The Creative Princess: February 2012

Saying Goodbye

Yesterday was such a great day!  I woke up to MG smiling her cheesy smile at me and telling me that I am “the best mommy I eva seen”.  She is such a sweet girl.  We piddled around a bit, had breakfast, and watched some TV then I got up to make some cupcakes for an order that was due later in the day. 

My phone rang and my SIL was on the other end asking me to go get some clothes for her and come pick her daughter up from the hospital so she could get back to school.  SIL was put in the hospital over the weekend and her daughter stayed with her Sunday night.

I was on my way to go pick my niece up when I decided to call my aunt and give her a hard time about some stuff that happened the night before.  When she picked up the phone I thought it was actually her daughter, it did not sound like my aunt at all.  It took me a second to realize it was her.  I could tell she was very upset.  I immediately asked if everything ok.  It was far from ok.  I had many things running through my head as to what could be wrong.  What she then told me put me in utter shock and turned my great day into one I will never forget and one I wish had not taken place.

A dear sweet friend of our family was in a car wreck yesterday.  She passed away.  I would like to share a few things about her life with you today.

Caitlyn was an AMAZING person.  She lived a life for God and made an incredible impact on every person she ever met.  If you had the privilege of meeting her, even just for a few short minutes, you knew in an instant she was one of a kind.  She had a love of life and lived it to the fullest.  Caitlyn had one of the brightest smiles I have ever seen and could light up a room with her genuinely warm and caring presence.  She had something many strive for, grace.  It came so naturally to her.  She was an amazing athlete, excelling in basketball, cheerleading and softball.  She was also incredibly smart.  I remember her mom bringing her into the office at school one day to show us that Caitlyn could write in mirror image, at 3 (or was it 4).   She was one of the funniest people I have ever known.  I will never know where she came up with some of the stuff that would come out of her mouth but oh my goodness was she hysterical.  She was a friend to many, young and old.  She was 19.  Caitlyn was going to school to be a teacher, she would have made an AMAZING teacher.  The love she had for kids was awesome.  She touched the lives of so many people, many more than the average adult could ever dream of and we are all so grateful to have known her.

I have had the pleasure of knowing Caitlyn for a long time, since she was a little girl.  She was an ornery little thing that blossomed into an amazing young woman.  As we go on, those that knew her will hold her light in our hearts and be forever grateful of the precious gift we were blessed with.  For knowing Caitlyn was one of the best gifts God could ever give to us.  It is hard to say goodbye to such an amazing person, the next few days will not be easy.  The weeks, months and years that follow will be forever changed.  I have no doubt Caitlyn is in heaven and look forward to our grand reunion.  Until then, I will live my life a little differently and pray I am able to make just a quarter of the impact Caitlyn has.

Bug, today you are a beautiful angel in heaven looking down on us.  Though we are sad your spirit has left us we are truly happy to know that you will be our special angel, guiding us through life.  We will always remember and cherish you and share your stories for years to come.

Please keep Caitlyn’s friends and family in your thoughts and prayers as we go through the next few days.  Please continue to pray for those closest to her that God will guide them and give them the comfort, peace and strength they need to get through this time.

God bless you Caitlyn, we miss you and love you dearly.

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Saving money on K-Cups

Yesterday I asked this question over on my FB page.

Did you know you can REUSE your K-Cups?!?

Did  you?

I had NO clue you could do this!  I read an article about this last week {please forgive me, I have no idea where I found the article, guess I should have pinned it} and have since read a few more.

The first thing you want to do is take your spent cup out of your Keurig and CAREFULLY take the foil top off.  You will then dump the spent grounds in the trash (or compost) then carefully rinse the K-cup out.  Allow your now empty K-cup to dry thoroughly, this may take as long as overnight.

After the filter on your K-cup is completely dry you can add your favorite coffee to the K-cup.  I use one scoop and it nearly fills the cup.  You do not want it to be too full but you can adjust the amount of coffee you use to your preference.

At this point you will need to top your K-cup.  The most frugal way is to tap a piece of heavy duty foil on.  Make sure it is sealed well.  You {could} use regular foil but I feel it just does not hold up, you will see what I mean in a bit.  I used regular foil for this post.

