Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Welcome to Crazy Town

 I hope everyone is getting in the Halloween mood. I've never been much into decorating for the Holidays unless it's for Christmas. Now I know some people get really into decorating they're houses for any and all holidays. To each his own. But then there are some people, who when you see how far over the top they go make you think "Welcome to Crazy Town....Population these guys." Check out these videos.

My understanding is this guy does these type of light shows for almost every major holiday. His neighbors must think he's either awesome or hate his guts. But he's not the only one. Check out this guy.

And because you can't mention Home Light Shows with out mentioning one that features the greatest College Basketball team of all time.

These guys must have outrageous electricity bills. And rocking sound systems. Let me just say I'm glad I live in a quiet neighborhood, and that YouTube let's me experience this stuff anyway. Has anyone else out there been crazy over the top with Halloween?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Delicious Goodness: Oreo Crumb Chocolate Cupcakes

Today my father is starting the last year of his 50's. I was teasing him yesterday, that he's not ancient yet, but he's pretty damn close. He was not pleased with me. To make up for it, I made him birthday cupcakes. Normally my Mother makes him a traditional German Chocolate Cake for his birthday every year. This year, I got put in charge of his cake, and there is no way I was making that crap. Thinking about it makes me want to vomit*. Nasty chocolate, soggy coconut.....EWWWW!!! (*Disclaimer, this is in no way a reflection on my Mother's baking/cooking skills, the best chef in the world could make a traditional German Chocolate Cake and I would still feel the same about it.)

Instead, I decided to go with a tried and true recipe, the Oreo Crumb Chocolate Cupcake with Oreo Cream Cheese Icing. I've made these a few times and they have always been a big hit.
Now, I wish I could take all the credit for this treat of delicious goodness. But I can't. The problem is, I don't know who to give credit too. I printed this recipe off the internet years ago, and have no idea who it belongs to. If you know, let me know, so I can point people to the original source. But in the mean time, I will supply you with the recipe so you too can make your own delicious goodness.
Oreo Crumb Cupcakes & Oreo Cream Cheese Icing

Cake Ingredients:
  • 24 Oreos
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 eggs
  • Devil's Food Cake Mix
Icing Ingredients:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • Oreo cream from cookies
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2  1/2 - 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup Oreo crumbs, sifted

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 24 muffin tins with cupcake liners
  2. Take your 24 Oreos. Scrape off the cream centers, set these aside for later. Put the cookies in a food processor, or place them in a plastic bag and crunch by hand.
  3. Sift the crushed Oreos. You will need about 1 cup sifted cookies for the icing, so set that aside. Be sure to sift the cookies or you will get big chunks in your icing bag, that makes it difficult to get around. Trust me, I know. 
  4. Place approximately 1 teaspoon of  the larger cookie crumbs into the bottom of each cupcake liner. 
  5. In a large bowl, use a whisk to combine water, buttermilk, oil, sour cream, and vanilla extract. 
  6. One at a time, add the eggs. Be sure to stir well in between each addition.
  7. Slowly add the Devil's Food cake mix while stirring. 
  8. Fill cupcake liners (with the cookie crumbs on the bottom) 3/4 full and bake for 13-18 minutes (depending on your oven, of course). The tops should spring back when you touch them. 
  9. For the icing: Cream together your cream cheese, butter, and the Oreo cream centers. 
  10. Add vanilla and heavy cream. 
  11. Add in the powdered sugar until you reach the desired icing texture.
  12. Stir in sifted Oreo crumbs and pipe onto cooled cupcakes.
Be sure to store in a air-tight container to keep in moisture. Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My Sweet Scallops Tote

Some of you may know Kate over at see kate sew. I wish I could say that I really knew her, she makes the coolest things and I'm completely jealous of all her sweet skills, but I only blog-stalk know her. 

Kate is celebrating her blog birthday and is hosting a sew along with a pattern that she designed. I immediately signed up (and in true blog stalker fashion, was the first to commit). I sat down at the sewing machine last night and in a little over an hour had this beauty.
I absolutely adore it! It's amaze-balls. They only alteration that I made was changing from two straps to one long cross-body strap. I'm lucky to live close enough to work that I walk every day. So it's much easier for me to sling my bag across my body and go. I also added a matching felt & fabric flower to cover where the strap attaches to the bag.
The bag holds all my junk and sits perfectly on my hip. I've already had people ask where I got it and when I tell them I made it they are shocked. I see many more of these as gifts in the future.
Thanks for hosting a great sew-along Kate! And Happy Blog Birthday!

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Sassy Baby Shower: Appliqued Onsies

One of my friends (who I've known since 4th grade, crazy right?) is about to embark on a new adventure, called Motherhood. Valerie is an adorable expecting momma, and a few of us got together and threw her a baby shower. One of the decorations for the shower was personalized onsies hanging on a clothesline. My other friend Erin and I got together and made several each. Let me show you the three onsies I made.

In case you were wondering how I did it, don't worry I took pictures to show you! First I ironed all the wrinkles out of the onsies. I then sketched some tie shapes, until I found the right size and shape I was looking for. I cut them out of my notebook and laid them on the onsie, just to be sure.
Satisfied with the shape, I then cut those same shapes out of fusible interfacing and ironed onto my chosen fabric.
After doing this, I then cut the shapes out of the fabric, removed the backing, lined them up on the onsie, and ironed them on. I then set my sewing machine to a zig zag stitch with the stitch length at zero. I then very slowly worked my way around the edges of the tie, making sure that I covered the full edge of the tie. And voila....you get...this!
And finally the onsies displayed at the baby shower. Look how cute.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hey you want a s'more? Some more what?

