Friday, April 29, 2011

Chocolate treats galore!!!!!!!!

This year I had the most wonderful opportunity to become our church's MOPs coordinator. I don't think I really knew what I was getting into, except that it would be a fun way to use my spiritual gifts. I have been amazingly blessed with a wonderful steering team that just blew my socks off with their creativity and faithfulness. Our discussion group leaders and mentor mom's each went above and beyond the call of duty planning playdates and bringing treats of encouragement to each of their tables. I have also been amazed at the sense of community that has developed out of this year's group of ladies. There is so much love and respect that pours out of the moms that belong to this MOPS group. I can't wait to start planning for next year!

But, one of my jobs as coordinator was to have an appreciation dessert night for the ladies who serve. I really wanted to make it special because these ladies deserve so much and my budget wasn't that big, so I decided to go with the chocolate fountain route. I have hosted several of these parties with my friend Steph and they have always been the biggest hit. (I won't lie. . . the idea came to me in the shower. . . does that happen to anyone else, or am I just crazy?)

To go with the chocolate fountain, I had jars of skewered marshmallows, strawberries, and pineapple; rice krispy treats, twinkies, cheesecake bites, palmiers, bananas, pretzel rods, graham crackers, brown butter chocolate chip cookies, and Boston Cream whoopie pies. I also had cream puffs to put out, but completely forgot about them until the next day. . . oops!

Instead of using a table cloth on my long, rectangular table, I bought a roll of matching wrapping paper and used it as a table runner.

I also made raspberry sherbert punch (raspberry sherbert + 7up), which made the perfect color of pink to match the party!

We had so much fun! Thanks to all of my MOPS momma's for making my first year as coordinator so much fun! Thanks to all of the ladies involved in leadership. . . You guys ROCK!!!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Create a Cupcake

Allergies. Go. Away. Don't come back another day! (Please? with strawberries and cream. . .) The weather here has been a bit breezy (I don't want to say windy, because my sister in Wyoming will chime in and tell me otherwise!). And, I have to agree. . . it's been kind of beachy! But, since I am not at the beach, all it tends to do here is blow all those lovely pollens around, making me a bit on the foggy side. Oh well. Life goes on, right.

Last night we, along with some good friends, went out for 31 cent scoop night (we live within walking distance to one Fresno BR and that's awesome. They have a new flavor that is simply wonderful. . . . fire station #31. It is bright red and flavored with crunched up red hots!!! WOW! was it yummy (thanks to my sister who recommended it to me!). Did you venture out to get some ice cream last night? I hope so. It was well worth the slightly long lines for ice cream that cheap (we didn't have to wait longer than 20 minutes . . . I think).

Here are some cards I recently made with one of my new stamp sets. . . Create a cupcake and it's matching punch (both are Stampin' Up products). Most of my ideas come from other people's cards.

Monday, April 25, 2011


are seriously the perfect gift. They are yummy, inexpensive, and you can do just about anything with them. Last week, I hosted a dessert appreciation for the ladies that serve in MOPs. I had so much fun, but more on that later. I needed to come up with a nice, yet inexpensive gift that showed how much I appreciated their hard work and love towards the mommies that come to our MOPS meetings (they really do work hard!). I had seen this idea a couple months back on several blogs. . . mostly regarding wedding favors. . . and just couldn't get the idea out of my head.
For these cupcakes, I went with a box of devils food cake mix, marshmallow filling made pink with Wilton coloring gel, and a basic chocolate butter cream frosting. They were amazing.

Here's a quick tutorial. . . and I mean quick. . .

Step 1: Bake cupcakes according to box directions (or make them from scratch. . . you pick how much work you put into them).
Step 2: Cut cupcakes in half.
Step 3: Place bottom in jar.
Step 4: Spoon desired amount of filling onto cupcake half.
Step 5: Cover with top of cupcake.
Step 6: Using a piping bag, pipe frosting over cupcake.
Step 6: (optional) sprinkle sprinkles over the top (that sounded redundant didn't it?). I used Nestle Toll House spring mini morsels (they were yellow and pink. . . the exact pink of my filling to be exact.)
Step 7: Screw on lid of jar and decorate as you want.

Super easy? Completely! I used the half pint jars by Kerr and found them at my local grocery store. I wrapped them with a pink ribbon with a bottle cap charm attached to each one (I'll let you know how I did those on a later post. . . I promise!).

On another note, I hope you all had a great celebration of Resurrection Day! My weekend was filled with activity and fun. In fact, it was so busy, we forgot to dye the Easter eggs. . . okay, we didn't forget, they are hard boiled. . . we just ran out of time. . . More on that later! You'll have to check back tomorrow. I have LOTS to show you!

Monday, April 18, 2011


I got brave today. I linked one my my posts to Skip to my lou's Made by you Monday. I am excited. . . it worked. I may start doing this more. Go check it out!

