Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Boxed Cake Mix Magic

I absolutely LOVE to bake!!

There is just something so satisfying about bringing over a beautiful cake or dessert to a family dinner, having everyone swoon over it, then remark that it tastes as good as it looks.  It brings me such joy and turns my domestic needs up a notch every time.

I usually love to bake from scratch, rarely using boxed cake mixes at all.  However, these days leave little time for that kind of baking, but I still have that need to make and bake something pretty.  

About a year or so ago, I was having some ladies over and I knew I wanted to serve them something pretty and sweet, but no time to make it between cleaning and making other snacks.  And buying some pre-made cookies at the store would have just killed me.  Thankfully, I am a Pampered Chef consultant which has allowed me to stock my kitchen with neat gadgets and pans that help make cooking easier and prettier.  

So I pulled out one of my favorite products (who am I kidding? Everything in the catalog is my "favorite" product.), my Silicone Crown Cake Pan.
And bought a box of Butter Golden Cake mix, some rum extract, some confectioner's sugar, and a pint of fresh Louisiana strawberries.

I made the cake mix according to the directions on the box; however, I added about a tablespoon of rum extract to the mix and blended it in.  **You can use more rum extract if you like...  it's all according to preference.**  Then I coated my Silicone Crown pan in Baker's Joy and baked my cake according to the directions for a bundt pan on the back of the box.

While my cake was baking, I washed my beautiful strawberries and let them drip dry.

As my cake was cooling, I cored and chopped up my strawberries.  **I kept my strawberries chunky for my own personal taste, but if you prefer slices, try using your egg slicer for pretty strawberry slices.**

After my cake had cooled about 10-15 minutes, I turned it over on a pretty platter.  I put all my chopped strawberries around the cake and in the center.

Now, I love to bake, but I'm not the biggest fan of sweets.  So cake icing is always too much for me, so I wanted a different option.  Besides, this recipe is supposed to be super easy and trying to frost a cake and keep it pretty is not always that easy for me.  So I decided to sprinkle the cake with confectioner's sugar instead.  This task is the easiest part, thanks to another one of my "favorite" Pampered Chef Products; my Flour/Sugar Shaker.

Once the cake is dusted with the confectioner's sugar, it's beautiful and ready to serve!

I had my reservations about doing a post about a boxed cake mix, but I just had to share this simple treat with you.  You see, everyone absolutely LOVES this cake.  I've already made it several times this spring since strawberries have been in season here, and I've never come home with left over cake.  I even love it because the butter rum cake with the strawberries just seem to compliment each other so well!  

Let me know if you try it and how you like it!

Happy Spring,

Linking with

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Eggs

So.. thanks to an ear and sinus infection coupled with an allergic reaction to mosquito bites, I did not get one picture from Easter Sunday.  My sweet redhead was running fever and he had a mosquito bite on his left eye lid of all places... so he had a crusty nose and an eye that was swollen completely shut.  Not a great photo opportunity.

Thank goodness this Mama shamefully did not buy him a new Easter outfit so there wasn't that much to be missed out on.

I did, however, manage to get some Easter eggs died a few nights before Easter.  This is the first time, we've dyed eggs with Jude.  And I got a cute idea from here and here on Disney's Family Fun website.  I thought it would give a twist to traditional egg dying.

So I gathered my supplies and set up my work space.  My hubby brought me some pipe caps which made great egg stands, and I didn't have the heart to melt beautiful Crayola crayons to eggs so I went to the dollar store and bought the cheapest box of crayons.  **Hindsight is always 20/20, but I should have just went with the Crayola brand because the pigment in cheap crayons is, well.. cheap.

I followed the instructions and starting coloring on the eggs after they had cooled for about 5-10 minutes so that they didn't burn my redhead.  Another tip... only boil a few eggs at a time because the cooler they are, the less the wax will melt to them.

I got my redhead to all ready to scribble on some eggs.  However, he seemed more interested in "Papa" with the camera and watching me doodling on the eggs.

Even Papa got involved with the egg dying party...

Tip number three, if you want a more tie dyed or abstract look to your egg, start with an egg fresh out of boiling water.  The extra hot egg will cause the wax to run making it eggstra eggciting... I'm a nerd, I know, my hubby tells me all the time.

Then once your done with your art work on your eggs... let them cool in the bottle caps, or pipe caps in our case, for an hour.

Next, place the cutest redhead you can find behind the decorated eggs to take some pictures of your artistic work.

