Saturday, January 12, 2013

Next installment of fun projects over "Christmas Break"

I took pictures of Ayden for his first birthday.  We went to the train station in Punta Gorda.  I wished that there weren't so many businesses around, but they worked out ok.  Boy is it tiring to take pictures of an active one year old, but I got a shot or two that I just love.  If he was sitting still for longer, I would have changed the setting on the camera, but oh well. 

These are three of my faves.  These are my go to pictures if I need to pick one out really quick for a gift or something.  The rest can be viewed on my facebook page.


In October I made monogram letters for my nieces (wood letters from Hobby Lobby). 

Well they mentioned to my sister that they would like all letters for their names to hang over their beds.  So she sent me pictures of their bedspreads and off to HobLob I went. 

Along with their names, I planned on giving them each little kits. Brooke likes to bake so she got cupcake papers (along the back), 2 baggies of different kinds of sprinkles, candles, and some recipes of her favorite cupcakes.

Caitlyn LOVES ice cream, so she got an ice cream kit.  Waffle cones, waffle cone bowls, sprinkles, oreo cookie crumbs, and plain M&Ms.

I had the kits planned before the names.  I knew I was going to put them in the plain boxes from Michaels (back by the unfinished wood section), but I wasn't sure how I was going to decorate them.  Well with the scraps of paper from around the letters I cut out, plus one or two full sheet, I cut out (with a paper punch) 1" squares and started mod podging them to the boxes.  Finished with a little ribbon (after thought to cover up some mistakes), a chipboard letter, and I was good to go.  I lined the inside with the solid color from each theme, and they were actually kinda cute.  Hope they thought so too.


I'm on a roll...I'ma keep going (plus the boy child is playing nicely with his toys)

I made ornaments for Ayden's grandparents; Oma and Opa (my parents) and Memere (pronounced Mem-may) and Grandpa (Berk's parents).  Picked up the (I believe they are 2") wood blocks at, where else...Hobby Lobby.  Used some of the pictures from Ayden's 1 year session, some red paper and ribbon.  And you guessed it...MOD PODGE!  I think I am in love with the stuff.

I used a combination of 8 photos, so that hopefully the same set of grandparents would have a nice variety.  I also put them on blocks as my parents don't put up a tree in Maryland since they are always here for Christmas.  This way they can leave them out or just get them out around the holidays.

On the far left is the top of one of the ornaments.  I just put a simple To and From.  On the right/top is the year.  Kept it simple so that the focus was on the handsome little boy!  


Last name frame.  I saw an idea similar to this in Pinterest (or as I say to my DH "a website I like to look at" cuz he makes so much fun of me for always being on/doing something from Pinterest).  But the person that posted it did it with vinyl (truth be told, I like her's better) but I don't have those supplies, so I did with what I have.  Paper and a cricut.  I bought a floating frame, advertised to hold three 5x7s, but it's just 2 pieces of glass in a frame.  Perfect!  I cut the letters with the cricut.  Used graph paper under the glass for spacing and to keep me straight (credit to my dad on that idea).  Ran used small dabs of Mod Podge for the bigger letters and ran the smaller letters through my Zyron.  I LOVE the way it came out.  I think I'm going to have to experiment with vinyl soon tho.
This was for my sister and her husband that just got married this year.


My father-in-law is a Vietnam Vet and has just recently been talking about it and going to reunions for the helicopter group he flew with.  I asked my MIL if she knew where his "stuff" was and if I could put together a shadowbox for him.  Originally I thought, a shirt, a picture, and a few pins/medals.  Well he had more than I thought (and more than that even).  So I had to make 2.  I kinda like it better.  It was fun researching (with my dad's help) what each of the medals/ribbons mean.  After Christmas, my in-laws gave me the rest of his medals for me to incorporate into the display. 

