Monday, July 26, 2010

Weekend Roundup

We had a great weekend!  Why?  We. Did. Nothing.  We needed a weekend with nothing planned and nowhere to go.

Friday we went swimming after I got home from work.  My grandmother, Aunt, and Uncle had been visiting my parents for the week, and we wanted to see them one more time before they went back to Massachusetts.  We stayed late swimming, playing Legos, catching fireflies, and just chatting.

Saturday we spent the morning cleaning up our house and rearranging some furniture.  We took out our old sofa and brought in our new (to us) mission style furniture.  I haven't recovered it yet but we brought it in anyway.  It looks good!  I haven't taken any photos, but will.  After the morning of rearranging we ran some errands.  The boys had some good behavior chart money and David had tooth fairy money, so they were dying to spend it.  After our errands we came home, Jack took a nap, and the boys played with their goodies.  We just hung out all day, and it was fabulous.  We had a visit from my sweet friend Melanie.  She and her family were unable to come to Henry's birthday party and I think she's been driving around with his gift in her car since April.  She brought this for Henry

We LOVE it!  It's a really cute game.  David and Henry can play themselves.  Better yet, I like it and don't get bored out of my mind playing it with them.  If you have a child who loves Toy Story, I definitely recommend it.

Yesterday we played a bit in the morning, did some yucky things like going to the dump, and just relaxed.  After Jack's nap we went swimming and hung out at my parents' house at the pool.  And gave Jack a bath in the baby pool when we were done swimming.  Don't judge.

We had a wonderful weekend.  I hope you did too.  Have a great week!

Hey Tooth Fairy!

FINALLY!  That sucker had been loose for about 3 months.  He bit a piece of bread he had out all day and it fell out. . . and he didn't even notice!  Henry realized it and told him.  David then said, "I guess all I had to do was eat a moldy old stale piece of bread to make my tooth fall out!"  We'll remember that next time. . . 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tiramisu Cupcakes

I made some tiramisu cupcakes for my friend Jennifer's birthday.  They were her special request, and I hadn't made them before.  Never a good idea not to do a test run, but I did anyway.  Look at me, living on the edge!  They turned out great.  They're quite involved, so don't make these on a day you need to just quickly whip something up.  I brought them to work, and everyone loved them.  Our process server came by and had one and said, "So, when are you going to start some sort of cake business?"  Been there, done that buddy!!  Don't worry folks - Mama still has it - these were a huge hit and will go into my regular rotation.


  • 1 (18 1/4 ounce) package white cake mix, made according to the box directions (or your favorite from scratch white cake)

Liquid Coffee Layer

Mascarpone Filling



Prep Time: 40 mins
Total Time: 58 mins

  1. 1Make mascarpone filling mix first & allow to chill 4-6 hours or overnight.
  2. 2Mascarpone filling: Beat mascarpone, Kahlua and condensed milk until well blended. Fold in cool whip. Chill 4-6 hours, or overnight.

  3. 3Prepare cupcakes as directed on box of white cake mix & bake accordingly. While these are baking prepare the liquid coffee as below.
  4. 4Liquid Coffee: Boil 2/3 cup water in microwave (or boil on stove) and stir in instant coffee then powdered sugar & allow to cool to tepid. Once cooled, use a fork to poke holes into cupcakes so that they will absorb the liquid cofee & then brush liquid coffee onto each cupcake using silicone baking brush. (I made five or six fork piercings - this should be a fairly saturated cupcake.)

  5. 5Fill pastry/icing bag with mascarpone filling & inject about 1 spoonful via bag directly into top-center of each cupcake.  (Note - I didn't find this to be the best method.  The filling is quite substantial.  I cut a section out of each cupcake and filled accordingly.  I didn't think injecting it would be enough.)

  6. 6Prepare Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting: Beat butter and cream cheese until creamy with hand mixer on low. Slowly add powdered sugar, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add vanilla and increase mixer to medium. Blend until frosting is fluffy.
  7. 7Frost each cupcake with frosting & garnish with chocolate shavings (use dark chocolate bar & cheese grater).  I dusted with cocoa because I forgot to get the chocolate bar!  

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Because I Needed Another Project. . .

