Thursday, June 30, 2011

Recipe - Homemade Pineapple Carrot Coconut Cupcakes w/ Cream Cheese Frosting a great work to describe these awesome treats.  This morning I woke up and had two for breakfast...straight from the fridge.  I love them cold.  Since they are filled with carrots and pineapple... I figured they would be great for breakfast.  I think what makes them amazing is the homemade cream cheese frosting which is to.die.for.

The carrot cake recipe comes from one of my favorite go to blogs for amazing recipes - Keeping Up With the Joneses.  I tweaked the recipe just a bit by adding a cup of coconut to the recipe and omitting the nuts.  I also made the batter a bit differently.  Kendall's recipe can be found {here}.

Ingredients -

2 cups of all purpose flour
2 cups of sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups shredded carrots
1/2 c. drained crushed pineapple
1 cup sweetened coconut

Directions -

1. You need to chop the carrots up more finely.  I used my mini food processor.
2.  Combine the eggs, vegetable oil, and vanilla.
3. In a separate bowl mix the sugar, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients a little bit at a time until it's all incorporated.
5. Add the pineapple, carrots, and coconut.  Mix until combined.
6. Bake at 350 degrees. 

Cupcakes - 19 minutes
8x8 square cake pan - 35 minutes

Check to make sure it is done before cooking on a wire rack.

The Best Cream Cheese Frosting - via Southern Living Magazine - October 2010

Beat 8 ounces of cream cheese and 3 Tbsp. softened unsalted butter at medium speed until creamy.  Gradually add 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt, beating until blended.  Stir in 1 tsp. of vanilla.  Frost the cooled cupcakes/cake.

Seriously... I could eat this frosting with a is amazing and pairs perfectly with this cake recipe.

I like to store this treat in the fridge.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Find the Time - Free Printables

I fell in love with this cute little quote and made it into a JPEG printable that you can print from your home computer or local or online photo print shop.  It prints best as an 8 x 10.  If you would like one, just leave a comment and let me know which color scheme you like best.  If your email isn't connected to your comments, then please leave your email in your comment so I can respond back with your printable as an attachment.  Here is a great little post on a blog about how to fix it.

I just added my favorite (the pink and green one) to my Shutterfly shopping cart!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Miscellany Monday

I am linking up over at lowercase letters for Miscellany Monday.

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

{1} Spending Money

Last Thursday I posted some weekly goals for myself in regards to saving/spending...let's just say it has only been 4 days...and I am not doing as well as I had hoped.  I spent almost $90.00 at Target today...which included lunch at Chick-fil-a before...and I bought a Groupon on my IPhone while waiting for Madison to finish her cooking class.  I could give a long list of explanations...such as the Groupon was only $10...and I needed toilet paper...let's just say I need to regroup and try way harder.

{2} Panera

I love Panera...and today while at Target I noticed they now carry Panera salad dressings in their grocery section.  I cannot wait to try some of them.  Yum!!

{3} A Great Movie

This weekend I started watching a movie on cable. It was called Mother and Child and it starred Annette Benning, Naomi Watts, and Kerry Washington. I stayed up until almost 2 am watching it. It was excellent.  The movie was about adoption and the links each of these three women had to it - one through giving up a baby up for adoption, one through having been adopted, and the third woman wanting to adopt.If you have seen it, I'd love to hear your thoughts, if not, I recommend you watch it.

{4} Baking

I have been baking my a** off lately.  This weekend I made whiter chocolate peanut butter fluff bars, almond cupcakes, Heath cupcakes, coconut cupcakes, and chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes.  They cupcakes were mainly for a tasting appointment I have this Thursday.  I am doing wedding cupcakes for a friend's July I am going to offer her several choices.  This week I need to work on chocolate cake and carrot cake samples.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Madison's Pool Party

Our neighborhood has a great little pool and cabana area you can rent out.  We decided to let Madison throw a small end of the year pool party with some friends.

