i heart narwhals.

Little known fact about me?
I am in love with and obsessed with Narwhals. 
Who needs Unicorns when something like this REALLY exists? 
I will take one of each of the following please. :)
Print by House of Tender Beasts.
I could totally rock this t-shirt.  Yes, I could.  In a large. 
Because Etsy shirts are meant for teeny women. 
T-shirt by GnomEnterprises.
Look how fat and cute he is?!  Yes, please.  
Pendant by Metal Smitten. 
Be still my heart.  My wall needs this.  
Print by Black Apple.
Ummmm...a Narwhal cardigan?  Has there ever been an article of clothing more meant for me? 
Cardigan by Marty May.

My favorite thing about Narwhals is telling people about them.  And then trying to convince them that they are actually real things.  They are.  Google them. 

Happy Tuesday!

what i made for monday-hoho cake aka OMG cake.

I just know, given the nature of people, that someone out there is either confused or offended that I seem to be going back and forth between exercise/health posts and posting about dessert. 

Well, I am not sure there is a proper defense for this other than, this is who I am.  I exercise.  I eat.  I eat dessert.  I see nothing wrong with baking a yummy dessert.  And eating it.  In case you wonder, when I do make something yummy, 98% of the time I farm out 95% of it.  Yep.  I make something, I get a portion, my family gets a portion and then I send the rest out into the world.  To Doug's coworkers, to Moses' teachers, to neighbors and friends across the country...to people who need a little food lovin'. 

I use food to make people feel loved.  I've said before, it's my love language.  I make food and I share it.  That's what I do.  Food is not the enemy.  I dare say, that if you have an issue with food, chances are you have a completely OTHER issue that you are blaming food for and using food to fix.
That is just my thought and defense on the subject.  Back to some OMG cake, okay?

This cake is called Hoho cake.  As in those little rolled cakes that come premade?  I don't eat them so I can't even tell you who makes them...they are chocolate and cream filled and covered in more chocolate.  Know what I am talking about?  I wasn't sure I would like this cake because I don't like hoho's...but I am SO thankful to have plowed ahead and tried it anyways.  And you will be too!

It is SO SO good!  The "filling" layer is AMAZING and wonderful and is so well complimented by the chocolate cake and the chocolate frosting.  So good.  So.  Good. 
I used a combination of recipes.  You CAN use a box chocolate cake mix if you want to do so...but I'm just not a fan of them.  So...

For the cake I used this one from The Pioneer Woman:
Best Chocolate Cake
2 cups Flour
2 cups Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Salt
4 Tablespoons (heaping) Cocoa
2 sticks Butter
1 cup Boiling Water
1/2 cup Buttermilk 
(I didn't have this so I made some using 1c of milk plus one TBL of lemon juice.  
Let it sit mixed for five minutes before using)2 whole Beaten Eggs
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Vanilla

Preparation Instructions: I used 10 by 14in pan coated with cooking spray. 

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. In a saucepan, melt butter. Add cocoa. Stir together.  Add boiling water, allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Pour over flour mixture, and stir lightly to cool. 

In a measuring cup, pour the buttermilk and add beaten eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir buttermilk mixture into butter/chocolate mixture. Pour into cake pan and bake at 350-degrees for 25-28 minutes.

For the filling/frosting I used these recipes from How Sweet It Is:

For the filling layer:

1 cup butter room temp
1/2 cup milk
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cream butter and slowly add milk and vanilla. Add powdered sugar and salt, beating until mixture is thick, combined and spreadable.  You may need to beat it for some time.  Spread in an even layer on chocolate cake. Set in the freezer for 15 minutes or so while you make the chocolate frosting.

For chocolate frosting:
1/2 cup butter room temp
3/4 cup cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
8-10 tablespoons of water, added one at a time
Cream butter and vanilla. Add cocoa powder and powdered sugar until combined. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time until mixture is easy to spread. 
Remove cake from freezer and frost. Store in the fridge.

Make it this week.  You won't regret it.  Make it and share it.  Give some food lovin'. 

