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Ramblings

03.14.

How we sold our house in 10 DAYS!!!!!

How to sell your home…. fast

I have to say that I cannot believe I’m actually sitting here writing this post about how we sold our house in ONLY 10 DAYS!!!!

Crazy!

Well, on that note, I guess I should probably back up a smidgen, right?

SO!  A couple of months ago, we decided to sell our house.

I was really very happy at our home, but then the developer who originally built the homes in our community decided to start building again.  I had a side street that pretty much went to no where, so I knew that the possibility of the street actually going “somewhere” one day was a reality.

I just didn’t realize that the somewhere was on the side of my house and the back of my house.  I basically was going to have a street on ALL sides of my home.  I looked at the plans and I was HORRIFIED to find this out.  🙁

I just couldn’t see how it would be safe for my kids to play amongst all this.  I knew I wouldn’t feel good about just letting them run around with all of that going on.  So, we made the big decision to put our house on the market.

Then, we went under contract in only 10 DAYS, Y’ALL!

I want to add that I scoured the internet for ideas on how to do this and I feel like I took away some good tips that I REALLY want to share with you!

So, here it is!

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I kept the foyer/entry way as clutter free (you might see this word a lot!)  as possible.

Usually, you would see book bags, toys, and coats overflowing on the coat rack, but I made sure this did not happen while we were showing.

To be honest, probably one of the first things I did was rent a storage unit.  I know you may think to yourself that you can just stick things somewhere, but the problem is ….. it’s not like company is coming for dinner and you can cram those dirty clothes or toys into a closet or another room.  The potential buyers are going to be looking in that closet or room you try to cram the dirty clothes and toys into!  YIKES!  THERE IS NO WHERE TO HIDE!!!!

You really have to get the stuff out of your house all together.  I’m not saying put your dirty clothes in a storage unit, but I am saying put anything that you don’t necessarily use every day or might not use for at least the next couple of months in there.

To see more of what I did,  I decided to go a little more in depth in this video.

You can check it out here:

I am going to put together a “Part 2” to this video so that you can see what I did with the rest of the house.  The concept is not much different, but I do have other rooms like the dreaded KIDS ROOMS that I had to tackle.  Not to mention my office, which always looked like a bomb went off in it.  😉

Until next time y’all!

 

Happy WEEKEND!

XOXO,

Esther

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02.14.

Chocolate Trifle w/ Raspberry Buttercream Frosting

Chocolate Trifle

This is the sweet I made for my sweets today.

This was also not what I had intended to make for them.  On Valentine’s Day, we tend to make it more about the kids than ourselves anymore.  So, the plan this year was to do steak, potatoes, asparagus, and a great dessert.  We thought it would be fun to watch the movie, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.  (Did I Say that right?  I never do……..)

Little did I know how much that movie would impact my dessert making skills.

I had this great idea to fix these individual chocolate cakes with this great ganache topping with little Wilton sugar flowers on top.

Everything was going great until I got to here:

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I was all like, “Oh yeah!  I got this!  Came up with this on my own.  Going to rock this and my family is going to think I’m a rockstar!”

Yeahhhhhhhhhh……. not so good after that.  Everything went wrong!

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First, this happened………………

Then,

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this………………………

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Thank goodness I still had this.  FYI:  I used a boxed cake mix.

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I heart boxed cake mixes.

Not a stinkin thing wrong with boxed cake mixes.

Just sayin………..   When people say, “oh my goodness!  This is the best cake I have EVER had!”

You simply say, “Awe!  Thank you!” And leave it at that.   😉

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So, I went with Plan B.  Start stuffing wine glasses and make a trifle.

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I stuffed with left over cake and fresh raspberries, with some of the raspberry buttercream icing I made earlier for the cakes.

Wanna know how I made the frosting?

This is what I did:

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I took two sticks of softened unsalted butter and using a hand mixer, beat for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.  Then, I slowly added 6 cups of powdered sugar, alternating between 1/8 cup of skim milk in between when the mixture got too dry.

Then,

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I added a 1/4 cup of raspberry puree to the frosting, which I made by first…………

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taking a pint of fresh raspberries and 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar and pulsing in a blender until it was

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smooth.  Since I had little left over (approx. 1/4 cup) , I used it again later in assembling the trifle.

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It made the BEST tasting Raspberry Buttercream Frosting.  I often use fresh berries to flavor and turn icing a pink color instead of using red food dye b/c I have an allergy to it myself.  Needless to say, I have never had Red Velvet Cake and I often dream of how it may taste.  But alas, I shall never know.   Oh well.

Anyway, back to the trifle!

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Like I mentioned earlier, after layering in no particular order, the cake, fresh raspberries, and the frosting…….. I added a dollop of raspberry puree and then some more cake and frosting.

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Then, I added some more frosting ( I know!  Enough already with the frosting!) and berries and finally, the Wilton sugar flowers.

It could have been a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day with the catastrophe that was my cake making skills, but a very wise Pastor once told me, “Never compare your Behind the Scenes to someone else’s Highlight Real”!

So, here I am.  Melted cakes and all,

telling you that you can turn a mess into something beautiful and tasty  afterall.

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I wish y’all a Happy and Sweet Valentine’s Day, from my

HEART

to

YOURS!

XOXO,

Esther 

 

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02.03.

Lee’s Lemon Cupcakes

Lee's Lemon Cupcakes-2

So, my oldest turned 11 today………………  11 , y’all!

It breaks my heart…………..  mostly because it means I’m getting old.

However,

It doesn’t break my heart to share the cupcake recipe I made for her birthday.

