Thursday, October 14, 2010

Our Front Yard

Dave and I get the best sunsets by our house!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


A couple of weeks ago my family, Dave and I went 'camping' we slept in a trailer, had running water and a bathroom, so I don't really count it as camping but we did have a bonfire! When you have a bonfire you need something to roast (And seeing as I try to limit the amount of sugar I eat) I made marshmallows for the trip and thought I would document the experience to share! I made two different kinds, one was with Agave (they were super easy to make!) and the one I will be showing was made with Fructose.

  • 1 cup cornstarch for dusting
  • 2 cups Fructose (can substitute with sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1 1/4 cups water, divided
  • 4 packets unflavored gelatin
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dust a 9x9 inch square dish generously with cornstarch (I probably should have put a little more on my dish, they stuck a tiny bit)

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together white sugar, corn syrup and 3/4 cup water. Heat to 250 to 265 degrees F (121 to 129 degrees C), or until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms a rigid ball.

While syrup is heating, place remaining water in a cup (1/4 cup) and sprinkle gelatin over the surface. Microwave cup for 30 seconds, stopping once to stir, microwave longer if needed until gelatin has dissolved completely.

Keep gelatin in a warm place until syrup has come to temperature.

Remove syrup from heat and whisk gelatin mixture into hot syrup. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whip egg whites to soft peaks.

Continue to beat, pouring syrup mixture into egg whites in a thin stream

Mix until the egg whites are very stiff. Stir in vanilla.

Spread evenly in prepared pan and let rest 8 hours or overnight (I always do overnight) before cutting. Heat the spatula if you are having trouble spreading the mixture.

Dust the top with cornstarch and remove carefully from the dish

Cut the marshmallow, I like using clean scissors but a knife would do (you might need to heat the knife under hot water, to keep it from sticking)

Cut into strips

Then cut into squares and roll in cornstarch (I put the cornstarch in a bowl and roll them in there) until they are completely coated.

And now you are ready to go! I like to have them sit out overnight uncovered after they are cut, to dry them out a little but that is completely optional!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Things I Didn't Buy

Life in the Pitts

This is an awesome game I played for the first time last week with my husbands sisters Kelsy and Amy, and Amy's husband Fox. I really want to get it!


I am always looking for a good workout DVD and this one is on my list!


And so is this one! Her DVDs are always really hard and that is what I like about them!


... I wasn't going to put any more workout video but I just found this one and it looks really good!


I also found 4 skirts that I loved but couldn't get pictures of :(
they came to $198.00 total

So today by NOT buying anything I saved-


My amount isn't as impressive as Helena's $615.91 but my 'shopping' wasn't too shabby :)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Crafty Baby Shower Gift

My Visiting Teacher, Mandy, had her baby shower last Saturday and I was trying to figure out what to get her.
This is what I came up with!

I Started with a couple of cute outfits I picked out, and some Pacifiers (along with clips) that were on her baby registry. Then I decided that I wanted to make something cute for it all to go in.

I got a light green photo box and pried off the front metal tag.

Next I picked out the ribbon I liked and hot glued it around the bottom of the box. I made sure that the hot glue was thinly applied, so it didn't show through the ribbon. I also neatly folded over the edges of the ribbon for a clean look! When I place the ribbon, I always make sure to have the ribbon start and stop over the holes that I made while prying off the metal tag, this makes sure you can't see any of the mess!

Then I cut some ribbon for the top of the box and wrap it to the inside of the lid.

Just like the other piece of ribbon, I neatly fold over the edge so it wouldn't fray.

Then I picked out two wooden cutouts, I used the painted kind you can get from any craft store (I like the painted ones so I can match it to the ribbon right in the store but you could definitely use the blank ones and paint them yourself!)

Next I picked out some matching tissue paper.

After what seemed like forever of arranging everything in the box (I may be a little bit of a perfectionist....maybe...)
It finally came out like this!

