Friday, April 29, 2011

Spring Break!

Here are some photos from our spring break trip...

Camping right on the beach...

Sunsets over the bluff...

Running people over on my electric scooter at Legoland...

Building sandcastles...

Relaxing and reading in the camper...

Roasting Peeps and making Peep Smores over the fire...

Enjoying the blue skies and the warm sand...

We had a great time!! I am still behind on blog stalking and I have tons of scrapping I need to get done. If you want to play, come over to Scrapbook Express next week. We are having a WEEK LONG National Scrapbook Day Celebration. Yes, scrapbooking has it's own holiday. We will have challenges and games all week. Hope to see you over there!

Happy Friday Everyone!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My New Friend

Hi Everyone!! We have been enjoying my kid's spring break with some beach camping, smores eating, Legoland playing, sandcastle building and relaxing. We had a great camping trip at a beach campground we've been trying to get reservations at for years. Seriously, years. The best campgrounds fill up quick. But now we are back and i'm trying to get my head out of vacation mode. You know it's been a good vacation when my husband and I start scheming ways to retire in 10 years and live on the beach for the rest of our years. Ha ha!!

I have a Scrapbook Express layout today to share with you.

I used the American Crafts Pebbles Happy Go Lucky collection. I just love the oranges and greens together. This is one of my favorite photos from our trip to Maine last summer. My daughter just fell in love with her baby cousins, she loved holding both of them!

I cut some clouds and hearts on my trusty Cricut...

Had fun with these layered paper flowers and my Martha Stewart butterfly punch...

And of course, could not resist using some baker's twine!!

I am playing catch-up right now on all your blogs, I am so far behind commenting and seeing all your inspiration! I hope to find some time this week to do some serious blog stalking.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Vanilla Berry Phyllo Cups

As summer is fast approaching, I see lots of delicious fruits coming back into season. Strawberries are the obvious one but I saw some fat blackberries this week that just jumped into my cart at the store. I could not resist. And in an attempt to make a semi-healthy lower calorie dessert for my bunco group, I wanted to use those fat blackberries. Plus, the thought of phyllo dough has been running around my brain for quite a while and this was the perfect opportunity to try it out!

The hardest part about the phyllo dough...was finding it at the store! I must have walked past it 47 times in the frozen food section before I finally saw it. It was a bit expensive but I find out that there is ALOT of phyllo dough in the package. I only used a small portion of it and have tons left over.

I followed the dirctions on the package to make these cups. I layered 5 sheets of phyllo dough, brushing a little bit of butter between layers. I then cut squares, pressed it into a mini muffin tin and baked it for about 12 minutes. Easy peasy!!!! I used store bought non-fat vanilla pudding for the inside and fresh fruit on top. Seriously easy peasy!!

These little cuties were probably around 60 calories a piece. Pretty good for a bunco treat!! There is lots of great information about phyllo dough and more recipes at the Athens website. I have SO many more recipes I want to try! These are impressive little treats and were easy to make. Win-win.

And as I was doing my typical i'm-late-for-bunco freakout, I couldn't figure out how to bring these with me. My brilliant husband said...just put them back in the muffin tin. DUH...why didn't I think of that? These treats are super portable, too!!

If you've never given phyllo dough a try, I highly recommend it. I can't wait to try some new recipes, now. Thanks for stopping by today!

Friday, April 22, 2011


Happy Friday everyone! It's the start of my kids spring break and we ALL need the break! While I don't get a break from work, I do get a break from school and sports practices and will be so nice to slow down for a little bit!

Just a little card I made with some more of the Ad Lib papers from Bo Bunny. I focused on the greens and blues this time, love that color combo!!

Yes, more banners...more twine! I love the big stickers that come on the sticker sheet, too!!

That's it for today, Friends...have a GREAT Friday!!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

New Challenge at SE

Happy Wednesday!!! It's challenge day over at Scrapbook Express! I have a new challenge up and it involves...paint. I am now addicted to flicking paint all over the place and that is my challenge to you. Use paint on your layout!

I used some more bright and fun Ad Lib paper by Bo Bunny. I love the big sticker sheet that coordinates, too. Lots of letters and fun stickers to play with.

I mixed a little bit of acrylic paint with a little bit of water, mixed it up and flicked it with my paintbrush all over my background paper. I'm addicted!

So come on over to Scrapbook Express and join the challenge this week. We have only one more day until Spring Break. It's soooo late this year, I can't believe it's almost May. We will definitely welcome the break in schedule from school and baseball and softball. Hope you're having a great week so far!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Strawberry Cupcakes

Oh, sweet summer. I know it's not summer yet, but when my husband brought home a flat of ripe, red strawberries from the local fruit stand last week, it felt a little bit like summer. And all those red glorious strawberries meant only one thing...Strawberry Cupcakes.

The frosting on top was the AWESOMESAUCE. It's a vanilla buttercream base with pureed strawberries added. It was all kinds of delicious.

