Friday, April 29, 2016

Chocolate Pudding Cake

This cake is a chocolate lover's dream. A chocolate cake with the extra added chocolate pudding AND chocolate chips? This fantastic cake has a light and fluffy texture that combines with the chocolate chips to give this cake just the little extra power it needed to make it a truly fantastic chocolate masterpiece. 

For the Cake: 

  • 1 package pink Ducan Hines Swiss Chocolate cake mix 
  • 1 small box instant chocolate pudding
  • 1 C. sour cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1/2 c. oil
  • 2 Cups Chocolate Chips (optional) 

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine all of the ingredients. Pour the mixture into a greased 10" inch bundt pan. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top if desired. Bake for about 45 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes and then remove the cake from the pan. It is best to remove the cake from the pan right at 15 minutes, If you wait a shorter or longer amount of a time it can be hard to remove the cake cleanly from the pan.

For the frosting: 

  • 8 oz softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 c. softened butter
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 3 C. powdered sugar

Combine the frosting ingredients and beat just until combined. Scoop the frosting into a pastry bag and cut the end. Loop over the cake to evenly spread the frosting. 

The chocolate lover in your life will go crazy for this double chocolate piece of amazing! 
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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Skinny Key Lime Pie Smoothie

I love Key Lime Pie. There is something about the tangy and sweet together that makes it one of my favorite treats. Since I am working hard on living a healthy life, I want to be able have my favorite treat without sacrificing what I am working towards. This smoothie is the perfect combination, all the flavor and not the crazy amount of calories.

You will need:
  • 1 cup Key Lime Greek Yogurt
  • 2 Bananas, peeled, sliced and then frozen 
  • 3/4 cup of Vanilla Almond Milk
  • ice
  • a graham cracker 
  • light whipped cream (omit this if you are going for super healthy)

Add the frozen slices of banana, almond milk, yogurt, a small handful of ice to your blender and blend until smooth. Top it with light whipped cream and a graham cracker, but when I am going for a really light treat I omit this step.

This is the perfect treat when you are looking for something sweet but you don't want to break the calorie bank! 

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Strawberry Cream Cake

When I asked my 2-year-old for a completely pink birthday party, I was naive to think it didn't apply to the cake as well. When we went to the story for ingredients she informed me it need to be pink and strawberry. This cake is both of those things. It has a mild and sweet strawberry taste that is delicious without being overwhelming. If you were to pair a strawberry cake mix with strawberry cream pudding, I think it would be too much, but this combination is perfect! 

For the Cake: 

  • 1 package pink Ducan Hines Pink Velvet  cake mix 
  • 1 small box instant strawberry cream pudding
  • 1 C. sour cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1/2 c. oil

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine all of the ingredients. Pour the mixture into a greased 10" inch bundt pan. Bake for about 45 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes and then remove the cake from the pan. It is best to remove the cake from the pan right at 15 minutes, If you wait a shorter or longer amount of a time it can be hard to remove the cake cleanly from the pan.

For the frosting: 

  • 16 oz softened cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 c. heavy cream

Beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla together until smooth. In a different bowl beat the cream until stiff peaks form. Combine the frosting ingredients and beat just until combined. Do not beat very long. Scoop the frosting into a pastry bag and cut the end. Loop over the cake to evenly spread the frosting. 

A pink cake for the Pinkalicious fan in your life. 
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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

DIY Magnetic Organizer

How cute is this magnetic organizer?! This is so easy to make, you can make a few so you can keep track of all of the papers that get misplaced around the house! post signature

10 Must-Have Apps for Your Android or iOS Phone

I am an app addict. My hobby is researching new apps, downloading them, and trying them out. Sure, I end up deleting most of these apps within a few days, but I love tinkering around because you never know when you're going to come across an app that will truly change your life. I know that sounds dramatic, but I really do have a handful of apps that make my life better.

So I thought I'd share my Top 10 Must-Have Apps with you. My requirements for this list were:

  • I had to use the app multiple times a week.
  • All apps had to be free to download
  • All apps had to work on both iOS and Android
  • App apps need a web version for use on a computer
  • None of the apps could be directly social media related
Why these rules? Because an app should be something you use on more than one platform. I own an iPhone and an Android tablet. I love them both, so having my favorite apps on both devices makes things really nice.

Without further ado, here's the list in no particular order.

10. Wunderground
There are a lot of weather apps out there, but few are simple, easy to use and as beautiful as the Weather Underground app (shortened to Wunderground). The app updates quickly and contains a considerable amount of weather data without feeling overwhelming.

9. Inbox 
If you're a Gmail user, you need to check out Inbox. It's your Gmail account evolved. It uses intelligent Google processing to make sense of your emails. Not only does it simplify the display, it also allows you to quickly archive emails with a swipe. One of my favorite features is the snooze button. If an email arrives at an inopportune time, simply tell it to come back at a time that works better for you, and it will. I hopped on Inbox when it was still in beta and I love it. I'll never go back to the traditional Gmail display.

8. Kindle 
There are a slew of ebook readers out there, but few do the job as well as Kindle. I love that it works across platforms so I can start a book on my iPhone and pick up the same book later at night on my Android tablet and it will instantly sync to the furthest place I've read. It's easy to add books to your reading list, and Amazon has a large selection of free and paid books to choose from.

7. Flipboard
Staying up with the news can be tedious, especially when you follow dozens of news sites and blogs. Flipboard simplifies this process. You tell Flipboard what you're interested in (it's also really good at suggesting topics), and it will put together an online newspaper/magazine for you. It's quick and easy to flip through the news, and if you find something interesting it's incredibly easy to share on your favorite social networks.

