Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Slice of Heaven

I wanted to share another recipe I've discovered on Pinterest (originally from here).  These are one of the best desserts I've had in a really long time and they are so super easy to make.

Cake Batter Blondies
*  1 box white cake mix
*  1/4 cup canola oil
*  1 egg
*  1/2 cup milk
*  1/2 cup white chocolate chips
*  1/4 cup sprinkles (I used more, just for fun!)

1.  Combine cake mix, oil and egg in mixing bowl.  Slowly add in milk to keep the texture thick.
2.  Gently stir in chocolate chips and sprinkles.
3.  Pour mixture into a lightly greased 8x8 baking dish
4.  Bake at 350* for 30-40 minutes.  They will still be slightly gooey in the center and I was fairly certain that they weren't finished, but they were.  And they were absolutely delish!!!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Cupcake Stand #2

You may remember a few months ago I scored some plates at Target for waaay cheap.  I finally got around to my little project.

I bought some candlesticks at Dollar Tree...

Used some gorilla glue, placed the candle stick in the middle of the plate (on the back, of course) and placed a heavy book on top while it dried.  I left it alone for about 24 hours before starting the next layer.

Here's my final project!

And I decided not to glue the top layer on, just to keep things a little more convertible.  And I figured this way would make it a little easier to store! ;-)

Sorry this pic is icky-blurry!
I spent $8.44 on the plates, $3.00 in the candle holders and we already had the gorilla glue.  So in total I only spent $11.44 on this project.  Pretty good, in my opinion!

And it went perfect with my pink lemonade cupcakes!  If you're interested in my first cupcake stand, you can see it here.

Linking to:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A New Doorway

I have loved the idea of chalkboard paint since I was a kid.  But since most homes in the Southwest have textured walls it never seemed like such a great idea.  Plus the color option weren't so great.  Well fast forward 15 years: still living in a house with textured walls, but the color options have improved greatly (thanks to Rust-oleum) and we have a door that needed some love and had a smooth surface.

After some convincing, Husband was on board to paint our door that leaves to the garage with chalkboard paint.  And since our Montana likes to scratch at the door when we come through the garage, the door was needing some TLC anyway.

We decided on Rust-oleum in Latte from Home Depot.  I taped around the deadbolt lock and door handle with masking tape, wiped the door down with a little dish soap and warm water.  

The directions recommended rolling the paint on with a foam roller, and I used a short-handled angled paint brush to cut-in.

The door required three thin coats, letting it dry for four hours in between each one.

This was our doggy-proofing device: baby gate plus a chair.  The directions said to let the paint cure for 72 hours...which we did.  At that point you take a piece of chalk and rub it over the entire surface of the door and then erase it.  Now the surface is ready to be a fully functioning chalkboard.

Now I put our schedule for the week on the door (cause Husband has a tendency to forget things).  It took a few tries to figure out the best chalk to use.  I wanted colored chalk initially, thinking it would show up best on the door.  Blue, purple, green and red all looked horrible.  You could only see it if you were right up on the door.  So far yellow, orange and white show up the best.  I'm completely perplexed by the idea, but whatever. 

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you about the added bonus to our little painting project!  Montana no longer scratches at the door when we are in the garage!  I guess humans aren't the only ones who don't like the sound of nails on a chalkboard!  Haha!  Bonus!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Another Seaside Dinner

My friends, it's hot!  I left work today and it was 115*.  I would love, love, love to have some cooler weather.  To decorate for fall before Thanksgiving.  But that just doesn't make sense.  Anyways, this tablescape cooled me off just looking at it.  Well, refrigerated air might have helped too.

Tablecloth: Home Goods ($12ish)
Runner: Hobby Lobby fish net
Bamboo Placemats: thrifting
Hurricane: wedding gift
White sand: left over from wedding (from Hobby Lobby originally)
Lighthouses: Dollar Tree
Candles: made by me
Shot glasses: bought on our two Princess Cruises
Star fish: Hobby Lobby
Silver chargers: Goodwill
White plates: my grandmother's
Sea shell plates: Kohl's (my momma bought 'em for me when she came to visit)
Glasses: IKEA ($0.59 each!!)
Napkins: thrifting
Napkin rings: Marshall's

Linking to:
Tablescape Thursdays

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Our New Toy

Our vacuum was very very old.  My grandma bought it probably 12 years ago.  It finally kicked the bucket last week.  We knew it was fairly sick and had already talked about what its replacement would be.  So we grabbed one of those handy-dandy Bed Bath & Beyond coupons and headed to the store.

