Thursday, March 31, 2011

~Coconut crazy~

Hey ya'll!

Thought i'd share a coconut cake recipe with you guys.  This came from Martha Stewart cookbook but I've tweaked it a little. 

And this is the before picture.....scroll on down to see the aftermath!


Coconut Cake
1 c milk (you can sweeten up this milk by heating it up with 1/2 c coconut and then straining out the coconut and let completely cool before adding it to the recipe.  I just use plain milk and it does just fine)
1 c shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups sifted cake flour (this is the best flour to use..if you don't have cake flour you can use 3 cups all purpose flour sifted with 1/4 c cornstarch)
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
4 egg whites

Preheat your oven to 350.  Grease your pans.  I use the 8 inch round pans.  You can use 9 inch square pans. 
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla.  Sift the flour with baking powder and salt.  Beat into the butter mixture alternating with the milk.  Mix in the coconut.

Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry.  Fold gently into the cake mixture.  This is important not to beat too much or handle too much.  This is going to make your cake as light as air.  Divide the mix between the pans.  Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until inserted knife comes out clean..  Let cool and then turn out on racks and let it cook completely before icing.

I like to ice this cake with a seven minute icing.  It's easy, not too rich and everyone loves it.

Seven Minute Icing
1/2 c shredded coconut
3 egg whites
1 3/4 c sugar
5 tbs cold water
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place the egg whites, sugar, water and cream of tartar in  the top of a double broiler.  I just use an old pot and fill it half way with water and fit a glass bowl in it.  Make sure the water isn't touching the bowl, if so just pour some out.  Get out the electric mixer and get ready.
Set your timer for 7 minutes!
Beat the egg white mix for the 7  minutes.  By now it should be looking like a thin icing.  Be careful and remove it from the heat, add your vanilla and continue beating (off the heat) until fluffy and glossy!  You can do one of three things now.
1.  Get a spoon and just eat it straight from the bowl (not that i've done this)
2.  Ice your coconut cake and then sprinkle the coconut on while still wet.
3.  Carefully fold the coconut into the icing and then ice the cake.
Any way is going to be delicious!

Enjoy!

Here's the aftermath a.k.a. my UPS man!  That poor man had been smelling this baking since lunch and had to head out the door to work, so I sliced a big ol' piece and wrapped up and sent with him to work but he still couldn't stand it!  If you look closely you can see the fork mark on the side of the cake where he carved a big chunk out of the cake for an on-the-go bite!  He said "baby, i'm sorry, I just couldn't wait!" 
He's so crazy :)

Thanks for stopping by and come back anytime!

I'll be joining Daph over at Flip Flops and Pearls on Friday for her Recipe Swap so come on over and join in with me :)
Hope you all had a wonderful week!

Many blessings,
Laura

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sleep-over tablescape

I SURVIVED!!!
Yes, last Friday was my daughter's late birthday sleepover and I survived 5 10 year old girls, 2 dogs a cranky teenage daughter and a 6 year old boy who's goal in live is to torture his sister!
Isn't there a medal out there for this valiant feat?  I guess not....I guess that's just all part of being what they call a "mom"

I don't mind at all
:)

I thought i'd show you all how we "did up" the table for her "girly feast".

Homemade strawberry cupcakes with buttercream frosting.  Decorated, of course in pink and green :)

Some chocolate covered strawberries

Fruit parfait.....these were actually a big hit and there wasn't a single one left.  The girls really thought they were fancy with these champagne flutes.  They are not real glass but plastic ones I found on clearance at Garden Ridge many years ago.

Chips, homemade Pancho's dip, pizza and lemonade rounded out the menu.

Each girl got a cute little puppy that we bought on 75% off clearance after Valentines day and a box filled with a fortune cookie (I found a whole box of fortune cookies at Dollar tree), fingernail polish, scented purse hand sanitizer, lip gloss ring, bubbles and candies. 

They all had a great time, danced, sang and did a fashion show for me and my older daughter.  I had to take my heels away from Katrina 2 days later....all that clankin around was a little too much! lol!

