Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Brownie Extravaganza

Okay guys, I love brownies.  Really, I love sweets.  I'm not too picky.  Sweets are fabulous.  I try not to make them too often.  My husband isn't a big sweet eater so I'm left to consume a whole pan of something on my own.  Bad news bears.  So I try to stick to making things when we're going somewhere.

The other day at school, we had a Pinterest/Facebook recipe day.  Obviously the perfect excuse to try out a new recipe.  So exciting!  I had been seeing the brownie lasagna and the brownie refrigerator cake everywhere.  I'm serious, go make it guys!  It was so good.  I didn't bring any home with me.  A little disappointing considering I was planning on eating some leftovers after school....  Anyway. 

I found the recipe here.

Make your brownies.  Follow the directions on the box and add one extra egg.  Bake.  The recipe called for two brownie mixes, I used one of the family size Betty Crocker boxes.

Mix 8oz cream cheese, 8oz Cool Whip, and 1 cup powdered sugar.  Spread that deliciousness over the brownies.  

Let those brownies cool down.  Stare at them longingly.  Mix one box of vanilla and one of chocolate pudding with 3 1/2 cups of milk.  Spread that over the cream cheese mixture.

All of my toppings all lined up.  Mix the cream cheese, Cool Whip and powdered sugar with your mixer.  Mix all the pudding in a big Tupperware.  I do this all the time, no mixer needed.  Dump in your pudding stuff, put on the lid, and shake.  Perfect for eating pudding on the couch.  And the rest of the Cool Whip for the top layer.  Go ahead and buy the big tub, you will need that much.  Just divide it.  Unless the little tubs are on sale.  You know, go with whatever is cheaper.
Spread the rest of the Cool Whip over the pudding mixture.  Be careful not to smudge the chocolate pudding into your Cool Whip so it doesn't look gross.  Just a tip.

Sprinkle with chocolate chips.  Or chocolate shavings.  Or whatever small bits of chocolate you have laying around.  Chocolate sprinkles....

Mmmm, I'm wishing I had a piece right now.  So good!  I wish I had baked the brownies a little less.  Other than that, it was absolutely perfect.  And decadent.  And I wished I had a glass of milk.  I'd say these tie for deliciousness with the Heath bar brownies.  These take a little time but are super easy.

Here's the actual recipe:
2 brownie mixes
1 extra large egg
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
2 (8 oz.) containers whipped topping
1 (3 oz.) package instant chocolate pudding
1 (3 oz.) package instant vanilla pudding
3 1/2 cups milk
1 Hershey candy bar or chocolate syrup
Directions: Mix brownie mixes according to directions. Add egg. Bake in 9x13 inch greased and floured cake pan. Mix cream cheese, powdered sugar and 1 container whipped topping. Put this mix on top of the cooled brownies. Blend puddings and milk together and put on top of the cream cheese mixture. Top with another layer of whipped topping. Put chocolate shavings or chocolate syrup on top. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

What are you guys making that's delicious?  Sorry I've been MIA lately, testing is kicking my tail.  I need to get back into house projects, it makes me so much happier.  Anybody else's happiness depend on DIY Projects?  Surely I'm not the only one. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Home Must-Haves: Kitchen

So it's state testing time which means as a school counselor I am at my busiest time of the year.  In my small school I'm the counselor for the whole district and the testing coordinator.  Oh boy.  That means working a lot and not much time for fun house stuff.  Or blogging.  Mostly it's working and then laying face down on my couch when I get home.

But, as you remember, I hosted a wedding shower last weekend.  So that's gotten me thinking about things I registered for when we got married and what was useful and what wasn't.  Today I'm focusing on the kitchen stuff.  Because well, the kitchen stuff is my favorite.  Absolute favorite.  There were some things we registered for/already owned that I'm completely 100% committed to.  Other things however, we've never used.  Of course, this is just my own personal opinion. 

First the kitchen failures.  No pictures, sorry.  Like I said, it's the busy time of year.  I have on tennis shoes and dress pants.  Don't judge me.
1.  A waffle maker.  I love waffles.  This seemed like a great thing to register for.  In two and a half years of marriage, we've never used it.  My husband isn't really a big breakfast fan.  So it just wasn't a practical thing for us.
2.  A pop up toaster.  We got two.  Yes, we registered for this.  We also registered for (and ended up buying ourselves) a toaster oven.  The toaster oven we use all the time.  The pop up toaster, never.  They both stayed in the box.  Maybe it's because I grew up  using a toaster oven, but it's just my preference.  And a toaster oven is so much more versatile.  Go with that.

