to the Walmart+ list so we can watch Christmas movies Thanksgiving night!!! 🙌🏼🙌🏼  Some of you may be thinking…TV…that’s not camping!  You’re right.  It’s glamping! 😂  I’m kidding of course, but seriously, once it got late and we were done with the campfire for the night, we came back inside, got under the blankets, fired up the Apple TV, and watched Christmas movies by the faux fireplace.  It may not sound Iike much, but for us it couldn’t have been more perfect!

Thanksgiving Camping Trip

Feeling grateful

So.  Was Thanksgiving everything we had dreamed of?  Technically…no (but I did order these awesome paper Thanksgiving platters in our Walmart+ order so we could still be festive 😂.

Thanksgiving Camping Trip

So, no, it was not at all what we had originally wanted, but it was EVERYTHING we didn’t know we needed!  Time for the 4 of us to stop, think, and reconnect with each other!  I’m not gonna go as far as to thank COVID for this, but let’s just say, there’s ALWAYS a silver lining…you just have to find it!

Now that we’re home

Ya know that the funny thing is?  Now that we’re home, we’re still chalking it up to being one of the best Thanksgivings we’ve had as a little family!!  I hope my kids always remember it that way! ☺️

And you know what MY most valuable lesson on this trip was?  Don’t freak out about forgetting stuff on your trip because chances are, there’s a Walmart around to deliver it to you! 😂 No joke though, I was so spoiled with all my Walmart+ FREE unlimited deliveries ($35 minimum, restrictions apply) on this trip that I scheduled one for the minute we got home!!  Now, rather than heading to the store, I have the luxury of staying home, unpacking, and getting the kids ready for the week!!!  Win win y’all!!

Walmart+ Delivery


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(these are just some of the items we needed & were able to get delivered for free through our walmart+ membership)

Now I’d love to hear all about y’all’s 2020 Thanksgiving!!  What was it like?  Did it look like every other year? Or was it drastically different??  Did you also get to use Walmart+? 😂  Let me know in the comments below!!

Talk soon buddies!

My Rustic Retreat Signing Off