Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I Rest Assured

Hey friends! I hope everyone is having a good start to your week. I myself am not a big fan of the Mondays but this particular one has been exceptionally great! The fact that I woke up not having to do anything or go somewhere felt wonderful. Other than finding out that my laptop is dead and needs to be plugged into the wall and I can't read my daily devotions before I get out of bed, I am greatly loving it. 

I am writing this post on John's computer, and it feels weird because my fingers are so used to the small space on my macbook, my fingers keep pushing the wrong keys! lol For a long long time, [read: two weeks], I have pretty much left my www life behind and have not been stalking my favorite websites or blogs like I always do. But today, I got a chance, and I found this on pinterest:

I thought it is a great reminder. It made me smile and I hope it does you too. If you have been following my blog, a lot has been going on around here... and I believe it is not just us that needed to be reminded of the fact that Someone out there is watching out for us, Someone loves us unconditionally and Someone has arms long enough to reach down and pull us out of the rut we are in when we ask to be taken out of the bad situations or decisions we put ourselves into. 

Have a wonderful week!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Congratulations Class of 2011!

The Husband and I are at our friends' [Quinton's and Sara's] home today to celebrate their oldest son's 8th grade graduation. : ) We have known Sara and Q for about four years I believe but we didn't start hanging out 'til about 3 years ago. In the process, John and I didn't only win friends in S and Q but we also got two very wonderful kid friends that we consider our own niece and nephew, Will and Whitney. Ever since we have known their parents, the kids, too have become a part of our lives. There has never been a birthday that John and I are not present. Long story short, we just got to love these two kids like they were our own. 

So to celebrate Will's 8th grade graduation, I made him this:

And here is our graduate:

And here's Whitney, she is going to be graduating in a couple of years:

So here's my CONGRATULATIONS to all of the graduates this year! Hope all of you got a really great cake to celebrate you, your hard work and your education! : )


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

C is for Cookie

Hello friends! It is only Tuesday and I already feel like it's Friday. A lot is going around here. The weather is bad, bad, bad; we are still trying to straighten our house out from being moved around so many times in the past week and by we, I mean ME; and this is also the time of the year where I help my Aunt Betty whip her yard back into shape. She is almost 90 and she is living by herself, doesn't want to go to Assisted living apartments just yet so every year for the past five years we would hang out mid-spring and get that beautiful yard of hers manicured and pruned... This is also a rough time for the husband. He is a teacher so work is stressful and everything is organized chaos with awards, graduation, spring productions, and add to that my husband wanting to up the pay scale and taking another job offer. So now, he is juggling doing the things he loves and the stuff he is sick of plus the stuff we are doing to our house. Even though we feel like plucking our eyelids off, I believe we are keeping a good balance between home and work [that's what I tell myself at least! lol]. : )

So yesterday, it was awards day where my Hubby works. To help him out, I wrote all the names in the certificates during the weekend. It was a lot but I knew I didn't miss to write anybody's name. I know those kids' names and I know them personally. I have worked on and off at his school in the past couple of years. It about gave him a heart attack when there were three kids that didn't get called up the stage because there was not a s certificate for them and one of the kids were almost in tears when all of her classmates have been called except for her! So Mr. Randolph had to do some serious damage control and  tell the truth that he actually didn't notice that there were three certificates he didn't grab as he was hurrying to the gym for the awards ceremony. I got a phone call immediately right after from him and I knew he was feeling really bad so I did some damage control myself. I didn't want him to leave them with bad memories, so I made these cupcakes and handmade cards for the three kids:

And here's my QUALITY CONTROL person:

Have a great rest of the week everyone! 


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Things Have Just Gotten Even Better

Hey friends! I am still on a home reno coma... and I don't believe I will get out of this state until the new floors are installed in my living room. We are thinking about stepping it up and ripping the carpet out of the dining room too, so we will see. 

This has been such a great week. John has finally gotten out of the rut that he was in career-wise and found a new home for his overflowing energy and passion for music and the arts. The current job just isn't doing it for him anymore, and the fact that a lot of small schools have been going through very rough financial times was a great motivation. He felt like he had to move on and get an even better program... And he did! He got two out of the three places he sent an app to, which makes me ever so proud of him. He had to turn one offer down. This is a good problem to have in times where jobs are becoming so scarce. : ) So I have been having a very excited, hyper hubby all week. He is very very excited. And when he is happy, I am happy. 

