Archive for November, 2010

Oh boy…

…I had a lot of steam.  I had a lot of momentum.  I was an organizing, crafting, sewing, working fiend.  I had plans of posts and ideas and creativity coming out my ears.  Then it happened.  My camera lens broke and a smidge of the steam left (I was sooo sad).  Then a girl at work quit and my workload increased.  I slipped back into survival mode.  One day at a time.  It’s working but I really miss my lens and I really want to finish my projects.  For now I will focus on the fact that MazzyBelle is about 1/3 full (and the fact that I get to watch Miss Beautiful Mazzy all day today).  The other items will come, in time.  I am just proud I was able to make a bunch of these lovelies:

And I was glad I came up with a big girl’s version of which I’ve sold 8 already!  So please be patient with me.  If all goes well I’ll be back in that craft room lickity split!

P.S….a few people have asked how I came up with the name MazzyBelle for my Etsy store.  Mazzy is the beautiful baby girl of my friend, Gretchen.  I first made these dresses for Mazzy so when I decided to take everyone’s advice and try selling them, it only seemed fitting I name the store after Miss Mazzy.  Her middle name isn’t Belle but she’s a true southern Belle in my eyes.

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November 30, 2010 at 2:44 pm Leave a comment

First tutorial…

…on dark chocolate truffles….mmmmm.

I have been making these and selling these for years.   I realize it is a little intimidating to some but beg of you to hang in there, it’s super easy as long as you have the right information.  First, rules on working with chocolate:

  • keep chocolate away from water and wooden spoons
  • to avoid chocolate looking ‘frosted’ or white, melt half the chocolate for dipping completely and then add the other half and stir like crazy.  You can heat it up another 30 seconds at a time in the microwave until smooth but definitely melt the first half and then add the second, you’ll get shiny, beautifuly chocolate everytime.

That’s it.  Really, that’s it.  Now for the recipe which will make 30-33 truffles:

In a microwave melt together:

  • 7 oz. chocolate (you decide, I use dark chocolate)
  • 2 c powdered sugar (I recommend sifting it but you don’t have to)
  • 3/8 c heavy cream (also known as whipping cream)
  • 4 1/2 oz. butter
  • dash of salt

Chocolate melts when stirred so stir, stir, stir!  I usually microwave for one minute, stir and then 30 seconds, stir, 30 seconds…you get the point, right?  When you’re done, it should look like this:

Refrigerate for 2-24 hours (I prefer the 24 hours).  Scoop out with a small cookie scoop.  You can roll them but it’s super messy and I don’t prefer it.

Now is when you want to keep some refrigerated and some out and ready to dip.  Melt your chocolate (I melt two bags = 28 ounces).  This is where you melt the one bag and then add the second (see above) and stir like crazy until it’s all smooth and beautiful.  You can dip them either by using two spoons and passing the truffle back and forth or by using a fork (don’t pierce it, just let the chocolate ooze down the tines).

For the drizzle, melt white chocolate and forget about fancy piping bags, use a ziploc.  I cut a small bit of the corner off and drizzle away.  Make the drizzles go off the truffles, it looks better that way.

Let everything dry and harden and then clean up the edges and package.  You’re ready to make people think you are the queen of all things chocolate; they’ll be so impressed!

Not interested in making truffles yourself?  I opened an Etsy shop!  (gasp, sigh, sweat, breathe)  You can visit it and purchase some there.  www.MazzyBelle.etsy.com

November 23, 2010 at 3:06 pm Leave a comment

Get Closer….

….seriously. Remember?  Today is the day!  Me + a need for dog food = the perfect excuse to go to Target and slip the CD in my cart.  Counting the minutes until I can go….

(Source)

November 16, 2010 at 7:25 pm Leave a comment

WOW is all I can say…

…I made it through my major goals for last week.  This week’s list is considerably smaller because work is considerably busier.  But let me tell you…this writing down the goals for the week on the calendar is just what this girl needed.  I had been so busy for so long with work that when I wasn’t working, I didn’t know what to do with myself.  I knew there was stuff to do, but I couldn’t think of what is was.  So I wrote a long list in a clear-headed moment and am taking it in bite-size chunks so I don’t overwhelm or exhaust myself.

