“Bye, Bye Fall” Photoshoot

I have somewhat of an obsession with taking photos…hardly a day goes by that I don’t take at least one photo of my little man! Before the Christmas season takes over I thought I would post a few Fall themed pictures of Preston. As you can see, he sported a monkey costume for Halloween this year.

Isn’t his shirt so perfect for fall pictures? I love the combination of orange and the grayish-green color.

The good thing about him sitting in a wagon is that he can’t run all over the place…it can be quite challenging capturing an active little boy! I’m learning some tricks though and at some point I have faith that I’ll be able to say, “Stand still please” and he’ll actually do it! (grin)

It’s about time to take the family photo for Christmas cards…need someone to take it for you? I’d be glad to! If you’re in the Metro Atlanta area and are in need of a photographer for Christmas card photos or engagement photos or maternity photos or just cute photos of your kids, contact me at AnneRains@gmail.com.

Cookies ‘n Cream Brownie Pie

This past weekend some friends invited us over for dinner and I brought dessert. I wanted to bake something but didn’t have much time as I’d spent the day shopping for a dress to wear to an upcoming Christmas party. So on my way home, I pulled up Pinterest on my phone and looked through my Sinfully Sweet desserts board.

That’s where I found the recipe for this yummy Cookies ‘n Cream Brownie recipe. It’s more like a brownie pie with a yummy chocolate sauce on top. I only needed to pick up a few ingredients from the grocery store and then I was on my way to making this delicious and easy dessert.

The brownies are made with Hershey’s Cookies ‘n Cream candy bars and after it bakes it’s topped with sweetened condensed milk and a layer of mini chocolate chips. So yummy and it only took about 10-15 minutes to assemble, 17 minutes in the oven and then a minute to top it with the chocolate sauce. Easy!

Okay, so here’s how you make Cookies ‘n Cream Brownie Pie:

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz (1 1/2 of King sized bars or 4 regular size candy bars) Hershey’s Cookies n’ Cream candy bars
  • 1/2 C. sugar
  • 1/2 C. butter (1 stick)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 C. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 7 oz. sweetened condensed milk
  • 3/4 C. mini chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree and grease a 9″ pie plate
  2. Melt candy bars, sugar and butter over medium low heat
  3. While ingredients are melting, lightly whisk 2 eggs in a small bowl
  4. Once all is melted, turn off heat and whisk in eggs and vanilla
  5. Add the flour, baking powder and salt, mix until well combined
  6. Pour batter into pie plate and bake for about 17-20 minutes (or until fork comes out clean)
  7. After the brownies are cooked, immediately pour the sweetened condensed milk all over the brownies and add the chocolate chips
  8. Let cool and enjoy!

These brownies were equally good the next day warmed up a little and enjoyed with a cup of coffee. Mmm! You just have to try these!

{original recipe found here: Fahrenheit 350}

Decor Inspiration: Pirate Themed Nursery

I mentioned in my post about my son’s first birthday party that I had decorated his nursery in a pirate theme. Would you like to see a few pictures? I don’t know about you, but I just love decorating my home. The thrill of deciding how a certain room is going to look and then the hunt of finding just the right pieces to make everything come together perfectly…*sigh, it’s just plain fun for me!

It all started when I found the most adorable pirate bedding set.

Cute, right? I mean, just at look at the adorable pirates!

So, what does every good pirate have? A parrot of course! The bird cage I found at Hobby Lobby and the bird is from Oriental Trading.

And if you’re a pirate, you simply have to have a TREASURE MAP! I was thrilled when I found this hand painted treasure map on Etsy. So cute!

It’s fun to see a room come together. You can see that I painted wooden letters for his name and the curtains are a rich chocolate brown (bonus: closing the curtains and having the extra layer of the blinds really keeps out the sun =a baby that sleeps better and longer!) You can’t see it in this picture but there’s a red wooden sign above the window that reads “Red Sky at Night Sailors Delight.”

Instead of a changing table I opted for the kind that sits on top of the dresser. I found a little “treasure” chest to put on the dresser to keep all of the diaper supplies in. I liked the round mirror I found because it reminded me of a port hole on a ship–kinda “pirate-like” right? And instead of an expensive gliding rocking chair, I got a simple outdoor rocker. It works just fine for us and when we no longer need it in the nursery I can put it on the patio!

The treasure map sits on the wall above his book shelf where a pirate sword rests on top.

Of course Preston’s room looks a little different today; I had to purchase another bookshelf to hold more toys and some things have been moved around a bit. I’m trying my best to keep the accumulation of toys to a minimum but this little guy’s grandparents sure do like to spoil him!

Well, now I’m all in the mood to redecorate something…hmmm, maybe a trip to Hobby Lobby? You just never know what you will find! Have a great day.

Baby Gender Reveal Cake Pops

These Baby Gender Reveal Cake Pops were such fun creating! You may be wondering, “what in the heck are Baby Gender Reveal Cake Pops?!” So let me first explain, the idea of having a Baby Gender Reveal party is catching on quickly I think. Basically, instead of finding out the sex of your baby at the time of the ultrasound, the nurse will put the ultrasound pictures and also a note whether the baby is a boy or girl in an envelope. Then the parents-to-be take the envelope to a bakery so they can create a cake that reveals what the baby is. On the outside of the cake (or cake pops in this instance) you can’t tell what the baby is, but the inside cake will either be dyed pink or blue…girl or boy. How fun is that?!

