Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Back to School $1400 Cash Giveaway

This is the first year that I will have two kids starting school. The cost alone in buying clothing and supplies was a bit more than I anticipated, most likely due to me wanting to give my kids whatever they want/need, which is directly related to all the things I though I never received in my early school years ( You know the big, big box of crayola crayons.....I know get over it already!)

And they are only preschool...

So I can only imagine the cost will increase in the years to come as they get older and the demands needs also increase. But for now I'm safe, at least for the next two or three years :)

But to help out those that may need a few extra buck-a-roonies in their pockets for the back to school season, I am part of a giveaway, a great big huge giveaway in which the winner will receive $1400 USD.
That would help buy a lot of stuff!!!

A giveaway this large couldn't be possible without a partnership between a fantastic group of bloggers and small businesses. Just a few of them include:

Spaceships and Laser Beams, Vanessa Grant Events, Go Against the Grain, Michelle's Party Plan-It, We Heart Mom, Design Dazzle, One Inspired Party, Just a little Sparkle, Angelina's Dream Parties, Mimi's Dollhouse, PaperCandee, BellaGrey Designs, hello love designs, Samantha Walker Designs, Petite Bebe, I Will Invitations, Inkberry Cards + Design, We Heart Parties, Simply Sweet Parties, Dandelion Avenue, Cakes And Kids, Made by a Princess Parties in Style, paper & cake, Miss Party Mom, Doodlecraft, Adorable Cakes By Elizabeth, Kimberley's Kitchen, Love The Day, Simply Nesting, Mighty Delighty, Swish Printables, Partystock, Simply Brigadeiro, Lemonberry Moon, Modern Moments Designs, Sweet Petite Soirees, Forever Your Prints, Sweet Dahlia, Cupcake Wishes & Birthday Dreams, Party Patisserie, The Family Map and Cupcake Express.

And that's not everyone! Please refer to the Rafflecopter form to see a complete list of all the generous sponsors who made this giveaway possible!

Prize: One winner will receive $1400 USD

Eligibility and Rules: This giveaway runs from 11:59PM ET on August 26, 2013 to 11:59PM ET on September 17, 2013. It is open to individuals over the age of 18. The winner will be chosen randomly through the Rafflecopter form. It is the sole responsibility of the winner to adhere to all laws in their respective country, which includes payments to any governing tax body. This giveaway is void in any country where it is prohibited by law.

Claiming Prize: The prize will be sent via PayPal. The winner must claim their prize within 48 hours of receiving notice. If you do not claim your prize within this time frame, your entry will be void and another winner will be drawn. We don't want to have to do this! Please ensure that the email spaceshipsandlaserbeams [at] gmail [dot] com is on your "safe list."

Disclosure: This giveaway is a blogger-sponsored event that is in no way affiliated with PayPal, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or any other social media channel. If you have questions about the administration of this giveaway, email Stephanie at Spaceships and Laser Beams at spaceshipsandlaserbeams [at] gmail [dot] com.

Please use the Rafflecopter form below for your entries!
All entries are optional BUT the more you complete the more chances you have to win!
Good luck!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Swirled Brownies

Some of you know that I  haven't been eating sweets due to the fact that if I don't get my health back together I will develop type II diabetes a lot sooner than later. So I have mixed up things a bit and essentially have put baking on the back burner for the most part, while I clean up my diet and focus on more healthy, healing wholesome  food.

But sometimes I still need to bake....and when that happens my brain switches to automatic pilot and I start concocting these creations in my mind. It is at time a torturous series of steps because I can only go on my baking instinct and past experiences of how the resulting mix of items will end up.

These were a winner.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Swirled Brownies...

Yeah, that just about summed them up. They are very dense and full of a lot of flavor, whch is a perfect balance of chocolate meeting up with their best friend peanut butter to hang out and dance upon your taste buds.....as I was told since of course, since I did not try them myself. But I can say they looked and smelled amazing!!

This is what you will need to make them...

