Thursday, January 31, 2013

Since today marks no special occasion at all, I thought I would try and make it randomly special with a little cake.
Get it?
(A cupcake is a little cake!)
I kill myself sometimes.
So, I thought I would feature Miss Kimmy again today with her recipe for carrot cake cupcakes.
Doesn't that look amazing?!!

Do you all remember Kimmy? 
She's the creative gal that did the mint plates I featured last month.  
Get used to her because she's agreed to share more of her recipes and projects via features.  
Get excited!

For reals, you guys, I cannot tell you how much I'd love to live near Kimmy.  She bakes on the daily.  
She's hilarious.  She'd be a blast to go out with.  
Hell, we even have a bucket list item to get kicked out of Disney World one day.  
It. Will. Happen.

Without further delay, here's Kimmy's version of her recipe for Super moist YUMMY Carrot Coconut Cupcakes with Cream Cheese frosting!

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl combine:
1 3/4 C Granulated Sugar
2/3 C Vegetable Oil
4 Tbsp Orange Juice
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
3 Large Eggs

In a separate bowl combine:
2 C All-Purpose Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Ground All Spice
1 tsp Salt
3 C Shredded Carrots
3/4 C Chopped Walnuts
1/4 C plus 2 Tbsp Shredded Coconut

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until combined well. Poor into well greased or papered cupcake molds. Bake for 20-25 mins until toothpick comes out clean.
Allow to completely cool before frosting with....

Cream together:
8 oz of Cream Cheese at room temperature
3/4 C Confectioners Sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla

Apply to cupcakes and cover with sprinkled coconut. ENJOY!

Few things on earth are as yummy as the combination of carrot cake and cream cheese frosting.  I can't wait to give these a try.  
I also can't wait to see what Kimmy opts to share with us next!  
Thanks for sharing your recipe with us, Kimmy!

This recipe is being shared on some of the following link-parties.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Oh, How Pinteresting!
Tattoo Edition

I'm itching for some new ink in a big way.
I have 7 already but I'd be covered in them if I could get away with it and still have a professional job.
These are just a few of the tattoo ideas I've been pinning.

I would love a witch pin up girl since my mom's birthday was Halloween.
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Some day I'll have both of these done too in my parents' writing.
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I want this wording...
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...with this placement.
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I'd also love to get a classic anchor like this one...
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...with this wording in the ribbon.
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I love this infinity tattoo.
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And some day I'm going to have a sugar skull like these.  
I love the idea behind them and how colorful they can be done!
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Boy howdy! Doing this post makes me want to head to the tattoo shop asap.
You can find all of my tattoo pins here and all of my pins here.
Now head on over to see Michelle at The Vintage Apple to see what everyone else has been pinning.

Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Would you shave your head?
I don't know if I would.
If it were for someone super close to me, maybe.
For a total stranger or to support a charity?
Eeek.  I honestly don't know if I could.
But see this gal?
She's shaving her head for charity and 
she needs your bucks, I mean, help!

My friend, Mel, is part of a group of ladies 
shaving their heads to raise money for charity.
Yep, you read that right.
Check out the details below and 

Who is Participating?
Mel (my sweet friend and a child psych nurse), 
Melissa Coulter Before
Jennifer (another child psych nurse whose husband passed last year from leukemia), 
Angie (the child psych unit social worker), 
Angie Kovath Before
and Angie's two young daughters, Alleigh and Samantha.

What is the Charity?

What are They Doing to Raise Money?
Did you catch that?
Oh, and as if that weren't amazing enough, they're donating the hair to children with cancer.

Why are They Doing It?
One, because they are all amazing women.
Two, because cancer has touched their lives in some form or fashion.
Three, because they are nurses or work in the medical field and see the impacts of these diseases on a daily basis.
Four, because they have huge hearts!!

What Can You Do?
Simply go here and give them something as small as what you'd spend on a cup of coffee today or as big as what you'd spend at the bar later this week or as much as your heart and your wallet can take.  Every bit helps.