Hope you all enjoyed our little tablescape.  Thanks for stopping by and come back and visit me anytime or follow along if you like. 

Check back in with me later this week for my birthday give away :)

I'll be joining Ms. Susan at BNOTP for Tablescape Thursday

Many Blessings,
Laura

Monday, March 28, 2011

Easter Table top

Well maybe not a table top but how about my kitchen counter top.

I've dug out the Easter decorations and I forgot I had a trillion bunnies and how cute they were.  I shoulda dug them out sooner and maybe it woulda brightened the house up some since we've been in the middle of a torrential downpour for the last week! :p

Here's the little corner of my counter next to the double oven built-in.  I usually have all my fruits and veggies hanging out there.
Ms. Bunny looks like she's ready to plant a little welcome sign in her carrot garden.
I love my little chick bowl.  It's holding a globe wine stopper, which was a present from A good friend. 
Fresh lemons....I LOVE anything lemon and have to have fresh ones on hand all the time, especially for my sweet tea :)

This is my herb crusher and as you can see I really do use it.  It works amazingly good for fresh herbs.

And my Happy Easter carrot!

I hope you all enjoyed my counter top.  I'm joining Ms. Marty's party at A Stroll Through Life for her Table Top Tuesday.  Hope I don't get thrown out for a technicality!  Just kiddin' ya'll, she'd never do that, she's much too sweet!

Come on over and join me.

Hope you had a happy Monday!

Many blessings,
Laura

They say it's my birthday!

You say it's your birthday
It's my birthday too, yeah
They say it's your birthday
We're gonna have a good time
I'm glad it's your birthday
Happy birthday to you.

Thank you Mr. Paul McCartney!

Yes, yes, yes it's my birthday.....how old you may ask? Well old enough to have a grandbaby but too young to have one. Hahahahhahaha!  Is that not dancin' around the subject? 
I'm 39 ya'll.....I still think i'm 28 but my body doesn't go along with that :)

Yes i'm an 80's girl.  My husband is slightly younger than me and he always tells me "It must have been AWESOME to rock out in high school to all those 80's songs with your hair all teased up".  I mean really, I truly don't think the whole 80's look will ever come back but if it does, trust me, i'll be quite prepared! LOL
Yeah, that's me with the poofy hair and all!  This was on vacation with my parents....I think I was like 15 here.  GAH!!!!!
Ugh!  Excuse the bad habit I was posing with here and i've totally kicked that bad habit for almost a year now!  GO ME!  Another lovely hair style and my friend in the background with the big perm hair!

This is me and my high school BFF Leslie.  Yeah, that's right, we rocked those weekends!  LOL!  We had soooo much fun, sometimes too much fun, back in the day!  I will say that Facebook has absolutely let me reconnect with friends that i've lost touch with over they years and Leslie is one that i'm truly happy to have found again :)

All that being said, if you've been following me for very long you know that i've been on a year of firsts since last Summer.  You can read about some of that here.  Blog land is one of my firsts and has landed me some pretty lovely friends!  I can always take a little stroll to Ms. Ginger at Savannah Granny and get the best feeling, like i'm sittin' there yippin' and yappin' with my favorite Aunt Sue (i'll have to show her to ya'll soon) or drop on over to Daph's at Flip Flops & Pearls and she's like my BFF blog friend, even though she doesn't know it yet! Sorry Daph if it's a little creeper! LOL!  Of course when I peek in at Stonegable with Ms. Yvonne, I feel she's rekindled my dedication to family and home and I honestly don't think I could ever repay her.  Then there's Melissa at A Little Loveliness, she's the reason I started blogging, just a random web search for a dress pattern lead me to Melissa.  Her commitment to her family and faith through a lot of ups and downs kept me coming back every day and all lead me here........with all of you! :)

Sorry ya'll, I usually don't dwell on me, myself and I too much but it's my birthday so I thought "what the heck!"

If I haven't lost all respect of my followers with these old pics and my ramblings, then come on back later this week for my birthday giveaway!

