Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mini chocolate Cheesecake bites

My very first tutorial, and it is about a desert that I LOVE!

This is a family favorite recipe, and I'm a horrible blogger but I didn't even thing about blogging about it until I was already half way done, so I only have pics for the second half (so sorry!)  However, I think that you will really enjoy this recipe, even if they aren't the most healthy thing around.

The first thing you MUST do, is soften your cream cheese (just take it out of the fridge, open it and leave it on the counter for an hour or so).

When you are ready, preheat your oven to 350

Then make the chocolate batter.
In a large bowl sift these ingredients together:
1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Once the dry ingredients are sifted, add the following liquid ingredients:
1 cup water
1/2 cup oil
1 Tbl white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla

Beat together until well mixed.  It should look something like this.
Yummy chocolate batter.  
Set this bowl aside.

Now we are going to make the cream cheese filling.
Beat together:
11 oz of cream cheese
1 unbeaten egg
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt

Once it is well blended, fold in:
12 oz of chocolate chips.

It will look like this (except a larger amount, again picture fail, sorry!):

Line mini cupcake tins with mini cupcake papers (this is IMPORTANT, don't just spray the tins, you will NOT like the final results), and fill 1/3 full of the chocolate batter
Then, 1 tsp at a time, place the cream cheese filling in the middle
 It may be tedious and time consuming...
 but when they are all filled you can place them in the oven for simply 15 minutes.
Now this recipe does make about 4 dozen so if you only have one tin, this is a bit time consuming.  I have two, so while one is in the oven I can prep the other and then flip them.  I HIGHLY RECOMMEND having at least two muffin tins, it makes this process SOOO much faster.

Once they have come out of the oven you simply scoop them out gently with a spoon.  Do this while they are hot to prevent the cream cheese filling from cracking.

Then simply place them onto a cooling rack.  

Once they are room temperature.  Place them in an air tight container (ie tupperware) and place them in the fridge or even freezer.  Serve cold.

A few helpful hints this recipe.
1) Don't put too much chocolate batter in or you will have too much cream cheese left over 1/3 means 1/3 not 1/2 (I ALWAYS forget this and end up w/ extra cream cheese batter).
2) They are 1 million times better cold.  So don't let them set out to long before eating.
3) Don't over bake.  They really are done after 15 minutes, and if you over bake the cream cheese will burn.

Here is a recap of the recipe to make it easier for you to copy and paste!  Enjoy!
For chocolate batter:

In a large bowl sift these ingredients together:
1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Then add:
1 cup water
1/2 cup oil
1 Tbl white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
Mix well and set aside

Cream cheese filling.
Beat together:
11 oz of softened cream cheese
1 unbeaten egg
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt

Once it is well blended, fold in:
12 oz of chocolate chips.

Line a mini cupcake tin with liners and fill 1/3 of chocolate batter.  Add 1 tsp of cream cheese mix to the center of each.  Bake at 350 for 15 min.  Serve cold from fridge or freezer.

ENJOY!  They are delicious!

31 days to clean

From here

This is a ebook that by the looks of it is right up my ally.  I am super challenged when it comes to keeping a clean home, and by the looks of it, this ebook is a day by day guide to engaging your heart and hands into your house work.  The best news is that by either bloging (which I'm doing) or tweeting about it, you can get a FREE COPY!  Click here to go to Sarah's blog for the details.

As soon as I read it and perhaps actually attempt to get my home clean in 31 days!  I will let you all know how it goes!

Monday, April 25, 2011

All talk, but very little action

I am still unpacking from the move and on Saturday my printer and desk things finally came out of their boxes.  Which means I can finally take and more importantly transfer pictures from my camera to my computer to post!  I actually am going to post my very first tutorial/recipe this week.  I'm really excited but slightly nervous because I didn't even think about making it a tutorial until I was halfway done.  But, I think I can make it work(ish?)

My home is currently 80% unpacked (if you don't count all of the stuff in the garage, which right now, I'm choosing to believe does not exist and will do so until my hubby deals with it or one of our neighbors sees it and calls the HOA.  We found out after we moved in that the HOA does not allow storage in the garage where the car's park. We do have a closet and cabinets for storage in the garage however.  PLEASE don't tell the HOA that we have tons of unbroken down boxes and multiple things just chilling there waiting for a new home.  Blogger fail: no picture sorry!

This week I have tons more to do, but I think I may actually feel ok about taking some pictures of my still not quite unpacked home and actually *gulp* post them.  This blog is about my journey and me learning to be better, so you all seeing my imperfections is part of it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wall art inspiration

I am planing on doing a wall of picture frames in my new family room.  I plan on it being on the wall that you see when you walk into our home, so it needs to be pretty.  I am super bad at this sort of thing.  I know that I don't want it to be eclectic frames or shape because that would drive my OCD self nuts as much as I love those looks in others homes.  After searching far and wide, here are the pictures I'm going to draw my inspiration from.
From here

From here

From here

I have decided I personally like these things:
Same color frames, but they can be different sizes
Set boundaries. (not sticking out more on one area then the other).
Words and/or shelves mixed in

Hopefully I will have time either this weekend or next to make something happen.  I have a few frames, and a shelf or two that would be perfect for this project, but there aren't enough of them so I need to go dig some up either on clearance or at a thrift store.  Plus I need to come up with some sort of word or phrase to place with my wall art.  I'm torn between a vinyl decal to put on the wall, wooden letters to hang or even one of those nifty shelf words/phrases.  I'm going to draw up a design and hopefully get going on this project soon.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The move and what didn't happen...

