Monday, October 31, 2011

Bits and Pieces

I decided to share some "Bits and Pieces" of our weekend today. 
Just something a bit different, but this weekend seemed so full of fun.
I snapped a bunch of photos over the two days and thought I'd bombard you with some photo overload!!
Getting Ready for a Halloween Party
My Hero!
Very Last minute homemade costume; the cape went from my
sewing machine, straight to the party.
Spooky sugar cookies & coffee; the best snack
Harry has his bucket full of dinosaurs, Eli has his bucket full of trains
It's football time!
Chicken Pot Pie from scratch, so worth the 2 1/2 hours it took to make
Pumpkin Carving!
I love rainy days.
    How was your weekend?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Icing

Chocolate Cupcakes

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
4 eggs
6 oz. semisweet chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 and pop your cupcake liners into your muffin pan (2 pans).
In a large bowl combine the butter and sugars and beat until fluffy, roughly 3-5 minutes.
Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Add the chocolate and mix until completely incorporated. Mix the vanilla into the milk. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour into the sugar/egg mixture. Fill your cupcake liners and bake for 20-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cup cake.
Cool in the pans for 15 minutes before removing to a cool rack.

My Favourite Vanilla Icing

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
6-8 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup milk 
2 tsp vanilla extract

In a large bowl place the butter, 4 cups of the icing sugar, milk and vanilla extract. Mix until combined and then add additional icing sugar, by the cup, until you get your desired consistency.

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup peanut butter chips

Preheat oven to 350.
In a bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and set aside.
In a large bowl cream the butter and sugars until smooth.
Add the egg and vanilla and bear well. Add the dry ingredients and mix until completely combined. Stir in the oats and peanut butter chips.
Form into balls and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 11-13 minutes.
Allow cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for roughly 5 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.

**recipe was found in this book**

Vanilla Cupcakes

These make a surprisingly dense cake, but I think it has great flavor along with a surprising amount of moisture.

Vanilla Cupcakes
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) of butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 & pop your cupcake liners into your muffin pans (2 pans).
In a large bowl whip up the butter until smooth, slowly add the sugar and beat until fluffy (3-5 minutes) Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix the vanilla into the milk. Add the flour and the milk in 3 parts, alternating, and mix until completely combined (beginning and ending with the flour). Fill your cupcake liners and bake for 20-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cup cake.
Cool in the pans for 15 minutes before removing to a cool rack.

**if you would like a more airy cupcake add 2tsp - 1 tbsp of baking powder to the flour before mixing it into the butter and sugar.**

Friday, October 28, 2011

I'll Be Right Back

I've been fighting a bit of a bug these days and am feeling slightly under the weather, for that reason, I'll be back on Monday with some high energy posts.
Have a good weekend friends!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pumpkin Patch

This weekend we went to a pumpkin patch for the first time with the boys.
It's something that we've been meaning to do for a couple of years now but it just never happened; so this year I put my foot down and made sure we had the time to go.
The boys had a great time. 
We didn't realize until we arrived but there was an event going on, "Pumpkin Fest", at the patch which made for a bit of extra excitement and a few additional entertainment features that wouldn't normally be around.
We saw animals in the petting zoo, enjoyed some face painting excitement, went on a wagon ride, had a hot dog and wandered through a bunch of pumpkins!

We also got to see a hot pepper eating contest (the winner ate 39!! yuck!), and a pie eating contest. There were games for the kids to play and win prizes (seed spitting and "Toss the Gourd" [into a hollowed out pumpkin]) and a bouncy castle.
The line ups were pretty long as it was busier then usual so we weren't able to do the corn maze, which was a bit of a bummer, but next year for sure!
Do you have your pumpkin for carving yet?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Musical Monday: Blake Shelton - God Gave Me You

It's funny to me how little I share country music songs around here; especially since it's the main style we listen to in our house.
It's the one style we can agree upon, so it's the one we gravitate towards for family enjoyment.
Yesterday was my mister's birthday so I thought I'd "dedicate" this song to him.
I know... I know... I gagged a little at myself too, but hey, it had to be done... it's just the perfect song for him from me.
You have to go here to see it though... that's the trouble with using "popular" songs... YouTube doesn't let you take them!
xo hunnie!

