Chocolate-Strawberry Cupcakes

If there is one thing they tell you to do, it’s try something new. While baking cupcakes isn’t a new concept for me, I’m not so good at it. It’s really always been a bit of a challenge for me, and I’m not really sure why. So when the January/February 2017 Food Network Magazine came out and they had a whole section devoted to cupcakes for each month, I just knew I had to partake… and at least try.

As we know, I messed up the January cupcakes just a bit… but it was more icing related issues than it was cupcake related issues. And the cupcakes themselves were excellent.

When I saw the cupcakes for this month, I was quite excited. While they don’t want them to be for a special occasion but say a random Tuesday, these cupcakes scream Valentine’s Day to me. No, I didn’t make them on Valentine’s Day or even for Valentine’s Day because I was busy getting ready to attend a wedding, but I knew I was going to make them no matter what.

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Champagne-Vanilla Cupcakes

There is one magazine I love to get and that’s Food Network. I really credit Food Network for my love of cooking. Truthfully it was my grandma’s (both of them), but when I went to college I kind of lost that until I stumbled across Rachael Ray’s 30 Minute Meals show… I then somehow became hooked again. So the re-found my love my grandmothers instilled in me.
I used to get the magazine, long ago before I went to grad school. Then grad school came and I didn’t have time to read anything other than school books, but now I’m back to reading Food Network Magazine. My first issue was the January/February 2017 issue. I read the editor’s note and she mentioned that they came up with a cupcake for any reason for every month of the year. I decided right then I needed to partake and try them all. Some sound better than others, but still… I need to try them, right? Something to do anyway.

January’s cupcake is the Champagne-Vanilla Cupcake. Yes please.
The first thing I was supposed to do was pour the Champagne (or in this case sparking white wine) into a bowl and whisk until the bubbles dissipate. ✓

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The Tale of a Trip to the Vet

If there is one horse at my house that is loved more than any other horse, it would be Aloha. When it comes to kid broke horses, she’s there. Any horse can have an off day, but in the general realm of life, if she knows a kid is on her back, she’ll take care of them, point blank.

So a couple weeks ago I was sicker than a dawg (wonder where that phrase comes from and sadly I’m still not over this crap. I’m done with it, but that’s another story for another day I guess), but I woke up and realized my mom was outside with the horses talking on the phone. I wasn’t real sure what was going on. She came in the house, said she thought Aloha had broken her leg and we were headed to the vet.

I jumped to, got the Bug and me dressed, carseat switched over to the truck, truck hooked up to the trailer, horse loaded, and away we went. We had to hustle because we were supposed to be there by 11, vet is about 45-50 minutes away and it was a quarter to 10 already.

We got loaded up, I said a quick prayer that dad’s truck wouldn’t let us down (it’s had problems from time to time), and away we went. I pulled into the vet clinic with 2 minutes to spare. Dad met us there, we unloaded Aloha, and the vet’s went to doing their thing.

First they did X-rays to see if the bone was broken. After they concluded that it wasn’t, they then pulled out the ultrasound to see what was going on inside. They concluded that it was either a pulled Tendon or Ligament. That’s a lot easier to deal with than a broken bone! Our 2 options

  1. Stall Rest, cold watering twice a day, bute twice a day (like Tylenol to help with pain), and hand walking
  2. Head to Peculiar, MO, to a huge horse facility up there and let them do further extensive studying on the leg to make it better.

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How to: Clean a Mildewed Saddle

It was really funny, people around my parts of the country were complaining that it was so cold in May, then once June hit, BAM, the heat hit but so did the humidity. And it is hard for some people to imagine the midwest having humidity since we’re not surrounded by water, but there are days that you can walk out and be ringing wet because of the humidity.

So one thing we have to deal with is molding saddles in our trailer. The changing area in the trailer doesn’t get a lot of air movement so when the saddles/bridles hang out in the nose of the trailer, they sometimes mildew. Yuck! So here’s a trick to help you keep your leather tack in tip top condition!

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How to: Make a Travel Map

I absolutely LOVE to travel. And I even used to think I was a world traveler. I’m not although I have one stamp in my passport that expired 3 years ago. That’s something right?

Anyway one of my goals is to travel to at least all 50 states. So far I’ve been to:

  • Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia,

That’s 27 out of 50 for those of you who are counting. And yes I can count, even though I’m not a Math Major, I’m an English Major :).