I will do a full recap of our move soon, complete with pictures, but let me just tell you right now moving is crazy.  Let me fill you in on a few things that didn't happen to us (and by that I mean totally did):

We did not at 10pm the night before moving run out of boxes.  I most certainly did not run out and dumpster dive for some more behind a local store.

An hour later, we didn't run out of packing tape, and my poor exhausted hubby didn't run out to the 24 hour walmart to find some more.

My husband didn't have a job interview at 2am for a newspaper delivery job THE DAY of the move, only to find out that the original times he was told for the job, were incorrect and conflicted with his other job.

We most certainly didn't get only 4 hours of sleep the night before the move, nor did we have a baby who though that 6am would be a good time to be giggly and playful.

There were not over 60 boxes stacked on our front patio by ourselves and friends.  We do not have that much stuff.  Nope, not us!

The trailer we rented didn't take 3 full trips to move stuff from our old place to our new place.  Nor is there still about a car full of things still at our old place.

Our baby didn't only take 2 20 minute naps on Friday, nor did he fight sleep with every ounce in his body all day Saturday and Sunday.  He also didn't wake up after mom finally got him down on Saturday 40 minutes later to a shattering butter dish.  (way to go mom)

I also then didn't leave the glass on the floor for hours because we didn't leave our broom and any possible means of picking up the glass at the old apartment.

We also remembered to check the fridge and freezer settings before moving in food, and didn't end up with frozen water and soft ice cream.

As you can see we had a fun and busy weekend.  There is still chaos in our place and we are still trying to sort it all out.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Baby Boy Nursery

I have to tell you the BEST thing about moving is that my baby boy will FINALLY get his own room.  Which means I get to DECORATE it!  I was so bummed while I was pregnant that I didn't have the opportunity to decorate his room, because his stuff was squished around our stuff in our one bedroom apartment.  His stuff is a Mickey (duh!  HUGE Disney nerds) Sports theme.

Here is his bedding:
Here is his diaper holder (yes I know I mixed and matched two different Mickey sport themes, I'm obviously not good at the decorating thing:

I have also purchased or been gifted (sorry no pictures as they are currently packed):

  • A red shelf
  • Antique wooden blocks that spell "MAX"
  • A Disney Precious Moments
  • A "petie prince" picture frame
  • A Dodger picture frame
  • A Baby's 1st baseball handprint
So now I finally get to organize and set up his room.  I can't wait.  The hubby and I have decided to give him the slightly smaller room, with more closet space.  So there will be lots of storage, but I'm not sure exactly where everything will go!  I would like to add/make somethings like these:
The biggest problem is BOTH of these mickey sets have been discontinued.  Big sad face.  This means the price is actually way to high for what I want to pay.  I will most likely take his bedding into Joanns and try and make a window covering.  Also perhaps find some frames and do some sort of Mickey or sports theme?  I'm really not quite sure, but it is going to be fun dreaming.  Any other ideas?

Thursday, April 14, 2011


For the last few months, I have been website/blog stocking ways to get organized and live a better life.  Here are a few of my favorite places for inspiration:

1: Fly Lady
Simple routines, 15 minutes and basic things I can do even as a working mom to help keep the house CHAOS free?  Yes, please!  She inspires me, I may even post my adventures as a fly baby for the 1st 31 days... we shall see.

2: iHeart Organizing
I found Jen's blog by googling organizing tips (or something like that) and I am daily inspired by her projects, challenges and fabulous eye candy of functional beauty.

3: a bowl full of Lemons
This is another fabulous organizing, cleaning and decorating blog that I love.  You can bet that I will be joining in on some of her challenges, and other fabulous ideas for making our place a true home.

4: A Thoughtful Place
Yet again, another fabulous blog.  Practical tips, TONS of great eye candy and fun to read.

5: $5 Dinners
What could be better than this?  A place with a weekly meal plan (recipes and shopping list included) as well as great ideas for cheap and easy meals for your family.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A fresh start

Welcome to my new blog.  I am looking forward to a fresh start.  My name is Ashley, and I am challenged in the area of homemaking.  I work full time 40-50 hours outside the home, but would love to be able to call my house a true home.  Sure I can follow a recipe but it NEVER turns out as good as my mom or whoever shared the recipe with me does it.  I can sort of sew, but again, something little always happens and it never seems just right.  I have absolutely NO sense of decorating skills and I am horrible at keeping a home tidy.  Please never show up unannounced or I will forever be embarrassed at the state of my home.

This blog is to document my journey from homemaking challenged to homemaking genius.  Ok, that may be a stretch so I will settle for decent homemaker.  I am getting a fresh start at homemaking as we are moving this Friday.  I am hoping to make this new apartment a true home for us as my hubby and I would like to spend AT LEAST the next two years there, and NOT have to move again.

I have a few goals for me as a homemaker:

1) JUST DO IT!  - Things will not be perfect, but something is better than nothing.
I am a perfectionist.  I want things to be just so, and I consistently fall into the trap of "If I can't do it perfect (or up to my "standards") then why bother.

2) I will be kind to myself.
Sometimes I'm my own worst enemy.  I think so negatively that I can't even motivate myself to do something.  I would like to stop doing this.

3) I will not overload/overwhelm myself all at once.
It is going to take time, and I need to allow myself to time to grow and develop into a better homemaker. It isn't going to happen overnight and I will most likely fall a few times.  I need to allow myself to be OK with that, and work slowly towards the end goal.  I am always the hare not the tortoise.  I need to remember that SLOW and STEADY wins the race.

The hopeful end result is me staying sane, while creating a wonderful home environment for my amazing family, and being able to bless them through my homemaking.