Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Pinterest Recipe: S'mores with a twist.

Pinterest has quickly become for me what it has become for many others who are on the good ol' world wide web daily - an obsession.  First I liked it because of all of the pretty pictures.  Then I realized - what am I doing just browsing around?  I could be creating valuable mood boards for all of the future rooms in my future house, putting together a recipe book without having to make sure my handwriting is neat, and planning birthday parties galore!??  And much, much, more!

Pinterest has me feeling very crafty these days - wanting to cook, sew, create to my heart's content.  Then I am blasted back to reality by the sound of my kids running and chasing each other around the kitchen island.  Whew!  For a minute there I was my own version of Martha Stewart.

Anyway, onto my original thought - today I got semi-crafty and decided to try out a new recipe I found on Pinterest.  The picture on Pinterest was DIVINE:

Smores dipped in chocolate.

And, they seemed relatively easy.  So I set about making these.  The recipe came from (click HERE) for it, and it is really the recipe to make S'mores Pops, but I decided that there was no need to put a 'pop' in the S'More for just a lazy Sunday afternoon.  So I took that part out of it and here's what I came up with:

Not bad for my first run at it - instead of the chocolate you see in the original picture, I used Wilton Candy Coating I had leftover from my cake pops a few weeks back.  Worked like a charm.

One tip though:  the original recipe says to put them in your toaster oven or oven at 400 degrees for a few minutes and to watch them.......that didn't so much work out for me the first time.  They graham crackers started to brown and made the oven really smokey - yikes.  So on round 2, i decided to put the oven on BROIL at 400 degrees, and  set the timer for 2 minutes.  That's ALL they needed folks.  Just enough time to make the marshmallow gooey and tan on the top.

If you want to follow my recipe page on Pinterest, feel free - I am adding to it and trying new things weekly!  Here's the link:

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hair Jewels

 I never thought I'd be writing a blog post about my 'hair jewelry,' but here it is.  I was getting my hair done a couple of weeks ago, when I noticed my super cute hairdresser had a pretty ruby bead in her hair.  Upon closer look, she explained that it's just a little clip in braid (much like the feathers in your hair trend, hot among 8 year olds right now, ahem) with come cute beads at the end.  I thought - if she can rock this, so can I.  I have the long hair, and i certainly have enough of it that it's not screaming 'LOOK AT ME!' all day long.  So I took the plunge.  I don't have a fabulous camera, so you'll just have to trust me when I tell you it's a little gold feather charm at the end, with a couple of gold beads above it.  

What do you think?  I am loving it, it looks cute braided into my hair for a side braid, cute in a ponytail, wrapped up into a bun, every which way!  Just a little something fun. For me.  

Oh and sorry about the awkward pic here - I was rushing my husband to take these, while he was rushing me out the door to see the Hunger Games.  Which by the way, was fabulous and I can't wait to see the next one!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Gemma Hearts Forever 21

Ok, we (Miss Gemma and I) stopped into Forever 21 on Friday after I took myself to the doctor.  I haven't gone to the doctor for a cold in YEARS, but this one has thrown me for a loop.  It's just HANGING around; I haven't been able to work out all week, can't taste anything, and have very little patience for my two sweet kiddos.  Did I mention they both have colds too?  I'm ready to be done with chilly weather, colds, germs, all of it!  That little blast of 80 degree weather in March has made me very impatient.

Anyway, back to what I wanted to say - Gemma and I stopped into Forever 21 after the doctor's appointment (my doctor's office is conveniently located in a building within a shopping center).  She was enamored, I mean completely fixated on the jewelry.  She couldn't tear herself away from the necklace towers, or the earring towers, or the bowls of bracelets.  I think we probably spent 20 minutes just looking at accessories.  It was actually - fun.  Funny to say that as usually I don't take toddlers shopping - it's normally comparable to getting a cavity filled - but this time was different.  I only had one kid, I hadn't brought a stroller - we were SORT OF like a couple of gals out on a shopping date.  I think this is a good sign, people.

Needless to say, I picked out 3 new pairs of earrings for myself, and shockingly found a cute top and FABULOUS dress that I must share with you.  The dress was a STEAL AT $16.80, and I love it.  I can't wait to wear it in a couple of weeks when we go to Florida.