You can also purchase reusable lids just for the purpose of reusing you K-cup!  I had no idea!  I just ordered these from Amazon, I will let you know what I think of them once they get here.

You are now ready to use your K-cup!  Make sure the hole on the bottom of the cup is lined up with the needle on your Keurig.  If you puncture too many holes in the bottom you will end up with weak coffee, so try to keep using the same hole.  After you have used this cup just repeat the process!  It is possible to use each K-cup up to 20 times!!  That is a HUGE savings!

Don't get scared by this picture and the coffee grounds on top of the foil.  As I stated above I used regular foil, it just does not hold up as well as heavy duty would have.  I am happy to report there were NO coffee grounds in my cup of coffee.

If you want to see pictures of the entire process, start to finish and one more option on topping the K-cup, be sure to check out my Google+ story!

I know it seems like a lot of steps but it really takes no time at all.  You could empty, rinse and save all of your K-cups during the week and just use a bit of time during the weekend to refill.

I would love to know if you try this and how it worked for you.  I will be doing this from now on!

**I wanted to add, for those that aren't clicking through to the Google+ story....I DO have a My K-cup attachment.  However!  The coffee it produces is weak, no matter how much or little I use or grind or brand.  Now, I do NOT like my coffee strong either so for me to say it makes my coffee weak is saying something.  

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Friday Feature - Pattern Play

Amy Ellis is amazing!

Her store AE Baby was my very first Etsy crush.

Yep.  It was love at first site!

She was known all over Etsy for her amazing I Spy Bags.  Totally cool!  But for me, it was her pretend play Sugar Cookie Set that made my heart swoon.

{Source AE Baby}

Seriously what little girl would not LOVE to play with this set?  Adorable right?

A few weeks ago I got word that AE Baby would be closing it's doors.  This made me SO sad!  But, not to fear!  You can still find Amy's creations on Pattern Play!  YAY!

She has some of THE BEST patterns around!  What makes them so wonderful?  They are clear and easy to follow.

I just ordered the pattern for these  boxes...

{Source Pattern Play}

I am still trying to find just the right thing to get my pantry organized and I think these will be great!  I also need extra storage in my closet and these totes are the perfect solution!

I also wanted to show you this...

{Source Pattern Play }

Yes!  That is play food!  Isn't that CUTE?!?!  I love it!

Be sure to visit Amy over at Pattern Play!  Show some love and share on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest!

I would love for you to visit Amy's store and let me know your favorite pattern.

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Double Chocolate Muffins

Oh chocolate muffins!  There is nothing better.  Well...except DOUBLE chocolate muffins!

In college, on my way out of the dorms I always stopped and got a BIG Otis Spunkmeyer Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Muffin and a chocolate milk.

Breakfast of champions!

I have bought many mixes in the past to make these glorious muffins at home.  While they have tied me over for years they just weren't the same.  I ran across a recipe from Brown Eyed Baker (she NEVER stears me wrong) and knew I HAD to give it a shot.  Now, you know me and you know how well I read a recipe before I start making it.

Yep, I actually never pre-read recipes.  HA!  I always figure out about halfway through that I really should start doing that.  I have yet to learn my lesson though.  I got stuck with putting in some of your chocolate in with the butter to melt.  I didn't want my chocolate melted!  I wanted to bite into the muffin and have the pieces of chocolate explode in my mouth. 

I should have re-read that part and then read beyond that part.  You don't put ALL of the chocolate in with the butter to melt, just a bit of it.  You will still have exploding chocolate pieces in the muffin.

Double Chocolate Muffins
adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
12 muffins

6Tbs Butter
1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips (I used about a cup though, love chocolate! I also used semi-sweet)
2 Cups Flour
2/3 Cup Sugar
1/3 Cup Cocoa Powder
1 Tbs Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Salt
1 1/4 Cups Buttermilk*
1 Egg
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray muffin pan or place paper cups in muffin cups.
Melt butter and half the chocolate chips together.  I used the microwave but you can use whatever melting method you prefer.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a separate bowl or large measuring cup whisk the buttermilk, egg and vanilla together until well combined.
Pour the liquid ingredients and the melted butter/chocolate over the dry ingredients and stir to blend.  Do not overmix the batter.
Fold in the remaining chocolate chips.
Spoon the batter evenly into muffin cups.
Top each muffin with a few chocolate chips.
Bake for about 20 minutes.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

*If you are like me it is rare you have buttermilk in your house.  You can make your own by placing 1Tbs Vinegar in a measuring cup and then filling it with 1 Cup milk and allowing to sit for 5 minutes.  This recipe calls for 1 1/4 Cup Buttermilk, I still used just 1Tbs of Vinegar and it worked just the same.

