Thursday, July 28, 2011

Progress and Excitement

Just have to add the 3D dots to give it some depth
and then I can mail it to my nephew, in time for his birthday.
I'll actually be on time FOR ONCE!

And, guess what came in the mail today...

 Yep. That's right. My rock-awesome shoes.
 I was so excited, it was ridiculous.
I want to wear them to bed...
But I won't.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Web Wed

I love Halloween. And not in a small, looking-forward-to-candy way. I mean in a I-already-have-our-costumes-planned-and-am-working-on-decorations way. Yep. You read right. I know what we're all going to be on the big night. And it's only the end of July. Looking around, I found a blog that has tons of great ideas for cheap decorating ideas. He even says, "Feel free to borrow [this label] if you like... If anyone actually uses my label, send me a picture. I'd love to see it." I love bloggers like that. They know they have a great thing, and they share it. Just fabulous. Here are just a few things he's made that I fully plan on re-creating myself this All Hallows Eve:

Flameless candle from a small pumpkin tea light, toilet paper tube, hot glue gun, and paint.

 A dripping severed head. A little gory, but still so cool!

Mummy Dust-this is just a picture he took of window displays at Disneyland, but it would be fairly easy to recreate something similar.

 How to give a newer book an old look and feel.

(He shows you how to make the plaques on the bottles for both this one and the Ectoplasm.)

Fun, right? So, here it is:

He's also an amazing sketch artist, and he has the cutest niece that makes appearances in his blog from time to time. He has designed sets on tv shows, designed landscapes for HGTV, he's even been known to knit. Alone. In the dark.
Really, this guy does it all.
Don't just read the most recent blog posts. Go back and look through most of his stuff if you can. I've spent the past few days going through his entire blog (yes, from 2011 all the way back to 2005) and really enjoyed it. If I didn't have to pump and feed a 4 month-old every few hours, I wouldn't have had the chance, I'm sure. So thanks to my baby V for letting me feed him. {:
And thank heavens for Dave and his awesome blog, tuts, and fun inexpensive ideas.

Cake, Cake, and Cake. Oh, and did I mention cake?

Today, I will be making cake. Two in fact. I have a Relief Society bbq tonight and I'm in charge of dessert, which makes me really happy. I LOVE making desserts. Almost any kind. And while I'm a little ashamed to say these won't be made from scratch, (big shoutout to Pillsbury) they still taste great. I've been told a couple times that I when I make a cake from a box, I do a great job of making it taste homemade. So, I'm hoping these turn out that way today.

The first cake I'll be making is called Better Than Sex cake, but since this is a church function, I've been calling it Procreating. G-rated for the sisters, of course.

Here's the gist:

  • 2 boxes of chocolate cake mix (any chocolate will do)
  • ingredients called for on boxes (usually eggs, oil, and water)
  • Large mixing bowl, preferably with cup measurements
  • spatula
  • 11x17 (or 12x16) cookie sheet (with raised edges)
  • hand mixer or wire whisk
  • 1/2 can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 bag of Heath pieces or 4 Skor bars crushed to pieces
  • 1 tub of Cool Whip (I'm using the 16 oz for both cakes, so an 8 oz if you're only making one
  • butter knife
Preheat the oven to 350degF. Spray your pan with Pam, or coat it with shortening and flour. Mix both boxes of cake mix and their ingredients together. You'll end up with about 10 cups of batter, but you won't be using all of it. Pour about 7 1/2 cups in. That's 1 1/2 cakes if you think about it.
Bake it for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
After it has cooled, cut jagged lines just on the top of the entire cake and drizzle the sweetened condensed milk over the cuts so that it can soak through the cake. You don't need much, but this cake is not about what you need. It's about what you want. And because we're talking about chocolate cake, you might as well make it the way you want and pour it on, right?
Sprinkle the candy bar pieces over the entire cake. Serve immediately with Cool Whip or refrigerate until serving. 

I'm not entirely sure how this cake's name came about, but I think it has something to do with the sounds people emit while eating it. Just a guess though.

