Saturday, December 31, 2011

celebrating another fun year with our family

happy new year!
i finally finished my family video for 2011.
here it is....

welcome 2012

let us thank the year that was 2011...
with all its joys & trials.
let us welcome & embrace the year that is 2012...
bringing with it more bliss & challenges.

Friday, December 30, 2011

an eye for bargain (15)

i did not shop much during the holidays. the large store crowds & cold temperatures gave me a reason to take a break from bargain hunting. so this is an accumulation of my shopping trips for the whole month of december.

~ 3 girl's long sleeve tees $2.48 each
~ 3 piece girl outfit $7.49
 ~ 2 piece girl outfit $9.99
 ~ 2 piece girl outfit $2.48
 ~ 2 piece girl outfit $4.71
~ stability ball free [got an email coupon after registration at]
~ nyc lipstick $0.72 [after $1/1 tpc]
~ maybelline lip balm $0.99 [after $2/1 tpc]
~ 2 reynolds aluminum foil 80 sq ft $1.74 each [after $1.25/1 mic]
~ 1 reynolds aluminum foil 50 sq ft $1.50 [clearance]
~ 2 5-pack ziploc containers $1.50 each [clearance]
Victoria's Secret
~ mascara & eyeshadow $2 [after $10 vs printable coupon-thanks to my friend yum]
and my best deal for the month...
scotch thermal laminator - $1.99 [after $15 amazon gift card] i got the gc from my bing rewards.

well, it has been a fun year finding cheap & free deals. i definitely learned a lot in the process. coupons & i are bffs. until my next shopping adventure....

tpc - target printable coupon
mic - manufacturer's internet coupon

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

sopapilla cheesecake

i love cheesecake! who doesn't? and then i found this over at pinterest. hmmm? very intriguing but easy to make. so i decided to bake it. but good old me loves a good tweakin. and this is what i came up with....

* 2 cans crescent rolls
* 2 (8oz) boxes neufchatel cheese (softened)
* 1 cup brown sugar
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 1/4 cup butter (melted)
* cinnamon, nutmeg & brown sugar (topping)
bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
smells goody! tastes heavenly! [especially when the cheese melts in your mouth].

the nice thing about this dessert is it can be prepared overnight & left to cool in the fridge. this is definitely a keeper. a fancy dessert on a budget!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

happy holidays to all

from our family to yours....
let us all celebrate a meaningful christmas.
enjoy the holidays!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

choco fudge

here is another quick sweet treat that i adapted from the blog baked bree.  i made it for my hubby's co-workers.  sounds like it was a hit - no leftovers! 

1. add the cream, sugar, salt, butter & marshmallows in a large saucepan. cook over medium heat until the marshmallows & butter begin to melt, about 5 minutes.
2. bring the mixture to a boil & boil for 5 minutes.  it will be bubbling all over the place & turn brown.

3. take the pan off of the heat. add chocolate chips & vanilla.
4. mix it all together until the chocolate has melted & all is nice & smooth. 
5. pour mixture in an 8 × 12 pan, lined with parchment paper & sprayed with cooking spray. add sprinkles & place in the fridge until firm.  cut into squares. 

so, so easy!  i am making another batch for christmas.  [hubby requested chocolate chips on top. i want walnuts...will do half of each.]
i made another batch for christmas.  i only did half of the original recipe & topped it off with walnuts & peppermint.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

DIY - ribbon-wrapped lampshade

every time i am using our desktop computer, this lamp is literally staring down at me. it sits on top of the cpu & serves as our main light in the living room. everyone will agree with me that it is very plain & the base design is outdated. it sure needs a quick fix.
i got my glue gun & some grosgrain ribbon [$1 for 5 yards at walmart]. and after 5 minutes, i was done!
this is a work in progress. i will spray paint the lamp base this coming summer [& maybe redecorate the shade again]. i have yet to decide on the color - white, black or metallic silver. in the meantime, i have six months to find ideas or inspirations for this project. good luck to me! =)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

toffee crack

i just love finding a recipe that i can whip up easily. it is also a big plus if it serves multiple occasions & uses ingredients that i already have at home.

