#SecretAtWalmart

Reviewing Secret Deodorant as part of a #contest @Influenster.
Secret has always been one of my favorites. They now have a large choice of fragrances and different strengths such as clinical. There's never a flaking issue and no problems staying dry all day. If you have not tried it, I highly recommend it!

#pureleafhomebrew

“Received these products coutesy of Pure Leaf and Influenster for sampling purposes”.  The green tea with citrus is fabulous!  I have never liked the taste of green tea but I first tried this hot and loved the taste.  I have since made the iced tea version and it is just as refreshing.  The hint of citrus really just bumps the flavor up a notch.  These come in little triangle shaped bags that makes steeping quick and easy.  If you have been wanting to try these go for it.  The black tea with vanilla is also just as tasty and refreshing.  I’m not a big vanilla fan so I probably would choose another flavor but I did combine this bag with an oolong tea bag and the combo was very pleasing as a hot tea!  

Puppy Love And Cookies

I LOVE dogs!  Big dogs, small dogs, medium dogs, shaggy dogs, short-haired dogs, loud dogs, quiet dogs, I love them all!  I must say though that one particular breed has won my heart.  I have owned rat terriers for the past 30 years.  I just adore their quirky, jovial spirits and their fiesty big attitudes.  This past year, I adopted a precious miniature lady that I named Ellory.  She has the biggest personality and loves everyone….that is after she gets a good sniff and is confident you are not there to hurt her humans!  img_5926

This post however, is about cookies and cake pops!  My love of rat terriers led me to join a group of like minded rat terrier lovers to share all our wonderful rattie stories.  I also have a passion to assist rescue organizations and Rat Terrier  ResQ is one of my favorites.  This lead me to this recent project.  I wanted to share my love of making sweets with the group and be able to give back to Rat Terrier ResQ.

About a year ago, I worked with a designer to make a cookie cutter in the unique shape of a rat terriers head.  For inspiration, I used a the ears of a friend’s dog and the face of my older rattie.  Here is what we came up with.  Pretty cool and so much fun working with the designer.

IMG_5875.JPG

This is a 4 inch cookie cutter and it makes a perfect mailing size.  I must say, I am still quite the beginner when it comes to working with royal icing.  I have problems with consistency, correct coloring and a steady hand when applying it to the cookie.  Once I had practiced on a few cookies looking at pictures of actual dogs, I felt like I just wanted to free form create my own designs.  This led to a simpler, faster approach and I feel made the cookie look better.

IMG_5668.JPGThis is what they look like as they dry.  I then packaged them individually and sent them off to those who wanted to try them or give them as Christmas gifts.

IMG_5821.JPG

If you read my posts on sweets, you know I didn’t stop with just making cookies.  No, I made doggie cake pops too!  Most of them rat terriers but a few golden doodles, labradoodles, and poodles for a few special requests.  Here are some pictures of the cake pops!

img_5827img_5829IMG_5816.JPGAnd then, just to make certain the spirit of Christmas was also represented, I made a few holiday pops.

img_5812And there must be Santa!img_5810

So as children dream of sugarplums and toys and puppies dream of tasty treats and human kisses, I hope the spirit of giving has a huge place in your hearts.  Please remember animal rescue organizations as they rely solely on the generosity of all of us.  Merry Christmas!

Easy Peasy Spuds

I tried a product last night that I received complimentary for testing purposes.  The product is made by Idahoan at http://idahoan.com/product-category/idahoan-signature-russets/

Instant potatoes are usually not very tasty but I have to say, these are very different and very delicious.  These fluffed up nicely. I added butter and a pinch of salt and they were as good as if I had peeled them and made them from scratch.   The family loved them and asked me to purchase some on our next grocery shopping trip.  So, we have a winner!img_4241

Ponds Rejuveness

I recently received Ponds Rejuveness cream to complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.  I am always a bit skeptical with everything because I have skin sensitivities.  I have been using this product twice daily for about 3 weeks now.  After about 10 days, I started to notice improvement with the fine lines under my eyes and on my forehead.  I have continued to use it and it seems to be improving even more each day.  I highly recommend that you give it a try.  If you have sensitive skin, this one might work for you too!11203534_10206350555943647_6264884371196124313_o

Thank You @Ponds and @Influenster #seeforyourself #contest

The Dessert Buffet That Rocks!

Buckeyes, Snowman Red Velvet Cake Pops, Brownie Bites and No Bake Oatmeal Cookies

Buckeyes, Snowman Red Velvet Cake Pops, Brownie Bites and No Bake Oatmeal Cookies

When taking on the job of creating, shopping for, making, packaging and setting up a dessert buffet, beware as it is a very tiring job for one person. This special holiday themed buffet was created to feed 150 people. I absolutely love baking and candy making but I do not really love time constraints and multiple batches of the same treat just to have enough. Since I said “yes”, I had to make certain that each and every selection was as close to perfection as I could make it.
The key is pre-planning and shopping first. I made a list of all needed ingredients then shopped holiday sales for chocolate, candy melts and any baking ingredients that might be on special at the grocery store. Staples like butter, sugar, flour, brown sugar, chocolate chips, cream cheese were all on special when purchased. I then purchased mini baking cups, and candy papers/wrappers, sticks for cake pops and any sugar decorations that I was out of in my supplies to use on cake pop designs.
Once supplies were purchased, I started making items that could be frozen or refrigerated ahead of time. Some of those things are cake pops, chocolate dipped candies like buckeyes, vanilla creams,etc..) Then, I just systematically made several things every day up until two days prior to the event when more perishable foods could be prepared. Foods in this category are cupcakes and cookies.

