Monday, October 26, 2020

Halloween Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Icing

My oldest daughter turned 6 this month. I usually make a cake from scratch or alter a cake mix or go all out with the cake decor. Since I was making the cake with a 2 1/2 week old baby in the house, I needed to try to make an easier cake this year. This is what came out!

The cake is Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge box mix. It's a yummy cake and so much quicker and easier than the chocolate cakes I usually make from scratch. Yes, I prefer my scratch cakes, but if you put enough icing, any cake tastes delicious!

The icing is the one thing that's homemade. I'm an icing fan, so I think it's worth the bit of extra work to make your own instead of using store bought. The peanut butter icing recipe is from Brown Eyed Baker, and I covered the cake with her chocolate ganache recipe, too (in the same post as the icing recipe).

I knew I wouldn't have time to make my own cake decorations since I was home alone with a newborn. Thank goodness Halloween candy is out right now and comes in different shapes and colors! I used Reese's peanut butter pumpkins, bats, and ghosts. They all kind of looked liked blobs, so I used icing gel to differentiate them. The gel melted a bit on the bats, so you still can't tell they're bats 😂.  I used lollipop sticks (from Michael's, I think) to put the Reese's on the cake. I had the sprinkles already, but I think they're still available at Walmart with the fall cake items. The gold candles are from Walmart. The number 6 is a Wilton candy piece from Michael's. On the front of the cake is "Witch's Brew" Kit Kat green candy bars, and candy corn is along the back of the cake. The candy corn "leaked" a bit in the fridge. Let's pretend that's part of the Halloween aesthetic. 

The cake was yummy and perfect for an October birthday. If you have the time and the motivation, I definitely recommend making the cake from scratch. If you're short on time, the Duncan Hines mix is a good substitute. You don't have to tell anyone that it's a mix! The icing is good by itself...on a case you wondered.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Nursery Tour

As we get ready to welcome our second baby into the world, we have finally finished her nursery. If you recognize the room, it's because this was the same room our first baby came home to (see that tour here). We remodeled a room in our house to move our oldest daughter into, and I'll share that soon. Today let's take a look around this re-decorated room for our new little girl.

Rattan Pendant Light (be sure to use Rakuten to get cash back on this purchase)

The cube system was bought at Walmart six years ago.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Nursery Decor Using Scrapbook Paper

If this picture could talk, it would tell a tale of a command strip betrayal.😖

This picture is hanging over the baby’s crib and was simply made with some scrapbook paper. The floral paper and gold paper are from Hobby Lobby. The pink paper is Martha Stewart textured paper from Michael’s. I used my Cricut to cut out the name.

I was trying to avoid putting nails in the wall, so I originally hung it up with command strips. The frame fell and busted, so I had to order another frame. I bought the first frame on closeout at Michael’s, and it’s no longer available. The replacement frame came from Amazon and had a crack and slight bow at the top, so I can’t recommend it. I was too frustrated with the whole saga to send it back, though.😝

The good news is it didn’t fall on the baby. And yes, now there are holes in the wall.😜

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Burlap Banner for Nursery

Initially I thought this could hang on our hospital door when our baby is born, but since it will be just me and Colin at the hospital for the delivery, the banner will probably greet our little one when she arrives home. Nothing like having a baby during a pandemic, huh?😆

I stitched up the little burlap banner on my Janome sewing machine and personalized it with the Cricut Maker.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Monogrammed Wood Round

Are you really having a baby in the south if✨something✨isn’t monogrammed? Here’s a little something I made for the nursery. 
The wood round is from Lowe’s. The glitter wreath is Cricut iron-on. The monogram is removeable vinyl from Hobby Lobby. I used my Cricut to cut the wreath and monogram. The empty white frame is from Ikea, and it will be filled with a picture of my girls once the little one arrives!

I’m 9 months pregnant and have just a few weeks to my due date. We’re ready for little sister to be here!

