April 7, 2021

Swimsuit Search

I'm a little late to the swimsuit hunt this year.  I like to put a swimsuit in my kids Easter basket, but I didn't do a swimsuit inventory of what they need in time. Most of the ones I have found that I want to order, their sizes are sold out.  Wah!  

This year, it looks like the trends are vertical stripes, color blocking, and of course tie dye! And, I'll always love the classic gingham or seersucker.

You will laugh, but when I shop for swimsuits I look for a swimsuit for each occasion.  

1.  A beach/lake swimsuit:  I try to stay away from white because it tends to get discolored by lake or ocean water.  I also like a rash guard style swimsuit because we do the beach allll day, and that's less sunblock for me to have to worry about.  

2.  A pool swimsuit: This one usually has white. Less likely a rash guard. 

3. Indoor swimsuit: Also often has white, but I'm more willing to use some sort of two piece for babies here when I don't have to worry about sunblock. 

I also just read an article about making sure your children's swimsuits are bright colors so if they go under, especially in dark waters, it is easier to find them.  Noted. 

Here are some swimsuits I've come across this year that I am loving. 

Mallary really likes this style of swimsuit, and as her mom, I do too!  More coverage, less sunblock, and less worrying about her butt/chest hanging out.  Score! Mallary also got a bad sunburn once and that was enough for her, she is my sunblock queen.  So, we've found a lot of these cuties, but they are all already sold out in her sizes.
Land's End


I love me a good rash guard. I've been sporting them for years, got lots of other people hooked on them.  They used to be so hard to find, but now they are everywhere. I have a one piece from Amazon similar to the one below.  I love the print on this one!  

Be still my heart!  The smocking on this is adorable.  Bailee may or may not be sporting this cutie at the pool this year... 


I love the following brand!  Mallary has had a few of their swimsuits, and I think Bailee has too.  I just love their fun prints!  They are also great quality!

I usually buy at least one swimsuit from Gap every year.  Their quality is great, and I'm always able to resell them when my children outgrow them.  Their swim shorts have been handed down through all of my boys as well. 


I also love a good flutter sleeve or capped sleeve to protect the shoulders from the sun!


TJMaxx and Marshalls are actually my go to for swimsuits every year as well.  They are so inexpensive, and you can always find super cute ones. These next few are from there. 

Can't wait for some sun, sea, and sand!

February 12, 2021

Valentine Hot Cocoa Bombs

Mallary kept wanting to make hot chocolate bombs, and I finally ordered molds after Christmas. They came pretty fast and we made some the next day.  I forgot I hadn't posted that video of her making them... I'll get on that... 

I got the idea to do a Yoda one from a Yoda cake I saw, and finally decided to try it.  I posted the first one I made farther down in the post, and it's pretty funny.  Contrary to popular belief, I have plenty of fails when I experiment. These aren't perfect, but they are still a fun idea!

The eyes need some work, but they are better than the others below.  

These are the molds we used:


To make Yoda's clothes I added some chocolate chips to the white melting chocolate. 

I have a big box of these I keep in my pantry for projects like this:


Of course I used my favorite hot chocolate!

Bahahaha! This was my first Yoda.  He's so funny looking! 

I used white chocolate hot cocoa because I knew it would keep a cool green color with the melts.  The kids liked the green hot chocolate, and honestly it tasted good!

Then, I thought... these kind of look like golden snitches!  I tried dying the melts with yellow food coloring and using a gold spray over them.  I also tried spraying the gold into the molds then adding the chocolate. Similar results despite the different methods. 

Just a little fun Valentine gift or activity!  Enjoy!

February 11, 2021

Molten Lava Cake

Recently, my friend's son turned 18 and he sent her a recipe he wanted for his cake, and she forwarded it to me and put me in charge of the cake. It was a molten lava cake recipe.  

Well, back in the day, 19 years ago BC (before children), I used to make a lot of molten lava cakes.  It was one of John's favorites, so I would try different recipes and make them. I have a recipe binder that I use to keep only recipes that I have made and liked.  So, when my friend texted me this recipe I went to my recipe binder to compare recipes.  I found two molten lava cake recipes that I had made before, but I wasn't sure which was better.  Well, I just decided to make all three and only keep the best recipe book in my binder, and record the best recipe here.  Then, lo, and behold, while typing this I went searching through my blog and I found another molten lava cake I have blogged about before and I said that one was my favorite.  I guess I have to make that one again too.  I mean, what's a girl to do??

If you know me, and you've been around here on my blog, you know I love me a good recipe using a ramekin.  Fun fact - I would often give ramekins as shower or wedding gifts with my favorite recipes to use them for.  

Here are a few fun ramekin uses from past blog posts.  The pictures will take you to the posts.  I often use my ramekins for dips as well.  I have these cute heart shaped ramekins that I love using too!

This was the Molten Lava cake I discovered on my blog today. 
It is a Paula Dean Recipe you can find HERE.
I said it was good, but now I have to compare it to the other. 