Chris and I went to a yard sale over the weekend.  We were passing by a street in my parents' neighborhood when I spotted, out of the corner of my eye, two Craftsman style chairs in the driveway.  We went up to the house, and looked around.  I sat in the chairs, and I really, really liked them.  Chris and I are real fans of the Craftsman style of architecture and furniture, so these were very appealing to us.  One was a side chair and one was a rocker.  They were sturdy and were comfortable.  The woman said that they went through a "Craftsman phase" and didn't use them anymore.  They were priced $125 for one or both for $200.  We have a huge sectional sofa in our living room (which was free, so I love it.  But is not our style, so we hate it.  But it was free, so we love it!) and don't have room for two chairs that don't "match" our current style.  We left them at the sale.  And have been thinking about them ever since.  Today Chris emailed me a link to a Craftsman style sofa on craigslist.  The cushions looked a little sad, but I can work with that.  The bones of the sofa looked good.  And the style was the same.  Was it possible?!  The posting was from June 1, so I thought surely they had already sold it.  I emailed, and it's still available.  Are you kidding me?  I called Chris and told him to go knock on the door at the house where the yard sale was to see if the chairs are still there.  They were!  He called me and I told him to offer $150 for the pair.  And they took it!  The chairs are mine!!

They'll take some TLC to get them to a point where we will use them.  I want to strip and stain them a bit darker.  And c.l.e.a.r.l.y do something about the cushions.  They're a hot mess.  However, I scored a major deal with these, and am so excited about how it will all look when it's pulled together.

Weekend Recap

I had such a fun weekend!  I took Friday off and went with my friend Katie to Collierville, Tennessee.  Collierville is about three and a half hours east of Nashville, and was the setting for the movie The Blind Side.  We spent the night Friday and picked up Katie's adorable step-daughter the next day for a visit with Katie and her husband.  Collierville is such a cute town.

We got there Friday afternoon and checked into our hotel.  We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott which is at The Avenue Carriage Crossing.  Carriage Crossing is a great outdoor shopping area with some great stores and restaurants.  After we checked in we headed to the Collierville square, which is a really cute sort of center of the town with old buildings, cute shops, and quaint little restaurants and cafes.  We ate lunch and walked around a bit.  We stopped at Patricia's, which is a really cute boutique with jewelry, home decor items, baby and kids boutique clothes and toys, women's clothes and accessories, perfumes, lotions, etc.  I got a birthday gift and found a jacket that I loved.  L.O.V.E.D.  It was made by Damee, Inc., and is so cute.

It's called the long bubble jacket, and this is the style.  I didn't get this print - mine is a salmon color.  I debated and debated about it, because it was so cute but a bit expensive.  I had them hold it for me so I could think about it overnight.  We went back the next morning so I could get it, and I'm glad I did.  I LOVE the collar detail, the 3/4 sleeve, and the big cuff.  It's adorable.
After our little visit to the square we went to the movies.  And saw Eclipse.  Yes, again.  And the movie was still not great but the boys were still cute!

After our movie we went back to the Avenue and walked around a bit.  We stopped at Charming Charlie.  Oh. My. Goodness.  Have you been there?  The amount of accessories in this store is insane.  And overwhelming.  I feel like I need a Xanax before I go in, and it is difficult for me to find things because there is SO MUCH.  I did find a cute pearl(ish) necklace that is similar to a Stella & Dot style I've been coveting.  For significantly less than the Stella & Dot version.  It's not the same, but it's a suitable substitute.  We went to Firebirds Wood Fired Grill for dinner, and it was fabulous.  I had the crab cake salad, which I would never think to make as a combination, and it was great!

Saturday morning we got up early, ran to Starbucks and then to Kathy's Nail Salon.  We got manicures and pedicures, and it was a great salon.  It was very clean, which is always a good thing!  After nails we went to Sephora.  I have been doing my makeup pretty much in the same way since college and needed some tips to freshen that look up.  I had a mini makeover and was very happy with the sales associate's recommendations.  I got some Smashbox goodies that I'm pretty happy with so far.

