Monday, January 30, 2012

Poor Max

Our sweet, adorable furball Max went to get groomed today at Petsmart.
It was his third trip there.
Last time, he came back looking like this;
Which was perfect and adorable.
This time, he came back looking like this:
His hair is like 1/4" long...he looks like a poodle, not a ShiChon. Our little teddy bear furball is... NOT at all a furball now. They even shaved his legs. He's supposed to look like a woolly mammoth.
Not happy. I called to complain and did get a full refund. I will go back to them again I'm sure...but I'm taking these two pictures to show what he SHOULD and SHOULD NOT look like.
Seriously. Poor baby.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Find Sydney Austin

This post originally had on it the flyer for missing girl Sydney Austin.... But today (January 28th) I can change it to post that


Talk about answered prayer. SO MANY were praying for her and her family. Don't know any details, but really all that matters is that GOD IS GOOD, and SYDNEY is HOME after being missing for 5 days!

And that, my friends, is why we call our God an AWESOME GOD.

I'm posting this here and pinning it to Pinterest...since I don't have a workplace to hang it up. PLEASE Pin this...Pass this... etc. A family here in town are in a world of anguish and distress searching for their daughter. Take a look, keep your eyes peeled, and pray your hearts out for her quick and safe return. I know this family personally, not well, but I know them. Thanks

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Raspberry Cheesecake Wontons

I made the taco cupcakes that I posted about earlier tonight. They were yummy. (Greasy, but yummy).
I had a bunch of wonton wrappers left so I thought "what could I make with these?"...not that I couldn't just wrap them and put them in the fridge/freezer, but I was just really in the mood to create something.
And so....Raspberry Cheesecake Wontons were born. I suppose you could call them Raspberry Rangoons?!
Here's what you need. This made one dozen: 4 ounces cream cheese, lemon juice, sugar, frozen raspberries, and wonton wrappers.
Soften the cream cheese, stir in 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon lemon juice.
Here is the beauty of frozen raspberries. You give them a little squeeze, and they pulverize into little balls. Perfect for this so you're not getting a giant bite of raspberry at once. So, pulverize some raspberries with your beastly strong fingers.
Put 1 tablespoon(ish) of the cream cheese mixture in the center of a wonton. Sprinkle on some raspberries. Wet your index finger in water and run it around the outer edge of the wonton wrapper. This will help it stick/seal.
Fold opposing corners to a point in the center and pinch together.
Then bring up the other corners and pinch around the first two.
Here they are on the sprayed cookie sheet ready to bake. I did a very light egg-white wash over mine but that is totally optional.
Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes or until they are starting to turn golden brown.
Remove from oven and cool on cookie sheet about 10 minutes.
Serve warm, sprinkled with powdered sugar. DELISH.

Oh How Pinteresting Wednesday

I'd say it's been a quiet week but that's never the case around here. It has just been an "I don't know what to blog about today" kind of week.
It has been a little quieter than usual which is nice. My brain as always is on overdrive though. Always so many things I need/want/would love to do.
I dreamt in list-form the other night. Isn't that crazy?
Threat of the week for the soon-to-be-four year old "If you don't stop ____________, then you are NOT going to get a booster seat when your birthday comes!!!" She is so ready for a big girl booster seat in the car instead of her carseat. It's the biggest threat I can make right now.
Speaking of little girls, pray for Sydney Austin to come home. This family goes to our old church, and no one has heard from their 16 year old since Monday at 3p when she was seen getting into a green van by the high school in Haysville. Assumed she is a runaway. Like the FB page, spread the word, and PRAY for her to come home. I can't imagine what they are going through.
SO....It's Wednesday and time for Oh So Pinteresting link-up at the Vintage Apple. I don't have a lot to share this week because my laptop died on me and that was where I did my pinterest time. On the couch, after the kids went to bed, watching stuff on the DVR with the hubster. Oh well. Here's what I've got:
Love this take on famous lines from Disney:
Making these Taco Cupcakes tonight, will let you know how they turn out!
These are gorgeous and I'm sure they will be great this summer! Can't find the original link but the note on pinterest said to pour capri suns into popsicle molds then add in fresh fruits.
And I pinned this picture onto my board called "that which has no category" just because I thought it was darn cute!!

Sunday, January 22, 2012


I've been hearing from some friends on facebook how fabulous the movie "Courageous" is.

It's from the creators of the movie "Fireproof."

"Fireproof" was a powerful Christian movie about firemen, marriage, commitment, etc. It was really a great movie.

But 'Courageous.'