I designed these super cute invitations for the party -

Then I purchased scrapbook paper, gum balls, and plastic baggies from the local craft store.  I used a template and made a topper using PowerPoint which says "Have a BALL this summer"...get it? I filled the bags with gum balls :) , printed it out, and assembled these little goody bags for the girls who attended.  I arranged them in a small green tin I already had.

Then I made these super cute cupcakes for the girls -

I made homemade almond cupcakes and butter cream frosting.  I tinted the butter cream frosting and used it to frost the cupcakes.  Then I used my food processor to finely chop up and handful of Teddy Grahams.  Then I dipped half the cupcake into the crumbled Teddy Grahams to give the effect of sand..  Then I stuck a Teddy Graham (Madison helped with this part) inside a Gummy Life Saver and put it in the blue section (water).  I finally stuck a little paper umbrella into the sand.  They were a huge hit, tasted great, and looked super cute.

Only four girls ended up coming...we had Pizza Hut pizza (I forgot how tasty their thin crust pizza is), sodas, and tortilla chips and cheese dip.  They played in the pool for hours and were singing songs and making up games.

By the way, I just love these little collages, they were made on my IPhone with an app called Diptic.  I read about it on a blog.  It was only $1.99 and I love it almost as much as I love my Instagram app.

An Afternoon at Color Me Mine

 A few months ago I bought a $15 for $30 Groupon at Color Me Mine - a local pottery place where you paint a piece of pottery, they fire it, and you pick it up a few days later.  We've been going there for years and decided to use our Groupon yesterday afternoon.  So after a quick lunch at Moe's (the 2nd time in two days), we headed a few doors down to paint.

{A view of Color Me Mine}

{Here is my plate.  I sketched out my design for a cupcake on it}
{Painting my plate lime green}

{Madison made a tray.  She painted it black and then did multicolored dots}

{Painting the cupcake liner}

{Painting the icing}

{My almost finished piece...with sprinkles and all.  Once it is fired and glazed the colors will appear much differently}

If you have a Color Me Mine or a similar painting place I suggest you go.  It's fun and relaxing.  We really had a great time.  Our finished pieces will not be available for pick up until next week.  I cannot wait to show you how they turned out.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Fill in the Blank Friday

Fill in the Blank Friday
The last thing I ate was - an English muffin with honey ham, cheese, and mustard for breakfast this morning.
  • The next thing I'd like to eat is - Panera... I am pretty sure we are going there for lunch...except it is noon and Madison is still asleep.
  • The best things - are my husband and daughter, diet Coke, and reality TV.
  •  Something that makes me supremely and utterly happy is- being off all summer and not having to return to teaching full-time in the fall.
  • Sports are  - boring.
  •  I miss- my husband.  We are currently separated for 6 weeks for his job.  It sucks...more than I thought I would.
  • Right now I am- needing to pee and wake up Madison so we can go paint pottery.

 Make sure you got to Lauren's blog and link up!!


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Weekly Goals for Myself {$$$}

Last week my job as a teacher ended.  I am still getting paid because I had the option as a 10 month employee of getting my paycheck divided into 12 months of payments.  As of now I have no job lined up for when we move to Rhode Island.  At some point...sooner rather than later...I am going to need to be bringing in some sort of income. So I have decided to be a little more thrifty and spending conscious this see how it goes.  At the end of the week I will re-evaluate my goals and tweak what is necessary for the other weeks of summer.

My GOALS for Next Week

1. No crazy Target trips... if we need toiletries...fine...but no random purchases...even from the $1 section....and no magazines  It may be best just to avoid Target whatsoever.

2. Don't buy any Groupons... I love looking and buying. Actually today's Groupon is for a photo was really hard for me to not buy it...but I didn't. 

3. Limit lunches and dinners out.  Its so easy with my husband working out of town to just take Madison to Moes or Chick -fil- A.