I spent a few moments chatting with one of the sales associates about the features of the different vacuums they had.  With her recommendations we went with the same vacuum that we had initially wanted.  And I'm glad she didn't try to up-sell us.  This is what we came home with:

Please ignore my blindingly white legs ;-)

We got it home, snapped it together and immediately put it to use.  And I immediately fell in love.  This thing is awesome!!!  Vacuuming may be my new favorite chore!  I can totally see Husband and I arguing over who gets to vacuum.  We're two happy campers!

P.S.  Bed Bath & Beyond and Dyson both have no idea that I exist or blogged about either of them, but if they do discover this and would like to give me free things I wouldn't be opposed.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

All About Penguins

Husband's latest work project has revolved around this book:

We spent one weekend building this:

For his final presentation he made his first tablescape.  I was so proud!  And it's pretty cute that he wanted me to share it on the ol' blog.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Another Craig's List Adventure

We had these chairs.  They came with out dining room table.  The table I like.  It's good wood, nice design, and I love the versatility that the leaf provides.  But those chairs.  Blech!  And luckily Husband wasn't a huge fan either.

I put them on Craig's List in January, the same time we put our patio furniture on there.  We never heard anything.  So I waited a while.  At the beginning of July I posted them again, this time lowering the price.  Still nothing.  Then the last week of July, Husband and I were so sick of the chairs we were just going to donate them to Goodwill and buy new ones.  The evening that we were planning on going to IKEA to buy new chairs, something amazing happened.  A women called to ask if we still had those chairs.  We did...and she wanted 'em!  It was a beautiful thing.  She came to pick them up and after some slight negotiations we had a check and she had our chairs.  We were so glad.

Our IKEA trip got postponed till the next morning and here's what we got.

We got 4 Henriksdal chairs, with the white Gobo slipcovers, and black-brown frame.  And we love them!  I think they look so much better than our old chairs.  I'm in love.  And when the budget allows, we'll add another two for a total of 6 chairs.

And oddly enough, a few days ago, Husband got another text asking about the chairs.  Almost seven months without the slightest interest and then in just over a week 2 call-backs.  Just wild!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Bunco Party

I'm part of a Bunco group with ladies from work.  This last week was my turn to host and I wanted to share some of my ideas with you.

I decided to have a theme for my party, sometimes we do and sometimes we don't.  I chose to have a Pajama Party theme since it was a Friday night and most people would be coming from work.  And what is better on a Friday evening than putting on your P.J's?

I went easy on the decorations since they aren't necessary for a Bunco night, but I kept everything girly like things were for sleepover parties as a kid.  So I used lots of pinks with splashes of blues and greens.

For gifts I tried to stick with things that went with the theme of the night.  (And I'm sorry, I forgot to take pictures of all the gifts.)

For the Bunco winner I got a gift certificate for a massage.

For high game, I got a bottle of pink bubble bath, rose champagne, and a pink candle.

For second high game I got vanilla bath salts, vanilla lotion, and a vanilla candle.
For low game I got a make-up brush set.
For snakes I got a hand soap and lotion set.

 For the Hostess gift I got vanilla cinnamon bath salts.
For Bunco Baby I got a mug and hot chocolate packets.
For the Better Luck Next Time gifts I got sleep masks.

And for the first time in my Bunco history I won something other than the Better Luck Next Time gift!  Yay me!!!

We ordered pizza so no one had to worry about making something to bring.  And I made some cupcake.

We had 80's music playing in the background.  Husband spent the evening over at this parents house playing Shanghai.  I had a great time hanging out with the girls and can't wait for next time (but I'm kinda glad I'm not hosting again!).

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Happy S'mores Day

It's that time of year again...National S'mores Day.  Last year I made s'mores cupcakes.  This year I decided to try a different recipe.  This one I found on Pinterest (surprise, surprise), originally from here.


*  1/2 cup butter, softened
*  1/4 cup brown sugar
*  1/2 cup sugar
*  1 large egg
*  1 tsp vanilla extract
*  1 1/3 cups flour
*  3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
*  1 tsp baking powder
*  1/4 tsp salt
*  2 king sized milk chocolate bars
*  1 1/2 cups marshmallow fluff

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg and vanilla. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt. Add to butter mixture and mix at a low speed until combined.

Divide dough in half and press half of dough into an even layer on the bottom of the prepared pan.

Place chocolate bars over dough. 2 king-sized Hershey’s bars should fit perfectly side by side, but break the chocolate (if necessary) to get it to fit in a single layer no more than 1/4 inch thick.

Spread chocolate with marshmallow creme or fluff.

Place remaining dough in a single layer on top of the fluff (most easily achieved by flattening the dough into small shingles and laying them together).

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

(I copy and pasted the instructions because I wasn't even able to follow the instructions when I was making 'em, so I didn't even want to try to write them on my own.  And sorry for the cell phone pics, I was in a hurry.)

