Saturday, June 25, 2011

margarita cupcakes

For Cinco de Mayo this year, Jil and I whipped up some Margarita cupcakes {okay, really I was just the lime cutter}.

I was not a big fan of the idea of Margarita cupcakes at first. Probably because I don't like drinking Margaritas. AND I do not like limes... or any citrus fruit.

I should have gone with my instinct that I would not like these cupcakes and never tried one. It would have saved me many, many calories. Apparently when there is butter and sugar mixed with the tequila and lime, I have no problem with either one.

Well, I got a call from Julia, who needed a few dozen mini cupcakes for her sister's "Stock the Bar" wedding shower/party tonight. I gladly agreed to bake for her and we both decided that Margarita cupcakes would be perfect for the theme of the evening.

Julia, I hope the cupcakes are as delicious as they smelled baking and that you guys have SO much fun at the party tonight.

Next thing I'm going to try are Lemon Drop Martini cupcakes... anybody want to volunteer to do some taste-testing in a couple of weeks?? :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

double giveaway winners

I am so excited to announce the winners of the keychain & magnet giveaway!



Congratulations to you both. Be sure and check your email today so I can find out how to get your keychains and magnets to you :)

To everyone who entered, thank you for your support of the items I create! You know another giveaway of some sort will happen before the end of summer {because I love giving things away} but for now, if you'd like to purchase a keychain {I'm in the process of working on cross keychains as well and they are looking SO cute... I'll post a picture soon} or magnets, be sure and send me an email!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

double giveaway

I'm not one to post twice in a day, but in all fairness I went to sleep after posting the last entry early this morning... so technically it's a new day to me even if the date on here does not reflect that.

I wanted to go ahead and get this giveaway up because it's going to have a quick turnaround. Like, one day only. In other words, go ahead and comment and then come back and read about what you could win.

Last week, Award Inspirations held a keychain giveaway. Ashley sews, so she was giving away an adorable monogrammed ribbon keychain. I don't sew (yet, anyway) but I do paint.

Despite being able to make awesome keychains herself, Ashley had been talking about buying a new ball keychain because hers was all scratched up and she said it was so helpful in finding her keys in her big "Mary Poppins" purse. Well, I knew I could make them I just needed to find all the right materials. Seeing as how we always "trade" our crafts, I knew she'd make me a ribbon keychain if I could figure out how on earth to make this ball keychain.

Luckily, after trips to Home Depot and Michaels, I had found everything needed to make them. I had all of the supplies, so there was no way I was only making one. That's where you, my fabulous friends and followers, come in.

I have two keychains to give away this time. Yes, two of you will be getting a personalized, hand painted keychain in the mail next week. 

And, I'm not stopping there. Nope. 

A keychain? Sure, it's a great prize. 

But a keychain with a side of personalized magnets? Yes, please. Both winners of the keychains will each be getting a set of six monogrammed magnets {or you can opt for something other than your monogram- like a last name or first name}.

Here's how to win {you can enter twice}:

1. Become a follower {upper left hand corner; if you don't have a google email address, you can create a google ID and it's useful for more than just blog reading} and leave me a comment letting me know. If you are already a follower, leave me a comment and let me know that too :)

2. Post this giveaway to your Facebook, Twitter or blog and post a separate comment letting me know that you did so. 

Make SURE you put your email address in your comment.

I will be choosing the two lucky winners tomorrow {Friday} at 12pm EST.

wednesday night bible study

Ford and I had the most fabulous marriage counseling experience ever. We love our pastor and the advice he had for us. We loved the "homework" he would assign because it really got us talking and understanding one another on a deeper level.

Recently we've started a little accountability group with John and Ashley {of Award Inspirations}. We are meeting once a week and doing a short couples' study together about communication within marriage. We are switching off meeting at one another's homes and eating dessert together while we study the Word.

We started last week at the Wards' house, were Ashley served warm, homemade chocolate chip cookies and cookie dough ice cream {our favorite dessert from Fox & Hound}... it was so delicious. AND, just as a little plug for my sweet friend, Ashley sells her treats, so if you are interested in decorated cookies or cakes, make sure you check out her blog!

This week, since we were meeting at our place, Ashley requested to try the cake mix cookies. I mixed it up a bit and tried making the cookies with a chocolate cake mix and they were SO good. I personally think they were better than the yellow cake mix ones, but Ford says it's a tie. If you haven't made these cookies yet, I posted the recipe a few weeks ago and you should definitely try them out. You hardly even dirty any dishes in the process, which is shamelessly my favorite part... :)

As we've been discussing the importance of having genuine, honest, respectful communication, we have talked about how to do so in a constructive manner. One of the ways our pastor advised communicating effectively when both people have strong {probably opposing} opinions is to "Pass the Pen."

When you have the pen, you may speak. When you are finished, you pass the pen to your spouse. Your spouse must then repeat what you said, and then state their side. You have to continue doing this until the situation is resolved {pass, repeat what the other said, state your side}. It is so helpful because it causes you to really, truly listen to what the other person is saying and not just scheme what you are going to say next.

