Saturday, February 25, 2012

Giving Back - Share Our Strength

The next charitable organization I would like to support as a part of my resolutions this year is Share Our Strength. I have heard several things about this charity through Rachael Ray who highlights this program and donates money from her personal charity Yum-o! Share Our Strength focuses their efforts on childhood hunger and providing resources for children in need, introducing healthy food options in our nations schools, and partnering with families to provide education on nutrition and affordable eating. It is shocking to me how many thousands of children go hungry each day and are sent to school with no breakfast and may go home to no dinner. I have been blessed immensely in my life and have never had a day without a meal or ever truly felt real hunger. I even catch myself when I say 'I am so hungry, or I am starving right now' and realize that I need to change that phrase. I have never truly gone hungry and I have never been starving. 

Share Our Strength is an incredible organization tackling a huge national crisis and there are so many ways you can give. One of my favorite fundraisers that they support is the Great American Bake Sale and this is a wonderful way to sponsor a bake sale in your community and send the proceeds to this great organization. Once the weather gets warmer, I plan to put together a great bake sale for our friends, family, and neighborhood and hopefully raise some money for such a great cause!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Amazing Design Ideas

I am completely obsessed with the website Pinterest and spend hours on my iPad browsing through the pictures and ideas. I have found several design ideas that I would love to use in the future for our home or for kid's rooms down the road. Here are just a few of my favorites and you can check out all of my pins on Pinterest (including great recipes, cupcake ideas, and fabulous clothes)!
  • Red and Aqua Bedroom - this unique color combination has such a fun vibe and would look perfect for a guest room or a little girls' room.

Pinterest is such a great website for ideas and inspiration and when you sign up for an account, you then have a perfect spot for saving all of the great photos and ideas. Enjoy!

    Tuesday, February 14, 2012

    Happy Valentine's Day!

    I hope everyone enjoys Valentine's Day and spends it with the ones they love. Grab your honey and give them an extra kiss and be sure to tell your loved ones that you love them oh so much! 

    the perfect cupcake for Valentine's Day

    Sending all of my loved ones kisses and hugs on this special 'love' day! xoxoxo

    Sunday, February 12, 2012

    Homemade Marshmallows

    Have you ever seen a great idea (recipe, crafts, home project, etc.) and thought, 'I could never do that..."? Well, I have said the same thing about homemade marshmallows for years and it was time to give them a try. One of my favorite cooking blogs, Our Best Bites, has incredible tutorials on how to make everything from great recipes, to unique baked goods, and very informative instructions on kitchen challenges like canning, cookie decorating, and making homemade marshmallows.

    I wanted to make these adorable homemade marshmallows for Valentine treat bags for friends and family and was excited about packaging them up with some delicious hot cocoa mix. This recipe takes some patience but overall it turned out well and super delicious! There is just something luxurious about having a huge homemade marshmallow in your hot chocolate instead of the mini ones that come in the hot chocolate mix packets. This idea would be a great gift idea for the holidays or a winter birthday party (and they are really easy to package up). With the weather still being chilly and gray, be sure to warm up with some hot chocolate today!

    Saturday, February 11, 2012

    Saturday Morning Brunch - Raspberry Coffee Cake

    This morning I had my mother-in-law over for a light brunch and to make handmade cards together. She has recently started using Stampin' Up products and it is fun having her over to show her some new ideas and techniques for making beautiful handmade cards. I wanted to bake this morning but also keep it light so I put together a platter of fresh fruit and made this delicious Raspberry Coffee Cake recipe from the blog Eat Drink Pretty.

    We spent about 3 hours making cards and catching up and the coffee cake was a huge hit! I will definitely make this recipe again and experiment with other fruits like blackberries, blueberries, or even peaches... yummy!

