Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Shutterfly’s Long Live Summer Photo Contest

I am not sure about you, but I tend to take more pictures in the summertime. There are beach trips, camping trips, cook outs and just all around fun.

Shutterfly is having a great contest over at their Facebook page. You can get a gift from Shutterfly just for entering! You can enter at any point during the 5-week sweepstakes period.

This is a multi-week summer themed photo sweepstakes that runs from 7/9 until 8/12 with instant win prizes! Grand Prize – Win a trip for four to The Bahamas and a professional photo shoot so you’ll remember your vacation forever. All you need to do is upload your favorite photo and caption based on the theme of the week. Get a gift from Shutterfly just for entering! You can enter at any point during the 5-week sweepstakes period.

 • Week 1(7/9): Americana
• Week 2 (7/16): Great Outdoors
 • Week 3 (7/23): Water Fun
• Week 4 (7/30): Sports & Activities
 • Week 5 (8/6): Parties & Celebrations

 • Instant win prizes just for submitting a photo!
• Weekly prizes (contestants can enter one time/week)
 • Weekly featured photos: up to 5 weekly entries will be selected from the gallery and featured on the Facebook fan page and awarded a $500 gift card on Shutterfly and a copy of the new Lonely Planet travel photography book.
 • Grand prize: trip for 4 to Bahamas, 4 nights, family photo shoot

What I Did Over the Weekend

I am having an incredibly busy week at work with daily catering for a group of 200 on top of regular craziness. Here are some pictures of what I worked on over the weekend. When I get some time I plan to post a tutorial and recipes.

I brought out both Silhouettes and the Cricut Expression. I started off with the Expression but it was tooo slow! Then I tried the Cameo but I had some technical difficulty and had to switch to the SD. Since I had 8 1/2 by 11 sheet music it cut perfectly.

I got some very lovely flowers from Farmer's Market along with some edible flowers...Squash Blossoms!

I also made beer battered fish tacos for the first time. They turned out AMAZING!

Monday, July 16, 2012

$75 Giveaway to Blumebox at Pizzazzerie!


Pizzazzerie is giving away $75 to blumebox! Looks like you can get some pretty neat stuff! Go enter!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Summer Berry Trifle Push Up Pops

Summer berries are amazing! We have a wonderful Farmer's Market on Saturdays right outside our town home and we can't get enough summer berries. I bought different kinds of berries and decided to put them together for dessert. Since I was feeling rather ambitious I decided to try something new. I had these Push Up Pop holders that I bought months ago from Mindy Mae's Market that were collecting dust in the garage. Such a shame, I know, but I work 50 hours a week and don't have much time for fun stuff. I have been wanting to try out some of Courtney Dial Whitmore's recipes from her Push Up Pops book for a while now. I thumbed through it for inspiration but I knew that I wasn't going to have time to bake a cake for the layers. I totally cheated and simplified the recipe (sorry Courtney!).  This project was so easy that my 4 year old helped me with it. So here it is:

Easy Summer Berry Trifle Push Up Pops

You will need:
Push Up Pop Containers
Pound Cake (I used Sara Lee)
Berries (I used Strawberries, Blackberries and Blueberries)
Whipped Cream

First rinse and slice the berries.

Then cut the pound cake in 1/4 inch thick slices. Then I used a circle cutter to cut out 2 layers of cake for each pop.

After cutting out the circles push one down into the pop holder.
 Then put in a layer of whipped cream.
 Then add a layer of assorted berries.
 After the berries top with another cake disc.
 Repeat with more whipped cream and top with berries.
This is also the first time I used Washi tape (which I also got from Mindy Mae's Market). It was so cute and easy to use. It actually survived a run in dishwasher after we ate the pops. The most challenging part of this was actually finding a way to display them. I decided to use a couple of vases and filled them with either candy melts or marshmallows  for a bouquet of push up pops.
Thanks for stopping by!

Linking up at:
Tip Junkie handmade projects I'm Lovin' It at TidyMom Visit thecsiproject.com Lil\'Luna

Chef In Training What's cooking, love?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

I love macaroni and cheese and I especially love making it from scratch. Over the weekend I wanted a side dish that would work with ribs and fried chicken and also be kid friendly. I was looking for recipes and I ended up modifying a Pioneer Woman recipe for Macaroni and Cheese. I usually use Jacques P├ępin's recipe but I wanted to try something else this time. I think it turned out pretty well and everyone thought it was tasty.

