Cars All in a Row

Anyone want a caravan of cars for breakfast?  Handsome calls this a train, and he thinks they go quite well with peanut butter.


Cake Pop How-To

As you may remember from Princess' birthday party, I made cake pops.  Here is how I did it.  Of course, I  started by google-ing for recipes and how-to's and adapted what I think would work for me.

To make cake pops, start with a cake.  I am lazy and made a box cake.  If you are baking whiz, you should make one from scratch, just don't gloat about it.

I made it the night before and let it cool.  The next day, I crumbled it up.  I utilized a few different methods, scraping with a fork, using my fingers, etc.  I found that rubbing cake chunks against themselves worked the best.  The goal is to have small crumbs, no large chunks.

Then, add in the frosting.  Again, I am game for the easiest route, so I chose pre-made frosting.  I used half the can, then added a bit more.  The mixture should be moist, but not too sticky.

Next, roll the cake in balls and place on baking sheets lined with wax paper.  Once this process is complete, place in the refrigerator for a few hours or the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes.  The cake should be firm enough to dip.

I chose to dip the pops in candy melts.  I wanted pink and purple pops for my Princess and the candies are easy to melt in the microwave.  And I think we've established I'm all for easy.  I did find the melted mixture was bit thick, so I had to thin it out with some vegetable oil.

I forgot to take pictures of the next part.  You'll have to use your imagination.

First, I recommend dipping the stick in the melted mess before placing in the ball.  It will help keep the pop on the stick once upright.  Then, immerse the cake pop in the candy melt.  I used two spoons to help make sure it was covered completely.  Let the excess drip off, then place upright until set.  I used a floral foam block.

You're bound to have a few that don't work.  One's that fall off or split.  That's your treat.

I chose to display them in a floral foam orb on a cake stand.  It doesn't look that pretty, but it works.

And of course I pretended to be fancy and drizzled the tops with alternating colors of candy melt.  I should note that my hubby chose to dip some in melted chocolate, but they weren't done at press time.  He simply melted chocolate chips and some vegetable oil.  They were yummy, but lacked the crunch of the candy coating.

Overall, it was a lot of work for a small treat.  However, my daughter loved them and I enjoyed making something special for her birthday.  Have you ever made cake pops or something similar?  I'd love to hear the details.


Sunset Walk

We finally took our first evening walk of the season.  Daylight Saving Time generously gave us an extra hour and Mother Nature blessed us with a few 75-80 degree days, so we took advantage of the two with a walk on the beach.  Luckily, I remembered to bring the camera and snapped some pictures.

Spring Breaks have started and the tourists are drifting back in, but the beach was relatively quiet.  There was a nice cool breeze and the air smells so fresh.  Walks like these remind me how we fell in love with this place.

I love these of the dunes and grass between the beach and the street.

I would love to have a large picture of the beach and natural landscape in our living room/family room someday.

Boats on the beach.  I love the sunset glow.  We cherish our evening walks on the beach.  Hopefully the warm weather will stick around and we can continue on for the season.


March Birchbox

On my Princess' birthday I also received a present.  My March Birchbox came!  The boxes usually ship by the 10th of the month, however I must have been on the top of the list to actually get is on the 10th.  I'm not complaining, in fact I was really excited.  Anyway, here are my goodies:

It's a bright, cheery, green box.  It feels very spring to me.

Shampoo and hand soap.

Green Tea blotting papers, bright orange nail polish, and a smokey eye shadow trio.

Green detox tea.

I haven't tried anything yet.  Honestly, I was busy with party and guests, then work stuff.  I really want to break out that nail polish and give myself a pedicure.  It was 80 degrees the other day and I need to get sandal ready.  What do you do to get ready for spring?


