Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Who Can Resist A Jelly Belly?

The other day I was dusting my bedroom furniture and Blakely was crawling around and playing on the floor next to me. All of a sudden, I heard something fall over and make a rumbling sound. Blakely had crawled around to my side of the bed and was playing and I figured she had turned over the large water cooler that holds a lot of loose coins.

I continued dusting and then remembered that there is a small hole on the side of the jug where money could slip out and I didn't want her to start eating the pennies (she's at that age where EVERYTHING goes in the mouth).

I ran around to the side of the bed and found this sight waiting for me. Notice her little puffed out cheeks full of jelly beans.


I died laughing and luckily the camera was close by so I could snap a few photos before I took them away. As I gathered them up, she quickly began stuffing more and more in her mouth realizing that her new snack was being taken from her.

Needless to say, this is not an ideal snack for a 12 month old and much to Blakely's dismay, all the Jelly Belly's went into the trash. Oh well, I guess better this than the dog food she's been getting into.

Monday, June 25, 2012

DIY Photo Canvas

I love the look of photo canvases but I don't really love the price. For one or two, the price isn't so bad. But when you want to cover an entire wall with them, it can get very pricy very quickly.
This is a really cheap and easy way to create your own photo canvases.

To print my pictures, I used Walgreens. I wanted several 11x14 and 16x20 photos done so I ordered them online and the prints were shipped to me within a week.

 1. Place your photo upside down on a sheet of wax paper.

 2. Using a foam brush, cover the entire back of the photo with Decoupage or Mod Podge. (You can buy this at any craft store.)

 3. Gently place the canvas on top of the photo.

 4. Take a heavy book and place it on top of the upside down canvas. The pressure from the book allows the photo to better stick to the canvas. Let it dry for about 30-45 minutes.

5. Turn your photo canvas over and use your foam brush to put Decoupage or Mod Podge all over the picture. It will appear very milky looking at first but as the Decoupage dries, the milky look completely disappears.

Below I did a price difference between ordering custom canvases and doing it yourself. The custom prices are for Walgreens which I have found to be one of the cheapest places for custom photo canvases. I got all my art supplies at Michael's.
The price difference is amazing but I do want to add that Walgreens does awesome custom canvases. I don't want this post to in any way insinuate that their quality or prices are not worth it. I've ordered a few canvases from them to give as gifts and have always been 100% satisfied. However, I couldn't justify spending that much money when I wanted to do an entire wall of canvas photos.

More Ways to enhance your canvas

1. Use scrapbook paper to cover the sides of the canvas so it adds a little more pizzazz to your project.
2. Wrap the canvas in black cloth before beginning so the sides don't remain white.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

DIY Paper Butterflies

 I've been meaning to post this for a while because I made these last year when I was pregnant with Blakely. They are so cute and so cheap to make. I bought a few sheets of plain colored cardstock and used a Martha Stewart paper pack for the smaller butterflies.
I used a hot glue gun to stick the small butterfly to the larger one and then taped it to the wall using small pieces of Command strips.
To get the wings to stick up, just fold them a little before gluing them to the larger butterfly.
These would be perfect for a little girl's room or even use them for decorations at a Butterfly birthday party.
Pattern I used

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Family Pictures

I lied! The title says family pictures, but let's get real, they're pretty much all Blakely!

"Ok, you follow me Blakely. When the coast is clear, we run!"

"Blakely, you know your mom looks like a total idiot. Why are you smiling?
Don't encourage her."

"I have the best daddy in the whole world! Happy Father's Day!"

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tiramisu-ish Cupcakes

I found this amazing recipe for Tiramisu cupcakes and I was dying to make them. But, I had a really hard time finding all the necessary ingredients. So, I took what I had and made my own simpler version of Tiramisu cupcakes. They are really more of a yellow cake with a Tiramisu marscapone frosting, but nevertheless I think they are really tasty.

Cupcakes (Makes about 18)

  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons of coffee ( I actually just used some of my morning coffee that I had already made but you can substitute espresso for more of a coffee taste).
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
3. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture alternating with the sour cream.
4. Add in the coffee.
6. Bake for 14-17 minutes.
7. Let them cool.
8. Add the frosting.
9. Sprinkle cocoa powder on top.


