Monday, December 21, 2009

Death By Chocolate

*Blog update on my family blog, also.

This year I decided that I would actually bake something from all the food blogs I religiously stalk (, are two of my FAV'S!) and make a truly delicious treat for my neighbor gifts. Delicious, but easy. I finally decided on these little beauties:


(Photo from

So, I set off on my culinary journey and decided to take pictures along the way since, you know, I like pictures and all...(disclaimer, I am NOT a food photographer and it SHOWS!)

I started off by making brownies- from a box, and unwrapping half a million peppermint hershey kisses. I HEAVILY greased the pan as per the recipe instructions, and then shoved a kiss into the middle. See the before, and the beautiful after:

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They puffed up so nicely over the kisses, I was really excited!!! Lovely, right? Sigh....

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Except...Oh. Wait a minute. No.

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Fast forward 2 hours and a trip to the store for more ingredients INCLUDING mini cupcake holders, and we are back in business. Another batch of adorable brownies? Check.

Next, pop some chocolate chips along with some half and half in the microwave and......DARN IT!

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Okay, well, let's improvise the 'joy' way and do it on the stove. ahhhh. Much better.
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Ooooo they are coming together and looking really yummy!
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Crush some candy canes and.....I had to run outside quickly and grab one in natural light before the sun went down...
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A snap of the chaos as we are preparing all the plates...
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....and finally a quick snap of the finished product as husband gives me the 'let's go' stink eye from the door.

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Concensus: These actually ended up tasting DIVINE and were not too much work once I figured out I needed cupcake wrappers. The problem with not having wrappers was that the kisses would sink down and stick to the bottom of the pan. Otherwise, a pretty painless recipe. I could look at Our Best Bites and Picky Palate for a month straight, I am excited to try more recipes!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Personal Message from Santa

Okay, so a friend of mine clued me in to this site: MESSAGE FROM SANTA, you go to the link and fill out some info about your child, and then it will give you another link so that your child can 'call' santa, like a webcam chat. Santa knows your child's name, what he/she wants for Christmas, specific things he/she has done this year....I did it with our 3 year old and her eyes were as large as saucers, she was so mystified! It made me want to bawl my head off, truthfully, seeing her believe so much in the magic of Santa. It really is worth the 2 minutes it takes to do this. I am going to have her watch it again and get her reactions on video, they were so sweet!!! Anyway, hope you are all having a happy Christmas season! Our family was hit with the stomach flu, but hey, at least we will be healthy next weekend, right? ;)

Friday, December 18, 2009

My Newfound Hobby

It seems I start off every blog post with some sort of excuse why I have been so neglectful of my blog, and truthfully, on top of being completely and utterly swamped with Christmas card orders, I am also a little slow to write over here (I have another private family blog). I can see that people are checking, though, so never fear...HERE I am! I have lots of posts in mind so I promise I will be better. Plus, you know what is happening on January 4th, right? RIGHT? That's right, my friends, Jake will be back, armed with roses, ready to break some hearts. I cannot wait for it, and I hope that commenters will come out of their hiding places because I love a good Bachelor discussion!!!

Okay, enough of that. I am sure that you see the title of this blog and think, "ANOTHER hobby, Joy, are you kidding me?" Yes, I tend to overwhelm myself by trying to learn everything (still on the list: sewing and cake making/decorating) but this one isn't too time consuming...
So, here it is: I have found a lot of joy in making my own wreaths this year. Hobby Lobby has great sales on all of their wreath/decor embellishments every season...So I just buy a base wreath and stand in the aisle assembling my dream wreath while my children run a muck around my feet. They have turned out beautifully, I would HIGHLY recommend it! And they cost around the same price as pre-made wreaths cost, or a wreath at Target. I wish I had a picture of the wreath I made for the fall, but it is already in storage. I thought I would snap a quick one of my Christmas wreath, though, because I love it so. I took my warm little tush out into the FREEZING cold and snap snap snapped my poor frozen camera, so sorry the pictures are not the greatest.

