Thursday, March 28, 2013

Carrot Cake

I made this carrot cake for Easter last year and I'm hoping to make it again this weekend.  It was easy and delicious!  Then I got to accessorize it with some jelly beans to make it a little more Eastery and fun.  

Carrot Cake
2 Cups Flour
2 Cups Sugar
2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1 1/2 Cups Vegetable Oil
4 Eggs, Beaten
3 Cups Peeled, Grated Carrots
1 Cup Chopped Nuts 

Mix together dry ingredients, then add remaining ingredients
Use a greased 9" x 13" baking pan or 2 greased 8" round pans
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes
Cool and then frost

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 Ounces Cream Cheese, Softened
1/2 Cup Butter, Softened
2 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
2 Teaspoons Vanilla

Mix cream cheese and butter together until smooth, then add in powdered sugar and vanilla

What's your favorite Easter dessert?  I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter weekend!

Happy Champagne Thursday!


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Easter Ideas

Easter is coming up quickly.  Only 10 more days!  Are you ready?  I'm not, but I'm getting there.  Here are some ideas for filling eggs and baskets.

Park & Ryde
Easter 2012

Alternatives for traditional Easter Baskets
I like using "baskets" that you can reuse for something else

- Folding Storage Bins or any bin or basket you can reuse for toy storage, etc.

- Dump Truck and fill the back of it with Easter goodies

- Bucket with toys for the sandbox 

- Planter with seeds, little shovel and watering can

- Colorful Mixing Bowl with kids cookbook, measuring cups, wooden spoons, etc.

- New Lunch Box filled with goodies

Suitcase - Perfect if you will be going on vacation this Summer or Spring Break - Fill it with a new outfit, book, sunglasses, etc.

Basket Fillers

The Easter baskets I put together are mostly geared towards nice weather and  spending time outside.  

- Sunglasses

- Summer Outfit
- Sandals or Water Shoes
- Bathing Suit 
- Hat
- Card Games
- Stuffed Animals
- Book or Magazine
- Hair Accessories
- Any sort of Ball
- Matchbox cars, trains
- Play-doh
- Bubbles
- Chalk - Crayola is my favorite

- Kite
- Watch
- Water Bottle or Sippy Cup
- Flash Cards
- Magnifying Glass
- Bug Catcher or Butterfly Net
- Beach Towel
- Baby Doll
- Instruments - Maracas, Harmonica, Tamborine, etc.
- Markers, Crayons, Coloring Books
- Outdoor Toys, Water Toys, Sandbox Toys
- Flashlights

- Glow Sticks
- Dress Up Clothes 
- Favorite Snack
- Jewelry
- Nail Polish
- Magna Doodle - Ryder is getting one of these in his basket this year.  We always have a magna doodle in the car and right now the boys fight over who gets to play with it in the car.  So, soon they will both have one.

- Legos
- Bath toys
- Rain Boots
- Blocks
- Umbrella

I'm a fan of the dollar section at Target

Easter Egg Fillers

- Candy
- Bouncy Balls

- Tattoos

- Stickers
- Money
- Fruit Snacks
- Small boxes of Yogurt Covered Raisins
- Coupons - 'Stay up an extra 15 minutes', 'Go out for a treat', 'Go the the park', 'extra 15 minutes of tv' 
- Legos - If you have one kid you are doing an Egg Hunt for, you could get a small Lego kit and split the pieces up between the eggs and include the directions or a picture of the what you are suppose to make with the pieces.

- Puzzle Pieces - Split up puzzle pieces between the eggs
- Small Cars
- Stamps
- Ear Phones

- Mini Bottle of Bubbles
- Plastic Animals
- Marbles
- Hair Accessories

- Jewelry
- Fun socks
- Bath Squirties

*Almost everything you put in an Easter Egg is a choking hazard

Happy Champagne Thursday!


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thrift Shopping

The boys and I went Thrift Shopping a few weeks ago and found a couple great chairs to add around our  white pedestal table.  Thanks to my sister I still had money left on my Goodwill gift card, so I didn't pay a dime for the chairs.  Score!  But for anyone wondering, each chair was priced at $4.99.  Chris and I bought almost identical chairs at Target a couple years ago for his office, so I was stoked when I found these at Goodwill.  

Anyone else enjoying the Macklemore and Ryan Lewis song Thrift Shop?  I think it's hilarious!  The boys and I have fun rocking out to it!

The chairs were a little scratched up, but nothing a little sanding and paint wouldn't take care of.  After a little deliberating about the color I decided to go with a bright green color.  I love using bright accents in our house like my pink desk and Parker's yellow dresser.  And the green is just in time for St. Patrick's Day!

Steps for transforming chairs:
1. Lightly sand the chairs.  I used 220 grit sandpaper.
2. Wipe down chairs
3.  Remove legs of chairs.  It probably would have made more sense to remove the legs first, but the bottoms of the chairs didn't need too much sanding.
4.  Two coats of primer.  I used Valspar's Interior Latex multi-purpose Primer.  It works well on glossy surfaces and doesn't require sanding before, even though I did.
5.  Paint chairs.  I bought a Valspar paint sample for $3 in the color Parakeet Green.  The lady who mixed the paint for me responded "Whoa, this is bright" when I gave her the paint sample I want.  I don't think she liked my color choice.  I call the color Rody green (picture below) because its a fairly close match to Park & Ryde's Rody who lives in the room with the new chairs.  It took four coats of paint, which I wasn't really expecting but what are you going to do.  I almost used the entire sample of paint.  It was kind of a long process because I could only paint one side of the chairs at a time, then I had to wait for them to dry, flip the chair over and paint the other side and repeat four times.  The actual painting didn't take too long it was the waiting for the paint to dry in between coats that took so long.
6.  Two coats of Minwax Polycrylic in clear gloss for a protective finish.  
7.  Reattach chair legs.  A little tip for anyone doing a similar project, keep all the pieces together separately for each chair or piece of furniture.  I kept all the legs together since they were the same chairs and ended up putting one set of legs from each of the chairs on and it was very wobbly, so I had to remove the legs and figure out which legs belonged with each chair.  It would have saved me a lot of time if I would have kept pieces together separately.  
8.  Enjoy chairs!

I only spent $3 on this project, because I used a gift card to buy the chairs and I had everything else I needed except for the paint.  

I love how the chairs turned out and how they look in the room.  Plus it's nice to have a couple chairs around the table, you know just in case we ever want to sit at the table.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Rody Green

Happy Champagne Thursday!