Here are my finds......

Floral Exposed Zipper Top, $22.80  (in person it's more of a neon chartreuse color, FYI)
Jewel Studs, $3.80

Feathered Filigree Earrings, $6.80

Arrowhead Earrings, $6.80

This is not the dress I bought - mine is a black and cream tribal-type print, but it's the same style.  Amazing fit.  Couldn't find mine on their website.....  :-(

Friday, April 13, 2012

Fav jeans for spring.....

I have had this one pair of AG Ex-Boyfriend jeans now for like 3 yrs, and I STILL love them.  I continue to wear them spring and summer ad-nauseum, especially with a preppy sweater to take the edginess off of all the holes and rips.

AG Ex Boyfriend Crop Jeans
Rag & Bone/JEAN The Fenland Swing Top
I view these as a must-have for every woman's closet....therefore I thought I'd search around a few other brands in case AG is not one of YOUR go-to's:

Current/Elliott The Ankle Skinny Jeans
DL1961 Kate Crop Jeans
Blank Denim Relaxed Straight Leg Jeans
What shoes to wear with these jeans?
Here you go......shoe perfection in my book by Matt Bernson:

Matt Bernson Demi Wedges, $187

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Momastery gets published


I just read that one of my favorite Mommy bloggers, Glennon from Momastery is being published!  She made the announcement on her blog today.......

And posted this ever-famous quote (that I wholeheartedly believe in):

I can't wait to read her book when it comes out, which will be a collection of musings new and old, a la Momastery.  How amazing that just by one blog post getting over 500,000 shares on the internet (Don't Carpe Diem), publishers began chasing her down.  You go girl (sorry, the 90's phrase had to be used here).

Congrats Glennon!

Easter in Kansas City

We just returned to Chicago from a lovely time in Kansas City with my family.  Kansas City is where I grew up, and I love going home to see everyone and catch up!

First off, I have to mention that I went on a playdate with two blogger friends of mine (Melanie from Scout, and Sarah from Apparently Obsessed), as well as one of my best girlfriends from long ago - we had such a great time.  Here's a picture of most of the kids (one is too tiny to sit on the playground equipment)........

Mine are the two on the left!  I swear, Gemma had fun.....

Now, for the Easter celebration.  I took tons of pictures with my little camera, and some of them surprisingly turned out great.  We were up in St Joseph, MO, which is where my Dad grew up and where we continue to have family get-togethers.  This is at the St Joseph Country Club - this nice weather makes for beautiful green grass in pictures!

Scrumptious Gemma, 21 months

L-R, Grant & Hudson (Griff's cousins in KC), & Griffin

I don't know how I got them to do this, but it worked.  Precious.

Family pic!


Playing in the sand trap
Gemma and her Auntie Amy
Not the same day, but had to make sure to get Mimi into the pics......

My dad and Gemma - or Papa as he's known to the kids

Friday, April 6, 2012

Janie & Jack(pot)!

After our Gymboree class on Wednesday, I wandered into Janie & Jack with miss G.  I love to see what's gone on sale (and if it's left in the sizes we need).  Needless to say, we hit the jackpot.  I am so excited about some of the new things we found for spring and summer.  

Also, all of their swim (all of it) is 30% off right now.  You can't go wrong!

Here are some of my fab finds......and what I love is that you can mix and match it all.

Poppy Dobby Top, was $34, now $15.99

Bow Poppy Top, was $34, now $16.99

Gingham Shorts, were $36, now $17.99

Pleated Scalloped Short, were $36, now $20.99

Ruffle Poppy Dress, was $69, now $37.99

Here are my swim picks - these red and blue lobster trunks look so cute next to the all red one-piece, G & G will be stylin' at the pool together this summer.......oh and there's a blue and white rash guard that matches these trunks, but for some reason I can't find it online.
Lobster Swim Trunk, was $36, now $25.50

Bow Ruffle Swimsuit, was $42, now $29.40

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Cake Pop Tutorial

Since I made cake pops for Gemma's birthday last summer, I have become somewhat of a basic cake pop extraordinaire.   I can make them quickly, I have the equipment, and know the steps.  I only lose one or two pops due to breakage these days (a lot less than when I first started), and I can sprinkle with the best of 'em.  MAYBE for Gemma's 2nd birthday this summer I'll attempt making them look like something - right now I'm thinking Elmo cake pops as she LOOOOVES 'Melmo.'  

