Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Chocolate Lover's Cake- Chocolate Velvet Cream Cake

I have a small confession to make. I don't like cake. I know, that makes me crazy or something. Another confession? My husband doesn't like it either. I guess crazies gravitate together. Even with both of us being cake hating crazies, we have a weakness. This cake. It is delicious and moist and easy to make. It is so easy to make that my husband who is terrified of the oven in general makes me one on my birthday.

You will need:

  • 1 German Chocolate cake mix (You can also use red velvet but we like the German Chocolate.)
  • 1 large container of Cool Whip
  • 3-4 TBSP chocolate powder, like Nesquik or if you want to pretend this cake is healthy, Instant Breakfast.
  • 1 TBSP. chocolate malt powder

Prepare the German Chocolate cake according to package directions. Separate batter into two round cake pans. Bake both according to package directions. Remove from oven and allow to cool COMPLETELY. I like to make it the night before. Patience really pays off here.

Cut each round in half long ways. Forming four rounds.

In a large bowl combine the Cool Whip with the chocolate and malt powders. Mix well until it becomes a light brown color.

Place the first cake layer on a large plate. Slather with a layer of the frosting mixture. Add the next layer and repeat the process for the rest of the layers. When all layers have been added use the rest of the frosting mixture to cover the top and sides of the cake. Drizzle chocolate syrup over the cake and then chill for 1-2 hours before serving.

Enjoy and try not to go into a chocolate coma! We always can't help but finish the cake in a day or two. We usually end up just taking forks to the cake. I guess we like the occasional chocolate coma around here. :)

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Capriel Felt Flower- Tutorial

 I can't help but love colorful polka dots. The second I saw this fun printed felt, I knew it was coming home with me. I have a weakness for felt and fun fabrics, much to my husband's dismay. This whimsical flower, named for my darling niece, came together quickly, using hot glue and is the perfect place to use your printed felt.

You will need:
Felt, cute of course
hot glue
a center jewel or button
The first thing you need to do it cut two flowers out of the felt. Think little clouds as you make the petal. Make one of them larger and the other small.After you have the large flower, cut the center out of it. This center circle will be the base of your flower. Cutting it out of the middle saves some felt, looking at us being all thrifty.
Next take your hot glue and gather the flower, glue it to itself every half inch or so to create petals. Glue this to your center circle. Repeat with the smaller flower. Then glue the small flower on top of the bigger flower.
Glue your center onto the flower and add a hair clip or pin to the back of it. Wear your cute flower everywhere, because it why wouldn't you? :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

WoW: Digital Exfoliation

Welcome to another Wednesday! How did your exfoliation go? I hope yours was fantastic because...

...mine was AWESOME. (That is 4 boxes and a garbage bag, stuffed full of things to get rid of - not pictured are the 4 big loads of trash and recycling!)

I had gotten far too used to the odds and ends of clutter that had accumulated on just about every horizontal surface in our home, and it makes me SO happy to have (most of it) gone. It's like a breath of fresh air!

I exfoliated waaay more than just 50 things, but I desperately needed it. And, thanks to Freecycle, people are stopping by my house to take my junk off my hands... can't beat that!

So, now that we've exfoliated in real life... let's exfoliate digitally:

That's the challenge for this week: get rid of 50 things from your digital life that you no longer need, use, or love. You could....
  • clean up your desktop, or wherever your dump your digital junk
  • go through your photos and get rid of all the blurry ones that you've held onto for some crazy reason
  • unfriend (or just hide) friends on Facebook (you know which ones...)
  • trim down the blogs in your blog reader
  • uninstall the software programs you no longer use
  • unsubscribe from the emails newsletters that you never read anyway
Happy exfoliating!

Lu (or Lorene if you prefer) is the mom of two sweet little things (except on the days that they aren't) and the wife of a singing and dancing elementary teacher. She is the proud author of this weekly Wednesdays on (or off) the Web (WotW) segment here on Housewife Eclectic and spends the other days of the week blogging about life and crafts and whatever else comes up at just Lu.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Camri Flower- a felt flower tutorial

This delightful felt flower, named for my niece, looks complete and intricate but is actually simple to pull together. I love this flower on a clip for my daughter to wear in her hair. I used blue and purple, because we never seem to have a blue hair clip when we need one, but this flower would be pretty in so many color combination, yellow and orange, pink and white. The possibilities are fabulously endless.