Of course there are things that are wonderful.  Things I completely love.
1.  KitchenAid Mixer.   When I first got it, I kept it in the laundry room closet with all my other small appliances.  Until my friend mocked me and informed me you kept your Kitchen Aid on the counter.  Now I do and I use it multiple times a week.  It's my absolute favorite appliance.  I love that I can just throw stuff in the mixer and walk away while it does its thing.  Seriously amazing guys.  Yes, it's expensive.  We didn't receive it as a gift.  I hoarded all our Target gift cards and used a Target coupon to buy it.  I only ended up paying about $5 out of pocket.  That's an excellent tip, if there are big things you want but didn't get, save your gift cards for some of those bigger ticket items.
2.  Baking racks.  How had I never had baking racks before?  My best friend bought these for us.  I don't use them super often, but when I do, I'm extremely glad to have them.  And they fold up flat so they don't take up much cabinet space, another perk.
3.  Silicon spatulas.  My grandma Celia bought these for me right after I graduated from college.  So I've had them a good....  7 years.  Sheesh.  They are amazing.  I use them for everything and have at least 5 of them.  Don't waste your money or registry on anything else.  Silicon spatulas for the win.  I actually have these exact spatulas.  I also like the Paula Dean ones with a wooden handle, they don't get hot when you're using them to stir at the stove.
4.  Dishes.  Nice, simple dishes.  You don't need some crazy, trendy pattern.  Chances are your taste will change eventually and you'll end up regretting those rooster plates.  Unless it's Corelle.  Any Corelle is always in style.  My mom had the same set of Corelle for years, they are timeless and indestructible.  But we have a set of white dishes for every day.  And a set of black dishes when we're feeling fancier.  I have china, but I have never used it.  My white dishes I've had since just after college.  They were a giant set from Bed Bath and Beyond for super cheap.  A few pieces have been broken but they're so basic it's not a big deal to pick up a replacement.
5.  Silicon whisk.  This is a new purchase.  I bought mine about a year ago at World Market.  These are amazing, especially if you have non-stick coated pans.  I use mine when I make the filling for chocolate pie.  Also for scrambled eggs and anything I want to mix a lot.  Buy one.  They're less than five bucks and totally worth it.
6.  A platter.  We all have occasions where we need a nice big plate to put something on.  Brownies for work.  A turkey for Thanksgiving.  You know, just stuff.  It doesn't have to be anything fancy.  I had to buy a plate the other day at Target for my pinwheels for my party.  A cute platter that  you can use for everything.  And that people will recognize is yours.  This is especially helpful at family dinners or other functions where lots of people have brought dishes.  That way you can easily retrieve your plate and people will know, oh yeah, I totally know who brought that delicious food.

What are your kitchen must haves?  I'm sure I have more but these are my absolute faves at the moment.  Anybody else wedding gift shopping right now?  And laughing back at some of the things you registered for because you were sure you needed it?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Pretty in Pink

The wedding shower went off without a hitch.  I spent the majority of the day Saturday prepping.  The usual, you know, super cleaning the house (even dusting, I never dust) and prepping lots of yummy food.  I ended up not doing any decorations because I decided it just wasn't worth it.  And my food table was pretty darned decorative.

So, the food.  Because really, that's all any of us care about.  I made marshmallow pops (a thousand times easier than cake pops), a fruit plate, pinwheels, and lime cupcakes.  And punch.  Mmm, punch. 

Guys this punch was delicious.  Even my husband helped me drink the leftovers.  I followed this recipe.  I didn't take a picture of my punch.  Sorry.  On Saturday, I followed the recipe exactly, I made a second pitcher Sunday with a couple alterations and I liked it much better.  The first pitcher was fine, just a little too tart for my taste.  So, here we go.
2 bottles of Moscato (or the really big bottle.  I used the big bottle of Barefoot Moscato. Less than $10 at Walmart)
1 can of frozen pink lemonade concentrate plus one can of water (the original recipe says no water but I thought that made it too tart)
Raspberries, I used a couple handfuls of frozen
3 cups of lemon lime soda (I used the Walmart brand because I was mixing it)
Mix it all together and enjoy with a friend or two.  Or by yourself.  No judging here.  I would recommend just pouring the lemon lime soda in to each glass as you drink it, that way it stays nice and fizzy.  This drink go rave reviews.  Super delish!