Now, onto the Sinful Strawberry cake.

  • 2 boxes of white cake mix
  • ingredients called for on box (eggs, oil, water, etc.)
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 can strawberry pie filling
  • Cool Whip
  • large bowl
  • spatula
  • hand mixer
  • 11x17 (or 12x16) cookie sheet (raised edges, of course)
  • butter knife
Preheat oven to 350degF.
Yet again, mix the boxes of cake mix with the oil, eggs, and water.
Add the pie filling, but don't use a whisk or hand mixer. I like to fold it in with a spatula so that there are still big chunks of strawberries in the cake. If you don't like chunks, use the hand mixer.
Pour onto your greased pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until you poke it with a toothpick, etc. This one is more moist so it needs extra time. After it has cooled, do the same thing, cutting lines and pouring on the sweetened condensed milk.
You can add fresh cut strawberries thrown with a bit of sugar on top if you want, but I don't have them. Nor do I have the time to go get them, so it's just sugary goodness for us. No pretties. {:
Like with the chocolate version, serve immediately or refrigerate until serving with a dollop of Cool Whip.

With this cake, it was too moist for me. I probably could have added a bit of flour to it and it would have turned out a little better. But at least I know for next time.

Now, for the leftover batter, I'd been dying to try out my new giant cupcake pan (that I got with my free $25 gift card from Steamy Kitchen, remember that?) So, I put the chocolate in the bottom and the strawberry batter in the top. No bueno. I should have switched because even though I sprayed the pan the strawberries still got stuck in the top and it did not come out well. But the girls ate it while I finished getting ready, so no pictures of my screw up. I have one picture of the Procreating cake, but it's not loading very fast so I may upload it later.

After the bbq:

The chocolate cake was a hit. I came home with just 4 pieces left. The ones that tried the strawberry said it was great, but I have tons leftover. However, many of the ladies are chocoholics like unto myself, so that's understandable.
Let me know if you make either of these cakes! You can e-mail me pictures at:
NSisifo (at) yahoo dot com

Friday, July 22, 2011

I'm Back!

Alright, I'm back in the land of the blogging. My internet is fixed, and let me tell you, it was perfect timing. Not even kidding.
See, I'm a member of the site As you can probably guess, I take surveys and get rewarded points, anywhere from 5-500, depending on the length of the survey. I've been saving up my points for something big. I hadn't found anything amazing yet, but I wanted it to be really good. And I mean REALLY GOOD.
You're going to think I'm crazy, but I've had my eyes on these for a while. We're on a REALLY tight budget right now, so they haven't been an option until we're much more stable. But when it comes to footwear, I am in either flip-flops or nothing at all. So these are great for when I need a tiny bit more coverage. (Like when I'm chasing Tornado and Hurricane around. A.k.a. my two oldest kids.)
Anyway, on this MySurvey site, I can redeem my points for Amazon Gift Cards ($10, $15, or $25 increments per so many points) and guess what Amazon
You got it!
My Vibram FiveFinger Classics.
And guess what else...
They had ONE left in my size!
So, guess what I will be getting in the mail in a couple of weeks...

Ask me if I'm stoked. Go ahead, just ask. {:
But I'll get back to regular posts next week. I promise.

*I dare you to look at the related searches and not laugh.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Web Wed (early)

My internet is having fits this week, so I'm posting Web Wednesday early, just in case.

Right now, I'm in love with papercuts. Not the little devils you get from handling paper. No, no, no. I'm talking about this and this. What are they you ask? They are HANDCUT first of all, used for cards, decor, whatever. This woman is amazing. Her blog is Scherenschnitte and she is a papercutter. I just discovered her a couple of days ago, and I spent an hour just looking at ALL of her blog posts. Her talent is insane, her designs are extremely intricate, and let me just tell you, I no longer feel deprived not having a Cricut.