Ok, that is all for now, DH will be home soon from work and baby is getting a little antsy.  He doesn't like when I am "occupied" either at the computer or the kitchen counter.  So ta-ta for now.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Ok...admitting defeat! AGAIN

I have come to realize that I cannot keep up with that list on a daily basis (I know, a big disappointment for my 2 followers). ;)   Maybe when Ayden was a newborn and was only awake 2 hours a day.  Now he is def not a newborn and only sleeps 2 hours a day (besides nighttime, but I need sleep too).  I am not completely giving up, but I think I am going to try to post once per week.  I could post one thing I did that week, or I could post 7 things I did that week (yeah right).  So, I will continue to post the fun things I did for Christmas, but not going to pressure myself with catching up or with having to do something from my list every day.  I am still keeping my list because it is composed of things I want (and need) to do. 

I have just been too busy with trying to come up with my cleaning schedule and trying to get my business really going. and please "like" me on FB if you haven't already  

I really won't have time to keep up every day.  But I promise I will check in at least once per week (I say that like people are hanging on my every word and will be really disappointed if I don't post...who cares?  lol)

Hope everyone has a wonderful day!  I am going for a walk, it's nice outside!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Another stinkin Catch day I will not be always behind...right?

Ok, so here we go, like I said, I am not going to bore you with over a month's worth of catch up.  Not to mention the fact that it would probably take a month for me to post that one post.  So I will post 3 days at at time.  Now I was just doing a bunch of projects during December and they are not all going to be on their correct "day."  But all I am worried about (right now) is to have enough projects to catch me up to the current day (while hopefully not getting behind again). it goes

Day 26:  Host a Pumpkin Party

I don't know how this happened, but I didn't take one picture at my pumpkin party...let me check my phone...NOPE, not one!  Well anyway, I invited a few of my friends over and asked them to bring their favorite pumpkin treat.  It was just how I planned it and more.  I had three friends as well as my parents and Ayden.  My friend Melissa brought 2 pumpkin treats that I hadn't had before; pumpkin chocolate chip cookies (yummy) and Paula Deen's Gooey Pumpkin Butter Cake (so yummy, there isn't a word for it).  Kim didn't like pumpkin (weird, cuz she had all of the treats there, and seconds, I believe), so she brought some of her red pepper jelly (over cream cheese and good!).  And Ron...Ron walks in with pumpkin beer and pumpkin coffee creamer.  HA, she split one beer with Melissa and that was that for the beer.

All in all, it was a great night of visiting, eating, and (lots of) laughing!  I plan to do them every year!

Day 27: Make Cupcakes for Ayden's First Birthday Party

I decided not to buy a cake from Publix for Ayden's birthday.  As it would have been much cuter, I wanted to make cupcakes for 2 reasons; 1 because I love to bake and 2 it's cheaper!

So I decided to make two kinds of cupcakes.  I know I wanted pumpkin cupcakes (I have a slight obsession with pumpkin) and I let Berkley choose the other flavor.  He chose funfetti.  So then started the quest for a funfetti recipe (as I try not to bake from premade mixes).  I was able to find nice recipes for both.

  I frosted some of the pumpkin cupcakes with the icing left over from the funfetti cupcakes.  And made fresh whipped cream for the remainder.  I should have made more funfetti because they were the first gone!

Pumpkin Cupcakes
sift together:
2 1/4 c flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
3/4 t cinnamon
1/2 t ginger
1/2 t nutmeg

cream together until light and fluffy:
1/2 c softened butter
1 1/3 c sugar

beat until frothy 2 eggs and then beat into butter/sugar mixture

beat in 1 cup of pumpkin

add 3/4 c milk to butter, sugar, egg, pumpkin mixture, alternate with dry ingredients, ending with dry

fill cupcake cups 2/3 full and bake 25 minutes in 375ยบ oven.