Here is the recipe:

·  4 cups dried Macaroni
·  1/4 cup Butter
·  1/4 cup All-purpose Flour
·  2 cups Milk
·  1 teaspoon Dry Mustard, More If Desired
·  1 pound Cheese, Shredded
·  1/2 teaspoon Salt, More To Taste
·  ¼ teaspoon Garlic Salt, More To Taste
·  1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

Cook macaroni a few minutes less than what the directions say. Macaroni should be too firm to eat right out of the pot. Drain.

In a large pot, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together over medium-low heat. Cook mixture for five minutes, stirring constantly.

Pour in milk, add mustard, and stir until smooth. Cook for five minutes until very thick. Reduce heat to low.
Add in cheese and stir to melt.
Add salt and pepper. Taste sauce and add more as needed.
Pour in drained, cooked macaroni and stir to combine.

Serve immediately (very creamy) or pour into a buttered baking dish, top with extra cheese, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top.
Linking up at: Tip Junkie handmade projects

Twine Giveaway from Whisker Graphics-New Colors!

I am so excited about the new twine colors available from Whisker Graphics!
Just look at these colors....aren't they Yummy?!
Peach Divine Twine

Raspberry Divine Twine

Teal Divine Twine

If you go over to their blog you can have the chance to win one of these new colors. Giveaway ends July 16 at 11:59pm.  Good Luck!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Weekend Cooking Fun

This weekend we had a Blues Festival in Downtown Hayward (literally in front of our house). In celebration of the occasion we decided to cook some food and invite some friends over. Of course, I cooked for more people than I had over. A few people couldn't come so more food for us. This was the first time in months that I have felt up to cooking, entertaining and crafting. I made homemade macaroni and cheese, fried chicken (first time!) and my first attempt at push up cake pops. My husband thought I was nuts since I spent so much time cooking.

Even he worked hard on the get together. He cleaned the house and he prepared 2 different kinds of ribs. BBQ ribs and Asian Hoisin Glazed ribs.

BBQ Ribs

Macaroni and Cheese

My Plate
Everything turned out amazing! Our friend that is from the South said that my fried chicken was as good as his granny's. That is an awesome compliment since it was the first time doing it all by myself. I had prepared fried chicken before but I was always too afraid to fry it and I would make my husband do it. I will be sharing some of the recipes later because I actually remembered to write down what I did.

For dessert I made a Summer Berry Trifle and put them in Push Up Pop holders. That was a first time endeavor, too and it turned out great.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Anniversary Giveaway 2: Silhouette Studio Designer Edition Software

Happy Fourth of July everyone! I wanted to continue my belated 1st blogiversary giveaway today with the Silhouette Studio Designer Edition Software. A few months ago I was fortunate enough to win a CAMEO with the Silhouette Studio Designer Edition from the fabulous folks over at  Tatertots and Jello. About a week before I found out that I won, I had purchased the software since I already have a Silhouette SD. I had thought to myself "watch me win it now that I just bought a copy." I have been holding on to the card until the right time...my anniversary! This is a $49.99 value!
To say the least, I adore my CAMEO! It cuts like a dream and it is very versatile.  When I found out about the Silhouette Studio Designer Edition
Tons of svg files!
I was super excited because I have hundreds of svg files and for some reason my Mac and my current cutting software did not get along with my CAMEO. I had spent lots of time and money setting up my collection.

Here is some information on the software from the Silhouette America Website:


Silhouette Studio® Designer Edition contains all the same functionality as Silhouette Studio® plus the following designer features:
  • Ability to open, manipulate, and cut .svg files
  • Rhinestone tools to convert designs into rhinestone templates and create your own rhinestone designs
  • Sketch tools to convert designs into several styles of sketchable art
  • Creative knife tools to allow you to clip designs using different patterns
  • Enhanced eraser set to modify designs with more precision
  • Built-in ruler and guide lines for precise alignment and drawing

Those of you keeping up with my Facebook page already know that I volunteered to make rolled paper flowers as wedding decorations for my husband's fantastic cousin, Luke Goodman, and his lovely fiance, Pamela Francisco. It has been a learning process and now I think I have the hang of it.

The software is simple to use and I learned that you have to select "cut edge" from the cut style menu.

In the next week or so I will post some of the finished products :)

To enter this giveaway, fill in the rafflecopter widget below.

This giveaway is ONLY for the SOFTWARE. If you want to win a CAMEO, Tatertots and Jello is giving away another one. I was not compensated for this giveaway and the opinions are my own.

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