This movie was about fatherhood. Though, really, you could broaden a lot of the spectrum to parenthood in general. It was about four cops and another friend...and their struggles as fathers, their desire to be the dad that God intended them to be. It was about turning regret into something bigger, better....about learning from it and growing from it.

I gotta tell ya....this movie wrenched your heart out one minute, and had you laughing the next. I had a headache from trying so hard not to bawl my head off, and yet felt my heart swell at the poignant sweetness of other moments. There are a few movies out there that touch you deep within your heart.... this is one of them.

Check out the trailer here. Seriously, check it out.

Go get it from a redbox or buy it at Walmart. Get some popcorn, mm's, and kleenexes.

It'll make you look at parenthood in a whole greater light. You'll be sitting closer to your spouse on the couch by the end of it, and checking in to give the kids one more kiss on your way to bed.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday musings...and a blonde recipe

My brain is all over the place today. Do you have days like that? I think it is more the norm for me than not. Here are some random ramblings from my brain to you....
I wrote up my 'bio' today for the website of the travel agency I work under. Part of it said "I got to service millionaires while their planes were being fixed." The guy doing the website seemed to think it was 'servicing' millionaires. Naughty, naughty boy. Funny, and mildly embarassing.
I spent 10 minutes yesterday looking for the yeast for the cinnamon rolls that I was making. I knew I had bought some.... and found it laying right in the middle of the island in the kitchen. 10 minutes gone...can you say 'burning candle at both ends?'
I had Chipotle for dinner, and my tummy is not thrilled about that. Bummer dude.
I'm trying to figure out what to do for the girls for their little Valentine gifts. I don't want to go overboard, with Christmas just past, and birthdays right around the corner. I also hate most of those gifts you find in the Valentine aisle...Lord knows we do not need any valentine stuffed animals, or pillows, or toys, or trinkets. I like useful, not cluttering little gifts. Any ideas?
I'm itching to go to the new casino. I know it's nothing fabulous, but hey, I can get there a lot cheaper than I can get to Vegas!
My laptop seems to have died and I don't know if I can resurrect it. It's several years old, and usually getting it even looked at runs about $100. I'd almost rather just put that money towards a new laptop. I gotta tell ya, the death of the laptop is cramping my Pinterest style in a major way.
Do blondes have more fun? I'm not so sure about that...but I can tell you, these Blonde Brownies were fun to make with Hannah and funner to eat. This recipe is a good base recipe for Blonde bars of any sort. We put chocolate chips in ours, but I think they'd be divine with some Heath bits in them too. In the past 36 hours I've made a 1/2 batch of cinnamon rolls (for a customer), homemade noodles for chicken/noodles, biscuits, cookies to take to Brooke's class, and these here Blondies. Good thing I hit the treadmill this week (and did my first 5K ever--well, my first treadmill 5K!).
Have a great weekend! Make some Blondies!
In large bowl, beat together 1/2 cup margarine (softened), 1 cup brown sugar, 1 egg, 1 tsp vanilla.
Stir in 1+1/3 cup flour, 1 tsp baking powder, and 1/2 tsp salt. Add in 1 cup of goodie of your choice...nuts, chocolate chips, heath bits, etc.
Bake in greased 9" square pan at 350 for about 25 minutes.
Eat one. Just one today. It's all about control, people!
Or eat two, and then go work out!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Another great author

I'm on a bigtime book kick lately. Thought I'd share another author with you that I really like, Lisa Kleypas. She has both historical and contemporary romances. You can read an excerpt of her new book by clicking here:
I am one of "Lisa's Divas" - a group of select fans who share info & content related to Lisa's novels and get sneak peeks & swag in return.

Another quick book plug would be this; The New Phenomenon by Chris Raabe. I graduated with Chris' sister, and he was two years older than us. He wrote a great teen fiction novel and it is set in my hometown. Another great read you should check out!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

That's So Pinteresting Wednesday

Another week gone by, another several hours lost to pinterest. Here are some things I found this week that I've pinned and hope to do!
A great back to school gift for your teacher, the school supplies cake. Find it over here.
Have been checking out Valentine ideas, and thought this Rolo Valentine was cute.
How easy are these ornaments? This blogger has some cute ideas, and I love these!
Finally, I gotta say... I loved my own post about the sensory table, and how to make colored rice, so I pinned it! :)
What have you found pinteresting this week? Link up at Vintage Apple, or leave a comment here and tell me!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

New Recipe/New Product review

Went grocery shopping today. As I pondered this week's cheese purchase, I saw a new product. Kraft Fresh Take.