Not even kidding, I've had many people ask me what a ramekin is. Let me help those that don't know... These are the standard, basic ramekins. They come in other colors as well, and in multiple sizes.


 I am in love with these!!!!


 Oh my word, I love these too!!


 Oh my goodness, decisions... decisions... In navy?!?!?!


Okay, let's get back to the molten lava cakes!!  

The recipe he sent for his birthday was called: Almost-Famous Molten Chocolate Cake.  Recipe HERE

My review: I decided that it's called an Almost-Famous Molten Chocolate Cake, because it's fine, but not fantastic.  If you like bitter/dark chocolate this recipe is for you. If not, don't make it.  I overbaked it a bit... even if you think it's not done, it actually is.  

I used mini Bundt pans instead of ramekins. The recipe called for hollowing out the cake, and I knew it would be easier to just fill the hole in the Bundt pan with the lava part. 


Here is the next recipe.  This was in my recipe book of recipes I have made before, but I couldn't remember what it tasted like.  You make this recipe in muffin tins, so it's great if you have a crowd to feed.  These are also a bit bitter and if you make them in a cupcake tin, you definitely don't need to cook them for the time it calls for.  I would do nine minutes. 

This was how the cupcake lava cake turned out.  One pan ended up having more lava than this one.  The trick to these is not to overbake them. 

Now for my favorite Molten Lava Cake recipe!  As I mentioned before I have given this recipe with ramekins as gifts.  I think a few years after I gave this to one of John's cousins, she sent me a message saying she made them and they turned out perfect! So, yay! 

Molten Lava Cake Recipe

4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate (The recipe calls for good quality chocolate, I just used chocolate chips.)
1/2 c. unsalted butter
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/4 c. all purpose flour
1/4 c. plus 1 T. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. salt

1. Preheat oven to 375

2. Melt chocolate and butter together slowly, whisking often. (I do this on the stove or in the microwave.  The secret is to do it on low heat or in the microwave in 20 second increments, stir, repeat.) Let cool. (I stick in the fridge while I do the next steps.)

3. In large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and yolks together.  Add in flour and sugar and mix until just blended. (You want to beat in as little air as possible.)

4. Add cooled chocolate mixture.  Whisk together and do not overmix.  Stir in salt. 

5. Butter and flour 4 individual 1/2 cup ramekins. (I didn't flour mine, I just spray non-stick spray)

6. Cook in middle rack of the oven for 9 minutes. 

7. Cakes are cooked when surface appears set, cakes jiggle when shaken, and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out coated with thick liquid. 

8. Let stand one minute. Run a knife along the inner wall of the ramekin, cover with a small plate, quickly invert.  I flip mine back over, add ice cream, and serve!  (If you've got cute ramekins, you can serve them in the ramekin as well!)

Just add ice cream and enjoy!  If you want to make it like the Chili's recipe you can add magic shell over the ice cream!  Delish! 


February 6, 2021

Speaking of games...

Growing up, my family played games like Rook or Guesstures, but John's family REALLY plays games. Like, stay up all night playing games kinda people.  

When John and I were dating, one night the two of us were sitting in my living room floor playing a game and one of my roommates mom was visiting and she said, "You won't play games after you're married." Never has a sentence been more incorrect.  (If you know us, I know you're laughing right now...)

As newlyweds, we were introduced to a game called, "Settlers," and a whole new world of strategy games was opened up to us.  Five million dollars later... we have a designated game closet in our house. We would stay up late into the wee hours of the morning playing Settlers and lots of other card games and board games with our BFF's, or with John's family when they would come to visit.  Things that are much easier to do before you have kids.  Almost nineteen years later and we are still gaming away.  

I'm going to link to some new games I just bought after Christmas this year.  Maybe if you're family don't look at these because they might be your Christmas present next year.  Just kidding, I'm sure I'll find new games by then to gift.  

I love the game below because it is easy to learn, you don't have to think too hard, and it's a nice break from the Settlers type of strategy games.  We have loved it, and it is my game of choice right now if I choose the game we are going to play.  

The other game I ordered after Christmas is the game below.  Honestly, I haven't played it yet.  I bought it to see if it was fun and my sister in law likes gnomes, so if it was fun we'd get it for her too.  My family has played it a lot though.  If John or Trevan choose a game to play, this is the one they choose to play.  (Let's be honest, I've usually had enough family game time by this point and I peace out...)

We actually love all the games by this maker!!!  I love this game the best, but my family likes playing the other one, Skull King, posted after this one.  


This game was one I gifted at Christmas last year. It's also an easy game to play and doesn't require a lot of brainpower.

Last weekend, I got to play the party version of this game and loved it too! So fun!


February 5, 2021

Super bowl party menu

The Super bowl and marrying my husband were kind of like a package deal.  For most of my marriage, we've had some kind of Super bowl party, so when I went to look up recipes to make for this weekend I was surprised not to find a post here about the Super bowl.  So, I compiled a list of some recipes already posted on my blog that would be good food for the Super bowl, and that I've probably made at a Super bowl at least once or twice. 

