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Sunday, August 17, 2014

The New York Baking Company Review

I was contacted by the The New York Baking Company to do a review of their product on my blog.  I was delighted!  As you probably know from the title of my blog, I love baking.  Funny enough, I love the process of baking even better than the eating of the things I make.  Baking is my therapy, and it just makes everything better in my world.  

They are so pretty!  The kids were thrilled to open up the package of colorful cups, and line them all up.  I have to be honest... I had to youtube a video to make sure that I could put the cups on top of a regular baking sheet.  Yes, they stayed upright, and nothing spilled out!
 I also wanted to bake some (pink!) cupcakes in the normal paper liners for comparison.
 Here is the finished product!
The cupcakes in the silicone cups took a little longer to bake.  They peeled right out of the cups.   I didn't have any baking spray (the youtube tutorial suggested using it), but it didn't matter-- they peeled easily out.   As Tate pointed out, if you have the silicone cups, you don't have to throw them away, but get to use them over and over again!  Also, they washed right up.  They are dishwasher safe, so I just popped them into the top rack of the dishwasher.  

Now, since this is an honest review, I will also add that I prefer the paper liners when you are giving cupcakes away.  When we wanted to give a few to our neighbors, we didn't want to have to ask for the liner back.  I guess I could have peeled them out before frosting them, but really, I don't think my neighbor wants my hands on the outside of the cake when I hand it over.  

Lastly, here is Tate's review. 
We spent all afternoon making review videos, as little kids are funny.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Corners of My House and Random Blathering

I kind of stole the "Corners of My House" title from one of my favorite blogs,  She posts photos of her cozy spots in her home, and it always inspires me to feather my nest and make it look intentional and loved.  As we unpack the new house, COZY is my theme.  I plan on staying in this house for a long, long time, and cozy is very important to me.  We are still not finished, but here are a few shots:

 This is my dining room, and the big armoire will hold all of my crafting things.  Thanks, Marja, for the craft-in-the-dining room inspiration!  That chandelier has GOT to GO, by the way.

 The Princess Room.

 Inspiration for my bedroom.

Our Library.

And the random part of the post.  If you don't read regularly, this is where I chatter on about what I have been up to.  (That's basically most of this blog!)

Biggby's is a local coffee chain in our area, and I was much in need of caffeine one afternoon, on the way to the park.  Little did I know that they would give me the most gigantic iced coffee ever!  I put the leftovers in the fridge, and drank off of this thing for 3 days.  

Best benefit of living in the Lansing area?  I can pop in and see a sibling when I want.  (Isn't his puggle adorable?)

Hooked.  I mean, completely and utterly OBSESSED.  
(This is Game of Thrones, in case you don't know.   Must be viewed with red wine.)

Practicing up with new face paint techniques.   This was a study in flower petals, which I loved.  I love watching face painting and traditional acrylic painting tutorials for inspiration:)

Long story short, I helped out a new creperie to get their chalkboards finished.  Yes, they gave me a crepe as payment, which was DELISH.  I was happy to have a creative outlet amongst the unpacking.
Enjoy the end of summer.... it is fading away fast.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Embracing Michigan-Blueberry Picking!

I knew that when I moved to Michigan, (it being my forever home after moving a bazillion times), I planned on settling in, listening to the seasons, and doing what the locals do.  This time of year here is blueberry season!

My kids were hooked after about 5 minutes in.  Tate said "I now want to be a farmer... but without the farm house."  He doesn't even eat bluerries.  He does, however, love to run around free, along the rows, as the breeze blows.  (It was only about 70F, and such delightful weather.) 

They enjoyed it so much, we went twice this week!  I can't wait until apple season...

We picked with The Country Mill in Charlotte, MI.

This is just a portion of the 5 lbs of blueberries we picked in under an hour.  

Friday, July 25, 2014

NYC-Niagara Falls-Michigan

 Lady Liberty

 My Grandma's apartment building when she lived in NYC.

 A boy & his baguette.

 NYC Public Library.  In his element.

My sweet Bella, who drove in just to have brunch with us!

Books & Games--perfect for my kiddos.

  On to Canada...

  Finally to our destination.
 Our baby bamboo, from our dear friends, The Miravites, made the trip.  
It helped make our new house cozy.

"Slowly but surely" has been our unpacking motto. 
Our only "finished" room, aside from the purple paint that Tate is requesting we change. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Be Back Soon! Moving Again...