How cute are these?  Courtesy of Bakerella, of course.

For now, however, I thought I'd take ya'll through the steps of making basic cake pops if you're so inclined.  It took me a few tries the first time to get everything right, and if I had someone giving me these tips it wouldn't have taken so long!  

First of all, I follow Bakerella's book appropriately called Cake Pops.  It was a great buy, let me tell you. The page on 'basic cake pops' is well-worn!

First step is to bake a cake - store bought, my friend.  Bake the cake the day before you actually plan to make the cake pops.  The book says to let it cool - letting it cool an entire day is the way to go......letting it cool and then trying to crumble the cake after only a couple hours will result in messy pops.

Next step (the next day) is to crumble the cake in a large mixing bowl.  Just use your hands, people.  Get messy.  Then, when its totally crumbled, add the frosting.  Mix it up, and mix it well.  

Now, roll out your cake balls.  Sounds lovely, yes?  They should be about 1 inch in all the way around, maybe a teency bit larger.  Try to make sure there are no cracks, because once you put the stick in those will only exaggerate.  Put them on a plate covered with wax paper.  

Then, get out your candy coating.  I use Wilton's (found at Joann fabric stores).  Make sure to use two bags of the Wilton's candy coating, one is not enough to dip the pops.  To melt, microwave according to directions on the package.  There are no tricks there, just don't overdo it or it will harden.  

Now that you have your candy coating ready, grab a pop stick (also found at Joann, near the Wilton candy coating), dip it into the candy coating about 1/2", and then stick it halfway into a cake ball.  Do this for all of the cake balls, and your plate should look something like this when you're finished.  When you ARE finished, put your plate in the freezer.  Yep the freezer.  But only for 15 minutes, tops.  Set a timer so you don't leave them in there any longer.  This is just to chill the pops and freeze that candy coating and stick in place before dipping.

While your cake pops are in the freezer, get out your Styrofoam board.  I get mine in the gardening section at Joann (notice a trend here?), they come in white or green.  Make sure you buy one about 2" in width, and in the rectangular shape so you have enough room for all of your pops.  Now, using a cake pop stick, poke holes in the board about 2" apart, all over.  This is to house your finished them a great spot to dry up, and the Styrofoam holds them perfectly in place.

Finally, the fun part - dipping your pops in the candy coating.  Unfortunately I am not talented enough to take pictures while dipping my own pops, so you get the finished products from here on out.  

However, let me say this - when dipping, the best tip I can give you is to let excess candy coating drip off once the pop is completely coated.  Too much coating will drip off and look sloppy.  Also make SURE the pop is completely coated, especially down where the pop meets the stick.  Any holes holes left will invite cracking in the coating later on.  

As you can see, the cake pop above has sprinkles on it - Griffin requested all kinds of sprinkles for his birthday cake pops this year.  Sprinkling is easy - but of course the sprinkles get everywhere.  I like to pour the different sprinkles into small cups, and do the sprinkling over a plate to catch the excess.  And whatever the plate doesn't catch, call your dog over for clean up duties.

1st cake pop of the night

Rocking and Rolling with the gold and silver sprinkles

Almost done for the evening

Lastly, one of the hardest things is displaying your cake pops at the party.   When I first made them last summer, I happened to have a ton of M&M's on hand, so I threw them into one of my square vases and lodged the pops there.  It worked like a charm.  Now it's my go-to.  Sugar, sugar, and more sugar!  A kids birthday dream!  

Finished product at the party this weekend

Stay tuned for party pics from my big 4 year-old's Star Wars themed party.  We had so much fun this weekend, we almost had 'Too Much Birthday.'  (remember that book from the Berenstein Bears?)  It's a great book to remind kids that it's not all about cake and presents!