This is a design I am working on right now for my nephew for his birthday next month: Dino Ride. He's into dinosaurs, and even has a huge mural on his wall of a t-rex breaking through, so I thought he'd love this one. I'll post a picture when I'm finished. It's so fun, and while I can only work on it when my girls are asleep, I'm really excited about it!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Framed Wooden Utensils

I have so much old silverware that I was going to try framing some and hanging it up in my kitchen. I found a great tut here. So I went to the DI (Deseret Industries) looking for burlap cloth and a knife that would match the spoon and fork I already had picked out. However, once I arrived at the utensil aisle, I saw the wooden pieces and thought, Maybe that would look better with the table I have in there... So, the silverware idea went into a little folder in the back of my mind (I'll save it for this) and a new one was opened.

What you'll need:

  • Frame
  • Three pieces of wooden utensils
  • Non-slip covering used on shelves
  • Hot glue gun
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors
  • Pen
First, take all of the pieces out of your frame. (Glass, mat, picture, backing, etc.) Then measure and cut the non-slip lining to the same size as the glass. Using the glue stick, glue it to the backing. Place that back in your frame without the glass.
    Now place the wooden utensils on the lining and make a small mark so you'll remember where you want them.
    Line the handle with a strip of hot glue and press firmly. Hot glue dries quickly, so you should only have to hold it for about 15 seconds.
    And you're done!
    Total, this piece cost me about $6 to make. I love it!
    Now I just need to find some vinyl lettering or something to bring it all together.

I linked up to Whipperberry, here.

Homemade Biscuits

Today I made homemade biscuits FROM SCRATCH. This may not be a big deal to some people, but for me this was pretty big. I've never made them like this before. I usually use Bisquick or those cans that you pull the paper off and they pop open. (Does the suspense from opening those scare anybody else?) I was surprised at how quick and easy they were to make. I should have doubled the batch because we ate all 12 for lunch with some beef stew. But at least I know for next time. I go the recipe here from the Hillbilly Housewife, but I'm posting it below so you don't have to go find it if you don't want to.

2 C flour
1 T baking powder
1 t salt
1/3 C shortening
2/3 C milk, buttermilk, OR yogurt
(I added 2 tablespoons of soft spread margarine the second time I made them. They weren't so dry, and the flavor went up a notch.)

  • In a large bowl mix the dry ingredients together. Cut the shortening in with a fork, but leave pea-sized crumbs. (I tried using my hand and it just sucked.)
  • Add the milk and stir it into a soft dough. I put down a piece of freezer paper and sprinkled it with flour. (It makes cleanup much faster.) Then I dropped the dough on it and kneaded 10 times. You don't have to do it much. Just make sure you fold over, push together. Fold over, push together. (That's how you get the flaky layers.)
  • Roll out the dough until it's about 3/4" inch thick. (You can use your hands, but I LOVE my rolling pin. Have I mentioned that before?) If you don't have a biscuit cutter, you can use a can (think soup or tuna.) I used a 1/3 measuring cup for mine. I was able to make 14 biscuits. (When there wasn't enough dough to roll out and cut anymore, I just shaped it into two little biscuit balls.) 
  • Throw them in a 425 degree oven for 10-15 minutes. If you want them to look pretty, melt some butter and brush it on the tops of them.

It sounds like a lot of steps, but I promise it goes by quickly.

Crumbly flour.

 Floured surface. (freezer or waxed paper)

 Dough ball.


Roll out.

Like my biscuit cutter?

1 batch = 14ish...

With the stew.
I know there isn't much on my plate, but it covers the needed food groups.
(Plus, I'd already eaten a few biscuits.) {:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


This week's site seriously has it all. It has a blog, it has recipes, it has a store, it has giveaways... I'm totally in love. I was going to wait until I received the things I ordered (and got for free, by the way) but honestly I'm a little too excited about it. This week, we're all about...