We told John and Ashley about this method, and we, as a group, decided that J & A would make me & Ford an object to pass and we would make them an object to pass. Well, Ford and I were being silly and came up with the "Argument Loofah." I don't even want to get into my history with loofahs {but if you knew me freshman year of college, you would understand that statement} but it just seems like something that screams conflict to me {again, you'd have to know me}.

I hope that you will be encouraged this week to work on your communication with those that you are closest with. It is amazing how much less arguing you do when you are being open and honest but also listening with respect for the other's feelings.

COMING UP THIS WEEK: Another GIVEAWAY! Get excited :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

give me s'more

With tomorrow being the first official day of summer, I thought I'd dedicate today to my favorite summertime treat: the s'more. I love everything about it... the simplicity, the deliciousness. Plus, the fact that it can be made in less than 30 seconds in the microwave makes it an instant favorite for anyone with a sweet tooth and not a lot of time to spend in the kitchen.

I had my first s'more of the season this past weekend while I was staying with my girls. We found great new s'more-making products at Target and were excited to try them out.

We had a long day at the pool...

But there was a storm coming so the girls all took quick showers while at the pool and as soon as we got home we all put on our pajamas and were ready for a slumber party complete with s'mores to eat and nail polish for manicures.

I think it's safe to say that the s'mores were enjoyed by everyone but Mally especially loved them.

I also took graham crackers, chocolate bars and marshmallows to my sister (who is studying for the Bar this summer) so that she could make s'mores in her microwave when she needs a little sweet treat. I got a text from her this morning that said she wasn't sure how long the ingredients were going to last... :)

Here's all you need to celebrate the first day of summer with a s'more:

Honey Maid Fresh Stacks Honey Grahams- these are the best because they are just the graham cracker squares and are in packs of 8 squares so that you don't risk having a whole stack of full-sized graham crackers go stale before you eat them all. Also, you don't have to worry about breaking the graham cracker in half (which is always challenging to get perfect).

Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar- If you go for the full size bar, make sure you only use 3 squares. I made the mistake of using half of the bar on some of the s'mores this weekend and chocolate was oozing out everywhere (if you don't believe me, just go back and look at Mally's hands). I got my sister the miniature hershey bars which have four squares and so she was able to break them in half and place the squares side by side and said they were perfect.

Jet-Puffed StackerMallows- They are FLAT, SQUARE marshmallows; perfect for s'mores! So far, I've found them at Target and Lowe's Foods. They are fabulous but just a warning- they look small, but they puff up so you really only need one (even though before you microwave it, it looks like you need two... again, learn from my mistakes).

I hope that you bring in the summer season with a s'mores treat. I'm planning on making s'more brownies at some point this week... I just need to find someone who wants to help me eat them!

Monday, June 6, 2011

chocolate chip cake mix cookies

oh. my. goodness.

First of all, I'm sorry for my lack of posts. You see, two weeks ago my entire family decided to share the stomach bug. How thoughtful! Also, it is the end of the school year... this Friday is the last day! So, I've been busy preparing report cards, cleaning my room, organizing worksheets, picking out movies to watch, etc. It seemed as if I'd never do another post again... until tonight.

Was I planning on blogging about these cookies? No. In fact, I figured they would be something quick and easy to try but nothing to write home about. But, after the reaction of my husband, I figured I needed to share this recipe with you all. He is obsessed... and has already eaten 3.

You will not even believe how quick, easy and delicious these are. I found a recipe online and changed just a few things (I left out brown sugar, used a moist cake mix and went for mini chips instead of regular). I cannot find the recipe I used because I clicked on it from Pintrest on my phone... so I apologize for that! But, here is my adaptation:

Chocolate Chip Cake Mix Cookies

1 box yellow cake mix {I used Betty Crocker's super moist}
1 stick (1/2 cup) softened salted butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 package (~2 cups) mini chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350. Mix the cake mix, butter, eggs, and vanilla all together using an electric mixer. {I used a hand mixer and it got kind of difficult because the batter is very sticky, but it's not impossible. Next time I'll use the countertop mixer.} Then, fold in your chocolate chips using a spoon or spatula. Spoon your dough onto a cookie sheet {I use stoneware, but if you use metal, you may want to consider greasing it or putting down parchment paper.} Bake for 8-12 minutes {I waited until mine had a little golden color at the top to take them out.}

These cookies took less than an hour from start to finish to make 30+ cookies. I started off making larger cookies and then switched to smaller, more bite size.

The reason Ford kept going back for more? It was definitely the inside...

The cookies are very soft and chewy and by putting mini chips in them, they have more chocolate in them than if you used the regular size chip.

Just a final note, these cookies do NOT look like they are baking when they are first in the oven. After the first batch baked for close to 8 minutes, I checked on them and was so confused as to why they were still in balls. Finally, around the 8 minute mark, they started to take on a cookie shape, but they are still very fluffy, even when they are finished {I took them out around 12 minutes, but it will vary by oven.}

I am off to go put these in a container for Ford to take to work. I do not need these sitting around! In fact, just thinking about them now makes me want to go work out.

Let me know if you try making these and how much you love them... :)