Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chocolate Caramel Crunch Cake

This cake is so yummy and so easy, I'm not sure why I don't make it more often. Maybe it is because of the name. Although I've heard it called many different things, it is commonly referred to as "Better Than Sex Cake" which I think is the dumbest name ever. Who wants to tell their family or dinner guests that is what they made for dessert? Seriously. Is it just me or is that name totally dumb and trashy sounding? Call it what you will. The cake is yummy and here is the recipe:

Chocolate Caramel Crunch Cake (the best alternative name I could come up with)
1 box devils food cake mix
1/2 can sweetened condensed milk
6 oz caramel ice cream topping
1 8 oz container cool whip
2-3 Health candy bars crushed

1. Bake the cake according to package directions for 9x13 inch pan. Cool for 5 minutes and then poke holes all over the surface of the cake with the end of a wooden spoon.
2. In a saucepan, combine the sweetened condensed milk and the caramel topping. Heat over low heat, stirring until smooth. Pour mixture over warm cake.
3. Let the cake cool completely. Top with whipped cream and crushed heath bars. Garnish with a drizzle of caramel just before serving.

P.S. What do you call this cake?

Why Can't Every Day Start Like This?

Soft morning light streaming in through the window, three children quietly gathered around a book read by the eldest. And me, hiding behind the couch trying to capture the moment without being noticed, knowing very well it will end all too quickly.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine Round-up

A collection some of my favorite homemade Valentines' past and present.

Photobooth Valentine
Photobooth Valentine (By me, from a few years back)

Heart Man from Inchmark

addie's first valentines by you.
A scribbled Valentine by Lovely Design

Matchbox Valentines' from Inchmark


Printable Valentines - Racecar - PDF File
You make my heart race by Paper and Pip

Birthday Surprise

I don't consider myself much of a surprise person but I recently did a birthday surprise via the mail for my dear friend Nicole who was turning 30. It was so much fun to organize that my head is spinning with ideas for who I want to do it to next! I originally found the idea right here at Inchmark. To make it happen, I did a few hours of research on Facebook to contact what appeared to be Nicole's 30 or so closest friends and family. (I made my decisions based on who commented on her posts most frequently, who had given her heart felt Facebook birthday
wishes in past years and also who was tagged in her oldest photos. Also, can I just say it is awesome you can send a message to someone on Facebook without actually being their friend? This would have been so much harder had that not been possible!) Anyway, after I gathered the names and addresses (it took about three weeks to hunt everyone down) I designed postcards in Publisher with the numbers 1-30 in different colors and fonts. I printed them on 8.5 x 11 110 lb. cardstock, four postcards to a page. Since I ended up having more than 30 people get back to me, I also made some extra postcards with various greetings like "Happy Birthday" and "The World is Way Cooler With You In It!" I think it would also be make a big impact to make all the postcards the same number (in Nicole's case the number 30) or postcards with funny quotes about getting older. Just a thought.)

The backs of the postcards were left blank for friends and family to write their heartfelt wishes but I did pre-address and stamp each one to make it easier. I then sent Nicole's favorite peeps a blank postcard along with a little note with instructions:

I hope Nicole enjoyed reading all her birthday wishes as much as I enjoyed connecting with all her friends and family to put the surprise together! Once again, all the original design and content ideas were found here. I was also inspired by these other great postcard birthday surprise ideas here and here.