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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

How to Eat A Cupcake...

Since Amber and I celebrate our birthdays this month, cake and cupcakes have clearly been a part of the celebration. And what's not to love? Soft, fluffy cake... Creamy, lickable frosting....yep..put the two together and a little bit of magic happens.




 And it got me to thinking..that whole cupcake bit. These individual size cakes kinda became a sensation overnight. Like all of a sudden people were ub-sessed with them and cute, trendy cupcake bakeries started popping up all over the place. And no..I'm not complaining.

I mean what's not to love with these perfectly sized bites of heaven..topped with mile-high, swirled frosting and decked out with sprinkles, chocolate dipped cookies or a cherry of some sort up on top? Not much I tell you..except for one little issue....



All that frosting that sits up on top of the cupcake is good and all but when you go in for a bite, there is the issue of not being able to fit the whole bite of frosting and cake into your mouth..and I should know..my big mouth is larger than life and I can not get that perfect bite/mix of cake and frosting ratio. Do you feel me?

Geez....the struggle is real

But being the cupcake problem solver that I am, you can quit your worrying and check this problem off your first world problem list because I have an answer or two...phew!

First answer..

Cut the bottom half of the cupcake off, swipe a small layer of frosting up off the top and put it on top of the bottom half you just cut. Wah-la! Perfect ratio bites solved and even better..it's now like you have two cupcakes. You can put them back together but still..who's mouth is that big?



Second answer..

Take a small lick of frosting off the top and then a small bite off the bottom of the cupcake. This way you get a good amount of cake and frosting in one bite..plus then after a few bites off the bottom, you can now eat the top half of the cupcake with a still good amount of frosting. Win-win all around.

And there you have it! Are you embarrassed of me..to think that I actually spent time considering this issue and coming up with a solution? Or are you a cupcake eating problem solver too.. who solved the problem years ago and has been downing cupcakes like a pro for years? Or better yet..do you have a better solution than me? Do tell...



So now when you buy those fancy topped, delicious cupcakes by the dozen no less..you can dive in with no fear and a new cupcake eating tactic. Your friends will either be uber impressed or a little really embarrassed. 

and I'm just reminding you all that cupcake calories on birthdays don't exsist

You're Welcome!

XO
Ashley aka The Cupcake Fairy



Monday, March 23, 2015

Spring Into Swimsuit Season...

May I be among the first to remind you that Spring Break is just days away?
May I point out that this probably means you're gonna bust out the ole' swimwear for a good long season of watery outings?
May I be the first to vomit just a little in my mouth?
Kidding.  Kind of.

But really, you know, Ashley and I have been on the hunt for the perfect fitting (ahem-- booty hugging) adorable suits that will wear well and hold up at countless pool dates, as well as make us feel like hot mamas.  Phew.  Mission impossible?  Nearly.  But we've found a few things worth mentioning.

First... our new fave one-pieces have the magical crocheted middle.  Think of the classic black bikini (that you used to sport like a boss) with the Mom security blanket of a semi-concealed torso!  It's like the very best version of the monokini (Which is really a thing -- Look it up).

Ashley just bought this one for her BIRTHDAY... which is TODAY
Birthday Wishes should be sent to her in bulk NOW.  :)

 While little miss flighty pants over here waited too long and it sold out.  So holler if you find a comparable little number for me that doesn't cost an arm and a leg, will ya?

The swim skirt.  You guys, before you roll your eyes, just know that I bought a couple of these babies from Lime Ricki on clearance to the tune of $9.00 per skirt.  So I figured, if it was a complete flop, I was out $20 bucks but up two gifts in my gift-giving arsenal.  Imagine my surprise when the little numbers came in the mail complete with high quality fabric, built in bikini bottoms, and in colors that matched some of my favorite boob enhancing tops!  I seriously feel like I hit the jackpot here and apparently I'm a "share your winnings" kind of gal.  You're welcome.

Vintage Swimwear - or Retro - or whatever flattering term you use for full coverage suits that conjure up images of Wendy Peffercorn.  A.K.A. suits that actually cover your butt cheeks and hold up your boobs in the best possible way.  Vintage suits are all the rage and you can find them in LOTS of places.  And those high waisted bikinis?  I die.