Mexican Wedding Cookies, Banana Bread, Chocolate Covered Oreos, Strawberry Thumbprint Cookies

Mexican Wedding Cookies, Banana Bread, Chocolate Covered Oreos, Strawberry Thumbprint Cookies

IMG_7758

The photos I have shared are approximately half of the items on the buffet. It was a long two weeks and countless hours of prep but I feel that it was well worth the effort to complete the job without cutting corners on ingredients or time to make everything look great. The report back to me was that everyone loved the treats. So, will I do another dessert buffet? Right now, I would say I am too tired but ask me in a year and I might say “yes”!

Chocolate Covered Oreos, Santa Sugar Cookies, Christmas Mouse Sugar Cookies,

Chocolate Covered Oreos, Santa Sugar Cookies, Christmas Mouse Sugar Cookies,

Vanilla Cream Candy, Buckeyes, Fudge Truffles, English Crispies

Vanilla Cream Candy, Buckeyes, Fudge Truffles, English Crispies

Welcome Sunshine!

These feel and look great!

These feel and look great!

“Everything looks better sprinkled with a little sunshine”!  I love looking out at our backyard and seeing grass, birds, flowers, and the dog running around playing instead of gingerly going down the steps avoiding ice and snow.  I am so ready for all that spring brings.  While it’s still too chilly to have a coffee on the deck, it’s evident that the weather for that is soon upon us.  I am also very happy to finally feeling better!

I decided to try out a few new mediums this week.  It seems that wide headbands are worn by almost every lady these days.  I made one for myself and a friend so we could try them out.  Guess what?  We LOVE them!  It’s the perfect way to secure your hair out of the way for working on almost anything.  I am always getting glue, sticky vinyl pieces, melted chocolate, icing etc…in my hair.  I now wear my new headband and just keep that hair out of the way in a cute stylish way.  They are also very affordable!  I will have some in my in my FB shop today.  Just send me a message if you would like one!    Once I made this one for my friend, I decided to give some glitter htv (heat transferred vinyl) a try!  Some folks like a little bling with their headbands!  Well, it is time to go outside find some JOY today!

Bring on the Bling!  Yes, that is an awesome summer weight scarf sitting there too!

Bring on the Bling! Yes, that is an awesome summer weight scarf sitting there too!

It’s Snowing!

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day here on the west side of the Ohio River.  Today, not so much.  It’s been snowing for less than an hour now and there’s probably a inch already accumulated.  Fortunately, we had plenty of inside chores and activities to keep us busy.

I received a new shipment of bangle bracelets yesterday and I am so excited to show them to you.  They are a rich jewel tones combined with black to make a very nice animal print.  I couldn’t wait to turn a few of them into my “Blessed” bracelets.  These are a bit different in shape as well.  The band is graduated to where it is thinner on the back side.  They are also a hinged a design.  They fit a normal to to small size wrist very well.   

I have four ready to go that I will share with you today.  Let me know if I can do a custom bracelet for you, just send me a private message on my Facebook page and we will discuss it.  I hope you are in a warmer part of the country but if you are not stay warm!Image

Memphis!

10000361_10203184780401237_1029211228_oToday’s post and design is inspired by Memphis.  Memphis has a big chunk of my heart due to the many years that we lived there.  The friend connections are priceless to our family and we are really looking forward to an upcoming trip to see all of the amazing people.

I was not born a “southerner,” in fact, I am routinely referred to as a “yankee” by my husband’s family and most native Memphians.   I didn’t realize how little I knew about the “Civil War” until I very abruptly learned that it seems to still be alive and “kickin” in a lot of southern people.  Since I did not speak the accent or even realize the differences in dialect, I was at a huge disadvantage when desiring to just “fit” in.  I quickly learned that “I”, have the accent!  A “yankee” accent!  Now that I am once again living in the midwest, I am told that I now have a “southern” accent!  So to sum that up….no one understands anything I say! (Insert big smile)  I am pretty sure I unknowingly offend on a daily basis.

This post is bringing back some fun memories of more differences specifically in the food category.   Growing up, both of my grandmothers were excellent cooks!  They always made everything from scratch and most of our food came from gardens they planted and took care of.  Tomatoes, carrots, peas, cucumbers, corn, cabbage, onions, potatoes, were all a part of the big half an acre garden plots.  Well, when I got to Memphis, I learned that peas were no longer a sweet little green ball inside of a pod.  Peas were now purple or had black eyes!  They were allowed to sit out in the sun until the pods swiveled up and the little purple and black eyed fellows became hard as a rock!  There’s even a special machine they throw them into to separate the crusty pods from the rock hard peas!  Then, you get to boil them until you have a pan full of the dirtiest water you have ever seen….then you probably get to boil then another hour or so because they still are rock hard.  Give me my cute little green balls of sweetness any day over purple hull or black eyed peas!  I will move on today but I do have to address cornbread, spaghetti, barbecue, fish, baked beans, turkey and dressing, pies and cake at some point.

See you soon Memphis!