Thank you all for the many, many, smiles, advice, laughter, inspiration and support i've received over the last half year!

Many blessings,
Laura

~Chair Makeover~

Hey ya'll!

All I wanna know is, where the hickety heck did Spring go?
If Mr. Groundhog ever makes his was down here for a visit with me he better be prepared to run, cause i'm out for blood!

Whew! Spring break for the kids is finally over.  My two little ones had theirs a couple of weeks ago and then my older daughter had hers this past week.  We had a good time together but now it's back to school so I can get back to work (and peace :)!

My Katrina had her "late birthday sleepover party" on Friday night, so we had spent a lot of time last week refurbishing some furniture pieces to go in her room.  Of course I had to start by cleaning the dang room.....i'm afraid we're going to be seeing that poor child on an episode of Hoarders.  If you think there's no such thing as a child hoarder, you're wrong.  She has some sort of paper/office supply thing going on and there's just purses and drawers of it EVERYWHERE in her room!  I thought I would never dig out of it.
But alas, we did and got everything done in one day. 

Thought i'd share one of the chairs we redid. 
Sorry this was the only before photo I had...it's super old cause my little Katrina was just 3 in this pic.  The chair is just an old wooden chair my MIL gave my husband years ago.  My BIL has one that matches it too.  The cushions were blue and I had recovered it when we first got it and it's been in hiding ever since.

 
So.....we dug it on out gave it a little painting love....

 and I dug in my old fabric scraps and found this cute print!  I have promised (only to myself) not to buy any more fabric till I use up all my stash and it's quite a lot.....guess I'm going to be making Christmas presents soon.

Here's the finished product!  Woo! Hoo! for girly rooms!  I know, I know there's stuffed animals all over the place.....above.....below.....around.....believe me we've purged those out a couple of times already and it's like they multiply.

Oh and remember the coffee filter wreath I did for Valentines day?  You can see that here.  Well, like I said it ended up in the princess' room......go figure :)

Well, glad you stopped by and come back soon!  I've got a coffee table makeover i've done and a makeover of an old manicurist chair that came from my MIL's beauty shop.  It's too cute!  Got a delicious coconut cake recipe just ahead and pictures of the sleepover party....so stop on by when you get a chance!

I'll be joining these parties this week
Susan at BNOTP for Met Monday
Carrie at Dittle Dattle for Amaze Me Monday
Thrifty Decor Chick for Before and After Party
Debbie at Debbiedoos Bloggin for her Newbie Party
Dominique at Craft Couture for Craft Couture Monday
Ms. Kara at Elements Interiors for Wassup Wednesday
Ms. Tammy at Type A for Anything Goes
and
Ms. Kim at Savvy Southern Style for Wow us Wednesday

Ya'll have a wonderful Monday!

Many blessings,
Laura

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

~Spring Break Gardening~

Hey ya'll!
Sorry i've been a little MIA the last week.  It was spring break for the kiddos around here and for some reason they demand attention.  Imagine that :)  I've still been dropping by all of your blogs and keeping up with you all!
It was a beautiful week last week, with the exception of the first couple of days with clouds and rain, so we stayed outside most of the time.  Thank goodness!  You can't keep two active kids locked up for too long.
My UPS man finished up working on a go-cart for the kids and then finished tilling up the garden.  That makes me extremely happy :)
Katrina brought home a cabbage plant from school and we planted it.  She is supposed to keep up with watering and weeding it and has a log to fill out.  When (hopefully if) it grows then we send in a picture of it and she could win a $1000 scholarship.  I'm all about trying for some free money. 
So......
Grow cabbage, grow!!!!!
We also planted peppers and my BIL told me that it was too soon because the farmers almanac said it was going to snow again!  I could have choked him but I told him he and those farmers were wrong (I hope).  I do have my tomatoes growing inside right now.

My Hayley is on spring break this week so we are hanging out and making a few alterations on her prom dress....BOO!!! You'd think as much money as you have to spend on prom dresses they would come with their own seamstress!