On another note, I hope you are having a great Monday. This week is kind of crazy but it's gonna be a fun one! I can't wait to show you the things I am working on to say thanks to all the wonderful women who serve on our MOPS team! So excited.

Have a great day!

Friday, April 15, 2011

my new best friend. . .

is my iphone. Seriously! It keeps my awake (sometimes) in the middle of the night with countless games of Solitaire and Words with Friends. But more recently, it has been a saver of dinner. I am a planner, but on occasion I need a dinner idea and quick. . . like when I am at the store. This app has given me inspiration on meal planning days and when I am at the store pondering what we are going to have for dinner that very night.

I use a lot. It is a great collection or recipes from just about everywhere. It is full of awesomely rated recipes as well as great hints and ideas that make recipes better. Plus, it's free. . . I am a liker of free things.
It lays everything out so easily. For instance, a few weeks ago, I was at the store in need of inspiration. So I opened the app and clicked Main Dish, pasta, and ready any time. It brought up a good number of recipes and I quickly scanned one that pleased my eyes in hopes to please my family's bellies. Right then and there, I had a recipe, ingredients, and there was no stress to get dinner on the table. Actually, there was an incredible rush of excitement (okay, I am weird, I know. . .).
The first recipe I made was linguine with peppers and sausage. . . mmm. . . it was so good, I am making it again tomorrow night! And then, this last week I made slow cooker chicken tortilla soup, which the was another huge success!

Have you used this app?
What do you think of it?
What has been your favorite recipe so far?

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Peanut Butter & Snickers {Cookies!}

Lately, my life seems to revolving around lists. . . I have lists of house cleaning goals, project goals, daily goals, dinners, grocery, and now the MOPS appreciation dessert to-do list. But despite ALL that I need to be working on, Ethan and I took some time to make some much needed homemade cookies. . . and let me just say. . . these cookies ROCK!!!! Ethan and I both had a hard time saving any for daddy, today and usually Ethan just helps and just wants to eat the chocolate chips. . . Not this time! Even Jon is super excited to try these out (we'll see if there's any left before he gets home!).

Last week, Michelle - the Brown Eyed Baker posted this recipe and I knew I had to make them. . . Soon! Doesn't the combination of Peanut Butter, chocolate, caramel, and nougat just sound great together? (I promise you. . . it's amazing!). Thankfully, I baked up 16 nice round cookies and threw the rest of the dough in a freezer bag, labeled it, and threw it in the freezer where it would be safe. . . for now.
Peanut Butter Snickers Cookies
adapted from

1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 tbs milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup chopped Snickers Bars (I used 4 of the big ones)
3/4 cup chocolate chips (I used semi sweet and just through a few handfuls in.

:: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line with parchment paper or your favorite Silpat.

:: Whisk together your dry ingredients and set aside.

:: Cream together butter and peanut butter until nice and fluffy. Add both sugars and beat until smooth. Then add the egg, milk, and vanilla mixing after each addition.

:: Add the flour mixture and beat until you no longer see the flour. Stir in chopped snickers and chocolate chips.

:: Use your cookie scoop and scoop out nicely round balls of dough onto cookie sheet. Bake for 10-11 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for about 5 minutes before putting on a rack to finish cooling.
Don't these cookies look amazing? These were so good, I called my sister and told her to make them. . . and she just happened to have a box of Snickers (yes, I said box. . . as in the kind you buy at Sams Club or Costco) laying around and she had some yummy peanut butter.

Go ahead. . . try not to make them. . . they are THAT good!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A new look. . .

So, I needed a change, so I changed the look of the blog. Hope you like it.

Have a great day and thanks for taking the time to read my blog!

Monday, April 11, 2011

He is Risen!

He is Risen Indeed!

Yesterday I looked at my calendar and realized that Easter was in exactly 2 weeks. Seriously, I knew it was coming, but for some reason thought I had more time. WAKE UP, Jolie!!!!! So, I took advantage of both boys napping and got out the Resurrection Eggs I had started last year at one of our MOPS meetings. I had every intention of finishing them, but for some reason never did. I went through each egg and realized I was missing some of the "treasures" and quickly went to GOOGLE to rescue me. I had to make a few changes because I couldn't remember what some of mine were and I was missing some. I found a great tutorial here complete with verses and everything!
So, tonight at dinner we will be doing egg #1. . . The palm branch. I am really excited to start this tradition with Ethan, and eventually Weston.
I am also super excited about the books I bought for their Easter baskets. Ethan is going to be getting Benjamin's Box, a story about the Resurrection Eggs and Weston will be getting The Three Trees. We will also be baking some Resurrection cookies and dying Easter eggs and then hunting for them.

Have a Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 09, 2011


ahhh. . . the sound of nap time. . . quiet. Both kids are sleeping at the same time (that doesn't usually happen!). I am just going to take advantage of it. I have a lot of things going on and need to focus, which is really hard to do since I would rather curl up in a ball and fall asleep. But. . . must. . . keep. . . moving.