For the Brownies...I used my favorite Hershey's  recipe!!
This is what you will need:
  • 1/2 cup (1 Stick) butter or margarine melted (I USED BUTTER)
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 Cup  Cocoa  Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt

For the Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Swirl Filling
  • 1 Tbsp. Butter Softened
  • 2 oz. Cream Cheese Softened
  • 1/4 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1/4 Cup Marshmallow Fluff
  • 2 Tbsp. Flour
  • 1/4 cup mini Chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup Reese's peanut butter chips
  • 1/4 cup of Reese's peanut butter cups roughly chopped  (4-5 large PB cups or more if you prefer)
To make the filling....

Combine butter, cream cheese, peanut butter and marshmallow fluff until it is all combined and then add in the flour.

Add in the chocolate chips....

Add in the Reese's peanut butter chips....

Chop up the peanut butter cups and add them in...

Mix it well...

When it's done it's almost like a crazy, thick, dip... just put it to the side. Don't eat it all since you need to add to to the brownie mixture!!!! During baking tall the chips and peanut butter cups essentially dissolve and just add to the flavor.

To Prepare. Brownie mixture....

Heat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9-inch baking pan. I lined mine with tinfoil, just because it is easier to clean up. Stir together melted butter, sugar and vanilla in a bowl.  Add eggs; beat well with spoon. 
Stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Gradually add to mixture, beating until well blended.
Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.

Add the Peanut butter cream cheese mixture to the pan.

Using a knife swirl it through the brownie batter, so that it gets incorporated. The  less you mix it the more pronounced your swirls will be. 

By adding the mixture it will almost double the size of the brownie recipe, so it will take some time to bake. But all good things come to those who wait :)

Bake 45-55 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and look dry on top.

Cool Completely, if you used tin foil to line the pan lift it out and peel away from the sides, cut into squares.

I'm told these are paired best with a tall, cold glass of milk!!!

I hope  you enjoy these!!!

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Summertime Update

I haven't been working on my blog so much in these last few weeks of Summer. Mainly because as I mentioned a few posts ago, I am really working on getting my health to a better state and part of that means not experimenting in the kitchen with sweets. I've also have just been trying to sllloooowww down and hang out and do fun stuff with the girls, because they both will be in school come fall and the there will not be as much time to just relax and randomly paint in the backyard on a bright sunshiny day.

And the babes, is now ten months and as cute as ever, is starting to try walking. He gets a few steps and stumbles and gets back up smiling as big as ever, he is a such a great baby. I've been working ideas in my head for his first birthday, which is also my first boys birthday.  The hubs and I decided on a aviator theme for him, which should be lots of fun!!

But with all of this great stuff thats not to say that I haven't been baking, I still am but am focusing more on aligning myself with things and activities of the non-sweet persuasion. I am happy to say that with my dietary changes and the vitamin and mineral supplements I have been taking daily, my fasting blood sugars are measuring lower in the morning.

I do my best to get in as much exercise as I can, which with three little kids does not means sweating it out in the gym alone like t used to pre-kids, more often it means piling them all in my monster of a triple stroller and heading out for daily walks. Pushing close to a hundred pounds around in a stroller for 30-45 minutes is a decent  workout.

But because walking around in the stroller is  not super exciting for them, we tend to go to town so the can walk around and have some fun too!

I've been working on a few parties, including a new version of the Snow White Party, which I should have up on the blog soon and there are many other parties I am in the midst of designing in the upcoming months that I am excited to share with everyone.

I don't have much to say, except "Thank You" really.

Thank you to all that continue to support my creative endeavors here on the blog and through my Facebook page with all you commenting, sharing and liking. All of those actions continue to help me grow and to move closer to my goal of being able to create full time.

I hope everyone is enjoying the last few weeks of summer and that you all are getting as excited as I am over this upcoming season, because I have a lot of fun stuff to share with you all!!

See you soon!!

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Mustache or Moustache if You Prefer... Cupcake Wrappers and Toppers

It's been a while since I've done a  free printable so I figured this one would be a good one to start off with. I love the whole mustache (or is it moustache???) thing going on. But only in fun because I hate to say it and I'm sorry if this offends anyone, but a man with a mustache gives me the whole creepy vibe.

I know I know some can pull it off....anyone remember this guy???

Yeah...Tom Selleck rocked the whole mustache thing back in the eighties! But he's Tom Selleck and well, whatever...you get my drift But a mustache can take a really good looking guy like the wrestling super star Cody Rhodes...

And totally give him the creepy factor, holy moly "look ma!!! I'ma creepy porn star" look.....