I have been endlessly painting all week... and figuring out which of the stuff I want to keep and which ones go. Seems like since we have been doing our updates, the look of each room changes and some of the stuff that used to be there don't work like it used to. As I was realizing this, I was also trying to look for a way to think of ways to make up for the stuff I am possibly going to be eliminating in the room. However, I am loving the minimized look!!! So we may stick with that for a while. 

At around 3 PM today, I decided to take a break after I ran out of paint. Sat and watched TV for a while, and got to work in my craft room. Here are the finished products:

I love tone on tone cards. They are simple but very pleasing to the eyes! And of course I love this green cardstock from Paper Trey Ink. I forget the name of it... But I think this is my favorite among the greens that Paper Trey Ink have. I used a Basic Grey stamp set to stamp the background. I didn't have the matching ink, so I used Versamark Ink.

The patterned paper I used on this card didn't match the kraft cardstock I used [from Paper Trey Ink also]. But there is nothing impossible when you have distress inks on hand! I simply distressed the edges of the patterned paper and the cardstock too, and voila! They match! :)

Everyone have a wonderful rest of the week!!! 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Few Pics

Sorry friends, I can't find any before photos fast, but will post them soon as we finish the updates. : ) It has been fun so far. I have blisters on my hand from holding the paint rollers but I am so happy with the results.

The photo above is a picture of one side of our fire place. There used to be an open shelf there, but we took it out to replace it with a much better one. I painted my walls with Sherwin Williams paints in Samovar Silver and used Grays Harbor as an accent. They both come from the same swatch. The biggest challenge we have is trying to contain or tame the cords from the TV and the home theater system. We have a long living room, so putting the TV on top of the fireplace works except that hiding the cords is a huge undertaking. I think John has found a website to get the cord organizers and the other fittings that we need to contain all the wires. 

the furniture looks better with the paint color.
This is a portion of the dining room. We went with a creamy yellow from Sherwin Williams. It's called Hinoki. I like it better than the pinkish tan we first chose. Thank God for sample paint cans and we were able to change our minds quite a few times re the dining room color choices. Excuse the mess in the background. I took this while we were working on touch ups and wiring in the weekend so stuff were still sitting on chairs to keep them out of the way.

And here's my cat, Mr. Peapers. He can't wait to have his space back. He has punished me by waking me up and sitting on my face every morning. Guess he wants me to get up early so I can get the job done faster... The faster I get done, the faster he can get the peace back in his house. lol


Monday, May 16, 2011

Home Reno is like Crack to Us

Hello friends! There has not been much crafting or baking or cooking going on around here. My husband and I have been living on either take out and other crappy food the past week, which really grosses me out now that I am thinking about it. But I should be living like a normal foodie and crafter again soon as all these home updating is done... or will it ever end? It will, won't it? I hope it does. 

Every year we get into this cycle. Each time, every time. At the beginning of the year, we set out to rake money into the savings account to get ready for a vacation to the tropical, beautiful Philippines... We get excited over it, we look at airfare rates, flight schedules, and all the good stuff. Then come April, soon as it gets sunny and beautiful outside, boy, we start finding things we would love to do to our home. HOME RENO is like CRACK to us. It is very addictive!!! We know it's messy, and a lot of work, but we can't stay away from it. We get so into it, we start spending our trip to the tropics money on the reno.

We are on it again this year... We took a stronger doze of it this time too!!! We don't normally start until about early June but we have been on it since late April. I have been painting for almost two weeks now and John has been working on wiring and electrical stuff. We have thrown away all kinds of overflow and working with what we have and adding bits and pieces. : )

Yesterday, while I was waiting for paint to dry, I took a stroll into my Pinterest world and it told exactly how I was feeling at the moment. 

Hopefully I get to post pictures soon. The living room has been our main focus. We have finally figured out a fix for our entertainment center woes. If any of you have a 55-inch TV on top of a fireplace and you don't have built-in cabinets on each side, you know what I am talking about with the cords showing no matter what you do. We have figured out a fix though and I will post photos soon as we, by we, I mean John, gets it all situated. : ) In the areas where electrical or anything that could electrocute is involved I am just the person that makes sure everything is straight, or nailed/screwed in right and it looks pretty and I get to pick out wire colors because it all has to coordinate... EVEN WIRES THAT DO NOT SHOW. lol When it comes to tech stuff, I get to choose which ones we are getting, because I know better and I am the one patient enough to troubleshoot when problems arise. We haven't had any so far from any of the gadgets we have. 

Depending on what happens today, I get to pick between finishing the paint job in my dining room or put John's wiring stuff and all the little things sitting in my living room away. Great options, I tell ya! ;) Or I may be baking a ton of stuff to celebrate something I can't talk about yet. We will see.

