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March 30, 2018

The BEST Chocolate Buttercream



Mike doesn't like frosting - isn't that the most annoying thing ever?  He's always telling me to only put a little bit on cakes and cupcakes.  For those of us who have coveted the "corner" pieces of birthday cakes, this request is hard to comprehend (or obey).  When I find an icing or frosting that Mike loves, I know I have struck gold - as I have with this chocolate buttercream.  It is not too sweet, not too chocolately and gloriously creamy.

I shared some of my Cake Baking Tips & Resources below, too.
  
The Best Homemade
Chocolate Buttercream



1 stick of butter, melted
1 1/2 cups of cocoa
1/2 cup of milk (plus more)
2 sticks of butter, softened
5-6 cups of powdered sugar (plus maybe more)
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a glass bowl, melt 1 stick of butter in the microwave.  Add cocoa and milk and microwave for 1 more minute, stir to mix. 

In a mixer, cream 2 sticks of butter and powdered sugar.  Add cocoa mixture slowly.  Add vanilla.   Mix on high for 2 minutes.  Add more milk or powdered sugar until the desired consistency.



Whip together for a couple of minutes until well combined.  


Add butter in 2 tablespoons at a time until incorporated.  Whip for 2-3 more minutes.


Add more milk or powdered sugar to achieve desired consistency.





Cake Baking Tips :

I use Parchment Paper to line the Round Cake Pans.   I recently restocked both the White & the Natural Unbleached (shown here).  I use the cake pan to draw a circle, then cut it out.  Then I cut strips to line the sides of the pan with.  I use a little butter to hold it in place - just swipe the stick around the pan once to create some glue.



Most of the time we just use boxed cake mixes + homemade icing.  Boxed cakes tend to be very moist (yay!) and the icing is what I enjoy the most (yay!), so this combo works great for us.


I bake the cakes on a Large Baking Sheet, which makes them easier to get in and out of the oven and helps keep the oven clean by catching any overflow from the pans.

Shop Baking Essentials :

Parchment Paper (white or natural)
8" or 6" Round Cake Pans
Baking Sheets
Disposable Pastry Bags


March 28, 2018

A Look Around Our Home | Spring


As we're preparing for the Easter weekend, I thought I'd take you on a little Spring tour of our house.  I love spring, but I feel like the weather has been so unpredictable this year.  Or is it every year and we just forget?  Where are the sunny, but damp 55 degree days for piddling in the yard?!  I'm hoping April is full of them.  I've been searching for new patio furniture, too, in full outdoor mode.  For now, I'll take you around inside - while I wait to be working in the garden.

I designed the Natural Check Pillow Collection completely for this room.  You know I love tone-on-tone so much.  I find it soothing and classic.  I love that the the small check pattern is subtle, but definitely complimentary to the oatmeal linen sofa.  They really freshen and lighten the sofa (and the room) for spring.  



Now, when I look at this room, I see the beautiful Dutch Ship Oil Painting and the plush, comfy sofa that sort of blends with the walls and area rug seem work perfectly together - instead of competing with each other.

This is our more formal room, so I've replaced our end tables with antiques.  I've been working on collecting them for the last two years - carefully watching each piece at local antique stores and saving until I could no longer resist them.   I love the warmth and authencity they bring to the room.  They were investment pieces, but they will never go out of style, and I love them so much that I know I will always find a home for them our homes.


This chest was actually my Christmas gift from Mike this year.  It is where we are storing our Christmas Ornaments and special decorations.  I love that they no longer have to live in the basement.  I'll share more about how I'm storing them closer to the holidays.



The antique writing desk has barley twist legs, similar to the side tables in our bedroom.  I watched this table for 3+ years.  When I went to visit it, I couldn't find it.  I panicked and thought someone had purchased it.  When I discovered it was just moved, I bought it on the spot.  #FOMO. 

Both were purchased at Rooms That Bloom here in Kansas City.  




Natural Check Pillows, $38-46


Mr. Darcy doesn't seem disturbed by my photos.


The Creamware Platters will be restocked soon.
Classic Handled Service Tray >
Taper Candles, $10.50 >


I've loved changing this sideboard each season.  It was another piece I hunted and saved for since we moved into our home.  I found it on 1st dibs.

 
The kitchen.  I never get tired of this view.

For a full tour of our kitchen, visit this link.





Classic Cream & Sugar >
Gingham Napkins & Tea Towels >


 It has been so fun to watch these bulb grow - just like paper whites, I forced daffodils, hyacinth and tulips indoor this year.



Classic Salt & Pepper >
Gingham Napkins & Tea Towels >



I went with the Natural Check in our formal room and a little more fun in the hearth room with the Spa Check with little touches of the Natural for warmth.  It is so fresh and clean - I'm absolutely obsessed with how they turned out.




 Spring light.





Shop All Pillows >


Happy Easter Weekend, friends : )


March 26, 2018

Potted Salad Garden - It's time!