I know it may sound weird, but I am kind of a big fan of Mondays. Mondays are my recovery days. It's a day for me to recuperate from the weekend (or the crazy week before!) and focus on the upcoming week. I usually tidy the house (I like to start and end the week clean) and do laundry. Most of the time, I can fit some baking in, which is fun for me. Today, I needed to fit a Costco run in because we were getting incredibly low on wipes and needed a rotisserie chicken for a crockpot chicken tortilla soup I am going to try tomorrow.

I am really excited for Easter this year. It's kind of busy around here leading up to it, but Ethan is now old enough to do a lot of these fun activities and so, I got the resurrection eggs finished last night (don't worry, I plan on blogging about them!) and am preparing some other fun activities to share the real story of Easter with my children.

So, to start out this week, I am going to leave you with a recipe for one of the most amazing blueberry muffins you have ever tasted. . . plus it includes one of my favorite things. . . brown butter. . . enjoy!
Brown Butter Blueberry Muffins
by Joy the Baker

7 tbs unsalted butter
1/3 cup whole milk
1 lg. egg
1 lg. egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 cups fresh blueberries
3 tbs. cold butter, choppped
1/2 cup flour
3 1/2 tbs sugar


Put a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line muffin pan with paper or foil liners. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Keep an eye on the butter. Melt and cook down the butter until little brown bits appear in the pan. The crackling will subside and butter will begin to brown fairly quickly after that. Keep a close eye. Remove from heat. Whisk milk, egg, yolk and vanilla until combined. Add the brown butter and stir to combine. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl Add milk and butter mixture all at one and stir gently to combine. Gently but thoroughly fold in the blueberries. Divide the batter among muffin cups and spread evenly. To make the topping combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the batter in the cups. Bake until golden and crisp and a wooden pick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack for 15 minutes then remove from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Have a great week!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Accordion Card

Last month, my husband's grandparents celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary, which gave me a great excuse to make a card with one of my new stamp sets that I ordered just before Weston made his grand entrance. I also got to play with my cricut. . . let's just say that I had fun.

When I started out with this card, I really didn't know where I was going except that I wanted my stamp (the flower and vase from the set, A Slice of Life. . . SU 2011) to be in a circle with a scalloped circle behind it. My circle ended up being incredibly big and I decided to try the accordion style. My friend Amy had made a similar card for Christmas (I think. . . I am just going from memory???).
The purple background is dry embossed using a stylus and brass plate that I have had for about 7 years (I probably haven't even used it since getting married, either!). But, I thought it would make a nice effect.

On the inside of the accordion fold, I found some coordinating scrapbook paper in my scrap pile and thought it would be perfect for when it gets opened up.

This was such a fun and easy card to make!

Happy Anniversary Gene and Wanda. . . I look forward to the day I get to celebrate my 65th with Jon!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

mmmmmmm. . . .

It has been a super quiet day here on the home front. The horrible stomach flu has been going around and decided to hit my family this weekend. Seriously. . . all at once. The hubby and I are better, but poor Ethan is still working out the rest of it (I think it's coming to an end, though). I have been pouring my energy into cleaning our house and ridding it of germs. . . let's just say I am on a germ killing spree! Unfortunately, I have a lot of other things to do, so I am having to ration out what I do each day so I can focus on the projects. Tonight. . . my goal is to finish Weston's blanket. It's almost done and should have already been done, but that darn flu bug knocked me down for a good 4 days and I am just now getting my groove back.

However, before the flu bug hit, and even before family left to go back to Wyoming, I made these:
cinnamon rolls, you say? Yes, but not just any cinnamon rolls. . . BLUEBERRY cinnamon rolls. Let me just say, they were so yummy. I got the idea from here, but made it my way. . . the bread machine way.

I used this recipe for the bread dough.

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg

  • I put all my liquid ingredients in first, followed by the dry ingredients, saving my yeast for last. Before I put my yeast in, I make a little hole in the dry ingredients and pour my yeast into that. After that, I put my bread machine on bread cycle and let it do the work (I may have mentioned before that I am a bit lazy when it comes to bread. . . and hey, I just had my second child, I am not sure I even have time to knead bread myself!).

  • After that, I mixed some sugar and cinnamon in a bowl (I really am not sure, but next time I would use more sugar), and rolled out my dough. After that I sprinkled my sugar mixture over it and some rinsed fresh blueberries, rolled it up and cut it into slices. From there, I let it rise overnight and stuck it in the oven the next morning. What a great way to start a Saturday! These did not last long. In fact, I had to quickly get a picture before they were all gone. . . and this was all that was left!

  • I do want to leave you with one question. . . please comment. . . please. . .

  • How are you preparing your house for Easter?
  • And in house, I mean, family, decorations, activities, anything really.


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