The cake itself was really good. It called for chopped strawberries to be added to the cake batter. I sliced them. And I think I really should have chopped them. It would have distributed the strawberries better. The sliced ones tasted good, but some of the cupcakes cooked up lumpy and funny. No worries, they are going in my belly regardless.

These were a great change from the heavy chocolate and peanut buttery goodies i've been making lately. Not like there's anything wrong with chocolate and peanut butter. But if you want a taste of summer in your kitchen, mix up a batch of these babies. You won't regret it.

You can find the recipe here: Annie's Eats food blog...Strawberry Cupcakes.

Happy Monday Friends!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Paint Splatter

I love using paint on my layouts. Misting...not so much. I have a few mist bottles and they get clogged so easily, I hate pulling them out and trying to unclog the sprayer, getting messy and mist all over the kitchen sink only to finally get to use them...and then my layout doesn't look anything like I envisioned. Paint, I can use. So when there was a challenge over at Citrus Tree Studio to use water on your layout, I knew misting was out for me. I decided to pull out the paint and get a little bit creative.

I love the look of misting or dripping on layouts, so I mixed a little bit of water with acrylic paint until it was 'flickable'. Meaning, I can flick my paintbrush with my finger and get some splatters on paper. And that's exactly what I did...

I started with kraft cardstock so if I messed up, it would be easy to replace. Add two cute girls, some new Jillibean Soup Blossom Soup, some doilys I cut using my Cricut software and this is what I came up with.

I found the free doily svg files at My Grafico. I am trying to use my Cricut and my SCAL software more and I was thrilled to find these free files!! I am just scratching the surface of using my SCAL software, but the more I use it...the more I like it. Here's another doily

I am really loving the colors of this Jillibean Soup line. I find myself wanting to hoard the papers but I need to use them. So I can buy more, of course!!

Happy Friday! We have baseball and softball tomorrow but it's going to be a beautiful day, probably in the mid 80's. Time to find the sunscreen!! Have a great weekend, friends!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

East Coast West Coast

After being a California girl her whole life, my sister moved to Maine almost 2 years ago to start her family and a new life with her husband. And while I miss her like CRAZY, i'm super proud of her making decisions for herself and doing what she thinks is best for her and her family. Plus, I have a super cool place to visit on the East Coast whenever I want to. I'm thinking of doing this marathon some day, The Maine Marathon. And who knows, maybe that little one called the Boston Marathon. But I need to heal my ankle first before my dreams get ahead of me.

This is one of my first projects for Scrapbook Express. I used the Ad Lib papers by Bo Bunny and decided to document the new divide in our family.

I love the bright colors of these papers! They are perfect for scrapping pretty much any subject. And I broke out my Accents Essential Cricut cartridge for those butterflies. One of my favorite cuts.

Hope you're having a good week. We've been really busy with either softball or baseball everyday in the evening. I'm glad my kids love it because it's a whole lot of work!! I will be back with some more fun projects I've been working on for Scrapbook Express. Come on over to the message board. We have new challenges every week and a big challenge every month!! See you over there!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Peppermint Patty Brownies

I have been on a brownie kick lately. To be honest, bars and brownies are so much quicker and faster than making cookies. No filling cookie sheet after cookie sheet with dough balls and waiting for them to bake. I like filling up the pan, putting it in the oven and being done and ready to eat in 25-30 minutes! So here is another brownie recipe that will knock your socks off. Especially if you are a mint fan.

Basically it's a brownie recipe where you pour half the batter in a pan...layer as many peppermint patties as you can on top...then add the 2nd half of the batter. They are super fudgey and minty and that big bite of pepppermint patty is the best.

The original recipe on Brown Eyed Baker called for making a full 9x13 pan, but for some reason I halved the recipe and made them in a 8x8 pan. Big mistake. I wanted more of these!!! But considering i'm still in this walking boot and have no conceivable way of burning off 1000 calories, maybe it's not such a big mistake.

Peppermint Patty Brownies
slightly modified and halved from Brown Eyed Baker

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
4 ounces unsalted butter
3 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon instant coffee
1 3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 bag of family size Peppermint Patties (the big one from Target)

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a 8x8-inch baking pan with foil, shiny side down. Smooth the foil then butter it lightly or coat it with nonstick spray.

2. Chop the chocolate and cut the butter into cubes, then warm them together in a medium bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat as soon as both are melted and smooth.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or by hand, whip the eggs, vanilla, instant coffee, and sugar on high speed for about ten minutes until foamy and stiff.

4. By hand, stir in the chocolate mixture, then the flour.

5. Smooth half of the batter into the pan. Place a layer of peppermint patties over the chocolate, breaking them into pieces to fill in any large gaps.

6. Pour the rest of the batter over the patties and smooth the top.

7. Bake the brownies for 30 minutes, rotating the brownies midway during baking. When the brownies are done, they will have a firm crust on top but a toothpick inserted into the center should come out wet. Do not overbake the brownies.

