Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Just Desserts...

My favorite flair on Facebook is "Keep Calm and Have a Cupcake" -- Love it! Although there are new cupcakeries (is that a word?) on every corner these days, you just can't beat a cupcake made from scratch right at home! I found a delicious recipe for the chocolate cupcake that included Ghirardelli chocolate and coffee -- the perfect mocha cupcake! A little cream cheese frosting, and some mini chocolate chips = Heaven.
Ghirardelli Mocha Cupcakes (Recipe from AllRecipes.com)
1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Ghirardelli Unsweetened Cocoa
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup whole milk plus
2 tablespoons whole milk
1/3 cup strong brewed coffee or espresso
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

6 ounces Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate baking bar, broken or chopped into 1-inch pieces
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup Ghirardelli Milk or Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12 cupcake molds or muffin tins with paper liners or spray with nonstick spray.
To make the cupcakes, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, brown sugar, and white sugar. Whisk in the milk, coffee, and melted butter. Whisk in the dry ingredients. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake molds, filling them about three-quarters full.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the middle of the cupcakes comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes. Using a small spatula or knife, remove the cupcakes from the pan. Continue to cool on a wire rack to room temperature.
To make the frosting, melt the chopped chocolate in the top of a double boiler, or in a heatproof bowl, over barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Heat the cream until hot. Remove from the heat and whisk in the chocolate. Transfer to a bowl and cool to just warm. Whisk in the butter until smooth. Let sit until it reaches a spreading consistency, about 1 hour. Spread the frosting on top of the cupcakes. Sprinkle them with chocolate chips.
NOTE: This recipe includes a chocolate frosting. On my cupcakes, I made a cream cheese frosting because that is what my boy requested! Very yummy either way...

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Perfect Midnight Snack...

Yes, I do think of the upcoming New Year, and my goals (one of which is eating healthier and starting a workout program -- like the rest of America!), but then I quickly push it way to the back of my mind and go and search the kitchen for one more delicious holiday dessert! I figure I have four more good days left before I have to be really disciplined, so why not make the best of it?! So, tonight I chose my favorite late night snack: homemade pound cake and a glass of milk. Yum! (You can tell from the above layout just how much I really do love homemade -- not store bought -- pound cake!) The kids were all sleeping, my husband was up watching a movie, and I sat by the fire and enjoyed every single morsel of my sweet treat!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Different Perspective...

My son recently visited Santa, and was delighted to have quite a lengthy conversation with him. A day or so later, he was telling me that he really thought the Santa he visited at the mall was the real Santa, not one of his helpers. That he could just tell by the way this Santa talked, and what he said, that he was the real deal. I could tell how excited he was, and told him that Santa himself did occasionally make special visits around Christmastime. He then asked me if I had ever seen the real Santa in person. I told him no, that I hadn't, but I then told him a story from my childhood how my sister and I were completely convinced that we saw Santa's sleigh up in the sky late one Christmas Eve. We saw the magical red light high up in the sky that we just knew was Rudolph's nose, and that he was leading Santa and his sleigh to our hometown. My son listened with great interest, and then instantly asked me if I took a picture of the sleigh. I told him no, that back in the seventies people just didn't carry their cameras around with them. (He's used to me having my small point & shoot in my purse at all times, and usually my digi SLR sitting on the kitchen counter top.) He then asked in total seriousness if I had at least taken a picture of it with my cell phone. I laughed, and once again answered no, and then explained that I didn't even own a cell phone until the mid-nineties, when I was already out of college and working a full-time job. All of the sudden, he came running over to me and gave me the biggest hug. He looked up at me, shook his little head, and said, "Gosh Mommy, I'm so sorry you had such a rough childhood!" I knew then that I just had to document this moment... :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December 1st...The Big Day is Here!

