Saturday, September 20, 2014

Rainbow Birthday Cake

I know it's been a while since my last least 6 months....but life sometimes gets in the way. I have been very busy chasing around 2 children under the age of 4, planting a huge garden (over 20 tomato plants!), moving wood chips to my flower beds (150 feet of flower beds!), numerous vacations, and so much more! 

I am hoping to post some of the projects I did this summer in the future. For now, I am celebrating this little girl's 2nd birthday! She is my smiley, crying, barefoot, dancing, giggling, yelling, tickling, chocolate eating, thumb sucking little girl Remy! I forget how little they are when they are born :)
 *Photo by Adara Photography 
 *Photo by Adara Photography 

For her 1st Birthday I went with a Pink & Green Princess theme. This year I wanted to do a rainbow theme, so here is her 2nd birthday cake! I threw in a My Little Pony, just because it seemed fitting. (Too bad I couldn't find a Rainbow Bright figure!)

 I used the Pillsbury Bold Funfetti Cake mixes to create the colors. I had to split the orange and blue to make the colors red and purple. I frosted each layer and really felt that if I did the outside it would be WAY too much frosting.  

I added a #2 to the top for her birthday!

The top is made with Nerds and Rainbow Twizzlers, carefully held in place by toothpicks
Here's the back of the cake:

Here is how the cake looked once we cut into it. (Sorry for the blur, I was a little in a hurry trying to serve cake before the ice cream melted.)

Overall, I think it might rank up there with some the best cakes I have made! Thanks for checking out our blog and look for more of my summer projects coming up!

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Low Carb Chocolate Pecan Mousse Cake

Yesterday was my birthday. I won't tell you how old I am, but all I will say is I am closer to 40 then I am to 20! With that being said, I feel like this year, so far, has been a bunch of non-stop trips away from home for our family. Now I am not complaining about this, but I have a big problem with controlling my food intake while not at home! Our next getaway is scheduled 3 weeks from now and I am determined to shed the baby weight before that trip, so I have resorted to something I have never done....follow a diet plan! Without going into too much detail (and maybe I will at a later date if I have success with this diet) I am trying one of those crazy 'low carb' diets. 

And now back to my birthday and the whole reason for this blog --every year for my birthday I have the same thing. A chocolate box cake with a chocolate can of icing. My husband tried for many years to go all out and make me some sort of fancy cake, but I kept telling him that all I wanted was "a box cake and can of frosting". 

Since I am trying to stay low carb'd (under 40 grams a day) I told him to go crazy with making me a "low carb" cake and this is what we came up with. He made the base and I made the topping (because I wanted more's my birthday after all!) This cake to some people would not be the lowest carb cake out there, but you know's good! 
The nutty pecans give a great flavor to the cake part and the semi-sweet dark chocolate mousse topping add extra decadence without going over on the sweetness. I find with many Splenda desserts I can only taste the Splenda and adding the mousse topping really balanced out the sweetness to feel like you are eating a full fattening cake! I hope you enjoy as much as we did!

For the cake base you will need: 
2 cups pecans 
1/3 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup splenda
4 eggs
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup water

For the mousse topping you will need:
3.5 oz 70% dark chocolate, broken into pieces
1.5 oz butter
1 teaspoon of salt
2 eggs

To Begin,
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a 8-inch spring form pan. 
2. Process pecans in food processor until they are a powdery consistency without turning into pecan butter. 
3. Add cocoa, baking powder, salt, and splenda to the processed pecans. Stir until well combined. 
4. Add the eggs, melted butter, vanilla, and water to the dry ingredients and stir well. 
5. Pour into buttered spring form pan and bake for 25 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
6. Let cake base cool. 

Once your cake has cooled, begin the process for the mousse.
1. In the microwave or double boiler, melt the chocolate with the butter.
2.  Separate the egg yolks from the whites.  Add the yolks to the chocolate mix and 
combine well. Put whites in a cool glass mixing bowl.
3. Add a pinch of salt to the whites and beat them with a mixer until the whites are form soft peaks. (They almost will look like whipping cream.)
4. Fold them in the chocolate mix and then pour mousse mixture over the top of the cake.
5. Store the cake in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours until the mousse is set. 
6. Slice and serve with a dollop of whipping cream or some sliced strawberries.