We had lunch at the Germantown Commissary  .  Their motto?  "So good yu'll slap yo' mama."  They're not kidding.  This is Memphis BBQ at its best.  It is the most unassuming place you've ever seen.  You're greeted by a short man who barks, "You eatin' in or gettin' sumthin' to go?"  The waiting area for "eatin' in" is about 10 square feet, with one chair.  I was standing in the corner made by the chest freezer for pies and the counter for the cash register.  It was worth the weird wait.  I sent a text to one of the guys I work with while we were waiting, as the Germantown Commissary is his favorite place to eat.  He drove the three and a half hours from our office there for lunch one day.  He recommended the BBQ Nachos, which I never would have chosen myself.  It was a spot on recommendation.

This is not healthy food.  It is not gourmet food.  But damn, is it good.  These nachos were amazing.  If you're in the Memphis/Germantown area, look it up.  I promise you will not be disappointed.  It was the perfect end to our little girls' trip.  We had a great time, but I was happy to get back to my babies!

Sunday we brought Georgia to obedience school, and the boys went to swim at my parents' house.  We hung out at home and did some picking up, laundry, etc.  Chris finished a little project he started for the kitchen.  He made this organizer for the dog leashes, treats, etc.

He did a great job!  I want to get another matching jar or possibly a different set of jars for the shelf, but I'm so happy with the way it turned out.  I also have towels being monogrammed to dry the dogs' paws when they come in, and those will hang on the lower portion.  I love having a handy husband, because I saw a similar design in a catalogue for significantly more money than this cost us to make.

We went Sunday evening to pick up a craigslist desk we got for our room.  It's hideous right now, but at $15 was the perfect price.  It is cherry colored, with huge gold hardware.  I'm going to sand it, remove the hardware, fill the holes, and spray paint it a high gloss black.  We will replace the pulls with something more contemporary and it will be perfect.  I also had two chairs in my office that were left behind by the old tenants.  I brought one home and we will paint that black as well.  Before/after pictures coming soon!

Not so Good Morning

This is what I woke up to this morning.  We had thunder storms last night and this little beauty is a nervous Nelly.

Apparently while we were sleeping she was shredding her toy basket.  Awesome.  At least it was easy to clean up.  It could have been something much, much worse!


I have a constant battle with my fireplace mantel.  It's the first thing you see when you walk into my house through the front door, and I feel like it never looks pulled together.  I'm pretty happy with its newest incarnation - some shells for the summer.


Bench Re-do

We bought a bench on craigslist to use in our kitchen.  Now that Jack isn't in a highchair anymore, we didn't have enough chairs for everyone to sit in.  You know, when we have all of our sweet, seamless family dinners each night.  (In reality?  D, H, & J eat in about 38 seconds and are off, while Chris and I eat together.  Whatever.  It's the thought that counts.)  The bench was a great deal, was very close to the same wood we have in our table and chairs, and was sturdy.  The only negative?  It was hideously ugly. Like, straight out of a 1988 hotel lobby.  Well I can fix that.

This is what we started with.  

Really bad, right?

I used the same fabric I got for the dining room chairs, and this was the result.

I love it!  I sprayed it with approximately 11 layers of Scotch Guard in the hopes that we can keep it stain free.  If not, the fabric was ridiculously inexpensive and can always be recovered.  

Monday, July 5, 2010

To do? Ta Da.

We had a busy, fun, productive weekend.  On our list of things?

  • Drinks after work Friday with DBE, JDH, and JK at Aura Lounge, the newest addition to the Murfreesboro square.  I hope it lasts, because it was a nice, fun place.
  • First Friday concert on the square Friday night.  We had Bar-B-Q tacos from Jim & Nick's, Sno cones, and sweet tea.  The Crusty Veterans played, and the weather was FANTASTIC!
  • Saturday we started the day with some donuts from Krispy Kreme and headed to the Murfreesboro Main Street Market.  Because nothing says "Farmers Market" like donuts. . . 
  • After the market we brought the boys for haircuts with Ms. Chloe at The Beauty Bar.  
  • The boys came home to hang out and I went to lunch with my sweet friend Adriana and to see Eclipse!
  • We spent Saturday night eating a picnic dinner and waiting for fireworks.  And I wanted to hurt myself because my children are not the most patient waiters.  I should have anticipated this.  We brought things to do, but our bag of tricks lasted about 18 seconds.
  • Sunday we brought the dogs to get groomed, the boys to get their swim on, and then brought Georgia to obedience school.
  • We had a swim and lunch with my parents, then came home and all took a 3 hour nap.  That is a better gift than Santa himself could bring.
  • Chris brought the big boys to get fireworks and we had our own neighborhood display.  My dogs did NOT love that.  (And as I type this Max is pacing the house as someone in our hood shoots some off now.)
  • Today we got up bright and early and headed to Trader Joe's.  I love. that. store.
  • We came home and Chris worked on some projects, headed to Lowe's, and did whatever it is that he does in the garage.
  • While Jack napped I scrubbed our kitchen, cleaned our washing machine, did laundry, emptied the dishwasher, recovered our kitchen bench, made a huge to-do list for work tomorrow, planned meals, and played cards with David and Henry.