Katrina's sleepover/birthday party is Friday evening.  She's been waiting for this for 3 weeks.  We had to wait till the end of the month because everyone was going out of town for the spring break.  I'm not sure how i'm going to survive the night so maybe you can send a few prayers my way :)

I'll be back later on this week to show you some birthday treats and decorations.

Hope you all are enjoying your week and having some beautiful weather.

Come back and visit anytime!

Many blessings,
Laura

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Margarita pillow

Hey ya'll!
Hope everyone had a great week and looking forward to a wonderful weekend.
I think we're finally gonna get some warmer weather and sunshine around here :)  Yay!!!
Us girls got some prom dress pickin' up to do and my little fashionista, Katrina, who just celebrated her 10th birthday this week is itchin' to spend some birthday money, so it's lookin' like a trip to Justice and probably a shoe store or two......ugh!

So I just wanted to show you a quick little pillow I threw together for a friend of mine.  I affectionately call her Gilligan (I'm Skipper of course).  She had this little jersey t-shirt with Margarita - Cancun Mexico on it and has a friend named Margarita (how cool is that name?!!!!) and wanted me to make a little something out of it for a gift for Ms. Margarita.

Now the shirt was the size my 10 year old would wear.  Why do they make them that small?  Is there really an adult out there that can wear this size?  OH!!!! We were at the SA and found a shirt in Katrina's size that said "Hustler. Hard core since 1974"....I mean really?  Come on!  And the worst part is it was in the children's size 8 and 10 section!!!!!  What in the hickety heck are these people thinking and who's house did it come from and for the love of all things fashion and moral, someone please tell me they didn't let their child wear that shirt!!!!!
Geez!!!! 
Sorry....got off track.  I tend to get a little upset at these tween clothes they sell now-a-days. 

Anyway, so here's the shirt, some dark pink fabric I had lying around and a pillow form.

I cut around the rhinestones in no exact pattern.  I wanted to cut out a shape of a Margarita glass but it wasn't looking right when I traced it out  :(
I folded the pink fabric and cut it the size of the pillow form plus 1 inch.
I then satin stitched in electric blue (I love that color)  around the scallops onto the pink fabric (sorry didn't have that pic).

Turned right sides together and serged around leaving the bottom open.
Turn right side out and put the pillow form in.  Then stitched about 1/2 inch around the edges with the same electric blue color closing up the bottom.
Turned out really cute :)

But this is what's really cute :) :)
My sweetie opening her presents.  That's her tiara I made for her to wear to school.  I have an embroidery design that does it all in the hoop and you just add the ribbon.  There's also one that's a full rounded crown.  I'm gonna to my little grandson one for his 1st birthday.
Her cake and some B&R bubble gum ice cream!  She helped me decorate it.  It was her first time using the piping bag.  I think it was a little bit harder than what she thought it was going to be but she had fun trying.

Well thanks for stopping by and hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Many blessings,
Laura

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

~Katrina Katrina~

Ah Katrina....
No not hurricane Katrina, although she can very well make her room resemble a hurricane.  My Katrina came a few years before the Hurricane Katrina tragedy.  She could never be know as anything tragic. 

It's been 10 years today when I had Katrina, my 3rd daughter but 1st child with my UPS man :)
I still remember being at the hospital and his face when they gave me an epidural, he almost got sick and they told him to turn around if he felt like he was going to pass out.  All I could think of was what a shame it would be if he messed up his nice clothes.  See he was beaming all morning, didn't even go to sleep the night before.  He had gotten up before me and showered, shaved and dressed in his dress shirt and tie.  All to be prepared to welcome sweet Katrina into the world.  I forgot to mention he picked out her name.

I didn't have a bad pregnancy with Katrina and everyone was more than happy to welcome her into the world.  My daddy was excited and had hoped for a boy for us.  He had found out he had cancer right before we found out we were pregnant.  He then passed away when I was 5 months pregnant.  He would have loved Katrina.  She loves hugs and snuggles and is one of the most caring and kind hearted people I know and daddy loved getting hugs and snuggles and was without a doubt the most kind hearted person I had ever known.

