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Thursday, March 26, 2015

"Homemade" Cupcakes



I had a few minutes to bake today- one of my very favorite hobbies. I had some leftover cake mixes from Baby B's bday party, so I scoured Pinterest for tips on how to make these boxed mixes taste homemade. There are tons of tips and tricks out there, so I took a few of my favorites. Here's how I jazzed up a normal Devil's Food Cake Mix:

-I added an extra egg
-I used melted butter rather than oil and used about 1.5x the amount of oil it called for
-I used whole milk instead of water
-I added about 1Tbsp of vanilla
-I sprinkled in a pinch of cinnamon

I mixed it up in my mixer, and it was the fluffiest cupcake batter ever, it tasted like choclate whipped cream!

I then filled my cupcake liners pretty darn full. The recipe yielded 22 cupcakes for me.

I had pre-heated the oven to 350- but knocked it down to 325 once I put the cupcakes in. This creates a nice top on the cupcake, I use the same tip for muffins.


I love how the tops just slightly and perfectly billow over the top of the liner. And these cupcakes were unbelievably light. Most of the time mine turn out pretty dense.

Then to add an extra touch, I like to use a large tipped icing bag, and just used canned icing to decorate them. I like the fluffy icing best. But, one can only ices 9-10 cupcakes, so take that into consideration. I put the icing in the center of  a big sheet of plastic wrap, fold it up, and put in down into a pastry bag.

Swirl it around, and for an extra touch, add some leftover candy on top. Can't hurt...not a bit.


And in just a short amount of time, you have a fool-proof way to make your boxed mix taste homemade. Yum! And even though they taste homemade- they look store bought!

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Weekend Bloggy Reading

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Busiest Season of Life



That title. I came up with it weeks ago. But I've been too darn busy to actually write this post! Seriously, not even joking...not even a little.

Is this not the absolute busiest, in the trenches, rushing, busy, scattered season of your life? If it is, stick with me.

I have a now three year old (when did this happen?)
I am a stay at home mom. I blog. I craft. I am active in my church. I try to go to playgroups and mom's groups and book club. My husband has 2 jobs now. With Baby B's health issues, I've spent my fair share of time in doctor's offices. I am busy- and I only have one child! (One and Done)

I love that the other Momma's I get together with are right there with me. It's more than a little funny that every time we all try to get together, only about half of us can make it. Sick kid. Hubby worked late. Other engagement. Valid excuses. Our other groups of friends, who don't have kids, are just as busy. A few have several jobs and are still in school.

Insert conversation with one of my close friends from the other day:

Me: I miss your face
E: I miss you too! I wish I had more free time!!!
Me: I understand! LIFE! lol
E: Freakin' Life!

Truth.

Thankfully we all get it. And I love that. I am so thankful for friendships that, even though we may only get together 4 times a year, we start right where we left off. Sharing in conversation, worries, troubles, and triumphs.

I only began to really realize the importance of these friendships as I get older. Friends we can sit down and chat with, play a game with, laugh and cry with. Friends who are there when you really need them. Not the fair weather kind. We've all got those. But, friends who, even if we haven't spoken in months, will come when needed.

I've been reading a lot of books that deal with our busy-ness and how to know when to say yes or no, or add another obligation to your plate. {See The Best Yes, Living Well Spending Less, The Fringe Hours and the upcoming For the Love}. And they're so right. Pick and choose and try to fit in your most important tasks, and go from there. God-family-friends. And of course work, etc, etc.

Just try to remember that even though this is the busiest season, make time for fun. Make time to cultivate those friendships. To do that thing that you enjoy. This season is busy, but remember to slow down and enjoy it every once in awhile. I just posted about how quickly children grow- and how to stop and savor some moments. Even when you're in the trenches, exhausted, and maxxed out.

Before we know it this busy season will pass, and we will wish it back. This is my new mantra- to enjoy these moments. To savor this time. Even when it seems endless. I remind myself every day. Every. Single. Day. As I am folding laundry, changing diapers, cooking and wiping up spills. Whispering to myself, "this will be over too quickly."




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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Chevron Burlap Spring Wreath

Featured At Serenity Now




It's FINALLY warming up out here in good ol' Indiana. So, I was super inspired to make a Spring Wreath for my front door to welcome it back!

I love that it was a quick and easy project. I will probably be making these for every season and holiday now-now that I know how easy they are to put together.

Step 1: Gather your materials.


You will need a wreath form, and 3 rolls of chevron burlap. Or whatever material you need. These were 10ft long by 5in wide I think. See that I said 3, but there are only 2 pictured? Make sure you start with 3...otherwise you will be like me, sending your hubby back to the store for more burlap. Bless him.