Dying eggs with my redhead was wonderful and it was a total bummer that he was sick for Easter Sunday, but as I mentioned on my Facebook:  I would have been sad if Easter was only about egg hunts, candy, bunnies, and new spring outfits.  But Easter is really about celebrating the resurrection of our Savior and the fact that He is ALIVE with us today!  So there was no point in being sad over missing some Easter Sunday festivities.

I hope you had the happiest Easter!
Saturday, April 23, 2011


Today is a special day...

My 3oth Birthday!! 

It can be a BIG scary number for a woman.  We are supposed to hang up the skinny jeans and put away the pumps for slacks and clogs. Our childish moments of silliness should be behind us with proper and demure composure taking their place.  And we are supposed to be done with being beautiful and attractive.

Well... not this girl!
I wear pumps with my maternity skinny jeans!  I can’t remember a time in my life when I have smiled or laughed more.  And I finally feel confident enough in who I am to truly feel beautiful.

I will admit that I am not completely thrilled with turning thirty.  It’s not the idea of being thirty that bothers me.  It’s the realization of how good life is and how fast it’s flying by.  It seems like just yesterday I turned 15 and my mom took me to get my first driver’s license.  Now here I am... 30!

The happiest times in my life have occurred over the past seven years of my 20's.  Meeting my best friend at the age of 23 and marrying him at the age of 25 is where it all began.  Having his son at the age of 26 added to the bliss.  And now I have the honor of carrying our second miracle baby at the age of 30!  Me and my sweetheart, loving Jesus and raising the children He loaned us to love and honor Him.  What a wonderful birthday present!!  I know I could not ask for more than these gifts from God!  

On top of those three blessings, I have been given the wonderful gift of family and Godly friends to support and love my little family.  I am so grateful for the group of women the Lord has placed in my life over the past five years!

Today, I'm going to celebrate my special day with my three blessings!  I couldn't imagine spending the day any other way!

If it took thirty years for God to mold me into who I am today, then 30 is a wonderful age to be!

Time and tide wait for no man, but time always stands still for a woman of thirty.
Robert Frost

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Jude's First Easter Party

Well... here it is, just as I promised.  A post just of Jude full of cute pictures. 
Today was Jude’s first school party.  An Easter party!!
I was so excited to get to bring him to school with his Easter basket (the same little cheap basket he’s had since his first Easter) to hunt eggs with the other children.  

All Jude’s teachers were so nice and gathered around him to help him put eggs in his Easter basket.  And then take them out (Jude’s favorite part, and it was more like throwing them out... thank goodness they were plastic) and count them.

And I even got a picture with my little redheaded egg hunter.

And, of course, the eggs were full of different kinds of Easter candy.  Jude doesn’t eat much by mouth and has never had candy, so Mommy gets a treat ;-)  Of course Papa (Lane) is lurking around to make sure Mommy doesn’t get too many sweets.  I’ve been calling my hubby the Food Nazi!
Jude really does have some great teachers at his preschool.  I can’t say enough good things about them.  I’ve had such a good feeling from the first time we visited the school.  And Jude just loves it there!
Well that’s it for now.  My little egg hunter is down for a late but much needed nap after all of his adventures.  And I have some cleaning to do for this fun Easter weekend.  Later we are going to attempt dying eggs using crayons with our little redhead, so stay tuned for some more pictures!
Happy Thursday!!

Hello Third Trimester!!!

Today marks an exciting day...
The first day of my THIRD TRIMESTER!!!!   
Wow!  This pregnancy is flying by!  I can’t believe I only have about 12-13 weeks left... unless I go past my due date which is a possibility.
I can’t wait to meet Sweet Pea and hold him or her!  But at the same time, I want to enjoy this pregnancy.  After all, I didn’t know if I would ever get to be pregnant again.  
The baby is growing so much...
Lilypie Maternity tickers

As am I...

I seem to be getting bigger by the day now!  And it’s so exciting to feel more and more of Sweet Pea’s movements.  Like some stretching that surprises me or a little case of the hiccups.  Sweet Pea’s most active times are mornings and nights...  he or she seems to be an afternoon napper.
Doctors appointments are still going good. I go back in a little over a week for another ultrasound, and I can’t wait.  Instead of fear and worry clouding the day, I’ll be so excited and ready to see how much my sweet baby has grown.  Plus I am bringing Jude with me so he will get to see the baby too.  He doesn’t understand the concept of a new baby, but he already knows something is up.  And I’m sure it will be quite an adjustment for him come July, but one that he will come to love very much!
I haven’t started any work on the baby’s room yet...  I have a vision, I just need to find some time.  But Jude will be out of school soon and we will be home more for me to work on it.  
Speaking of Jude...  I know some of you are ready to see some Jude pictures.  He hasn’t been on here lately.  Well I have just the treat for you coming today or tomorrow so stay tuned!  
Hope all is well and that you are all excited about this awesome Easter weekend upon us!  