Are you planning on celebrating National S'mores Day?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

Last Friday I hosted my first Bunco party and wanted to make pink lemonade cupcakes for dessert.  I had seen a recipe on Pinterest, but used this recipe instead (found here).  I modified the recipe slightly.


For the cake
*  1 box white cake mix
*  3/4 cup pink lemonade frozen concentrate
*  1/2 cup water
*  1/3 cup vegetable oil
*  4 egg whites

1.  Preheat oven to 350* and line muffin tins with liners.
2.  Combine all ingredients and mix with an electric mixer on low for about 30 seconds, then increase speed to medium for another minute.
3.  Fill liners until 2/3 full.
4.  Bake for about 25 minutes.
5.  Let cupcakes cool completely before icing.

For the icing
*  3 cups powdered sugar
*  1 stick unsalted butter (room temperature)
*  4 tbsp. pink lemonade frozen concentrate
*  pinch of salt
*  food coloring

1.  Combine all ingredients and mix slowly until blended.
2.  Increase speed and beat until you have desired consistancy.  It took about 5 minutes for me.
3.  Add a few drops of red food coloring to make pink icing.

Then I topped the cupcakes with pink sprinkles and straws.  They were a huge hit.  Come back on Thursday to see more of my Bunco party!

Linking to:
Tasty Tuesday
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday

Friday, August 5, 2011

This Was Always the Best Part of School...

School supply shopping!  That was always my absolute favorite part of school.  I'm a weirdo and I <3 school/office supplies.  Still do, but I don't get to buy as much as I used.  Luckily, my work was holding a drive for school supplies for local area schools...so off to Staples we went.  And we got this:

We got calculators, pencils, erasers, pen, spiral notebooks, crayons, markers, glue sticks, rulers, pencil sharpeners, tissues, folders, filler paper, and scissors.  I love that shopping can also be good for your community.

Update: I heard on Thursday that all our donations were able to help 125,000 children in the Phoenix area.  So proud!!!

P.S.  Staples has no idea that I bought a large amount of school supplies at one of their stores and wrote about it in this little blog.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Cool Blues

We had some friends over for dinner the other night and threw together a table scape while fixing dinner.  It's another one where I just used whatever I had on hand.

It's nothing too spectacular, but it was just right for our dinner night.  And it was really easy to clear off so the grown-ups could play Phase 10!
Tablecloth: Target
Blue placemats: Home Goods
Cream placemats: Bed Bath and Beyond
Anchor napkins: World Market
Silver chargers: GoodWill
Glasses: Mikasa from BB&B
Silver candle holders: Target
Vase: IKEA
Blue marbles: wedding gift?
Blue candle: Target
Silverware: my Grandma's
White dishes: my Grandma's

Linking to:

Seven Twelfths Complete

If I remember, correctly, 7/12 is a fraction that can not be reduced.  So this month I'm just seven-twelfths finished with the Bible.

Here's a rundown of the books I've completed so far.
  • Genesis
  • Exodus
  • Leviticus
  • Numbers
  • Deuteronomy
  • Joshua
  • Judges
  • Ruth
  • 1 Samuel
  • 2 Samuel
  • 1 Kings
  • 2 Kings
  • Job
  • Proverbs
  • Ecclesiastes
  • Song of Solomon
  • Daniel 
  • Hosea 
  • Joel
  • Amos
  • Obadiah
  • Jonah
  • Matthew
  • Mark
  • Luke
  • Acts
  • Romans
  • Hebrews
I've noticed I'm having more trouble keeping up with my reading.  Maybe we can pretend it's because it's summer?  Or maybe it's because the Old Testament is getting harder and harder for me to read.  It is just so dense.  I love reading the New Testament and I feel like I get so much out of it (both inspiration and questions).  But that first part.  Yikes is it challenging!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Lemon-y Cupcakes


*  1 package white cake mix
*  1 (3.4 oz) instant lemon pudding mix
*  1 cup water
*  4 egg whites
*  2 tbsp. vegetable oil
*  16 oz. powdered sugar
*  8 oz. cream cheese, softened
*  1/4 cup butter
*  2 tbsp. lemon juice

1.  Heat oven to 350*.  Beat cake mix, pudding mix, water, egg whites, and oil in a large mixing bowl on low speed till moistened.  Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Spoon batter into cupcake cups.

2.  Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool completely on wire rack.

3.  While those are in the oven beat sugar, cream cheese, butter, and lemon juice on low until well blended.  Frost cupcakes.

I sprinkled mine with pink sprinkles cause I ran out of yellow and served as dessert to my tortellini recipe.  Very yummy!

Linking to:

Tempt my Tummy Tuesdays 
Tasty Tuesdays
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