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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Summer Projects 101

I realized something about myself today.
I don't know if it's a norm for all of us writer people out there, or if, well...I'm just strange.
I talk to myself.
I've caught myself quite a few times today doing it. I don't know why all of a sudden I'm so aware of it, but it's been the weirdest thing today.
Do all of you do this too? (Please say 'yes'!)
Here's what I was talking to myself about today.
I realized that everytime I chop something, like today when I was making another batch of homemade salsa, that I count each cut.
So tomato after tomato it sounded alot like this in my head, "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Turn. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5."
"huh? I didn't cut those the same number of times. That's kind of odd."
Then, this evening while I was trying to relax while enjoying a nice hot, quiet bath, I began to think about summer. It went a little like this,
"Summer is coming to an end. What have we done this summer? We haven't gone anywhere exciting, mostly just work around the house. You know, that would be a great thing to write about. Yeah! Okay, I can do a post about all of our exciting projects we've done. I need a bigger bathtub."
No joke, it went just like that.
And at no point in either of those conversations did I think to myself, "It's kind of odd that I'm talking to myself."
I took Sociology and Psychology in College and for some reason don't recall food bloggers being listed under multiple personality disorders or paranoid schitzophrenia.
Although it was First Quarter, Freshman Year, Monday Mornings, 8:00 am.
(Who does that? Apparently a naieve, over-anxious, Freshman)
I probably don't remember alot from that class anyways.
So after that last conversation with myself I decided to let all of you see just what we've been up to this summer.
Summer is starting to wind down, although you wouldn't know it by looking at the thermometer around her, it's hotter's hot!
Like I mentioned to myself earlier this evening, we didn't really go anywhere exciting, no big vacation away, but we've done alot of cool projects around the house this year.
Here's our first one!

Box 1 of 6, completely filled with wood pieces,screws, bolts, and a 34 page instruction manual. Oh yeah, it mentioned that it would take two moderatly skilled adults 24-30 hours to complete this project.
Day 3, the roof going on the club house.

These guys worked their butts off for our kids!

The Crew!
Sophie cristening her new "wing"
 This project would have never happend if it wasn't for our amazing friends and family!
After 4 days, 26 hours, with 4 skilled men, and 1 slightly less skilled 7 year old, Operation Clubhouse was finally finished!
Darryl & Tony we can't thank you enough for all of your hard work!
(oh yeah, we started this project the weekend after dear hubby had emergency surgery for kidney stones and wasn't allowed to lift anything over 10 lbs. Great planning on our part!)
And what's better to do than a 26 hour outdoor project? How about starting a bathroom remodel at the EXACT. SAME. TIME!
I'm starting to realize we're not great at timing these projects or planning too well!
I can honestly say, we have the World's Smallest Bathroom!
Okay, maybe not, but it's pretty darn close.
I'm starting to realize that the bathroom probably wasn't the best designed portion of this house, luckily I can blame that on someone else. But, we knew it was that big when we bought the house, and we still bought it. I guess the humungoid back yard kind of threw us off!
When we first bought the house I had the brilliant idea to paint the bathroom yellow.
Do any of you realize what it's like to wake up at 5:00 am, and walk into a 10 x 6 room painted bright yellow?
It's like you've landed on the sun, people!
And that's not a good thing!
Let's just say it didn't stay yellow for too long.
Since 2004 the bathroom has been white.
Plain White.
White on white.
I know, exciting right?!
I decided it was time for a change.
Then I found this! I knew that this was going to be my bathroom.
Why you ask?
Well, because bascially this bathroom, is my bathroom.
Well, it's not MY bathroom, but my bathroom is an exact copy of this bathroom.
In fact, my shower curtain was the same one too, only in a different color scheme.
 So project number 2 was underway.
Here's what happened!
How we started. See, white on white. Okay so there's some wood color!

We taped off the room, and started painting.

Then it was time for the power tools to come out! Yes, I used the sawhorses and circular saw all by myself!

After the paint was dry, we installed the board and batten with some Liquid Nails. Easy Peasy!

Updated the hardware to all silver knobs.

And last but not least, finally added the accent I was most excited about!