She came into this world and didn't make a sound. Big blue eyes that will still melt your heart.  My UPS man wouldn't put her down and he couldn't stop smiling nor has he quit.  As soon as he saw her he said "this is my little Keke" and so the name stuck.  We still call her Keke or Big-en.  Our friends have a boy a year older than her and he's always called her Ke-kitty.

Keke, Big-en, Ke-kitty, sis or Katrina she'll always be my little girl.  I had mentioned in one of my first blogs about a "year of firsts"  (you can read about it here) and how music brings back thoughts and memories.  One of the songs that is the most meaningful song to me is a song by Dido called "Thank You".  It was playing on the radio while we were bringing Keke home from the hospital.
I want to thank you
for giving me the best day of my life
Oh just to be with you
is having the best day of my life

Ten years has gone by quite fast and unexpectedly I find myself with my youngest daughter now entering the double digit age group.  All too soon it will be cell phones and boys, proms and drivers license.  All too soon it will be college and tests, jobs and life.  And all very, very too soon it will be memories.  Hopefully her memories of a happy childhood and a comfortable home with parents and a family who love her unconditionally. 
So Katrina, If you ever read back on this, I want you to know what a sweet, beautiful and tender-hearted young girl you are.  You've always been a friend to all and enemy to none.  You have such a big heart for those in need and we couldn't be more proud of you.  Your beautiful spirit shines for all to see and I hope and pray that life brings you to many roads with many, many happy moments. 
My love always,
Momma

My blogger friends, thank you for indulging me in sharing my memories of a special day for me and my family.
Many blessings,
Laura

Monday, March 7, 2011

It's like heaven

I can't even begin to explain how much I love my husband!
:)

I will spare you all the mushy details and just show you what that man did for me the other night.

It's not what you think....ladies!!!!

We've been going through renovations since we moved into my MIL's home.  You can see some if it here.  The kitchen floor has been one of my blah, blah, blah moments.  I couldn't make a decision and it looks horrible.  There's no fixin' it. 
Beetlejuice!
Beetlejuice!
Beetlejuice!
Ugh!  That didn't work :(
There's no money to fix it like I want to fix it but one can always dream and go to Lowes.

That's when we found this flooring.  Laminate!  Ok I just caved in and I don't mind at all now!  I love, love, love it! 
 
Not only does it look beautiful but it was only $58 and didn't require any adhesive (which is awesome!).  So we can just pull up the corner round and pull up the flooring any time we hit the jackpot and decide to change out.

Now back to my sweet UPS man :)  He was so excited that when he got off work that night (which is usually around 12:30 AM) he came home and installed the floor while we slept so when I woke up I would be surprised....isn't he the sweetest?  After 3 years of stained and rough hard wood floor I couldn't be any happier!

Thanks for stopping by!  Come back anytime and follow along if you like.
I'll be joining Thrifty Decor Chick for Before and After Party
Ms. Kara at Elements Interiors for Wassup Wednesday
Ms. Tammy at Type A for Anything Goes
and
Ms. Kim at Savvy Southern Style for Wow us Wednesday

Many blessings,

Laura

Cream cheese pound cake

My family is a sweet family.....what I mean is they love sweets.  My UPS man he craves sweets and the little ones love almost any type of dessert, well except Bubba, he doesn't like chocolate anything.  I myself am not big on sweets.  I like fruity things.  Decorating wedding cakes for years kinda burnt me out on the whole love of "cakes/cupcakes".
On occasion I do have to make a cake or two and one of my new favorite cakes is the pound cake.  You can do so much with the basic pound cake recipe and here's one that I've added a few twists of my own.