  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 8 oz. Tiramisu Marscapone cheese
1. Put whipping cream in a mixer and whisk on high until stiff peaks form.
2. Mix confectioner's sugar, vanilla, and cheese together in a separate bowl.
3. Add your sugar mixture into your bowl with the whipping cream. You can either fold the sugar mixture in or beat it with the mixture to get a fluffier frosting.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

For my sweet and wonderful husband on Father's Day, I decided to make him a very special gift to remind him of how much I love him. I'm pretty sure I saw this idea on Pinterest. After all, that's where all good ideas come from!
I have actually been working on this since January and was hoping to finish it for Valentine's Day, but it was a pretty time consuming project so I didn't finish it until recently. Therefore, I decided it would be the perfect gift for Father's Day so he would be reminded of how much I appreciate him and all he does for Blakely and me.
Here are some of the top reasons I love my sweet husband!

One of the things I loved most about Kevin when we started dating was how close he was to his family. It is so important for him to maintain a good relationship with not only his family, but mine as well.

Kevin loves being a dad and he just lights up when he plays with Blakely. I love that!!

 Since my family lives all over the country, I don't get to see them that often. However, when they do get to visit, putting them in a hotel isn't an option for Kevin. Our house is pretty small and some husbands would gently suggest that the family stay in a hotel. But Kevin knows how important it is for me to be near my family and he really enjoys the extra time he gets to spend with them as well.

Kevin makes an effort to set aside money so I can fly to South Dakota or drive to Atlanta several times a year to see my family. There have also been times that he's offered to help fly my parents here to see us. I love that he makes my family a priority!

Our house is full of little trinkets and knick knacks. Why you ask?? Because my husband doesn't like to throw anything away. At times, it has been a source of contention for us because I don't understand it. I've moved so much in my life that I've learned to throw out stuff I don't need anymore. But Kevin likes to hang on to pretty much everything. Although it can drive me crazy, I love how sentimental he is and how even small items mean so much to him.

I've always joked that if I have an appointment somewhere at 5:00, I'll be there at 4:30. I HATE being late to places and I think Kevin is the one person who hates it more that me. With him, I never have to worry about being late or causing other people to wait on us.

When we were dating, I loved that I knew where I stood with Kevin in regards to his feelings for me. I didn't have to wonder about how he felt. He was so open and honest and he worked hard to pursue me. After dating for 8 weeks, he sat down with my dad and told him that he intended to marry me one day. He didn't take our relationship lightly and that was so attractive to me.

Every afternoon when Kevin gets home, he likes for all of us to lay down and spend some time together. I know he's tired after working two jobs but he also wants to make an effort to spend time with Blakely and me. Blakely loves this time as well. She crawls all over Kevin and loves playing peek-a-boo under the covers. It's a special time every day for the three of us.
To my sweet husband on Father's Day, I couldn't imagine taking this journey with anyone else. I love you so much and am so thankful that God saw fit to put us together. Thank you for being such an amazing husband and father. Thank you for working so hard to provide for our family. You are an amazing man!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Blakely 12 Months!

How fast this wonderful year has flown by!! One year old is such a fun age and I can really see how Blakely is going from a baby to a toddler. Here are some highlights and updates on what she is doing now.
  • She is still pretty small. She is 29 inches long which is in the 25-50th percentile for height and weighs 18 pounds which is in the 10th percentile for weight. Unfortunately that means she can't switch over to her forward facing seat that Kevin and I bought her. She needs to weigh at least 20 pounds to switch over. So for the next few months, she'll have to continue using her baby seat.
  • She's becoming a bit of a drama queen lately. If she gets hurt, she cries for an extended period of time, even if she's being comforted. I think it's her way of making sure she gets extra attention.
  • She is so very, very close to walking. She's been walking with help for about two months and navigates around tables very easily as long as she's holding on to something. This past week, she started walking by holding only one of my hands instead of two so I'm hoping she'll let go of my hands soon. She is doing such a great job of standing alone so I know walking is just around the corner.