It sounds kind of saucy and naughty, but I promise it's totally family-friendly. Jaden Hair is her name, and she's "a professional recipe developer, food columnist, and food photographer specializing in fast, fresh, and easy recipes for the home cook."
Her recipes look so yummy, and I kid you not, she literally has over 20 giveaways going on RIGHT NOW! You can enter once a day too.
Did I mention that when you sign up to receive her SK store e-mail newsletter, you automatically get a free $25 gift card to the Steamy Kitchen store? I didn't? Huh, well, you do! I used mine on a Giant Cupcake Pan and a Mini Trifle Bowl. I have 11 cents left after shipping and all that jazz. I guess I'll just have to go back and shop, right? {:
I really love this blog. I actually pinned a hundred clearance items on my wishlist on Pinterest. I haven't even started looking at the normally priced items. Anyway, go have a look and fall in love.
Seriously, she's that good.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Pillow Case Dress and a Giveaway!

I'm going to make a pillow case dress for each of my girls. I bought some fabric on sale forever ago and have only used a little bit. Then I found some other that I really like. I want to use both of them, but I'm not sure they look alright together.
the fabric
quick (horrible) sketch that shows which fabric will be used where
I hope it makes sense. It did in my head...
So the straps, the pocket, and the lining on the bottom will be from fabric b, but the main body will be fabric a. Do they clash too much? I don't like matchy fabrics, but I don't want my girls to look like I ate fabric and threw it up. Know what I mean?
Opinions? Suggestions? Free dinners? I'll take anything, really.

Delicious Accidental Brilliance

I hope you're not on a diet. Even if you are, don't worry. I used "lite" sour cream. {:
I may have discovered something amazing here. Last night I decided to make cupcakes because my biological mother, her boyfriend, my little sister, and her friend came up for dinner today. (Yes, my family is large and extended. Someday, I will draw a diagram.) So, I looked at Whipperberry's Amazing Chocolate Cake recipe, and this recipe for Caramel-Filled Chocolate Cupcakes, and subconsciously mixed them up. I had both recipes swimming around in my head, and ended up using ingredients from both. I should have written it down, but they still turned out great and it isn't too far from the originals. This is what I ended up with:
  • 1 box *chocolate cake mix (any chocolate will do) + ingredients called for to make this (oil, water, eggs, etc.)
  • 4 oz chocolate pudding mix (not cook and serve)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 bottle Hershey's Caramel Sauce
  • 1 8oz tub Cool Whip
Preheat oven to 350 degF. Put cake mix, ingredients called for on box, pudding mix, egg, and sour cream in a large bowl and mix well, 2-3 minutes.

Pour just under 1/4 C for each cupcake into cupcake pan. (Use papers! They save time and messes and they come in cute patterns.) Bake for 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Allow cupcakes to cool completely. Using a cookie cutter or a sharp knife, cut 1 inch circles in the tops of each cupcake. Remove circles and pour in two or three teaspoons of caramel syrup. Replace tops. If you aren't going to eat them right away, keep in fridge until ready to serve. The longer they sit, the more gooey the cupcakes get.

Top cupcakes with a dollop of Cool Whip just before serving and enjoy!
(Store leftovers in tightly sealed container in fridge.)

*You can replace the:
  • chocolate cake mix with a white or yellow.
  • chocolate pudding mix with vanilla.
  • caramel syrup with strawberry or chocolate, or even sweetened condensed milk. 
Very versatile by switching around a few ingredients.
I've had three of these today. And there are some left in my fridge that are calling my name. Darnit...

Friday, July 8, 2011

Flash Mob

I have been going to dance practice throughout June for a Flash Mob! I had tons of fun and I was able to hang out with my good friend Bonnie so much more. I'd practice it for about an hour each night (they put up a practice vid on a blog.) I broke it down into four different segments and even wrote down the moves and counts on a paper. I was extremely nervous the entire day, (the 4th of July) but when it came time, I was so stoked! We were up just before the fireworks started at their football stadium, and we presented the flag for the National Anthem as well. (I was the girl holding the flag in the corner where the blue and stars were.) You can't really see me much because the people that took this footage were focusing on their own family/friends, but it was a blast. I can cross that off of my bucket list! I seriously hope everyone has the opportunity to participate in a Flash Mob at least once.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Web Wednesday

I love to write. I like to write short stories, poetry, (obviously) I have blogs. I write in a few different journals and I've submitted a few things to different websites. It's something that I've always loved to do, and I know for a fact that I communicate much easier in writing than I do speaking.