   Paint yo Piggies.  I know it sounds kind of ridiculous, but when you're nearly naked... pretty toes are your best accessory.  They'll boost the look of any swimsuit, cover up, or pair of pretty sandals as you're padding around the hotel pool or frolicking on the beach.  
Rub on a Tan & Some Coconutty Potion.  I went ahead and got myself some Tanwise at the recommendation of MaskCara.  And let me say, the girl knows what she's talking about.  That stuff does NOT smell and it DOES leave your skin with a natural looking bronze hue.  That bronze will dissipate the moment you actually get in the water, but for that initial strip tease when you have to muster up the courage to step out of your cover up and just own your basically bare-assed self?  Those tan limbs will give you a little extra courage before you flaunt it like a boss.
And speaking of... let's give a nod to the cover ups.  These are a must.  Especially for Moms who will inevitably, hours later, with tired and over-sunned toddlers in tow, have to make the exit of shame.  It's nice to know you will be leaving in something that makes you look presentable despite the bawling, fishy cracker throwing kid slung over your shoulder.
Cover Ups are heavenly.  Slide into some flip flops, put on your aviators and you're off -- in style.
  I'm a recent fan of rompers, which have become readily available.  For  me this more "sporty gal" look feels better than wearing a sundress.  Does anyone else feel like an Easter imposter in a sundress?

And prep yourself for the longest, most torturous and heavenly days of summer ahead.   Yeah... I meant to say that.  Because if you've ever schlepped it on a summer swim vacay with your bestie for a few days with seven kids between you... you know EXACTLY what I'm referring to.
 
XO
Amber

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Of Fairy Dust & Throat Punches...


I have one of those neighbors that laughs at me when I most need someone to laugh at me, you know?  So yesterday, after folding a batch of laundry (what else) I came out to check on the boys and she was there doing the same and she called my bluff… "What's up with you?" 

Apparently I was wearing my frustration on my face.

About what, you ask?  Oh, about my husbands basket full of clean laundry that has become a permanent fixture in our bedroom.  Why do I even share precious dresser space with him if he keeps his goods in constant rotation in and out of the the basket, you know?
Please tell me you know what I'm feeling.
Anyway, it all came tumbling out… "Do you put away everyone's laundry in your house?" I asked.  She proceeded to tell me that yes, she puts away her laundry, her husband's laundry, her two little kids' laundry but she "helps" her older two kids put their clean clothes away… and yes, she used air quotes to really underscore her point.

"But seriously you are laundering your husband's things and then proceeding to fold them, hang them, AND put them in their resting spots?" I demanded.

"Well yeah - she said.  I'm like the freaking sock fairy.  He NEVER has to worry about clean socks because they always just show up in his drawer all clean, paired and ready to go.  But you know, he's the gas fairy.  I never ever fill up my own tank and I never ever worry that it won't be full when I get in to drive."
So there it was.  A suggestion that perhaps I stop festering over (read, cursing under my breath and rolling my eyes to the heavens) every time I see the *&%# basket of clothes that have yet to be put away and just "fairy up" and do it myself?

It feels a little bit like surrender to this stubborn soul - yes.  But maybe in the end, making the mature decision about it and not having to see it staring back at me EVERY TIME I enter our room would leave me feeling less angry and more zen?  Maybe, my sweet, handsome, hard-working hubs (except in the area of laundry maintanence) would vocalize his gratitude and volunteer to send me to the spa or on a shopping spree.  HEY, a girl can dream.  :)
Which leaves me thinking… in what areas of life are you the fairy?  And it what areas do other fairies in your life leave you in a wake of magical pixie dust?  Inquiring minds (read: me) want to know what other ways I'm really requiring the extra mile of all the men in my life.

XO
Amber aka Whip Cracker

P.S. I am totally going to suggest that Lindie & Co. make that first sign into a magnet board for yours truly.  Which is my Sa-MOOTH transition to reminding you about our killer giveaway!
Enter on Instagram @ashleyandamberblog

Monday, March 16, 2015

Lindie & Co Giveaway...

OK guys..so remember how a couple of weeks ago I shared with you my office make-over? Check it out HERE if you missed the before and afters. Any who..one of my fuh-avorite decor/totally functional pieces is this magnet board. 
It's like a better than fabulous twist on the old, blah, tin version or those DIY ones that people are making out of a cookie sheet...sorry guys..but a cookie sheet??? ;)
So, as promised we are doing our biggest giveaway yet...with their product that was on THE list of Oprah's Favorite things..hellll--urr?! Pinch me moment for sure! So the gals over at Lindie & Co are giving one of our readers $100 in shop credit. Which is basically like the best Monday news ever! 