Thursday, October 20, 2011


It always amazes me how life can go oober slow some days and yet others are done within the blink of an eye.
Our week has been full of craziness. 
We had some wonderful friends stay with us Friday-Tuesday, which was so nice. We hadn't seen them in a few months so it was nice to catch up and talk about possible future plans.
Both the boys developed quite the cough along with runny noses and haven't been sleeping well. 
And tomorrow we head to an appointment for Zac in "town", which is 3.5 hours away.
Today is going to consist of preparing for our trip, trying to clean this disaster of a house and hopefully getting a shower in before 11:00pm.

In other news my hubby bought me a Kobo for our anniversary!! 
I've been on the fence about getting one for a long time now, but decided to bite the bullet and just ask for one for Christmas. 
He's such a good guy, beating everyone to the purchase.
And I love it!

I whipped up a cover for it (in about an hour) shortly after he gave it to me because I have a huge paranoia of it getting scratched. 
I used this pattern and I really recommend it. The pattern also allows you to adjust the sizes depending if you are making it for a Kobo, Kobo touch, Kindle etc. It even has sizes for iPad's.

I also recently discovered Pinterest!
I have wasted hours on that site and highly recommend you do the same!
It's a wonderful place for crafty ideas, inspiration or just eye candy.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Paper Covered Book

I am a sucker for all paper crafts these days.
I think I'm using paper to do more crafts at the moment then I ever have. 
I saw this post a while back and loved the idea of covering a plain ol' ugly note book.
So I did! 
My note book had a slightly larger spine then the composition book used in this tutorial but I still followed the same process; cutting diagonally to the spine, cutting straight across the width of the spine and then cutting diagonally once again to the bottom of the paper being used.
Is it sad that I get so crazy excited about things like covering a note book in pretty paper?
I think my mister thinks I'm nuts but seriously...
I think the end result is just too much fun!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Musical Monday: Ohio University Marching Band

I have a confession to make.
I love the song Party Rock Anthem by LFMAO.
My mister saw this video posted on facebook a little while ago and immediately told me about it, saying it was simply a must see.
It's awesome!
It makes me want to join a marching band!

Friday, October 14, 2011

To My Mister

My mister and I are not a "mushy" couple. It's just not our thing. I think he had the potential when we started dating but I crushed that possibility quite quickly with my odd and awkward responses to anything overly sweet or sentimental.

(picture taken on our honeymoon)

We have our moments, but they are pretty much never in public or published in any form. Don't get me wrong, we hold hands and touch in public and stuff, we're not that bad, but we don't like... make out or anything... I mean we could... if you wanted to see that, but really... do you want to see that?
I didn't think so.

So it's ok if you gag a little when you read what I've written below... it's ok if you snicker or stick out your tounge and make barfing noises... truth be told if I were a third party reading this, I probably would too.
I'm super mature like that.

But today is a special day for me and my mister and since I can, I figured I'd post a little note to him...
my attempt at being sentimental and mushy...

To My Mister,

Today we celebrate 6 years of marriage, which is straight up cuh-razy cakes to me!

I still remember the first time I drove you home from work reaching alarming speeds on one of the busy roads, running 2 red lights all while talking your ear off. You sat silently, white knuckled, praying for safety all while looking interested in what I was saying. I remember our first date... nothing says romance like Jack Ass the Movie! I remember my first car accident (surprisingly enough, it wasn't my fault!), only a couple of weeks after we started dating; you came to my rescue and sat with me calming me down while we waited for the police to arrive and take my statement. I remember the birth of my 1st nephew and pacing the floor crying my face off while you sat in the kitchen amazed by my crazy emotional response. All these nutty events within the first 6 weeks of our relationship and you still stuck around.

I remember the first time you said "I love you", and I remember the details of when you proposed.

I remember the day you became my husband and I remember the day you became a father. I remember every tear that ran down your cheek the day you met Zac for the first time and the sound of your voice the first time you spoke to him. I remember the difficulties you had sitting with me while I had my c-section for Eli, and I remember your refusal to just wait outside instead of fighting passing out. I remember how you sat with me in the recovery room until I begged you to go and be with Eli, because I would be ok.

I remember the pride I felt for you on your graduation day and the butterflies in my stomach the first time I saw you in uniform.

I remember waking up every morning since the day we said "I do" and thanking God for making you part of my life. I remember how lucky I am and how loved I am every time I look at you.