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Video: Recreating Instagram "Princess" Filter

Products Used:

✳︎Tarte tarteist PRO glow highlight & contour palette:

✳︎E.l.f. Cosmetics Small Stipple Brush:

✳︎Wet n Wild Flat Top Brush:

✳︎Fenty Beauty By Rihanna Pro Filt'r Hydrating Longwear Foundation:

✳︎Bare Minerals Serum Bronzer

✳︎Real Techniques Sponge:

✳︎Maybelline Fit Me Concealer:

✳︎It Cosmetics Brow Power:

✳︎NYX Control Freak Eyebrow Gel:

✳︎Cover Girl Brow and Eye Makers Pencil:

✳︎Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush in Natural Beauty:

✳︎Huda New Nude:

✳︎Julep When Pencil Met Gel Long-Lasting Eyeliner:

✳︎Tarte Travel Size Maneater Liquid Liner:

✳︎Lancôme Monsieur Big Volumizing Mascara:

✳︎NYX Professional Makeup Suede Matte Lip Liner:

✳︎FENTY BEAUTY by Rihanna Mattemoiselle Plush Matte Lipstick in Thicc:

✳︎Milani Color Statement Lipstick in Matte Naked:

Monday, August 31, 2020

Star + Clouds Baby Mobile

When I was pregnant with my first daughter six year ago, I made her a mobile.  It was a cloud with stars hanging down. Now that I'm pregnant with our second daughter, I wanted to do something similar but different. So, I made a star with clouds hanging. Genius, huh? ;)

There is a tutorial for the first mobile I made here.

There will not be a tutorial for this mobile. I made it while juggling a few other projects and didn't take the time to document the steps. I also found there were a few things I would do differently if I were to do it again.  But I will let you know about the materials in case you want to attempt something similar!

The star is made from glitter canvas. I bought two 8.5x11 sheets at Hobby Lobby. There were in the section with felt sheets. I cut the sheets into stars and then sewed them together. I used glossy Mod Podge to seal the glitter so it wouldn't shed and fall into the crib.

The clouds are cut from faux leather that I've had-- the same faux leather used to make the stars on the first mobile. I painted the clouds white and sealed them with glossy Mod Podge to keep the paint from peeling.

Also like the first mobile, I used guitar strings. These particular strings were brand new, so they still have some stretching to do not to curl up.

The raindrops are cut from Hobby Lobby fabric I used to make the baby blanket. I may go back later and hand stitch around them to add interest. But we'll see about that.

Working with the glitter canvas was a bit of a challenge to hand sew the guitar strings to it. I used E6000 to reinforce where I stitched. I stuffed the star with two plastic grocery bags to give it some dimension.

It was a labor of love. And sometimes frustration. Once the guitar strings straighten out, it will look a bit more polished.

Just a few more weeks and we'll have a little one staring up at it!

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Video: Chatty GRWM (Life Update + Channel Chat)

I'm chatting about life and this channel while slapping some makeup on my face! Below are the makeup products I used. I have linked to them to make them easy to find. If you purchase through the link, I earn a small percentage (like a few pennies). Here's my two cents (ha)-- buy when the products are on sale! I usually only buy when products are on major sale, including drugstore items.

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion Original

Maybelline Fit Me Concealer in 05 Ivory

Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Volume II Eyeshadow Palette (Shades: Marina + Siren)

Real Techniques Deluxe Crease Brush

Elf Crease Brush

Elf Lip Brush (used for eyeliner)

Becca Backlight Priming Filter

IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Compact in Light

Real Techniques Sponge

Tarte Tarteist Pro Glow (Used cream bronzer in Shade and highlights in Lit, Strobe, and Stunner)

Elf Small Stipple Brush

Wet n Wild Flat Top Brush

Wet n Wild Stipple Brush

It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Illumination Powder in Radiant Translucent

Essence The Blush in 10 Befitting

NYX Suede Matte Lip Liner in Milan

Fenty Beauty Mattemoiselle in Candy Venom

It Cosmetics Brow Power in Universal Taupe

Benefit Gimme Brow in 3

Rimmel Brow This Way Styling Gel (clear)