Funfetti Cupcakes

Yield: about 2 dozen cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
1 cup whole milk, divided
6 large egg whites
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. almond extract
2¾ cups (11 oz.) cake flour, sifted
1½ cups (10.5 oz) sugar
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
12 tbsp. (¾ cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup multi-colored sprinkles
For the frosting:
 One batch whipped vanilla buttercream
Additional sprinkles, for decorating

    •    Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a liquid measuring cup, combine ¼ cup of the whole milk, egg whites, vanilla and almond extracts.  Whisk to blend.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Mix briefly on low speed to combine, about 30 seconds.  Add in the butter and mix on low speed until the mixture resembles wet sand, about 30 seconds.  Mix in the remaining ¾ cup of milk, then increase the speed to medium and beat for about 90 seconds more.  With the mixture on low speed, add the egg white mixture in three additions, mixing for about 20 seconds after each addition.  Scrape down the bowl as needed.  Gently fold in the sprinkles with a spatula.
    •    Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners, filling each about two-thirds of the way full.  Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18 minutes.  Let cool in the pan briefly, then transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.
    •    Prepare the vanilla buttercream.  Add the buttercream to a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip.  Frost as desired.  Garnish with additional sprinkles.

Whipped Vanilla Buttercream: (and it was YUMMY)
Yield: enough to frost about 2 dozen cupcakes
1½ cups plus 2 tbsp. (3 sticks plus 2 tbsp.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (optional) (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
2 tbsp. heavy cream
1 tbsp. vanilla extract


Day 28:  Host Ayden's First Birthday Party

I didn't go over the top with a theme and whatnot for the party.  Don't call me a bad mom or anything, but he's one.  Since the party is for him, I'll wait until he can enjoy the "theme" more.  So we just invited the local family and some of our closest friends.  We kept it simple by ordering pizza from Domino's.  I made meatballs that sat in the slow cooker with a sweet & sour type sauce.  We had veggies, coffee, sodas.  I was more concerned with not overwhelming Ayden.  As far as opening gifts, both Ayden and Gus were more concerned with the tissue paper.  Gus was a great help in that he pulled the tissue paper from the gift bags to reveal the gift, but that didn't always help keep Ayden's attention.

Nevermind the syrup stain on the floor, that's a story for another day

Ayden wasn't too keen on digging right in to the cake.  He kept trying to shake off the frosting

Finally he tasted it and not too much longer, he was ready to be done.  Thank goodness for no sugar high.

Well that's all for today, see you tomorrow! (hopefully)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Wow, November 30 was my last post.  And isn't it funny that it was a catch up post.  What was I thinking starting an "every day" blog series so close to Ayden's first birthday and my first all handmade Christmas???  Anyhoo, I do plan to "catch up" again.  I won't bore your bombard you with over a month's worth of catching up, so I'll break it down, but I will get back on track.  I have vowed to use this week to get my house back in order after the chaos of a crafty Christmas.  It was fun, but I have learned a few things along the way.  I am a little behind on my quest for cleanliness due to my baby boy catching his first cold.  It was a glorious first 13 months without him being sick.  Probably won't post again until this week is over.  I really need to get back to having my priorities straight.  As much fun as it is for me to post, ya know how it goes, the unfun stuff must come first. 

My mom got me a book for Christmas that I am excited to read.  It's called "Sidetracked Home Executives" and on the cover it reads, "From Pigpen to Paradise" and "The slob sisters tell you how they moved from clutter and chaos to order--and how easily you can do it too!"  SO excited to read this and hope I can have the determination to do it.

tata for now!

Friday, November 30, 2012

I did not quit...just been busy. Time to catch up!

I actually started this post on Saturday (Day 21), but just couldn't get it posted and I wanted to post the whole catch up completely.  And I'm not going to lie, I had some projects to make up to make sure all the days were accounted for.  I don't want to fall behind and I had been busy with Thanksgiving prep and recovering from all of that.  So here we go, it's Thursday and I'm going to finish this post now!!!

Day 25: Organize Under the Guest Bathroom Sink

This has been one of those places that in an effort to keep the bathroom decluttered, we just hid stuff under the bathroom sink.  It's a small bathroom so it doesn't take but one unneeded things "out" for it to appear messy. needed some attention.  Also, since my parents visit a few times a year, they have just purchased toiletries and left them here (SMART!).  I needed a place to put them and under that since is PERFECT!!!

I was able to use a diaper wipes box to put all of the toiletries and an old desk organizing box to put the hair dryer and flat iron.  I kept some essentials and that's it!  


