Watching the garden grow…

4 Jun

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My garden update!! Remember when we started composting? Remember when we got this garden going? If not, it’s okay! You can see the progress we’ve made here.

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We have Mr Stripey heirloom tomatoes and raspberries in our barrels. The raspberries have been growing for a year. Next year we should finally have fruit! It’s a long process, but worth the wait!

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So far, our garden is looking pretty good. We have baby carrots, sweet Italian squash, cucumbers, Brussels sprouts, jalapenos, peppers, cantaloupe and more. Most have started flowering and we have been eating our squash. I’m most excited for the Brussels sprouts, they look so cool growing on the stalk!

Where the birds sleep

3 Jun

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To keep the kids quiet, for about an hour, we completed this little project. The kids picked out these bird houses from Joann’s for $1 each. The kids painted them with watercolor paints. While watercolor paint will fade in the sun, that just means the kids can touch them up over and over again! They have fun layering new colors and designs.

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The great thing about these little wood houses, they are small and come in various styles. Buy a few and keep them on hand for a rainy day or in case you need a quiet hour to yourself!

Go Kings Go!!

2 Jun

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Let’s win game two!!

Sea Salt Ice Cream Cake

20 May

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Okay, maybe I lied…There isn’t really any cake involved.  It’s technically just graham crackers.  But its shaped like a cake, I guess.

At any rate, this is good.  Like really really good.  But this story begins in Portland, OR.  While visiting the infamous Miss Summer, we took a detour on the way to the airport and had some delicious ice cream at Salt & Straw.  Inspired by their Sea Salt Ice cream with Caramel Ribbons, I came home and hunted around Pinterest for a Sea Salt Ice Cream recipe.  I found this one…I mean three ingredients.  Doesn’t get any easier.

I made the ice cream as directed and let it firm up in the freezer for about an hour and a half.  I lined a loaf pan with plastic wrap while I waited….and waited…

When you can’t wait anymore, throw down a layer of graham crackers–break them as needed to make sure you get full coverage.  Top that with a layer of ice cream (which is still pretty soft at this point) and then squeeze some caramel sauce on top of that.  Sorry, I’m not sure how much.  I just kept going until everything was good and covered.  Then you layer–like a lasagna.

Graham, ice cream, caramel, graham, ice cream, caramel, graham, ice cream.

Put it all back in the freezer to completely harden, probably overnight.  Slice and serve.

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These two pieces that I photographed for you are literally the last two.  This “cake” went fast.  Next time I may consider doubling everything!

Rocky Road Treats

6 May

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Dress up a boxed dessert for an extra special treat!

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While raiding our pantry, I found a boxed brownie mix. I wasn’t in the mood for just an average brownie so I dug a little deeper and added some friends to the party!

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Who doesn’t love extra chocolate, marshmallows and chopped walnuts?

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After mixing the brownies as directed, I added in the extras. Once combined, I poured and baked.

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The brownies are done once you do the toothpick test! My brownies took a little longer, about 5 minutes more that the box said.

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I didn’t have any vanilla ice cream in the freezer, but these would be amazing a la mode! The marshmallows add a little gooey-ness that makes these treats irresistible!

The Festival of Books

3 May

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Last weekend, I attended the LA Times Festival of Books. This was my first time attending this event that’s held annually at USC. I can’t believe that I have never been before! Not only is it just a 25 minute drive from my house, but it’s a book festival! I love books! This free event is fun for the whole family. There were cooking demonstrations, book readings, music, food and fun.

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I didn’t bring the family, I attended alone because I wanted to check out some of the interview sessions. One that I attended was a conversation with our own Lt. Governor, Gavin Newsom. Newsom spoke about his first book, Citizenville: How to take the town square digital and reinvent government. While we all have embraced our new digital world through social media, portable devices, smart phones, infinite apps and the cloud, our government has yet to catch up and almost resists the change. After the event, I was able to meet and have Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom sign my book! Can’t wait to attend next year!

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A hole in one

2 May

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Yesterday I shared the cake pop stands that I made for this golf themed baby shower. Today I have the flags for the table centerpieces.

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These little flags will be placed in the center of beautiful flower arrangements on each table.

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Saturday is the big day so more pictures to come!

Tee up!

1 May

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It’s time for another baby shower! One of my very best friends is having a boy! Of course I wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to help with her first baby shower, golf themed!

With the theme in mind, she decided she wanted golf ball cake pops and bought the green “grass” for the display. I planned out what I wanted the stands to look like.

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I’m so happy with how they turned out and can’t wait to make the pops tomorrow! The shower is on Saturday, and I’ll post pictures! Stay tuned!

Birthday Boy

30 Apr

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I have a long hallway.  And this is my hallway having a party…

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Its amazing what zooming in on some streamers and balloons will do for ya!  This backdrop was super easy and can easily be adjusted to any color scheme or occasion.  And unless you choose to, you know perhaps for blogging purposes, you never have to zoom out and no one ever has to know that this is really just your boring old hallway.  Fill that frame and all you see is a party!

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My baby boy turns 1 today.  *Tear* My baby turns 1 today!  I made him this smash cake to celebrate.  Chocolate cake with chocolate filling and vanilla buttercream frosting.  The cake is decorated by piping large dots and then smearing them to one side.  A little tedious but the effect is pretty great.   I don’t know if you can tell, but I think he liked it.  We literally couldn’t get him to crack a smile once the cake came out.  He was all business!

Banana Bread Makeover

16 Apr

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Mother’s Day coming up, I thought this would be a great time to test a new version of banana bread before serving Mother’s Day brunch!

I started with my usual banana bread recipe. Usually, I just add the 1/4c chopped walnuts. The special twist this time is adding a 1/4c of milk chocolate chips along side the walnuts. I love chocolate! To make this extra special (as if chocolate wasn’t enough), I topped off the banana bread with a streusel topping before putting it in the oven.

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The streusel is as follows:

Mix 1/4c flour and 1/3c brown sugar.
Cut in 2tbsp cold butter with a pastry blender until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs.

I stopped there and sprinkled it on top of my bread mixture. You could add 1/3c chopped walnuts to the streusel for added crunch.

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The crunchy, sweet streusel creates a great layer of contrast to the moist, delicious banana bread. I absolutely love the little pockets of melted chocolate throughout! So tasty and surprisingly, not to sweet! Anyone else try a banana bread makeover? What changes do you make?

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