Some days, I have tons of inspiration hitting me from all sides and I have ideas swirling in my head and I have to write them down immediately and... It's just crazy. I end up losing some of it because I can't write/type fast enough.

Other days, not so much. Maybe a thought. Or two. And the rest of the day I'm pretty empty. It's embarrassing, really.

Because of the latter days, I'm always looking for creative writing tips/ideas. I have a Blue Day Notebook that I found at a dollar store. It was 88cent Tuesday, so I bought it for less than a dollar. (I don't know HOW it ended up there, but I'm soooo glad it did.) I'd suggest investing in one of those. I miss Daybooks from high school. I was one of the few in my class that actually looked forward to working in those in my English class.

So for today, I'm focusing on a writing site. It's pretty fun (for someone like me) and I like to go there when I'm in the middle of writer's block.


The site is pretty self-explanatory. They have Grammar Tips, Journal Writing, Writing Exercises, and so much more. The site is easy to navigate and even has a search tool (which I LOVE.)

If you're into writing ANYTHING from poems to novels, short stories to blog entries, there is something there for you. We could all use a little brush up on our grammar skills, I'm sure. {:

Homemade Tortillas

Tonight, the hubs and I made dinner together. Usually, we're running around like crazy people trying to get food ready so the girls can eat and get to bed. Tonight we started early enough that we made something we really wanted, together. And it tasted fabulous. Yes, we could have ran to the store. And yes, we could have just thrown some hotdogs in the microwave. But we had the time and I'll take any excuse whatsoever to use my rolling pin. We found the recipe here, but I'll post it here too.

Here is the recipe and a few pictures:

4 C flour (You can do all white, all wheat, or half and half of each.)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 C shortening
1 to 1 1/4 C water
waxed paper

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut the shortening into the flour. When it looks crumbly, add the water and stir well. (If it looks too dry, add a little bit of water.) When it forms a ball, knead it about 20 times. Let it rest in the bowl around 10 minutes. Form it into 10-12 equal-sized balls. Roll them in flour and place them on the waxed paper. I smashed them with my palm to flatten them out a bit. Then we rolled them as flat as we could. The dough was very elastic and they seemed to bounce back, so ours were a bit thick... Anyway, slap it down on a hot dry skillet. Check it after about 30 seconds for the brown spots. Flip and cook the other side the same way.

From the site:
"Homemade tortillas are not as flexible as store-bought tortillas. To make them more flexible, place them in a plastic bag while still warm, and let them cool right there in the bag. The steam will make them more pliable, and easier to roll up into fancy burrito shapes. This recipe makes about a dozen tortillas."

The hubs rolling out the dough. 
We doubled a batch and had so much leftover.
Did I already mention how much I love my rolling pin...?
Fry until you get the light brown spots.
There really is no better way to say this.  
Dinner is served!
I am not a big fan of tomatoes. Okay, I don't like them. At all. But I want to, I really do. They're pretty. And they smell good. I try them once every year just to make sure I still don't like them. I tried them tonight on the chicken tacos and they weren't too bad. I'm thinking of trying them twice a year, just in case.
And while they aren't my favorite, I love ketchup. {:

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th!

"...Where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is full of stars."
-Henry Van Dyke

One of my all-time favorite floats I have ever seen in a parade, was done by some extended family in my hometown. A few brothers recreated the scene of those six men raising the flag in Iwo Jima. That year, their float took first place and I've never been able to forget it. As you enjoy the parade, the food, your family, and the fireworks, don't forget those men and women that fought so hard to give us this amazing life we enjoy. Remember to thank any military personnel you see. And while this is a day to celebrate this wonderful country we live in, it's also to give thanks to those that got us here.

Freedom isn't free.
We all must pay a price.
Some have paid with tears,
Others with their lives.

"Sure, I wave the American flag. Do you know a better one?"
-John Wayne