Sunday, September 30, 2012

2-ingredient chocolate "muffins"

These little treats could not be easier. Just two ingredients and you have yourself a quick dessert or snack.  These chocolate muffins use pumpkin puree to make them a little healthier and a lot more nutritious!
I'm always looking for ways to healthify treats to satisfy my sweet tooth. Pumpkin puree is a perfect choice to add to baked goods because it's high in beta carotene (vitamin A), vitamin C, and potassium. Potassium is always a vitamin I lack in reaching the RDA so any way I can get more, I'll take it! The beta carotene in pumpkin acts as an antioxidant and aids in reversing skin damage. For all of you readers fighting those wrinkles, up your pumpkin intake this fall!

 
Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins
 
1 box chocolate or devil's food cake mix (you could also use Spice flavored cake mix)
1 can pureed pumpkin (or 2 cups fresh pumpkin puree)
 
Mix cake mix and pumpkin together. Scoop into lined mini or regular muffin tins. Bake according to the box.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Yarn wrapped wine bottles

I followed suit of fellow crafters/bloggers and reused those empty wine bottles. Super easy, just a little time consuming, small amount of supplies, and a super cute finished product.
 
You will need:
  • Yarn
  • Empty glass bottle
  • Glue Gun and a few glue sticks
Start at the top of the bottle and lay a piece of yarn vertical and start wrapping around it to secure it. Keep wrapping around the bottle and keep it snug and together so you can't see the glass. At this point I was cruising through and thought it was so easy! It got a little tougher once you get to where the bottle neck bows outward. It was tricky but got it all covered using no glue. I was trying to take the easy way out and not use a glue gun. Do not be like me! I had my whole bottle finished and then the yarn on the curve of the bottle started slouching and getting loose. It didn't end up staying where I wanted it to so I had to redo a big portion of it. Use the glue gun to glue down pieces of yarn on each revolution of the bottle and it will look great. Make sure to keep the yarn close so the bottle doesn't show through.
Note: You should only have to use the glue gun on the curved portion of the bottle. The neck and long body lay just fine and don't need to be glued in place. Until you get to the bottom and then I glued the end of the yarn down and tucked it right next to the other strings so you couldn't see it.

 
My process went like the picture above. I would wrap a few circles and then push the yarn down so it was tight and you couldn't see the glass.

The bottle above was a Heineken leftover in our kitchen after Tim went out with his friends the night before. I wrapped that baby up, too!
 


 
Here's a few pieces of my large stash of fall decorations. Notice I fell prey to the caramel apple pops this year. Too good to pass up. And the honey roasted peanut/candy corn combo is a staple this time of year. I limit myself to only buying one bag for the season, though. Portion control remember ;)
 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

New Fall TV!

So yesterday I cancelled my gym membership. I know! It's not usually the typical time of year people are cancelling their memberships. Most people are coming back into the gym to escape the looming cold. But I decided to save myself some money and cancel my membership since I don't use it anymore except for tanning a couple of times a month. I have the good fortune to work for an organization that has an awesome wellness center and encourages employees to workout during the workday. I get free access to a full gym and am able to have my workout done by 4:30 everyday! Can't beat that!

Since last winter I had stopped going to my other gym except for a few random times so I figured I should just take the plunge and cancel. I was putting off the awkward meeting to sign the papers. I didn't want to face the guilt and questions I'd be asked. Plus, I really like the vibe when going there. I didn't really want to cancel, but it was also killing me to be spending money on something I wasn't using enough. I was fully prepared to state that I have a gym at work that I use! But none of that. I signed the paper and they sent me on my way, no questions asked. Ya know, I dreaded the questioning but once it didn't come I was a little disappointed. I wanted them to know I wasn't quitting, I just stumbled on a cheaper more convenient option. Oh well!

So, even though I cancelled my Gold's membership I still hit the gym while at work. Good thing, too, cuz the new fall seasons of TV have started so I'm still getting some movement in. Was anyone else as excited as me?!?  I swear I don't sit in front of the TV every night. I do have a fairly long list of shows I watch though. Good thing I have DRV, I usually just let em pile up and watch em when I can.  Here's my favorites....

