Friday, February 28, 2014

Five on Friday!

Happy, happy Friday!
 
- ONE - Today is Charlie's birthday! I cannot believe our boy is 8 years old already! We are going to celebrate tomorrow with cake, pawty hats, tennis balls and a nice long walk! If you've been following my blog for awhile, you know how obsessed with our fur baby we are. If not, you can read about his previous birthday pawties {here} and {here}!
- TWO - I was so happy to win Home Sweet Ruby's coffee koozie giveaway last week! Loving my new coffee accessory.
- THREE - I finally upgraded my ELF eyeshadow pallet to Urban Decay's Naked pallet and am obsessed. The quality is a noticeable difference and my shadow lasts all day now. Thanks to Laura for pushing me on this makeup splurge!
- FOUR - Also on the books this weekend is some spring decorating! Is it just mine, or does anyone else's husband pitch a fit when you ask him to go into the attic to bring down holiday decorations? Seriously, you'd think I asked him to get me McDonalds french fries at 11 pm at night as he's getting into bed. I'd neeeever do that! 
-FIVE - Which leads me to candy bribing. Easter candy is definitely my favorite holiday candy (even more so than Halloween candy). Chocolate dipped peeps, cream filled eggs, peanut butter stuffed bunnies, Starburst jelly beans...oh my goodness, I love it all.

 
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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Rainbow Chip Cupcake Cones

Over the weekend we celebrated one of our friend's 30th birthdays. Of course, I offered to bring cupcakes to the party and found out the birthday boy specifically requested rainbow chip cupcakes...with rainbow frosting...in an ice cream cone. After quickly confirming whether or not he was turning 5 and not 30, I agreed to the challenge and couldn't wait try out a new cupcake project.
 
It wasn't until I checked several stores that I found out that Betty Crocker recently DISCONTINUED rainbow chip frosting! Even worse, the one-of-a-kind frosting was replaced with a mediocre sprinkle frosting, which is really just a sleeve of sprinkles that comes with a tub of icing. WHAT?! Not only was I devastated, but after some internet research I found there are tons of other rainbow chip lovers who are equally upset, including a Facebook group of more than 6,800 fans dedicated to petitioning Betty to bring her tasty frosty back to the shelves. I even found some tubs of Rainbow chip frosting going for almost $100 on eBay!
 
So I did what any creative baker would do...I set out to recreate Betty's frosting from scratch. And not only did I succeed, but my frosting was so incredible that I'm considering bottling it up and selling it to the millions of outraged rainbow chip lovers and retiring on my pot of gold.
Anyway, back to the recipe. First things first, I had to figure out how I was going to bake and transport 24 cupcakes in cones to a restaurant. There were really only two options - purchase a cupcake cone rack and hope it arrived in time for my project, or get crafty and make my own for 99 cents. What do you think I did?
 After carefully measuring out a square grid for 12 cupcakes per pan, I traced the bottom of a cone onto a sheet of paper and used it as my stencil for the pan circles. To cut out the circles I used a boxed cutter (on top of a cutting board) because I didn't have anything fancier on hand.
 Now it is time to fill your cupcakes! Thankfully, rainbow chip cake mix is still available so I chose to go the box route and really focus my efforts on the frosting for this project.
Make sure you don't overfill your cones otherwise you end up with a huge mess. I made two batches after my first batch exploded in my oven. For the second round, I poked holes in the bottom of the cones with a toothpick which really helped bake the cupcakes all the way through.
Bake in the center of the oven at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted in center. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes before removing and cooling completely on wire racks.
I made my rainbow chips a few days beforehand and kept them in the freezer until I was ready to whip up the frosting the day of the party.
 
Homemade Rainbow Chips
 
Ingredients
1 10 oz bag Wilton white candy melts
Wilton food coloring {in your choice of colors}
Shortening, if necessary
 
Directions
In a microwave safe bowl melt the white chocolate in 20 second intervals on 50% power. Stir well. Continue to heat until all the chips are melted. If chocolate becomes too thick, add a half tablespoon of shortening. Divide the melted white chocolate into four small bowls. Add 5-7 drops of color into each bowl. Stir to combine. On a baking sheet covered with parchment pour out each bowl of colored chocolate into a rectangle about 1/4″ thick. Place in the freezer for about 10 minutes or until set. Once set chop up each color into little pieces.  Taste the rainbow.
Whipped Rainbow Chip Frosting
 
 Ingredients
1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 lb confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3 tbsp. heavy cream
1 ½ tbsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
3 cups of rainbow chips {recipe above}
 
Directions
In a large bowl, whip the butter with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until smooth (about 1 minute).  One cup at a time, add in the confectioners’ sugar and mix on medium-low speed until incorporated.  Add the salt.  Continue to beat on medium-high speed until smooth (about 1-2 minutes). Mix in the heavy cream and vanilla on low speed until well blended.  Increase the mixer speed and whip on high speed until light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl as needed (about 4-5 minutes). Gently fold in rainbow chips and mix by hand until well incorporated.