The marshmallows could not have been easier.  And everyone was so impressed.  They look like you took all this time.  No time at all guys.  Stab the marshmallows with a knife.  Poke in a sucker stick.  Throw them in the freezer for a few minutes.  Dip them in almond bark.  Drizzle a contrasting color over the top or sprinkle with sanding sugar.  And done.  I put them in a square vase full of sugar and they looked amazing.

 And there were the cupcakes.  Lime cupcakes.  I have the best trick for making flavored cupcakes.  Or specifically fruity flavored cupcakes.  I've only done this with lemon and lime but I imagine it would work for other flavors.  You know, if you wanted to make grape cupcakes.  I don't know why you would want grape  cupcakes but.... If you do, I think this would work. 

Okay, I buy a cake mix.  A Betty Crocker one because the white/yellow mix doesn't have soy.  But you can use whatever brand you want.  Then instead of the water I use lemonade/limeade concentrate.  Just dump it into a measuring cup and add enough water to make two cups.  It will still be super strong so if you're going to drink the leftovers, add some more water.  Just make your cake as normal.  You can use some or your slightly watered down concentrate for the liquid in your icing also.  I replace both the milk and vanilla with the limeade.  It's so yummy.  Everyone asked to take leftover cupcakes home with them.

So, those are the highlights.  There was drinking.  And eating yummy food.  And presents.  Of course presents. 

What did you guys do this weekend?  Anybody else whip up something super yummy to eat?  The rest of my cupcakes are coming to work so I don't accidentally eat all of them.  I'll be back tomorrow with some super yummy brownies to share.  Apparently I'm on a food kick.  Probably because I'm trying to lose weight.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Sneak Peak of a Flash Back

It seems only fitting to have marshmallows at a wedding shower for an old camp friend.  The friend that I'm throwing a shower for this weekend is a former co-worker.  We spent two summers working at a YMCA camp.  Working summer camp is a seriously bonding experience.  Lots of late nights.  Lots of sunburns and bug bites.  Lots of unfortunate fashion choices.  And lots of s'mores.  We are both s'more experts.  And we used to always tell a campfire story together.  Purple stew.  Don't youtube it, they're all disappointing.  Just trust me, it's fairly hilarious, there's purple animals, singing, and dancing.

And after purple stew there were always s'more.  I've made probably a thousand s'mores (not for myself) over the four summers I did summer camp.  Anyway, when I saw the dipped marshmallows the other day I knew I had to make them.  I've made dipped marshmallows before, usually covered in chocolate at Christmas time but a wedding shower calls for fancier marshmallows.  So, this time they're on a stick and drizzled with contrasting chocolate or sprinkles.

These are easy peasy lemon squeezy guys.  Super easy.  Get a bag of marshmallows.  Buy two bags of sucker sticks (one is not enough for a whole bag of marshmallows and if you're going to the trouble, you might as well do all of them).  Stab each marshmallow with a knife to make a hole for the stick.  Poke a stick in each marshmallow.  Throw the marshmallows in a baggie and freeze them for ten minutes or so to make sure the stick is firmly in place.  Then dip your marshmallows in melted almond bark or candy melts.  *When you're melting your candy, make sure you stir FREQUENTLY, otherwise you will burn the heck out of it and ruin it.  Trust me.  Stir at least every thirty seconds.  If you're sprinkling something on top of the marshmallows or dipping in sprinkles or something, do it quick, before the almond bark sets up.  Again, trust me.

And a sneak peak of my pretty marshmallows.....

Excuse the less than gorgeous pictures.  I just grabbed a couple quick shots before I cleaned up.  Some of them are not as pretty as I had hoped, but not terrible.  I think I came up with the perfect way to hold up the marshmallow pops so they didn't drip all over.  Cooling racks.  Stack two of them up.  Cover the top one with foil to catch drips, then just poke the sticks through the foil.  This was great but I only have three cooling racks.  So the third one got propped up on cereal bowls.  It worked.