The final look!
What cha think?
I was a little concerned at first about using such a dark color in such a small room, but to be honest, it really felt like it opened it up alot. Almost as if it's a blue sky around the top of the room.
I love it!
I'm so happy the way that it turned out.
And I'm even more proud of myself for maintaning all 10 fingers while the circular saw was out.
So those were our two big projects this summer.
All of the painting in the bathroom has inspired me to move into the kitchen...
I have one paint color picked out...
Okay, I have both paint colors picked out, now it's convincing hubby that it's going to turn out as well as this one did!
So remember, it's not completely crazy if you talk to yourself.
Heck, it's not even crazy if you answer yourself.
We are just going to chalk it up to being a creative writer!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

It's a...umm...Whatchamacallit!

Do you ever have days where you sit down at the computer and your mind goes blank? I've had those days alot lately. I don't know what it is. Apparently writer's block is a common occurance in my house.
I've got so many great projects and recipes to share with you, and I just can't come up with the catchy words to keep you reading.
You see, I was never the kid in school that could sit down and write a 40 page essay on The American Revolution. Heck, I couldn't write a 40 page essay about my life let alone any one elses! This is a pretty tough gig, at least for me.
It's funny, I typically start my morning by reading the most up to date post from one of my most favorite food bloggers out there. She's so whitty and charming, and quite frankly-AMAZEBALLS! I'm sure by now you know who I'm referring to!
Hayley, The Domestic Rebel, is one of my all time fav bloggy friends and has inspired me in so many of my posts.
I see other inspiring posts all the time too. Posts about kids, and husbands, and dressers, and tissue boxes fashioned out of chicken wire and I think to myself, I just don't feel that creative. I just wish I could come up with something that no one else has done.
I was sitting in my office yesterday, after eating my Weight Watcher's meal and as I sat there munching on my snack, it hit me! I could SO make these at home!!! And yes, I did just eat a Smart One and then finished off my lunch by eating a Whatchamacallit! Don't judge people!! It could have been worse!!
So...I decided to disect the remaining bite of my Whatchamacallit and here's what I came up with.
A cruncy, peanut buttery layer (hmmh, looks like rice krispies to me)
A thin caramel layer (I think I have some caramel left over from another project this week)
All hugged by a layer of chocolate (Yep! Got that!)
And here's what I came up with, my first attempt at a homemade candy bar!
The WhatChaMaCallIt...Campbell Style!
These were so much fun to make. Other than chocolate coated fingers (yeah, who's going to complain about that!) they came together really well.
Although a little difficult to photograph...brown just isn't a great color for me.
And I think they taste just like their store bought counterparts.
I would strongly recommend you make these.
Now I know that it might be easier to just go to Target or Wal-Mart and spend $1.49 on a true Whatchamacallit, but then you wouldn't be able to tell all of your friends, "Hey! I made these!" and let's be honest here, who doesn't like to impress their friends a little.
So here's what you're gonna need.
WhatChaMaCallIt Candy Bars...Campbell's Style
1 cup corn syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
6 cups Rice Krispies
Caramels (about 1/2 bag unwrapped)
1 1/2 Tablespoons Heavy Cream
1 bag light cocoa Wilton Candy Melts
Line a 13x9 inch cake pan with aluminum foil. Butter it generously, set aside.
In a saucepan combine sugar and corn syrup, bring to a boil.
Once boiling remove from heat, stir in peanut butter.
Place Rice Krispies in a large bowl, pour peanut butter mixture over cereal.
Mix well.
Press into cake pan firmly. Set aside.
In a small microwave safe bowl, combine caramels and heavy cream.
Melt in 30 second incriments until caramels are smooth and pourable.
Pour caramels over cereal in cake pan. Smooth out into a thin layer.
Refridgerate for 1 hour.
Pull aluminum foil from pan with bars still on top of it. Place on a safe cutting surface.
With a large knife or pizza cutter, cut into bars or squares.
In another bowl melt candy melts in microwave according to directions on package.
Dip bars or squares into the chocolate melts, place on wax paper or plastic wrap to cool.

A Birthday Giveaway!!