We have left Norfolk, headed to NYC, then to Niagara Falls, and then finally to Michigan.  It was torture by vacationing!! (Paul planned many, many stops with very little sitting time.  Or, as I like to call it "coffee with pinterest time".)

I will have photos later, as I sit surrounded by lots of boxes, and can barely get the kids fed at this point.  We have had a trip to the ER, a shower-pipe-poop-fountain explosion, and Paul has a cold flu thing that has knocked him out.

I am very excited to be at my forever home, but hey, I'm human and unable to keep up with it all.  Grateful for the very little things at the moment... xoxoxo

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Norfolk, VA with kids

Paul and I have been making a list of all the things that we like to do in this area with little kids.  Some of of our suggestions are obvious, others are things we discovered as we lived here, as we saw what our children enjoyed.

In no particular order:

Book Exchange-Wards Corner--They will give you a credit when you bring in your used books.  It is set up like a book store, and has a small toddler play area, and you can use the credit to buy new books.  The kids LOVE this.  (You can also buy books for half of the value.)
VA Childrens Museum in Portsmouth-there is a great cafe across the street.  They also have donuts and ice cream for a post museum treat.  I love the soup in there.  Another option is Artisan Bakery, which is also close by.
Music at Ocean View Beach, Norfolk  This is one of the many events sponsored by The City of Norfolk via their Festevents.  I don't recommend going to this beach when they aren't having events or when there are no lifeguards.
Skinny Dip Frozen Yogurt- in Ghent (Colley Rd.)
Hermitage Park-The park is open to the public and has a nice fence around it, and is shaded by trees.  There are also many kids events held at the Hermitage Museum.
Winter Whale Watching Boat at the VA Aquarium
VA Aquarium and Adventure Park-They also have Toddler Tuesdays.
Sandfiddler Cafe for breakfast, and then quick beach trip across the street.
Mermaid Factory- Paint your own mermaid or buy mermaid paraphernalia, especially "There Goes a Mermaid" book by Lisa Suhay. ("Mermaids and Yellow Jack" is actually my favorite book written by Lisa, but you have to get that on amazon.)
Jungle Golf Mini Golf (there is always a coupon!) and King Neptunes 3D Golf.  You can host an event in the winter at King Neptune's for a very low price, as the oceanside is empty at that time of the year.  During peak beach time, you can pay to park at Jungle Golf, (which is one of the cheaper places to park), and they will give you a free game!
Larchmont and Pretlow Libraries-Both have play areas and lots of events.
MacArthur Center-Toddler Play area on 3rd floor
East Beach, Norfolk-Because of the rock jeties that are in place there, the water forms a shallow pools of water, making it perfect for little ones.
Norfolk Botanical Garden- They have an entire children's section with a splash pad, which is barely even mentioned on their website.  There is also a small cafe, and tons of places to have a picnic.  Currently, they have a butterfly exhibit, which is also geared toward the little ones, as well as a huge sand area with hammocks and toys.  You can definitely spend an entire day there.
Lambert Point Rec Center-Chess club, climbing wall, mini adventure course, lots of kids events
Beach when it is COLD-During the colder months, dress warm, pack a thermos of hot cocoa, a blanket, and bring the sand toys!
If you are military, we love the Little Creek or Oceana pools.  They are like mini water parks.  Also Ft. Monroe Beach Club is amazing.  It is on the Bay, and has a pool, tiki bar, restaurant, volleyball, and live music.  Lastly, Pierside Lanes-$1 games on Wednesdays.

If you have any other suggestions or questions about any of the above, please feel free to send me an email or comment below.  I love this place, and will be sad to leave the area.

Our most recent trip to the Norfolk Botanical Garden.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Hot Weather Eats or Snackapalooza

In the summer, the kids eat around the clock.  We don't stick to our normal schedule as much, and therefore eat a lot of "snacks".  I think Soleil's middle name might be snack, as she constantly asks for one.  Here is a few things we have been noshing on.  Because of the heat, I try to use the crock pot as much as possible.  This is also allows us to eat at any time, keeping the food warm for later eaters.  
This salad is from Panera, and one of my favorites.  I took a photo so that I might make it at home.  (It hasn't happened yet.) 
 Chicken+Romaine+Strawberries+Blueberries+Pineapples+Pecans+Mandarin Oranges+Dressing

 Tomatoes+Basil+Fresh Mozzarella Pearls+Cucumbers.  I added celery as well, but it doesn't go.