She loved it! (And I really like how it turned out!)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I Never Win Anything

So like most people I was not blessed with the gift of winning things, I'm not talking about games (heck I'm good at that... usually) but giveaways and things like that. I'm okay with it, sure I would like to get free stuff but I don't get too hung up. Well my luck changed (sort of... and only temporarily)

Victoria's Secret was giving away a free 'mystery gift card' with any purchase a few weeks ago. It was guaranteed that your card would have at least $10! But it could have $50, $100 or $500 also, so I bought one $2 thing with free shipping and had Dave buy me one $2 thing with free shipping (it was one card per person), it was a sure win for me! So then I waited for my cards to come in the mail, the only way to find out how much money was on them was to buy something, so as soon as they came, I rushed to Victoria's Secret to get my free stuff! I decided to just use one of the cards (you can't stack them) and get a free body spray, they are around $9 so it would be completely free! I picked out my purchases and went to pay, the sales lady tried to sell me on some extra stuff but I held my ground and handed her my card. As soon as I did, the whole demeanor of the sales lady changed and it was not nice!

Evil sales lady 'Umm... okay. Well I don't have a bag so...'
'Sure, I can just take it...'
Evil sales lady 'okay... well, here is your card...'
'is the card empty now?'
Evil sales lady
'... there is like a couple of cents on it...'
Me 'okay, well thank you'

Some how I was less of a costumer for using their promotion... I was so taken aback that I wasn't myself and just took it! I left the mall holding a bottle of love spell in one hand, coming up with all these clever things I could have said. After I get home I went to throw away my mostly empty card, when I got curious as to how many cents was left on the card. So I looked on the receipt to see if it said, it did... There was $40 left on it! I had gotten one of the $50 mystery cards! I was so excited but there was no way I was going to go back to that Victoria's Secret. So a few days later I got up courage and we headed to a different Victoria's Secret. This time I was ready, no one was going to berate me or treat me like I was somehow less of a costumer. I browsed and took my time, everyone was helpful and nice but the real test was when I went to checkout, as the lady rung up my total I braced myself

Check out lady 'that will be $41.99'
I handed her my card, her face changed...
Check out lady 'Wow! did you know how much is on here!?'
Was she mad...?
Check out lady '$40! That is so exciting!'
Wait, she was excited for me?

I explained to her my other experience and how I knew the amount of money that was on the card, she was horrified and my faith in Victoria's Secret was restored. When all was said and done I got $60 worth of free Victoria's Secret merchandise (with my two mystery cards) and a interesting story to tell :)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Six Years

I don't want to go in to the details of how it happened today (though I don't mind if you ask next time you see me) I just want to share a little piece of her with all of you instead.

This is my Mom, Donna.
As you can see this was taken at her wedding to my Dad. They met when my Mom was dancing and my Dad was running the auditorium the recital was being performed at. My mother was a great dancer and she even started teaching when she was only 9 years old!

(Chantel is the baby being held by my Mom, then there is my older brother Jimmy, Helena is the one who looks like she is the tallest and I am the one holding the cookie)

This is a scanned picture of a scanned picture, so isn't the best quality. I think this was taken during Christmas (all the cookies was what gave it away). My Mom loved Christmas and always made sure we had a great one, she would decorate up a storm and back dozens of cookies. Her love of Christmas has rubbed off on me and I have followed in her Christmas loving foot steps.

(My family in front of a windmill
From left to right, starting in the back. Amber, my Mom, my Dad, David, Chantel and then Helena in her dutch dance costume)

For most of my childhood we lived near Holland Michigan and in the spring there was a flower festival called 'tulip time'. As teenagers my sisters Helena and Chantel were Dutch Dancers and they would perform in their wooden dance shoes the different authentic Dutch Dances, all throughout the festival. My Mom loved it and would go to every performance, rain or shine! My Mom was good like that, she never missed anything any of her kids did, if it was the 10th showing of a play she had already seen or the ever-repetitive yearly choir performance, she was there.

I hope you got to catch a glimpse of how my Mom was and what she was like. Though today is a sad day I also want it to be a day of memories.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Good Deal

My sister-in-law Annie has become a pro at coupon shopping and her enthusiasm has begun to rub off on me! Now I'm no pro but I do love finding a good deal and I just did, so I thought I would share! Now just like most deals, if you weren't planning on buying it in the first place, don't get it now just because it is on sale! It doesn't make it a good deal for you if you don't even want it! You don't want to get into the mindset that if it is cheap you must get it... because you will end up spending more and it defeats the whole point of deal hunting! Now that I have gotten my little 'disclaimer' out of the way (I don't want a bunch of angry spouses banging down my door because they now have a basement full of toilet paper and breath freshener and they blame me!) Lets get to my most resent deal-

'The Princess and the Frog'
Target has it on sale (for at least this week) for $13 and if you go to this link, you can get a manufactures coupon for $5 off! I got this movie yesterday for under $10 AFTER tax!
Now because this coupon is a manufactures coupon, that means you can use it at any store, so if you find it cheaper somewhere else just use the coupon there!
The coupon expires 4-30-10

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


I was looking through some old pictures and came across a bunch of different birthday cakes I had made in the past and I thought I would share them with all of you! I really enjoy being creative and making cakes is a lot of fun.