  • She is starting to make a lot more sounds and noises with her mouth. When my sister was here last weekend, she taught Blakely to say "More" when she wanted more to eat. Well, it's her own special version of more. She's also learned this past week to say "Done" when she doesn't want any more to eat. Those words are so much more pleasant to hear than lots of fussing.
  • Sleeping alone is going a little better. The night before last she went to bed in her crib at 8:00 and we didn't hear anything from her until 7:00 the next morning. It was wonderful!! However, that is not the norm for her. With school ending this week, my goal is to have her trained to sleep the whole night in her crib by the end of June. Although, truth be told, Kevin and I will really miss having her with us all night. 
  • Her two top teeth have finally poked through.
  • She LOVES to play peek-a-boo especially in the bathtub at night. She'll pull the shower curtain closed when I say, "Where's Blakely?" Then she'll throw it open and start laughing. It absolutely cracks me up.
  • She is definitely a Nana's girl! When I drop her off in the mornings, she is ready to go to Nana and doesn't really care that I'm leaving. However, when I pick her up in the afternoons, she does not want to go home. Sometimes she'll even cry when I try to take her from my mother-in-law. I love that she loves her Nana so much! Kevin and I are so blessed to have her because I never have to worry when I'm at work and I know she is getting so much love throughout the day!

My sweet darling Blakely, you are loved so much more than you will ever know! You fill up my life with joy and my heart with love.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Ladybug Cake and Cupcakes


Unfortunately, I didn't take pictures along the way to show how I made Blakely's ladybug cake and cupcakes. So I took a few pictures of the tools I used and I'll try to be as descriptive as possible for those of you who may try this in the future.
For her cake, I used a sports ball pan that I bought at Michael's. I put chocolate cake batter in both sides. Be very careful not to fill it too much. At first, I put the batter about 3/4 of the way up the pan. But when it started rising, it began spilling over the sides so I took quite a bit of batter out.
After it finished baking, I let it cool for just a few minutes and then took the cake out of the pan so it wouldn't stick. It fell apart just a little but once it was covered in icing, it turned out alright. I wasn't quite sure what to do about the head of the ladybug and I didn't need both sides of the cake. So I took a small portion of one side of the ball cake and cut it into a half circle for the head. Then I used icing to stick it to the other half of the cake.
To frost the cake, I used a Wilton 2D star tip and began piping red and black icing all over. I placed the cake on a 10" round cardboard and then covered it with aluminum foil. To do the grass, I used the Wilton grass tip (#233) and just went to town with it. It was the first time I ever used that tip and it was really easy and really fun.


For the cupcake and cake decorations, I used premade gum paste from Michael's and dyed it using icing colors. I have used fondant in the past and found the gum paste to be much easier to use. For one, it is a LOT cheaper to buy white gum paste and then dye it the colors I needed rather than buying pre-colored fondant. Also, I found that the gum paste was easier to dye and handle than fondant.
When dying the gum paste, I used latex gloves from K-Mart so my hands wouldn't get gross. After the gum paste was the correct colors, I used fondant cutters to get the shapes. For the flowers, I used a flower fondant cutter that came in 3 different sizes.
For the butterflies, I cut them and then gently folded the wings in so it would look like they were flying. Then, I set them on folded paper and let them dry. After a few hours, they became hard and the wings permanently stood up. To get the small dots on the butterflies, I used blue glitter gel and just dotted them.
For the small ladybugs, I rolled red and black gum paste into small balls and then stuck them together using a little black decorative gel. I then used the black gel to add the dots and stripe down the back.
My colors for decorations and frostings.
Gum paste will keep for a really long time so I made the decorations a week in advance. To keep the decorations fresh, put them in a sealed container and set them on the counter. To dry the decorations, leave them uncovered on the counter.  
Don't ever refrigerate or freeze gum paste!!


I wanted several flavor options for the cupcakes so I used my strawberry cream cupcakes for the pink ones and my dark chocolate recipe for the green grass cupcakes. Both of those frostings were buttercream with pink and green dye. However, I tried a new recipe for the blue cupcakes.
My husband LOVES lemon cupcakes so I used my strawberry cupcake recipe but instead of adding strawberries, I added lemon zest from two fresh lemons and freshly squeezed lemon juice from one of the lemons. I made my buttercream frosting but added lemon juice from half a lemon and zest from a whole lemon. It tasted so fresh and light! They were absolutely delicious and I will definitely be trying them again.

I hope this was easy to understand. Happy baking!