20 minute crafter-Superhero Valentines (with FREE printable)

So I will start by stating that these Superhero Valentines are totally inspired by the ones that I found on Zakka Life.  I saw them.  Loved them.  And knew instantly that Moses would love them and simultaneously have an issue with them.  The issue would be "What superhero are they?"  And sure enough, I showed them to him and he asked "What superhero are they supposed to be?".  :)
So with the help of my favorite Designer, Sara, I present you with Superhero specific Valentine pops. 
Moses loves them...and is already excited to take them to his class.  If you recall, the sole reason that Moses wanted to go to school in the first place was Valentines.  Getting and giving them.  
Here is what you need to make them:
Superhero Printables FREE from Less Ordinary Designs
stiff felt (from Micheals)
hole punch
2in paper punch (or you can use scissors)
coordinating ribbon
lollypops (tootsie pops have nice superhero colors)
glue (hot or craft will work)
cape template (that YOU make)
Start by punching out your superhero circles.
Emblems are for the capes and the messages are for the lolly sticks. 
Cut out your capes using your pattern.
 Glue the superhero emblems onto the capes. 
 Using your hole punch, punch a hole in the top center of each cape. 
Slide the lollypop through the hole and tie a coordinating ribbon on below.
It helps to twist the pop in like a screw almost.
Punch a hole in the top and bottom of each message printable circle and slide onto the stick.
Yay!  You are done and your OCD child will be happy! :)
I love them.  Moses loves them.  Everyone is happy.  

Hope your day is SUPER! :)

Thanks to Sara for the awesome free printable! :)

Inspiration to Fitness-Num 2

Ugh. This week I hit a roadblock. My intentions for exercise were almost immediately sideswiped by a nasty head cold that has made it difficult to stand let alone exercise.

BUT. This will not stop me.  Since I have had to be, out of necessity, light on exercise this week, I took this opportunity to look at other areas of my life that need a little "Inspiration to Fitness". I have actually found that focusing on other areas to improve upon, has made me EXCITED to feel well enough to exercise. Weird, right? Looking at the photo from last week makes me WANT to get up off my bum and get to work...but first, standing without being dizzy needs to come, right?

So, what have I been focusing on during this time?  Diet, for one.  What are ways that I can improve it? I've started by trying to add in more fresh things...a friend once shared a quote that said something to the effect of "What is left behind when you are done eating? Wrappers and bags or peels and shells?". There is an obvious good choice there and I have been trying to have the latter be the majority.

Another area I am focusing on is, EATING breakfast. Like a real one and not just a huge cup of coffee. ; I have been pouring through Alysa's blog to glean any and all ideas I can find on the subject of breakfast and making healthy food choices in general.

Because really, who can deny that when you eat better, you FEEL better.  And I don't mean deprivation, but moderation.

I have also been paying attention to how much water I am taking in (MORE!) and trying to get to bed at a decent time.  Both of which are crucial items to overall fitness, right?

In a way, being sick this week has MADE me take the time to set up a good foundation of habits that will hopefully help me to continue way beyond the eight weeks that this program is supposed to be.  Any moment now I would like to feel better and get to work on the hard stuff.

And like I said, though I have been light on exercise this week, all that I have focused on has made my will to meet my goals even stronger.

How about you? Have you started a new regime this year? How are you doing?

Don't forget to enter my giveaway for an awesome new Wythings scale!

pretty work.

You know what my favorite orders are?  The ones where I get an email, the person ordering says "I need something kinda like this"...shares a kinda vague idea and lets me run with it. 
And you know what?  They usually get my very best because creativity can just flow unrestrained.   
My friend Beth requested something reminiscent of a state fair with some gingham thrown in for her daughters 5th birthday. 
What resulted is one of my most favorite things to make ever...the ideas just came coming and it all came together so nicely.
 From the sweet little "blue ribbon piggy"...
 ...with button details and a hand stitched face...
 ...to layers of tulle and vintage pompoms...
 ...I just kept adding details as they came to me...it was FUN to make and easy because I just knew that Beth would love it because she is always so appreciative of the creative process and creative people in general.
And then, when I thought I was done, this HAD to be made...one of those "I have to make this NOW", kinds of ideas. 
 And what little birthday girl doesn't want a fancy little crown?
Just a sweet little extra detail that I hope will make the birthday girl feel all the more special.  I may just need to add these to the shop...SO fun to make!  
I'm so thankful that THIS is my job.  What a blessing.


what i made for monday-lemon (y) chex muddy buddies

This Monday snack was inspired by two things...1) my craving for a taste of summer and 2) an abundance of leftover chex mix supplies from Christmas.  The result is a light and fresh tasting snack that I can't seem to stop eating!  Want to make some?
So I knew I wanted to make a version of this...but every recipe I found seemed to have the same complaint...either a soggy result or a bland taste.  So I came up with my own recipe that solved both problems. :) These are light, crunchy and have just enough lemon taste to make it wonderful and lemony.  
Here is what you will need:
12 heaping cups of chex...I used a mix of rice and corn.  Put into a HUGE bowl or a 2 gallon zip bag

1 1/4 cups of candy melts (vanilla) I happened to have yellow in my cabinet
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
2 tsp of lemon extract
1/4 cup of butter NOT margarine

2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar.
I put in all (except chex and powdered sugar) in my 2 cup glass measuring cup, microwaved for 45 seconds, stirred, microwaved for 30 seconds, stirred, microwaved for 30 seconds (got distracted by something shiny and it bubbled over), stirred until it all became one smooth mix.