8. Let the brownies cool completely, then lift them out of the pan and slice into rectangles.

**Note** I did not use the entire bag of peppermint patties, I used about 3/4 of it. But i'm sure you will find a good use for the ones that are left.

Thanks for stopping by today, friends!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Weekend Sports Roundup

While i'm still stuck in this walking boot (only 2 more weeks, only 2 more weeks), I can still enjoy sports in the form of sitting in the stands watching my kids play ball. Taking the photos actually got me off my butt and walking around the field, which was a good thing. First son. He's playing baseball, he's on the Giants (so hard to even type that coming from a Dodger fan) and he's having a good time.

His team is super hard core and my husband and I are having some 'growing pains' dealing with it. On one hand, I want to protect my sweet baby boy from having to grow up, get yelled at by coaches and be pressured to perform well. On the other hand, I know he can grow from this, everybody isn't good at everything, and life isn't always about rainbows, butterflies, and cupcakes. I hope we survive. We really meaning me.

Then there's my daughter. She's playing softball, is on the Dugout Diamonds, and is always self-conscious of being the smallest girl on the team.

I want her to learn that small doesn't mean slowest, weakest, or worst. She's very aware of who's the best on the team, which pitchers throw the hardest, and what girls tower over her in height. This is not t-ball anymore. Girls are stealing bases, getting hit by wild pitches (thank goodness for batting helmets) and sliding into home. She is feeling her way through the season and we are doing our best to lift up her confidence. She made two outs at first base yesterday, which was a huge accomplishment. We celebrate her successes!!

I love watching my kids play sports. I was an athlete my whole life and feel myself getting swept up in the competition of it all. I try very hard to leave my feelings out of it and hope they are just having fun. I hope you are all having a great weekend. Monday morning is coming way too fast for me...!!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Dutch Mustard Soup!

Happy Friday everyone!! I am so excited to get my hands on some new papers from Jillibean Soup. The first papers I decided to play with are the Dutch Mustard Soup papers, I love the colors. Perfect for a boy page!

This is a page for a challenge over at Citrus Tree Studios. The challenge was to use things by 2's on your layout. I used 2 pieces of cardstock, 2 pieces of double sided patterned paper, 2 large buttons, 2 medium buttons, 2 small buttons, 2 hearts...

...2 circle brads, 2 square brads, 2 journaling spots, 2 different types of ribbon, 2 butterflies with 2 gems...

...2 stars, 2 outlines, 2 different alpha fonts...and I think that might be it!! I am still in love with the corrugated cardboard alphas. Love love love them!

And apparently i'm also in love with not lining them up. Wow, my title is crooked! I hope you had a great week. Our Saturday is filled with baseball and softball tomorrow. Go Giants and Dugout Diamonds!!

Have a great weekend, friends!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

April Crop Suey Challenge is Up!!

Hi Everyone! If you are looking for a scrappy challenge this month, look no further than Crop Suey! This month the challenge is to use your scraps and make an embellishment for your layout. Here is what I came up with...

Since I have twin nieces, they need equal time in the scrapbook!! I love this photo too, of my sister and Harbour. So cute!! My handmade embellie are the rolled flowers. I punched circles from my scraps and rolled them up. You can find a tutorial HERE.

I also have some buttons, a doily, and some random bling...

And some more blingy stuff!

How I love scrapping these cutie pie baby photos!! Don't worry, there are more what that came from. So get your scrappy self over to Crop Suey, we would love to see your challenge for this month!!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Better Than Crack Brownies

Let me start this post by saying that I don't know how good crack is. I've never had it before. And neither have my kids. But this brownie recipe, packed with peanut butter and salted nuts and chocolate caught my eye and has been on my to-bake list for a while now. So before I presented these to my kids, I asked them what their most favorite thing was. My son said Pokemon. And my daughter couldn't decide. But if I had to guess it would something like Staying up past her bedtime eating popcorn on the couch and watching the next episode of Wipeout. So...for my kids they are Better Than Pokemon Brownies or Better Than...well, you get the picture.

Let me break down the layers. Bottom layer...brownie. Middle layer...salted nuts and a whole bag of Reese's peanut butter cups. Top layer...rice krispie treats made with peanut butter and chocolate chips (instead of marshmallows). Oh my.

Don't let the brown appearance fool you. These were amazing and rich and crunchy (the top) and peanut buttery. And really really peanut buttery.

Too peanut buttery for my husband. He's not a huge chocolate fan and peanut butter and chocolate he could care less about. And yes, I married him despite of it. It's worked out for me because he didn't want seconds of these brownies and he doesn't steal my peanut butter cups or my peanut butter M&M's. It's a win-win for me. I honestly might need a peanut butter intervention.

And I might need to invest in new lighting in my kitchen. The maroon blinds are doing nothing for my brownie photos!! I found this kick butt recipe on the How Sweet It Is food blog...and now you need to make these immediately. Go here, please: Better Than Crack Brownies. As for my kids liking them? My son said they were EQUAL to Pokemon and I consider that a compliment.

Happy Monday Everyone!!!