Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Duty Day = Being Super Productive!

At first, I really hated duty days. It meant Hubs was gone for over 24 hours and I was left all alone (well as alone as you can be with a toddler) to entertain myself. Hah! Little did I realize duty days were a blessing in disguise because when Hubs is home, we put off most household responsibilities. Granted, if something is smelly we take care of it but not much beyond that gets accomplished. So instead of worrying about keeping the house in tip-top shape and fretting about my limited time with Hubs, I just put off housework until Duty Day. Little Miss has become very good at entertaining herself and taking naps at just the right time so I had 2 hours of uninterrupted time to clean house, fold laundry, clip coupons, make my grocery list, and shop online!  Gotta love Duty Days :)

See what I did there? I turned a negative into a positive. Yes, being apart from Hubs isn't ideal but what is complaining about it going to get me? Its just going to put me in a sour mood. Now don't get me wrong, everyone is entitled to complain about deployments, work-ups, duty days. I am not trying to take that away from anyone. However, for myself I would much rather make the best of an undesirable situation therefore allowing me to have a much better day!

Did anyone else do most of their shopping online like me? I am starting to get all the gifts in the mail and I get excited all over again about giving the gifts to my friends & family. I do not have the best track record with our local post office, they have lost 2 packages of mine and misplaced a bill from the IRS. While I am excited, I am just as nervous that my purchases will be lost in the black hole at the post office. So far so good, I've gotten 3 out of 4 gifts shipped through USPS! The last one won't be here until the beginning of December.

I cannot believe it is almost December. Wow, where did the last 5 months go? Time to put my big girl panties on and prepare for the road ahead. My plan: Keep as busy as possible! It worked before and I am sure it will work again. 

One way I am keeping busy, I am throwing my first Pampered Chef party in December! I've never hosted "one of those" sorts of parties. By no means am I a salesperson and I don't want to endorse any products that I can't stand behind. However, I own several (okay pretty much half the catalog) of their tools and I love them all. First of all, I haven't destroyed them and that says alot. I am not the kindest on my kitchenware. I've melted countless spatulas and spoon. I've morphed cookie sheets and stained sheet pans. When I replaced all of the destroyed utensils with PC stuff, they have all held up very well. On top of their durability, they have the coolest tools that make cooking super easy and quick to clean up. So I have decided in honor of hosting my first PC party, I am going to outline my favorite must-have items in an upcoming blog! 

My house is clean, I burned 1000 calories in spin class, the shopping list is ready for tomorrow, Hubs will be home super early, I think my day is done and it is time to get some much needed beauty rest!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hot Mug Cake!

So while cooking is all sorts of fun, sometimes I just want to be lazy. Late last night (duty night of course) I was craving chocolate cake. I didn't want to make an entire cake so I searched online for an easier solution and then I found it: Mug cake. Apparently, this was a popular thing 3 years ago. Where was I and why didn't I get the memo? I came across this yummy recipe and amazing blog all at the same time.

I posted on facebook that I made a Mug Cake and received some requests for the recipe, so here it is (courtesy of Baking Bites!). Though I do need to let everyone know while the Mug Cake is delicious, a cake baked in the oven is still far better. But if you are just lazy and want cake, this is a viable option: 

Microwave Chocolate Cake for One:
4 tbsp cake flour
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder (or hot chocolate mix!)
pinch salt
1 large egg
3 tbsp strong coffee (or milk, flavored creamer)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Sift together flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder and salt into a large coffee mug (or small bowl). Stir in egg, coffee, vegetable oil and vanilla, mixing until smooth. I added small chocolate chips as well! If you are mixing inside a coffee mug, be sure to scrape the corners well.
Microwave on high for about 3 minutes. Cake will puff up like a souffle and should appear to be “set” after 3 minutes. Cake will fall once removed from the microwave.
Serve in the mug, or turned out into a bowl, with a bit of ice cream or whipped cream.
Serves 1-2

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Yummy Muffins!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! This is the first year since I have been married that we did not have a house full of people. So we went dinner hopping and had amazing meals at our friends' houses. It was refreshing having someone else cook for us, but I was saddened when I realized there would be no leftovers at home for late-night munchies :(

I didn't go out and brave the crowds this year for Black Friday, I hid behind the safety of my laptop and picked up all my gifts online. However, I will be fighting with the masses for the sales on the day after Christmas! There are a few Christmas decorations that I would like to have and they are the cheapest after the holiday. We put up all the decorations inside our house, including our new tree (a day after Christmas purchase!). We had to make sure all the decorations were out of Little Misses' reach, we have quite a few decorations that have been passed down from family that we could never replace.