Essence Volume Booster Lash Primer

Lancôme Monsieur Big Mascara

Mac Prep and Prime Fix+

Monday, August 10, 2020

Baby Blanket for Our Little One on the Way

In about 2 months, we'll be welcoming a little one into our family. I had a few things I needed to get made before she arrives, and I started with this blanket. The middle patterned fabric is some I got at Walmart awhile ago. If your Walmart looks anything like the ones here, the fabric section is almost empty thanks to the pandemic. The blue dotted, orange dotted, and solid pink fabric is from Hobby Lobby, and I got it a couple weeks ago.

We don't have the nursery set up yet (working on that this week!), so here's the blanket laid out on our guest bed.
I didn't create a tutorial for this project since I'm just focused on getting things done right now and checked off the list before I go into labor! Here's a rough sketch with rough measurements in case you want to make a similar blanket. I did a 1/2 seam allowance, and that's included in the measurements. You might want to ignore the three measurements at the very top and just focus on the measurements on the actual sketch.
After finishing the blanket, I completed a few more nursery projects. Now we just need to put together the crib and set up the nursery!

Saturday, August 08, 2020

Video: Mask Makeup: Rosy, No Foundation Look Using Julep Products

I've been going foundation free quite a bit this summer since I've been wearing a mask (isn't 2020 weird?!). Here's a simple look I've been doing using Julep makeup products. Julep Products Used: ✹Blank Canvas Mattifying Treatment Primer
✹It’s Balm Full-Coverage Lip Crayon in Shades Sepia Mauve Creme and Blossom Pink Creme ✹It’s Whipped Matte Lip Mousse in Shade: Pillow Talk ✹Cushion Complexion Foundation + Concealer in Shade ✹Skip the Brush Blush Crème-to-Powder Blush Stick in Shades: Passionfruit and Sheer Glow ✹When Pencil Met Gel Eyeliner in Shade: Rich Brown ✹Finishing Brush


Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Video: Little Red River at JFK Campground | Heber Springs, Arkansas

Last week we went with my parents for a day and a half to the Little Red River at the John F. Kennedy Campground in Heber Springs, Arkansas. This video shows just a snippet of the area. In addition to the campground and river, there’s a visitor center, dam, fish hatchery, and Collins Creek you can visit at this location. There's also a swimming area nearby on Greers Ferry Lake. On this trip we took my parents' small camper to have a place to relax, eat, and use the restroom. There are public restrooms and picnic areas available. We didn't sleep overnight as we wouldn't all fit in the camper. My parents have a house in Greers Ferry which is nearby so we drove back there for the night. My parents have a discount to all U.S. Corps of Engineers campgrounds, so they reserved a camping space so we could all really enjoy our two days at the river and relax. I'm six months pregnant, so it was nice to have air conditioning available in the camper when I started swelling and to have a place to sit and nap when we got a rainstorm on the second day. My parents brought our daughter camping here last month, and she absolutely loved it. Info on JFK Park (and why it's named after JFK): JFK Campground: Collins Creek:

Monday, June 29, 2020

Video: Quarantine Complexion Using Wet n Wild Makeup

I haven't been wearing much makeup since COVID19 hit the United States. I haven't left the house much, and when I do, I wear a mask. This is one of the looks I've been sporting when I do wear makeup. I haven't been wearing mascara, since the steam (ha!) from my mask makes my mascara melt. In this video I used five makeup products from Wet n Wild and one of their brushes. Wet n Wild is extremely affordable and makes so many products I love to use. What are your favorite Wet n Wild products? Products Used: -Wet n Wild Photofocus Stick Foundation in Shell Ivory -Wet n Wild Megaglo Makeup Stick Contour in Where's Walnut? -Wet n Wild Flat Top Brush -Wet n Wild Megalast Lip Color in Spiked with Rum -Wet n Wild Coloricon Brow Pencil in Blonde Moments -Wet n Wild Megalast Liquid Catsuit Matte Lipstick in Rebel Rose

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Family Vacation in St. Louis (with video)

Back in October, we went to St. Louis for a few days for a little family vacation and to celebrate Harlow turning five a few days later.