Day One of Shimelle's Journal Your Christmas! Guess what? I've actually done the assignment! (For those of you who know what a procrastinator I am, Surprise! For those of you who don't know me, just pretend you didn't read this part and think I'm one of those "On the Ball" over-achievers, 'kay?) I definitely prefer the 8x8 size compared to last year's 12x12. I feel like I can squeeze in a 8x8 layout even on a crazy day. Had fun, enjoyed the process -- hooray! :)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Journal Your Christmas

Ah, the excitement is already in the air! My two Christmas trees are up and decorated, the stockings are hung, and my stash of Christmas paper is EVERYWHERE! It's time to get ready for "Journal Your Christmas", a fabulous class offered by Shimelle. (Go to www.shimelle.com for more info., and this weekend, you can even register to win a FREE "Journal Your Christmas" class! How cool is that??) This will be my second time to participate in Shimelle's very inspiring class. Shimelle sends you daily prompts from December 1st - January 6th to help you focus on your Christmas memories and traditions. Some people do cute little journals, while others do gorgeous 12 x 12 albums -- and many more make every size in between! It's yours to do as you see fit, and what your schedule allows. It can be very simple, or you can go all out. The first year I did a 12 x12 album and I absolutely treasure it! I love the way it turned out, and my kids really enjoy looking back on our Christmas events and traditions. This year, however, I'm going to do an 8x8 album and try to scale back a little. It was actually pretty challenging to fill up an entire 12x12 album -- and I take A LOT of photos!
So I am now at the really fun part: planning my album! The key for me staying current on my album last time was to prepare some pages ahead of time. That way, when it got really busy during December, I already had some "go to" pages! I'm off to work on some pages, and to go through my stash! Truly, check out Shimelle -- she really is amazing!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Keepin' it Real...

Well, I've been waiting for a good day -- a day when everyone is healthy, a day where I had time to be creative, etc. Then it hit me today -- I blog exactly the way I scrapbook -- only the picture perfect memories! I only scrap the birthdays, the milestones, the CLEAN house, and the picturesque sunsets. I'm sure all you Moms out there know that these moments are few and far between, on this long (yet amazing) road of parenting! SO, I decided to blog about my current reality.
We have Swine Flu in the house, and have had it for 6 days. (Yes, I know it's actually H1N1, but my kids have made so many pig jokes this week that Swine Flu it is around here! Hey, we need some humor to get thru this...) I joke, but my son has been really sick. Not only has he had the flu, but he had a bad allergic reaction to the antibiotic he was on. He's feverish, itchy and feels just terrible. Poor baby -- he's had a rough time of it! The rest of us are on Tamiflu, hoping we don't get it.
So, as many bloggers are photographing lovely fall foliage, or using melodious words to describe the intoxicating smell of their pumpkin pies baking in the oven, I am keeping a written record of Motrin & Tamiflu dosages, checking temperatures, and washing my hands so often that they're raw. But you know what? I'm feeling especially thankful for good health (that we so often take for granted) and family. There's nothing more important, this I know for sure. Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Meet me on the Equinox, Meet me Halfway...

New Moon opens in a little over 48 hours!!! Yes, I am a huge Twilight fan. I know there are many opinions out there on the subject, and yes, I know the series was written with the teen audience in mind, but I HEART Twilight and the entire Cullen Gang! I can't believe a year has flown by since last year's premiere of Twilight. The above layout shows photos from the Twilight party I hosted last year. It was amazing how that party brought so many women together -- women of different ages and backgrounds, women who've read vampire novels for years and those of us who swore we'd never be into vampires (raising hand here!), and women who are Team Edward and the few who are Team Jacob. (Yes, I am a little biased on that subject -- "Team Edward all the way, baby!" -- as you can see from my t-shirt in the above photo.) I find it fascinating that one single woman, Stephanie Meyer, created this unbelievable sensation all from a story that came to her in a dream! Amazing...

Have many of you purchased the New Moon soundtrack? I got it a few weeks ago, and initially I thought it really didn't compare to the Twilight soundtrack. I should mention that the Twilight soundtrack is one of my favorite Cd's of all time. Love it! But you know, the New Moon soundtrack has really grown on me in the last week or so. I think the Death Cab for Cutie song "Meet me on the Equinox" is SO rockin', and I especially like the track "Friends" by The Band of Skulls. Now, as I'm listening to it, I'm trying to figure out where in the movie each song will go. If you haven't checked out the soundtrack, I would really recommend it. Just skip over track number 4 "Possibilities" -- it is the creepiest song ever! Truly, so eerie and spooky, which I suppose is just perfect for a movie like this, uh?