But whatever...he's a wrestling superstar and it's part of his act I hope!! I'm pretty sure he can grow random wiggly eyebrows and ear hair and still be considered good looking. 

But let's move forward to things more fun. Like cupcakes which are cute fun and sweet and never creepy unless it's Halloween and your are going for that look. But not just any cupcakes..... cupcakes with cute wrappers and non-creepy mustache toppers!!

I have a few different versions of this that I will begin offering in my Etsy Shop. Like these...

But for now I will be offering the following wrappers and square toppers for free. There are three designs and they all come in one PDF file blue diamond, blue chevron and gray stripe.

Hope you enjoy these and keep in mind I am able to create and customize anything :) So if you don't se what you are looking for please ask!!

You can print the wrappers out from {{HERE}}


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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Campfire Free Marshmallow S'more Pops

For all you s'more loving folk, I am happy to announce that today is national S'mores day!!!!!

Yes there is such a thing. Although I won't be indulging in these treats today, here is a quick campfire free version for your enjoyment!

Pretty self explanatory!!

This is what you will need....

  • Marshmallows
  • Chocolate candy melts
  • Lolly sticks
  • Graham crackers

Stick marshmallow on a lolly stick
Dip into melted chocolate
Roll/sprinkle with crushed graham crackers!!

Happy S'mores Day!!!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Finding a path back.....

I've been in a funk, one of those I feel so sorry for myself it's hard to function type of funks. But since I am no longer twenty something  with 0% responsibilities, I don't have the opportunity to indulge in self pity the way that I may have once upon a time.

Kids will do that to you..... present you with a sense of responsibility and help you (hopefully) realize that the world does not revolve around you.  I have mentioned more then a few times the issues I have with balancing my fasting blood sugars and what the steady rise of them in the morning most likely forecasts for me health wise. If you missed that or that is too much to think about......let me put it simpler. Diabetes, I am looking at a future riddles with the health complications of diabetes.

And that my friends is depressing.

But like I mentioned above, I don't have the luxury of indulging in depression or funks or any kind in any way what so ever. I try to live in a way that when life hands you a difficulty or a challenge to embrace it and use it to better yourself. That mentality has served me well in so many ways. The solution as Doctors have suggested is simple enough, just lose the weight. Which after my first was no problem, I dropped 45 pounds  within 6 months of her birth only to get preggers again.

After my second, I took off some of the weight......

BUT  it was a lot harder. And now after my third it has just been damn near impossible.

Now let me tell you I have done everything in my power to help this process along, despite all the processed sweet treats I may post about, I eat healthy ;all whole, real food and I exercise..... but to no avail. That gets very depressing and old fast, especially when you put so much time and energy doing the right thing and doing your very best to restore yourself back to a healthy weight only to realize that your body is in such a state of disarray that it WILL NOT respond at all.

Freaking depressing.

I have never been satisfied with what is and decided to take matters into my own hands to discover what could really be going on with me. Because the only solution doctors offered was lose weight (duh) and a future of medication, which I am not interested in...at all.

Though a lot of investigation I stated to realize that the problem wasn't dietary, because I watched my carbs. ate little to no sugar and yet, my fasting blood sugar was still out of wack.  I realized it had to be something deeper, and I started doing a bit of research on how my body actually works, thank goodness for that streak of science geek in me that loves to learn about human physiology, which led e to the root of it all my hormonal system.  More specifically how it is supposed to work and why it may not be working properly.

What I discovered is a lot of information, which really focused on depletion of certain vitamins and minerals in my body, which will be  for another post but I am happy to say that with the use of some simple vitamin/mineral supplements I purchased at my local vitamin store, within a week my fasting blood sugars have gone down from 150 to 97.

That is amazing :)

And the weight is starting to go down as well.......which offers me just enough hope to go forward. I miss making all my treats and experimenting in the kitchen, but I also know that is very dangerous for me to be doing right now.

Unless I am baking for someone else, I steer clear of my own treats and my sometime insane desire to create new things.

I just wanted to let you know I'm still here, just trying to get some footing on my health. I love my life and my kids and I also know in a weird strange twist of fate,  that if it was not for them I would never have discovered how off my diet was and how I have the power within myself to find a way to make myself better than before!

Thanks for still reading along :)

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