Yum!  I can't wait to eat these on Saturday.  They're supposed to store well in a baggie.  Anybody cooking anything new and delicious?  I'm trying some new brownies for work tomorrow too.  They looked delish and I needed an excuse.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Weigh In

No, not actual pounds.  Though I'm hard at work on that.  Day Three of the 30 Day Shred down people!  I'm pretty sure it's going to take longer than thirty days though.  We'll get there though.  I'm almost back to being able to walk without huge amounts of pain.  And I'm  feeling pretty good about all my hard work.

Anyway.  Back to the real weigh in.  I need your opinion guys.  I've been thinking about my mail situation.  I know everyone calls this the Command Center or something crazy like that.  I refuse to do that.  I'm fairly sure a two person household doesn't warrant anything called a command center.  It just feels pretentious to me.  If you have a command center, I still love you, I'm not judging you.  I just can't call it that in my house.

So, I'm at an impasse.  I know what I'm want.  But I'm also very cheap.  I've come across two ideas that I think could work.  The first is the completely store bought plan.  The beautiful Martha Stewart organizing system from Michaels.  Remember, I talked about it before.  It's so pretty.  I know it would love to come live at my house.
But remember, I'm cheap.  And for all the pieces I want, it would cost at least $65.  Eek.  That's a lot just to sort my mail and keep track of things.

So there's a second option.  I came across this on Pinterest the other day.  I've actually bought most of the supplies.  I'm just second guessing myself.  I know it will work.  And I like the look of it.  I just can't fully commit.
McKenzie over at Girl Loves Glam made this super cute organization board.  I could do a version of her idea.  Mine would have a calendar, a cork board, my cleaning schedule, a mail bin, and a pen cup.  I already bought frames.  And a piece of foam board.  McKenzie used plywood but I think I can totally do it with the foam board and it was less than $2.  Mine would look something like this:
This is of course not to scale.  Just something I whipped up to get an idea of how it would look.  I would cover my foam board in leftover zebra print contact paper.  The main thing holding me up right now is finding a mail sorter and pencil cup that will work.

So, what do you think?  Should I go ahead with my Mary customized mail sorter/organization plan?  Or should I just suck it up and shell out the money for the Martha Stewart system?  I just need to make up my mind and do it.

What are you organizing this week?  Anybody else completely hit by the spring cleaning bug?  Maybe I'll be able to commit to a mail system tonight and be back tomorrow with the finished product.  Cross your fingers.  And give me your opinions.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Planning a Party [part 2]

As I sit down to write about planning a party, it seems like kind of a frivolous topic for today.  But, we must keep living our lives.  We must keep finding the joy in life.  Otherwise we have given up.  So, before we get to it, an article I think is worth reading.  Patton Oswalt posted this, I believe originally on his facebook and it's now on the Huffington Post.  Go read it.  Please excuse the language.

And from the ever insightful Mr. Rogers....

And now for party planning....

I'm throwing some ideas around.  The friend I'm throwing the shower for is someone I used to do summer camp with.  Now that is definitely an experience.  But, it only seems fitting to have marshmallows at her shower.  I'm thinking something like these.

And I'm thinking sangria or some other light and fruity mixed drink.  I think that will be perfect for a late afternoon event.
Or maybe this yummy rummy mixed drink, because well, we always have rum on  hand....

For food I'm thinking just your basic shower food.  A yummy fruit tray.  Some turkey and red pepper pinwheels.  And cupcakes.  Always cupcakes.  Probably lime.  If I remember correctly, the bride is a big lime fan.

I don't think I'm going to do too much in the way of decorating.  Maybe some round hot pink place mats under the food just for fun.  

I think something like this outside would be fun.  Like lining the driveway but I'm pretty sure between the dog, the squirrels, and the wind, that it wouldn't really last.  Boo.

I was also thinking of a fun photo back drop.  Or something to put behind the table where all the goodies will be.
Confetti filled balloons.  So super cute.
Loving this sparkly confetti background too.

So, we'll see.  I totally need to get on it.  I'm thinking a trip to the craft store very soon to grab a couple of supplies.  I also need to hardcore clean my house.