So here it is:
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My favorite part:
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Thanks for letting me share!

Friday, December 4, 2009

She's Two!!

Just blogged on our FAMILY BLOG

Blog 6

One Month

Well, here I am posting one month later. My blog is still Thanksgiving-a-fied and it looks as though it will be staying that way for a week or so longer. I have been up to my ears with sessions ( and we also took a two week vacation to Utah (where I did more sessions)!!! With the holiday rush, I have had no time to blog. I am crossing my fingers that by next week I will have all my sessions finished, all my Christmas cards ordered, and have nothing but free time. And sleep.

Anyway........I wanted to take a moment and post about something- I get an email almost every day from up and coming photographers who are just starting out. I saw a post on a photography forum that I really liked and it really opened my eyes to pricing. So often I see photographers charging $50 for a session and disk (this ASTOUNDS me) so I hope this sheds some light on what a session REALLY costs. This is not the 'why does photography cost so much' article that has been circulating. This is FOR photographers, really laying out what it costs to have a biz. Hopefully it is helpful to newbies out there!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Digiscrap Day

Saturday is national Digiscrap Day, but Scrapartist is starting their celebrations early! If you head over there they are having some wicked sales. Head on over and click on each designers name individually to see all the awesome deals they have.

Also, it is Dollar Wednesday at Little Dreamer!

I have had a few people email me about my Scrapbook Blog- I made it private a few weeks ago- I felt that there was too much information about my kiddos on there and I didn't have time to blur it out. I don't know WHAT to do about that blog- I guess just keep it private since I don't want the public to have access to pictures of my kids. Or I guess I could just start posting pages on our family blog...

Anyway, all those links that were on my Scrap blog are now on the sidebar to the right on THIS blog!! So......happy scrapping!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

The Tooth Fairy would like you to remember.... All that candy will rot your teeth out!

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Family Blog Update

f you read my family's 'buzzing!' Go check it out: HERE

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Happy Pills

Today I was telling (read: complaining to) some friends about how I have been on my last nerve with my kids these past few days. It has just been one of those weeks, you know? Where your oldest breaks into hysterical tears whenever things don't go her way, and your youngest keeps doing naughty things like painting herself with pudding, coloring on the couch with marker, and taking off her diaper in the middle of the night. On top of that, Mike has been traveling a ton this month (thank goodness it is coming to an end today!) and that always makes things tougher when I am facing it all alone.
Anyway, in our conversation I mentioned that I could use some happy pills today. Jokingly, of course. ;) Well, awhile later there was a knock at my door and my friend was standing there. "Here are some 'happy pills' for you, she said, and then handed me this:

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This was the little tag she had on them. My kids destroyed the original packaging in two seconds. Happy!

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Ahhhhhhhhh. Thanks friend. I feel better already. :)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Girl's Trip

*If you read my family blog, I have updated it as well.

Last month I was able to sneak away on an awesome girl's overnight trip with some of my friends in the Midwest. It was a MUCH needed break and girl time!

We met in Cincinnati, I had never been before and I LOVED it! Up until it started storming and the tornado warnings came out, haha. Seriously, though, it's beautiful! We stayed by an awesome mall and I had serious mall envy. I have to admit that was one of the hardest things about moving away from a big city to a tiny town- the shopping! We had lunch at Cheesecake Factory, it was so delicious. Oh, how I have missed Cheesecake Factory!!

Anyway, we didn't take a ton of pictures but we did sneak in a few. We went to dinner at the famous Montgomery Inn on the river. They are known for their ribs, so of course I had to get some. They were delicious! We also had their chips and barbecue sauce appetizer, it was SO yummy.

The girls at dinner.
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This is me sporting my awesome rib bib.
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The next morning we went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. I had never been to Cracker Barrel and I was amazed at how much food we got. We had to take a picture to document my first time there.
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Here is the picture again, with captions of just MY meal. Wow, right?
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So basically, we ate a truckload and shopped. It was heavenly! Thanks for the fun weekend, girls!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Coming in 2010.....