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Mocha Cupcakes with Sweet Cream Frosting

I first talked about these cupcakes here but thought they needed their own post, they are REALLY good!  Also note, I have yet to find the coffee extract that I used on these (the one I used was a product test I was doing at the time).  If you can find coffee extract, use it, if not you can use very strong coffee in it's place.
{Coffee Cupcakes}
1 Box Chocolate Cake Mix
Eggs, Oil, Water (according to box directions)
2-3 Tbs Coffee Extract or Strong Coffee

Prepare cake according to directions on box and add Extract while mixing.
Place batter in cupcake tins that have been sprayed with cooking spray or that have cupcake liners in them.
Bake according to directions on box.
Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes
Transfer to wire rack to cool completely

{Sweet Cream Frosting}
1 Bag Powdered Sugar
1 1/2 Sticks Butter - softened
4 tsp's Coffee Extract or Strong Coffee
3-6 Tbs Coffee-Mate Italian Sweet Cream Creamer

Place butter in mixing bowl and cream, you want the butter to be nice and creamy
Add powdered sugar a little at a time at low speed
Once all sugar is in bowl add the extract and mix well
You will then add the creamer one Tbs at a time until you get the consistency you desire.

OH! MY! GOSH!  I can not even explain to you how good this was!


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San Francisco Chops

My mom first introduced me to this recipe when I was growing up.  It is really very good.  She would serve her version with egg noodles, I actually prefer this version, but you can use rice as well.

{San Francisco Chops}
 Serves 4
4 Pork Chops (1 1/2lbs)
1Tbsp Oil
1 Clove Garlic, minced
2 tsp Oil
4 Tbsp Soy Sauce
4 Tbsp Cooking Wine
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper*
2 tsp Cornstarch
2 Tbsp Water

Trim fat off of chops
Heat oil in skillet
Brown chops on both sides then remove from pan (you are just browning at this point, not cooking through)
Add a bit more oil to pan, if needed
Saute garlic for 1 minute, being careful not to burn
In a small bowl combine oil, wine, soy sauce, brown sugar and red pepper, set aside
Return chops to skillet and pour sauce over.
Cover pan tightly with lid or foil
Simmer over Low heat until chops are tender & cooked through (you can add up to 2 Tbs water if  needed to keep sauce from cooking down too much)
Turn once during cooking.
Remove chops to platter, keeping sauce in pan
Dissolve cornstarch in 2 Tbs water and add to sauce, cook until thickened
Pour over chops & serve

I love serving these chops with egg noodles that have been tossed with a bit of butter and sauce, I did not have any noodles on hand the night we made this so I used rice.  I still prefer the noodles but rice is a great option as well.
*You can add more or less red pepper depending on your preference.

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God is working on ME

I first shared this post August 8th, 2010 on my personal blog.  After reading it again this morning I decided to share it here as well.........

Isn't it amazing to just sit back and let God have control of your life?  Have you ever done that?  Have you ever just sat back and said "Ok God, I am tired.  I know there is more to my life than what I have now.  I know you have a plan for me and I am ready to see this plan come to light.  God, I am putting you in control of my life and I am taking a back seat."  If not, you really should. 

For the past year I have felt this tugging on my heart.  I am lucky to be surrounded by some pretty amazing women of faith, I will call them out.  They are my Money Saving Queen sisters.  I have been watching what God is doing in their lives and I wanted to be like them.  Sometimes, you just know you are not complete.

In March (I think it was March) I was invited to speak at a local church about coupons.  My friend Susan goes to church there.  I was speaking at their monthly women's meeting.  I met some pretty amazing people that night and since that day have thought about them now and then.

A little over a month ago Susan invited me back to church.  She got me with dinner for just $3.  I won't lie.  lol  What is better to a mom than a cheap meal at someone elses place and not having to clean up?  HELLO!  But, I was also going because I knew I NEEDED to be there.