And I've added something new to my plate too.  Other than it being state testing time at school.  I started Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred last night.  Man, I'm so excited about it!  It's super tough and I'm kind of in pain but I know it's totally going to be worth it.

So, what are you guys up to?  Any go to party planning foods or decorating?  Anybody else planning anything fun lately?

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Touch of Spring

Come on already, I am so ready for spring!  This year it seems like spring is teasing us.  We have a couple wonderful, warm days and then it gets cold again.  Not that 50 is necessarily that cold, but I'm ready for spring dresses and flip flops.  Ready to drive with my windows down.  But since the weather hasn't decided to cooperate with me, I'm bringing spring inside.

A few weeks ago I made new throw pillow covers, that definitely helped.  I sent the old flannel pillow covers to the basement and put on the new springy covers.  The Valentines wreaths (finally) got sent to hang out with the other seasonal decor and I pulled out my spring wreaths.

So now I feel springy when I walk up to my front door.  And I am still absolutely in love with my twine wreath.  I think it's my favorite that I've made.  It's just fun and whimsical.  It makes me smile every time I look at it.

But I needed more spring inside.  Our daffodils have finally started blooming.  And my dog likes to eat flowers.  No, he loves to eat flowers.  Any flower that has the chance to bloom, he eats.  Last summer my day lilies were too tall for him to get, so he chewed them stem in half to get to the bloom.  Not cool Rowdy.  So this year we've been telling him "No" everytime he gets close to the flowers.  But I decided we could enjoy them more if I just cut the blooms and brought them inside.  So now they're happily on my kitchen table.  I probably needed a bud vase, but you work with what you've got.
And you may notice I finally got my kitchen chairs painted.  Yay :)  I kind of feel like they need seat cushions but we'll worry about that another day.

The other day I was at Hobby Lobby and I picked up some flowers for my turquoise vase on the mantle.  I don't really usually do tons of fake flowers in our house (we totally used them for our wedding though) but these were super realistic and 50% off so I figured it was worth a shot.  I just trimmed the stems down, seriously, what do people do with three foot long stems.  I've never seen a hydrangea with that long of a stem.  Anyway, I grabbed my wire cutters and trimmed the stems down to a normal length and plopped them in my vase.
I like that the flowers give a little more height on t hat side of the mantle, it was feeling a little short over there.

Is it spring in your neck of the woods yet?  Or are you desperately trying to make it feel springy at your house?  I need to get outside and restain (yes, already, even though I just did it last summer) the deck but it keeps raining.  I know, April Showers bring May Flowers and what not, but the rain is keeping me inside.  Boo!  What did you guys do this weekend?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

FREE Five Minute Fix

So, I'm totally guilty of finding amazing things on Pinterest and feeling like I need to spend money to recreate them myself.  There's absolutely nothing wrong with that.  However, I'm trying to be more conscious of what I choose to spend money on, really I just buy too much crap.  So that's why I was so proud of myself for turning this into a free project.

I pinned this great storage idea this afternoon.  It was going to allow me to clear out a whole drawer in my kitchen.  When you only have three drawers, that's pretty valuable.  The pinned project said it had been done for around $10.  Not bad, right.  Then I realized I could do it for free.  Okay, so here's the idea.

Brilliant, right?!  Why have I never thought of this.  Okay, maybe I had seen it before.  I had pinned a similar idea for cutting boards before.  But I started thinking....  Plastic wrap, foil, wax paper, none of those are very heavy.  Why not just upcycle something I already have lying around.  Something that would be going out in the trash sooner or later.

A cereal box.  And I had some zebra print contact paper lying around from a laundry room project.  Both totally free.  And I was so excited about knocking this project out, I didn't take time to stage a pretty picture.  Just working in the middle of my living room floor, finishing watching the ACMs.
A Honey Nut Cheerios box, contact paper, scissors and a pencil.  I just measured and drew a straight line about halfway up the box.  I cut on the line and covered the box in contact paper.  

 I grabbed a couple of push pins and poked them through the box, into the drawer and I had a food wrap storage box.  Pretty sweet.

Ready for my close up!

Seriously guys, five minutes.  And absolutely free.  And now I have a whole extra drawer of kitchen storage. Now I just have to figure out what to put in that drawer.  So excited with my free project!

