Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Halloween Goodies

Halloween Costumes

My family loves Halloween. We love the costumes, we love the candy and we love the weather.
Every year my sweet Hubby goes the extra mile and makes one of the kids a special costume. He usually starts building the costumes in late September, but this year nobody wanted a "special daddy Costume", that is until yesterday. My middle son decided he want a cooler costume than what he originally picked out. So hopefully my hubby will be able to pull it off it such a short amount of time.
Meanwhile, I thought I would share with you a few of our past Halloween creations. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Doctor said I am fine!!

About a month ago something happened to me that scared me really bad, I thought I had a heart attack.
I didn't tell many people, mainly my family and a couple of friends. I didn't want everyone questioning me and worrying about me. Though the no worrying part didn't work out to well.

As you can imagine it was pretty scary for a while. It is not fun trying to live life as usual and yet in the back of my mind I am thinking about my own mortality and the repercussions it could bring to my family. Meanwhile the doctors tell you to not get stressed, take it easy, no caffeine and eat healthy. I think one of the hardest things for me was when I had my initial episode (the one where I thought I was having a heart attack)it was right before school started and one of boys was there and saw what happened and ran and got my husband, who thankfully was running late for work that day. So then my kids knew something was wrong with mommy. Of all my kids I think it was hardest on my oldest son who is 14. He wanted to know exactly what was wrong with me and every time I wold try to give him a simple answer he knew I wasn't telling him everything. He has since learned everything and understands that I really am OK.

I won't bore you with all the details but I have seen multiple specialists, had tons of test run, and even stayed the night at the hospital. The only consistent answer that I that have is that I have a premature heart beat. They don't know what caused my initial episode, and they don't know what caused my premature heart beat, but they said that I am fine now and not to worry about it any more.
So now I really can live life as it was. I plan on getting back into my exercise routine, maybe play some volleyball with some friends, work in my extremely neglected garden and enjoy my wonderful life with my family. I really do feel very blessed, even though it has turned out to be nothing to serious, this was a bit of an eye opener to me and I plan on living my life the best that I can.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Newest additions to the family

I forgot to blog about the newest additions to our family.…4 girls…well chickens….. well actually chicks. I don’t know why but I have always wanted chickens. My husband I have talked about wanting to have chickens but that’s all it was…talk. So 2 days before the new school year started, Robbie’s Agriculture Class bunny was stolen and now I have an empty cage. So about a month ago,I asked the boys if they wanted to get some chickens and of course they said yes. So the boys and I took a little ride to a feed store and purchased 4 chicks. Two Barred Rocks (the black chicks) and two Buff Orpington (yellow chicks). We got them when they were just a few weeks old and they are just adorable. I never knew that chickens could be so sweet and so social. They all have their own personalities. You’ve heard the expression pecking order? Well it is true, and we are already starting to see it in our girls. Oh how rude of me, I forgot to tell you their names-Sandy, Haley, Chicken Little, and Chicken Butt. In case you couldn’t tell, my husband and my boys picked out their names. So I will try to keep you updated on our chicken adventure and maybe one day I will have some fresh eggs to share with you.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Chunky Apple Cake

My mother recently saw a yummy picture of the Southern Living Chunky Apple Cake with Cream Cheese Icing and asked me to make it for a recent get together. I was happy to make the cake since I am always looking for new things to try and bake. I have to admit I was a bit skeptical of an apple cake. It didn't sound very appealing but, I would never turn down a request, especially since my mother was the one requesting it.
The good news is it turned out delicious. It reminded me ALOT of a carrot cake and I love carrot cake! The bad news is my mother didn't get any. I show up to her house with cake in hand and she says to me "I don't know what I was thinking asking you to bake that cake. I am on a diet and can't have any". WHAT?! So my mother tortured herself all night asking everyone how the cake was. But I am very proud of my mom for sticking to her diet. By the way, she has already lost 19lbs. Go Mom!!!!
I did promise her a would bake her another apple cake anytime she wants, as long as she is off her diet. Ha ha!

Southern Living Chunky Apple Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 cup butter, melted
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced( I used Gala because it was what I had at home)
1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (optional)

Stir together first 4 ingredients in a large bowl until blended.

Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; add to butter mixture, stirring until blended. Stir in apple slices and 1 cup walnuts. Batter will be very thick. Spread into a greased 13- x 9-inch pan.

Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Spread with Cream Cheese Frosting; sprinkle with walnuts, if desired.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 (8oz) package of cream cheese, softened
3 Tbsp butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Beat the cream cheese and butter at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add sugar until blended. Stir in vanilla.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Just Do It!

Remember the old Nike slogan “Just Do it”? I love that slogan!
We can apply it to our lives in so many ways. Sometimes it can be hard or scary to get started in whatever “IT” is, but if we would just decide that I can do this, learn this, try this, we could accomplish so much. We are capable of so many things if we would just put our minds to it. Whether it is learning how to frost a cake or running a marathon, we can do it!
I have also learned that there are many generous people out there that are willing to help you, teach you, cheer you on, and more if you would just ask.

So quit making excuses-
“I can’t.”
Yes, you can!