The Skinny: 16 pieces (you don't need huge ones for this cake) at 238 calories each

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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Healthy Super Bowl Menu

Well we made it, February 2nd and it's that Super Bowl kind of time right now. It's also about one month past everyone's New Year's resolutions and if you are still keeping up with yours give yourself a big pat on the back!

Did you know (according to that the #1 New Year's resolution is to lose weight? In the first week of January 25% of people quit their resolutions. And by a month later (now and Super Bowl) only 64% of people are still keeping their resolutions. 

Since losing the last 10 pounds of baby weight was #1 on my New Year's resolutions, I thought making some healthy Super Bowl recipes this year might be just the thing needed to keep me motivated! (By the way I have lost 3.5 pounds!) Who knows, maybe these low calorie recipes will be better then the full fat ones and I might never go back!

(1/4 cup is 75 calories)

I plan on eating this yummy dip on some pretzel crisps!

Greek Six Layer Dip
(1/4 cup is 50 calories)

Instead of plating this dip, I am going to place it on top of a homemade, low calorie, thin pizza crust I make. Then I will slice it into triangles for easy eating!

(1/4 cup is 68 calories)

This one just screams football to me. I really love buffalo dips with celery. I feel chips make it too salty most of the time. 

Cajun Burger Bites
(1 burger is 80 calories)

This is probably the main course of the evening. I personally LOVE dips so I have a hard time walking away from them, but variety is the spice of life! 

If anyone wants to join me in making these yummy recipes this evening, I have compiled the grocery shopping list (in order of department) in the link below.

I hope you all have a fun time watching the super bowl and GO FOOTBALL!!! (Notice I am not voicing who I am rooting for?? I think there is enough of that on facebook as it is! Speaking of facebook-- Please like our page at:

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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Organizing Jigsaw Puzzles

Part of my New Year's Resolutions was to organize my house better. As a parent to both a three and a one year old, the constant battle we are having are toys. However, the worst of all the "toys" are the millions of jigsaw puzzle pieces that we own.

This kid of mine LOVES puzzles:

With puzzles comes all of these annoying boxes that become very hard to store, lose shape which causes pieces to fall out of the side, and then we have lost pieces. 

One day as I was on facebook, I saw an ad on the side for a photo box organizer. (Like the one time I actually look at that sidebar!) It was something similar to this:

I had an idea that this might be just what I need to organize these puzzles. This box opens up and contains little boxes (originally designed to hold 4"x6" photos) but all I could think of is PUZZLE PIECES!

Let the puzzle organization begin! I first decided to make sure all of our puzzles had all their pieces. We put them together and I marked the back of each puzzle with a different symbol. If they ever get mixed up, it will make it easier to tell them apart. 

Next, I took all of the puzzle boxes and scanned the image. (You could just cut the box instead, but I wanted it to be more uniform.)

I printed the images out and trimmed them up.

Then I affixed them to the inside of each box and filled them with the jigsaw puzzle pieces.

The results are wonderful. All the puzzles fit great and it's a nicely organized way to keep the puzzles together.

Looks a bit more organized to me, how about you?

One problem area of my life solved! If you have a great toy organization tip for kids toys I would love to hear it, just comment below!

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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year's Resolutions

I hope everyone has started off 2014 with a Happy New Year! Every year (almost) I write a blog about my New Years resolutions and end up usually failing...but why break traditions this year right!?!

With that being said, here are my 2014 New Year's Resolutions:

1. Lose the last 10 pounds of baby weight.
I have to say I was a little apprehensive on whether or not to put this picture up of me. It's a little embarrassing, but then again-- this is what happens when you gain 60 pounds while pregnant.
This is what a year of mostly calorie counting and working out 5 times a week can do for you. The last 10 pounds always seems to be the hardest, so I will be finishing up this round of Total Insanity (I have 12 days left), then onto a hybrid workout of Total Insanity/P90x for 60 days, and then I plan on training for a half marathon to run in June.