What are you guys organizing lately?  Any great free & fast ideas?  I think I may have to add a second organizer to my door for plastic bags.  And those cutting boards, I still have plans for them too.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Planning a Party

Who else had a great weekend?  Man, it's finally feeling like spring in Missouri.  Saturday I went fishing with the hubby and out to dinner with friends.  Sunday we got the trim finished in our kitchen and the garage cleaned out.  Super productive!  My favorite kind of weekend.

I've also been hard at work getting ready to throw one of my friends a wedding shower/bachelorette party.  The mission:  something fun and festive, possibly some kind of shower, a fun night out including both the bride and groom.  A tall order to fill.  Hopefully we've hit the nail on the head with our plan.  First, a lingerie shower for the ladies hosted at my house.  Then dinner in the city and out for drinks later in the evening.

I got the invites out on Friday and I'm so happy with them.  I'm going to tell you my secret trick for printing invites.  Are you ready?  Okay, I make them in Publisher.  Easy peasy.  Then I save them as a jpeg and upload the file to Walmart, Walgreens, wherever has better picture printing prices for the day.  And then I just print them like they're pictures.  Pictures you guys!  Do you know how crazy cheap this is?!  I got 14 perfectly customized invites for $2.90 including tax.  And they even gave me envelopes.  You can't buy invites and hand write the info in for that cheap.
I of course edited out the personal info.  I mounted the invite on sparkly grey cardstock (leftover from our wedding) and popped them in envelopes to mail.  Absolutely perfect.  And so easy.  And even better, super duper cheap.

Now it's time for me to start thinking about the food.  I love getting the food ready, even more than making the invites.  Even though the invites are so fun.  What's your go to party recipe?  What did you guys do this weekend?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

An Organizing Plan

Do you ever see an organizing system and fall immediately in love.  Like you want to run out and make buy it because it is just that amazing and beautiful.  I keep clicking over to Pinterest just to look at it.  I have a serious crush.  Now I'm just trying to decide if I can spend the money on it or try to do a DIY version.

First, I came across this gorgeous picture on a blog.  Man oh man, I think this would solve all my mail problems.  I even have the perfect wall space for it.

Holy cow guys, this is so great.  I need this in my laundry room.  Maybe buying it will be my reward once I finally conquer the massive box of shredding.  I think that would be an excellent reward.  Right now it's probably good that there's not a Staples close to my house.  Because if there was I would have a very hard time not just running right out and buying it.

This is not a sponsored post.  Believe me, if it was all this gorgeousness would already be installed in my house.  I really like the calendar/cork board set up.  That way I could keep track of dates bills were due and pin up invitations there instead of on the side of the fridge.  And it's just so pretty.  

What do you think?  Are you completely in love too?  I think this could be the solution to all my mail clutter troubles.  Anybody else on a complete organizing/cleaning/purging kick?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Folded and Filed

Clothing storage is a constant battle at our house.  If I'm being honest, I'm kind of a piler.  I'm terrible about putting clothes away.  Yesterday I folded five loads of laundry that I'd done a week ago.  My dresser drawers manage to stay reasonably under control.  Not so on the other side of the bedroom. 

My dear sweet husband has about a thousand t-shirts.  And I swear they're multiplying.  I try to keep his dresser organized so he can find things but it always spirals out of control.  I think the real problem is too many t-shirts.  I try to have nice, neat, folded stacks.  Within a week my stacks have been lost and then I have to put away laundry and I don't feel like fighting a losing battle so I just shove the shirts in the drawer however they'll fit.  And we end up with this.

Why am I showing you guys this?  I mean, this is a crazy mess.  Not cool.  So, since pretty much everything was clean yesterday I decided to come up with a new plan.  Part of the problem with the stacks, you can't really see what's in there.  Then it hit me, why not file the t-shirts instead of stack them.  You know, fold them like normal but put them in sideways instead of flat.

So I pulled out all the shirts and sorted them, mostly by color but a handful went into the donate pile.  Those t-shirts that I don't really ever remember seeing him wear.  I know, the color sorting probably won't last, but a girl can try.  The top drawer became white t-shirts.  It is completely a drawer full.  He has tons of white t-shirts though and he wears one practically every day.
See what I mean by filed?  And this way he can still tell exactly what he has because I folded them so that the picture shows.
I used to try to group the sports shirts (Mizzou, Royals, KC Chiefs) together, but it's easy to still tell what shirt is what, even folded this way.  And it's usually a specific color of like a Chiefs shirt that he's looking for.  Yes, there is a camo section.

