Friday, June 24, 2011

Pirate Pride!

Here are some photos of the cake and cupcakes that I made for my brother's graduation party tomorrow. He is graduating from East Carolina University--their colors are purple and gold and their mascot is the pirates. (And yes his graduation party is like a month behind.... that's how my family rolls.)

 Purple and gold! One of my favorite parts of the football games is when the crowd on each side of the stadium shout at each other. One side yells "PURPLE!" and one side yells, "GOLD!!". It's a lot of fun!

Congratulations brother!! We are so proud of you and all you have accomplished!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wish List....


Several of my friends randomly write posts about their Etsy wish lists. I have a wish list too-- it's just not an Etsy one. Here are a few things that I have been drooling over lately and saving for.

To say that I am obsessed with this diaper bag is kind of an under statement. I "Google" this bag at least 4 times a week drooling over it and searching for a deal. Apparently it was running half price a couple months ago on Gilt Groupe and Zulily and I missed it. It's WAY out of our price range for a diaper bag, but it's just SO nice! And it doesn't even look like a diaper bag. There are other colors and prints, but I think I'm leaning towards black. I originally liked charcoal dot but Daniel said he didn't care for it. He actually said he liked the new pattern "plum burst" which is interesting.  (Other colors here.)

Many of you may find my diaper bag obsession unusual, but those of you who know me well are very aware that I am a bag hoard-- and when a bag hoard has a baby, it's only natural she become a diaper bag hoard. 


 I curl my hair now on most days. I'm trying to grow it out just a few more inches. It's currently the longest it's been since I was like in the first grade. I've always been a short hair gal but I have always wanted long hair and not had the patience to wait on it to grow. Now that I'm finally getting there, I'm super excited about all the things I can do with it that I never could before-- like curling it. Using my curling iron is working fine but it is kind of a hassle. I'm thinking hot rollers would make my life easier. I could have them in my hair in the mornings while I do my make-up and not be bound to an electrical outlet.


You may remember my post at the beginning of the year about being more eco-friendly. We gave up paper towels, I started using sea sponges, and of course we cloth diaper Leeland. I have really been wanting some cloth feminine pads though and we haven't had the money to buy them. I'm currently contemplating making some of my own (there will be a post if I succeed) but I must admit that I really like these Charlie Banana pads. They have cute colors and patterns and they fold up so neatly and could be very discreet in my purse or bag. And they have wings which is a personal must. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Cupcakes & Father's Day.

Happy Father's day to all of those wonderful Dad's out there! This year we celebrated Daniel's 2nd Father's day! What a joyous occasion it is! My hope is that he always feels appreciated, loved and respected by Leeland and I, but it is nice to set aside at least 1 day and make him feel EXTRA appreciated, loved and respected. Daniel is for sure the love of my life and since we have gotten married, times have been pretty tough. An adjustment to married life, an adjustment to a baby a year later, and with the recession finances have been ultra tight. But Daniel is such an amazing man! When I'm down, he's up and he's one the most hard-working, caring, and dedicated men I have ever met! He will do anything to support his family and I'm so thankful that he had today off work to get some true R & R for his Father's Day.  I know that God made he for me, and me for him. We truly are the perfect match that God worked out and put together in His perfect timing. So happy Father's Day honey! I look forward to many, many more!

It seems I had lots of baking this weekend. You may remember my post from yesterday, making my little cousin's Hello Kitty Birthday Cake. Today I was hard at work on some cupcakes! Cupcakes for Father's Day to take to my parent's house when we celebrate, and some cupcakes to take to work. Here are the Father's Day cakes for my dad, family.
Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate butter cream!

My attempt at adding sprinkles, but they rolled right off. Darn! I thought sprinkles would make them extra manly.

And some more cupcakes!.... One of the beauties of working in a small office, (there are 6 of us, 2 full-time and 4 part-time) is that there is no harm in setting aside an hour 6 times a year to have food, fellowship and celebrate each person's birthday! So naturally when we were all discussing what we were going to bring to the birthday celebration, sweets was my category!

Cute, simple, and sweet flowers! Same chocolate cupcakes and this is just colored butter cream frosting.

Hope everyone else had a lovely weekend! The downside to all these sweets I worked on this weekend is that I'm pretty sure I gained at least 5 pounds. Back to running tomorrow for sure!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Hello Kitty

Today is my little cousin's birthday! It's actually my cousin's daughter-- so that makes her my cousin too, right!? haha. I'm not very good at the whole family connections and relations thing. I'm terrible at Christmas and family reunions-- I usually don't even know half the people there. Terrible, right? 

Regardless of the family connection, I was asked to make her birthday cake. Her 8th birthday party them is Hello Kitty!

Happy 8th  Birthday Madison! Hope you enjoy your chocolate cake tomorrow!!

pool fun?

The water is beginning to grow on Leeland!!! Praise the Lord! He is gradually getting a hang of this whole pool thing for recreation and the fact that he must have a bath every night. I've probably mentioned before that my Mother-In-Law says Leeland has the personality of a cat-- he also isn't a huge fan of water just like a cat. My fear with the pool thing though is that by the time he starts to get the hang of it and eases up, Summer will be over and we'll have to start all over again next year.

My Mom hosted a Pampered Chef party the other night, it was out on the patio, and the hostess made grilled pizza, so Leeland and my nephew Tyler played in the baby pool while the women shopped and ate. Here are some photos of the cuties!