4. No online shopping....of any kind.  Stay off of

5. Try to use up items we have in our pantry and freezer because we will be moving soon and we won't be bringing any food items with it.

6. Try to make money.  I have several things to list on ebay and in my etsy shops...I need to work on that.

Do you set any weekly or monthly financial goals for yourself?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday

It's I am linking up for What I'm Loving Wednesday over at This Kind of Love.
I am loving that this morning I woke up to my first sale from my very tiny...not really fully stocked...still needs a lot of work etsy shop called Prints by Melissa.

I am loving that Madison got her hair done yesterday at our favorite salon - Salon Icon and she loves it.  She loves it so much she refused to go swimming last night and today because she didn't want to ruin her great hair.

I am loving that in about ten days...after a very long...and probably exhausting...yet well worth it drive I will get to spend a few days visiting my husband.  He has been gone for work for about a hundred ten days...and we are not due to be up there permanently with him until the first of August.  I'd be lying if I said it hasn't majorly sucked to be apart.

I am also loving  Instagram on my phone.  Look at this cool pic I made of a plant on my parents' porch.

I am loving a recent four day trip Madison and I took my parents' house which included visiting with my Pepe (grandfather) and Uncle Tom, sharing my baked goods with friends and family, dinner with one of my oldest and dearest friends, our first passion fruit ice tea lemonade of the season from Starbucks, shopping at the outlet mall, getting to visit my sister's best friend's twin babies, and rest and relaxation.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Book Review - Waiting for Daisy by Peggy Orenstein

I shared last week that I had ordered this book.  It was a quick read and I enjoyed it very much.  A lot of it hit home with me. Waiting for Daisy - A Tale of Two Continents, Three Religions, Five Infertility Doctors, an Oscar, An Atomic Bomb, a Romantic Night, and One Woman's Quest to Become a Mother is definitely a book I would recommend.  It is the memoir of author, Peggy Orenstein and is a New York Times bestseller.

Here are some of the parts I marked while reading that 'hit' me for different reasons.  When I am reading I like to mark the pages or lines I want to return to.

  • It's devestating.  In some ways it's even harder when you already have a child, because you know what you're missing.
  • "It feels so unfair " I complained to Steven.  "Everyone else has a baby.  I've been through so much- I should get to have one, too."  "You're wrong, " he said.  "It's not unfair, Unfair is when my friend, Lynn died at forty-two.  Unfair is her daughter was only three at the time.  This is unfortunate, but it's not unfair.
  • You prentend to talk about normal things, but I can tell you're thinking about fertility the whole time.  You're this angry bitter person fixated on having a baby.
  • The only way to survive this is to be grateful for the two of us, for what we have together.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to my husband Chris...the only father Madison has ever known...the father she deserved to have all along.
{Here is Chris on our wedding day presenting Madison with a necklace to symbolize our new family}

I was a single mom from before she was born until Chris became a permanent fixture in our lives.  Chris and I never pushed for a relationship between him and Madison...instead we let it develop naturally on its on...and it has blossomed.

Having never had a dad... I am not sure she knew what to expect...

I think he has surpassed any expectations her or I could possibly have for him.

They have nicknames for one another.  He calls her "Mad Dog" and she calls him "Topher".

They both like the same music...or should I say she has learned to enjoy the music he loves.

They both like the same movies...or should I say she is interested in any movie he is interested in.

They laugh together and joke around all of the time.

He will sit and patiently listen to her stories of middle school drama and about her Sims computer games.

She will sit and watch him play video games.

She always loves to tag along to the store when he goes.

She trusts him and confides in him.

They love one another.

I love my husband.  I love what an amazing father he has become to Madison.  I do not think they would be any closer or he would love her any more even if he was her biological father.  That is a real man.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Easy Sausage Gravy Recipe

This is my dad's favorite breakfast.  Growing up my grandmother and aunt used to make it all of the time for us.  My sister and I loved it too.  Yesterday on my way to visit my parents my dad called to ask if he picked up the ingredients at the store if I would make it for him.