Potted Salad Garden

It is that time again : )  I'm sharing this with you now, because inevitably in a couple of weeks when I show this pot overflowing with fresh greens ready for picking, you will all say - 'I wish I would've done that!'  This photo is from last year's Lettuce Pot.  Ours will look like this in just 3 weeks.

This past weekend we planted our "Salad" Garden in one of my big pots on the gravel patio.  It is the easiest gardening idea that we repeat year after year.  Emma does all of the planting and she is always eager to go and "harvest" some lettuce, spinach or arugula for dinner.  It regenerates throughout the season - giving us no excuse not to enjoy a fresh salad every night.

We planted :

Arugula
Spinach
Leaf Lettuce
Baby Micro Greens

I am looking forward to planting the rest of our garden in the weeks to come.  Since we have lots of land to work with at the School House, we'll be putting in a large garden there.  At home we'll just keep the favorites - greens, herbs and tomatoes.  We'll save the cucumbers, melons, eggplants, zucchini and large tomatoes out in the country where they'll have more room to grow.

Here are a couple of my favorite spring salads I can't wait to make from our harvests.



Wilted Lettuce with Warm Bacon Dressing




March 21, 2018

Light Blue Wellie Boots Boxes


I've been patiently waiting for these for a couple of weeks! They've made it just in time for Easter deliveries.
Last season I featured a Pink Valentine's Day box with gold embossing. This season, I've taken my favorite icon of the Spring season (and all seasons), the Wellie Boot and had it embossed on Light Blue boxes.
They are just the thing for cookies or lemon bars, or a little gift. They will also make good basket stuffers for kids or big kids - maybe with a small gift or favorite candies inside.
Set of 2 Boxes
5.5"x7" rigid boxes with base and lid


I completely forgot that I left my mixer at The School House, so I scrabbled to Dolce (favorite local spot in PV) to pick up sweets for the boxes.




The Lemon Bars.  Ohhhh.  So good.

The boxes coordinate with the Wellie Stationery Suite so nicely.  Both make great gifts!  Shop >

Spring Cleaning Tablets


My Trick for Easy Spring Cleaning 


Spring Cleaning can be so daunting.  The idea of cleaning the entire house from top to bottom including the basement and the garage sounds terrible!  Do what I do instead - I pick 5 areas of the house that really bug me. These areas are places that I use every single day and usually are a magnet for clutter - really annoy me when they are out of control.

1- Kitchen Junk Drawer
2- My Closet
3- My Car
4- Makeup Drawer
5- Garage Entry/Mudroom

I tackled all of these areas in just a couple hours and everything feels better.  Do laundry while you're working on these areas and you'll really feel ahead of the game.  When you get everything fresh and clean, treat yourself to some tablets + LePens to make your new tidy areas pretty and better functioning.

[Free Shipping Continues for orders $75+Shop >](https://everyday-occasions.myshopify.com/)

I love this stationery suite because it is rustic enough to use to label your gardening supplies, but still elegant enough to use on your Easter table.  I think it would be perfect for a springtime gift to a friend - maybe a potted plant or a favorite packet of seeds.  

 Tags : Set of 10
Tablets : 50 pages
Card & Envelop Boxed Sets : 10



What is more charming than a pair of Wellie Boots?  They are nostalgic, yet modern, seemingly child-like yet utilitarian for any adult that enjoys the outdoors, alike.  This paper collection of tags, tablets and cards will add that sweet, charming touch to a gift.  I set the kids' Easter table with a tablet at each place, ready for drawing.  I'm also using it as my official tablet for the School House.  
Tags : Set of 10
Tablets : 50 pages
Card & Envelope Boxed Sets : 10

I decided I needed a little more whimsy in my life!  I designed this set of paper products to be my "house" stationery.  If I'm bringing a hostess gift to someone, or need to write a thank you note, this is the stationery I'll use.  I'll use the tablets to make my to-lists for around the house.  I like to keep the short version in my purse with a LePen (tucked in these canvas bas!) for easy note taking and list making. 
Tags : Set of 10
Tablets : 50 pages
Card & Envelop Boxed Sets : 10





I designed this set of paper products to be my "kitchen" stationery.  If I'm baking a loaf of banana bread for a friend, or dropping off dinner for someone with a new baby, this tag will be attached + a note card tucked inside. I'll use the tablets to make my to-do lists in the kitchen. 
Tags : Set of 10
Tablets : 50 pages
Boxed Cards & Envelopes : 10





Sometimes it is just the little things that can make those daily tasks a little more fun.  Sitting down to fill out your Weekly Schedule, or make your Grocery List is much more tempting with a full supply of beautiful LePens on your desk, right?
Many of you have become fans of LePens like me.  I keep a glass full of them on my desk at all times.  For three years, I've sold four of them in a set with my Tablet, but I know many of you would love to have a big supply, too.  Now, I'm offering them in a box of 12 - perfect for getting organized as we begin a busy new season.
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