Lets start off with something a little more traditional. This cake was for David's (my younger brother) birthday! It was a chocolate cake with Andes bits on top.

This was a carrot cake (if you couldn't tell by the little carrots on top) for my older sister Helena's birthday. I ran out of orange food coloring and didn't know until it was too late, so instead I mixed in little orange sprinkles until the color dyed the frosting.

This one was, I think a yellow cake with chocolate frosting. It was for my Dad's birthday.

This one looked much nicer in person :) It was a chocolate cake with white frosting and raspberries , it was for my younger sister Chantel's birthday.

For my sister in-law Annie I made chocolate cupcakes with strawberry frosting. Annie loves cupcakes so it turned out perfect.

This one was for Dave (my husband) I believe this one was a banana cake with white frosting and chocolate. Banana is one of Dave's favorite flavors, so he was super excited.

I made this cheesecake for my Dad's annual Superbowl party. The little footballs are Andes with the corners chopped off and strips of frosting to make the laces.

Last but defiantly not least is the Zombie cake Dave and I made for my sister in-law Amy's birthday. She likes Zombie movies so don't think we are really creepy and just made this for her because we thought 'how could someone NOT want a cake with the brains all hanging out...' Amy's husband Fox asked us if we would make it for her because he was throwing her a surprise Zombie themed party and Dave and I had a blast making it!

So there you have it, those are some of the cakes I have made. I am far from being a professional but I do enjoy making them!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

And The Pennies Go To....

I went to the Coin Star and the numbers are in! And the pennies go to....

Laurie Ann!
(aka Here Dwells Happiness)

That is right Laurie Ann, you are now the proud owner of a $5 gift card to Amazon or Itunes!

Your guess was 1,837 ($18.37) and the final number of pennies came in at 2,162 ($21.62)
So leave a comment and let me know, Itunes or Amazon!

If I could, I would give everyone who entered a consolation prize but unfortunately a penny will only stretch so far :) I could mail you all a penny but I have a thing about spending more on the postage then on the thing I am sending.

Thank you everyone who participated, you made getting 21 bucks worth it :)
Now don't feel too bad for me, I still have jars full of nickles, dimes and quarters that need to be cashed in when they get full. And I hear the silver coins are where the big bucks are :)

Friday, February 5, 2010

What Do You Think?

I have been saving for 4 years and finally my jar is full! So I was going to go and cash in my change at our local Coin Star the other day but then I had a great idea! I will put a picture on my blog of my penny jar and you guys get to guess how many pennies are in it! I know, fun right? But to make it even MORE fun I will give whoever is closest a $5 gift card to Amazon or iTunes (your choice!), courtesy of my massive amounts of pennies :)

So just leave a comment with how many you think there are (I want everyone reading this to enter!) and if you want to, tell me how you came up with your number or how awesome I am for saving so many pennies or anything that will make it so your comment is more than just a number :) Have fun and good luck!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Injured Cookies

Before Christmas I started doing my usual holiday baking, one night Chantel (my younger sister) came over to help me decorate cookies. I had made gingerbread cookies and I thought it would be fun to have some help, I wanted them... Extra creative.

Chantel was a big help and made some of the more 'unusual' faces... You see these we no normal gingerbread cookies and they needed anything but normal expressions.

If you hadn't noticed yet, the cookies are missing something... I got these awesome cookie cutters last year from my sisters, Helena and Chantel. There we three different molds and each one looked like a bite had been taken out of it, either its head, arm or leg!

It was a lot of fun trying to come up with different designs for all the cookies, Dave even came and helped when he found out how much fun we were having.

We took turns with the royal icing so we each had time to come up the next idea we were going to use. It ended up being so much fun and creatively challenging! I can't wait until next year!