Day 24:  Clear Off Scrapbook Room Countertop

You all know that I am trying to organize the scrapbook room.  Doing it in sections, this day was the countertop.  I am proud to say that when this was finished, the room was finished!!!  This room has never been so clean and organized.  Not even when it didn't have a bed and a had the whole room for crafting.  I am so happy.  There are some tweaking I will need to do with my actual supplies, but as for the room as a whole, I am totally stoked to use it.  I did have an incentive to get it done, my parents are coming and I didn't want them to have to stay in it the way it was anymore.  And I couldn't be in the middle of the reorganization when they got here.  Anyone who has really reorganized anything knows that you have to make a mess to clean a mess.  So without further ado, I present my new scrapbook room!
I apologize for the unmade bed.  The bedding was in the washer and if I didn't take the pictures when I did, they wouldn't get taken.  But since the bed isn't the focus, just ignore it! (if you can)  :)

NEVER has my workspace been this neat.  Not even when I first organized the room this way.  The countertop was custom made by my Father-in-law and even when it was installed, there was too much junk on it (waiting to be organized).  Finally, I remembered to ask my husband to hang the peg boards and the set of drawers for my loose letters.  (close ups will come later as I organize my supplies).

Yes I added a litle bit to the closet, but no I did not go back to my old ways.  I did remove the 2 drawer file and replaced it with the paper trays.  (I will post before and after pix in a separate post, trying to get this one finished first).

I noticed after I took the pictures that my bulletin board (plywood, quilt batting, fabric, ribbons, and furniture nails) is a little messy.  But when i went back to look at it, I kinda like it that way.  It just doesn't photograph well.  I LOVE MY NEW ROOM!!!


Day 23: (a boring one) Tie Up Loose Ends on Loans

Like I said it's a boring one.  But my list is about doing the things I put off.  A few months ago we paid off two loans.  Well we thought we paid them off.  We did not realize that there are extra fees to pay off a loan and one we had to send to a different location than the regular payments.  So, I got both of those payments out and they are now taken care of!!!  Sigh...


Day 22:  About 6 months ago, I went through my closet and separated any clothes that I could give away, throw away, put away (maternity so that I would stop wearing them).  I put away the maternity clothes, and I separated the give away and throw away (of course, they didn't make it to their respective destinations).  Sunday, (laundry day) I decided I had had enough of stuffing our clothes back in our "dresser."  (The ""s because we never did find a real dresser when we moved in that we liked that didn't cost an arm and a leg so we just got cubes from Target)  I knew I had plenty of clothes that I did not wear and was not going to wear so I finally mustered up the energy to go through them all.  I found shirts from 10 years ago!!!  WHAT IS MY PROBLEM???!!??!??!??!?

 Needless to say, I am so much happier now.  Don't ask me why I put myself through years of annoying torture when it just takes an hour to fix.

The left side is my side, and the right side belongs to DH.  No matter how hard I try to not let it happen, clothes always seem to gather on the top (probably cuz there's no room inside!!!)

Overflowing drawers!  This was before I put this weeks laundry away.  (Don't worry, you won't see any "unmentionables" it's just bathing suits and sicks)

Shocker!  Another overflowing drawer, t-shirts)

I went through each of my drawers (his aren't bad) and this is what I took out.  Stuff I wouldn't want to give away is in the trash bag, and the rest are going to Community Services.  There was enough to fill 3 reusable grocery bags (I even grabbed the clothes from months ago and took it all!!!  It's all out of my house!!!  Hip Hip)

Finished product.  (the doors don't stay closed)  All of my drawers close.  And not only do they close, but they close with ease!

Tanks are NOT overflowing


I actually separated this drawer for my long sleeved shirts.  It used to have my nursing tanks in there.  When I had Ayden, I got 7 nursing tanks, I had no where to put them, so I just them in the drawer that wasn't packed full.

It's not the best system but it works for me, long pants on the bottom (jeans organized largest to smallest size on the bottom), capri's top back with shorts in front.  I usually just stuff them wherever I could.