Strawberry & Cream Cheese Pound Cake
(this is a little heavy pound cake and as my daughter says "buttery" but delicious)

1 1/2c butter (softened) [you can use 1 c of butter and 1/2c of shortening but I prefer butter]
3 c sugar
1 (8oz) pack of cream cheese (softened)
6 large eggs
3 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c chopped fresh strawberries

Preheat oven to 350.
You'll want to make sure your butter and cream cheese is at room temp.  It really makes a difference when trying to cream.  Cream butter and gradually add sugar until fluffy.
Add cream cheese to butter and sugar until creamy (doesn't get better than butter, sugar and cream cheese :)!
Add eggs 1 at a time blending after each egg.
Gradually add flour (keep it on low speed and don't forget to scrape the sides down)
Stir in vanilla extract.
Fold in strawberries by hand.  Don't use the mixer or it'll mash up the strawberries and you're gonna want good whole pieces.
Pour into a buttered tube pan and bake for 1 hour.  (I had to go a little over an hour.  Just watch the cake and test before you cut the oven off)
Let the cake completely cool before you try to take it out of the pan.  The cake is what I call a "heavy" cake so you'll want to loosen around the edges with a knife before inverting on a stand or plate and it will remove easier if it's completely cool.
Serve with a couple of fresh strawberries and some fresh whipped cream.
Delicious!
I also do this cream cheese pound cake with fresh peaches or blueberries (frozen will work also) and you could always leave out the fruit for just a delicious cream cheese pound cake.

Hope you enjoy!

Many blessings,
Laura

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bargin shoppin'

Hey ya'll!
How's every ones week going?  We're doing great here.  Had a couple of bad thunderstorms come through our way this weekend and early Monday morning and I just have to give a praise to God that they passed us over! Yay!!!
Us girls had a little shopping excursion this weekend.  We were on the prowl for a prom dress for my Hayley and low and behold we found one!  BONUS!  She is definitely not a good shopper.  She doesn't like trying on clothes or picking out anything.  Give her a pair of jeans, t-shirt and flip flops and she's good to go.  Unfortunately that's not prom attire.  Now you give my little Katrina free reign and she's all about the shopping, the clothes and oh my the shoes!  That girl loves her some shoes!  Here's how the prom dress shopping went.....
Mom (aka me) "Well let's look around and find you something"
Hayley "Mom I really don't care, can't I just wear my jeans"
Mom "Fine by me, it'll save me a buck or two!"
Hayley "Ugh! Keke (aka Katrina) come here and find me a prom dress"
Katrina "Ooooo this one is so pretty, how about this one and this one....Ah!  This one is pink!  I love pink.  My prom dress is going to be pink and short....Just like THIS ONE!!! MOMMA loooooook!  My prom dress!"
Hayley "Momma please!"
Mom "I quit....here's the credit card....good luck"

That's the long and short of it.  We did find a dress and she looked beautiful in it!
This is her dress but in black :)
  Riva Designs Beaded Halter Prom Dress 7462A
I'm so excited for her and I can't wait to see her all dolled up!  What I can wait for is my little Katrina going off to prom but bless her little 9 year old heart, she thinks she's ready!

After we left there we had to stop by the thrift store and I found dishes, dishes and more dishes!  My mood brightened tremendously!

I found these Mikasa dishes in the Primrose pattern.  A large serving platter and 4 dessert size plates.

Regal China dishes in Rosedale pattern.  4 salad size plates and 4 dessert size and 2 smaller ones, maybe bread plates but not sure

Sango China in Dawn Mist pattern.  I found 8 salad, 8 dessert and 2 bowls.

Not sure what this little tub with "The Plaza" is for but I loved it....it's going in the bathroom to hold some pretty soaps or something.  It was only .59 so why not?

I also found this brass bowl.  I really like it but need to figure out how to clean this baby up.  Not sure what it was used for but the engraving on the bottom says "made in India", so I'll just imagine it was used for something exotic!

And Mom got all this (plus a few what-nots that little Katrina picked up for her room....I believe I'm nourishing her addiction! Ahhhhhh!!!!) for a grand total of $23.60!  I felt entitled seeing as how I spent $400 for a prom dress.  Ugh!  Kinda makes my stomach turn just a little....small......slow......breaths......

Anyway, we've been doing more purging and picking out paint colors, flooring for the kitchen (this part excites me to no end) and I've been sewing my little heart out :)

Hope to have some finished projects to show you all by the end of the week!

Have a wonderful rest of the week and many blessings,
Laura