I love you with all my heart.
Here's to a life time of more memories!
PS - I totally didn't buy you a card... or a gift... sorry...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Daily Schedule Binder

At the beginning of last month Emily posted these handy-dandy daily planner sheets that I love.
I love daily lists... an odd amount.
 I take notes and make lists for everything. 
So I loved that these pages were so big and roomy for all my crazy list and note taking adventures during the day. Plus I can put all the kids appointments and what not in the same area as my lists. 

The only problem was that I had no cute binder to put these lovely pages in.
I mean, I have binders. But none that I like enough to look at daily. 
I wanted something prettier.
So I decided to make a fabric cover for my binder.
I understand if you think I'm crazy.
But it turned out super cute and I thought somewhere on this planet someone else out there would enjoy a fantastic fabric covered binder too.
I typed up a little "how to" that you can find here if you're interested. 
It's fun. And cute.
You should do it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Crochet School

Look what I found!!

and what excited me the most about this is that it's FREEEE!!!!
I do love me some free stuff. 
I was actually looking into signing up for an online crochet class through Craftsy, so when I discovered this free class I was so very pleased... because... it's free!!

In other news I am on a huge pumpkin craze. 
I want to eat everything that is pumpkin flavoured... pumpkin pie... pumpkin cookies... pumpkin lates... and this! this pumpkin bread is the best pumpkin bread I have ever eaten... in my whole life!
You should make it.
You should make it and then eat it all.
Eat both loaves within 48 hours.
And then tell me you did so that I don't feel like such a pig...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Mini Pumpkin Whoppie Pies

Zac is a very sweet little boy. 
Perhaps it's a mother's bias, but it's true. He always worries about others, is extremely encouraging and madly over sensitive. 
He's going to be the best boy friend/husband someday I'm thinking.

One of his favourite things to do is surprise my mister's co-workers with treats that we've made with them in mind. He thinks it makes everyone feel so special and he gets such a high seeing how happy everyone gets when he hands them a little baggie of freshly baked goodies.
I love making my mister's co-workers goodies because it's 2 days worth of entertainment! Day 1, bake off the treat and package, day 2 deliver. I think it's just as much a treat for me as it is for the folks in the office.
A few weeks ago Zac asked if we could visit Daddy at work and surprise everyone. I managed to put off the idea until closer to thanksgiving so we could package them up with tags.
As it was a thanksgiving treat I really wanted something pumpkin flavoured but didn't have all the ingredients for any recipes I found, so I pieced together and made up my own. 
I was pleased with the results and everyone else seemed to enjoy them as well.
I did slack a bit and used store bought cream cheese icing. It was easier and on sale... so $1 for the pre-made tub or $6 for the cream cheese alone... pre-made won and it tastes just as good as homemade.

I used Pumpkin Pie filling, but if you only have pure pumpkin have no fear! just add 1 1/2 tbsp cinnamon, 1/2 tbsp ginger, 1/2 tbsp cloves and 1 tsp nutmeg (unless you like nutmeg alot... then add more...)

Mini Pumpkin Whoppie Pies
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3/4 cups vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups (cold) pumpkin pie filling (540ml can)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla 

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl.
Whisk brown sugar and vegetable oil together until combined. Add pumpkin pie filling and mix until completely combined and then add eggs and vanilla, again, mixing until completely combined. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and stir until the flour is completely mixed in. 
Using a melon baller scoop rounds of the dough onto a greased (or parchment lined) cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 12 minutes.
(If you keep the dough in the fridge while you're waiting for your cookie sheet to bake it will ensure that you get a nice poofy cookie.)
Let cookies cool about 5 minutes on the cookie sheet before removing to a cooling rack.

Once the cookies have completely cooled assemble your whoopie pies by putting a small scoop of icing along the underside of one cookie and smushing another cookie on top (so the undersides of each cookie are facing together with icing in between).

You can of course make these with a bigger scoop making larger whoopie pies OR add butterscotch chips to the batter and bake off (these take a bit longer to bake) and eat individually.
They are a cakey cookie, almost like the top of a muffin, super soft and super yummy!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Musical Monday: Neil Young - Old Man

It's Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, which means a long weekend for the hubby, turkey and wonderful autumn smells coming from the kitchen.
We are all a little under the weather so we are having a low key day bumming around the house in our sweats slowly cleaning, while the turkey cooks.
Our dinner wont exactly be "over the top" so to speak but it will still involve the typical Thanksgiving fixin's. I just can't not put a little energy into Thanksgiving dinner... that would seem wrong.
There may not be a dessert though... sad, I know...