I will be seeing the movie this weekend with the same group of friends from last year. It's funny, we were all friends before, but I do feel like we have a special connection because of Twilight. I mean, after all, who else would understand our conversations that have sentences that go something like this: "Man, it certainly looks like Forks around here today. Will the rain ever stop?" or "Gee, I wish my husband sparkled like Edward..." or even "Gosh, you must have been really late for school this morning -- We saw you driving like a Cullen!" It's great to have friends that GET IT (and coincidentally, they also GET scrapbooking, too! Pretty cool, uh?) Ah, the thought of girls night out, cocktails and seeing the gorgeous Edward Cullen is just intoxicating! Have fun seeing the movie and the great vampire eye candy! :)

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Daily Five...

I mentioned earlier that I'm taking another class from Shimelle, Blogging for Scrapbookers. I'm learning lots of great things, and loving all the glittery, cupcake inspiration from Shimelle. One of our assignments this week is to post a list on our blog. It can be any list -- likes, dislikes, etc. So here is mine, "The Daily Five..." Although I don't always get to enjoy this leisurely list every morning, this is what my ideal weekday routine consists of:
  1. Coffee!
  2. Laptop
  3. Facebook (I love seeing everyone's updates!)
  4. Television (I rarely watch TV, but either CNN or the Weather Channel is always on in the background.)
  5. Checking out my favorite scrapbook websites.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Take the time to enjoy the little things...

Some days it's easy to wish you were somewhere else, doing something else... But it's amazing to me what is really outside our very own windows when we take the time to actually look. It's gorgeous here right now! It's the perfect weekend for a fire in the fireplace, some hot apple cider -- and of course some scrapbooking!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

What kind of neighbor would I be, if I didn't provide occasional eye candy?

I'm a little short on time today, but what kind of neighbor would I be if I didn't provide a little eye candy from time to time? I was just thinking about how much music influences my mood, and how it always needs to be on in my scraproom. Rockin' or slow, alternative or country -- it makes all the difference! This is a simple layout, but it was so fun to work on -- considering the subjects and all ;o) Hope you've had a really rockin' day!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Just the Girl Next Door...That's Me

I've been on the fence about blogging. To blog or not to blog? I've been kicking it around for a while. Most days I think, "Why do people really blog?" And I'm sure the answers are many. Still, I wasn't sure if blogging was really for me.

I have always been a crafter of some sort. Scrapbooking, card-making, painting... You name it, anything "crafty" is my thing! And the fun part of making things is to share it with others. To make things FOR others, but to also have someone who shares in your excitement and who enjoys the process as much as you do.So, I recently had a realization, of sorts, when it comes to blogging. I was thinking how cool it would be to have real-life friends and neighbors who really GOT scrapbooking and cardmaking like I do. Someone that actually understood my addiction to patterned paper; someone who spends more money in the craft store than on her wardrobe; someone who gets just down right giddy walking the aisles at Archivers, etc. (You get my point.) I actually have a few friends who are like this (and you girls know who you are!), but for the most part, people just don't get it at all. Then I had this crazy fantasy on Halloween night as we took the kids trick-or-treating from house to house. It went something like this: I moved to a neighborhood where everyone liked to craft and scrapbook as much as I do."Oh, a cardmaker lives here... A big time scrapbooker lives there...This really fabulous photographer lives in that house, etc." Isn't that silly? But wouldn't that be the funnest neighborhood to live in?! Can you imagine the cool and creative treats that you'd be getting on Halloween, rather than the traditional candy bar? I know it's crazy nonsense, but I knew then that if such a place existed, I'd move there right away -- house unseen! :)

So, here I go...I'm moving into that scrappy neighborhood! It's somewhere in between Mr. Roger's neighborhood and Wysteria Lane. But the main thing is, it's a place where people GET all things Scrappy!

Check out Shimelle's "Journal Your Christmas" Class

I'm taking another class from one of my favorite Scrapbookers, Shimelle. She has fabulous scrapping ideas, and even cupcake recipes! If you haven't checked out Shimelle's work before, you must do so! It's almost time for her famous "Journal Your Christmas" class (starts December 1st), so check it out. My "Journal Your Christmas" album is one of my favorites. (Maybe I'll post some of my pages closer to December.) Can't wait to do it again this year! (www.shimelle.com)