It's kind of like a shake-n-bake with kraft cheese in it. The price was not too bad, and they had a variety of flavors. I decided to give one a try. I chose this one:

When I went to prepare dinner this evening, I was pleasantly surprised to see how ridiculously easy this made meal time. I had some chicken breasts thawed out, so I pounded them out so they were thinner and a more even thickness. (I hate waiting for big fat chicken breasts to cook in the oven). This Kraft Fresh Take packet is actually a big bag that is sealed, and inside are the pockets of cheese and seasoned bread crumbs. You open the big bag, and unseal the little packets inside so the cheese and crumbs can blend together in the big bag. Then you add your chicken one at a time and shake it up. Spread it on a sprayed cookie sheet, and sprinkle some of the extra on top as well.



While it appears we had a very monochromatic meal, I am pleased to announce that it was delish! We gobbled it up. Well, we being everyone but Hannah who just likes ABC's with meatballs. Brooke loved it. Matt thought it was yummier than our visit to try out Buffalo Wild Wings last night. I was pleased not only with the flavor, but with how easy it was. I'm anxious to try some of the other flavors.

Note: Kraft didn't ask me to review this product. I just bought it and thought I'd share my opinion with you. I wish Kraft knew me and supplied me with freebies, because I spend a lot of money on cheese in this household. That being said, they do not, and yet, I still liked this product. Have a great day!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Weekend nutshell

Well the weekend is over. I'm too tired to mess with pictures, so thought I'd just do a quick recap of life in my world.

We had my brother's family here over the weekend, it was great to have them. The girls loved having their 2 year old cousin Brayton and 1 year old cousin Kenna here to play with. We did a little cake for Kenna's first birthday, had our Christmas together, and just hung out.

They left today, and the girls and I are sad. Matt had to go back to work today, and I think that made him sad too--lol. I think everyone was worn out from the fun weekend though. Hannah had a little meltdown about an hour before they began their five hour drive back home.

I'm trying to figure out why my blog is acting wonky. All the stuff that is usually on the right hand sidebar has fallen down below the posts and I have no idea how to fix it. Thoughts?

I also don't know why, while I'm writing this, I have about 3 line-spaces between paragraphs. But when I hit post, it will probably end up all smooshed together. Why is that? Thoughts?

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Friday, January 13, 2012

DIY Sensory Table in a Tote with Colored Rice

I'm so excited about this post!

My niece and nephew are coming this weekend. That's had me thinking a lot about toddlers. I started thinking about one of the things that kids loved the most when I worked in daycares and preschools through college.

The Sensory Table.

As an adult, it was always my favorite thing to do with the kids in my care. The options for a sensory table are endless.

Most of us, however, do not have room for a sensory table, and they aren't a cheap purchase. With winter upon us, there's always those days where we get desperate for something different to do with the kids. My brother is a fireman and his wife a nurse, so they have weird schedules, which include one or the other of them being on kid duty for long periods on their own. I thought it'd be fun to make them a Sensory Table In A Tote

Also known as "Mom's (or Dad's) Rainy/Cold Day Sanity Saver". Here's how I did it.

My favorite thing for a sensory table is colored rice. It's so fun. Super easy, here's what you need

Rubbing alcohol, a gallon sized ziploc bag, white rice, and food coloring

Put desired amount of rice in your baggie. I did 2 cups at a time. For each cup of rice, add a capful of the rubbing alcohol. Seal bag and mix well so the alcohol coats the rice.

Then add in 2 to 3 drops of the food coloring.

Seal bag again and mix mix mix until color is evenly distributed. Spread out on waxed paper so it can dry. I love these colors

While the rice is drying, take three pounds of dried beans (of assorted types) and mix into a gallon sized ziploc bag and seal shut (removing all the air).

You will also need some measuring cups or any kind of small cups.

And I think it's fun to include some little plastic animals or other treasures for the kids to dig around in the tote and find.

This next item is a must if you want to a) minimize cleanup for your own sensory tote and b) stay friends with any parents to whom you might give this tote as a gift for their child. A shower curtain. Spread it out on the floor before proceeding with Sensory Tote play will allow for a much easier clean up!

Now it's time to check on the rice. Mix it all up. Look how beautiful it turned out!!!

Put the rice in a clean gallon sized ziploc, remove air and seal.

I printed these instructions, glued them on cardstock, stuck it in a plastic sleeve to 'laminate' it, and used packing tape to tape it on the inside of the box lid. My favorite instruction is the idea of filling the tote with snow on a day where it's too cold to go OUT to play in the snow. I brought in a big tote of snow last year for my girls and spread out towels on the kitchen floor...and they had a blast! Mittens and snow in the middle of the kitchen!