I've got something totally cool for you today! I'm off today getting Aiden back to school and since I'm busy with that I wanted to share a little something with you.
It's Addicted to Recipe's Birthday!!! And she's hosting an amazing Birthday Celebration this week! Have you checked it out yet??
Well you should!!!!
Birthday Giveaway 2012, Button for Birthday Giveaway 2012
And today I'm giving away a $25.00 Gift Card to one of my favorite places, Jo-Ann Fabrics! So whether you're a scrapper, a baker, a sewer, or a crafter, Jo-Ann's has something for you!
Make sure you stop and get signed up!!
I'll be back in a couple of days with some yum-o dessert recipes and a little project I've been working on! See you then!!!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sinful Caramel Chocolate Cake

I like cake.
I mean, REALLY like cake.
Not that you couldn't tell that by looking at me though. 
I honestly can't think of any time in my life where there was a cake that I didn't like.
Okay, maybe this one time at a wedding there was a really dry piece of white wedding cake with icing that tasted more like the box the cake came in than buttercream, but isn't it disrespectful to not eat a piece of wedding cake. I think it's like bad luck for the bride and groom or something.
I think I read that online somewhere.
These days I like to think that my cakes and cupcakes taste way better than that previously choked down mentioned wedding cake. I love trying new flavors and combining some of my favorites together into different combinations.
As I said before, I'm really not picky when it comes to cake.
But I do have to say chocolate has to be my favorite.
And after seeing this post by Shelly over at Cookies & Cups I was bound and determined to set myself up for a chocolate cake coma. And I knew that this cake would deliver!
I opted to try something a little different with the recipe and it came out AH-MA-ZING! The original recipe is fantastic as written, but I decided to change it up just a little and see what would happen.
So out came the Rolo's and the caramel sauce!
Oh yeah, and the crock pot.
Yep, you heard that right!
The CROCK POT people!!!
And Chocolate Cake Coma was about to be well underway!!!

Now I have to warn you. Please let the cake cool for just a slight bit after you dish it is HOT! And I don't mean like Christian Grey or Edward & Jacob HOT, I mean like mytoungeispermanentlyblisterednowHOT!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Pineapple Refridgerator Cake

It's summer.
It's hot.
Want something that will trick your body into thinking it's 60 degrees even when it's 105?
Here you go.
And you're welcome.
Dear Hubby's family introduced me to Pineapple Refridgerator Cake about 15 years ago. Prior to that I never knew it existed (probably a blessing in disguise).
This recipe has been a favorite of his family for many years.
I was never lucky enough to meet his Grandmother Campbell, but I know that she would be so thrilled that we are enjoying her Pineapple Refridgerator Cake recipe.
This recipe is easy peasy! And it's perfect for a hot summer day.
And even though it does remind me of summer, this cake is perfect any time of year.
So anyways, let's cool off with some Pineapple Refridgerator Cake shall we?!

Campbell's Pineapple Refridgerator Cake

30 large marshmallows
1/2 cup milk
2 packages of graham crackers, crushed
1 can crushed pineapple, drained (but reserve the juice in a seperate bowl)
1 cup Cool Whip

In a microwave safe bowl combine marshmallows and milk. Microwave on high until marshmallows are melted completely.
Allow marshmallow mixture to cool completely.
Once it has cooled, mix in the Cool Whip and the crushed pineapple.
Line the bottom of a 13x9 inch pan with 1/2 of the crushed graham crackers.
Drizzle some of the pineapple juice over the graham cracker crust.
Pour marshmallow/Cool Whip mixture over graham cracker crust. Spread out evenly.
Drizzle a little more of the pineapple juice over the top.
Top with remaining crushed graham crackers.
Refridgerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Chocolate and Vanilla Biscoff Truffles

