Tuesday, February 28, 2012

101 in 1001

     Thank you!  Thank you! Thank you!  I am so thrilled with the sweet responses I got about my guest post yesterday!  You were all so kind, and I really appreciate every bit of it.  I’ll probably post the tutorial over here at some point, but for now I wanted to share with you the newest page here at Cupcakes and Candy Canes. 
     You may or may not have noticed that there is a fun, new addition in the sidebar to the right – 101 in 1001.  I don’t know if it’s the springy weather or what, but I’m feeling about zero stress these past few days, and it’s making me feel like I can do just about anything.  With that in mind, I’ve kind of been in a list-making, goal-setting mood.  I have seen a few other blogs doing this, and although I was a little wary at first, I have now fully jumped on the bandwagon!
     I never make New Year’s resolutions (at least not out loud) because they always get broken…they’re just kind of cliché now.  I do, however, make lists – a lot.  They generally not terribly organized; actually, they’re just written on scraps of paper and include things like “lunch,” “sleep,” and “there is no reason you can’t get this done today.” (Sometimes I require a little extra push.)  Given all of that, I love the idea of having some long-term goals.  I’m not the type to write out a five or ten-year plan, but 1001 days seemed like just the right amount of time to get some pretty major things done.
     I’ve tried to include some easier stuff and some more difficult stuff so that I don’t feel like I’m making myself do homework.  I also tried to have a good balance between goals that will end in a product and goals that are just good to do (and will hopefully turn into habits). 
     I’ll definitely be blogging about these as I do them (when it’s applicable), and I’m counting on all of you to keep me accountable.  I think this is going to be so fun, and I am really looking forward to it!  Also, be sure to check soon, I’m going to be posting about the iiiiincredible birthday feast we made for my dad last weekend!
     And because I haven’t left you with a picture in awhile, how about some oldies but goodies?  I am seriously desperate for the beach right now, and out of that – a couple of my favorites from last summer:

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     I hope you’re all enjoying the incredible weather, and that you aren’t quite as crazed for the beach as I am…

Allyson

Monday, February 27, 2012

Guest Post at Hating Martha

     Happy Monday!  I have to admit…and this probably won’t come as a huge surprise, Monday is not my favorite day of the week.  This Monday, however, is going to be amazing! 
     First things first, I am guest posting over at Hating Martha today.  This is a big day for Janel too, and it has nothing to do with my guest post.  She is making the jump to Wordpress, and her blog will go live very soon!  It’s also her birthday!  I hope you’ll all stop by and wish her luck with the new site, wish her a very happy birthday, and read my post!
     For those of you here because of the link on Janel’s site, thank you!  I am so excited to have you!  I would love for you to follow along (GFC, Linky Followers, Bloglovin, RSS…it’s all here); check out the sidebar to the left.  Please make yourselves at home – check out my older posts (in the right sidebar) or my About page for a little more about what it is I do here.  This is such a great opportunity, and I am so grateful to Janel and Hating Martha!
     Lastly (sort of), there is still a ton of new stuff coming up here at Cupcakes and Candy Canes.  I am so excited about the new direction my blog is taking, and I really look forward to sharing with all of you sweet readers and followers.  I have so much going on right now, and I can’t wait to get the ball rolling!

Allyson

Friday, February 24, 2012

I Know and I Don’t–No. 4

     I don’t know about you, but this week has felt like a whirlwind for me!  It flew by, and I feel like a got a ton of stuff done – yay me!  Plus, I still have a billion things to look forward to.
     Just to keep you in the loop:
        1.  Be sure to check out Hating Martha Monday morning for a guest post featuring yours truly!
        2.  Expect a recipe post soon – my dad’s birthday is tomorrow, and we are cooking a fabulous birthday feast tonight!
        3.  I have been working like a madwoman on getting sponsors for my blog, and I am so pleased with the results.  Please check out the sidebar to the right to meet all these sweet ladies.  I am so thankful that they were willing to feature my button as well.