I have to admit it was kind of odd being in church again and not being there because it was a holiday or because Grandpa was singing a special that day.  I was going because I KNEW I NEEDED to be there.  I have always had a relationship with God but have not been in a church in a while.

I had gotten to the point of thinking "What is the big deal?  I worship God in my home and try to live my life the way he would want me to live it."  Well, now that I have been going a few weeks I am amazed at just how much actually GOING to church can do for you.  I have never cried so much in my life!  lol  It is a good cry, a pure, raw, emotional, Spirit filled cry.  I think the last time I have felt that was FCA camp my senior year.

Now, let me tell you, A few weeks ago I was questioning my decision on going to THIS church.  I just wasn't sure that THIS church was were I needed to be.  I am 100% sure tonight that THIS church is where I am supposed to be now.  There is no doubt in my mind anymore, THIS is where I belong.

The reason I was doubting my decision, or should I say God's decision, was because it was different than what I had known.  I grew up in the First Christian Church and this was NOT that church.  This church is Assembly of God and is WAY different.  But, sometimes different is good.

Yes, I have seen some things in this church that I have never in my life seen before.  I will admit, at first I thought it was kind of weird.  But, I continued to pray and listen to God.  I may not fully understand the why's or the how's but I know I will get there.

I do want to share what happened tonight.  I was sitting in church, listening to the preacher do his thang.  But this time I was REALLY listening.  He then opened up the Alter and I watched as the people of the church were being prayed for and some pretty amazing things were going on.  While I don't fully understand everything, I was sitting in my seat praying that someone would come talk to me about it.  I was praying that Phyllis, one of the ladies there, would have the time at some point to talk to me about everything.  I knew it may not happen tonight but I prayed that at just some point in my journey she would.  Then, what do I see?  Phyllis is walking back to her seat.  She stops, then comes over and sits beside me and starts talking to me about everything!  I am not kidding!  It was AMAZING!  Thank God for her!  She was telling me about a man in the church and his journey and trying to explain some things.  Guess who I randomly ran into at Braum's later that night?  Yep, that guy.  I have NO DOUBT that THIS is where I am supposed to be!  THIS is MY Church!  Praise God!

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Friday Feature - Liberty Images

**Good news guys!  Jen has offered a coupon!  She said " I'd like to extend a coupon to your readers—with the code "PrincessBrandi", y'all can get free shipping on your order until May 17 (one use per customer, though!)."  Isn't that GREAT!  So GO!  Go check her out!

As I mentioned last week, I am starting a new feature on here where I feature some of my FAVORITE Etsy/Artfire/Homemade/Handmade artisans.
Today’s featured artist is the ever so AWESOME Jen B from Liberty Images!

Image found here

Jens images are SO clear and INSANELY crisp!  She offers something for everyone.

Do you like floral or landscape shots?  She's got those....

Found here

Isn't that stunning?  I can totally see that hanging in my bedroom!

Or maybe vintage cars or signage is your thing?  Yep, she has those also!

Found here

I learned from Jen's blog that she took a trip down Rt. 66 last spring.  Oh how I wish I would have known her then.  As it turns out, I live JUST off of Rt. 66!  She probably drove right through my little Oklahoma town.  I need to ask her if she stopped at one of the restaurants here, it is one of the oldest family run restaurants that's still kicken it on Rt. 66 (if not the oldest).

Be sure to check Liberty Images out!  Follow her on Pinterest, she posts some of the most AWESOME vintage items/pics around.  You can also find her on Twitter and of course her blog, Victory Rolls and V8s!

Oh!  What was that?  You want to know MY favorite image of hers?  So glad you asked!
It happens to be the very first one I posted.  If I ever live out my dream and own a bakery of my own one day, I want the counter to look just like the one in that pic.  Full of glass jars and domes with yummy cupcakes, cakes and cookies underneath.

Please show Jen some love and pin, post and share her site!