The Good Wife
 (Source)

The Amazing Race
 (Source)

Two Broke Girls
 (Source)

The Mob Doctor
 (Source)

Hawaii 5-0
 (Source)

The New Normal
 (Source)
So freaking funny! Although, I cannot stand the racist, ignorant grandma! Go figure huh ;)

Parenthood
 (Source)

Survivor
(Source)

Criminal Minds (Source)
Criminal Minds - criminal-minds Wallpaper

Person of Interest
 (Source)

CSI:NY
(Source)

Made in Jersey
 (Source)
I'm hoping this is good. I like the lawyer shows!

As you can see I'm a loyal CBS watcher ;) What are your favorites that are returning this fall?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Guest Post: Words from Mom, part 5


September 17,1987.
That was the day, we were having our baby boy. Dennis had always wanted a son named Joshua. From the time we were dating that was the one and only name his son was going to have. On that day he got his wish and Joshua Dwayne (Dennis's middle name) made his appearance at 9:07am. 
 
 
 
Mollie laid her claim to him before he was even born! Still in my belly she told the Aunts that he was her baby, her Joshie.  We all spoiled him and he was such a mama's boy.  He wouldn't even let the Aunts hold him for long. Josh was one of those babies that you couldn't quite figure out.  He loved to sit in his baby swing...but that's it, just sit there. The moment you tried to wind him up he screamed and cried. He hated any swinging motion.



Mollie here. When he was little I was determined to teach him to pump his legs on the swingset. This was a very hard task when that person was deathly afraid to move on those swings. I remember telling him I wouldn't push him fast or high. It always took persuading but I got him to agree. Of course, I pushed him fast and high, though, and he screamed and cried like a little baby and then always tattled to Mom. Thing is, though, I talked him into it multiple times. Victory was mine in the end cuz I taught that scared little boy to pump his legs on the swingset!  

Poor Josh, Mollie tortured the poor kid. If she wasn't trying to push him on the swings, she was dressing him up in her clothes. Everyday Dennis and I dressed him in his boy clothes just to have Mollie take them right off and put girl clothes on him!
 
Josh with our cousin, Linsdey. (And that's Grandpa Lyon in the background.)
Josh started sleeping all night at a week and a half...yep girls, I got lucky with this one. The problem was, though, he slept so late in the morning, I was afraid that he wouldn't wake up at all!
 
As many of you know, Josh has always been accident prone...self destructive...and a klutz.  Well this started very early. He always had bumps, bruises and scrapes.  I was worried that people thought we beat the poor kid (some days I wonder how he has survived this long). We still lived in Palmer when Josh was about 14 months old and decided to take a trip down to the basement...thru the furnace!  One day I decided to clean the cold air duct. We lived in an older house that had one in the worst place, right in the middle of the living room floor. I removed the grate while the kids were playing in the other room-or so I thought. Mollie called my name and when I turned to answer her, Josh came running across the floor.  The next thing I heard was bang, bang, bang! The little shit fell feet first right down the cold air duct.  Of course I screamed, Mollie was crying and yelling, "my brother, my brother."  She was three at the time. It was an old house, remember, so I had to go outside to the cellar door to get down there! What the hell! All I could think of was that I had probably just killed my baby!  But low and behold, there he was just sitting there waiting. His feet had kicked the access door causing it to open. He had his usual bumps, bruises and scrapes, but otherwise, he was fine. 

 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

DIY Spa Treatments

Last Saturday our day was filled with lots of fun things. First, we headed to the Downtown Farmer's Market bright and early.
My favorite time to hit the market is in the fall when it is filled with pumpkins, gourds, and apples. There was a huge supply from many different vendors already. Can't wait to head back and pick out a bunch to decorate the house and front step with.

And our favorite winery was there!! Santa Maria Winery out of Carroll, IA. We sampled pretty much every wine on this table. I'm really not a huge wine drinker but this is by far my favorite winery.

Kaydin sat like a perfect little angel just hanging out while Tim and I sipped away. :)
 

Our next stop was Platinum Kuts, Tim's barber shop. Once I saw the line, though, I knew it would be a forever wait so Kaydin and I decided to hang out in Mars Cafe, a popular hangout in the Drake University neighborhood, for awhile and sip on a hot chocolate.
I had never been before but it's pretty cool inside. A laid back feel and filled with a whole range of different people. 
 