  • When Jack woke up we headed to the fountains at the local hospital for some splashy fun.  David and Henry immediately stripped and peed when we got there.  Awesome.  I'm glad we were the only people there.

  • We had a picnic dinner in the living room tonight on a blanket while we watched Jurassic Park.  
  • Tonight I cleaned out my car, then did books, bath, and bed.  We're all exhausted!

I hope you had a great holiday weekend!

Which Team Are You On?

Team Edward?

Or Team Jacob?

Really?  Why should one have to choose?  I saw Eclipse this weekend with some friends . . . Although I'm nearly old enough to be Taylor Lautner's mother, I am not unhappy that he pretty much never wears a shirt during this movie.  Thank you Stephanie Meyer.  While it was certainly not the best movie I've ever seen, the eye candy was enough to justify the price of admission. 

Murfreesboro Main Street Saturday Market

You may recall that we went to the Murfreesboro Main Street Saturday Market a month ago and I was less than impressed.  I had high hopes that the market would get better as more people found out about it, etc.  I was not disappointed!  We went back this weekend and it was FABULOUS!  It has about quadrupled in size in a month, and was full of vendors with great products.  The produce was great, the selection was big, the people were friendly - I could not have been more pleased.  We got local organic eggs, corn, tomatoes, Japanese eggplant, summer squash, jalapeno peppers (from Hell . . . they're SO hot), banana muffins, the boys each got a cookie, organic blackberries, and a huge bag of butter lettuce.  We'll be back!

Sunday, July 4, 2010


We had a small bit of fireworks for the fourth.

David and Henry were like caged animals waiting for them to be set off.

They, I believe, have inherited their grandfather's (my dad) L.O.V.E. of fireworks.

They couldn't get enough.  Jack, on the other hand, would rather come inside and watch Ni Hao Kai Lan and Yo Gabba Gabba.  You know, because that's just as fun.

Happy Fourth of July!

Have a Fabulous Fourth!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Peanut Butter Breakthrough

I will admit, I am a person who is completely obsessed with and could fall apart if things don't go according to my routine likes routine.  (My mother and father have probably just fallen out of their chairs and are rolling on the floor right now, by the way.  I've been a fan of a routine since I was a child.  Flexibility wasn't always my middle name people!)  My morning routine?  Get up at the crack of dark, make some coffee (p.s. iced in the spring, summer, and fall with hot only in the winter), get lunches ready for the day, put clothes in the dryer if I did laundry the night before, and check the news, email, facebook, etc. online.  The peanut butter portion of my routine?  While I'm checking my online goodies I eat an Earthgrains Thin Bun with peanut butter and a tiny bit of jelly.  (It used to be an english muffin, until I found the thin buns!)
Peanut butter is not exactly great on the Weight Watchers points, so I just cut the two tablespoon serving in half and put half of a tablespoon on each side of the thin bun.  And really, who needs a full tablespoon on each side?  That's a lot of peanut butter.  And points - two tablespoons of the peanut butter we buy is 4 points.  I was at Publix yesterday and saw Better'n Peanut Butter and had to try it.
It's two points for two tablespoons.  It's less thick than normal peanut butter, but it's delicious.  Even my husband liked it (unfortunately!) and he's a peanut butter snob.  It does have to be refrigerated, which I typically think takes some of the creaminess away, but once I put it on the toasted thin bun it softened up right away.  This is definitely one to try if you're a peanut butter fan.  I still only used one tablespoon, so it's just one Weight Watchers point if you count.  I also think it would be good to use in a peanut sauce if you were making something like that.  Give it a try!