And since it's been the warmest winter ever over here in our neck of the woods and Spring is literally around the corner..then you must be itching to get some projects or Spring cleaning done. And what better way to add a little bit of love and light in your home than with one of these gems..
for reals though... they have endless choices with so many sayings..you will want one of everything. I even snagged this one for my bedroom..
So head on over to our Instagram account HERE to get all the deets on how to enter. We will be posting it Monday evening.

Winner announced this Friday! 

Good Luck!

XO
Ashley

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Meal Planning 101...

A couple of days ago, one of my FB friends (but really she is like a real friend in real life) was asking for dinner ideas since she was in a repeating dinner slump..it's totally a real thing right? Like, how many times have we had Hawaiian Haystacks in the last 3 months???....exactly my point. And like a dutiful friend, I shared my dinner menu planning since I am feeling pretty "pat myself on the back" about it. A plan I actually came up with and one that has worked.



So about 4 or 5 months ago..when Nate and I were having a come to Jesus talk about the budget (blah), I decided to really get serious about it...which meant the "plan" I was using aka the "no plan" was going to require a major overhaul. 

So here's the low-down...

I get a 12 month calendar that is only used specifically as a "meal" calendar. Don't be jealous of my UPS one...although it is pretty legit;) I'm sure I can pull a few strings and score one for you though! 




Then I pull out all or like 3 or 4 of my cookbooks at a time (which let me preface with the fact that I'm kinda a cookbook junkie..but they have to have pictures..because if I read "Turkey Tettrazini" with no image to go with it...all sorts of weird noodle/turkey/sauce/pepperoni pictures come up in my mind. The Six Sister Ones are some of my faves) Then I start flipping through the pages. When something strikes my fancy..or if I see something that possibly 4 people in my family might eat..I pencil it in on one of the weekdays along with the page number and which cookbook it came from..because... duh?!




I also have my kids and hubs give me their two cents on menu ideas..that way I know at least one person won't be complaining.



Then I check out the ingredients and add what I don't have to my grocery shopping list. That way, when it comes time to make dinner, I know I have everything on hand. Because nothing is more annoying than getting in your dinner-making grove, only to learn you are out of eggs halfway through.


So for us, Nate gets paid every week...so I grocery shop once a week. I have a magnetic list pad (thank you Dollar Tree) on the side of my fridge. Anytime I run out of something, think of something I need or will need for the following week of meals..I write it down. After 5 kids..if it's not written down it doesn't get bought. I have also trained the kids..they know that if they need deodorant, their fav cereal or even new socks..it goes on the list. I'm a genius really ;)



This little system of mine really saves me soooooo much time and money. No more running to the store for one item and coming out with at least 10. And no more daily stops. One and done. 

And in the real world..because I know..I live there...it doesn't always go as planned. I usually plan for about 4 meals a week. Because I know we can do leftovers for at least one day and I always have one or two nights that are so crazy/busy with all the different schedules in this house that sometimes cereal or Ramen or quesadillas is as good as it's gonna get. And if a meal doesn't get made for whatever reason..I put it on for the following week.

And then just to add to my total geekness, after we have eaten our dinner, I find out the family consensus on the taste-o-meter and if it was a majority hit..I make a note in my cookbook that we loved or hated it. It saves me from re-making something that was a total fail (see above cookbook pic for total geek proof)

You love me right?! 

And.....you're Welcome!

XO
Ashley

Monday, March 9, 2015

For All the Gear Hawgs...