Random thoughts and a few things about me.
1. Have you ever noticed how those ASPCA commericals always play the most sad music in the background while showing you pictures of animals with the most pathetic faces. Great marketing to get donations.
2. I have fallen in love with Chevron print.
3. I have decided that I am crafty enough to refinish a dresser/buffet for my house. Although I have yet to find the perfect piece.
4. I love old episodes of The Twilight Zone.
5. I have to repeat certain words over and over in my head.
6. I refuse to think that I'm getting older.
7. Biscoff Spread is the DEVIL!!
Okay so enough random thoughts.
That last a complete truth! I swear!
I had never heard of this stuff before I was a blogger. I secretly wish I would have never discovered it because I'm telling you, it is the DEVIL!!!
Jar # 1
I bought jar # 1 about a week ago and decided to try the slightest little taste on the end of a spoon (you know, just incase it was a mixture of terpintine and dirty socks)
I didn't stop at the slightest little taste! Much to my surprise it tasted nothing like dirty socks!
I decided that the only way to make this any better was to try it on toast.
Yeah, that was pretty good too! And Jar # 1 now resides in my desk at work!
On to Jar # 2
Jar # 2 found it's way into my cart yesterday at the grocery. Apparently our local largest chain in america store decided that Biscoff Spread was better placed at the end of the frozen entree section of the grocery than in the spread aisle. Either the stock boy had no idea what he was dealing with or the peanut butter was jealous and forced it out of it's aisle. I just had to rescue some of it from potential freezer burn!
So jar # 2 came home with us.
I decided this time around I was going to do something different with it.
Check this out!
Do you see this?! Do you know what that is?!
It's a Toasted Bacon Biscoff Sandwich!
And it was my breakfast!!
And it was fantastic!!!
And I wonder why I look like a whale!
So now that hubby and I have finished almost half of the jar within the last 24 hours I decided I better do something constructive with my remaining Biscoff Spread or I was going to have to move on to Jar # 3 to be able to blog about it.
I toyed around with the idea of doing something chocolatey and ooey gooey,  but then decided to try making truffles.
I'm a cake pop kinda girl so I decided I'd make these the same way.
I just so happened to have some left over vanilla and chocolate cupcakes in my freezer so out they came.
I mixed these up just like cake pops, coated them with some candy coating and a little drizzle of Biscoff and Voila!
They have just enough of the Biscoff flavor to be dangerous!
I made these three different ways.
I did chocolate coated in chocolate.
I did vanilla coated in chocolate.
And I mixed it together and coated them in chocoalte.
Those were my favorite!
I think the plain chocolate cake overpowers the Biscoff a little, so with the vanilla cake marbled in it allows the Biscoff flavor to reappear.
These were so good! And I said "were"! They're gone!
And I'm considering purchasing Jar # 3 when I make a trip to the grocery tomorrow!!

Now these directions aren't real technical. Sorry, I didn't get any pictures of the steps, but I hope that you can figure this out!

Chocolate & Vanilla Biscoff Truffles

Chocolate Cupcakes or Cake
Vanilla Cupcakes or Cake
Biscoff Spread
Chocolate Candy Melts

Crumble cakes into seperate bowls.
Add in Biscoff Spread. You only need enough to help the cake stick together. (I had three standard size cupcakes and I used about 2 tablespoons of Biscoff spread for each flavor cake)
Squish the cake and spread together with your hands until it becomes like a thick dough.
Roll into balls.
Melt chocolate according to directions on package.
Dip balls in chocolate and allow to cool on wax paper.

Was that technical enough for you? just eat them!!! And go buy some Biscoff Spread!!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Sweet & Simple Sunday {fifteen}

Good Morning Starshine, The Earth Says 'Hello'!!!
Sorry about that!
Just feeling a little fun today.
It's Sunday, my last day of my impromptu Staycation.
That I'm kind of bummed about...I just need about 10 more days by myself to get all of this work done in my house and get it to not smelling like paint fumes.
Can you guess what I've been doing?
I so can't wait to share all of these fun projects with you, I've been feeling a little crafty and breaking out my Girl Power!
Look! I even used power tools!
Sssshhhh! Don't tell dear hubby that I broke out his circular saw!
I've even been a little more productive in the kitchen this week.
I'll be sharing this sinful recipe later this week!
So enough about what I've been doing. What have all of you been up to?
Here's what 3 of my readers have been up to, these are the features from
Sweet & Simple {fourteen}
1. Pink Ombre Mini Cakes from Baking with Blondie
2. Funfetti Fun Cupcakes from Pamela's Heavenly Treats
3. Banana Pudding Cupcakes from Shaken Together
Aren't they gorgeous?!!
So now, what are you up to this week? Link up and be sure to share the love!!
And don't forget, Pamela's Heavenly Treats is hosting a Giveaway here at Cups by Kim
Click here and get entered to win!!!