I know that it’s not quite springtime yet.
I don’t know why people are dressing like it’s the middle of summer.

I know that the Internet is full of all sorts of flaws and mishaps.
I don’t know why they like to fall on me all at once (no worries though; I got everything under control)!

I know that the beach tends to ruin manicures and pedicures.
I don’t know why I always want to get one before I go!

I know that my little slice of the Internet has a long way to go (which is so exciting for me).
I don’t know if I will ever get over being over-the-moon excited every time I get a new follow, comment, email, etc.

I know that I probably shouldn’t overanalyze every little thing.
I don’t know why it’s not as helpful as I always think it will be.

I know that my sweet fiancé loves me.
I don’t know how he puts up with me – I’m kind of a handful!

Allyson

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Preview

     I know you’ve all been waiting on pins and needles (pun definitely intended) to see what I’m going to guest post over at Hating Martha.  While I certainly can’t show you my finished product (although I soooo wish I could), I am so excited to share a little preview!

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     You guessed right – those are ruffles!   I am just itching to tell you what it is, but you’ll have to wait a few more days.  I will tell you that overall, this has been the most difficult sewing crafty I’ve ever done (which is probably mostly my fault…).
    My guest post will be up on the 27th over at Hating Martha – yay!
Allyson

Monday, February 20, 2012

Belated

     A few weeks ago I won my first ever giveaway!  Y’all, I enter giveaways almost daily, and I never win anything, so when I saw Erin from Creating & Teaching post this, I knew I had to jump on it.
     She made an adorable diaper motorcycle for a friend and asked us all what the most difficult piece was to find.  I took a quick scroll through the comments and realized that no one had thrown out my guess, and bing, bang, boom, I won!  The stuffed monkey was the hardest thing to find…this does not surprise me at all!  I don’t know how recently any of you have tried to find plain stuffed animals but it is just about impossible.  Every single toy these days has to light up or move or dance…silly.
     Erin emailed me back in a few hours saying that I was right and would get one item for free from her TPT or TN store!  Her units and activities are so adorable!    
     Now, onto my real reason for posting – I would never have had the opportunity to win this great giveaway if I wasn’t reading along at Creating & Teaching!  As a future teacher, I love drawing inspiration from teaching blogs, and Erin’s is just great.

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     It is so clear from her posts that she has such a heart for her students, and she is obviously doing some great work in a field that is definitely not for everyone.  I am so excited to be a teacher, and seeing others so fulfilled in their jobs is really incredible.
     I encourage all of you teachers, future teachers, homeschoolers…pretty much everyone to go over to Creating & Teaching and see for yourself what a great resource and fun read it is!  Also, if you’re looking for well-made and effective activities (that are totally adorable) go check out her stores too (hint: there are some really great freebies too)!
     Thank you so much for the giveaway and for your incredible work in your classroom and on your blog.  I am looking forward to reading for a long time!

Allyson

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Catching Up and I Know and I Don’t–No. 3

    I know I haven’t posted a crafty in awhile…I do have something in the works though!  I just have a few little things to mention before I get to my I Know and I Don’t.
     First of all, I’m not making the I Know and I Don’t the main reason for this post because I’ve only posted one thing since the last one – bad blogging of me, I know!  I promise I’ll do better.
     Secondly, I’m thinking maybe I should get a planner or print a calendar, because if I hadn’t spent the past two days finishing up school work (which really should have been done Tuesday) then I definitely would have posted something this week.
     Lastly (almost), Janel at Hating Martha tagged me in a post…but since I already did it I’m going to take the easy way out and direct you back to when I was last tagged.  Also, Laura at Peace, Love, and First Grade passed the Liebster Blog Award on to me, so I’m linking back to myself for that too… I’m aware that this seems like a cop out, but I didn’t want to bore you sweeties by posting something that would seem identical.

I know that it’s not summertime.
I don't know why I'm dying to go to the beach right now!