So this morning I got up early and made a big pot of sausage gravy.  The recipe is super simple.

You Will Need -

-1 pound of breakfast sausage
- 1 cup of all purpose flour
- 1/2 gallon - 1 gallon of whole milk (depending on how much you want to make)

Directions -

Brown the sausage over medium heat in a large pot.  Then add a cup of flour to sop up the grease from the sausage.  Mash and stir it into the sausage and grease until it is all absorbed.  Then add 1/2 gallon - a gallon of milk.  Continue to cook over medium heat until the gravy starts to thicken, then stir, and add salt and pepper.  Repeat stirring and letting it sit for a bit until you get the consistency you desire.  I like to serve it pretty thick.  Then you can serve it over white toast or biscuits.

It definitely isn't the healthiest of breakfasts...but it sure is tasty.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

What a Day...

Today was my last teaching.  I hope its a forever sort of thing.  I have no desire to ever go back to full time teaching.  I finished packing up my room and headed out.  I didn't feel sad at all.  I have known for awhile I was ready to leave...that I needed to leave teaching.  I actually felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.  I had to go downtown to turn in my badge, do an exit interview, and to turn in my resignation form.

Then I took Madison to the book store for two new books and then lunch at Moes (which is her favorite).

Then we headed over to Target.  We are visiting my parents' this weekend and I wanted to bake some yummy Father's Day treats for my dad.  I plan on making my Peanut Butter Blondies as well as Snickerdoodles (his favorite).   The one by Moes has a grocery I figured it would be more fun than a trip to the grocery store.  I told Madison since we were going out of town she needed to choose something for dinner.  She chose Bagel Bites and I chose this yummy looking salad that has dried cherries, goat cheese, grilled chicken, and walnuts...which was only $4.  I cannot wait to try it.

When I got home I remember that my friend, Dennis, from work had given me a card before I left.  This was my first year with Dennis on my 6th grade cluster even though he has worked at the school longer than me.  I had a fabulous cluster this year and we all got along great and were always joking around and laughing...trying to keep our sanity.  Well you know when I said earlier I wasn't sad AT ALL today...well when I read the card from Dennis and saw the generous gift card inside...I cried simpy because it was heartwarming to read the kind words he had to say to me.

I am anxious to see what the future brings for my family and I.

1 Reason Why I Won't Miss Teaching

A few weeks ago one of my students pointed out there was something written about me on the back wall by the pencil sharpener.  I snapped a photo of it...and then put a poster over it.

Well today as I was packing up my classroom I had to remove the poster.  So I grabbed my phone and took a photo of the kind words written about me...  I think I am a little more pissed that one of them called me Miss instead or Mrs. and misspelled my last name...sigh...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Easy Photo Canvas Project

I need to charge my digital camera batteries so I can take decent photos... These are all from my iPhone... so I apologize for the laziness and poor photo quality.   Not to mention my photos are out of order.

I am currently obsessed with photo canvases.  Every time Groupon offers it, I get one.  We currently have 2 large ones, 1 smaller one, and 1 on the way that I have ordered.

I read somewhere online where it was super easy to make your own.  So I had two favorite photos printed off, purchased some canvases (there is a cheap art supply store by our house that has the cheapest and largest assortment), and some Mod Podge (using a 50% off coupon at A.C. moore) and was ready to go.

{The one on the left is one I ordered and the two in the middle are the new ones I finished tonight}

{Here is a closer shot.  With the second one I painted the edges on all sides with black paint to go better with the black and white photo.  This is one from our wedding.}

{This is what it looks like after you have coated it with the Mod Podge and you are waiting for it to dry}

{Here is my photo and canvas before starting}

{I used my paper cutter to trim the photo so it was slightly smaller than the canvas for the best fit}

I am going back to the store tomorrow to pick up more canvases... I am hooked on this fun and easy project.