Though we made great strides in the water department this weekend, I am sad to say that Leeland is still terrified of swings.
You win some, you lose some! Happy weekend all! :D

Monday, June 13, 2011

Zippers aren't scary at all!!

I sewed my 1st zipper this weekend!! I have always found them terribly frightening, but I overcame my fear and sewed a little zipper pouch. Now I have so many ideas floating in my head of other things I can sew with zippers! :0)
This bird fabric was a HUGE hit at the indie market.

Fully lined in white-- just working with what I had that matched the outside.

It's my very own little zipper pouch that I made!  Can you tell how excited I am!? I haven't decided what I'm going to use it for yet.... possibly cosmetics!

Days at home.

     I intended to post this weekend and then I didn't get around to it-- I was thoroughly enjoying my time at home with my little man. Please forgive me but I LOVE my weekends! I have come to look forward to those 3 days a week that I am off work and can be full-time Mommy. It really makes me miss being a stay-at-home Mom. Some may think I'm being too whiny considering I only work 20 hours a week, but that's 20 hours a week, a little over 80 hours a month and 1040 hours a year that I am missing with my sweet little boy.... And that's not even counting drive time! 

     I also would like to add that on my days at home, I get a ton more done! I feel like I'm actually being the homemaker I'm supposed to be and capable of being. Catching up on laundry, cooking home cooked meals that include dessert! It may some weird to some, but it's what keeps me ticking, what I yearn to do, what I feel like I was made to do!

    Without further ado, here's our dinner Saturday! I made Rachael Rays "Harvest Moon Macaroni". It's kind of become a favorite, and it's a SUPER easy way to add veggies to your diet, or your toddler's diet (or husband's) without them knowing. It's a butternut squash sauce with cheese (of course!) and macaroni.
Butternut squash pasta sauce!
The finished product--minus some ;0)
    The beauty of cooking is that you can "tweek" recipes and make them your own.  Our family doesn't have dinner without a protein, so I baked some chicken, shredded it with 2 forks and threw it into the macaroni as well. It was super yummy.  I was also thinking I could hide even more veggies in it, but didn't have many on hand.

And for dessert...... CHOCOLATE CHESS PIE!!!! We LOVE chocolate! And I'll share the recipe with you!

-1/4 cup of butter                                           -pinch of salt
-2 squares of Baker's unsweet chocolate       -1/2 cup of milk
-1 1/2 cups of sugar                                       -2 eggs
-1 tablespoon of flour                                    -1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1 unbaked frozen pie crust

First melt the butter and the chocolate in a small sauce pan.
If this weren't unsweet, I'd be all over that pan.
Once your chocolate and butter are melted, add them to a bowl and add your dry ingredients. Mix a little so that the mixture cools before adding your eggs. Then add your wet ingredients and mix. Once it is mixed, beat on medium speed 5-6 minutes.
This is just after it's mixed

After 6 minutes of beating. That time makes a HUGE difference. Makes the batter fluffy like pudding :0)
Pour the batter into your pie crust and bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until the pie is set.

The pie will rise...

and then the pie will fall....
I have made 2 of these pies this weekend and I haven't figured out why they keep falling, but they do. Regardless of what it may look like, looks don't really matter, the pie tastes pretty darn heavenly!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Care package + Recipes

  Shipped out a care package to my brother-in-law today. He's deployed overseas. He's been there for about 3 weeks now-- and though it's still a little soon to send surprise packages, because of his travels there he may not be able to receive mail in another month or so. :0/

  My brother-in-law Nate is the one person that I can count on to absolutely love everything that I bake-- before he was deployed we talked about me sending him cake. I think he may have thought that I was joking, but I totally wasn't! So today we shipped out some apple cake and some peanut butter, chocolate chip, M &M cookies.... That's not 3 different types of cookies, that's just one cookie that is all those things. I didn't come up with them, but I've been calling them double the goodies cookies.

  I got the idea from i am baker, you can find the post here. Essentially you mix Betty Crocker peanut butter cookie mix and Betty Crocker chocolate chip cookie mix and then you can add in whatever you want. (Mix according to package instructions). I added in colorful M&M's. i am baker added in some more chocolate chips, white chocolate chips and she used all blue M&M's! Super easy and SUPER delicious!!!

  Another thing that made the cookies super awesome was that I got a new cookie scoop thing-a-ma-jig. Something like these:
I can't believe that I have been baking all this time and never owned a cookie scoop! This thing is a life saver-- it makes perfectly uniform cookies without a mess and they were thicker and looked amazing!

The other thing that I sent to Nate was Apple Cake! It's one of his favorites-- it's super tasty and moist every time I make it.  I got this recipe from my Granny-- it's another simple one, it starts with boxed yellow cake mix. So here it goes:

Apple Cake
-1 box yellow cake mix                 -1 tblspn all purpose flour
-3 eggs                                           -1 tblspn butter
-1 can apple pie filling                   -1 teaspn cinnamon
-3/4 cup packed brown sugar        -1 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease and flour your pan-- I use a 9x12 (or 9x13).
In a large bowl, mix together cake mix, eggs and apple pie filling. Pour into the prepared pan. Combine brown sugar, flour, butter, cinnamon and walnuts. Sprinkle over the top of your apple cake batter.  Bake for 35-40 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. 

Until next time, happy baking loves!!