What we did (in order in the video):

--Grant's Farm: It's technically free, but you have to pay for parking (sooo, it's not really free). It was cool to see the horses, but most of our time was spent waiting in line to get in and waiting in line to get out. You can't just walk in and out like a theme park. You have to ride a tram through woods, which means you get to see wild animals, but we felt a little trapped once we got in. The food choices weren't great for people with food allergies or children, and it was very crowded. We probably won't be back.

--St. Louis Zoo: We loved it and spent a full day there! We have a Little Rock zoo membership, so we got a discount to the things that cost money (children's zoo, train, pet stingrays, ride carousel), but entry to the rest of the zoo is free for all. Check to see if your hometown zoo membership gets you perks to other zoos like St. Louis. We would definitely go back.
--Fozzie's Sandwich Shop: I got the Club Veg sandwich, and it was one of the best things I've ever eaten.
--St. Louis Science Center: Admission is free, and we parked for free on the planetarium side. We explored that side first then walked the sky bridge over to the other side. There's so much to do, and I couldn't believe it was free. The food was expensive and terrible and they didn't get our order right. We were starving and had to have lunch here, but I would try to plan around not being here during a meal.
--Gateway Arch National Park: We went into the basement to see the museums and visit the shop. We didn't go up into the Arch, because it was pricey, and I wasn't sure how we would do in the little pods. We might try it when she's older. There was still a lot to see, and it was free. We got yummy snacks while we were here.

--We drove over the state line to say that we had been in Illinois..haha. There wasn't anything on that side of town, and it was sadly pretty rundown.

--Trattoria Marcella: Colin got lasagna and loved it. I got fried chicken livers on risotto, and I still dream about that meal. It was a cozy atmosphere, and our waitress was incredible. I want to go back to St. Louis just for this meal.

--The City Museum: This was the most we spent on an activity (since the rest were free or discounted!) on this trip. It was so fun! We could have spent more time there. We were there more than half a day, and it wasn't enough, but we had to drive back home. We should have dressed in clothes that we didn't care messing up and should have brought knee pads and gloves (they sell them but we didn't buy them). We would definitely go back. We didn't pay extra for the roof, because we were told it was for kids that were a little older, and it turned out we wouldn't have had time.

There weren't any baseball games when we went, but that would be a fun thing to add to a trip. They were also about to open the new aquarium right after our trip. We had a hotel room with a fridge and microwave so some of our meals could be had there (leftovers and trip to grocery store) to save a little money. I also brought snacks and bottled water to keep in my backpack/purse to have at all of our outings. We would 100% go back for another family vacation to St. Louis.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Books: Read in 2019 + Goals for 2020

In 2019 I set a goal of reading 24 books (shooting for 2 books a month). I wound up reading 60 books if you include what books of the Bible I read. If you take out the individual books of the Bible I read at the beginning of the year and only count me reading the Bible once through as a whole for the year plus add the fiction and nonfiction books I read, it means I read a total of 34 books in 2019. I was really motivated to read as much as I could. I definitely could have read more if I had put down my phone more often or watched zero tv. Overall, though, I'm happy with how I exceeded my goal.


What I Read in 2019:
The Message Solo Devotional (Bible readings plus devotional readings)
The Knowing Jesus Study Bible (It took me three years, and I finally finished it in 2019. It's a Bible with daily devotions and study notes.)
1 John
2 John
3 John
2 Peter
1 Peter
2 Timothy
2 Thessalonians
1 Thessalonians
2 Corinthians
1 Corinthians

2020 Reading Plan:
For 2020 I have decided not to necessarily set a goal or fret about numbers. I'm going to shoot for at least one book a month. I know that's half of last year's goal and even further behind what I actually read last year. This year I want to focus on some other life goals, and when it comes to reading, I want to dig even deeper into Bible study. That means my overall numbers will be lower, but I will probably be spending the same amount of time reading if not even more.  I also plan to read books that have been on my shelf that I haven't yet read or haven't read in several years. If there is a new book (or new to me) that I want to read, I first have to see if it's available for free on Kindle, Overdrive, Hoopla, Apple Books (and so on), or see if it's available to check out at my library or request that my library get it. I don't want to read less, but I want to spend less money and use free resources.