    Friday, February 10, 2012

    New Book Club Selection - Rules of Civility

    The book club girls and I had a blast last night hanging out and discussing '11/22/63' by Stephen King. The book was enjoyed by everyone and I was impressed with how many of us finished this really long book in just one month. Just about everyone agreed that changing events in the past can have dangerous consequences and we enjoyed discussing regrets in our past and realizing that you can't go back and change those and the mistakes in life become a part of you and who you become. The discussion with this group is always captivating and we end up chatting for over two hours (and probably could keep going if we all were not so tired). The next book club selection was suggested by one of the ladies in our group that works for the library. Our county supports a project each year where the entire county is encouraged to read the same book. We also read last year's county selection 'Await Your Reply'. This month we will be reading 'Rules of Civility' by Amor Towles and here is a short summary:
    • A sophisticated and entertaining debut novel about an irresistible young woman with an uncommon sense of purpose. Set in New York City in 1938, Rules of Civility tells the story of a watershed year in the life of an uncompromising twenty-five-year- old named Katey Kontent. Armed with little more than a formidable intellect, a bracing wit, and her own brand of cool nerve, Katey embarks on a journey from a Wall Street secretarial pool through the upper echelons of New York society in search of a brighter future.
    The timing of reading this book is perfect because the author (Amor Towles) is visiting our local library next month and presenting information about the book. I am excited to have the opportunity to meet the author and see what other people in my community thought of the book. As always, I will be sure to post updates on the book and a final review once I finish it. Happy Reading!

    Thursday, February 9, 2012

    Book Recap - 11/22/63 (Captivating Read!)

    I have been addicted to reading for the past week and finally finished the book club book last night. I could not believe how I was sucked into this book and could not put it down. I was highly skeptical about reading a Stephen King book, but I must say that I am impressed with his ability to make a story come to life and really ponder things in my own life. The premise of this book was about changing history and what happens if you could go back in time and change a major historical event or even just change something that happened in your own life. I love when a book makes me think about my own life and what would I change in my past if I could. The book also tells the other side of the story and explains something called the 'butterfly effect'. This effect happens when you change one moment in the past and hundreds of other moments are affected because you changed just one thing. This book challenged me to think about what I would change in my past, but in the end I wouldn't change anything because then I wouldn't be where I am today. The challenges, the regrets, the failures, and the mistakes all make us who we are and place us in our current life today. This book was interesting, captivating, and reminded me that you shouldn't change the past but instead appreciate it for what it is... somehow perfect.

    Monday, February 6, 2012

    Adorable Valentine Ideas

    With Valentine's Day just over a week away, here are a few adorable ideas to make for your loved ones. 
    • Red Velvet Whoopie Pies - these are almost too cute to eat and would be a perfect gift for family, friends, or your special sweetheart!
    • Homemade Heart Marshmallows - a cute way to make marshmallows and perfect for packaging up with hot cocoa mix for friends or co-workers!
    I also have a Valentine Idea inspiration board on Pinterest where you can see more great ideas and projects. Hope you make something sweet for your loved ones this Valentine's Day and be sure to tell your sweetie pie 'I Love You' as many times as you can!

    Sunday, February 5, 2012

    Finally Enjoying the Book

    I am notorious for leaving the book club reading to the week before our book club meeting and this month is no different. I finally downloaded the current book club selection '11/22/63' on my iPad last week and have been reading like crazy this weekend. I have read over 250 pages today and have really started to love the book. I was incredibly skeptical about this book club selection since I have never read a Stephen King book before and I was overwhelmed by how long this book is. I have such a hard time with not finishing a book and plan on making every effort to finish this really long book by Thursday. Even if I don't finish the reading, I always look forward to seeing my girlfriends at book club, having a few glasses of wine, and just having a great time!

    Saturday, February 4, 2012

    Baby Shower Inspiration

    I have posted many times about my love of the website Pinterest and the amazing ideas you can find there. I have started an inspiration board for the bumble bee baby shower in March and have been posting some adorable ideas. I love planning parties and this one is extra special because it will be for one of my dearest friends, Laura. She is truly the most kind, beautiful, and amazing woman that I could have for a friend and I can't wait to spoil her for her upcoming baby shower. Over the next few weeks I will be ordering some fabulous party supplies and tying together the details for the shower. Here are just a few ideas that I will be adding to the party:
    This baby shower is going to be adorable and I love how the yellow details are going to match the invitation perfectly! I will be posting ideas and pictures over the next few weeks as the planning details come together... oh how I love to plan a great party!