Fixing Stupid

Have you ever done something stupid?  Over ten years ago (I think) I opened up a store credit card.  A Gap card.  I loved the Gap.  And I thought it was a great way to save money on clothes.  Buy now, pay later.  Earn reward points to use on future purchases.  The catch?  In order to redeem the points you must use your Gap card.  It was a vicious cycle.  For the most part, I was responsible and paid of the balance every month.  However, at some point I decided I didn't NEED to pay it off every month.  I'll just pay half now, and the rest next month.  I bet you know how the story goes.  In no time, I had a balance I wasn't proud of.  I stopped spending on the card close to two years ago, yet it wasn't until the last six months that I got serious about paying it off.  This month, I made the last payment.  It feels amazing.  AMAZING.  I paid it off ahead of schedule.  One stupid mistake now corrected.  Please don't make the same mistake I did.

Now, I have two cars and three student loans left.  The hefty balances.  My payment calculator estimates I'll be done in 2019 and that feels forever away.  I'm sticking with my stressful job in hopes of making a big dent in our debt.  My dream is to be able to work part-time (or at least 32 hours per week) once my student loans are paid off.  Its good to have dreams, they help motivate you.


Sticking to the Budget

What's better then sticking to your budget?  Doing it in style.  As you may remember from previous posts (here and here) Hubby and I strive to operate on a mostly cash budget, utilizing an envelope system.  While the system works well, paper envelopes do not.  We also tried a small plastic accordion  folder, but didn't have success with that either.  Thank goodness for the internets.  I found an awesome solution on Etsy and took the plunge.

This is the carrying case.  Don't you love the gray and yellow?

This is the interior.  It is lined with a thicker cloth and feels rather substantial.

.....And of course the envelopes.  I love that they are all different patterns.  The seller pre-printed the category labels for me.  The zipper pouch is for coins.  We have been using these envelopes for over a month and I LOVE them.  Hubby can just take one or two envelopes and leave the rest at home.  He actually prefers that method since he thinks the carry-case is too girly.

If you are the crafty type, I'm sure you could make this easily.  I am not.  It is my first purchase from Etsy and I am incredibly pleased.  (link to seller here.)

What do you think?  Any Etsy addicts?  Would your Hubby carry this around?


Princess Turns Four

This past weekend was a momentous occasion, Princess had a birthday.

It didn't start off so well.


 My baby girl didn't sleep the night before or all day.  She had a slight fever and congestion.  Poor honey didn't know what to do.  We babied her by watching TV all day with occasional breaks to play the iPad.  She didn't sleep very well Friday night, but at least she slept some.  By Saturday, she had most of her energy back.

We had a birthday lunch a local pizza/game zone place.  She had a blast, and of course I left the camera in the car.  You will just have to imagine her running around with her uncles in tow from game to game.

After pizza, we headed home for cake, specifically cake pops.

 The presentation isn't perfect, but they were delicious and my daughter loved them.  Its a win in my book.

A dozen balloons were a nice surprise.   (they are tied to the chair)

We sang "Happy Birthday" and Princess sang it two more times.  She really likes to sing.

Of course we opened presents.  Both kiddos really enjoyed it this time.

After destroying my living room, it was time for one more present.

First, a lovely blue hat.

She absolutely loved her new bike.  And of course she was adorable trying to ride it.

She had lots of help with Daddy, Papa, and two uncles to rally behind her.

She loved her blue helmet so much she wanted to wear it the rest of the evening.  By the end of the weekend she figured out how to pedal herself.  I think she enjoyed her birthday weekend.


Packing Up

As you have figured out by now, we are moving again in a month.  Our closing date is less then a month away, although we won't have free time or help to move the big stuff until April.  Meanwhile, I should be packing up and organizing my house contents.  The problem is, I have no motivation.  I just went through this a year ago.  That move was well planned; I started packing 6 months before the truck came.  I had everything planned out to the date.

Not this time.

I am excited to be in the new house, but I'm secretly waiting for the moving fairy (have you heard of her? She's related to the dish fairy) to wave her wand and make my stuff appear in boxes.  Organized boxes.  To be honest, I'm a bit overwhelmed.  The last move also was a result of a major purging.  We didn't want to move things we didn't need or love across the country.  Now, I'm moving 20 minutes away.  It doesn't have the same motivation, plus I can't re-buy stuff I don't want to move.

Anyone have any suggestions?  Any encouragement?  I'm not begging for help, I'm just genuinely overwhelmed and need to get my rear-end in gear.