About Me

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I'm a mom, but I am also so much more. I'm a wife, I work, cook, shop, craft, try to stay healthy, keep up on the latest technology, and style trends, and much more! Come join me in my adventure of making a new blog that allows us to share the everyday things (ups and downs) that turns living an everyday life into living a lively life!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes

Sunday afternoon dinner at the in-laws and I was bringing dessert. I was craving chocolate cupcakes but only have a recipe for vanilla. So where do I go? The wonderful world wide web!

I stumbled onto a website called Delicious As It Looks with a recipe for chocolate cupcakes. First of all this blog has some amazing and delicious looking recipes. I pinned a whole bunch of them to try in the near future. For today I was only focused on the chocolate cupcakes, I happened to have all the ingredients on hand so i decided to go for it.  

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes


1 1/2 cups pure cane sugar
1 3/4 cups Sweet Rice FlourBlend 
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup organic canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard cupcake pans with about 30 liners, or lightly grease.
2.Thoroughly combine the sugar, flour blend, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large electric mixing bowl. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for two minutes. Stir in the boiling water by hand. Batter will be very thin. 

           Pour into cupcake cups, filling about 3/4 full. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until cupcakes test done with a toothpick.

3.Cool completely and frost with chocolate fudge frosting (recipe below).

Fudge Frosting
1/2 cup unsalted butter
4 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk

1.Melt chocolate and butter in the microwave, or in a small saucepan on low heat.
2.In a large mixer bowl, combine confectioners' sugar, vanilla and 1/4 cup of the milk. Blend in the melted chocolate mixture. Add remaining milk, a little at a time, until desired consistency is achieved.
3. Let stand until spreadable, about 10 minutes (frosting will thicken as it cools).

NOTE: this frosting was REALLY thick when I followed the directions as stated. If I was to make it again I would decrease the confectioners sugar to 3 cups, then add milk, chocolate mix, then add the remaining milk and sugar as needed to make the consistency desired. 

Now all that is left is to eat and enjoy!

P.S. I did eat AND enjoy! So moist and fluffy. I will be keeping this recipe and using it again.

(Here is the link to the blog, http://www.deliciousasitlooks.com 
Go and check it out. Some amazing foods!)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Night out

Sorry, no pictures on this one. I was having so much fun last night I forgot to take pictures.

My husband and I had his parents babysit out daughter and dogs and we went to the city for the night to visit my sister and her husband.

So much fun to get out and not be a parent for the night.

Its physically and mentally refreshing!

What do you do to "get away" from your parenting responsibilities and mentally refresh yourself?

Friday, June 28, 2013

Kids say the cutest things!

I bought these cute shoes from Target the other day. I wore them today for the first time and my daughter says, "You look like Fiona Mom."

Well, there could be things worse than looking like an ogre's girlfriend...

What kind of cute things have you heard kids say?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Off-season bargains

It's great when you can find an off-season bargain!
My daughter and I were shopping for a clearance swimming suit for her because the current one has been well-worn at the pool (and has a hole in the behind.)

And checking the clearance racks like we usually do, we ran across a winter hat. 

Monster hats were all the rage this past year and this one had originally retailed
for $32 now marked down to $3.20.

Added bonus I have a 30% off which save me an extra $.96. Bringing the total cost to an even lower total of $2.24.

Now we have a happy little monster, a happy mama, and a happy wallet!

What's one of your favorite bargain items?

Laundry softener UPDATE

Last week I posted about my new "laundry softener"  I found a page online that called for adding baking soda and Downy Crystals to my regular vinegar that I already used in my laundry.

My warning should've been when the baking soda and vinegar mixture resulted in a softener volcano all over my kitchen counter. But I had added the baking soda too fast, so I chalked it up to user error.

I thought giving it a try would be good; so i went ahead and used it this past week. 

The downside: this is what my softener dispenser looks like.

On an up note, my laundry does smell good.