I had some neglected areas in my home which honestly, I think are better than having neglected people in my home so I’ve given myself some slack for letting it get so bad.  If you don’t know me, you don’t know that the folks at the Good Will drop-off site know me by name.  When I arrive, “Hi Mrs. B, side door or back?” is what they say because they see me twice a month.  I’m not a hoarder, I’m not a pack rat, I purge on a regular basis.  That is why this week was so shocking to me.  Here is last week’s progress around our neck of the woods…

My closet before (don’t judge):

…and after:

Lesson Learned:  I am a blessed girl and I do have plenty to wear.  The amount of scarves and sweaters are proof that from October until April I am never warm.

Spice shelf in cupboard that was a total pain in the butt:

Spice shelf that is now far more functional:

Lesson Learned: turntables (aka lazy susans) are essential for spice cabinets.  Splitting your savory spices from your baking spices in plastic containers is genius (pat yourself on the back) because now when you’re baking you can pull out one container and find what you need instead of rummaging through everything else in the cupboard searching for that elusive cinnamon.  Also?  Your husband?  He needs an intervention.  He is a spice addict and must be put on a buying ban until he uses up what he’s already purchased.

Just for kicks, I threw in the junk drawer in the kitchen as a little bonus:

Playroom closet that was spilling outside of the closet:

(Oh gaaaa….this was absolutely the most overwhelming task I took on)

The bliss that is now:

Lesson learned: if you ever move again, don’t let one box sit unpacked for nearly 5 1/2 years.  Even though you know what is in it and you know you don’t need it for daily life, do yourself a favor and unpack it anyway.  The regular purging you do?  It’s a good thing because this would have been AWFUL had you not been on top of it.  As it is, this led to at least 2 other projects to get the task completed.  It took 7 hours on a Sunday.  7.  Ridiculous.  Don’t do this to yourself again.

Final count for the week: 1 bag and 1 large box of trash.  8 large bags to Good Will.  Approximately $30 for organizational items (kitchen and garage) purchased at Target and Wal-mart.

November 15, 2010 at 7:29 pm 1 comment

It happens every year…

… at about this time for I don’t know how long; 14 years??  And last night because I had a random dream that I was surrounded by people doing illegal things while Ashley Ann and I made caramel corn, I figured now is the moment for the first batch of the season.  A little late for us, but just in time for the campfire banquet we’re throwing tonight for Powell’s cross country team.

It’s my mother-in-law’s recipe and it’s delicious.

  • 15 c popped popcorn (1/2 cup unpopped and it CAN’T be microwave popcorn)
  • 1/4 c light corn syrup
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 c brown sugar, packed
  • 1 c butter
  • 1/2 t baking soda

Heat oven to 200 degrees.  Place popcorn in a large roasting pan or two smaller baking dishes. In a saucepan, heat all ingredients EXCEPT the baking soda, until bubbly around edges.  Continue to boil for 5 minutes (be careful at this step because it will easily boil over the top if you don’t keep an eye on it).  Remove from heat and stir in the baking soda until foamy.  pour over the popcorn and mix it all up.

Bake one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  I recommend turning it out onto parchment paper when you’re done because it gets extremely sticky and will not come out of the pan if it cools in there.

Now I’m off to make mine to celebrate another great season of running….

What could be better than that?  Doing it while I get to babysit this wee little angel who I adore with all my heart and is now smiling and playing and cooing…

November 11, 2010 at 3:11 pm Leave a comment

Making a list…

…and it will definitely be checked twice!  While I couldn’t quite go there to buy the Christmas box of tissues at Target on Friday (I think my comment was, ‘I haven’t even done Thanksgiving, please don’t ask me to think of Christmas yet’), I can and MUST go there to start the Christmas lists and organizing.  Maybe it’s all the eye candy I’m seeing online right now or maybe it’s that I make 90% of what we give at Christmas, but I have to get crackin’.