This hasn't been time tested yet, but I have high hopes.  And I have plans to organize my dresser the same way.  Even sweaters and the like too, I think.  I'm just imagining how easy it's going to be to find things.  I'm trying to tackle the bedroom clutter, our bedroom is just super small and we both have a lot of clothes.  Yesterday I even moved my vanity to the spare bedroom.  It's where I store socks and undergarments.  But it's a big honkin piece of furniture that only has four tiny drawers.  It just wasn't an effective use of space.  I feel like moving that one piece of furniture made our room feel so much bigger.  I love it.

I must be on an organizing kick because yesterday I came across the perfect mail organization system.  I can't wait to share it tomorrow.  How do you store your clothes?  Do you have a piling problem too?  What's your favorite clothes storage system?  Anybody else file their t-shirts?  I'm pretty sure it's going to be a great plan.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Lemon Cheesecake Bars

I hope you guys all had a great Easter.  I don't know about you, but food is always a huge part of holidays in my family.  And I definitely love me some food.  There are just certain foods I have to have for holidays or it doesn't seem right.  This weekend I realized most of those foods relate to breakfast.

For Christmas it's cranberry bread.  My mom always makes cranberry bread and it doesn't feel like Christmas morning if I don't have it.  So if we're not going to their house, I make cranberry bread and take it with me wherever I go.  For Easter it's biscuits and bacon gravy with boiled eggs and bacon.  You put the gravy over a sliced boiled egg and it's delicious.  The boiled eggs were always part of what we hunted for Easter morning, you know, with the candy filled plastic eggs as well.  We dyed them the day before and then the Easter Bunny hid them.

I knew Easter morning wouldn't work well to have B&Gs for breakfast because we were headed out for church pretty early so I made them Saturday morning.  My husband isn't a big fan of breakfast but knows how much I love holiday breakfasts so he goes along with it.  I even dyed eggs on Friday.  Yup, by myself just because it was fun.
Only a couple left.  There's still a little  bacon gravy left too, I'm thinking breakfast this morning.  Except I'm not going to eat all five eggs.  Deviled eggs are in our future too.

Okay, so while we're on the topic of food....  When we go to my in-laws for holidays, we always do a big meal with that whole side of the family.  Everybody brings a dish or two and it's always delicious.  I always scramble to come up with something new to make.  I usually bring dessert but I like to switch it up and try new recipes.  So I was tossing around the idea of a peach pie or a key lime pie but neither one was quite striking me.  Then it hit me, lemon bars.

There was a lady at my parents church who was an amazing cook (she has since passed away).  For my aunt's funeral she made the best lemon bars.  We were already out and about so I called my mom for the recipe so I knew what to buy.  As she was telling me the recipe, I didn't really think it sounded like what I was thinking of, but I knew if it was Sammy's recipe it would be good either way.    So, it totally was not what I was thinking of, but they were so good.  I didn't even bring very many back home with me.  And I may have eaten one for breakfast.

Lemon Cheesecake Bars
1 box yellow cake mix
2 eggs (divided)
1/3 c. oil
1 (8oz) package cream cheese, softened
1/3 c. sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
In mixing bowl mix cake mix, 1 egg and oil until crumbly.  Remove 1 cup of crumb mixture, pat remaining in bottom of 9x13 pan.  Bake 15 minutes at 350.  Beat together cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice, and remaining egg until light and smooth.  Spread over baked crumb mixture.  Bake 15 minutes longer.  Drizzle glaze over cooled bars.
1 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
2 T water
Combine all ingredients mix well.

Okay guys, I have to be completely honest.  Now that I'm typing out the recipe, I totally didn't follow the directions.  I missed the fact that I was supposed to bake it 15 minutes twice.  I just did the crumb layer, pressed it down, and then poured the cream cheese mixture over and baked.  They turned out fine that way. It probably wouldn't hurt to actually follow the directions though.  Oops.

So, how was your Easter?  Anybody else so tied to holiday food traditions?  Did you make something super delicious for the holiday?