I know that I should probably post more often.
I don't know why I'm so uninspired after class.

I know that it is way too early to be doing real wedding planning.
I don't know how I'll be able to wait!

I know that the weather is always weird around here this time of year (and all the time).
I don't know what to wear.

I know that I don't need to keep my nails done all the time.
I don't know why I'm so hard on manicures that it's nearly impossible to ever have them done!

Finally, I will be guest posting some sort of adorable crafty over at Hating Martha at the end of this month.  I hope you'll all hop over and check out her adorable site right now...and whenever I end up posting.  I'll keep you updated!

Allyson

P.S. Due to some recent craziness with my email account, I have created an all new email address for the blog.  You can find it on my About page.  Please direct all questions (not done through comments) to my new email address.  Thank you!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Be Mine?

     I don’t have a ton to share with you, but I wanted to give you a little Valentine’s happy!
     First things first – why are cards nowhere near as cute as they used to be?  I went card shopping yesterday (way too late, I know) and was really disappointed.  The cards were just not good…a lot of them were labeled as “flirty,” but were really kind of tasteless, and the rest were just…blah.  I did get one…but it’s not GREAT. 
     I got the fiancé a card and some candy…simple (boring…maybe), but then to piggyback on a conversation we had a few days ago, I made -

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     I’m aware that this is not a great picture…but they were still delish!  I know they don’t compare, but the idea came to me while we were talking about Dinstuhl’s chocolate covered strawberries (or as Della calls them – strawbabies).  If you are in Memphis (or anywhere close) then you have got to go – right now!
     The final thing…which is totally unrelated to the previous two…and probably of no interest to you unless you are a teacher or an education major – Praxis test scores went up today!  I’ve taken three of the four I’m required to take (and of the six that I might take just because).  The first one I took was Content Knowledge…and I passed! 193!  A month ago, I took Reading Across the Curriculum AND the PLT…in the same day…aaaaaaaaaaaaand I passed! 181 and 199, respectively!
     I am so relieved that I’m almost done with these, and I feel so much less anxious about the next one (or ones) I have to take!
     There you have it.  Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you, and good luck to anyone who might be taking a Praxis test (soon or not)!

Allyson

Friday, February 10, 2012

I Know and I Don't - No.2

I loved doing this last week, and I am so excited to keep up with it! Here goes...

I know that it's winter.
I don't know why I am still seeing people in shorts.

I know it's probably healthier to be on a regular sleep schedule.
I don't know if it's something I want to do though...yet.

I know how to tell time.
I don't know why it always goes faster in the mornings.

I know that with my easy-peasy schedule that there is no reason for me not to get ahead on school work.
I don't know why I'm not doing it.

I know how I think.
I don't know why I keep telling you that I don't know why I'm doing something...I definitely know...sheer laziness.

I know how to spot a grammar error from a billion miles away.
I don't know why I can't apply that to my own writing.

I know it's going to be awhile before I can have a puppy.
I don't know why I torture myself by looking at sweet pictures like this.

Allyson

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Mumbo Gumbo

     I’m sorry it’s been so long; I meant to post way earlier!  I went home this past weekend…and by now you ought to know what that means – food and crafts!  I already showed you the shirt that I made for Della, so obviously this is going to detail the foodie aspects of the weekend.  On the menu Saturday night? Gumbo.
    We’ve tried  making gumbo before, and it hasn’t been exactly great.  The roux has always messed us up, but this time I think we got it just perfect.