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sentimental Treasure

My sweet bloggy friend, Cha Cha from Sit Relax and Read has been doing a "Sentimental Sunday" linky party every Sunday for a while now.  It's a linky party in which you display your sentimental treasures around your home.  I have so bad wanted to join in the sweet fun, but I didn't think I had anything old enough to be sentimental just yet... especially not something I decorated with.  

Well... when I was working on my cabinet makeover, I came across my own sentimental treasure.

This beautiful platter.  Or at least I think it's beautiful, or maybe it's the sentimental story attached to it...

You see, this platter was a wedding gift from my cousin.  Our great aunt made the platter, but sadly she passed away only a few months before my wedding.  So what a wonderful and sentimental wedding gift it made for me.

Another tragedy is that this platter was hidden in a mass a bubble wrap in my cabinet.  I didn't want anything to happen to it, but what good was it doing in my cabinet? 

So now it is on full display on the counter in my new made over cabinets...

It's not pewter or made of sterling silver or fine crystal.  It was not bought at Pottery Barn or Williams Sonoma... but I just LOVE this platter!

Thanks for letting me share!
Friday, April 8, 2011

Nesting Madness Part 1: Cabinet Makeover

Hi... bare with me over the next few months.  I'm already a project loving girl, but being preggo and nesting has sent me into overdrive. 

We have a tiny three bedroom house that feels tight with our little family of three.  So you could imagine that when three become four in a few months, it's going to get even tighter in here.  And since my crafting, sewing, scrapbooking, and catch-everything-else room needs to turn into a nursery, I have to find a new spot for all my goodies.  

The only obvious place to do all my crafty things I love is our little dining nook (too small to call a dining room).  But since it's our only dining area, it still has to maintain its original purpose.  

No problem!

I'll just pull out my crafting gear as needed.  BUT... where do I pull it out from?  Every cabinet, closet, shelf, and corner is already full... and we still have to make room for Sweet Pea.  

Well my mother-in-law raised four boys in a house only a few hundred feet bigger than mine, so she has a great grasp on making every inch count.  (She is currently in the middle of a complete kitchen redo- I think she needs to start blogging.  She has renovated just about every room in her house, added a giant walk in closet, and built a huge family room onto it since I have come into the family almost 7 years ago.)  Anyway, she pointed out that another row of cabinets in my dining nook could help store some of my crafting supplies.

Well... I thought it was a great idea, so we (my hubby and me) started working.

This is the "dining nook" and cabinets before we did anything.  

Nothing too impressive.  Functional enough.  Except for the counter space which seems kind of useless except to decorate on.  It has two outlets above it I'm guessing for small appliances, but we don't drink coffee so no need for a coffee pot, and I have "enough" counter space in the kitchen for my needs right now.

Well..  where do we begin.  I knew I didn't want the expense of custom cabinets to fill that 70 inch hole.  And my husband is very, very handy but I didn't want to put him through the frustration of designing and building cabinets.  So I started looking around and found some unfinished cabinets at our local Home Depot.  I took measurements and figured out how to get 69 inches worth of cabinets in that spot.

New decision = New problem... I couldn't decide on what to finish the cabinets with.  I knew I wasn't crazy about the color of the original cabinets so I definitely didn't want to go through the strife of having to match them. 

Then at a birthday party at my cousin's new house, I fell in love with her kitchen and her painted cabinets.  (She happens to be new to the bloggy world, so stop by today and welcome her at Lou Lou's Life)  I decided to paint all the cabinets in the dining nook.  Lou Lou, as you'll get to know her, gladly shared her paint color with me, and I couldn't be more grateful for her inspiration.

So.. I had my cabinets, I had my paint.. time to work..

I primed and painted my cabinets outdoors in our beautiful spring, but too windy weather..  Oh, and for all the Sweet Pea fans out there- I used latex primer and paint which is perfectly safe according to my doctor.

Brushing paint on cabinets gives them a prettier finish than rolling them, but I imagine spraying them would have been the easiest.

My hubby, with the help of his brother, hung the new cabinets frames for me...

Then we hung the doors and touched them up with one last coat of paint and...