A little while back, I shared a recipe of a cake that was my cake version of this very cupcake.  Confusing?  Hopefully not.

We bought some cupcakes that were called “Lemon Bliss” Cupcakes at Sam’s Club.  They were instantly a HIT!  Problem is, they are a seasonal item and you can’t get them all the time.  One of my favorite things is to try to recreate foods that I have tried and put my own twist on them in the process.  The cake was awesome and we had it for her birthday last year.  You can check that post out here.

This year, we decided to do the actual cupcake version so we made a few adjustments.

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With the cake I made, I used whipped cream as the “icing”.  This time, I decided to go with buttercream and lemon pudding in the middle and also filled the inside of the cupcake with the pudding like a hostess cupcake.

The result was pure AWESOMENESS!  The great thing is this cupcake is not heavy at all!  I didn’t say it was’t fattening, just not heavy.  So, I guess you might want to be careful since you could probably eat a few without blinking an eye.  😉

 

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Have fun and let me know how your’s turn out!

Recipe:  Lee’s Lemon Cupcakes

NOTE:  It may be helpful to read entire recipe before starting.

Makes 24 Cupcakes (filled half way) or 20 Cupcakes filled 2/3 way high

Ingredients:

– 1 Boxed Lemon Cake , plus additional items needed for cake such as eggs, oil, water (etc.)

– 1 Box Instant Lemon Pudding, plus 2 cups milk needed for Pudding instructions.

– Lemon Buttercream Frosting (Recipe Follows)

– Cupcake Liners

– 1 Cupcake filler tip

– 1 Tip for Buttercream Frosting

– 2 Large Freezer Ziplock Bags

Lemon Butter Cream Frosting:

– 2 Sticks room temperature softened unsalted butter

– 6 Cups Confectioners Sugar

– 1/2 Cup Milk (I use Skim)

– 1   1/2  Teaspoons Lemon Extract

Directions:

– Line Muffin Pan with liners and mix and bake cupcakes according to cake instructions.  Allow to cool completely.

– Meanwhile, make Lemon Pudding according to package instructions and put in fridge for 15 minutes to allow to “set up”.

– Make Buttercream frosting by beating 2 sticks butter with a hand mixer until smooth (about 2 minutes).  Slowly add confectioners sugar and alternate between milk and confectioners sugar until all has been used.  Add lemon extract and beat until completely smooth and all lumps from sugar are gone.

– Once cupcakes have completely cooled, take a large ziplock bag, snip one corner of bag at an angle and insert large long decorating tip for cupcake filling into bag.  Fill bag with Lemon Pudding Filling.  Seal bag and set aside.

– Take other large ziplock bag and snip a corner of bag at angle and insert another large decorating tip of your choosing for Butter Cream frosting.  Fill bag with Butter Cream Frosting and set aside.

– Take cooled cupcakes and inserting the tip of the Lemon Pudding bag into center of cupcake, gently squeeze bag until you can see the lemon pudding filling come out of top.  Finish filling remainder of cupcakes.  You should have left over.  Do not throw away!  We will use at end.

– Take Butter Cream Frosting back and make a swirl around top outer edge of cupcake twice, allowing for a “circle” to remain on center of cupcake.  Finish frosting remainder of cupcakes.

– Take remaining lemon pudding filling bag and fill remaining center “circle” on cupcake until pudding is level with butter cream frosting.

– Your done!  Enjoy!

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11.04.

Pumpkin Soup

PumpkinSoup

Oh my word, y’all!  Have you ever wondered what to do with Pumpkin?  Other than the usual celebrity,  Pumpkin Pie, my mind can sometimes go blank when it comes to that question.

Well,  no more!

I have the answer!…………..  Drumroll please…………

PUMPKIN SOUP!

If you haven’t tried Pumpkin Soup, you simply haven’t lived!

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This recipe has a savory, slightly sweet taste to it that you simply cannot pass up!

I paired dinner rolls with it and the kids devoured it.  The cute design on top was done using a small snack size ziplock bag filled with Greek Yogurt.

Get this!  Pumpkin has all of these surprising health benefits:

1).  It is good for your eyes.

2). It is good for your heart.

3). Aids in weightloss.

4). Helps protect against cancer.

5). Helps protect your skin.

6). Boosts your immune system AND your mood.

7). Can help you recharge after a hard workout.

 

Did I mention this recipe is VERY figure friendly?  Not only good for your health, but good for your waistline too!

That alone is worth trying this recipe out!

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I certainly hope you do!

XOXO!

– Esther

Recipe:  Pumpkin Soup

Serves 6-8             Prep Time:  10 minutes                   Total Time:  30 minutes
Ingredients:
•  2 Tbsp. olive oil
•  4-4 1/2 cups canned pumpkin, ( I had some left over canned mason jars, I used three of them)
•  2 small onions, chopped
•  4 cups vegetable stock
•  3 cloves garlic, minced
•  2 cups low fat milk
•  4 Tbsp honey
•  2 Tbsp dried sage
•  salt and pepper to taste
•  Blender
Directions:
•  Heat 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil on medium heat in a large pot and add onions and garlic.  Saute’ until translucent ( 3-4 minutes).
•  Add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer.
•  Remove from heat and working in small batches, add liquid mixture to a blender and blend until smooth.  *Make sure not to fill blender more than half     way to avoid over flow and cover with a small towel for extra measure.
•  After all liquid mixture has been blended and smooth, return to pan and heat through for 5-10 minutes.
•  Serve with dinner rolls and garnish with a dollop of sour cream or greek yogurt.

 

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