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Homemade Seasoned Fries

(WHEW! These were right out of the fryer....HOT)
{Homemade Seasoned Fries}
3-4 Potatoes
Kosher Salt
Italian Seasoning

Wash and peel potatoes
Slice into slim pieces and place on baking sheet
Bake 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees
While your potatoes are baking heat your oil in a deep saucepan, use enough oil to completely cover potatoes
Remove potatoes from oven and start frying
Fry in small batches and stir a bit so the fries do not stick together, continue to fry until fries are a light golden brown
Remove from oil and place on paper towels to allow oil to drain
Season with salt and Italian seasoning to taste


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Ghirardelli Squares Review

A few days ago I was sent a package of the Ghirardelli Milk and Truffle Squares.




These are SO good!  

I am not going to lie, I have been a fan of Ghirardelli for a while.  It started with the Caramel Squares and then the Dark Chocolate and Caramel Squares.

Yes, I have a thing for Caramel.

I was hesitant to try at first because I had seen just a couple of bad reviews.  They said the center was like a syrup and the flavor was just too sweet.

Luckily, I did not agree with those reviews at all!

The center is smooth and creamy and the sweetness is exactly what I would expect from milk chocolate.  Plus, they come individually wrapped so I can enjoy just one a day and not feel like they are calling my name like an open bag of chocolate usually does.

I will for sure be purchasing the Milk and Truffle Squares for special occasions.

Please note, I was given a free package of Ghirardelli Milk and Truffle Squares from SheSpeaks for my review.  All opinions are my own.

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Confession - I am a MESSY cook


I get stuff EVERYWHERE when I cook.


The other day I was baking, my dough needed to rest in the freezer for 20 minutes.  I looked around my kitchen and ALMOST just went to sit down, like I usually do, and wait for the time to be up.

Instead, I decided to use it as a challenge.  I challenged myself to pick up my kitchen in that time.

I was able to unload and load the dishwasher....

Wash a few dishes by hand.....

Prep my pans and clean the counter off.

While it wasn't a deep clean I was able to get most things picked up and put away and ready for the next round.

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Happy Valentines Day!

I hope you are all able to spend today with someone special.  For me, I am spending it with my sweet little family.  I woke up this morning to the girls running in my room with a card and a box of chocolates, followed by hubby with a card.  So sweet!  I love them so much!

Today I wanted to share something with you that I have had for 15 years.  That is how long I have known my hubby.  We met when I was a sophomore in high school, he was a freshmen in college.  I knew the moment I walked in his sisters house and made eye contact with him that cold December night, we were going to get married one day.  Yes, I really did!  We ended up breaking up and getting back together a few times over the year or so we dated back then.  I eventually moved away, went to college, moved even further away and grew up a little.  We started dating again when I was 21 or 22 (sorry, years tend to run together sometimes lol), I moved back to Tulsa (from Dallas) and the rest, they say, is history.  It hasn't been easy, we have had some awful fights, we have both done harmful things and we have both forgiven.  We still argue, but nothing like we once did.  Marriage isn't always easy but it is fun growing and learning with each other.  

For my 16th birthday hubby gave me a HUGE jar FULL of chocolate!  Hello!  The man knows how to make me happy!  HAHA!  The candy was eventually eaten but the jar remained.  Over the time we spent together in HS he would get me flowers from time to time.  Then when I moved back, he would surprise me with flowers often. 

In HS I started saving and drying the flowers, then I would pick the petals off and place them in the jar.  As time went on the jar got fuller and fuller, to the point that I was only able to save one flower out of each bouquet he gave me.  The flowers have settled a bit over the years and I now have some room at the top for more flowers.  Maybe I will ask him for a new jar this year for my birthday and we can start all over again.

Yes, I am a hopeless romantic.

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International Delight #IcedCoffee Klatch #CBias

Have you tried the NEW International Delight Iced Coffee yet?
OH MY GOSH!  It is SO good!  Seriously....SO good!
I can not tell you how excited I was when I found out about the #IcedCoffee from International Delight.  One carton costs about $4 and I can get about 8-15 servings out of one carton, depending on glass size of course.  That is SO much cheaper than Starbucks!  PLUS, I can pick one up at my local Walmart so that makes it even better!
A few nights ago I invited a few friends over for a Coffee Klatch, a little get together, to try the new flavors.  We had SO much fun!  Seriously tons of laughs.

This is my friend Natasha.  She was SO excited to try the iced coffee.  I will get to what she thought about all the flavors in a bit.