Overall verdict: not worth it.  I'm going to use up the rest just because I hate to waste but then I'm going to try just adding lavender essential oil to my vinegar. That way I'll get all the scent benefits without all the mess.

Any trial and errors you like to share ?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Pinterest Popsicles

Yet another Pinterest inspiration and I couldn't pass this one up. 
Gummy bears+ sprite= Popsicles. 

Here's the pin: 

The directions said to fill a popsicle mold three quarters full with gummies, fill with sprite, and freeze overnight.

My result wasn't as pretty as the Pinterest post, but they did taste good.

Do you have a favorite homemade summer popsicle recipe?

It's a rainy Monday morning.

It's a rainy Monday morning but I decided to exercise anyhow. I took yesterday off and didn't want to allow myself to skip another day.

So I went to the basement and used my husbands treadmill. 

I am determined to continue with my healthy habits goal this summer!

What do you do when you can't get outside and exercise? Do you have a treadmill, an exercise routine, do an exercise DVD? 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Laundry softener volcano

I'll start from the end and work my way to the beginning.

This is my new laundry softener next to my homemade laundry detergent.
Usually I just use vinegar and find that it works great for softening and leaves no scent whatsoever. However, I was enticed by a pin I found a recipe for scented homemade laundry softener.  I couldn't pass it up. 

1cup hot water
1/2 cup scented laundry crystals
1cup baking soda
3 cups vinegar

(The baking soda and vinegar some of the huge warning., but I thought I would go for it anyhow)

Mix and laundry crystals and set aside.
In a large bowl dump 1 cup baking soda. SLOWLY add vinegar. Stir till dissolved. Add dissolved scented crystals. Use a funnel to pour into jug.

I would love to have more pictures of this process but when I mixed the vinegar and baking soda I was overzealous and had a gigantic mess all over my counter.

I've read that once the two components are mixed together the value of them it's kind of canceled out so I think if I was to make this again I would just dissolve the laundry crystals in the vinegar and just leave it at that.

I'll give an update after my next load of laundry and let you know what I think.

Do you have a favorite homemade recipe for any home products?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

My little Merida

My daughter LOVES to play dress up. I tried buying the cheap dress up costumes ( 1/2 price after Halloween) but after 6 months they were starting to fall apart. 

I can't get myself to spend the insane $$$ they want for the good quality ones. So I am left with one option. Make them myself. 

Thankfully I had a grandmother and mother who both sewed so I was taught well from a young age. 

Although I made her five costumes for Christmas, she has still been asking for more characters.

Hence, the arrival of Merida. 
I used a McCall's pattern but made some simple alterations to the sleeve and a little less gather in the skirt to make it the Merida style. 

I surged this seems so they would be stronger and I did not use the zipper in the back, instead I used a simple Velcro tab for easy on and off during dress up play.

Some cute gold lace, Celtic looking ribbon for the bottom, and fancy gold button for a "medallion" completed the look. 

* All of the supplies were purchased at JoAnn fabrics.

What kind of things do you make for your kids instead of buying?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Favorite products: Pocket Hose

I am hesitant to buy "as seen on t.v." products but I was tantalized by the pocket hose.

However, I still wasn't ready to go out and by one....

Then I was at my mother-in-law's house and used the one she had. That's it; I'm sold! I went out the next week and got two fifty foot hoses. (I need 100ft to reach my garden) I LOVE this hose. 

Before I had a big clunky green hose that was a pain to pull out and a chore to wind up.

Now, I have a small, light hose that can fit in a small flower pot when empty.
It stretches to the garden with a light tug and doesn't kink up.

AMAZING!  Love it. 

And a bonus, I had a 20% of coupon for Bed Bath and Beyond, so it only cost $16 instead of the normal $19.99!

Do you have a favorite "as seen in t.v. " product?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

"Healthier" mac & cheese

I'm always looking for a way to sneak extra in veggies into my daughters meals.  She is currently on a Mac and cheese craze and would eat it morning noon and night if she had her way.