I will see you all later. And I hope everybody has a productive week!

Sending you all lots of home reno lovin!!!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Congrats - Owl Cards [Versions of Yesterday's post]

Hey all! :) I have two more cards from scraps... I have been going through my scrap paper box and I keep finding stuff I can use. They are really just versions from yesterday's cards except that I dry embossed the background and I added a button to the mix. And I went crazy with the baker's twine colors! I am sorry I cannot remember the name of the color of the card base. They are from Paper Trey Ink. I have every color they have on their site. 

I will probably be making a ton of other versions of these cards to give away to my favorite kids who are graduating this year. There is a handful of them so yeah I definitely need to make some more. If you are thinking about hand making cards, this may be a great idea. They take about five minutes to make! Very speedy!

But before I go, here's a photo of my cats. They have been hating me for starting this whole painting thing because it has taken over their space. LOL And these two love the sunshine by the windows and since I started painting, I have filled up their little nooks with paintings, picture frames, all kinds of random things. So soon as I got done painting this side of our living room, they both hurried into that little crack between John and I's chairs to soak up some afternoon sun.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Hey all! :) Here's a card I put together from scraps. You can tell it is all from scraps because there is not very many elements in it. Including the baker's twine I used is a scrap. It is a left over from another project I  did recently.


Paper trey ink cardstock
White cardstock
Hampton Art Owl Clear stamp set
Hero Arts Everyday Sayings Stamp Set
Inkdinkado Polka Dot Background Stamp
Dove Blender Pen
VersaMarker Watermark Pen
Tea Dye distress Ink
Broken China distress Ink
Color Box Chalk Ink Sour Apple
StazOn Jet Black Ink
StazOn Blazing Red 
baker's twine
Foam adhesive
Uni Signo Ball White gel pen

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Baked Alaska Details and a Couple Other Things

So here's the baked alaska details. :) I cannot call it a recipe because it is not. I didn't use a recipe, I just kind of threw the thing together and wished for the best. It was rather easy, but like every one of my first times, it was messy. 

A baked alaska has three components:

  • CAKE of some kind
  • ICE CREAM, whatever flavor you prefer

For the cake, I decided to go traditional. I went with a chocolate cake loaded with chocolate in all forms and sizes. So I started with my favorite chocolate cake, made a glaze-like chocolate filling with chocolate chunks in it. Here's a photo to prove its yummy goodness:

Courtesy of my husband, John. He took this picture with his iPhone.
For the ice cream, I used Breyer's Snickers Caramel Swirl. I softened it and added a tad bit of chocolate syrup. The ice cream was super as is, the chocolate sauce was added because I have it in my fridge. I lined a cupcake pan with cling wrap then scooped/spooned the soften ice cream into the pan. And put it in the freezer to chill overnight.

I used 4 oz light corn syrup, 8 oz sugar, 2 oz water and 4 oz egg whites for the meringue. I actually had to make another batch as I got too meringue happy and ran out half way through. Eventhough I strongly believe in make-ahead everything,  I wouldn't recommend making the meringue ahead of time. It is the most delicate part of this very tasty dessert. I made my cakes and prepared the ice cream the night before but I prepared the meringue when I was ready to assemble each piece of baked alaska. Then, I took a torch and browned the peaks and drizzle a little bit of caramel on top. This is the most fun part of all!!! So much fun, I burnt the peaks! LOL Thank God my Mom-in-Law loves scorched stuff. It's that, or she just loves me so much she didn't want me to get upset if she told me. ;)

Perfect soft peak!!! :) When you pull the whisk out and your peaks look like this, 
you have succeeded.

Also, in the weekend I attempted the Slow Cooked Puerto Rican Pulled Pork from the Pioneer Woman's website. :) I had no idea it was going to taste anything close to the lechon so that was a pleasant surprise. The recipe is totally a keeper! My husband was raving about it all weekend! He got to have lechon when he was in the Philippines and [totally fell in love with it] he was the first one to notice how the pernil tastes just like it. I swear, he is more in love with my country's cuisine than he is in love with me. ;)

With the pernil, I also attempted to make chimichurri to drizzle on top of the pork. I have been trying to look for an excuse to make it but I either forget or totally change my mind and go with my traditional pinakurat [a Filipino condiment]. So chimichurri is definitely in my top condiments list now. I will make it every chance I get. I love the taste, the aroma and I love how it compliments the meat most of all. It makes the very simple pulled pork taste and smell like a million bucks! I can't wait to try it on my Husband and I's favorite grilled porterhouse steaks. 