This is my friend Crissy.  She really liked the iced coffee, vanilla was her fav (it is my fav as well).  I think she said her lineup would be Vanilla, Mocha and then Original.  She has two teen girls and I think they would absolutely LOVE this product.

My friend Susan was camera shy so I didn't get a pic of her.  She, God bless her, is NOT a coffee drinker.  In fact I would go as far to say she despises the stuff.  That makes me SO sad.  In fact, she hates coffee SO much that she was not going to come to the party.  But, she is a good friend and came anyway.  Isn't she sweet?  Yep, that's why I love her.

Would you like to know what Susan thought of the iced coffee?
Are you ready for this?

She LOVED it!
Seriously!  Isn't that cool?  To be fair, she didn't love it at first...once we got to the Vanilla flavor...she was sold!  WooHoo!!

Now, back to Natasha.  Can you tell she liked it?  Yeah!  She even went home with a carton!  HA!  She is a HUGE coffee LOVER and was SO excited to find out she could just run to Walmart and pick up a carton.....or two.....or four.  The original was her favorite and said "This must be what God drinks, it is Heavenly!"  HAHA!  She is a nut.  lol  She loved all of the flavors but Original was her favorite.

Natasha and me...her heart said "Party Time" and mine said "Friends 4 Ever"

As for what I thought?

As I already told you, Vanilla is my FAVORITE flavor followed closely by Original and then Mocha.

Now, having said that let me tell you that I think the Original is a GREAT base for other flavors.  Use coffee syrups and mix it up!  Caramel syrup added in is out of this world! 

You can see more pics of my shop and party on my Google+ story, check it out!


You can find International Delight on Facebook and Twitter as well!

This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias All opinions are my own.

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My Etsy Favs

I am going to start a new feature called {My Etsy Favs}.  As some of you know, this blog was born a few years ago thanks to my very own Etsy store.  I made hairbows, ruffle socks, pillowcase dresses, and all kinds of cute little things for your cute little girl.  In 2010 I had to shut my store down because of tendinitis in my wrist.  Oh the pain was just unbearable. 

While my store was open I had the chance to meet some pretty {AMAZING} artisans/crafters.  While some of them moved on from Etsy I will still be featuring them because they are just that awesome.  Since the closing of my store I have also found some new stores that I LOVE.  I hope you enjoy this feature and find some cool things for yourself, your home, your family and your friends.  I feel it is important to buy handmade and support other women.

My first featured store will be posted next week.  I would love it if you would pin something from the featured store on Pinterest and share the store with your friends on Facebook and/or Twitter.  Show some love for these hard working artisans!

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This week I am going to focus on {SWEETS}, you know I LOVE them.

Up first is this {AWESOME} cake!  Oh! MY! GOSH!  My little brother would LOVE this.....ok, so he isn't SO little anymore but, he would still LOVE it!  I think I may very well win sister of the year if i made this for him!  Oh if only I had mad cake skill.  My little brother seriously watched this movie at LEAST once a week growing up!  Not even kidding, totally wish I was.

When I saw {THIS} cake my jaw dropped.  I LOVE this cake!  It is so cute!  My birthday is in May, if anyone would like to make this for me....I would not refuse.

My friend pinned this {BEGGING} someone to make them for her.  Shouldn't be hard to pull of!  Two chocolate chip cookies, buttercream frosting and strawberries.  YUM!  These would be GREAT for a fun summer get together.

{SPRINKLES} Who doesn't LOVE sprinkles?!?  Did you know you can color your OWN sprinkles?  It is super easy also!

You guys know I have a thing for doughnuts!  BUT!  Did you know that Old Fashioned Sour Cream is my {FAVORITE}?  They totally are!  I was SO excited when I saw this!

Oh {Nutella} I LOVE Nutella!  Aren't these cute little Nutella Chocolate Hearts AMAZING?!  Yes, I think so as well!  I will be making a version soon!

I haven't decided what I am going to make first but.....those doughnuts are {REALLY} calling my name!

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Turtle Pecans

My Granny was an {AMAZING} candy maker.  Ok, she was an amazing cook and baker and just an amazing person as well.  But today, we are talking about her candy making.