2. Build this table.
This super cute table is from Shanty2Chic and I couldn't be more in love with it. We have 39 trees ready in our basement to make this table. Really, we had to remove 39 trees from our yard last summer and we had some of the trees milled into boards for us. We just need to get on making this table! I need the husband's help because each board is a full 2 inches thick and I can't lift them myself!

3. Get organized.
Like most Moms, I feel completely unorganized.
Between all the kid things, the dishes, the toys, the puzzle pieces, the dog, the laundry....did I mention the puzzle life is all sorts of unorganized. My goal is to try to organize one area of the house a day a few times a week. Take little steps to hopefully a more organized life.

4. Be More Present.
As my friend Greta over at Modern Garden wrote today, the goal of being more present is my daily life is really my top priority.
I need to learn to turn off the electronics, close the books, quit making lists in my head, and just be there more for my kids and my husband.

5. Climb the highest free-standing mountain in the world.
Yeah, I know crazy goal right.
Plans are in the works and as long as my husband's schedule works out and the kiddos do fine with the Grandparents this will hopefully be me in the fall of 2014.

Well that's it, only a few short 5 resolutions. Who knows if I will keep them, but I hoping some of them will come true! Happy New Year!

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Easy Chocolate French Silk Pie

If you like a good rich, silky Chocolate French Silk pie, this is the recipe for you! I made this recipe for Thanksgiving, it was our alternative to pumpkin pie, and it was a hit! The pie features a chocolate graham cracker crust and a very creamy, chocolatey center. The basis of this recipe came from this recipe, but I modified it using some techniques I learned at a French cooking class while in Seattle. A French Silk Pie is topped with whipped cream, but since we have a few lactose intolerant people in our family I served it on the side. I hope you enjoy!

For the Crust:
2 1/3 cups chocolate graham cracker, crushed into crumbs
3/4 cup melted butter
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2/3 cup cocoa powder

For the Filling:
1 cup of unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons of vanilla
4 eggs (separated)
24 Dove Dark Chocolate Promises 
1/3 cup white sugar
1 pinch of salt

For The Topping
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1. Mix chocolate graham cracker crumbs, butter, powered sugar and cocoa powder in a bowl. 
2. Press into a 9-inch spring form pan.
3. Cream the butter in a large bowl until smooth.
4. Melt the chocolate in the microwave. (You can use a double boiler but I usually just put it in the microwave for 1 minute, stir, and keep cooking for 30 seconds increments until melted. Do not over cook the chocolate in the happens.)
5. Separate the egg yolks from the whites.
6. Once the chocolate is melted,  stir in the yolks, vanilla, and sugar. Pour this mixture into the butter and stir well. 
7. In another bowl, add the egg whites and a pinch of salt. With a mixer, beat them on high until white peaks form. 
8. Fold the egg whites into chocolate mixture. 
9. Spoon the chocolate filling into the prepared pie crust and chill in a refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight to set up. 
10. For the whipping topping, beat heavy whipping cream on low for about a minute. (Make sure it is cold or it will not work. Also, make sure your bowl & beaters are room temperature or cooler.)
11. Increase the speed to high and add in sugar and vanilla. 
12. Keep beating cream until stiff peaks form. I like to make it very stiff, so I usually use the mixer for a good 5 minutes. 
13. Top the pie with the whipped cream or serve it on the side.
14. Enjoy!!

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and hope you have a great Christmas & New Year!!

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Monday, November 18, 2013

The Joys Of Toddlerhood: Bad Behavior

I am really not quite sure how to write this blog, so I guess I will just start out with how much I love my little angel Aiden. He was born with the blondest hair, the longest eyelashes, and the cutest smile. He is a spirited toddler to say the least but always so cute and sweet that I have no problem putting up with his occasional orneriness....until this week....