Here's a couple photos:

I seriously thought I could put six cloves of garlic and a cup of flat leaf parsley inside 
a mini-chopper! John happened to walk by while this whole thing was going on
and he was like, "What are you doing to that poor thing?"

Finally, I start using my head and took out the food processor. It worked so much better!
I know, I am a comic. So funny, I crack myself up too. lol

This is the end result. :) Tasty stuff!



Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to the woman who raised me and taught me all the great things I know. I couldn't be with my Mom today so in honor of her, I made this:

This is a baked alaska. :) My Mom and I have never made this together... But the components of this sweet treat, she has taught me how to make. I was watching TV the other day and saw Bobby Flay's Throwdown and this was what they made. The longer I sat and watched, the more I started realizing, everything in a baked alaska I know how to make because I was taught well by my Mother... Everything that has to do with meringue especially, reminds me of her. She is a very patient teacher. I remember her saying, "make sure you bowl is clean and dry, the whisk has no water residue on it and make sure you don't get any of the yolks in the egg whites... and be patient for crying out loud!"  Yes, the reason for every one of my failed meringue attempts was my impatience. But she remained patient and allowed me to make my own mistakes to learn from. And guess what, this girl can now make meringue even on the rainiest of days! And I have my Mom to thank for that. She is the reason why I could take on any challenge in the kitchen [including life]. I will not be able to love her as much as she loves me... this I know. God couldn't have given me a better Mother and friend.  

I will update this post with the recipe later... : )

Happy Sunday all!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Yay Mom!!!

I thought it was crazy that soon as I finished making Mother's Day cards, my Mom leaves me three really sweet wall posts on facebook!!! This is exciting because my Mom doesn't ever get on the internet. She is a great pastry chef and baker but she is not tech savvy at all. So the only times I would see her online is when my sister is around to show her what to do. That's why this girl here is sooo elated! She was posting messages on my facebook wall using an iPad and on her own. I can tell she was posting the messages by herself because she wrote three wall posts instead of writing them all in one message and the message was written like she was texting on her cellphone! :) Not too shabby. Yay MOM!

Here's the two cards I made. I have a lot of patterned paper, but none of them jumped out at me so I decided to make my own. I used a Basic Grey stamp set for the background with Ranger Distress Inks and Color Box chalk inks.


Paper Trey Ink Vintage Cream cardstock
Basic Grey Stamps (for pattern on background)
Ranger Distress Inks
Color Box chalk inks
Technique Tuesday Simply You stamp set (sentiment)
Cosmo Cricket Chipboard Letters
Liquid Pearls
Staz On Jet Black Ink

I still have no idea what to get my Mom and my Mom-in-law for Mother's Day. Maybe John has ideas... Wish me luck! :)

This Thing Called Letting Go

Let It Go

let it go - the
smashed word broken
open vow or
the oath cracked length
wise - let it go it
was sworn to
let them go - the
truthful liars and
the false fair friends
and the boths and
neithers - you must let them go they
were born
to go
let all go - the
big small middling
tall bigger really
the biggest and all
things - let all go

so comes love
~ e. e. cummings ~
(Complete Poems 1904-1962) 

Monday, May 2, 2011


John and I had another fun weekend. Last week, we had so much fun getting lost in St Louis, our itsy bitsy town got hit with a tornado. We spent all week fixing up our house, getting it back to its normal state again, John spent a whole day putting back lose shingles on our roof, while I took advantage of the rain and planted wild flowers where I could. This is something you have to know about me, I have such a green thumb it is disturbing. LOL I will elaborate on this later. :)

So since we spent all week working on our house, John and I decided to go out of town in the weekend and visit our favorite stores and get lost... just go where we feel like going. We even went to a golf store just because... and I think John really wants to start golfing. He thought he was going to fool me by telling me he just wants to go in the store because he thought it would be fun to bother salesmen. 

He is just that way. When there's something he wants to do but he isn't sure if it would suit him, he starts acting crazy and I think it's funny so I just let him be. It is entertaining. 