Thanks to Anne Marie for giving me the heads up. :)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fall Steals!

If you are a digi scrapper- which I still consider myself to be, even though it's probably been a year since I have scrapped ANYTHING- you will appreciate these awesome deals at Little Dreamer's today. Some fun holiday kits for $1!!!

These are SOOOOOOOO fun! If you don't subscribe to Little Dreamer's emails, you should. I only get 2 emails a week, and they are always announcing specials and discounts. Love it! I am very picky about my scrapbook supplies, I think there are way too many cheesy ones out there. Sometimes looking at digiscrap supplies makes me ill because of the horrible, graphic-y, clip-art-y, cheesyness out there. Thankfully there are designers out there like Little Dreamer, Scrapartist, and a few others that have awesome stuff!!

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Oh my. I have been MIA again. Let me just level with you (and myself) and admit that I am crazy, insane busy this month. September and October are crazy photography months, but on top of that I have had a huge rush of newborns that were due all at once, so I have been squeezing them into my already insane weeks. Therefore, my blogs (well, all except my photography blog) suffer. They suffer a horrible, horrible lack of attention from moi.
I don't feel TOO bad because I don't think I have a lot of readers, but then I check my stats and see that people are still checking in, and, well, that fills my heart with happiness and guilt all at once.
So let's gab a bit about my favorite thing (besides people and my camera):


I am SO excited for Halloween this year! We got out the decorations last week and I have been burning my favorite (discontinued) Toasted Apple Butter brick by Scentsy. YUM. (I don't sell Scentsy by the way. I just really like their stuff.) My girls are super excited to go trick or treating this year, it's all they can talk about!!!
There is just one problem.
I have NO CLUE what their costumes should be! Any helpful ideas would be appreciated. If you are a reader of my family blog, hop over there and see the newest post about it. I am struggling to come up with something that won't take OODLES of my time, but is also unique (I have issues dressing my girls in store bought costumes. I know, I have problems.)
Thanks in advance!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Okay, so it's not the Bachelor, but it is quite entertaining. The Vampire Diaries on CW has already got me sucked in. It's a brand new show and there have only been 2 episodes so far. You can hop online and watch the first two and then you will be all caught up. The CW knows what's up...riding the coat tails of Twilight while there is still so much hype. I like it.
There is a bit of implied teen promiscuity, but my eyes haven't burned so far.

Bella, um, I mean Elana has fallen for good Vamp:
Stefan is just trying to live a normal life, guys.
Bad Vamp brother Damon is trying to ruin it for him, though.
Hmmm.....this looks familiar......

Check it out...see what you think. Warning- so far the intros are always kinda blood-filled.

Monday, September 21, 2009

It's my blog and I'll write what I want to...

Okay, this is a heavier post, and I promise I will be back soon to post about something uplifting!!!
I just need to write about something that has been on my mind. You all know that I went private awhile back and only keep this blog open to talk about things that don't have to do with my children's lives or you know, to dish about the Bachelor! So, you can guess that I am a bit protective about my children's info, and how it is being put out there.

I feel like I always sound like the blogging police over here on this public blog of mine, but I can't help it. I guess once you have been violated through the blog world, you just can't shake that sense of wanting to protect people from going through the same thing. Anyway, I want to share something that I have not been able to stop thinking about today.

Recently a good friend of mine had another girl in her neighborhood write a blog about her own child's innocence and questions about the differences in boys and girls. I am not a prude, I think these stories are as cute as the next person, but in the story she mentioned my friend's little boy, by name, talking about his genitals. Well, a couple posts down, she has pictures of this little boy, with his name in the caption. And down from that, a very detailed paragraph about my friend's daughter, also using her name.

There is a lot of information about herself and her children, their location, where they spend their days, etc. on this blog. She also does giveaways to bring in more traffic to her online store. Basically, people from all over are checking out this blog. NOT a situation I would be comfortable with. Neither was my friend.