“I don’t have enough time.”
Yes you do! Turn off your TV, step away from the computer, make the time.

“I don’t know where to start.”
“I don’t know how.”
Start learning. Get your feet wet and you’ll learn along the way.

No, now!

So what are you waiting for.....

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Made me laugh...

I was reading a article about the difference between cupcakes and muffins and this was someones response..

"when your wife was younger, you called her cupcake. When she got older with a double chin, you called her muffin. In short, muffins tend to overflow the cup shape, sort of like double chin."

Jello Cake

My son and I went to his friends birthday party where they served Jello cake. I had never heard of Jello cake so I was excited to try something new. Well it was delicious! The cake had swirls of blue from the berry Jello in it which made the cake look that much cooler when you cut into it, not to mention the flavor it added. It was iced with Cool whip which gave the cake a lighter feel to it, perfect for these hot summer days in Florida!
Of course when I got home I had to google how to make Jello cake. The fun thing about Jello cake is you can add what ever flavor jello you like. For me, it was whatever flavor Jello I had in my pantry. I used strawberry and pineapple. They cake turned out yummy. The only change I would make would be to cook it in a flat pan. What I mean by that is, I cooked mine in a bunt pan to five it a different look. And while I did get the look I was going for, it was hard to pour the jello on it because it just want to fall down the sides. For me this is definitely a cake I will make again. My kids and I had a great time making it and I love the fact I can change flavors and add color each time.


1 white cake mix
2 (3 oz.) boxes Jello gelatin (any flavor)
2 c. boiling water
1 (8 oz.) Cool Whip, thawed

Prepare cake mix as directed on package, baking in 2 (8") layer pans. Cool.
Meanwhile, with a fork, prick 1/2" into the cakes. Dissolve each flavor of gelatin separately in 1 cup of boiling water. Carefully pour over 1 cake layer, then the same to the other layer. Chill 3 to 4 hours. Top with Cool Whip and serve

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Free Museum Day

September 25, 2010 is free museum Day. There are lots of museums participating so click on the link , put your info in and check it out. I was surprised at all the museums in my area. Did you know that there is a Swimming Hall of Fame? I didn't.
Have fun and let me know where you went.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Couponing Websites

After talking with some friends and family about all the money I am saving,everyone wants to know what websites I am using that help me find the deals and match the coupons.
There are tons of websites out there that can help you save money, and I am not saying the ones I use are the best, they just happen to be the websites that were shared with me.
My 2 favorites are-
I also go to

If you have any money saving webites you would like to share,send me a link, I would love to check it out. Or if you have any money saving tips please share them with me!

Friday, August 27, 2010


Last week I went over to a friends house to learn more about using coupons. I am always looking for ways to save money so I was excited to learn more about coupons.I have tried using coupons on and off over the years with minimal success but with her help I think I might be hooked. Couponing does take patience and time, but I think it is worth it.
I went to Publix (my local grocery store) with my shopping list in one hand and my coupons in the other.
My grocery bill would have been $137.14. BUT with coupons and store sales I spent....drum roll please.... $50.28. That's a total savings of $86.86. I know that not as good as some of the savvy, more experienced couponers out there, but I am pretty darn happy with myself. And by the I even brought a few things that were not on sale or didn't have a coupon for.
So thanks Brittany for sharing your knowledge and getting me motivated to give coupons another try!!
Anyone else out there using coupons?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Summer is over

I am one of those crazy parents that is sad to see summer over. I am not ready for my kids to start school, but all good things must come to an end.
This summer we had the opportunity to head to Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina. We try to get up there every year. We love the outdoors, especially the mountains! One of the great things about going to North Carolina is most of the things we like to do is free. We camp at the Davidson River campground( yes, I am one of those women that like to camp) I love to sit around the camp fire and chat and , I love the cool morning mountain air, it is so invigorating, unlike the hot muggy air I wake up to in Florida. We usually have a spot right on the river so my hubby and the boys can go fishing in the mornings and the evenings. During the day we usually hike to some waterfalls. We always have a few favorites that we see every year but this year we decided to explore some new ones, and I am glad we did, they were gorgeous!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Hamburger Cake

I made this for fathers day. My youngest son Luke helped me. He felt like a big boy and I must say he was a great little helper!
The bun is cake covered in icing. The "meat" is a brownie that was baked in a cake pan and all the "toppings" were made with fondant, including the "sesame seeds".

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

It has been a while

I am sorry I haven't posted in a while. Life has been crazy I've got lost of excuses. Wanna hear them? I am old, tired and lazy! Just kidding!
I am now a proud grandma of a beautiful little girl. It has been a little crazy because she decided to come really early. She was born at 25 weeks on March 5th and was only 1lb 8oz. The good news is she is strong little girl and will be home really soon.
What other excuses do I have.... I have been on a few trips, my sweet hubby got my a really nice camera, lovin' it! Hopefully I will be taking pictures like a pro really soon. I am sure I could come up with a few more excuses, but that will have to do for now.
Anyway I still have been baking but I haven't been to good about taking pictures. I do have a few that I will share with you.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Homemade Marshmallows

I have never made nor tried homemade marshmallows. I heard they were delicious, but hard to make so I never gave it a try. Well today I was surfing the net and I came across a blog that said they were easy, so I figure I should give it a try. This recipe came from- foodiewithfamily.com

Well I can tell you they were easy and I am glad I made them and so are my kids!
I can't wait to try them again with different extracts. I think next time I might try orange extract, or maybe peppermint; doesn't that sound yummy?
I bet these marshmallows would be fantastic in Hot Chocolate!!! I will let you know!