i read this recipe from the styleberry blog yesterday. the simplicity of it all got me cooking right away.
1) line the saltines in a cookie sheet. [i used whole wheat saltines]
2) in a pan, melt butter then add sugar & stir until combined. [don't stir too long]
3) pour the mixture over saltines & spread evenly.
4) bake at 350F in a preheated oven for about 5 minutes or until bubbly. [watch closely]
5) remove from oven & pour chocolate chips on top. gradually spread the chips when it starts to melt.
6) cool completely until set. break into pieces.
i had fun breaking it up. i will make another batch tomorrow & use graham crackers.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

choco cookies

and i finally did it! i baked my first cookies! yep, made from scratch [except the icing-which is my next mission]. i have said before that baking intimidates me. it still does. so i'm always on the lookout for easy & simple baking recipes. for this one, i credit the blog baked bree. she has a lot of amazing ideas for cooking & baking. [i did her apple pie too].

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 sticks butter - room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • a pinch salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon & a dash of nutmeg [my own tweak]
  • betty crocker cookie icing & sprinkles for decorating
1. in a bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. [i used a hand mixer & it was about 10 minutes]. then, add vanilla & egg. mix until combined.

2. in a separate bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, salt, cinnamon & nutmeg.
3. add the butter mixture slowly. mix until incorporated.
4. wrap dough in saran wrap & chill for 30 minutes or until firm.
5. roll out the dough in a flat surface.
6. cut with a cookie cutter. [i used a 2.5 inch cutter].
7. line each one in a cookie tray. bake for 8-10 minutes in a preheated 350F oven.
8. remove from tray & cool completely.
honestly, i am not an icing fan [nor is my hubby]. we already love eating the cookies like this. but since i am giving this to family & friends, i have to finish it off with some icing & sprinkles.
i am so proud of myself! i really thought this would be a baking disaster. it turned out perfect. one thing i learned, baking cookies is very therapeutic for me.

i hope everybody enjoys my special treat!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

photo collage

this year, picasa has been my best friend for editing pictures, creating collages & beyond. actually, all of the photos & collages in my blog were created using this software. thanks to the easy tutorial in clover lane. i also found tons of websites, like DSE, that offer a lot of free digital scrapbooking paper.

here is an 8x10 birthday collage i made for my mom.

after avery turned one, i decided to continue making photo collages. i think its a great way to chronicle her growth. i have made twelve months of collages for her already. so why stop now?

this is her photo collage from thirteen to eighteen months old. occasionally offers free 8x10 photo collages. i make sure i get this freebie all the time.

these are the freebies i ordered

first birthday
philippines trip

nineteen to twenty one months old

twenty two & twenty three months old
second birthday
and another collage of her 2nd birthday that we will give to grammy for christmas.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

my dearest little girl (24 mos)

and you are two years old! everybody says "terrible twos". a lot of people resign to this misnomer, but i will not. i have always been optimistic - always looking on the bright side.

two is a wonderful time. you are definitely saying more words & understand what it means. you can follow simple instructions. you imitate sounds & actions. you have always been a very independent girl. you like to figure out things on your own & would never ask for our help. but this last few weeks, i finally heard you say "open, please."

everyday, your dad & i are learning a lot. yes, you are only two but we are so proud of you. each new word or action you learn; finishing your food or drinking your milk; & taking your first potty alone. it is an amazement & gives us delight. we know you are reaching a lot of milestones.

more adventures & more discoveries to come my little girly girl.
we visited the library today for the first time. you had a lot of fun in the play area. we will visit more often in the coming months.

and yesterday, dad took us in the nearby cornfield for snow sledding. unfortunately, the hill wasn't steep enough. so he ended up dragging us behind the atv. you enjoyed the ride & cried when i took you out of the sled.