Day 21:  Organize Brads & Eyelets

While organizing in my scrapbook room I found multiple locations that I was storing brads and eyelets.  When I do get back to scrapbooking (and yes, I plan on it), it will be awfully hard to find them if I want to use them.  OR just to be inspired by them.  So I put them all in one spot and was actually able to condense into less storage for other embellishments.  :)

Before:  I had some here...

...and there...

...and EVERYWHERE!!!

And NOW, I have them all in this old spice rack.  I'm so glad I didn't throw this away the many time I looked at it and thought I would never use it.  It sits nicely on my shelf (those pictures to come soon) and I hope it will be a great inspiration!

Day 20:  Make an Ice Pack

Now that Ayden is movin' and shakin' he is also bumpin' and fallin'.  There was a time he hit his head pretty good and I was trying to keep a little ice on it, but he wasn't so much into that.  I found these two ideas for making ice packs on Pinterest and I'm going to make both to see which one is better.

There are more ideas, but these are the first two that I found.

One is one part alcohol to three parts water. 

The other is just to fill a zip top bag 1/2-1/3 full of any dish soap.

Wouldn't you know, the next day, the boy child took a dive into the wooden bench at our table.  I quickly grabbed the dish soap bag.  I could form it to fit his little head (although he didn't let me put it on there).  The alcohol and water one was more like a slushy and seemed to be a little messier and I think might turn back to a watery state quicker.


Day 19:  Make Carla Hall's Pumpkin Chocolate Cake

I saw her make this on The Chew.  And since I love all things pumpkin (well almost all), I make it for Thanksgiving this year.

Here is a link to the recipe.

I read the reviews at the bottom of the recipe page and made a few changes.  I put in a little less sugar to the cake recipe, maybe 1/2 cup less or so.  I used Chefmate cake pans (which I didn't think were dark pans, but maybe they were).  I baked them for 30 minutes (switching them at 17 minutes) and they were done.  They looked darker than her cakes on the show (and in the picture), but when I cut them in half, if I would have taken them out any sooner, I don't think they would have been done.

For the filling, I read that many people said that the cake altogether too sweet.  So I added my powdered sugar 1/3 cup at a time.  This also depends on personal preference, I think.  I got to 3 2/3 cups and thought it was ok.  I think I could have put the full 4 cups in and had been fine.  Again, if you like sweet, go for it, if you don't, add a little at a time and taste it.  The recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of Pumpkin Pie spice, reviews said they were ok with 2 teaspoons.  I ended up putting in 3 teaspoons because I was afraid of ruining it, but next time I might put in the whole tablespoon.

I did strain the mascarpone but didn't get much moisture out of it.  The pumpkin is what really needs to be strained.  I didn't let it sit for a few hours because I was waiting on the cheese.  Next time I will leave the cheese alone and strain the pumpkin for a few hours.  Instead I just squeezed some liquid out with a coffee filter, but I know I could have gotten much more liquid out.  For anyone who doesn't know how to strain the liquid...all I did was take a strainer and set it over a bowl.  I put a coffee filter in the strainer and put the pumpkin in the coffee filter.  If you let it sit for a few hours, the liquid will be removed.  I think you can also put it in a kitchen towel and wring it out, but I was afraid of staining my towels.

Instead of using dark chocolate for the ganache, I used semi sweet morsels.

I got rave reviews on the cake and will be keeping that recipe close at hand.


Day 18:  Redo the Apple Pie Cookies

After my first run in with these cookies (located at the bottom of this post), I made a couple mistakes, but nothing I couldn't fix the next time I made them.  So with that in mind, I made them for Thanksgiving.  I made sure to cut 36 crusts (instead of the 26 from the first batch).  And I tried to not put too much filling on the top.  I still had filling left over tho, so I'm not sure what's going on there.  These cookies are amazingly yummy and I urge anyone to try them.  You don't have to make the filling and crust if you are looking for a less time consuming recipe.  I'm sure you can use the pre-made crust from the dairy section and the apple pie filling in a can.  I'm kind of curious of how they would be if I added some pumpkin to the apple pie filling mixture...might have to try those soon, since I still have apple pie filling leftover.