I keep track of what I read on the Goodreads app. Come find me and friend me if you also use Goodreads!

And head on over to Facebook and Instagram to share what you loved reading in 2019 or what you plan to read in 2020!

Friday, January 17, 2020

Video: Hot Springs, Arkansas

We went to Hot Springs, Arkansas for a couple days/nights back in June 2019. Yep, I'm just getting around to editing and uploading the video. #busylife

If you're wondering why we didn't do a bath, it's because I have a health condition that's aggravated by heat. It was already hot and humid in June, and we spent most of our time outside. I didn't need to add to my swelling and pain with a hot bath. Even a warm bath at home causes me to swell, and it's not near as hot as a thermal bath! If you're visiting Hot Springs, you should definitely visit a bathhouse. The baths are affordable and something you definitely should consider!
On our trip, we checked out Bathhouse Row, shopped all the local stores down the strip (Bathhouse Soapery is a favorite of mine), ate at Steinhaus Keller (and loved it), The Pancake Shop, an Italian restaurant in another part of town that we disliked so much that I didn't show it, Will's (yum!), and Superior Bathhouse Brewery (get the pretzel!). We also spent several hours walking around Garvan Woodland Gardens. It's such a neat place.
We stayed here: airbnb near Bathhouse Rose, and you get can get $55 off your airbnb stay (anywhere you'd like!) by clicking this link and signing up (new accounts only): discount on your first airbnb stay
Arkansas adventure playlist: see more of our Arkansas adventures

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Are You Following Me?

Are you following me on Facebook or Instagram? If not, let's be friends! I post there pretty often, sharing craft projects, travel adventures, recipes, home decor, and Bible study notes. Just click the links to find me and come say hi!

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Psalm 145: Adore the Depth

Last month I was working my way through Psalm 145, studying everything I could about it. One Bible study tool that’s extremely helpful is to define as many words as you can in a passage. Look up words you don’t know, of course, but also look up words that may be familiar. We sometimes have a wrong idea about a word, and we can definitely always learn more about a word. Verse 3 of Psalm 145 says, “Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.” My idea of the word fathom was to imagine or to understand. When I looked up the word, the definition for fathom as a verb meant to measure the depth of, to penetrate the truth of, to comprehend, and, yes, to understand. As a noun, fathom is a nautical measurement. It’s a way to measure the depth of water. Doesn’t that have so much more meaning than just “imagine” on its own? God’s greatness cannot be fathomed— cannot be measured, understood, comprehended. I started thinking of it in nautical terms and the fact that humans are still trying to explore, measure, and learn about the bottom of the ocean. There are sea creatures yet to be discovered and depths that we cannot see. Even as we fathom and understand what we see, there is so much more than we cannot fathom or measure. The thought of too-great-to-measure greatness describes God. Even when we see his greatness, it’s just a glimpse, just a small amount of what we can measure. There is more to Him than we can ever comprehend.

Matthew Henry says of Psalm 145:3, “When we cannot, by searching, find the bottom, we must sit down at the brink, and adore the depth.”

When I cannot see the bottom of a vast canyon that seems so overwhelming and awe-inspiring, I can sit at the edge and revel at what I see, knowing there is so much more. When the ocean seems to never end and the depths seem so deep, I can sit at the water’s edge and absorb the fact that there is so much beyond my knowing and grasping. And I can be amazed. I can adore the depth. That is God. Amazing, deep, beyond my grasping. That’s the God that loves me. That’s the God I love.

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