Thursday, April 19, 2012

Lemon Cupcakes and a retreat for me!

Why is it that everything lemon is so tasty?  The zesty sweet citrus flavor is one of my favorites, next to coconut of course.  My cute friend and neighbor Christin made this recipe for our neighborhood recipe group back in February, and I think I ate three slices of cake!

I decided to do a cupcake version so I could take some to our new neighbors that just moved in and for portion control for me and my family.  They did turn out a little messy with the cupcake liners so next time I make this recipe I will probably do it in a 9 x 13 but they did look cool with glaze dripping on the wrapper.  And as always, I froze half of the finished goodies so I wouldn't be compelled to eat them before they go bad.  

Shh...don't tell my trainer Jill, but this little cupcake has so much flavor and is so great tasting it was worth cheating just a little on my diet!

Here's the recipe:

1 Lemon or Yellow cake mix 
  (I used yellow because it's what I had on hand and I couldn't taste the difference.)
1 Lemon Jello Pudding mix (small size)
1/4 C. Flour
1 C. Water
3/4 C. Oil
4 Eggs
1 Tbsp. Lemon Extract
3 Cups Powdered Sugar
8 Tbsp. Lemon Juice

Mix cake mix, jello and flour.  In a separate bowl mix water, oil, 4 eggs and lemon extract.  Combine and pour into cupcake liners or 9 x 13 greased pan.  Bake at 350 for 16-20 mins for cupcakes and 20-30 mins for 9 x 13.  Remove from oven and bump cake pan to make cake fall.  Poke holes in cake.  I used a straw.  Mix powdered sugar and lemon juice together and pour over warm cake.  Let cool and enjoy!

I have some happy news, I'm attending the Breathing Space blogger retreat in May and I couldn't be more excited to be surrounded by talented people and attend some amazing classes!

And the best part?  It's being held in my hood...

Can't wait to share all the fun things I get to do with you!


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Guest Post: Jenny Meese

Hello everyone.  As a huge fan of Aristocrafty, I’m so excited to guest blog today.  Like many of you, I have taken to Pinterest for inspiration. Every so often I cross something that screams “MAKE ME!” Every full moon, I try one of these projects.  Some fail, but some TURN OUT.  Here’s one that could turn out for you. 

                                                                 (This is my finished product!)

I saw THIS on Pinterest and was hooked.  I enlisted my husband and went to Home Depot to scan through the sea of colors.  We ended up purchasing several of the little 8 oz. paint samplers at the counter ($3.00 ea.) Picking and painting bold colors is just good for the soul! 

Supply list:
5 - 2x4’s to cut for colored slats. We had extra and were glad since we made some mistakes.
2 – 2x6’s for skirt around bench
2 – 4x4’s legs
Paint and brushes

We measured and cut the wood.  No fancy measurements, just figure how long, how high and how deep, etc.  Our cuts were a bit rough so we sanded a little to soften things up.  After painting, we secured the bench by screwing the corners of the skirt into the legs.  The skirt screws pretty much disappear with a little touch up paint.

We also wanted to hide the screws on the sitting area.  It’s easier to SEE how we did it by looking at this picture, rather than describe it.  (You’re looking at the underside of the sitting area.  A place nobody but you will ever see.)  Just make sure the screws you have are long enough to go up through the first 2x4 but only ½ way through the colored one.

The bench is heavy, sturdy and so much fun!  Our kids play on it all day and I love looking out back and seeing so many colors in the yard.  I could even see myself changing it up in a few years with different blues and turquoise pastels for a traditional beach look. But maybe that’s another project. So many possibilities…this bench and I were meant to be!

I hope that you’ll build one and please PIN it!


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Mermaid Birthday Party

My sweet little Samantha turns four this week, to celebrate we threw a Mermaid Party!  Aerial is her favorite princess but I didn't want to throw a Disney party.  My friend Aymee had thrown a mermaid party for her little girl the week before so I borrowed most of her stuff.  She saved me so much time and money! On a side note:  I think we need to do party exchanges or something like that because we all spend so much time making decorations and stuff and then it gets used once!  Who's with me??  

My friend inspired my simple design for the invitations, they were really easy to make and I printed everything at home or cut out on my Cricut.  

The scalloped banners were borrowed and the happy birthday garland was from last year's Rapunzel birthday party, I was really happy the colors worked for this party!

This little table and chair set-up is a birthday tradition at our house.  We move out our dining table and bring in this.  I think it's so cozy and quaint for the kids.  You can see the hanging ruffled crepe paper, it's suppose to look like kelp.  

I think my cupcakes turned out pretty cute!  I made the candy shells out of a mold set I found at Hobby Lobby in these three colors.  I used brown sugar as sand on top of my blue buttercream frosting.  (The brown sugar was my friend's idea.)

The pink coral is from Wal-Mart's pet section, again, not my idea!

The party favors, a pearl necklace, lip gloss, a ring and bubbles!  We also had an Aerial pinata and played some simple but fun games while we waited for Aerial to show-up!  Freeze dance to The Little Mermaid songs and pass the beach ball.

Happy Birthday to my precious little Sammy girl!  


Monday, April 2, 2012

Quick and Easy Cinnamon Rolls

Growing up my mom made cinnamon rolls a couple times a year on a Sunday.  They were delicious and they took about four hours to make, a long and laborious process!  I know because I've made them myself and I can't usually wait that long.  
I just bought a huge bag of  frozen Rhodes Rolls from Costco and figured I could use that dough.   

First off, thaw 1 dozen rolls but don't let them rise.  This will take less than an hour.  Mush them all together into one big dough ball and then roll it out on your flour dusted counter into a rectangle.

This is the good part! 
1/2 cup brown sugar
  1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup butter melted

Pour 2/3 of the melted butter onto the rectangle and spread, then sprinkle the sugars and cinnamon after combined all over and roll it up and pinch the loaf closed.  Then slice the loaf into 1" rolls using heavy duty thread or a serrated knife.

Spray a 9 x 13 pan with non-stick spray and lay the rolls in the pan and cover with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.  Let rise until double in size.

Pour remaining butter over top and bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 mins.  

Cover with glaze.  Eat warm and enjoy the yummy goodness!

Glaze Recipe
2 cups powdered sugar
4 Tbsp melted butter
2 tsp. vanilla
3-6 Tbsp warm water

Whisk together and pour over cinnamon rolls.