That's right, I went there. I pulled out a quote from Sandlot. If you haven't seen that movie...shame on you. I used to love that movie when I was a kid. Okay, I admit it, I still love it.

I'm going to tell you bloggy people something I haven't told you before. I coach High School Tennis, no joke. Tennis has always been a big part of my life. I've been playing tennis since I was 7. I played in High School, College, and now I coach. I love Coaching and sharing my knowledge. Last weekend was the 4A High School Regional  Tournament. This tournament is a BIG DEAL. It determines whether or not they go to State.
Can you guess which one I am? I totally look like a High Schooler. :-)

My girls all played fantastically, but only two qualified for the State Tourney. It was nerve wracking. Ever point I watched had my stomach in my throat and by the end of the weekend, I had my first official case of HeartBurn. I literally had to go out and buy some Tums on Saturday afternoon.

If you can imagine, I have 6 High School Girls, who will eat you out of house and home, but only out of the stuff that is terrible for you. If it was boys, I would expect them to eat that much, but these girls will put it away. No lie. But do they prepare ahead and bring enough food to last them two full days at a tournament, of course NOT. They're High Schoolers. So this is where Castle's Magical Bag of Treats comes in. One of the treats that I made for the girls was S'mores Bars.
They're made the same way as Rice Crispy Treats, but with different cereal. Let me give you the break down.

Ingredients Needed:
  • Golden Grahams Cereal
  • Bag of Marshmallows
  • 4 Tablespoons of Butter 
  • Milk Chocolate Chips
Directions to Delicious S'mores goodness:
  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat
  2. When the butter is melted add in bag of marshmallows, stir constantly
  3. Once the mallows have melted and there is no lumps, remove from heat and quickly add in the cereal
  4. Mix as quickly as possible and press into a buttered pan
  5. Melt chocolate chips in microwave, drizzle over treats
  6. Let the cereal and chocolate set completely before cutting and serving

I made 3 pans of these and didn't have a single one left after the weekend. They were a big hit and gave the girls plenty of energy to play their hearts out. I'm excited for the State this weekend. I'm sure my two Seniors will do a great job!

P.S. Here's a funny tidbit for you, related to tennis. I look very young for my age, I recognize this, but nothing rubs it in more than when I take my tennis girls to a meet, and inevitably someone will look right at me and say "Where's your Coach?" and then I have to say "No really, it's me, I promise." True story.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Obsession Alert: Cute Dresses

For those of you who know me well, then you know my main obsession is, Shoes. And for those of you who don't know me well enough, it's true, I do have a closet soley for shoes. (Did you see what I did there? I crack myself up.)

But I have another confession...I L-O-V-E sun dresses. Any shape, size, length, color, you name it, I have it, and I love to wear them during the summer. So simple, cute, and easy. But they also transition perfectly into fall. Top them with a cute cardi, add a belt, tights, and boots, and VOILA, I'm set.

My downfall is that there are so many super cute dress tutorials out there. You've seen where I try my hand at dresses here and here. I'm not lying, they are so cute, easy, and cheap! For example through Pinterest, this super easy tutorial was brought to my awareness. If I could have found the fabric she used for her long dress, you'd better believe I would have made the exact same one. However, I didn't so I followed her tutorial and came up with the following. It's quirky and fun, and I love it.
As you can see, I paired mine with a chunky belt for the day. I also made a long sash, but decided the belt was a better option for a day at the office.

Also, I'm going to share with you some ridiculous photos. This is what happens, when I ask my co-worker to take one photo of me. He keeps taking more photos, while I'm being ridiculous. Although, I'm not sure it's that much of a surprise.

Anyways, this was a super easy dress to whip up. I've never used elastic thread before, and it may be my new favorite thing. Even though I did have to drive all over the city to find it. *eye roll* I think I might give it a go on a short dress. We'll see.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pinterest Challenge: Fire Pit

So, if you've been following along, then you know that Valerie's Pinterest Challenge ended on Sept. 30. I'm late in getting this post up, but I promise it was done well before the deadline.

As you know, I had 5 projects that I was going to attempt to complete. Really, I made it through about 3.5 of those projects. As you know...I completed the two organizing projects. I'm about to introduce you to the Fire Pit, and I've got the chairs 1/2 way done.

Anyways, onto the Fire Pit! You may remember my inspiration....
Source: alwayschasinglife.blogspot.com via Amy on Pinterest 
Let me introduce you to my backyard.

As you can see, I have a giant brush pile. I'm lucky enough to have a big backyard, with lots of old growth trees. The problem with that is, I have lots of GIANT branches that fall out of my trees. And I have no way to get rid of them...hence the idea for a fire pit. Oh yeah, I'm a smart cookie.
Putting it all together was fairly easy. I just went to Home Depot, bought the stones and followed their natural curve to make the circle fire pit. Let me show you my new fire pit!

Sometimes all the wood/branches don't fit in the pit, but you know what....IT MAKES AWESOME S'MORES. I've been having little bonfires here and there, and I'm starting to put a big dent in the HUGE brush pile.

And here's a little sneak peek on the chairs...
Eventually those chairs are going to end up by the fire pit. But for now, they need another coat of spray paint and some finishing spray. I promise I'll show the end result soon.