Work always slows down drastically at this time of year and I want to take full advantage of it.  It’s been so, so busy that the break is welcome but it has also caused a few problems for me.  See, I don’t know what to do with myself anymore if I’m not working.  Hence, list-making and if you know me at all you know that I love a good list.  So here goes, I will have a notebook for Christmas lists and I will have a list on the calendar for each week.  The Christmas lists will include:

  • details for our 3, count them 3 Christmas parties we are hosting this year (Tim’s Bible study, Tim’s managers who work for him and the annual Gingerbread House party)
  • lists of who gets what
  • lists of what I want to do this season as a family
  • what I need to make (with a deadline) and what I want to make

Here are some ‘hope to makes’:

I hope to do this in a different color scheme but I think it’s adorable and so easy, check out the tutorial here. 


I love Ali; she inspires me in a way not many others can.  Yet another tutorial here if you’re interested. 

And this, I always make caramel corn this time of year but I think my kids (especially Powell) would die over this Cinnamon Bun Popcorn.  Recipe here

The list on the calendar will be far less exciting; more like ‘clean out playroom closet’ and a reminder each day to take a picture for my December Daily album.  Yep, doing it again this year.  Skipped last year (on purpose) but am excited to do it again!  Half of the ‘shell’ is made and it may or may not require Gretchen coming back over to finish it up!

All in all I’m very excited and looking forward to a great holiday season this year.  So wish me luck, say a little prayer and I’ll let you know how things are going (I’ll even give sneaky peeks of the projects as I finish them as long as they don’t give away who is getting what).

November 7, 2010 at 1:01 pm Leave a comment

My new and unusual obsession…

(Source)

Strange for me, I know.  But I love Zenyatta.  I’m fairly obsessed with her and I’ve never even paid attention to horse racing before.  It started about 18 months ago when I was watching show on Animal Planet, Jockeys.  I really liked Mike Smith and he was vying for a chance to race Zenyatta and he thought she was so special.  It seems that was a nugget of information that got tucked away in my brain because when the show ended, I actually looked online to see how Zenyatta was doing and if Mike was still racing her.  Thus began my love affair with an enormous mare.

I’ve been trying to figure out what I love about her and I think it’s a combination of many things but overall, I think I see so much of what I hope is in myself, in her.  First, she’s gentle which is very rare for a race horse.  Most are tempermental but not Zenyatta.  She has up to 14 people a day working with her and unlike most race horses, fans can approach her without fear of being stomped.  I’m sure part of this is that she knows how loved she is.  She is never alone; someone even sleeps with her.  I don’t think I would like the never alone part but I love that she knows how loved she is and she allows it to relax her.

Another trait I find endearing?  She waits.  She goes into a race and waits.  She never takes the lead first but she knows full well the entire time what she is doing and that she can win but she doesn’t feel a need to show it off.  She just patiently waits in the back of the pack and when Mike says, ‘go’ she does.  I love it.  She knows who she is and what she is capable of and she doesn’t have to prove it to a single soul.  Mike says he still doesn’t think he’s seen her at full throttle which makes me love her even more; she knows how to hold back, she has self discipline.

I am coming off an extremely long and busy year.  Not a bad year but a very busy year with a lot of pressure and a lot of requirement.  Somewhere in that year I lost the ability to take care of myself as I went from task to task making sure everything was taken care of.  In the past 2 weeks I have been very focused to regain some time for myself, connect with my thoughts and regroup.  I have been reminded that I too am self disciplined, I’m patient and I don’t have a need to throw my talents up in other people’s faces.  I am, for the most part, free of concern of what anybody outside of my cricle of trust thinks about me.  But here is the thing: I don’t relax easily.  I think that is what I am so attracted to in Zenyatta.  That is the quality she possesses that I want to grasp.  I have mastered being mellow but I’ve not yet mastered relaxing and easing up on myself.

On Saturday hopefully we will see history made as Zenyatta wins the Breeder’s Cup.  It will mean she retires with a 20:0 record.  Never been done by a mare.  I know everyone around her knows she can do it and I think she agrees with them.

November 4, 2010 at 1:05 pm Leave a comment

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