So, my friend very politely emailed her and asked her to remove his name. Later that day the names were changed, but at the bottom there was a snarky remark saying she had changed the names, 'not to protect the children who wouldn't care since they are toddlers, but the parent's privacy.' about missing the point. Which brings me to my point! While most 'too much sharing about someone else's child' happens in total innocence, there is also a feeling of 'it's my blog, I'll write what I want' when it comes to blogging. People have to remember that it is not their place to put information about anyone other than themselves on the net. Especially if you are soliciting strangers to come and read it. It isn't hard to say to another parent, "Hey, I got some cute pictures at so and so's birthday party, do you mind if I put them on my blog?" or "You won't believe what xxx said about xxx the other day, I want to write about it on my blog, is that alright with you?" Even in my business I have to get releases to post pictures of children on my blog so I don't get sued. Yep, sued.

I really don't want to come off as the almighty-child-protecting-blog-police-momma, (because I am SO not!) I just want to make my readers aware that care needs to be taken when blogging...and, even if you are careful about your children's information, other people may not be.

Thank you for letting me get this off my chest. I know I sound like a broken record with this blog safety thing!!

Anyone know when the next Bachelor starts up??? ;)

Friday, September 11, 2009

My Babies

Have a look at my oldest baby. Isn't she sweet?
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Now take a look at my newest baby. Beautiful, right??
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(youngest baby was sleeping. :) )

If you can't reach's because I am honeymooning with my newest love.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Shoo Fly.

So we just got back from vacation to a house SWARMING with fruit flies. I don't know where the little nuisances came from or even bred while we were away, since I was SOOOO careful to throw all the food out and take out all the garbage...but alas, they are all over the place.


So I did some asking around and found out that you can lure them to their death by drowning them in vinegar. You put vinegar in a jar, place foil with holes tightly over the top, and when they come to investigate, they drown.

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Well APARENTLY no one informed the fruit flies in our household that this is the plan. They have been hanging out on top of the foil, having a little party and laughing at me.

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I hate them. I really do.

So, I came up with a plan- a genius plan. I found a different way to trap them.

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Pretty crafty, right? They fly up in there and then I trap them and take them waaaaaaaay outside and release them. I would like to squish them all but I really can't.

I took this after I emptied it once- there are a few in there and some that actually drowned. Mission accomplished.

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Pray for me that they all fall for my genius trap. I am so creeped out by these things I can hardly stand it.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Here Comes the Anxiety Attack.

Okay so nothing gives me the creeps more than to look out my window at noon and see this:
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I would just like to point out that the sun was actually shining on my house. I was priviliged enough to look out my window just in time to watch the horrendous storm overtake us.
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It didn't help that I had watched The Day After Tomorrow the night before. I think that movie scares me more than any slasher movie ever could. I have this wierd phobia of things being submerged unnaturally. Like cities covered in water scare the pants off me. Think about it for awhile, the creepiness will come to you.

Anyway, I just thought I would share what a loud thunder, lightening, and hail filled storm looks like when it's approaching.

ALSO! I updated our family blog. I have been bad about posting it over here. Head on over if you like. :)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Brownie Bites

I know I am not so good at posting now that I don't have my weekly fix. I have had a lot of requests for more info about those brownie bites, so I prepared a post for you. WARNING! I am not a food photographer- not even close. So bare with me!!

This recipe found HERE.

Brownie cups with Pretzel Crumble, Caramel and Milk Chocolate

1 German Chocolate Cake Mix
1 egg
1/2 cup butter

In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, egg and butter until smooth.

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Scoop batter 2/3rds full into a muffin tin sprayed with non stick spray.

Pretzel crumble

1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 cup crushed pretzels
Scoop 1 tablespoon pretzel crumble on top of brownie batter. Pat down lightly.
NOTE: I made about 3 times as much as this recipe calls for as far as the pretzel crumble goes. I generously patted it onto the top, so it was about 1/3 pretzel, 2/3 cake mix.

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Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until the edges are set.

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1/3 bag of caramels- melt in a saucepan until creamy.

