Monday, November 26, 2012

Quickie - Weight Watchers

Quickie - Danica's Daily is hosting a contest for a Weight Watchers ActiveLink.  If you are interested, click on over to her website and enter to win!

I have now been on WW for 10 weeks and have lost over 17 lbs!  I am very close to my goal weight.  If you are interested in losing weight, but have never given WW a try, I highly recommend it.  My cousin and coworker are also both on it, and between the three of us, we've lost a total of 69 lbs!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Need Cake? Chocolate Angel Food Cake!

Want a quickie cake recipe?

Chocolate Angel Food Cake

1 box of Angel Food Cake Mix
1/2 c baking cocoa

Mix the Angel Food Cake and cocoa together in a bowl.
Follow box and continue making the cake from the box instructions (my instructions had to add 1 1/4 c of water and mix on low for 30 seconds, and medium for 1 minute, pour into pan, bake for 37-47 minutes at 350 degrees until cracks in cake are no longer spongy.

Sprinkle with sifted powdered sugar and serve with cut-up fruit and cool whip.


Very simple, very quick, very delicious!

Recipe found at Dine and Dish

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Nails, Anyone?

When I originally started this blog, I was going to stick to strictly recipes and crafting projects.  Wellllll.....I've decided if I find something else to suit my fancy, I plan to post it as well!

Today's topic?  My nails.

I have really horrible looking nails - they are brittle and dry, crack and peel at any given moment.  I'm seriously embarrassed by them, and I LOVE to have my nails done.

Enter paying for private school tuition times four boys (two of which are in high school), and the nail thing goes to the bottom of the expense list.  Actually, it's not been on the expense list for a very LOOOONG time.  I used to get my nails done when the first two were younger, and I did for about six months about five years back.  But, for the most part, I've suffered through crappy looking nails.

I am sort of a weird type of girl.  I don't necessary enjoy shopping.  I don't wear a lot of makeup (if any), and, up until recently, I didn't own many shoes (I still don't really).  I do like purses (can't figure that one out), and I love to have my nails pretty.  It does make me feel more ... girlie.

I think it comes from living in a house full of men.

Anyway, a friend of mine posted some awesome shots of her nails, and I got to wanting to do mine again.  So.  I did.

Broadway Nails Brush-On Gel Nail Kit
(image from Amazon)

This kit was very easy to use.  I was skeptical, I can tell you.  First thing it had you do was attach the fake nails with the "gel".  I have always used glue any time I've attached a fake nail, and if I had had nail glue, I would have used it.  But I didn't, so I used the gel, and it worked perfectly fine.  I followed the instructions on the box, and my only complaint was that the stuff didn't completely "dry".  it always felt sticky.  In hindsight, I could have just painted over it, and it would be fine (I had to repair a nail, and did that, and it worked fine).  I went to bed with my nails "sticky" and woke up with my nails "sticky".  So drying didn't happen at my house.  Once I put clear coat on it and a drying agent, they were fine.

Durability - I work in a field where I wash my hands a lot and I use  rubber gloves.  My hands get a lot of abuse.  They worked fine - but I did have to glue nails down periodically (I finally got some nail glue).  However, a week and half in, and the nails are peeling off.  They are not hard like acrylic (they are gel afterall...), and I will probably remove them completely, instead of doing a fill (I had a friend recommend product to me, that I plan to try next time).  Overall, they worked well, but didn't last long term for me (again, I have a job that is hard on my hands...)

Here is a link to Broadway Nails website:

I purchased the kit from a local drugstore.

Now pictures - I was trying out new paint techniques as well, so that's why only one nail is blue - but I do like my nails, and I love the blue:

And because I love the color on my toes, I present my current toe polish:

This is Sally Hansen's Insta-Dry Fast Dry Nail Color in Co-Bolt Blue and a heavy coat of Sally Hansen's Xtreme Wear Nail Color in Strobe Light.  The blue nail above is also Co-Bolt Blue with a streak of the Strobe Light.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Crafting with my Silhouette Cameo!

I am the proud owner of a Silhouette Cameo - I purchased it at a Black Friday Sale last Thanksgiving, and I have not regretted it.  I was able to get it at a very reasonable price, and although I've not used it as much as I'd like (I work outside the home and have four very active boys - time is a premium!), I have had a good time doing the projects I've tried.

(photo from the US Cutter website,

First, a bit of a description about the Silhouette Cameo:

It is, simply, a cutting machine.  It hooks to your computer, and using software, you design and create a world of crafts!  This thing is awesome!  It cuts everything.  It is adjustable to allow you to cut throw virtually anything you want.  And crafts that require cutting isn't the only thing it does!  You can cut templates for stencils and glass etching and whatnot!  It is truly a crafting work horse.

What I love about it the most is that it doesnt' require any additional cartridges or components besides a computer.  You can get advance designer software (I've not invested in that, yet), that allows you to have even more creative abilities, but the basic softwared that comes with the machine has allowed me to do everything I need to do at this point.  Images can be purchased from the Silhouette store for usually under a dollar.  You can also import images as well (would work really well for making silhouettes of your children!)

I've cut paper and I will (in another post) show you one of the paper projects I've done.  In this post, I wanted to highlight a project that I worked on for the graduating seniors in our marching band.  My oldest is one of the eleven that will graduate from our very small high school marching band next spring.  At their senior band camp, it is tradition that we give them a gift - a blanket - that can be used throughout the marching season (to huddle under at those cold football games or band competitions).  The gal before me used to cut the letters out by hand, and look for appliques to use for the kids names and their leadership position.  I was able to cut all of this out and iron it on using the Silhouette.