You can donate online here
or download the form here
or you can call (888) 899-2253 
(Team Name: Life-Shavers #T-82049, 
Team Member: Melissa Coulter #583298).


Have I mentioned you can donate here?

Today marks the day my world turned upside-down.
Seven years ago today my mom (best friend and confidant) passed away.
I can remember all the details of that horrible day in my head like it was yesterday, but that's not what this post is about.  Instead, I'm going to start the day off by writing a letter to my mom.  Stick around because there will be giggles, especially if you knew her personally!

I can't believe it's been seven years.  It seems like just yesterday we were laughing and watching movies together and then you were gone.  So much has changed in my life since then.  First of all, can you believe I live in Oklahoma?!  I can't.  It's crazy talk.  But I love it here and I think you would too.

I had a sweet little talk with Larry this morning.  I know he misses you too.  Remember how you used to yell, "YOUR CAT TRIED TO KILL ME!!" whenever he would get underfoot?  I do that now when they do it to me now.  I still call Larry "Man Cat" because of you and I also still tell Lili "about the day Nanny and I saved her life at the shelter" when we adopted her.

Your birthday has gotten easier but it still hurts.  It helps that you raised us to love Halloween more than Christmas.  Oh, and I still consider October your "birth month" even though you've been gone so long.

Here are a few things that will make you smile:

  • Remember how you used to wear your tiara for no reason at all except to make yourself smile?  I do that sometimes too.  
  • I still HATE the sound of someone whistling, crunching ice/candy, clicking ball point pens, or the hiccups.  Thanks for passing those pet peeves on to me.
  • When I see someone wearing something way too tight, I hear your voice say "just a size or two bigger" and I giggle to myself.
  • I clean the house "mom style" most times...clean a little, watch a tv show, clean a little more, watch another show, clean a little more, take a nap.  You'd be proud.
Really though, I do hope you'd be proud of me.  I've got my life on a pretty good track.  I'm back in school and have gotten almost straight A's.  I have surrounded myself with the most amazing friends.  You'd love them all.  Some even say they feel like they know you through me which I consider one of the highest compliments.  

Something I know you would NOT be proud of is the fact that I've gotten more tattoos.  They're also all covered by my clothing so I don't think it looks too trashy.  I know you thought "four was trampy but five is downright whorish!" but the last two are memorial tattoos for you.  One is even the design we joked about after watching Miami Ink one day.  When I asked what you'd want your memorial tattoo to be some day you took all the cliche tattoo things and threw them together into one.  I couldn't bring myself to say "skull and cross bones" or "death before dishonor" the first time, but I eventually got it and it's my favorite tattoo.  

I recently found myself single again.  The only relationship advice you gave me was to find a man that would cherish me.  If he cherishes me then he will love me, respect me, fight for me, honor me, protect me, never intentionally hurt me, care for me, etc.  I still haven't found that someone...yet.  I believe he's out there and I won't settle in the meantime.  I saw this the other day on Pinterest and it sounded like something you would tell me.
I'll wait as long as I have to.
Sounds like you, right?
The morning you passed away I heard your voice plain as day say "don't lose your laughter, girls."  I haven't heard your voice so clearly since.  That memory is one of the reasons I try to bring so much fun into life in general, but especially into Grant's life and I can't wait to do the same with baby Ava. 
(I wish I could do the same for Sahari, but it's hard to do from such a distance.)  It's my little way of keeping a part of your spirit alive and with them.  In fact, a few weeks ago Sis and I got to laughing about how her car horn sounded like a clown car out of the blue.  It was such a silly moment but it was like you were there too when Grant joined in the giggles.  It was one of those moments where I felt so happy to have Bethany and her family here in Tulsa.  

Speaking of Bethany and her family, we are going to a special dinner tonight to celebrate your life instead of mourning your death.  We know it's what you would want.  My goals are to share fun memories, share some laughs, and to not spill soup on my shirt.  Either way, I know you will be with us.  