Day 17:  Make coffee station

I used to have my coffee makers on my kitchen counter.  But since I don't drink coffee every day anymore, I rarely used them.  However, they do get used too often to put them away in the china cabinet or something like that.  So, since we don't use our dining room table (and it seems to always become a clutter hot spot), I moved them to the table.  What good are they here if I don't have the supplies at arms' reach?

I would keep the coffee grounds here too, but since I don't make it that often, I keep the bags in the fridge so they stay fresher longer.


Day 16:  Organize kitchen cupboard

Most of my cupboards are in an okay organizational state, but my main cupboard (plates, bowls, cups, etc) and my main silverware drawers (cooking utensils, and everyday silverware) are in need of an overhaul.  When I try to put stuff away or get them out, it seem like I have to move something else or something falls.  I CANNOT STAND THIS!!!  So, a change we will make.

I removed the bottles (Ayden is one now so he doesn't need them anymore).  I took the Keurig K-cup holder and put it with the coffee station.  After rearranging and removing some things (another box for Community Services), it is much better now. 

The drawer on the left has never had any organization.
Improvise!  I cut the big box our trash bags came in and used that to keep some items separate.  On the right, I used a ziplock box to house the measuring spoons.


Day 15: (man...I was really behind) Redo the Memo Board

We have on of those boards that's half cork board, and half dry erase marker board.  It seems to not be big enough (like many things in my house) and gets cluttered quickly ( many things in my house).  I keep meaning to clean it up, but never get around to it.  So, since that is the point for my little list I've got going on became one of the items.

I have tried to have this be a picture board...or a board to hold Christmas cards...or important papers we can't lose.  But all that happens is they go up...and don't come down, ending up in a mess.

I left pictures of the nieces and nephew, the dogs and the baby.  I have a picture of our old neighbor's dogs (we miss them, and the neighbors too).  I left another binder clip on the bottom left corner for any important papers so they are easy to put up and easy to take down.


Day 14:  Clean up the scrap cabinet (the outside)

I tried to keep the items on my list to something that I could do in a day.  Which for most things, "a day" means a couple of hours (while Ayden naps).  Since my scrapbook room needs SO much time and attention, I had to break it up into smaller sections.  As I have mentioned before, I tend to fill up storage space which doesn't make it very easy to use.  I am desperately trying to change that.

So here's what it looked like before...
Rookie mistake, I forgot to take a picture of just the cabinet before I messed with it.  Oops...but it's better than nothing.

And here's the finished product...


Day 13:  Make a healthier version of Pumpkin Bars

I don't normally do that whole swap this for a healthy that when it comes to baking.  If that's the way I get the recipe, then that's the way I make it.  Otherwise, I use oil, eggs, and sugar.  I was going to my Grandma's for a lunch and was in charge of dessert.  I didn't realize these were slightly "healthier" than a normal recipe until after I picked it out.  They were actually really yummy.  I found the recipe here.  I used natural no sugar added applesauce instead of banana (same amount) and Publix non fat vanilla yogurt.  For the icing, I used 1/3 less fat cream cheese and margarine (which I don't normally work with...I'm butter girl).  With these changes I calculated them to be 370 calories per bar (if you divide this 9x13 pan into 18 bars).

I am so bad about stopping to take a picture for use later.  I took a picture of them in the carrier to go to my Grandma's house.  Learning...


 Day 12:  Apple Pie Cookies

Like I said, I was going to my Grandma's house for lunch, and I use these times to try some new recipes.  I can't bake just for us because then that yummy stuff is just laying around asking me to eat it.  And since I haven't figured out how to remove the calories (yet), I don't need to be eating them.

The problem with this post is I didn't make them correctly and they didn't turn out as pretty as the original picture.  But again...I forgot to take a picture of them.  I did the recipe right, but when cutting the crust circles I only cut out 26, only to find out later that the recipe makes 36 cookies.  So I had enough filling for 36 cookies to go on 26 crusts.  OVERFLOW!!!  Needless to say, the apple pie filling overtook the crust.  I had NO complaints about them tho.  Only mine that they didn't look perfect.