Yields 2 dozen cupcakes 
Time to frost your cupcakes!
And to transport them, I used a large storage container.
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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Week 30 Bumpdate

  How far along: 30 weeks...only 10 weeks (or less) to go!

Baby Size: A butternut squash (17 inches, 3.1 pounds).

Weight gain: 23 pounds.

Maternity clothes: Finally able to wear the dress (in my bump picture) my mom bought me over Thanksgiving from GAP maternity. Love the springy color! Glad I have this in two colors!

Stretch marks: Recently changed up my oil routine and believe I've avoided any stretching, but we'll see after birth.

Sleep:  Much better this week actually!
 
Gender: Girl!

Movement: All.The.Time!

Best moment this week: Nesting and spending time with friends.
 
Looking forward to: Our doctor's appointment this afternoon for our routine check up, decorating for spring, cadbury eggs and Charlie's birthday this weekend!

Food cravings: French fries and orange juice (with lots of pulp).
 
  Anything making you queasy or sick: No.
 
Labor Signs: Still no.
 
What I miss: Getting around easier!
 
Symptoms: Back pain...and lots of it. I've been confined to a heating pad and resting on the couch every day after work recently. And if I'm on my feet for more than an hour running around my upper back will basically go out on me until I lay down. I knew back pain was coming...but this is no joke.

Nursery: Our rug arrived and I absolutely love the way it looks in the nursery. We also picked up Caroline's refinished dresser! A detailed nursery post to come!

Belly Button in or out? About halfway in still, but becoming very sensitive.

Wedding rings on or off? On!

Mood: Tired but excited for these last 10 weeks to fly by.

Workouts: 3 trips to the gym, once for cardio funk. I am loving this new 10 minute (pregnancy safe) arm workout routine I found to get my arms in shape for holding the baby! Hopefully I'll stick to this a few times a week since my arms could definitely use some help before tank top season!
 
Prayer for Caroline: 
 
  Dear Lord, I praise you for this home stretch in my pregnancy. Help me apply Hebrews 12:1 where it says "let us run with patience the race that is set before us" as I endure various pregnancy discomforts because I know that it will all be worth it when I hold Caroline in my arms. Please continue to help my baby grow strong in every way, and continue to help me take the time to be healthy and exercise. In Jesus' name. Amen.
 
For I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am in. - Philippians 4:11
 Twelve / Thirteen / Fourteen
Fifteen / Sixteen / Seventeen
Eighteen / Nineteen / Twenty
 Twenty-One / Twenty-Two / Twenty-Three
 Twenty-Four / Twenty-Five / Twenty-Six
Twenty-Seven / Twenty-Eight / Twenty-Nine
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Monday, February 24, 2014

Weekend Recap

I don't normally post "weekend recaps," but this past weekend was jam packed with so much goodness I decided it was necessary.

Friday night one of my best friends, Mel, threw her fiance a surprise 30th birthday dinner at Beef N' Bottle Steakhouse {Charlotte's #1 voted steak, year after year since 1958}. From the outside, this restaurant looks like an old Texas strip club, but the food is phenomenal.
Mel did such a good job throwing this party together for Travis and 18 of his best friends. Check out those adorable party favors she made - Maker's Mark mini bottles with 30 SUCKS lollipops. 

For dinner, I got a filet and Matt got filet and lobster. Oh my goodness, this was definitely the best steak I've ever had (sorry dad)! It was cooked perfectly and had so much flavor. If you're looking for the best steak in Charlotte, I highly recommend Beef N' Bottle!
 For dessert, I homemade rainbow chip cupcake cones {birthday boy's special request}! Recipe coming later this week!
 
Saturday I ran a million errands, including a hair cut, a lunch date, Target and an emergency repair trip to Best Buy after dropping my computer and lodging my camera chip inside. 
We also picked up Caroline's dresser for the nursery and our new chairs for our living room arrived. Now we just need to find the perfect pillows for them {the grey ones are just placeholders for now}. More details on these room updates to come!
Sunday was April's baby shower!
Laura and I on our way to the shower!
As always, April looked absolutely gorgeous and her shower was super cute. There were so many adorable details...liiike the front door diaper wreath and the potted flower party favors to name a few! But you'll have to check April's blog for the full recap.
Souvenirs from the weekend!
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