Today is a Neil Young Day for me.
I popped his greatest hits CD in while we were cleaning and plan on listening to it over and over for the rest of the day.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Best Friends

 These boys are the best of friends these days and I am LOOOOVINGGG it!!!
They spend most days hugging, laughing, playing and chasing each other.

They have even started having shouting matches with each other, while we are in the grocery store, screaming I LOVE YOU!
and seeing who can hug tighter. 
It's priceless!
It makes my heart swell so much to watch them enjoy hanging out!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Book in Review

Do you remember this book?
I decided to read it a few weeks ago and focus all of my book reading energy into only this book.

What did I think of it you ask?
I was so lost for most of it... I have no idea what to think to be honest!

As I had expected it was a pretty intense book, and while I did take some things away from it, I found it pretty hard to understand most of the time.
Ms Ann Voskamp writes beautifully and uses discriptions I could never, in a million years, come up with ("The tall girl [her daughter] lets the door swing loose and it slams the fingertips of Little One [other daughter] and she yelps a pain dance of salty tears." ), but she is almost poetic.
And I don't do poetry... I'm not smart enough to understand poetry... it's too... deep...

Would I read it again?
Probably not... unless I get super smart... and into poetry... 

This month I decided to read a basic fiction to give my brain a little rest.

I see it everywhere, from bookshelves to blogs to TV shows... so I decided to be a bit of follower this time and see what the big deal is about this book!

Would you like to read along?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Paper Book

I have a complete adoration for these books.
Elise makes them every season and I love the idea so much.
A small book, filled with beautiful paper that you can fill in as you go... like a scrapbook, but on a smaller, less "formal" feeling scale.
While I don't find Elise's books overly pricey I haven't yet purchased one because I worry that it wouldn't be put to proper use. 
I am horrible when it comes to scrapbooking and although I love the end result I'm just never motivated enough to actually put the effort into making a page.
But I really love those books.
So I decided to make my own, as a test to myself, to see if I actually fill it out.
I had a bunch of scrapbook paper already so I just cut it down to size (I cut them 5"x7"), picked up some binder clips (found in the office section of our local "everything" store) for under $2 and boom! my own book complete!
I'm not too sure what I'm going to do with it just yet... I'm thinking either an inspiration book that I can put clippings or ideas of crafting inspiration, my new years goals, my 28 before 28 (28 goals before I turn 28... more on that in a few months), or just general memories... all kinds of ideas are floating around in this little head of mine, I just have to narrow it down to one and get started.
What would you use this little book for? 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Spiced Latte

Starbucks is probably one of my most favourite places on the planet... and the closest one to me is 3.5 hours away.

That makes my heart sad quite often.

I decided it was high time that I figure out how to make myself a little Starbucks love in my own kitchen and whipped up a lovely Pumpkin Pie Spiced Latte. 
It was delicious. I drank it and then made another and drank that too... and the next day I did the same... and I plan to do the same again today... or maybe tomorrow... this much caffine is effecting my sleep.

Sleep... or Pumpkin Pie Spiced Deliciousness... it really is a super hard decision!

We bought some Caramel Vanilla coffee whitener that made this extra fantastic, but it is just as good with plain ol' milk.

1 full cup espresso (I just use the instant stuff because it's tasty and I don't have a press)
1 pinch each of nutmeg, cloves & a bit more then a pinch... maybe 2 pinches of cinnamon
big splash of milk - or flavoured whitener.

Mix it all together and top with an extra huge (we are channelling our inner Starbucks barista after all!) dollop of whipped cream.

I'm thinking I will pass on the sleep again in favour of a warm taste of fall! 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Musical Monday: The Civil Wars - My Father's Father

Welcome to Happiness is Homemade!!
I'm super excited to finally be able to show off my new space in the blog world.
I've been working on it for a while now and just recently decided to take the plunge and complete my makeover by having the ever so talented Dana over at The Wonder Forest design it.
I love it so much and hope you do too!
It's just so pretty now.
I'm also hoping that the new navigation bar will help you find any specifics you might be searching for in either DIY's I've shared or recipes I've taunted you with.
oh! it's just so exciting!

And now on to our regularly scheduled Musical Monday!
I'm madly in love with these two at the moment... I listen to them hours at a time.