You will need:
Felt in two coordinating colors
hot glue
a center for your flower, I used a pearl button.
The first thing you need to do is cut your circles. You will need five of each color. You will cut your largest and smallest circles from the same color. My large circles are an inch in diameter and my small ones are a quarter of an inch in diameter. I cut one circle of each size and then used it as the pattern for the other four.

You will also need SIX circles of the middle size in another color. My middles are a half inch in diameter. You need five to be middles and the sixth to be the circle that you glue your petals to.
Glue your middles to the bottom edge of the largest circles. Then glue your smallest circle on top, also to that same bottom edge. Repeat for all five petals.
Pinch your petals together at the bottom where the circles meet and hot glue to keep them that way.
Glue all five petals onto the last felt circle you have remaining.
Add your favorite center to the middle of the flower, whether it be a pearl, button or rhinestone. Then glue your flower to a headband, or pin and you have a gorgeous way to complete an outfit! What would you use this flower for?

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Amy Flower- A felt flower tutorial

This beautiful, full flower, named after my baby sister, is one of my absolute favorite felt flowers. It is easy to put together, but it looks exquisite. With three simple supplies, you can make as many of these statement flowers are you want.

You will need:

  •  a sheet or two of felt in one color
  • hot glue
  • scissors

The first thing you need to do for this flower is make your center. You do this by taking a strip that is about a half inch wide and a couple inches long and folding it on itself. After you glue the fold to itself, roll the rest of the strip around the fold to create your center.
After you have your center created, you will need to cut your base and petal. Cut a medium sized circle, an inch or two in diameter. This circle will be what you glue all of your petals to.
You will need eight petals to create this flower. Four big ones and four small ones. There is not a pattern for the petals, rather just create small curvy clouds. The large ones should be 2-3 inches across and the small ones 1-2. 
After you have cut your curvy clouds, fold them in on themselves and glue, like in the photo above. You will then layer them on the felt circle. Glue the large petals about the circle and then glue the small petals on top of the large petals. Finish my glue your center to the middle of the small petals. 
Complete your flower anyway you want, with a hair clip, pin or head band glued to the back. This finished flower is larger, about 4 inches across and so it makes quite the statement! 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

WoW: Exfoliate stuff (off the web)

As I mentioned in this post a few weeks ago, I've decided to shift the focus of my Wednesday posts to cover all of the good and important things in life, both on and off the web.

Inspired by by Wake Up Wednesdays (and Super Heroes of Service) over at I Am Momma - Hear Me Roar, many of my posts will be challenges -- things to do this week and report back next Wednesday. I'm busy, you're busy, we're all busy, so these "assignments" (should you choose to accept them) will be something small and simple and easily accomplished in just a few minutes.

So, this week's challenge:  
 exfoliate 50 things.

Last year as part of the Housewife MacGyver series over on just Lu, I featured and interviewed Jess from Makeunder My Life, a blog all about living life with purpose and intention. The driving philosophy behind a made-under life is that whatever isn’t serving a positive purpose in our lives is hiding our best selves. (You can read more about Jess' philosophy and her awesome 4-step make-under plan here, and the author who originally inspired Jess here.)

So, grab a box and start exfoliating. I'm doing this too, and I am a major pack rat, so if I can do it, you can too! If you'd prefer to start smaller, start with just 10 things, or you can start with what Jess calls an end of the week exfoliation, getting rid of one thing each week. 

However much you decide to exfoliate, how do you decide if something is worthy of exfoliation?

If you no longer need, use, or love it, exfoliate it. 
“If you don’t know what to do with it, or where to put it or why you ever bought it in the first place, or if looking at it depresses you, throw it out! Never keep anything that makes you look heavy or feel heavy.”-Gail Blanke, author of Throw Out Fifty Things
Fifty things seems like a lot, but break it down -- 10 things from 5 rooms in your house, or fewer things if you have more rooms. From my son's toy box alone I already have close to 20 things that he and I are no longer needing, using, or loving. :)

I'm dividing my 50 things into 3 boxes: 
  • list on Freecycle or donate to the local thrift store
  • throw away or recycle
  • give away (to a specific person)
Next week, I'll show you my boxes -- I've only just started and already it feels fantastic to be getting rid of things, even for my pack rat self!

Happy exfoliating! 

Lu (or Lorene if you prefer) is the mom of two sweet little things (except on the days that they aren't) and the wife of a singing and dancing elementary teacher. She is the proud author of this weekly Wednesdays on the Web (WotW) segment here on Housewife Eclectic and spends the other days of the week blogging about crafts and whatever else comes up at just Lu.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Simple Felt Rose :Tutorial

 This simple rose can be whipped up in just a couple of minutes and just needs a few easy supplies. It looks cute as a brooch or on a headband.