Homemade Marshmallows


•.75-oz unflavored gelatin (3 envelopes of Knox gelatin)
•1/2 cup cold water
•2 cups granulated sugar
•2/3 cups light corn syrup
•1/4 cup water
•1/4 teaspoon salt
•1 tablespoon vanilla extract (or other flavor extract)

•Confectioners’ sugar
Line 9 x 9-inch or 8 x 8-inch pan with plastic wrap and lightly oil it using your fingers or non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water. Soak for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine sugar, corn syrup and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a rapid boil. As soon as it is boiling, set the timer and allow to boil hard for 1 minute.

Carefully pour the boiling syrup into soaked gelatin and turn on the mixer, using the whisk attachment, starting on low and moving up to high speed. Add the salt and beat for between 10 and 12 minutes, or until fluffy and mostly cooled to almost room temperature. After it reaches that stage, add in the extract and beat to incorporate.

Grease your hands and a rubber or silicone scraper with neutral oil and transfer marshmallow into the prepared pan. Use your greased hands to press the marshmallow into the pan evenly. Take another piece of lightly oiled plastic wrap and press lightly on top of the marshmallow, creating a seal. Let mixture sit for a few hours, or overnight, until cooled and firmly set.

Sprinkle a cutting surface very generously with confectioner’s sugar.

Remove marshmallow from pan and lay on top of the sugar.

Dust the top generously with sugar as well.

Use a large, sharp knife to cut into squares.

Separate pieces and toss to coat all surfaces with the sugar.
Store in an airtight container.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

S'more Cupcakes

My family and I recently went camping and of course we had to have s'mores. (Yes, I am one those crazy women that loves to camp.) So I thought why not make s'more cupcakes. They look yummy and it was a great excuse to try the little butane blow torch (so cool).

I am all about easy, so I mixed together a chocolate box cake and poured it onto a graham cracker base in the bottom of the cupcake wrapper. I then sprinkled the top of the batter with more graham crackers and a few chocolate chips(you can't have too much chocolate). I then baked them according to the box mix. While they are cooling I made a marshmallow frosting.

So here are the pros and cons- I thought the icing was OK, but I don't think I made it right because it was only suppose to take 7 minutes to make but it took me over 20. It also taste more like meringue than marshmallow. Maybe next time I will top them with homemade marshmallows or maybe put some marshmallows in the batter. I also was not a big fan of the graham crackers at the bottom of the cupcake. I did this because I have read about other smore cupcakes lacking in the graham cracker flavor. Maybe next time I will just put more graham crackers on top of the batter.
Having said all that, they still tasted yummy and I loved getting to used the mini blow torch. Now what else can I make with the blow torch??????

Graham Cracker Base
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tbsp melted butter

Marshmallow Frosting
2 cups white sugar
3 egg whites
2 tbsp light corn syrup
3 tbsp cold water
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch salt

Combine all in a stainless steel bowl and set on top of a pot of simmering water. Whisk constantly (electric beaters would've been great here, but old fashioned elbow grease will do just fine!) until mixture is glossy and holds a stiff peak when whisk is lifted.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Cupcakes and Candy

I was recently asked to make the refreshments for a church youth activity. And as you can see I went for color! The colors actually represented something.
White- Faith
Yellow- Good Works
Orange- Choice and Accountability
Green- Knowledge
Red- Individual Worth
Blue- Divine Nature
Gold- Virtue
Purple- Integrity
I was able to find candy in all my colors. But I wasn't able to make Gold cupcakes, but it still turned out very cute.
By the way, I made 3 kinds of cupcakes; Chocolate, Vanilla and Red Velvet. They were all frosted with Butter Creme frosting.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Brrrrrr, Baby it's cold outside!

Here in the Tampa Bay area, we are setting new records for all time low temperatures for the month of January. The temperatures are currently in the 20's and my yard is looking pathetic! Yes, I know, I know, temperatures in the twenties are nothing for some of you, but for a 5th generation Floridian, it is like being in the Arctic! Not to mention many of my plants don't know what hit them.
I am really not very fond of this time of year because most of my plants have been burned or killed by the cold temperatures. Just a few months ago when I looked out at my yard it was lush and green and now it looks like a neglected waste land. Sadly enough we still have a few more months of this cold weather. I hope we don't have to many more of these drastic drops in temperature, I don't know how much more my plants can take and frost blankets only go so far.
As horrible as my yard looks now I know that everything is not as bad as it seems. Many of my plants will just lose their leaves, while others will die back to the ground and return in the spring, and the rest will probably die and go to plant heaven. So for now all I can do is wait for spring and hope that my plants are tough enough to endure this crazy weather.

By the way the pictures above are before and after pictures of the same areas. Soooo sad!