Step 2: Tuck and Pull.



I inserted the burlap in the first row, then pulled, fluffed, and tucked it into the next. Pull, fluff, tuck, repeat. If that is super confusing, there are all kinds of tutorials on Pinterest- with videos. Since I am not a great explainer, I suggest you look up one of those...haha.

Step 3: Repeat.


After each row, I twisted it once in the back to hold it in more securely. Then I squished each row together to make it more full, and so that you don't spy the wreath from between each "fluff". 
That is how much one roll of burlap ribbon covered.


Here she is after 2 rolls of burlap ribbon. (Yes, she's a she)


And 3. There was just a tiny bit left over, so 3 was the magic number I needed. If you want it to be fuller, you can always use more and and squish it closer together.


Then I just took my hot glue gun and glued down all of the beginning/end pieces. You can use floral wire to do this as you are making your wreath, but I ran out. And hot glue and I are BFFs.


If you have a door like mine that has a window where a wreath hanger can't be hung- use command hooks. They've always held pretty well for me, and it keeps something from blocking your pretty window.


Take note that I still haven't painted my door- that is still the gray primer. Thanks to Indiana weather and a busy toddler, the task has yet to be finished. It will be a shade or 2 darker when finished, and I can't wait for it to be done!


I've also decided that she needs a little more embellishment, but haven't fell in love with anything quite yet. I'll update once I find the perfect accessory.

Thanks for stopping by! 


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Weekend Bloggy Reading

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Slow Down Time






This morning my 3 year old little man climbed into bed with me. He laid his head down next to mine and brushed the hair out of my face. He said, "Mommy rest? Wake up Mommy". Then he patted my face and climbed down, off to start an adventure in another room of the house.

There was a time not so long ago, I couldn't even imagine this. Couldn't fathom having a 3 year old. A tiny human that looks like an exact replica of his daddy, save for my nose. I dreamed about this day, wished for this day, prayed and cried for this day. Begged for this day. I shed too many tears, prayed an endless amount of prayers. And now this day is here.

Six years ago, I lost my first baby. At 9 weeks pregnant, I went into labor, and all my hopes and plans were dashed. I screamed, and cursed, and begged. I prayed. I tried to remember God giveth and taketh away, to praise Him no matter what. This was the hardest and darkest of times.

Flash forward 2 years, and I'm pregnant again. Spending all of my time hoping time will pass quickly so my baby would be here. Wishing away those long weeks of pregnancy, so I could just hold my sweet baby. He finally came and was beautiful, and wonderful, and sick. He had to be rushed to a children's hospital and I couldn't hold him for days. I begged and begged for that time to be over quickly so I could take him home. A few weeks later, it did.

Then we were in the throes of newborn-hood. Sleepless nights and difficult feedings. Colic and tears, on both our parts. I cried and begged for this time to move quickly, so we would all finally sleep again and feel sane. Then after a few months, it did. We got on regular schedules and were happy.

Then came teething. Teething is a sneaky devil straight from the pits. It turns an otherwise happy baby into a tiny, angry creature. No sleep, runny noses, and lots of crying. I tried to enjoy the extra cuddle time, but I found myself saying, "I can't wait until teething is over, man life will be much easier."

Next came tantrums and "the terrible twos". Everyone said it would be over quickly, but I know every parent everywhere thinks- "Yes! "But it feels like an eternity!" "Help! This parenting gig is much harder than I thought!"

Now, he's 3. We were sitting together on the couch the other day and I looked down. I looked at his long, thin fingers and thought, "Where did those chubby baby hands go?" "Wasn't he a baby yesterday?" We were carrying on a conversation- and I missed those little baby squeals and giggles. How I long to cuddle that tiny newborn in my arms again. I cried, realizing I'd wished away all that time, praying it would get easier. And it did.

Hindsight, my friends. All those times people told me to cherish these moments because they would soon be over, and I didn't listen. I was talking to a friend just yesterday and she said she notices this much more with a second child, realizing how quickly the time went with the first. As a Mom of One, I was saddened to hear this. I will never get this chance. But this gave me a new goal. Cherish each step from here on out.

We're given approximately 18 years to cherish our child. Instill them with values and teach them right from wrong. To raise them from tiny, adorable babes to actual adults. Let's not wish for this time to go quickly. I always use to hate when people told me to enjoy it because it goes quickly. But, now I'm begging you- ENJOY IT! IT GOES TOO QUICKLY!