Mom, I love you each and every day.  It's a comfort to know you are still with me in spirit.  I feel your loving arms around me when I need it most, your watchful eye on me when I need some advice (God, do I miss your advice! You gave the best advice.), and your smile when I know you're laughing right along side me.  We only got 29 years together, but I wouldn't trade a day because I got the best mom in the world for 29 amazing years.  I am who I am today because of you!  I love you, mama!

My love, forever and always, 

Monday, January 28, 2013

 You know those weekends packed with so much fun you need an extra day to recover? 
Yeah, I had one of those.
It was delightful.

Friday Evening:
As I was getting ready I sent a text to Erin G.
(If you don't read her blog you're missing out.)
This is the exact text I sent: "Let's play a little game.  I'm going to send you a picture of me all cute PRE-going out.  At the end of the night I'll send you a post picture.  I always think I'm so cute at the end of the night but I know I have my own tequila goggles on."
She was totally down (one of the many reasons I adore her).

The first PRE picture she received was this one.
I headed out to meet up with my "Big Hair" group of friends to celebrate Erin M's birthday!
That's me with the lovely lady right there.
We enjoy ourselves a "Big Mama" on certain occasions (birthdays, celebrations, a Tuesday night, etc.).
We also make quick work of them.
Notice two things: 1) my rosy cheeks and 2) Adam, Erin's boyfriend. He's the world's best winker. No joke.

One of my favorite things about handing my phone to Sarah to take pictures is that I never know what other pictures she's going to take.
Such as...
Love that "lady."

After dinner, Bill and I went to The Rusty Crane.
It started out with giggles when Bill asked what "Today Time" was before realizing it said "Toddy Time."
Are you ready for it?
I totally stuck my foot in my mouth.
In a big way.
I had no idea I was this limber.
This gentleman came in the bar and sat next to me.
The picture doesn't do him complete justice.
I leaned over to Bill and said, "He's a real looker."
Bill leaned over and quietly whispered, "Jen, why would you say that about a blind man."
I said, "He is not."
Turned to look at him.
Realized he was.
Then we burst into fits of giggles.
I called a blind man a "looker."
Ugh, I really know how to stick my foot in my mouth.

Anywho, I got home and this was my "after" picture of the night.
It's appropriate that the picture is a little wonky because I thought the room was a little wonky.
Really, it was a fantastic night with even better people.

I headed over to help Sis and Chris move some things into their garage to make room for little Ava's "nook" in their room.
Then I was quickly off to meet Jermiah, Laura, and Megan for lunch and The University of Tulsa vs. Southern Miss basketball game.

At lunch I became friends with our waiter, Angel.
He's a hoot. Just the kind of person I adore.
We made it Facebook official before I left the restaurant.
That's just how I roll.
I had a great time over all.
Another great day in the books.

I spent most of the day relaxing, doing a little housework, making some new hair doodahs, and whipping up a crock pot of Mel's Crock Pot Chicken & Dumplings (DELICIOUS!)
Cute, right?
More on these another day.
Luna was worn out helping/supervising.
 When I gave in for the evening, Luna proceeded to curl up on my chest and attempt suffocate me.
As long as she's comfortable, right?

So, that was my weekend filled with awesomeness. 
How was yours?

Friday, January 25, 2013

This week's confessions are dedicated, and in honor of, my closest and dearest birthday girl, Auntie P!

Auntie P is the one aunt I grew up with.
All of my many other fantastic aunts lived across the country from us and I rarely saw them.
She's also my mom's little, and only, sister.
Now that mom's gone, having Auntie P around is like having little glimpses of mom from time to time. I cherish those moments.

Anywho, she turned 60 this week!
Doesn't she look amazing for 60?
Lord, she even looks better with no make-up on at 60 than I do at 36!
1st confession...she's going to kill me for posting that picture!

2nd, it was from Auntie P that I learned at a young age that you will NEVER become a woman unless you eat Warheads candy.
At least, that's what she used to tell us to get us to eat them even though I HATE sour things.  

I learned to truly enjoy eating at fun restaurants 
from Mom and Auntie P.
We used to plan trips and activities around what restaurants we wanted to go to!