NOTE: I added LOTS of sweetened condensed milk to the carmel. If you don't, they will harden to a tooth-chipping consistancy when they cool. These were eight MILLION times better with the sweetened condensed milk added.

Immediately after taking the brownie cups out of the oven, pour caramel over the cups, and then sprinkle with chocolate chip.

1 cup milk chocolate chips

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Here are the lovies after they are all decorated and cooling in the pan.

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Stacked up and ready to serve.

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The verdict??
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Saturday, August 1, 2009


Okay so there isn't much for me to say now that my Jillian drama is over, I did watch After the Rose but found it really boring...yawn!! I am interested to see who they choose for the new Bachelor, I guess it's not one of Jillian's cast-offs, usually they announce it at After the Rose if it is. So...we'll see!!

Okay, so I have to show you these a-mazing standouts I just ordered for my living room!! You can see them in the pictures of my Bachelorette party below, that gives you a better idea of their size. They are 20x24 and I looooooooooooove them. LOVE them!! I am in love. Yeah, I like them A LOT.
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*pictures by the fabulous Heather Mickey (link on the right).

I am also really loving my wall color, I stole it from my sister's dining room and it has seriously turned out so fabulous!! We have had a million compliments on it, so did good!! In the pictures above it looks really gray, because I took those pictures on a stormy day. But this picture shows it's true color. LOVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVE it!!

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Monday, July 27, 2009

And So She Chooses....

Yes, I am going to talk about the Bachelorette finale here. This is it. So if you are on your blog reader and you don't want it to be is the time to turn back!!!

So. Here we are. And the winner is....




I don't know why but there wasn't much enthusiasm from anyone at our house over that one. Well, maybe except for Mike, who I guilted into giving me the 'thumbs up' picture since he DID choose Ed as his dark horse. (I wanted him to get by a picture of Ed on the TV but he wouldn't do it. Just so you know.)

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A few girls came over to watch the finale with me and it was so much first. Here's a picture from halfway through, before all the broken hearts starting getting thrown around:

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Then depression started filling the room as Jillian one by one let people go. So, here's my (our) synopsis...

Kiptyn- I was absolutely shocked that she did not choose Kiptyn, and here is why: In their final days together, whenever Ed leaned in to kiss her, she was turning her head, not really seeming very into it...but when Kiptyn would go in for the kiss, she was gripping his face with her hands and not letting HIM go. She seemed so much more passionate about Kiptyn. I think he was really surprised that she cut him and I felt really, really sorry for him.

And then entered Reid. HOLY MOLY. It was like someone turned on a million lightbulbs in my family room. We were all lit up and excited and giddy to see Reid again. And when he proposed...TOTALLY thought she was going to say yes. FOR SURE.

And then she didn't. And....I think she should have. I can't believe how excited I was to have Reid there in front of her proclaiming his love for her. It seemed so right. But apparently not to Jillian.

Enter Ed. Silence in the room. We are all so depressed that Kiptyn and Reid have just had their hearts shattered, that the excitement and love that Jillian and Ed are rejoicing in is barely penetrating our hearts. We are all still mourning for Reid.

Fast forward to now. I have nothing against Ed, he is a nice guy. But I am not over the moon about it. I am glad that they are happy, glad that Jillian is happy with her choice of Ed. I am STILL very intruiged for After the Final Rose tomorrow. I am curious if they are still together or not?? She was acting so fishy at the Men Tell All that I am still not convinced that things are peachy in relationship land. I guess we don't have to wait long to see!!!

Okay, on another note, I made some delicious treats for us favorite bread dip, some artichoke dip, and a bunch of sweets.

The spread:
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(you can see my freshly painted walls along with the bottoms of my awesome new standouts, which I will blog about at a later time.

Okay, these yummy, delicous carmel chocolate preztel yummies were found here: and they turned out absolutely DIVINE.
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Lastly, some mini pies which were delicious. It was dark outside by the time these babies came out of the oven so I had to use the overhead light to photograph them...not as appetizing looking as it should be. Trust me, YUM.

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