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Just a sneak peek!
    I’m going to do my best to write a recipe for this…
        You will need:
            2/3 cup clarified butter
            1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
            4 cups water
            1/2 cup olive oil
            1 small onion (chopped)
            1 lb. okra (chopped)
            1 (8 oz.) can tomato paste
            1 can diced tomatoes (just the regular sized can…not the huge one)
            4 cloves garlic, minced
            2 T. salt
            1/2 t black pepper
            1 T seafood seasoning
            1 lb. uncooked shrimp (medium-ish sized)
            1 lb. Andouille sausage (cut)
            1 lb. shucked oysters (in a can is ok)
    
    1.  Melt the clarified butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until a pinch of flour sprinkled into the oil will just begin to bubble. Whisk in the flour to form a thick paste the consistency of cake frosting. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the flour turns the color of melted chocolate, about 45 minutes. Slowly whisk in the water and bring to a simmer. Whisk until no lumps of roux remain; set aside.
    2.  Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Stir in the onion, okra, and sausage. Cook and stir until the vegetables have softened and begun to brown, about 30 minutes.
    3.  Stir the tomato paste into the okra mixture until no lumps of tomato paste remain. Add the tomatoes, garlic, salt, black pepper, seafood seasoning, and roux-thickened water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 1 hour.
    4.  Stir the shrimp and oysters into the gumbo, recover, and cook 20 minutes longer. 

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Iiiiiiincredible!

    Y’all…this was amazing!  We adapted from this recipe.  Our roux didn’t get quite as dark as the recipe said, but it was still delish!  We ate this over white rice with Jiffy cornbread…wow!
    Eating this made me want to go to the beach, reread Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, and change my name to Viviane…
    That may have been a little drastic – I do want to go to the beach and reread Ya-Ya though!
    Happy Suppertime!

Allyson

Friday, February 3, 2012

Happy February!

    Last night I did my first “big” craft of the year!  I love making fake applique shirts (for my niece, of course), and Valentine’s Day is an easy one to do. 
     Originally, I was going to do one exactly like the one from last year.  Of course, I couldn’t find a red Garanimals shirt…I thought all hope was lost, until I found one stack of three purple shirts (with one in the right size!).  I love purple, but I couldn’t use the black and white fabric from last year.  As luck would have it, our Wal-mart has gotten much better as far as fabric selection goes, and I found some adorable pinky-flowery fabric (for a whole $0.38 for an 1/8 of a yard).


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     I’m almost embarrassed to write a “tutorial” for this because it is so easy, but here goes:
        1.  Find an adorable shirt, pattern (I just Googled “heart” and picked the one I liked best), and fabric.
        2.  Cut the pattern out of the fabric.
        3.  Attach to the shirt with Stitch Witchery.
        4.  Sew around the edges. (I went around several times, and it made it look kind of frayed…which I’m loving.)
    That’s it…simple, I know.  I don’t do things that are too difficult – ever.  I’ve done this a few times, and I always think they turn out so sweet-looking without being too fussy!


DellaShirt

    …and this is what you get when you ask a two-year-old to smile…
    I love that this is Valentine-y enough to wear on Valentine’s Day, but not so much that she can’t wear it other times.
    I am so looking forward to making more of these!  I already found some ADORABLE Christmas fabric for $0.97…I need ideas on what to do with it!
Allyson

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I Know and I Don’t

    I don’t speak in generalities…generally.  I like to stick to specifics and what I know I know.  I’ve been searching for awhile for the perfect way to organize my thoughts on my blog.  I like the idea of a regular post, and I always think it’s nice to empty your head when you can.  Here is what I’ve decided.  I’m starting this little adventure of clearing out my head with listing what I know…and what I don’t know.  Here goes!

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I know that I love this picture.
I don’t know why I was wearing a lei on New Year’s Eve.

I know that I can’t wait to be married.
I don’t know how I’m going to wait until next summer!

I know that God really does have some incredible plans for me.
I don’t know why He won’t give me a hint…or two.

I know that I’m called to be a teacher.
I don’t know why – I am the most scattered person!

I know it’s not up to me to make hard and fast plans for my life.
I don’t know what to expect.

I know school is important.
I don’t know why it has to take so long.

I know I really want a fancy camera.
I don’t know why they cost a bazillion dollars!

I know that it’s probably not “healthy” in the traditional sense to drink a Coke every day.
I don’t know how I would manage without it.

I know how to sew.
I don’t know how to sew fancy…yet.


Allyson