Monday, August 12, 2013

How do you say goodbye?

It's been almost a year since I started this thing. Can you believe it? I can! I started this blog in hopes that I would be able to occupy myself in a way that would let me be creative and fun and inspiring to others. I didn't start it to get paid or receive product, I did it because I needed something more in my life and I thought that blogging on a more "professional" level (you know more than just updates about my kids) would help me fulfill that. But it hasn't. I find myself dragging every week to coming up with posts and honestly I'm overwhelmed :)

I know that everyone's life is busy (isn't that part of life?) but between being a good mom, being a good wife, being a good homemaker, this blog, the "family" blog, the new photography business, fostering dogs, working out, traveling, Addison taking ballet and about to start Preschool, story times, everything...I'm exhausted. But most importantly my body is exhausted and if you know me at all you know that's a very bad sign, I mean I caught a cold 3 weeks ago and I'm still recovering, ugh, and don't even ask me about my migraines. So what am I going to do about it. That's the million dollar question isn't it? And one that I've been rolling around in my head for the last couple weeks. You know that you need to make a change, but where do you even start.

So...I've finally decided that I have to re-prioritize. I can admit that I can't do everything.

I've loved doing this blog. I've loved the reaction it's received, but it takes up a lot of time and it's starting to feel like a bad job. With the only advantage being that my family's survival doesn't depend on me keeping and so if it doesn't make me happy then I have no reason not to step away. Especially since starting up my photography business this past April and business picking up on that end, along with finding out that it is fulfilling all those "extra" needs in my life there's no reason to split myself in half trying to do both. And that's why if I have to spend extra time working on something I would much rather it be photography than the blog. So if you're in Denver looking for a good photographer then give me a call ;)

I'm sure if you've even made it this far in the post you're like sheesh, we get it...chillax already! But I had to explain it to myself and this was the best way to do it. Sorry it was so long! Love you all! Thanks for hanging in there with me this past year it has truly been an amazing learning and growing experience that I wouldn't change for the world.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Bye Bye Redness

I have sensitive skin. So figuring out how to do my eyebrows has always been a problem. If I tweeze I get really red and sometimes I even bleed or if I wax I get really red and itchy. So for pretty much as long as I can remember I just wax my eyebrows and I go in armed!

First I take a Benadryl about 10 minutes before I get waxed. (Just 1--I'm not trying to get drowsy here.) Normally I only need that first dose, but ever now and then I will take an extra before bed that evening.


Then as soon as we're done with the waxing I apply my secret product! Campho-Phenique.
                                                                                              (via walmart.com)

It's supposed to be for bug bites and things like that but my mom used to use it for breakouts and I did too. When I started waxing I thought that maybe it would work similarly. Not only does it help reduce redness, but it also has a little bit of pain reliever in it which is a a big help for when my skin gets itchy. Then I apply this as needed for the rest of the day and it cuts my healing time from 7 days to 1-1/2 days. Big improvement. And what's even more awesome is how cheap it is! You can pick up a bottle from Walmart for less than $4 and it will last you forever! Okay, not literally forever, but for a lot longer than you might expect. It goes on clear and isn't super greasy, there is a slight smell to it, sort of like a citronella candle? but I don't think it's unpleasant.

Make sure to check it out before you go in for your next appointment!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Chocolate Meringue Pie Cupcakes

(I'm not lazy...just overwhelmed! Enjoy this flashback recipe!)

Yes, you read the title correctly. I'm going to share my amazing creation of turning a chocolate meringue pie into a cupcake. I made these for my sister's wedding reception because chocolate meringue pie is her husband's favorite pie!

I'm not going to go in depth into all the recipes. (Honestly there are too many steps for this cupcake :) But I'll share where I found the recipe for each step. And truth be told, the amazing part of this cupcake is the finished product. I've made the important directions in bold to help with all the steps.

Let's start with the base. Preheat heat to 350.
In your normal muffin tins, place your liners and spray them with a light coat of Pam.  Mix up a batch of graham cracker pie crust. Don't be intimidated to make your own!

**Recipe**
1 pkg of graham crackers (There are normally about 9 crackers per package.)
1/4 cup of brown sugar (if you must you can use white, but I prefer brown)
1/4 cup of melted butter

1) Throw the crackers in a food processor and grind those babies up until they are fine and no large lumps.
2) Add in the sugar and then mix.
3) Add in the melted butter and combine with your hands until the mixture is evenly coated.
4) Put 1 tablespoon of mixture into prepare muffin tins and press into a smooth even crust.
5) Bake for 5 minutes.

While that's going mix up your favorite batch of chocolate cupcake mix. I love Martha Stewart's One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes from her Martha Stewart Baking cookbook.

**Recipe**
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups dutch-process cocoa powder ***USE DARK CHOCOLATE COCOA POWDER IF YOU CAN!!!***
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs, plus 1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil, plus 2 tablespoons
1 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups warm water

1) Preheat oven to 350F and line or spray two standard 12-cup muffin pans. 
2) Sift into the mixer bowl: flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the eggs, yolk, milk, oil, vanilla and warm water. 
3) Beat with a paddle attachment on low speed until smooth and combined, about 3 minutes; scrape down the sides of the bowl if needed.
4) Divide batter evenly among the muffin cups using a "release" ice cream scoop.
5) Bake for 20 minutes and then cool on a wire rack.

Next whip up so chocolate pudding. Jello brand is just fine, or if you make your own make sure it is completely cooled before you use it!

