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April 22, 2011

class cupcakes...

With my baby girl's birthday falling over Spring Break this year, her teacher asked if we wanted her to celebrate it before they left for vacation, or when they returned. She chose to celebrate before. Knowing they were already having a small class Easter party, I chose to keep with a Spring theme and make mini cupcakes. So, the day before I got my copy of Family Fun mag and they had these cute little crystal-covered chocolate shapes (they had butterflies, but I didn't think the boys in her class would want those so I went with different colors flowers instead). Basically, I melted down some white chocolate, piped it onto waxed paper into the flower shapes and covered them with different colored dusting sugars. They best part was EVERY kid ate EVERY part of the cupcake (no leftover cakes here)!

April 10, 2011

inchy inch worm...

While prepping my planter box today, my daughter and I came across this little guy. He was seriously tiny...no longer than a centimeter. Thanks heavens for built in macros on point-and-shoots. I took a few shots of this little dude, and then let him go onto a giant flat-leaf parsley plant. I hope he likes it! :)

April 7, 2011

spring is springing...

Our neighbor has this amazing climbing miniature rose that has invaded our yard. I use the term invaded very loosely, as it's a positive thing! It adds so much color and joy to that section of our yard and covers our hideous-looking shed. On another note, I started playing in Photoshop, and found some Actions online that I thought I'd give a whirl. Clearly, I'm having a ton of fun! And, I'm just in love with this picture and its retro look.

hello little birdie...

One of the things I LOVE about Spring are all the birds that reappear from their winter hiding spots. I was relaxing in my courtyard when this little guy appeared. There are a few that are hanging around, and as I fill the feeder in the backyard, we get a slough of birds that visit. Now, if I can only keep our pooch, Charlie, from wanting to eat them!

chocolate chip cupcakes...

Made these beauties on a whim. Actually, my 5 (soon to be 6)-year-old made most of them...proudly measuring everything out. It was her idea to make them, and I was thrilled when I found this A-mazing recipe online. The recipe follows (which I found on Delish.com, such an appropriate name for a site, right?). These are a must-try!!!

Chocolate-Chip Cupcakes With Cream-Cheese Frosting

Yields: 14 cupcakes

Oven Temp: 350


  • 8 ounce(s) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 6 ounce(s) (package) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) flour
  • 1/4 cup(s) unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon(s) baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1 tablespoon(s) white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup(s) canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon(s) almond extract


  • 1/2 cup(s) unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 ounce(s) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) almond extract
  • 2 1/2 cup(s) confectioners’ sugar
  • chocolate sprinkles, for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 14 muffin cups with paper liners. In medium mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar until well mixed. Whisk egg in small bowl and add to cream-cheese mixture, beating until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips; set aside.
  2. In large bowl, whisk together 1 cup sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add 1 cup water, vinegar, oil and almond extract. Using electric mixer, beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth and thick. Spoon batter evenly into prepared pans, filling about halfway. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of cream-cheese mixture onto center of each cupcake.
  3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until cupcakes spring back when lightly pressed and tops are slightly browned. Cool 5 minutes in pans, then transfer cupcakes to wire racks to cool completely.
  4. While cupcakes are cooling, make frosting. In large bowl with electric mixer, beat the butter, cream cheese and almond extract on low speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the confectioners’ sugar, beating on low speed until smooth. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until fluffy. Frost cupcakes; top with chocolate sprinkles.