We went to the Apple Store for an important appointment at the Genius Bar. I have not gone to that place and been treated like a fool even when I am acting like one. NEVER! Since we bought our Mac computers, I don't think we will buy anything else or from somewhere else again. We have had a bad experience with Best Buy with a PC computer {a couple of years ago} and we have vowed since then we are not buying anything from Best Buy or buy a PC ever again. I am just really impressed at the Apple customer service in-store and online. They don't leave questions un-answered. We went there for something that Apple Care or my warranty didn't cover but guess what, they gave me 100% service for free that could've cost us around $700! No questions asked. They didn't make me look like I was crazy either. They said they will call in an hour and a half after they have serviced my laptop. I didn't even take an hour and a half and I got the call. When I got back in the store to pick up my computer, it was there, it was ready and in perfect shape. :) They even took John's iphone and checked it out and showed him how to use some of the things he didn't know about his iphone. That totally made our day!!! : )

The rest of the day was spent walking around. We had iced coffee and fraps at Starbucks, Auntie Anne's pretzels, Orange Julius, looking at Adidas Originals and Nike+ shoes, some more eating... store hopping and a little bit of shopping. John and I love Adidas and Nike shoes. One thing I love about my husband is that he knows why some shoes are expensive, and some are not. So when it comes to our mootsies tootsies, we buy only what feels good and pretty too... and if they are a bargain, that makes it even better. :)

I don't really remember what we bought, it was all mostly for John. He is getting ready for marching season, and he's got a book to write and a whole lot of great things are getting ready to happen career-wise. I'm wanting to make sure he is dressed and well-equipped for the part. :) These past few weeks I have been making sure John is taken care of. He's got a lot going on in his head these days and I know that can't be always fun. So these fun weekends we've been having has helped him keep his balance between work and life outside work. 

We don't head home until we are so tired our feet hurt. :) It's just nice to be tired from having so much fun sometimes. It feels good!

We got home that night and had enough time for milkshakes before going to bed. And started a countdown until we start all over again. :)

When You Get a Bad Chocolate Craving...

Make this!

I am not one to count calories, I don't diet either... We only live once, why waste my time stressing over what I should and should not eat. When I want to eat something, I just go ahead and make it or go buy it. Last night I had a really bad craving for chocolate, but I didn't want to dive into the un-opened package of Oreo Fudgees in my pantry. (Those are really good by the way! They are good dunked in coffee.) So I looked through my overloaded [with recipes] clipboard. And down at the very bottom of the pile, I found a recipe I had printed out months ago!!! 

FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE. I remember I printed it out because one of the Food Network cooks made one, but I didn't like it because she put spicy stuff in it... and I like my chocolate cakes sweet and decadent, NOT SPICY. So I scoured the internet for a recipe (without spicy things of course) and found one that got lost in the pile and got forgotten. 

So last night, when I found it, I just had to make it. I even drove in the rain to get the makings for it. I didn't need much. I just needed butter because I had used up all my butter to make swiss meringue buttercream to store in the fridge for future use. :)

Here's another look at this chocolatey heaven I made... John ate it his with moose tracks ice cream.  He was very very pleased. And I especially LOVED it. Sure gave me my chocolate fix!

Click here for a printer-friendly version of the recipe.

Adapted from About.com
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Oven: 350 degrees
8 1-ounce squares coarsely chopped semisweet chocolate
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
¾ cup sugar
3 large eggs
½ cup cocoa
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
3 1-ounce squares coarsely chopped semisweet chocolate squares
1 ½ Tbsp unsalted butter
1 ½ tsp milk 
1 ½ tsp honey
⅛ tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350.
Spray a 7-inch tart pan, in my case I used an 8-inch spring form pan. You can use any pan that has a removable bottom. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and spray the paper. 
Melt 6 oz of chopped chocolate and butter in a heavy saucepan over medium low heat. Stir until chocolate and butter are melted and smooth. 
Add sugar and salt and reduce heat to low. Cook while stirring for about one minute, until sugar starts to dissolve.
Remove pan from heat. Whisk in eggs, one at a time. The mixture will look smooth and glossy. 
Use mesh hand sieve to sift cocoa into mixture. This prevents lumps. Whisk until the cake batter is smooth
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes. The center of the cake should be just firm to the touch or it springs back to the touch. Be careful not to overbake the cake or it will come to dry. 
Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Inverts the cake on a plate.
To prepare the glaze, melt 3 oz of chopped semisweet and 1 ½ Tbsp of unsalted butter in the same saucepan you used to make the cake. When melted and smooth, remove the pan from the heat. Add milk and honey and vanilla and stir until smooth and glossy. Let the glaze cool for 3 minutes before pouring it on to the cake.
Pour all of the glaze in the middle of the cake. Use a silicone or rubber spatula to spread the glaze evenly over the cake allowing the glaze to evenly run down the sides. 
Serves 6 

Hope everyone has a great week!!! :)

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