This past weekend we schlepped it to one of our state's National Parks and visited Bryce Canyon.  It was gorgeous… there really is no place like it.  And seeing it capped in snow?  Holy.
My little men were mesmerized at the terrain… 
But you know what else is noteworthy about our National Parks in the winter time?
They are by and large SHUT DOWN.  Like, we are talking, there was our Hotel with Cafe open (Hollah, Ruby's Inn!), one gas station (open during the day only) and a Subway.  The end.  Which was part of the appeal for us, since we've hiked several trails in several National Parks in the summer, and for the record, you feel like an ant marching to an anthill - with every other tourist in the universe.  Super zen-like, you know?
Luckily, we knew this going in, so I dutifully packed snacks and food like a champion mama complete with a couple of ice packs at the bottom of my cooler.  I felt oddly prepared for our trip.  And here is where I'm going to go right ahead and endorse some total "dude gear" that at first glance seems superfluous and COMPLETELY overpriced, but after first use becomes a freakin' necessity.
Y'all, I'm talkin' about the Yeti.
Ever heard of it?  It's this premium brand of coolers that will literally change your schlepping, traveling, camping, ball game watching, picnicking game.  It is no joke - these coolers are indestructible and will keep ice for DAYS.  Yeah - my two little "breast feeding" ice packs that came for free from Similac?They were still frozen at the end of every day.
I bought "The Roadie" for the hubs for Christmas, and I'm probably going to sell a kidney to be able to pay for the Tundra (which is your bigger boy) necessary for lake trips, weekend camp outs, etc.
The website even says that these coolers are "grizzly proof".  I'll never call them to the mat on this claim, but it does make me feel better that some bear isn't smelling my Hogi and Sour Cream chips from afar and is able to swipe my stash while I fish, you know?  (And by fish, I mean catch some rays on a rock or hike around the lake while my husband and boys slay 'em.)  
You know how some things are just worth paying more for?  I'm talking sheets (duh).  Jeans -- listen I have the nicest denim wardrobe Old Navy offers, but I do hold my one pair of Sevens and one pair of Paige jeans to an entirely higher level.  Chocolate -- like don't even try to just hand me some dollar store, foil wrapped bunny and pass it off as anything close to Cadbury's, ok?  You get my drift.
The Yeti - is just one of those things.  
So go ahead.  Buy one for the outdoor loving' fool in your life.  Pack it full of beer and venison sausage if that's your thing.  Tell them you did it , "Just Because" but then pat yourself right on the back - because you just got yourself some easy food packing for the rest of your schleppin' life.
Long live the savvy schleppers!!
XO
Amber 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

They Say It's Your Birthday...

For Amber and I, March is the month we get to celebrate getting older and wiser and more gorgeous;)

And today happens to be Amber's big day! Today my other blogging half turns the big 35! I know..I know..we really look 23 and you are all too kind..but it's true. Halfway to 70..which sounds down right depressing.



So this is my blog post- ode to Amber! Honest to Jesus..she has been my best friend from way back to Kindergarten. And if you are in love with Greys' Anatomy you'll understand me when I say she's "my person" We have been thru a lot over the past 30 years...house fires, sleepovers with boys (say whaaa??..don't ask..or maybe I'll save that one for a future post..that ended with humiliating apologies and prayer with my parents..aghhhh..but for real), toilet papering antics, skiing in the canal which led to a 911 call and four-wheeler in the canal, double dates, I got married..she got married..I was her bridesmaid at 8 months prego and weighed a good 200 lbs...let's not remember that..babies, careers, adoption and motherhood. 



She's that friend that even if I didn't see or talk to for a few months or even for a year..we could pick up and not even skip a beat. She's the girl that when I'm on the phone with...my kids and hubs know exactly who I'm talking too. We both get life..like real life. Life that includes balance with all that we as moms and wives try to juggle. Our phone calls are always interrupted by kids crying, us yelling, me hiding in the car....just to get in a few minutes of "adult/me" time. Yesterday as we were talking..I had myself locked in the bathroom..while my kids pounded on the door..meanwhile, her boys were hanging onto the garage door and riding it clear to the top. That right there is real life...and we get it. There is no perfection or impossible expectations. Just us... trying to do our best and be our best. And we totally get that we are not perfect in anyway..so we like to laugh and be sarcastic because that's what gets us thru this crazy, amazingly crazy life.



And since my trip down memory lane last week was such a hit..I thought.."why mess with a good thing?" I'm a thinker like that. So I dug deep into my scrapbooked piles of memories and found a few more gems of this lovely lady! 

Amber-bottom middle  - Ashley-in the awesome light blue romper
(2nd grade)

Amber-sporting those rad, plaid bermuda's - Ashley-Chubby cheeks and enormous glasses

Amber-beauty on the left - Ashley-beauty on the right ;)

Amber-middle - Ashley- left
Clearly this hairstyle was mandatory to go to Homecoming ;)



So in honor of Amber's birthday, everyone enjoy a piece of cake or ice cream or both today. The calories won't count. And Amber..have the best day ever. Put those boys to bed early and let Ryan help blow out your candles..wink..wink!!

XO
Ashley

And no we didn't forget about our RHS vintage hoodie winner..

Congrats to-

ashleysuth06

please email us last ashleybelnap@hotmail.com to collect your prize