It all started the other day at Target. Aiden and I were having a Mom's day out with my Mom's group at the local orchard and I had it all planned out:  Aiden and I riding the hay ride to the orchards, him asking all sorts of cute questions, teaching him how to properly pick apples, and getting a few Mama & Me selfies with my phone. It was going to be perfect! However, on the way out to the orchard I realized that I forgot my lip gloss. (For those of you who know me, I am very addicted to the stuff.) I had this brilliant idea to pop into Target, pick up some lip gloss and a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte and head to the orchard. The idea of sipping a PSL on the hayride with the brisk morning air blowing through my hair holding my little man's hand, just made the morning seem even more appealing.

As I was daydreaming in the checkout line I hear the cry of another kid and turn around to find my toddler standing over some stranger's kid yelling "NO! You put that back!" I was shocked! I have never seen him act this way. Sure I have seen other toddlers be bossy, push to get what they want, and throw tantrums --but that's not my kid. I apologized about 10 times to the other child's mother and made my toddler apologize not only at that moment but again when we were leaving. This poor child's Mom just looked at me and shook her head with that look of "you are the worst Mom ever!" 

Fast forward to today. I am involved in a local MOPS group and today was the meeting. My son loves MOPS days because it's his time to play with other kids in a daycare setting. This morning I walked him into the daycare and let the ladies working know we had been having issues with him pushing other kids and being mean. I figured it's my duty as a parent to let them know. I thought maybe a little pep-talk before playtime would keep him from being a mean little boy, however on my return I find we had not one but two more "mean" incidents with other kids.  WHERE DID MY LITTLE ANGEL GO!?!?!

I arrived home with my son without saying much to him the car ride. When Mom is quiet, he knows he is in big trouble! After talking with my husband, we both agreed that we really had no idea what to do about this mean behavior. The normal timeouts just don't seem to be a big enough punishment in situations like this. Hurting others and being mean is not OK and he needed to learn that. We decided the best punishment for him would be to remove all toys and books from his room. He HAD to figure out that this is not good behavior and maybe being bored with no toys in his room will teach him that.

While my toddler took his nap today I still couldn't get over his attitude and all the questions I have about why he is acting this way. Where did our sweet toddler go? Where did he learn this? Are we yelling too much? Is it something he is watching something he shouldn't? Is he not getting enough attention? Are we not punishing him enough? The questions went on and on.

I felt the sudden urge to go for a run, even though it was raining and we were having threats of tornadoes (in October??) I went anyways. On my run, there was something I figured out. I am not quite sure if I am more upset about my toddler acting out or was I more upset with myself? Don't get me wrong --my toddler was being extra naughty this week, but isn't that what a toddler does? No one says, "Oh, the toddler years are so easy!" They wouldn't call the the terrible twos or horrible threes without a good reason. I wonder if I am more upset because these incidents have me questioning myself as a parent. I don't like the feeling of being judged by others as a bad parent because of the way my toddler was acting. I don't like thinking that maybe we really don't know how to raise a good child. I don't like questioning if we are raising him to be a good adult or maybe another Dexter? How does a parent really know if they are doing the right thing with their child?

Later that evening, I happened to be at the grocery store and watched another child about my son's age throwing a tantrum in the produce section. He was yelling at his mom, smashing the children's cart into stacks of produce, and pushing his sister to the floor. The mother looked at me with embarrassment and then looked away quickly. It was at that moment I decided to walk up to her and say to a perfect stranger, "I know how you feel, my son was having a bad day too. Don't you just love this age!" She smiled and laughed a little with both of us in silent agreement that these toddler years are tough. We all have our bad days and it's important to remember that toddler's do to. They are learning to become little adults and all of these new found social skills are tough. That doesn't mean that we let them get away with murder or throwing tantrums that hurt others, but we do need to realize that this is part of what they have to learn in life. Parenting a toddler takes patience and true understanding that none of us are perfect parents. We just need to keep trying our best, stay consistent in the disciplining, and say lots and lots of prayers that our children will turn out fine.

UPDATE: I wrote this blog a month ago and can say that the "mean" behavior has gotten much better. Being consistent with timeouts, losing books before bed, and taking toys away has really helped him realize that there is always a punishment for bad behavior. He is back to being a sweet little boy again...on most days!

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