Exposing Myself...but not in the weird way...

I have been writing about this for awhile now...but they always stay as drafts.  I went back and forth before even posting this…but then I realized if I cannot share my true feelings on my blog…then why have it? So this won’t be a recipe, or a funny photo from work, or about my Pinterest obsession…it will be about something my husband I have been dealing with and pretty much keeping it to ourselves for a few months now. 

I am sick of being sad, angry, frustrated, and confused. I am sick of being jealous of other women’s pregnancies and babies. I am sick of not feeling like I can’t even look at babies when we are at stores or restaurants. I am sick of my daughter pointing out every single baby she sees and telling me how cute they are and not knowing how to tell her it breaks my heart even more when she does it….because she really loves babies and is excited and wants a sibling. I am sick of wanting a baby with every ounce of my being and every single month being sad…so sad…that it is starting to really affect my home life.


So today I figured enough was enough…and I scheduled an appointment with my Obgyn/nurse practitioner who I love and trust and know I can be perfectly 100% open and honest with about how this has been making me feel…which is like total shit.

I ordered two books from Amazon  [I wrote this last week and just posted today...but they both arrived today and I cannot wait to read them}–

Infertility Survival Handbook - while I haven't been diagnosed as infertile...and could be jumping the gun... I still felt this would be an informative book to read.

I am going to work on getting healthier…so I am in the best possible condition to bake a baby. I am going to eat better and move more.  I am going to get more rest.  I am going to work on relaxing and not getting stressed out.


I do realize that I already have more than some who are struggling to have a baby. We do have an eleven and a half year old daughter who we love and are so thankful to have her. However it doesn’t make this hurt any less...  I guess I never thought this would ever be an I never imagined how lonely and isolating this could be.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Our Weekend via Instagram Photos

I am loving the Instagram app on my iPhone.  I just love the different features it has to make your photos look neat. 

Here are some of my Instagram photos from this past weekend -

This is the yummy strawberry margarita I had on Friday night.  It came with a candy swizzle stick.

Saturday morning after the bank we stopped at Dunkin Donuts... I had some chocolate donut holes...paired with what else? A diet Pepsi.

Maddie went with a glazed donut.

Sunday we had brunch at the restaurant we were married at.  This cool piece of art was in the bathroom.

Our appetizers at brunch on Sunday.  My husband and I went with lunch choices which included calamari (his choice) and crab dip (my choice).  We had the crab did at our wedding reception...YUMMY!

Here is Madison in front of Waterman's (the place we were married at).

Waterman's in Virginia Beach

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Umm...Games Your Mom Plays...

My mom has an iPad and recently she has become hooked on Words with Friends.  She plays with all of us: me, Chris, and Maddie.  

 Last night we were playing...and this appeared on my screen...  Look at the last two words she played -

I just about fell off of my chair.

Friday, June 10, 2011

We're Hosting a Pool Party

I agreed to let Madison host a pool party to celebrate the end of 6th grade.  The neighborhood we lives in has a pool and a room they call a cabana you can rent for parties.  So this week I reserved the cabana.  Tonight I designed the invitations.  I just need to print them and have her pass them out.  Here they are {with our personal information blacked out thanks to Picnik}-

I have been busy searching Pinterest for all sorts of ideas to make the pool party amazing. I have been filling up a board with pool party ideas.  

 Here is some of my pinspiration...

I am definitely going to make these cupcakes.  I just love them.

Then I am going to make these popcorn paper cones...except I am going to use bright and fun colors for the paper.

Then I am going to give these out for favors...except I am going to make a bright and colorful topper and I am going to include bright colored gumballs.

I still have some more planning to do and definitely some crafting...but wanted to give a sneak peak of what I have in the works.

Also, don't forget to enter my fabulous Print Candee Giveaway!!