(my son's senior blanket)

The blankets themselves were purchased from and they were already bound around the edges.  Various musical material was purchased from local stores.  Sewable Fabric Interfacing manufactured by Silhouette along with Flocked Heat Transfer in yellow and white was purchased from 

I, unfortunately, do not have pictures of the whole procedure (I hadn't planned on doing a blog about this at the time). How I accomplished the project, though is as follows:


1.  I opened the Silhouette software and selected a letter "A" that I liked, and enlarged it as large as I could.  (The cutting mat is 12 inches wide, which allowed me to have an "A" that was approximately 11-11 1/2 inches across. 

2.  I ironed on the interfacing to the back of the material according to the package instructions.

3.  I placed the material/interfacing on the sticky cutting mat - interface down - and loaded the mat and material into the Silhouette.

4.  I sent the image to the cutter and set the appropriate settings (all very easy and done through the program).

5.  I selected "cut" and the machine cut the "A".

6. Once cut, I removed the cutting mat/material from the machine, and lifted the "A" off the mat (along with the rest of the material).

7.  The "A" was ironed onto a corner of the blanket, and then trim was stitched around the outside.

Name and Musical Notes:

1. I opened up a new project in the Silhouette software and selected a font I liked.  I typed in the names and leadership positions (or instrument played) into the software.  I had to be careful - the Flocked Heat Transfer is only 9 inches wide, so I had to be very mindful of margins.

2.  When working with Heat Transfer, your image has to be backwards!!  This is very important!!  Make sure to flip your image prior to cutting.  See instructions with the heat transfer for details!

3.  Heat transfer is loaded into the machine without a mat - it has a plastic backing that makes it so it doesn't need to be cut with a mat.

4.  The design is sent to the Silhouette, and the appropriate adjustments are made to the settings (settings: heat transfer)

5.  I selected cut and the machine cut the letters and musical notes.

6.  I cut apart the words as necessary (I tried to keep the section titles together) and cut the musical notes into individual notes.

7.  The heat transfer was ironed onto the blankets according to instructions. I did find that I had to press my iron down for a lot longer than recommended. I kept checking the heat transfer to see how well it was sticking.


I can honestly say, this was much easier than the old way of making these blankets.  And my son loves his.  The only "problem" I've come across is the flocked heat transfer stuff tends to pick up the fuzzies from the blanket.  I will keep you posted on how well the heat transfer holds up to washings.

Up soon: paper crafts (CARDS!), wall vinyl, glass etching, and fabric painting!

EDA: I was not asked or paid for this blogpost concerning the Silhouette Cameo and other Silhouette products.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Salted Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bark

This is a recipe I stumbled upon and HAD. TO. TRY.  The original came from Pinterest, and following the links out, I came across the blog it was posted in.  I tried it, I liked it, but I plan to tweak it a bit for the next time.  Because there will be a next time.

I absolutely adore salted caramels, and this was right up my alley.  It seemed simple (it was), and sounded divine (it is), and I decided to give it a go on my recent day off.

The recipe came from the blog, "Mama Say What?!" and the link to the recipe is here.

Salted Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bark

2 sticks butter
1 c. brown sugar
1 - 11 1/2 oz bag of milk chocolate chips
1/2 bag of small pretzel twists
sea salt

1. Cover a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with parchment paper (original recipe called for using foil, but I had to literally peel and scrape foil off the back of the candy - not cool).

2. Cover parchment paper with pretzel twists (you can line them out or just spread them on the sheet).  Do not have the pretzels overlap if you can avoid it.

3. Melt butter and brown sugar over medium heat until well mixed.  Bring to a boil and continue to stir until caramel is formed.  The caramel will start to stick to the bottom of the pan.  Cooking your caramel until it is a bit thicker is a good thing.

4. Pour caramel over pretzels.  Don't worry if you don't cover every bit of every pretzel.

5. Put pan in the oven at 350 degrees for 5 minutes.

6. Melt chocolate chips in microwave in a microwave-safe container. (This is a change from the original recipe as well.  I found it hard to get the chocolate chips melted enough to spread with the way the original recipe is written).

7. Pour chocolate over hot caramel/pretzels and spread.

8. Heat an additional minute in the 350 degree oven if needed.

9. Generously sprinkle sea salt over the candy.

10. Let cool slightly at room temperature, then place in freezer for 2-3 hours until hardened.

11. Peel bark off the parchment paper and break into smaller pieces.

12. Store in refrigerator for best results.  Enjoy!

This is by far one of the easiest, fastest, and tastiest recipes I have found.  My boys LOVED it.  It will become a regular at our house, I'm sure.

Do you have any suggestions on what could be done differently?  Be sure to share!  I've had suggestions on changing up the chocolate chips  (semi-sweet or white chocolate anyone?), add peanut butter chips, mix in popcorn, break it up into ice cream (I will have to try this), add mini M & M's.  What do you suggest?



This is a new blog I've decided to start to keep all my craft and cooking ideas together.  Hopefully, y'all will enjoy what I post, and maybe get some ideas of your own!

I am a full-time working wife and mom with four sons and a hard-working husband.  My sons are 18, almost 17, almost 14 and 11.  Cooking and crafting are both activities I enjoy when I have the time.  Which isn't very often!

Please be aware, that I am not a professional writer - I enjoy writing, but I do tend to make mistakes along the way!  I also haven't currently received any compensation for any products I mention. If I ever hit the big leagues and do receive any compensation, I'll be sure to let y'all know.

With that, enjoy your visit and drop me a line!