What are you making for the Super bowl?!?!?

Pizza Dip

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Southwestern Eggrolls

Chicken Bacon Bites


Black Bean Hummus

Taco Bites

February 4, 2021

Show the love


Honestly, today as I put out these Valentine envelopes I made 11(!) years ago, I really wasn't feeling the love... 

When I made these, I had grand ideas of family members leaving kind things for each other. I thought John and I would leave notes or treats for the kids every day during the month of February.  I'm just a few days late putting them out, and I'm honestly not feeling very generous in giving things to my bickering, loud, squealing children right now.  (AND, I'm a little behind because Everett and Bailee still don't have one. I'll get right on that...)

Though, when we sat down to dinner tonight after a less than thrilling day, Everett said, "Mom, there's a card and candy in your envelope." He had written a cute note on an index card and found some leftover Christmas candy and put it in my envelope.  So, he's sweet, and well, I guess that's the whole point of them.  In the past, when John left things in the envelope for all of us, he would always sign them "From, Romeo."  The kids always got a big kick out of it and they actually thought there was a Valentine's elf named, Romeo. 

There's a link to my tutorial for these in the first sentence of this post.  Or, if you don't want to make some, you can order some to set out for your family.  There are some fun ones on Amazon that you can order and they can double as a craft project for your kids!  I figured since a lot of kids still aren't in school, it would be extra fun for families to do this.  

Here's some super cute ideas I found on Amazon:

Here's some big felt envelopes already made!

How cute would these be with names added to them?!  You could put them on kids doors, or add ribbon like mine and hang them over chairs. 

Oh, my word! How cute would this be?!? Each family member can have an envelope and it would double as decor! Genius! 

Or, you can buy the whole kit that comes with Valentine's and the box! One stop shop!

Happy love month!  If you've got good ideas of how your family shows the love during February please share!

January 25, 2021

Do gel manicures yourself!

About two years ago, I started going with my friend to get manicures or pedicures.  I got addicted to gel nails or SNS nails.  My nails are super brittle and will only grow if I have gel or SNS on them.  But, I'm super lazy and didn't always remove them safely therefore defeating the purpose of helping my nails grow and be healthy. 

Then, at the end of last summer, while visiting my friend, she had a whole kit of gel nail stuff!  She had her own UV lamp, and gel polish, etc. I did my own nails following her directions with the base coat, polish and top coat, and it was so easy I was hooked (and Mallary was hooked!). We ordered our own kit shortly after.  When I saw the price for the whole kit was the same as a manicure I figured it wouldn't hurt to try it.  Oh my word I've saved so much money with how much we do our nails.  Three of my friends even bought a kit too, and we've all been hooked.

Mallary uses it ALL THE TIME. I use it the normal amount.  We do gel on our nails and toenails. They last for two weeks on my nails and about a month on my toes (perfect for my lazy self).

Here is the exact kit I ordered from Amazon.  It comes with everything you need to get started.  I also ordered extra colors.  


 This is one of my newer favorite colors:  

You can see ours has been well loved... (i.e. Mallary is messy...)

You guys! Also, see the washi tape on the one bottle there?  My friend, was brilliant and got a different color washi tape for all of us to put on our bottles so that we would know whos was whos!  Brilliant! We can borrow colors and not get them confused. 

Honestly, twice I got colors that were kinda goopy. I reported it, and Amazon refunded my money. So, no loss on my part!

Then, my friend showed me this stuff you can use to turn any nail polish into a gel polish and I have been dying to try it ever since! (Like, seriously turning dollar store nail polish to gel polish, and it works!!!) I finally did yesterday! I am hooked! Here is the stuff I bought that can turn any polish into gel polish:


Mallary and I chose some of our favorite nail polishes to turn into gel polish.  This is how many we made yesterday! 

I ordered these empty small nail polish containers to mix them in.  You are supposed to mix the Hydracol and the nail polish 50/50, so I didn't want to use it all on just a few colors so I ordered these so I could do lots of colors. I still have more of the hydracol so I can do a lot more colors still! 

You can see my nails in this picture. That manicure is eight days old - no chips or anything. I did this manicure with this base and top coat:

So, these are some pictures from when I mixed colors yesterday.  You will need a q-tips to help clean the funnels and toothpicks incase the balls fall out of the nail polish and block the funnel opening. I showed you a picture of that as well. 

Honestly, we tend to just peel off the polish when we are ready to do a new manicure.  (If you don't buff your nailbeds before painting you can usually do this without harming your nails.) But, I'm trying to keep my nails healthy so I ordered these for me and my friends that have the kits to safely soak off the polish without having to wrap your nails in aluminum foil.

Anyway, I'm hooked!  I just thought I'd share one of our new favorite things!  

Practice makes perfect, but you will catch on so fast! Just remember not to put too much polish on your brush.  You just don't want the polish to be on your skin before you put it under the lamp, because it will stick to your skin and make your manicure not look great. Slow and steady is the way to go! Enjoy! 
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