6. Trello 
Managing projects and tasks (whether for work or personal) can be difficult. There are hundreds of apps that can help with this, but few do it as well as Trello. It's an app that works well on the web and the app, and nothing is lost in either experience. Trello loads incredibly quickly and it's easy to put ideas down. So if you find yourself juggling lots of balls, put that information into Trello and put your mind to rest.

5. Stitcher
Podcasts are fantastic. If you haven't gotten into podcasts yet, let me suggest Freakonomics. It's an incredibly well produced podcast that will get your brain working. Podcasts are fantastic to listen to while commuting or on trips, and Stitcher makes it easy to follow your favorite podcasts, or discover new podcasts. The interface is simple and makes it incredibly easy to keep up to date with all episodes of your favorite podcast.

4. Simplenote
Your device probably came with a default notes app. And chances are it's terrible. Simplenote is just what it name implies: a simple note-taking app. There's no formatting to worry about or special features. Simply type your notes and it syncs those notes to the cloud. That way you can access your notes on any device, including your computer. 

3. Pocket
I browse dozens of sites every day as I scour the news and look for social media trends. I need a way to bookmark and remember all the great content I find. That's where Pocket comes in. This handy app helps you bookmark content so you can find it again, but it also serves as a great "read later" folder. When you have time to read the content you saved, the Pocket app strips away all the extra junk from the website so you can just focus on reading.

2. Google Photos
If you're like me, chances are you take most of your photos on your phone. But how often do you back those photos up? And how can you afford storage for so many photos? Google provides the answer with Google Photos. This great app can automatically back up all photos and videos on your phone. And you can backup an unlimited number of photos if you allow Google to save less data-intensive versions of your files (though the image quality is still quite high). Not only does it do this behind the scenes, it also lets you easily organize photos into albums, or create videos or collages. It's an easy-to-use photo app that every smartphone user needs.

1. Pushbullet
I have a constant need to push information from my phone to my computer and vice versa. I hate cluttering up my inbox with emails to myself. Pushbullet gets around this. This simple app makes it a breeze to send files, links and text from one device to another. And there's even a great Chrome extension so it's a piece of cake to find something on your desktop browser and send it to your phone for when you're on the go.

That's my list. There are plenty of other apps I love, but these 10 apps really do make my life better and help me be more productive. To download any of these apps, simply search for them in your app store.

What are your must-have apps? 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Spring Cleaning and Smoothies!

Get It Together Link Party Don't miss another week of the #BloggersGetSocial Get It Together link party. We pin, tweet, and/or Facebook share ALL of the posts here! We are all about networking, action, and accountability. While that link up was focused on social media networks, this NEW and improved link up is co-hosted by some of my favorite blog buddies and features #BloggersGetSocial! Bloggers Get Social is a network and accountability group, and I created it with the hopes of bringing new and veteran bloggers together to collaborate on their goals. With this link up, we hope to share the best home and organizational tips and tricks and focus on bringing YOUR content in front of new readers! Let's get started! Thanks for stopping by the Get It Together Link Up! This is a fun Monday blog hop and link party that encourages bloggers to share their best posts of the week in the following topics:
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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Weekly Dinner Menu 14

Weekly Dinner Menu

Not sure what to make this week? We have you covered with these gorgeous recipes! Check out the meal plan before.
Hostess Image
Weekly dinner menu hostesses are:







Grilled Teriyaki Kabobs 1




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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Safe Splash Swim School Review

Water has never been my friend. As a kid I almost drowned twice. One of the near experiments I don't remember because I was too little, the other, every scary moment under the water is seared into my brain. It was more than 20 years ago, but I get sick to my stomach just thinking about it. That was the moment I truly walked away from the water. I never really learned to swim and didn't spend much time in the pool after that.

When my daughter was born, I sound found I had a little fish on my hands. She couldn't get enough of the water. We lived in South Texas where it is very, very hot. We spent almost every single day in our community pool. We we go over before lunch and swim for an hour and then come home for naps. I have fond memories of those days and hours spent in the pool just me and her and it is where I overcame my fear of the water. We love the pool these days, but the terror that I remember from that day in my childhood is still very real and something I never want my kids to experience. I am very focused on making sure they know how to save swim and save themselves in the pool, so they won't ever have to experience what I did.

We recently got the chance to check out our local Safe Splash Swim School for a month. My daughter took group lessons and I have to say I was really impressed. I thought for my daughter to learn anything she would need a one on one class, but the teacher was really good at dividing the time and I think she actually learned a lot from watching the other kids too.

Even though my 7-year-old is a fish, I have never been able to get her to swim with her face under the water. Within one lesson her teacher had her swimming with her head under the water. Seriously, I want some of that teacher's magic, I have been trying for years.

One thing I really liked about the class is that the teacher had all sorts of cute names and rhymes for things that my daughter was supposed to remember. It made it easy to know how to help her and practice outside of the class time. The teacher built trust very fast with my child and she knew how to help the kids feel safe in the water.

Safe Splash has over 110 locations in 10 different states with 34 locations across Texas, 9 in California, 7 in Washington and 3 in Utah. It is an ongoing program, so you don't have to keep reregistering and your child doesn't have to get used to a new teacher every few weeks. Each teacher is certified through in-water instruction testing. 

I was really impressed with the quality of the swim lessons and we plan on continuing even though our review period is over. I want her to feel safe in the water and I Safe Splash has really helped her!

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