You will need:
felt in a flower color
green felt
hot glue
 First, cut a strip of felt. About half an inch tall and about two inches long. Fold it in on itself and then roll the rest of the strip around it, gluing it at the bottom. This will be your center.

Cut strips about three inches long and an inch tall. After you have your strips, take your scissors and cut waves across the top of your strips, as below.
Wrap the wavy strips around the center with the waves on top creating your petals. Glue at the bottom as you go.
Cut a small strip of green felt. Wrap this around the bottom of your flower. Glue in place. If you want to cut a leaf, you can. Just glue in place when you have a leaf that you like.

There you have it, a simple felt rose that you can whip up in just a few minutes. What would you use a felt flower for?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Letters to My World: Reboot

Letters to My World has always been one of my favorite things to do on my blog. For one reason or another they have gotten lost in the shuffle for the last year or so, but today they are back and hopefully for good. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

WoW: Resolving on and off the web

Hello, friends! I, Lu, am back at long last. I had a wonderful break, which was extended an extra week thanks to both me and my computer being sick last week. :) Thanks for reading!

It's the resolving time of year. The time we resolve to all become perfect people by the end of the calendar year.

There are many different ways people go about organizing their resolutions. Some people start with a big ol' list of things they want to change/do. Some people set goals in several different categories. Some people choose one over-arching concept to be their guide to what they do in the year.

And then there's crazy masochist people like me who do all three. :)

I make lists of goals, in four different categories, following a single-word "theme" for the year. My typical success rate with my resolutions is around 50%, but I figure that 50% of my 50 goals is still better than 100% of 10 goals...

I'm sharing my one single(ish) word over at my blog today, and I'll be sharing the rest of my goals there later (not because you readers actually need to know or particularly care, but because then I feel a little more accountable :) but I thought that I would share one goal here with you all today because it applies to what I do here every Wednesday.

Nope, not the rambling - the webby stuff. I know my own limits and I don't think I could ever resolve to stop rambling in blog posts. ;)

My last post back in December was about some changes that I'm making here to this Wednesday segment, making Wednesdays a day about being both on and OFF the web. This is inspired by one of my personal goals this year: to spend less time online.

{gasp} I'm sure you've never heard anyone resolve to spend less time on the internet. I only resolve to spend less time on the internet two or three times a week, myself. But this time I've decided to really work on making it stick by making it more specific:
to spend only as much time online as I spend enjoying my children. 

So, the 20 minutes I spend reading the same Thomas the Tank Engine board book fourteen times "earns" me 20 minutes on Pinterest clicking "see more pins" fourteen times. :)

I'm not pulling out the stopwatch just yet. So long as both areas of my life feel fulfilled, with my kids coming first and Pinterest (and its online friends) coming waaaay after and in smaller doses, I'll consider the resolution fulfilled.

Now I want to hear from you: What are your resolutions and goals both on and off the web? I'd love to be able to share resources and ideas to help you fulfill all myriad types of resolutions! And if you haven't made any resolutions, please tell me what your secret to already living a perfect life is. :)

 PS - If you're looking for some online resources to help you track your goals, check out my post from this time last year.

Lu (or Lorene if you prefer) is the mom of two sweet little things (except on the days that they aren't) and the wife of a singing and dancing elementary teacher. She is the proud author of this weekly Wednesdays on the Web (WotW) segment here on Housewife Eclectic and spends the other days of the week blogging about crafts and whatever else comes up at just Lu.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Delicious Tomatillo Salsa

Have you ever wondered how green salsa is made? The answer is in the tomatillo. The process of making this salsa is similar to others, with a little bit more prep work. This delicious salsa is worth it.

You will need:
1 lb tomatillos, husked
1 1/2 jalapenos, stemmed
1/4 white onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, diced
1 TBSP salt
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
2 limes
vegetable oil

Place tomatillos, jalapenos, onion, garlic and salt into a pot of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5-10 minutes until the tomatillos are soft, but have not burst.

Drain the liquid into a container, saving the liquid for later.

Place the vegetables in blender with the cilantro and the juice of the limes. Pour in 1/4 a cup of the drained water, slightly cooled and then blend into a puree.

Add more salt, cilantro or lime juice to taste. For more heat use 1 jalapeno and 1/2 a serrano pepper. Serve with chips.