Put the lid on, decorate the top as you choose (I was busy working on 2 cakes today so this is as fancy as I got). Store away for a long, house-bound sort of day. I really think this would make a really fun gift for an 18 month to 3 year old, maybe even older. I know my two girls (almost 4 and 8) love when I get stuff like this out! Make one, put a bow on it, and give it to someone!

Total cost: $4 for the tote at walmart. You want one BIGGER than the plastic-shoebox size. $2 on rice, $2 on beans, shower curtain, frogs, and measuring cups $1/each at Dollar Tree. Total project price $11. If you already have totes like this sitting at home, it'll be an even cheaper project!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

That's So Pinteresting-Wednesday

Alright, alright, I give. I've been totally sucked into Pinterest. AND I've actually done some of the things I've found on there (teacher Christmas gifts, recipes, etc). Here's some stuff I've pinned this week that just love....
For those of you who don't know what Pinterest is, here is my best attempt at a description. It's like an online bulletin board. You know when you're surfing the web, you can bookmark things? Well this allows you to 'pin' things to virtual bulletin boards that you have created and keep it all in one place. You can see what your friends are finding nifty by checking out their boards, and they can see yours. You name your boards what you want, and off you go. You can 'repin' other people's findings from their pinterest pages, or you can even pin stuff you just find while you're toodling down the internet highway.
Check it out.
It's all so Pinteresting....
Found a pin for homemade Olive Garden Dressing.
A Cute way to hang streamers for a party, loop them all around a hula hoop in the center of the room. You can find this here
I have a variety of bulletin boards. Some of them are titled "recipes" "things I'll never get around to making" "Party On" "Christmas"
And.... "Easy on the eyes" This guy is in that folder (along with Ryan Reynolds, Joey McIntyre, and a few others!) Really, this is pretty innocent...considering I saw someone who had board called "things that are yummy that are not food". Hahaha.
I've been hunting for Valentine ideas and birthday party ideas lately as well. I thought this was so cute:
This and other cute Valentine stuff is found on this blog.
So many ideas to be tapped into, or to look at and think "yeah, I'll never get a chance to do that. But what a cute idea"
I'm linking up at the Vintage apple for It's So Pinteresting... If I figure out how. :)

Monday, January 9, 2012

BBQ Chicken Tacos - Yum!

There are these brisket tacos at On The Border that I just love. They have crispy onion straws on them, a smoky bbq sauce, and I don't know what else. I decided to create a chicken version here at home for dinner tonight.

BBQ Chicken Tacos is really not an adequate name to describe these bundles of yummy. Read and learn.

First, you will need some cooked shredded chicken. This my friend is why God gave us the grocery-store-rotisserie chicken. Busy mommy's best friend in the kitchen at dinner time. I only recently started throwing these in the cart on occassion. One of the few perks of being the person stuck getting groceries each week and preparing the meal is getting to sneak some of this chicken while pulling it off the bone. As a matter of fact, I shredded it and put most of it away to use tonight, but not before throwing some on a plate for my lunch! Yum.

Off subject already. So, get some chicken. I suggest using one of these:
And let me tell you, little fuzzball was going nuts when I was shredding this chicken. Apparently the smell makes puppies hungry too!
One of the key components of these tacos is the crunchy onion straws that are on them. I use Pioneer Woman's Recipe, it's quick, easy, and delish.
One of the few perks to being the one making dinner every night is getting to sneak onion strings off the plate as you are cooking. I only did that a few times. Really!
I randomly picked up this block of chipotle cheddar at Target today. (see the gorgeous onion strings in the back!?). I hadn't intended to use it on these, but baby did it make them yummy. For the girls' I used regular colby-jack shredded cheese, but for us grown ups who can handle a little bit of kick, I shredded up some of this stuff!
Okay so how do you make these? Easy peesy.
Put about 1/2 cup bbq sauce into 3 cups of shredded chicken.
In the middle of a warmed taco-sized tortilla, put about a 1/2 cup of the chicken, a generous sprinkling of cheese, some onion straws, and another drizzle of bbq sauce.
Roll it up tightly (leaving the ends open), and spray both sides with Pam. Place seam side down in a hot skillet (I used the griddle actually), and cook on each side until lightly toasted, about 2-3 minutes.
While they're cooking, mix some sour cream and bbq sauce together...I did equal proportions. Drizzle finished tacos with the bbq-cream and sprinkle with more cheese.
As a side note- the drizzle was meant originally to be a garnish but it actually added a lot to the final dish, so I would suggest doing this or putting it inside the tacos or having a dish of it to dip the taco in!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

And the weiner is.....

Great job on the entries my peeps! Thanks for sharing the love, the link, all that fun stuff.