Mix up some meringue and pipe it into the shape of the top of your cupcake. Make sure to do this on wax paper and pie it a lot higher than you would want it...meringue falls.

Alright here comes the "fun" part.

Take your cupcake and if you have a fancy device to core it with use it! if not a strawberry corer, melon baller, or small teaspoon work fine too. Scoop out about 3/4 of the way down into the cupcake and use your finger to create a small well.


Put all the pudding in a piping bag and squirt it into the well. Don't overfill...but make sure you get right to the top.

Use a little bit of normal frosting frost around the top of the cupcake and then place your pre-browned meringue on top. Ta-da!

So when you peel of the liner it should look like this:


And when you bite into it it'll look like this:

I love cupcakes with a surprise!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Rockabye Baby!

A couple months ago we started having some issues in my 3 year old's room...and by issues I mean ghosts. Whether you want to believe me or not. At first it wasn't a big deal to her, but things kept getting worse. Suddenly she wanted to sleep with her door wide open and the blankets over her head and around that time we had a few weird things happen in the house. Following my mom's advice I had a very direct conversation out loud with this mom and baby ghost asking them to stop scaring Addison, whether they meant to or not (I will admit that it was a combination of awkward and creepy having this conversation). But after that the weird things in the house stopped happening, but Addison still said they were there making her uncomfortable. We finally dedicated the house and since then she hasn't mentioned them once when it was a several times a day conversation that we used to have.

So that might seem like a long back story, but if you'd believe it, that was the short version :) To get to the point we started to need a way of calming her down before bedtime and to help her fall asleep and go back to sleep while all this was going on. My mom suggested lullabies. Not necessarily something with words or anything, but something for background noise that would be comforting for her. I've mentioned before my inability to stand most kid's music stuff so when I stumbled across the Rockabye Baby collection at the library I thought it would be perfect for us.



If you haven't heard of them before you definitely need to check it out. They do lullaby renditions of all the most awesome musical artists. They use bells and chimes to recreate all of MY favorites. We started out with their versions of Muse, Led Zeppelin, and Kiss. When it was time to return them Doug even asked me to make a copy for him to keep! They have so many artists to choose from. Guns 'N Roses to Jay-Z, Nine Inch Nails to Bob Marley. There are currently 55 different artists that they have CDs for and they are adding more all the time--Michael Jackson is their next one coming out. My favorites right now are Muse, Queen, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and of course Van Halen...I've got my fingers crossed that they do a Poison CD soon.
                  




Plus Addison loves the artwork. She's always asking for her teddy bear music :) They are fun, witty plays on the group's original covers.

Hands down these have become our new favorite CDs. Check them out on the Rockabye Baby website where you can buy the CDs or just the MP3s. Your sanity with thank you!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Clean Up!

I love my makeup...but I hate removing it. I swear even after washing my face it's miserable trying to get the remnants of eyeliner and mascara off. Especially if I'm traveling or in a rush to get to the gym. Thankfully I got introduced to an awesome product, by my mom, that has changed my life. 


The Neutrogena Make-Up Remover Cleansing Towelettes are AH-MAZING. I love that they are so easy for travel--I don't have to worry about liquids spilling! I try and keep a travel pack in my purse for those times when I'm rushing to the gym and either have to remove my makeup before I start or as a special treat to use after the workout for a light refreshing cool off. Plus they are so soft and moisturizing for my face. I always feel so fresh and clean after using them. They are also tough enough that I can use them to scrub mascara off completely! In fact most nights I use these after washing my face because I'll still have the raccoon eyes from trying to use my other stuff. 

They also are awesome because they don't cost a fortune. You can get a 25 pack for about $5 from anywhere that sells Neutrogena products, but my favorite place to get them is at COSTCO. Love it. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Two for One

I'm sure you're kicking and screaming...two weeks in a row without a recipe! How dare I? But we have been traveling and sick and I just haven't been cooking as much lately. So today in place of a fitness post I want to share a recipe for some yummy granola! It's healthy so it sort of counts right?

Now before you ask...I don't have a picture.I know, I know---when you post a recipe you're always supposed to have a picture. But I don't--so tough :)

This was a family recipe that I changed up to fit my tastes better. And this doesn't clump like a granola cereal, but I love it mixed in with yogurt! Enjoy!

Granola

Ingredients:
6 cups of rolled oats
1/2 cup of wheat germ
1/4 cup of sesame seeds
1 cup of nuts your choice (I'm not a big nut fan, but I chop these up pretty small--I normally use almonds)
1/3 sunflower seeds
1 cup veggie oil
1 + 1/2 cup of honey, separated
1/2 cup of crasins
(optional, any other dried fruit that you want, I like dried mangoes too!)
1 tsp almond extract
2 tbsp vanilla extract
(optional, 2 tbsp of maple syrup)

Directions:
1) Preheat the oven to 300 and line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray it with Pam.
2) Mix the oats, wheat germ, sesame seeds, nuts, and sunflower seeds together in a large bowl.
3) Pour in 1 cup of the honey and the veggie oil. Mix well.
4) Spread it evenly over the sprayed cookie sheet and bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown. Check it and move it around a few times while cooking.
5) Pour it back into the bowl and add the almond and vanilla extract and the dried fruit and maple syrup if you want.
6) Put it back on the pan and bake again for 5-10 minutes.
7) Put it in the bowl again and drizzle the 1/2 cup of honey over it all and toss. Allow it to cool.
8) When it's cool, I like to store it in canning jars to help them last longer--if you're lucky! Addison will eat this for cereal, for snacks, anytime really. It doesn't last us long :)