Remember when you rock that little to sleep, this may be the last time they need you to. This may be the last time they have a bottle/get nursed. Maybe their last tooth that comes in. Last word of gibberish. Hug them and cherish them. Enjoy them.





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Weekend Bloggy Reading
 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

For the Love





I am Super Duper excited to announce that I, along with 499 other amazing women, was chosen to be part of the launch team for Jen Hatmaker's new book For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards. It is an absolute honor and privilege and I can't wait to share more with you! I am beyond excited about this and blown away by the opportunity! ALL THE EXCLAMATION POINTS!!! Stay tuned in the coming months for updates! Keep checking back on the blog, follow on IG and like my page on Fbook for updates! 


Also- you can go ahead and pre-order the book on Amazon or Barnes and Noble now! DO IT! You won't regret it!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Dear Mom of One



Sometimes when I talk about my parenting struggles, I can feel my friends rolling their eyes. They don't mean to do it- but sometimes they do. They have 2 or more children and I only have one. So, any struggle I have must be twice as hard for them, right? 

Getting woken up over and over by one child in the middle of the night must be much worse when you have 2? Having one sick toddler is exponentially less worse than having 3 kids that keep passing the sickness around. I get it. But, Moms of one. You are still doing the hardest job in the world!

 Whether you have one child or 50, we are still raising the next generation of human beings. We are instilling values, and making sure they learn their ABC's, and teaching them to brush their teeth, tie their shoes, say "please and thank you". 

We are still up all night calming fevers and wiping tears. We are still worried every day we're doing everything all wrong. 

Mom's of one still struggle with sleep deprivation, busy schedules, mountains of laundry and piles of dishes. We still have errands to run and appointments to schedule. 

I personally beat myself up a lot of the time, feeling awful for sharing my struggles with other mom's who have been through 2 sick kids and are pregnant with another. But, don't. We are in this together, Mommas. This crazy, messy, wonderful life. Let's not judge and allow ourselves to feel judged. Remind yourself we've all had bad days, one kid or ten. 

Remember not to roll your eyes at your friend with 5 kids, when she is having a bad day. And she will also return the favor. 

I don't write this post to be resentful or sound angry, because I'm not. Most of my friends understand and share in my struggle with no judgement. And I love that. I just want to remind other Mom's of one...you are not alone. It's okay to feel overwhelmed sometimes. You are doing a good job. 

Mom of one. You are enough. 




Feel free to share this with your fellow Mom's of One who may need a little encouragement!


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Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom

Monday, March 2, 2015

2015 To Read Booklist





I was inspired by my fellow friend and blogger at themamabomb.com to share my book list with you.

I am an avid reader- and many of you who know me in "real life" know I spend most of my free time with a book...or my kindle, or both. I thought I'd share with you some books I'm looking forward to reading this year and what I've thought of the ones I've already read. If you want my complete list, and are a reader like me- feel free to follow me on Goodreads.

Right now I'm reading Rare Bird: A Memoir of Loss and Love by Anna Whiston-Donaldson. I just started it, and I love it so far. It is heartbreaking and honest. It will have you in tears and laughing out loud. I can't wait to finish it.

I just finished The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. I couldn't put it down! I'm not *usually* much into reading historical fiction, but this book totally changed my mind. It is a heroic and sad tale of two sisters and their roles in WWII France. It is very well written and it feels like you're there, going through everything that these two sisters are experiencing. I definitely recommend this. It's a fairly long book, but I gobbled it up in 3 days.

Before that, I read Before I Go by Colleen Oakley. It was pretty good, and the main character is very relate-able. I would probably think the same way if I were in here situation. I don't want to give away too much of the plot, but I do recommend it. 

I just realized all of the books I recommended are pretty sad books, so it looks like I'll have to pick up something more lighthearted next.

Here's my to-read list this spring:

- I Must Say: My Life as a Humble Comedy Legend by Martin Short. I love Martin Short, he always makes me laugh. I will probably get this book on Audible so that I can hear it read by him, which I'm sure will make it even better.

- The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I have this book on my library wait list, and can't wait until it's my turn!

- Living Well, Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life by Ruth Soukup. I love her blog and can't wait to pick up this book.

- Wonder by R.J. Palacio. This is a young adult book, but I really want to read it. My son was born with a craniofacial disorder (like the boy in the book). My son's is much less severe, but the surgical team actually recommended it to us, and other parents who's children suffer from similar disorders.

- Still Alice by Lisa Genova. I know this will be a tough read, but I've been wanting to read it for awhile. I definitely want to read it before I see the movie.

So, that's my spring to-read list. What's on your lists? I'd love any recommendations from my fellow avid readers!

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