I confess that I love to say the word "bung" just to get a rise out of her.
She's trying to grin and ignore us in this picture but that's not stopping us from yelling "BUNG!"

Oh, she also hates it when we tell her "no means no, but sometimes no means harder please."  Yeah, that one got us the silent treatment for about 10 minutes in Target one day.  Still hasn't stopped us from saying it again.

I confess that she also taught me it's ok to break rules to be a fun auntie.
I'm sure there's some rule somewhere that says not to feed ice cream to a 3 month old, but who cares.  It was fun!  And that's what it means to be an auntie.

Another thing to confess is that she's taught me another key to being a fun auntie is to let loose and be a kid sometimes.
That's why she's always been such a good auntie us and gamma to her granddaughter.

I confess that she also taught me it's fun to scare people.
Here, she was sitting in my living room early in the morning quietly waiting for me to walk in.  I nearly peed myself.

I confess that she, along with Mom, taught me that family time is the most fun time, how to let loose and be silly, and how to dry your panties with a hairdryer when you piddle from laughing so hard.  Wait, maybe that's something she should confess, not me, because I've never done it.  Sorry about that.

But most importantly, I must confess that I adore her more than life itself.
She really has taught me so many lessons in life. 
  • That it's ok to miss my mom because the pain will always be in my heart but I'll get used to it.
  • To remember the good memories and fun times we had together because we were so blessed to have so many.
  • That laughter often stops the tears and then we start tears from laughing so hard instead of tears from being sad. It's a great cycle.
  • To laugh until my sides hurt and then laugh some more.
  • How to can food.
  • That sometimes you need to remember to put sunscreen all the way down the back of your leg or you'll end up with racing stripes and walk funny.
  • That I can be a strong, intelligent woman, with high standards and morals, but I can joke around, be inappropriate, and still have fun.

I love you, Auntie P!
Happy birthweek!

Now, hop on over and check out the other confessions with Leslie over at A Blonde Ambition.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

I love showing off what my talented friends are up to in the kitchen and with their crafts because I happen to be surrounded by very talented people!

Today, I'm featuring my dear friend, Melissa's, 
Crock Pot Chicken & Dumplings recipe.

Before we get to that, let me tell you a little bit about Mel.
She had to squat down to get this picture because she's 6' tall and I'm clearly not.

Anyhow, she's been one of my dearest friends for years.
This is one of my favorite family pictures of theirs.

Not only is Mel a mom, wife and nurse, she's got a huge heart, would do anything for her family or friends, and is a fantastic cook!
When I moved away from St. Louis, Mel's cooking (and company of course) was one of the things I missed most.
If anyone who isn't blogging should blog, it would be Mel with a blog of all of her yummy recipes!

She made this crock pot dish for her family yesterday.
She said they were scrambling to get seconds to finish every last bit.
I can't wait to try it myself.

Mel's Crock Pot Chicken & Dumplings
1# boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 Tbsp butter
2 cans condensed cream of chicken soup
1 can chicken broth
1/2 medium onion, diced (more if you like)
4 large flaky refrigerator biscuits (half a can)

Place thawed chicken in a crock pot, top w/butter. Sprinkle diced onion on top. Mix cans of soup & broth well separately & pour over top. Cook on high 4-6 hrs or on low 8 hrs.

After the chicken has cooked for the proper time, cut each biscuit into small pieces (abt 9). Add biscuits & continue to cook 30 mins-1 hr longer. Shred chicken & mix, then serve. Serves 6-8.

Doesn't it look delicious?

Thank you for letting me share your recipe, Mel!

PS: Stay tuned for a post in the near future also featuring Mel and a brave challenge she's undertaken! As soon as she has all of the details together we'll be sharing them all with you.

This recipe is being shared at some of these fun link-ups.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Today's Oh, How Pinteresting is dedicated to my latest favorite sassy eCards.

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And my most favorite one yet...
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I bet you can't tell by these cards that I'm feeling sassy today.
You're welcome.

You can find all of my pins here.
Now hop on over and see Michelle at The Vintage Apple to see all the other pinning madness.