Hubs has duty today, so I am cooking up a storm in the kitchen. I have the perfect occasion for it too! Everyone likes muffins right? I found this recipe on the back of our giant container of oatmeal. While it does have alot of ingredients, it is very easy to make, and quick too! I have tweaked it a little bit to ensure the muffins were moist and extra cinnamon-y.

Oatmeal - Applesauce Muffins

1 c quick oats
1 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c packed brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 c cinnamon applesauce
1/3 c vegetable oil
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400. Grease or paper line 12 muffin cups. Combine oats, flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Combine applesauce, oil, egg, and vanilla in separate bowl. Add all at once to oat mixture, stirring just until moistened. Divide evenly among prepared muffin cups. Back 20-25 minutes or until toothpick tester comes out clean! Makes 12.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mmm Cookies!

I have been baking quite a bit lately and my Pampered Chef consultant shared a recipe with me that I MUST share with everyone! It is super easy and it comes out amazing every-time. I figured with the holiday season coming up, a new cookie recipe is needed!

Fast & Easy Cookies 
1 cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
Optional: morsels or nuts

Mix together fully (I use my PC Mix N Scraper). Scoop onto cookie sheet (I use my bar stone!), 1 tbsp. is a good size! Flatten slightly. Bake at 350 for 10 mins. Let cool & enjoy!

I have tried this with a few different cake mixes, my two faves are spice cake with pecans and yellow cake with chocolate chips! The combinations are almost endless; my next batch will be red velvet cake with white chocolate chips. Let me know what you come up with!

2 of the cookies disappeared mysteriously before I took the picture...



Tuesday, November 22, 2011

New Ideas for My Blog

I have been thinking about this blog a lot lately, trying to come up with ways to put out there all the information and ideas I have going through my head. As I am becoming more crafty and embracing my inner domestic goddess, I want to share my projects and recipes. With my new role in my husband's command, I am becoming aware of some great programs for military families and I want to share that as well. Of course I also want to continue with the random thoughts and topics that I come up with too! So this is the direction I plan on taking my blog into in the coming weeks, I hope everyone enjoys reading as much as I enjoy blabbing about it :)

The last week has been fairly hectic. We had our command holiday parties and they were both a blast. Of course I loved getting dressed up with the hubs and spending an evening with adults sans children! Events like this remind me how lucky I am to have friends that I can have so much fun with. I've even included a photo of us all dolled up, it isn't very often we take cute couple photos! 

We had the children's party a few days later, so excited we took a family Santa photo! We are very fortunate our command puts on such wonderful events for the families. Did I forget to mention I was able to go to the movies this weekend...twice! see Breaking Dawn?! Stay tuned for an upcoming post about why I think the Twilight series has become so insanely popular and it doesn't have to do with how good looking Taylor Lautner or Robert Pattinson are or even werewolves versus vampires. 

I hope everyone has a great Turkey Day. If you haven't gone shopping for your groceries yet, be aware the shelves are already empty! I was at WalMart late this evening and the store was packed. Thank goodness I just needed milk and cheese!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Getting My Craftiness On!

Life sure is keeping me busy! It is totally my fault though, I want to do as much as possible each day. You know that feeling you get when you finish a project or complete a task? I am beginning to think I am addicted to that feeling, haha! 

I just completed another dress for Little Miss. It is my first dress with sleeves and I think I did a pretty dang good job. This was also my first project I've completed without my mom here to help me understand the patterns. One night we skyped just so she could help me figure out a step! Sewing has also made me realize something about my husband: He is way smarter than I give him credit for. I was confused about one of the pictures and I was almost frustrated to tears. He looks at the picture, reads the directions, and shows me what I need to do. My jaw literally hit the floor, I was astonished. So now I have been teasing him, they must be teaching the Nukes how to sew on the ship! That man never ceases to amaze me and I love it. 

 3/4 Sleeve Lightweight Flannel Dress with Yoke Neck

My next project: A fleece hat, scarf, and mittens for Little Miss!

I am hoping to find fleece with a super cute pattern in different shades of pink. That way it will match Little Misses winter coat which is a light pink. 

This sewing stuff really isn't that hard, trust me! I am getting lots of feedback and people are saying they wish they could sew. I was intimidated at first too, but once my mom walked me through my first dress it wasn't that bad. Yes, I still get confused and frustrated but alot of that is my own fault.Instead of walking away and coming back later with a fresh perspective or looking up help online I let myself get too flustered. There are plenty of tutorials online, especially videos that walk you through it! It is so rewarding to accomplish something you have always wanted to do. So go ahead and give it a try :)