Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins and Costco Flowers

According to Blogger, my last published post was February 26, 2014. Huh. I knew it had been a while, but it didn't think it was THAT long ago. Oh, well. Life happens.

RC is in 4th grade (how the hell did THAT happen?) and brings a snack every day. Most of the time this snack consists of granola bars and fruit snacks. I've been trying to think of things for him to take that are easy, tasty (i.e. have chocolate in them) and aren't totally horrible for him. I've made these double fudge banana muffins from Yammie's Noshery and they are fantastic.

I was telling my mom how awesome those fudge banana muffins were and she mentioned the pumpkin chocolate chip ones she made when we were kids. I asked for the recipe last week and finally got around to making them this week. And, they are a hit! Seriously, how can you go wrong with pumpkin AND chocolate chips. It's a match made in heaven.

They are super easy and very tasty.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
1 Box Spice Cake Mix
1 C pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
2/3 C water
2 eggs
6 oz chocolate chips

Mix cake mix, pumpkin, water and eggs together. Stir in chocolate chips. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Makes 12-16 muffins. (I use an ice cream scoop to fill the muffin tins and got 16 out of this batch.)

This was my attempt at food styling. I took a large plate, a cereal bowl turned upside down and a small plate and put them on a beverage stand my sister got for me on clearance at Target. 

On a totally different topic, I love Costco flowers. I'm no Tulipina, but using these flowers makes me happy. (Her arrangements are amazing. Her Instagram feed just makes me happy everyday.)

Our grocery store chain, Hornbacher's does a good job too, but Costco has some fantastic $15 flowers. These are the flowers DH and the kids brought home today. DH was surprised at how full it was. He almost bought two thinking they would make a small arrangement at home. I love them. I think they are perfect. I use a trick I read in my Better Homes and Gardens magazine a couple of years ago. I make a scotch tape grid and fill it in. They always turn out awesome. (And since it's almost Halloween, you have to have Halloween salt and pepper shakers. These guys make me smile.)

Hope everyone is enjoying the cooler weather and beautiful colors this fall. I've also been thinking about the southeast since we have friends and family that are getting a lot of rain and flooding. Stay safe!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Book It!


Anyone remember the Pizza Hut Book It reading program? Did you know it’s still around? I had no clue. I was thinking about writing a post on the books I’ve read lately and it popped into my head. My sister and I were champion Book It-ers.  It was a treat to go to Pizza Hut when we were young, so having our Book It coupons was great. Pepperoni personal pan pizza please!

Which made me wonder, what if we had a grown-up Book It program? Where the reward was free wine instead of free pizza? That would be awesome! Count me in!

Until that happens, I guess I’ll have to settle for paying for my wine. 

Every six weeks or so a group of us get together to talk books. We meet a restaurant (or resternaunt as Peach likes to say) so no one has to cook or prep or chase after kids and we chat about the book we read. We gather around with our Nooks, Kindles and iPads pulling out favorite quotes and questioning character’s decisions. I think each of us has our own genre that we tend to read the most, but we all come together to pick out something that we may not have picked on our own.

Since joining this lovely group of ladies, we’ve read:

The Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak
The Distant Hours by Kate Morton
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
A Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III
Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
The Giver by Lois Lowry
There are some goodies in that list. And a couple that I wasn’t a fan of <cough (House of Sand and Fog) cough>. But they have all helped me to branch out into books I may not have read otherwise. Our next two books are Defending Jacob by William Landay and The Hangman’s Daughter by Oliver P√∂tzsch.

Along with the book club books, my Kindle has been getting a workout recently between traveling for work and vacation (Ah, Mexico, how I miss you!). Here’s what I’ve read lately:

Sarah Addison Allen is one of my favorite authors. I gobble up her books as soon as they come out. Right now I’m reading The White Queen by Philippa Gregory.  I’ve had it and The Red Queen on my list for quite a while and finally bit the bullet. (To see what else is on my to-read list, check out my GoodReads page.)

Whew. That’s a lotta books. I deserve a glass of wine just for writing about all of them!

Oh, one last thing…so excited about the new Outlander series on starz! Loved those books by Diana Gabaldon.

What books are you reading? Anything I should add to my list?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Knock knock...anybody out there?

I thought about doing a big update post on what's been going on the last 9 10 months (I started this post back in January. Sigh.), but I'm too lazy to edit all those pictures it was too hard to think of everything.

So, I'm using this post as a fresh start!

Around the first of the year, I was thinking about all of the stuff I want to do and what I want to be when I grow up. As luck would have it, the interweb was full of ideas on how to make the most of 2014. Too many ideas. To the point where I just tuned it all out. Until I came across Tsh's post. It wasn't really about resolutions, but more about keeping it simple. It was just what I needed. I also re-read Tell Your Time.
(I have a confession to make. I like to think of myself as a spontaneous, go-with-the-flow, free-spirit. I mean isn’t that what “creative” people are supposed to be?  But the truth is, I’m kind of Type-A. I like things neat and tidy. And lists. And instructions. And plans. And organization.  So, reading stuff like that helps me to focus.)
After digesting them and making a few notes (yes, I took notes), I realized how much I miss blogging. It’s fun to write about what’s been going on at our house. It’s not like I’ve stopped being crafty. I’m still making pillows, spray painting lamps and changing stuff around the house. I just stopped writing about it. So, I'm going to try to balance it with all the other stuff we've got going on as a family, and hopefully I can make it work!

Wish me luck! Say a prayer! Keep your fingers (and toes) crossed!

There are a couple of little things that I do want to share. I just can't help myself.

I was the "photographer" at my brother's wedding last fall. It was outside and soooo pretty. Here are a few of my favorite shots.


And, I made a cute little printable while on Christmas break. I did search for Irish blessings and then used the PicMonkey free design feature (it rocks!)for the graphics piece.

P.S. Did you notice the new blog header? What do you think?