So one of my best friends is preggo with her second child and thought having a Baby Gender Reveal party would be fun this time around. She asked me to create cake pops for the party and I happily obliged. Oh what fun!

I made these cake pops with a dark chocolate coating to ensure the inside color would not be revealed ahead of time and then decorated them with adorable blue and pink polka dots. Each cake pop was individually wrapped and tied off with either a pink or blue ribbon. I wasn’t about to give any hints to spoil the big surprise!

The cake pops were displayed in a glass vase that the Mom-to-Be set out at the Baby Gender Reveal party. I loved making these cake pops and would love to make some for you too. Just shoot me an email at AnneRains@gmail.com and we’ll coordinate the details.

As you can see, this friend is having a girl. Which is pretty perfect since her first was a boy; how great to have one of each! I’m ecstatic for her and will be spoiling that little girl since I only have a son as of right now!

Pack a Shoe Box for a Child

The holiday season is not a happy time for many children all over the world, but there are many amazing organizations who are doing their part to help brighten many children’s Christmas season. One organization that I think is wonderful and I fully support is Samaritan’s Purse which has the Operation Christmas Child project.

It’s simple really; just load up a shoe box full of goodies for either a boy or girl. Pick an age group of 2-4 years, 5-9 years or 10-14 years. I get all of my shoe box gifts from the Dollar Store. Some gift suggestions include school supplies such as pens, pencils and coloring books; toys such as cars, balls and dolls; hygiene products such as toothbrush and toothpaste, etc. Basically, you may include any little kind of trinket or toy that will provide a child a bit of delight.

Some items that you may not include are: toy guns or any related military figures, chocolate or food; liquids or lotions; or breakable items such as glass. For a complete list of items you should not include please see: Operation Christmas Child–How to Pack a Shoe Box.

You are not required to wrap the box but I always choose to–just wrap the lid separately from the box. Also, you will need to print out a label from the website above that specifies if the gift is for a boy or girl and which age group. Include a $7 donation for each shoe box to cover shipping costs and place a rubber band around the box. Lastly, remember to pray for the little child who will be receiving your gift.

Next week is national collection week from November 14-21st. You can find a drop-off location here: Drop-Off Locations.

What an easy way to share Christ’s love with a little child who would otherwise not have a very good Christmas. This is also an excellent way to teach your children about giving and helping others. Have them shop with you and pick out the toys that go in the box, let them help you wrap the box and then pray together for the child receiving the shoe box.

Have a blessed day!

Pumpkin Cake Re-Make

So what happens when you’re in an absolute hurry and accidentally forget to put the non-stick spray on your cute little bundt pans while making Pumpkin Cakes? Well, for one they don’t come cleanly out of the pan so you have to get a little creative.

This is exactly what happened to me the other day; I felt so silly when I realized that I had forgotten to spray the pans! But I guess forgetting things sometimes is understandable when you’re chasing a 1 year old around the house and working and trying to maintain cleanliness and order around the home and cooking fantastic dinners and all the million-and-one activities busy women such as yourself and myself juggle all the time. What a balancing act!!

Okay, so how did I fix this little dilemma? I made it into a Pumpkin Trifle! And it turned out great…you can tell by the half-eaten picture that this is a yummy alternative to the Pumpkin Cakes.

So here’s what you have to do. Make the Pumpkin Cake according to the recipe on the previous blog post. You’ll probably want to just go ahead and make the cake in a 13×9″ pan though (don’t forget to use the non-stick spray!). Bake the cake until fork comes out clean (I’m guessing about 20-22 minutes, but you’ll just have to test this out!)

Let the cake cool for a few minutes then break it up into big chunks with your fingers. Pour the apple glaze (recipe on the first Pumpkin Cake post) all over the cake. Let sit for at least 20 minutes to allow glaze to soak into the cake.

Take your trifle dish and begin with a layer of the cake, top with a layer of whipped topping and pour Heath English Toffee Bits all over the whipped cream. Repeat all the layers one more time. And ta-da, problem solved and you have another yummy treat!

Have a wonderful week y’all! Thanks for stopping by!

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake

Looking for a healthy, one-dish meal that’s easy and takes little time to make? Okay, then try this Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake for a simple weeknight meal. After supper my hubby told me I should make it again sometime soon and he got seconds (or was that thirds?)…so I’m definitely keeping this dish on my meal rotation.

I love serving up a big scoop of this casserole in a bowl and diving into it’s cheesy, creamy goodness. This is one of those recipes that you don’t have to worry about your picky eaters with either; everyone in the family is sure to love it!

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake

Ingredients:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cooked and shredded)
  • 4 C. cooked brown rice
  • 3/4 C. frozen corn
  • 15 oz. can black beans, drained
  • 1 C. fat-free sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt)
  • 4 oz. can chopped green chillies
  • 1/2 C. salsa
  • 1 C. low-fat Cheddar cheese (or Mexican cheese blend), plus more for topping
  • 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine all ingredients except cilantro and mix thoroughly to combine.
  2. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Transfer to a 13×9 casserole dish and top with the additional cheese.
  3. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until heated through. Top with the cilantro before serving if desired.

Bon appetit! I hope you enjoy this family friendly, easy recipe. Have a wonderful weekend!

I found this recipe on Pinterest so here’s the link to the original recipe:

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake