Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween - Carve Carefully!

We are late to the game on carving a pumpkin this year so tonight is our last chance. For anyone else out there in the same boat, you may want to keep these words of wisdom in mind: skip the carving and enjoy a rum drink. Happy haunting everyone!

Halloween Weekend Fun!

What a fun weekend it was! We went to a Halloween party with our friends Wendy and Brian and the costumes did not disappoint (see below). I think my favorite part about this event was the way everything was set-up. Our hostess, Andrea, really knows how to design for entertaining. I felt like I'd stepped straight into the pages of Pottery Barn (see last photo).

Happy Halloween everyone!

I went as a fox and Wendy went as Princess Kate.  Her accent was spot-on.
Hubby Mike as a Cardinal fan and Jenny and Brian dressed as Princess Kate
and a Scottish lad. 
It's the captain of the Titanic and Storm from

The host and hostess, Brandon and Andrea. He was Wesley from
The Princess Bride and she was a Roman goddess. 
One of the many intricate table set-ups covered with party goodies. I love Andrea's style!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Inspirational Doggies

Meet Lily and Maddison, two great danes who are completely and very lovingly dependent on each other. When Lily lost her eyes due to an illness, Maddison took the reigns as her guide dog and never stopped. These photos speak for themselves, I think. This is what compassion is all about.

These two beautiful dogs are up for adoption. Follow the link above for details. 

Unfit Conditions for Children

This is a little more news-oriented than I tend to get with my posts, but I thought it was worth mentioning for anyone who hasn't already heard about it.

I think this woman has done the right thing with speaking out about McDonald's playgrounds and their level of uncleanliness. If I had children, I would think twice before I let them play in filth like this.  It's baffling why this franchise owner would choose legal action against the outspoken rather than apologize and correct the problem, but I suppose this is par for the course with the blameless society we live in today. So unfortunate.

Food for thought: if they allow the playground to be this disgusting, what must their kitchen look like?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Repurposed Vintage Rolling Pins

Dude Craft has this idea via Recyclart for turning old rolling pins into something more useful: a hook rack!  I love this idea. I'd probably also put something like this up in a laundry room or pantry closet. It's so cute!

I love the use of multiple colors. The rustic backboard adds a nice touch too.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Yummy Animal S'mores

CraftBuds has this guide for making adorable owl s'mores! We'll be headed up to the family cabin several times in the next few months and this would make for such a great treat around the fireplace or campfire. The only change I might make is toasting the marshmallows a bit before I add them to the graham cracker, but that's just my personal preference. Either way, these look delicious!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Amanda's Wedding Flowers - Part 2

Greetings readers! It's been a few weeks, but I'm finally back from vacation and ready to share some awesome things with you, the first of which are some of the photos from a wedding I did last month.  These are the wedding photographer's photos so they make the flowers that I put together look all nice and shiny (much better than the personal photos I snapped with my iPhone).  If you love flowers as much as I do, take a peek.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Funny

If you're reading this, I'm on vacation in Venice, Italy today!  I don't have any projects to share with you since I'm not home this week so I'll cut straight to the chase.  Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Iron Crafter at Fireflies and Jellybeans

I came across Fireflies and Jellybeans a while ago and had to share it with you readers because I think it does something extremely well.  It's called Iron Crafter and basically, it's an open casting call for crafters out there who are up for a weekly challenge.  The challenge consists of creating something out of the "secret ingredient" (this week it's toilet paper rolls) and then sharing your results with other contestants. Visit this link for more details.

I wish I was going to be around for this particular challenge.  It looks like fun!  What would YOU do with toilet paper and towel rolls?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Spooky Ghost Cookies

My baking frenzy continued into Sunday afternoon last weekend.  I decided to try my hand at sugar cookies after a few glasses of cheap, white wine.  Here are the results:

Your standard "spooky ghost" sugar cookies. The only thing spooky
about these cookies are their calories. Especially when you eat ALL of them.

I never learned to share.
An "artsy" photo of my wine. When I snapped this, I thought
it looked WAY more amazing than it actually is. I was
so enthralled with getting this shot right that I completely
forgot I'd left a batch of cookies in the oven.
Censored photo of our kitchen after I finished baking.

Just imagine giving a 3-yr. old about five
pounds of pure sugar and letting them have free reign
of the kitchen for a few hours. Not pretty.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Chocolate Spiderweb Cake

I was in a baking frenzy over the weekend. We are getting ready to travel internationally and I always get anxious about getting on an airplane, especially when there's a long distance to cover.  One of the things that seems to calm me down is baking so I picked up some new recipes on Saturday and went to town!

Here's a peek at what I very humbly think is the best chocolate cake out there.  I'm not talking aesthetics here; I'm taking about the cake itself.  Let's face it - my decorating skills could use some work. BUT, if you're in the market for moist, delicious chocolate cake, look no further.  Try this and I promise, you won't be disappointed!  (Recipe below)

View from the top.  The "spiderweb" sort of looks more like a wagon wheel, but man, it was a tasty cake!

My samples slice was gone in a matter of seconds.  Mmm.... chocolate cake for dinner. 

  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Beat the first 6 ingredients together in a large bowl with an electric mixer. Add remaining ingredients one at a time. Pour batter into 2 greased cake pans. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 35 minutes at 350 degrees.

Let cool for 35 minutes in cake pans on top of cooling racks. Remove cake rounds from pans and place in freezer for additional 10 minutes before adding frosting of your choice.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Oktoberfest in Leavenworth was fantastic and the weather was perfect. We had a great time walking around the town, drinking tasty German beers, window shopping and laughing with a few of our favorite people. (see snapshots below)

While I'm sad the weekend is over, I'm excited for all the rain we're expecting in the coming days.  This means we'll be staying inside and anytime I'm forced to spend extra time inside, I usually end up baking or cooking something new.  This week, I've decided to try some new slow cooker recipes. Behold, the efforts of my first new recipe:

Homemade slow cooker beef stew!

Here's the recipe:

  • 1 lb. of beef cubes
  • 11/2 cups of beef broth
  • 1 1/2 cups of chopped fresh cabbage
  • 1 1/2 cups of stewed tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 1/2 cups canned corn, drained
  • 1 1/2 cups of chopped fresh green beans
  • 1 1/2 cups of sliced fresh carrots
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
Throw everything in a slow cooker. Set it on high for 4 hours and enjoy!

Mike, me, Wendy, Brian, Brandon and Andrea.