Saturday Breakfast and A Giveaway!

Well Hello Ladies!
And Gentlemen!
I hope all of you are having a great week.
It's been fun this week, I'm working on so many projects I just can't wait until all of them are done so that I can share them all with you!
Are you on the edge of your seat yet?
We've only got a few weeks before schools is back in session here in Ohio, and I can't believe that I am Mom to a Second Grader!
Summer has been so stinkin' hot here. I think that's alot of the reason why I haven't felt like baking.
Who wants to have a 350 degree oven going on inside when it's a 150 degree oven outside!
I decided while I wasn't baking that we should have a giveaway.
So this week at Cups by Kim it's Giveaway Time!!!
Have you all met Pamela from Pamela's Heavenly Treats?
Well if you haven't you really need to go check out her blog and her Etsy shop.
She makes amazing treats and they are even healthy!
Pamela has offered one of my readers a chance to try some of her Heavenly Treats.
One of you lucky readers will be randomly chosen to receive one of Pamela's tasty cookie, cupcake or brownie mixes.
When I first met Pamela I decided that I HAD to try some of her creations.
Let's just say, I could hardly wait to tear open the package and get to baking when they showed up on my doorstep.
Ohhh Emmm Ggggee!!
All of them were so good!
I think my most favorite was the Cinnamon Jelly Doughnut Cupcakes!
Check these bad boys out!!
I do have to be honest though, I prefer mine without the jelly.
Having cupcakes for breakfast is okay, right? Hey! Don't judge!
I baked up the Cinnamon Doughnut Cupcakes, mixed up some easy glaze and dunked my cupcake while sipping my French Vanilla Cap!
It was amazing!
So now's your chance!
Do some things, win some stuff, bake some treats, sit back and enjoy!!
Happy Saturday!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 3, 2012

An Accidental Discovery

I feel like I've lost my groove.
This whole blogging thing is hard work.
I thought that since my cupcake business had slowed down I'd have so much more time to dedicate to writing about all of my great adventures and inventive recipes.
Not the case.
I've kind of lost my inspiration.
I just can't think of anything good to make.
And every time I see a recipe that I think sounds good, I feel like I'm being a copy cat so I don't blog about it.
How do you guys feel about that issue?
When you see a recipe online on someone elses blog that you'd like to try, do you try it and then blog about it? Of course giving props for the recipe!
Is there a time frame that you allow yourself before posting about it?
I still feel like I'm new at this blogging thing. I don't know all of the rules.
I don't even know if there really are rules.
I know there are common courtesies, but I don't really know all about it yet.
So...fill me in.
What's the one "rule" that you've learned from the blogging community that you think every new blogger should know?
And since I've kind of lost my creative streak, who do I rely on for ideas.
Well, mostly other's living in my house.
Today was one of those days.
After doing a cupcake order yesterday, I had some mint gonache left over.
Now. Here's one thing about dear hubby that you should know.
If there's a cupcake sitting on the counter, he has enough willpower to leave it alone. In fact, I don't think he even has the slightest problem with it being there.
(I know. I think he's from another planet)
But when it comes to mint gonache...he is all in!
Most of the time, it just involves hubby, bowl of gonache, and a spoon.
However, today was a little different.
It was hubby, above mentioned gonache, and...pretzels!
And to our surprise it was UNBELIEVABLE!!
As in, I had to pry dear hubby away from the bowl and beg him to save some for me for later
(you know. pictures for the post!)
I couldn't believe how good this simple little mix was.
I don't know why I was so surprised. 
Besides, after the peanut butter and chocolate combination, the chocolate and pretzel combination comes in a pretty close second place.
So. If you need a little inspiration just look to all those simple little things sitting around your kitchen and throw something together.
You might be a little surprised at how it turns out!

Mint Chocolate Pretzel Bites

A bunch of pretzels
A bunch of Andes Mints
1/2 cup heavy cream

Unwrap Andes Mints and place in a bowl (I used about 25).
Bring heavy cream just to a boil in a sauce pan.
Pour cream over Andes mints and stir until smooth.
Allow mint gonache to come to room temperature and then dip, top, or dunk pretzels (also tastes great off of a spoon!)