If you pay attention to your microwave and aren't distracted by shiny things, you can prevent it from boiling over.  OR you can put it in a larger melting bowl.  BONUS: my microwave is now clean!
Once you have nice smooth melted mix...pour it over your chex evenly and stir it up to coat it all.

If you are using the bag zip it up and shake to coat it all. 
Add 2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar.
Stir until everything is coated with sugar.
If you are using the bag method add the sugar and zip it closed, shake it up again to coat. 
Once everything is thoroughly coated with sugar, dump it out onto cookie sheets to cool completely.
DON'T leave it in the bag...it will make it soggy. 

Enjoy!  That was easy right?  Good luck not eating it.  Be sure to share with friends! Or send some to work with your husband! :)

20 minute crafter-Upcycled Jewelry Display Frame

My jewelry is breathing a sigh of relief today...after years of being stuffed in a dark jewelry box for years, it's finally free to breathe some fresh air and strut it's stuff...and be more likely to be worn, too!
I will say that this idea is not totally unique to me...several versions of this are floating around pinterest but I have no direct person to credit with...I did not use a tutorial but made it up as I went.  I will say that my friend Leah posted one that she made on facebook and the idea stuck in my head. 
This is a very EASY and satisfying craft to make and would surely be an appreciated gift.  Want to make one? 
You need a good frame to start with...this DARLING art was 3.95 at Goodwill.  I liked the shape and how it was constructed...both made it good for this project. 
You will need what I am calling "radiator covering". 
It's a mesh you can find at Lowe's.  It was with the diamond plating.  You would use it if you were going to make a box to cover an old radiator but wanted it to be able to "breathe". 
It's not exactly cheap...but you can get several frames out of it...or one HUGE one. 
I paid $26 for a 24 by 36in sheet BUT if you average that out per frame...it only cost me about $6 worth for this project.  So...think "who can I make one of these for?".  OK?
You will need a hot glue gun and paint. 
Start by removing the back...this may vary depending on how your frame is made.  Remove hideous art and toss it.   

Remove the glass and put it aside for now...you will need it in a minute. 
 Now when I mentioned the construction of the frame this is what I meant...this frame has a nice little ledge for the mesh to sit on...you will want a little space between the mesh and the back of the frame and a little ledge like this will give you that...but no ledge?  Don't worry...I will show you how to fix that. :)
 Paint the frame...I just used craft paint...if it was spray painting season here, I would have done that.
 Paint the inside of the back. 
 While they are drying you will need to get your glass out and trace it onto the mesh...
 ...a sharpie works great.

Carefully cut out your mesh.  I used heavy duty scissors but you could use tin snips or even kitchen shears.  But it will be SHARP.  I cut myself so be careful!
 Nice work.
 Now use the mesh to replace where the glass was and at the places where the little ledges are...use your glue gun to glue in place.  My poor glue gun is over ten years old...don't make fun of it. 

Screw the back back on and you are done!
 Now here is an alternative method...in case you don't have ledges or to at least jog your brain to think about how to do this with other frames.  Here is what I did for this frame...whose back is stapled on with a little opening to slide out the art or glass...
 It had no ledge so I cut a thin "frame" the size of the insert and used that to create my "little space" between the mesh and the back of the frame. 
I painted the back...and then slid in the mesh and "thin frame"...with the "thin frame" between the mesh and the back of the frame.  I glued it in place in such a way to keep the front of the mesh flush with the front of the frame. :)
I thought and thought about the best way to hang necklaces...make my own hooks?  Christmas hooks? Then thought of these and they were PERFECT.  .97c per pack of 14.  I found them with the curtain supplies in Lowe's. 
They slide securely onto the mesh.  If you use this to hang earrings you can just slide those in the mesh too!
 Ta-da! I LOVE it.  I just know this will lead to me wearing my necklaces more than I do.
 And you can add as many or as few at you like, varying the heights as well. 
I imagine that some of you could make do with a HUGE one of these...I bet it would be awesome. :)
So there you have it.  An easy, fun way to display your jewelry for less than $10!

And now it's clear that I need some red and orange necklaces...

Have fun making one! :)
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