So... using after listing all the entries on a numbered spreadsheet.... the computer picked

Aunt Debbie V!!!!!!

YOU, oh aunt of mine...YOU are the weiner of the cookbooks and cookies!

Let me know if you want the cookies just anytime (ie with the cookbooks) or if you want to save your dozen for a special occassion (calendar permitting!).


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Oatmeal Choc Chip cookies-and a Giveaway!

It's time for the first give-away of the new year! First though, I wanted to share a good recipe that I just tried out. Literally these things are still on the cooling rack!

I love Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies of any kind. I've found that the recipes where there are more brown sugar than white sugar are the best ones. My one complaint about Oatmeal cookies is that they seem to dry out quickly. Good thing we are cookie gobblers around here. I also tend to always make the smallest batch I can (I reduce most cookie recipes down to one-egg ratios!), so I usually only bake about 16-24 cookies at a time when baking for our family.

Anyways, these are yummy and simple.

Cream 1 cup margarine, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1 cup brown sugar. Blend in 2 eggs. Then add 2 cups of flour and 1 tsp. baking soda. Stir in 2 cups oatmeal, 3/4 cup chocolate chips and 1/2 cup peanut butter chips. Drop by large teaspoons (or, use the Pampered Chef medium scoop for nice even cookies) onto baking sheet and bake at 350 for approx 10 minutes, till just starting to brown. Cool on cookie sheet for one to two minutes then remove to cooling rack.

And now onto the giveaway....! Even though Christmas is over, I love to see the spirit of giving all year through. I didn't get a chance to give all the 'little things' type gifts to friends and neighbors that I usually do. I decided that doing little things can just happen all year long.

Today I'm giving away two cute paperback cookbooks from Gooseberry Patch. I found a good deal on them and ordered a few extras just for you! :) The first one I thought would be great to have on hand to inspire you when you are wanting to do something nice for someone. It's called "Recipes for Warming Hearts". Looking through it, I can't wait to try the apple scones and a few others! Since we are all busy, I thought the "Quick and Easy Family Dinners" might be handy to have around too. It's got a variety of good old-school type recipes in it, including a new meatloaf recipe I'm anxious to try!

SO, the winner of this giveaway will get these two sweet cookbooks AND a gift certificate for a free dozen sugar cookies made by me! (See my facebook page here). This gift is even open to out of towners, I will SHIP you a dozen cookies!

There are a few ways to enter.

1) Be a follower of my blog. Leave a comment saying you are. One entry.

2) Leave a separate comment telling me what your fave Christmas gift was this year. One entry.

3) Leave a link to this giveaway on your facebook page or your own blog, and leave a comment telling me you did. Two entries

Three ways to enter! You will enjoy these cookbooks, and I promise you'll enjoy the cookies too! Winner will be selected at random on Sunday!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Cake highlights in 2011

I was so blessed to have a great year in my baking business! It kept me super busy, and was a good thing to balance with my travel business, since that is so up-and-down on 'busy times.' That being said, I also so enjoyed helping many more friends and clients plan magical vacations, particularly the Disney ones!

I thought I'd share some of my favorite cakes that I did in 2011. In no particular order:

Tangled cake with fondant crown:

I did my first wedding and groom cake this year. The cake was just white with red ribbon around it, then the florist topped it off.

A superhero cake

A very big snake:

One of my favorites, and one of the rare times I got to actually eat a cake that I did! This was for my Zumba instructors birthday, and I was so proud of how it looked on the table!

My first cake of 2011 and one of the cutest, a cake for a first birthday! LOVED it.

This one was just fun and girly:

The OSU groom cake that went with the wedding cake above.

One of my favorite cakes of the year, the entire thing is edible. Loved it. Of course it being Disney helped. :0)
A friend of mine always gives me pretty much free reign on what I want to do for her cakes. She asked for a bridal shower cake, a couples shower, and this is what she got. And I adored it. This cake was actually for the sister of the bride who's wedding cake appears above. Mother of the bride had this shower cake and then called me to do the other daughter's wedding cake. Fun!
Hannah is still talking about this cake and apparently I'm doing one for her birthday:
Another baby shower cake. I love how the bow turned out looking like leather.
Sweet baby dedication cake
An ariel cake for the daughter of one of our local meteorologists. I bought the Ariel cake topper, and she is sitting on top of a huge cake-ball rock.
A sweet froggy cake for a sweet four year old girl.
So thankful for the love and support of friends and customers in both of my business endeavors throughout the year. Please continue sending your friends to me for their vacation and cake needs! And if you aren't a fan of my Sweet Shoppe on facebook yet, head on over HERE and like me! Wishing you many Worthwhile Moments in 2012!!!