I remember her making Divinity {EVERY} Christmas, that recipe will be coming soon.  I don't however, remember her making Turtles.  I was going through her recipes the other day and found her Turtle recipe and couldn't believe how easy it was.  Another reason I decided to make the Turtles is because my husband gets a free box of pecans every Christmas from a company his work is associated with.  Pretty cool right?  Especially since pecans are nearly as much as gold right now.

I am going to give you my Granny's Turtle recipe in just a bit.  I am also going to give you my version.

Makes: 4 dozen

1 (14oz) package of square Caramels (wrappers removed)
1 1/2 Cups Pecan Halves
5 (1.5oz) Chocolate Bars (like Hershey's original bars)

Arrange groups of 3 or 4 pecan halves two inches apart on greased baking sheet.  Top each group with one Caramel.  Bake at 300 degrees for 7 minutes.  Remove to waxed paper and flatten caramels with spatula.  Top each Turtle with one chocolate square while still warm, spread when melted.

I had a hard time finding the normal caramels at my store.  So, I bought the little caramel bits (the round ones).  Um yeah, those did {NOT} stay on the pecans.  So here is what I did.....

{Turtle Pecans}
 2 Cups Pecan Halves
1 (11oz) package of Caramel Bits
1 1/2 (4.4oz) Chocolate Bars - chopped

Lay pecans in a single layer on greased baking sheet.  Sprinkle caramel bits on top.  Bake at 300 degrees for 7 minutes.  Remove from oven and spread caramel over pecans, you might need to stir a bit then press back into a single layer.  Top with chopped chocolate, allow to rest for about 3 minutes.  Spread chocolate over pecans.  Allow to rest for about 5 minutes then remove to waxed paper.  Let sit until set, a few hours-overnight.  Once set break into pieces, store in airtight container.

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Recipe Review - Baked Doughnuts

I have been wanting to make cake doughnuts for a LONG time, I just never had a fancy pan.  Michaels was having an AMAZING deal a few weeks ago and I got it for 40% off!  AWESOME!  I now need to go back and get a second pan......waiting for another awesome deal first though.

I first found this recipe from Kristy over at Mommy Hates cooking, she adapted it from this recipe found on Fake Ginger.  I decided to take both and combine and change a few things on each.  The first thing I did was change the buttermilk/skim milk for what I had on hand which was 2% and I added 1/8 tsp cinnamon rather than 1/4.  Next time I will skip the cinnamon all together.  I then doubled the recipe.

I made the Vanilla Baked Doughnuts first and then added a few tablespoons to the left over batter to make chocolate.  I preferred the Chocolate Baked Doughnuts over the Vanilla.

I found these to be very dense doughnuts and I don't know how to change that.  For whatever reason the Chocolate version was not as dense as the Vanilla, which is weird to me since I used the exact same batter for both.  Gotta love the science of baking!  HA!

All in all these were good, just dense.  I would make the Chocolate version again.

If you have a recipe you would like me to review, or just try, contact me and let me know!  I am always on the lookout for yummy new recipes!

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Potty Training

Oh boy!  Here we go!  It is time to potty train MG. 

With Mads it was easy, I went to work and hubby trained her.  By day 5 we all felt comfortable about leaving the house and not having an accident.  With MG, well I am just not sure we will ever get to that point.

The method we do is this:
Wake up on day one and go potty.  After they potty on the toilet they get a prize and then you walk around the house, find all the diapers and throw them away.  Then every 15 minutes we go potty in the toilet.  Repeat for 3 days and you are done.  We also night train during this time.  Go potty before bed, then we wake her up and go potty before we go to bed, then wake her up when we get up to go potty again and then potty again when she wakes up.....and then you start the 15 minute routine.  Also during all of this one, and only one parent is responsible for taking them to go potty.  We decided that since hubs has done this before and it doesn't stress him out.....he should do it again.

I made her prize basket the other night.  It is fully of treats she normally does not get, cookies, candy, fun little prizes.  I also go juice boxes for her to drink as much as she wants during the day.

Sounds great right?!?  Well, here we 1 and she has gotten something out of the prize basket once!  She has had three accidents so far.  The first, she tried to potty on the toilet, didn't go, got up, washed her hands then peed in the bathroom floor.  Fantastic.

Feel free to keep up with our potty training journey on my Facebook page or Twitter.

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