I do admit to using boxed Mac and Cheese on a semi regular basis, but when in have the time I like to make it from "scratch".

-1 cup macaroni noodles (wheat if you want to go super healthy)
-4oz of 2% Velveeta cheese (cubed for easy melting)
-Puréed baby food (I like the stage 2)

Cook macaroni noodles. Drain noodles and return noodles to pan.
Add Velveeta and baby food.
Turn burner on LOW.
Stir until cheese is melted.
Remove from heat.

Serve and enjoy watch the kids eat extra  veggies!

What tricks do you to add extra veggies to your kids favorite meals?

Hot days call for iced coffee

In my early coffee days i just brewed hot coffee and dumped it over ice, but you just end up with watered down coffee. I have since learned how to make a much better tasting version. 

The bonus with this version is you can prep it at night after the kids go to bed and can easily finish it between getting the kids breakfast in the morning. 

Step one: gather supplies. 
Coffee (i prefer fresh ground but you can use pre-ground)
1/3 cup measuring spoon
Glass jar

Step two: Measure 1/3 cup grounds to 1 cup water. I do 1 cup ground to 3 cups water in a large jar so we have enough for my husband and I to each have a glass in the morning.

Step three: Give it a shake and stick it in the fridge for the night.

Step four: Use a mesh strainer to strain out the grounds. Dump out the grounds then put a coffee filter in the strainer and pour through again to strain out the fine particles. The second strain usually takes longer to drip through the filter so this is when I get my daughter breakfast.

Step five: Ice, coffee, creamer and sweetener if so desired, then drink and enjoy!

Do you have a different iced coffee technique or recipe? Please share!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Homemade granola bars

I love granola bars, but I don't always love all the preservatives in them Mac not all versions are gluten free.

One day while blog surfing I found a great recipe that looked worth a try. I made a few changes and it had been a standard go to recipe ever since then.

4 tbsp butter
1/4 brown sugar
1/4 honey
1cup instant oatmeal
2cups granola (I love "Kind" granola it's gluten free & comes in several delicious flavors)
1/2 cup chocolate chips 

Melt butter, honey, and brown sugar in saucepan.

Remove from heat. Add oatmeal and granola. Stir until thoroughly coated.

Fold in chocolate chips.

Lightly spray an 8 by 8 pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Pour mixture into pan and firmly pat flat.

Refrigerate for several hours until firm.
Gently loosen edges and flip out onto a cutting board.
Cut into bars or squares.
Wrap individually in saran wrap (or I like to store 2 a piece in the small snack size ziplock bags.)

Homemade granola bars store best and keep longer in the refrigerator. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Giant art

My child loves to paint. At age 3 a coloring book page or 8 1/2 by 11 paper doesn't give much room to unleash creatively. But the giant papers at the art store don't come cheaply.

The other day I purchased a glass vase and the cashier thoroughly wrapped for me in very large papers. The six papers wrapped around the outside of the vase weren't not even wrinkled on the short trip home, so I took them with off, smoothed them out, and gave her some stamps paintbrushes and Crayola washable paints. 

Voilà! Instant giant canvas!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Read me a story.

No really, read me a book because I don't have time to sit down and read one myself. I have a house to clean, a family to care for, and a million other things to do. 

However, if someone can read a book to me while I walk the dogs or drive the car, I can listen to a book a get things done. (Two birds with one stone!)

So today's app recommendation is OverdriveMedia. 

Download this app, find your local library, type in your library card number, and start  browsing for books! You can download many audiobooks, the number and selection vary by library.

I love good mysteries, but have listened to almost every genre. I am currently anxiously waiting for the next Gillian Flynn book to be "returned" do I can download it :-)

Best part; its all free! The apps, borrowing the books, what more could you ask for!?!

What's your favorite audiobook?