I. Just. Love. Them!

I was so pleased with the finished project!  It made the whole area look brighter and prettier.  I can fit scrapbooking supplies and even my sewing machine and Cricut in them!  My husband loved them too and even suggested maybe doing the kitchen cabinets as well...  Well, not anytime soon  :-)

Adding the cabinets also closed in that counter making it look a ton better I think.. since all I use it for is decorating.  By the way, if anyone has any suggestions for making that space functional, I'd be glad to hear them!



Now, plans for a dining set redo along with some other storage options are already in the drawing.  ;-)  As well as more of my  "Nesting Madness" will continue.  Stay tuned...

I am linking this post with:

Running with Glitter

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sweet Pea's Dream Nursery

Ok.. So I have been on the hunt for the perfect baby bedding.  Being that Sweet Pea's gender is a surprise, I set my sights on all white baby bedding that I could accent with a baby blue or baby pink once our sweet miracle arrived.

Here's the problem... Do you know how hard it is to find all white crib bedding?  Harder than I thought.  I found some bedding that was all white but lacey :-( and my favorite go to place, Pottery Barn, only carries it with scalloped edges of light pink or blue.  While it's pretty, it's not quite what I was looking for.  

I wanted something a little less modern and a little more timeless..

Then.. I happened upon a post from one of my FAVORITE blogs Pearls and Grace (a must read if you need a dose of God's simple goodness), in which her son is attached to, of all things, a beautiful white linen crib bumper.

Once I saw it, I knew I wanted it.  So after contacting sweet Sibi, she informed me that bumper came from Pom Pom.  She also warned me to brace myself.  

Her warning was needed...  They have a beautiful collection of timeless linens..  I found that Oh, Baby! here in Baton Rouge carries their line.  So my sweet Lane brought me to the boutique to lift my spirits on a trying day.

And, boy, did it lift my spirits...  Walking in the door, we were surrounded by the most beautiful baby and children's things I had ever seen.  The softest blankets, the most precious linen gowns, beautiful crib bedding, timeless Moses baskets, and the most comfortable chair.  They even had a smocked bumper and crib bedding set!  This southern girl was in HEAVEN!

And there it was.. in a corner.. the Pom Pom linen bedding.  Now it was BEAUTIFUL... so you could imagine, the price was not.  Despite, the "priceyness" of the sweet boutique, I walked around and was truly inspired.

Lane and Jude set in the most comfy chair while I shopped.  It was the neatest thing.  A comfy, cushiony chair that glided, swiveled, and reclined!  It was perfect, but once again, it's $1200 price tag was not so great.

Later that night, after an inspiration HIGH, I began to search online for more nursery inspiration.  

I found it. 

My new favorite online boutique.

Layla Grayce

This boutique is literally PACKED with beautiful retailers such as my beloved Pom Pom, Bella Notte, Lula Smith, and several others.

I found some really gorgeous ideas for Sweet Pea's room.

Isn't this bumper by Bella Notte GORGEOUS.. of course if Sweet Pea turns out to be a girl ;-)

And I just love this flowing crib skirt by Lula Smith!

 Of course, the sweet simplicity of Pom Pom's linen bedding had me drooling again.

Lula Smith just keeps winning with her gorgeous bassinet bedding and Moses basket!  

For a more casual look, I would just love, love, love this crib by Newport Cottages in a cream or white.

Now, wouldn't I be the most envied mom carrying this beautiful Petunia Pickle Bottom diaper bag!  Psss... I already got a great Kalencom diaper bag a friend picked up for me!  But, a girl could always use more bags ;-)

Oh.. Did I mention that Layla Grayce is also having a Dream Nursery Giveaway!  They are giving away a Newport Cottage crib and changing table, artwork, that precious Petunia Pickle Bottom diaper bag, and a $5oo gift certificate.. So, moms to be, check it out!

Well... I have decided that I may try to make some simple white crib bedding with a gorgeous flowing crib skirt.. So PRAY for me!  This is the plan, unless Ebay comes through first ;-)

And Lane and I have decided that there is one luxury we might like to have...
The chair.

The gliding, swiveling, reclining chair.

But we aren't paying $1200 for it.  I found the chair on a website for about HALF the price and FREE shipping!  It will go in the living room, though...  I already have a rocker for the back, and I want something for the living room.  But I don't really care for the look of a traditional recliner and since we were already in the market for a new chair, this seemed perfect.

Well.. I hope you enjoyed..  And my mom to be friends, go check out that website.  They have all kinds of baby things.  And mommy things too!