Thumbs up for their hot chocolate.
After hanging out at Mars Cafe, we walked back across the street to meet Tim at Platinum Kuts. It was almost prefect timing because his haircut was just finishing up.
 
Next, we went to Gray's Lake to enjoy the nice weather and get Kaydin's bike out. We rode less than half way and turned back around to head to the docks and play for a little bit.
 

 
Later in the afternoon Tim and I parted ways and Kaydin and I met up with my friend Kristyn for a little browsing and grocery shopping.  We had a few food items on the list that were actually not going to be for eating. We were treating ourselves to a little DIY Spa Night!  We made a sugar scrub for exfoliating in the shower, a coconut body butter, a blackhead removal treatment, a moisturizing facial mask, a hair mask, and also a sugar foot scrub.





We started with the egg white blackhead removal and worked through the list of treatments.
TeeTee Kristyn and Kaydin baby before they layered on their Kleenex pieces over the egg white.
Notice the big green mark on my forehead in the picture above. Kristyn somehow missed my hair and plopped a spoonful on my face! 
The Woman in the Egg White Mask


 Conclusions- The sugar scrub smells really good with the vanilla extract added in. The body butter feels a little greasy but a really good moisturizer. I noticed no extra shine from the hair mask. And an important piece of advice: DO NOT let your daughter with ringlet curls use this mask.  You will be picking banana chunks out of her hair for two days. Also, do not use this hair mask on yourself if you have any hair at all. You will be picking banana chunks out of your hair for two days. I would highly recommend pureeing the banana instead of just mashing it with a fork.  The oatmeal mask really made my skin smooth and the foot scrub worked well, too. Left our feet nice and soft.
 
Homemade Sugar Scrub
Equal parts brown sugar and white sugar (ends up being about 1/4 cup each for a 6 oz. jar)
Fill to the top with olive oil (cover the sugars and then maybe an extra 1/2 inch)
Add about 1-2 Tbs of vanilla extract for some yummy flavor.
Whipped Coconut Oil Body Butter
  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vitamin E oil (optional)
  • a few drops of your favorite essential oils for fragrance (optional)
  • What to do:
    1. Put all ingredients into a mixing bowl. (You do not have to melt the coconut oil first.)
    2. Mix on high speed with a wire whisk for 6-7 minutes or until whipped into a light, airy consistency.
    3. Spoon the whipped coconut oil body butter into a glass jar and cover tightly. Store at room temperature, or in the refrigerator if your house is so warm it melts the oil.
    Note: Your whipped coconut oil should stay relatively soft, even at colder temperatures. I noticed mine beaded into a froth of tiny coconut oil pearls that melt right into my skin.


  • Oatmeal and Yogurt Face Mask

    Ingredients:

    • 1 tbsp oatmeal, finely ground
    • 1 tbsp live, organic yogurt (skip the flavored stuff)
    • A few drops of honey

    Preparation:

    Add the yogurt to the oatmeal in a small bowl and mix together. Warm a few drop of honey. To do this, warm a spoon under hot water for a minute, then add a few drops of honey to the spoon. Stir the honey into the yogurt and oatmeal mixture. Apply the mask to the face. Leave it on for 10 minutes, then rinse off with several splashes of warm water. Follow with a warm washcloth. Apply moisturizer.
    Sugar and Baking Soda Foot Scrub

    Ingredients:

    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1/3 cup baking soda
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 3 Tbsp honey
    Combine sugar, baking soda, olive oil and honey to create a homemade exfoliating treatment for the feet. Use this mixture once a week to remove dead skin cells from your feet.
     
    *These measurements are not exact. The directions I followed did not have measurements so I just guessed. I am now guessing again when trying to remember how much I added of each ingredient.

    Hair Mask for Shine

    Ingredients:

    • 1 medium banana
    • 1 egg
    • 1/2 avocado
    • 2 Tbsp honey
    • 3 Tbsp buttermilk
    • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

    Directions:

    1. Mash banana, egg and avocado in a small bowl.
    2. Add remaining ingredients and stir until well combined.
    3. Apply to hair from roots to tips.
    4. Leave in for 30 minutes and then wash out with a moisturizing shampoo.
    5. Double the recipe for long hair.

    Blackhead removal
    Beat 1 egg white, brush on face, lay kleenex over face, layer egg white and then kleenex again. Leave til dry and remove from the bottom up.