So anyway I decided I wanted to get a map and display where my family and I had traveled. We pondered how many colored pins we’d need. Do we do a you, me, them or an us or a family? Do we count before marriage, after marriage, Tbug’s travels with her mom? That’s when we decided that all four of us would have our own color pin, we’d include travels before and after marriage and we’d include traveling Tbug had done with her other family. My pin is purple (go figure, right Liss). Tbug is blue. Hubby’s is green. Abug is a rose pink color.

So if you’re crazy like me… then this is what you need to make your map too.

  • Map. I went with a 50″x32″. My husband thought I was nuts. Maybe I was!
  • What you’re going to put the map on. I went with a 4’x3′ bulletin board. It was a little taller than my map and not quite as long but I’ll address that.
  • Headliner & Carpet Adhesive or other adhesive.
  • Pins to mark travel destinations.
  • Scissors
  • Heart to mark where home is (optional)

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How to: Make a Photo Wall

There has been a lot of uncertainty in our life in the last couple of years. Truthfully more than I even want to admit to… I know that God has great plans for everything and everything will work out in the end. I know that all the trials and tribulations help us grow into the people he wants us to develop in to. But I also know sometimes I just want to scream, pack up the bare minimum, move to a place no one knows me (far far away) and start a new life. Whew… uncertainty is very scary to say the least :). But that last part is an extreme.

So with that out of the way… If you know me at all, I take pictures of EVERYTHING. Think I’m kidding, just check my camera/phone/computer/external hard drive. No joke! For a long while I’ve wanted a photo wall, and I had one for a bit, then we took it down, and now we’re putting it back up. It goes with some of that uncertainty….

The initial photo wall was hung up with the Command Strips so that it wouldn’t put holes in the walls or do damage to the wall paper, etc… yeah that didn’t work. Sad but true. I don’t know if my sticky part of the command strips was too old or the wall paper was the wrong texture or what, but after I put them up, they came back down, some quickly (like a few days). It was extremely frustrating! So this time around there are holes in the wall. It was just easier that way…

Now here’s how to do it:

What you’ll need:
Photo frames/Photos (sizes up to you!!)
Paper
Pen
Scissors (just for cutting… ha. see below.)
Tape
Command Strips or Screws
if screws, then you need a drill
A Wall for photos

1. You’ll want to trace your photo frames on to paper. The first time around I used newspaper, this time around I used regular notebook paper, except for my 8×10 frames. Then I went into Tbug’s room and stole some used poster sized paper. Trace the size of your photo frames out onto the paper.

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How to: Make a Vintage Canvas

So I recently saw this project on a fun blog… if you’ve never checked out Story of this Life, you’re totally missing out. Anyway Ester made this project look extremely easy so I thought I’d give it a shot. Let’s just state, it’s easy and I totally loved the way it turned out.

So what you need, a spritz water bottle, a foam brush, a picture printed on a laser printer, a canvas, and Golden Brand Soft Gel gloss. oh and a scrubber thingy…

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How to: Take Fourth of July Pictures

It’s that time of year… How on earth did we get to the 4th of July? The thing that the fourth of July brings besides celebrations of our Nations heritage and food, parties and get togethers, is fireworks. Who doesn’t like fireworks? I guess there are those out there… but I’m not one of them. I love them.

So the next thing to think about is how do you capture them on film? If you’re ever around me or you’ve been on my blog for a while, you know that I take pictures of EVERYTHING and I mean everything. Although every once in a while I miss a shot and have a #bloggerfail but usually I take pictures of Everything.

A couple years ago I went to every fourth party I could to learn how to take pictures of fireworks and today I want to pass along some of the tips and tricks I learned along the way.

dSLR and Point and Shoot directions for taking fireworks pictures

Normally people would tell you that you have to have a dSLR to be able to take photos like these. And while I’m not going to lie, it is helpful, I didn’t take all those photos above with my dSLR… Nope, I took one of them with a point and shoot. Can you guess which one?

So my first recommendation would be to get a tripod. If not a tripod, make sure you have a very solid foundation for your camera to sit on to avoid camera shake.

Maybe I should have stated my first recommendation would be to have a camera… or maybe that is just a given. Okay moving on…

So you can definitely check out this post that helps clarify aperture and shutter speed… I’ll wait while you refresh yourself…

Okay now for the settings for a dSLR to take great photos of fireworks.

ISO: 100. Now normally that would be what you set it at for a bright and sunny day… and you might be thinking, but wait, what… these will be at night. Oh but that’s the way to do it. First off at night you’ll get a lot of noise, especially by bumping up your ISO. To avoid that and with fireworks being extremely bright against the night sky you don’t need a high ISO.

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