Sunday, 28 April 2013

Cheesecake Brownies

Get ready to drool.

Don’t they look delicious? They are! In my last post I mentioned that I’m a member of a book club. We had our first meeting a couple weeks ago. The book we read was The Language of Flowers. I really enjoyed it, as did three of the other five ladies. Anyway, for our first meeting I wanted to bring something yummy so I made these Cheesecake Brownies.

The recipe is from the Kraft Canada website and, although I didn’t really change it, it’s so amazing I wanted to share. If you want a chuckle, check out how pretty their cheesecake marbled and then check out mine. There’s a reason mine had icing.


1 pkg brownie mix (I used Duncan Hines with chocolate chunks)
½ cup apple sauce
3 egg whites (separated into a bowl of 2 and a bowl of 1)
¼ cup water
1 pkg (250g) cream cheese
½ cup sugar
¼ cup flour
1 can chocolate icing

Step 1: Combine brownie mix, apple sauce, 2 egg whites, and water. Blend. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan.

Step 2: Combine cream cheese (softened), sugar, flour, and 1 egg white. Blend well. Spoon on top of brownie mixture and marble through with a knife. In my case marbling meant stabbing chunks of it with a knife until they were all sort of mixed in.

Step 3: Bake for 28 minutes (adjust based on your oven) at 350 degrees. According to the Kraft website, a tester should come out of the brownies with "fudgy crumbs" on it. I just went by appearance, as I would with normal brownies.

Step 4: Cool and then ice with chocolate icing. This isn’t necessary but served to hide my horrible marbling quite well. Besides, who doesn’t like chocolate icing?

Glitter, Glue & Paint

Shared at: Lines Across, Kathe with an E, Natasha in Oz, Sugar Bee Crafts, Fluster Buster, Gingersnap Crafts, Clean & Scentsible, A Creative Princess, Artsy Fartsy Mama, Diana Rambles, SIMACB, A Stroll Through Life, Glitter, Glue & Paint

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Scheduling Our Family

The other night I was at my book club and we were trying to schedule our next meeting. The conversation moved into whether or not people still use traditional calendars or whether the phone/email version has replaced the paper version. I'm still a big fan of the paper version. Like many people, the kitchen is the hub of my house so it’s where we keep our family calendar and schedule.

First, we have two calendars in use at all times. The big one is held on our fridge using a magnet. Any time anyone has an appointment or commitment, it gets written on the big calendar. At the start of the month I fill in any regular activities, such as D’s practices. I also write our monthly meal plan on the big calendar. J checks it during the day and takes out anything we need from the freezer.

The small one is my personal calendar. It stays with me at all times, either in my purse or my school bag. It’s used mainly for work commitments (I miss having an actual plan book) and is convenient to have so I can jot things down until I can write them in the big calendar. Every weekend I double check that anything in my small book has been written on the large calendar.

Every weekend I also update our weekly organization centre. You can see the tutorial for it here and a second version of the here. I include anything outside of a normal work / school day, and it’s an easy way to see what’s happening each day.

It’s a simple system but I find the more simple something is, the more likely I am to use it. This is the system we used when it was just J and I and, fortunately, it was easy to continue with once the kids moved in. While I am a huge fan of technology, in this situation I'm going with the motto "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" and sticking with my traditional calendar.

Shared at: Artsy-Fartsy Mama, Diana Rambles, Lines Across, Sugar Bee Crafts, Fluster Buster, Clean & Scentsible, Ginger Snap Crafts, A Creative Princess

Monday, 22 April 2013

Yellow Bow (And My Poor Dog)

I have started to write the post many times but can’t seem to find the way to get it out. I’m still very emotional about this so please be kind. I’ve separated this post into two sections: background and tutorial. If you don’t want to read it or if you’re squeamish please skip the background and head on down to the tutorial.


Our big dog Raven is injured. Thursday we noticed Raven wasn’t herself, walking slightly slower than normal and not eating. I decided to give her a brush (she has a lot of hair) and see if I could find anything wrong. I found a large cut on her back and thought maybe she got into some barbed wire, which is in the field across the road. I cleaned it up as best as I could and left a message with the vet that she needed to go in the next day.

She spent all of Friday at the vet, and it turned out to be much more serious then we thought. The vet called and said her fur had hidden a severe bite. She needed over a dozen stitches in two locations, a drainage tube, and medication. It has only been a few days but she’s already doing much better, and she hopefully gets the tube out on Wednesday.

Not a great picture but one I snapped a couple days before the incident.
Raven is our big girl and Benson is our blurry little boy.

Looking back, we know exactly when it happened. On Wednesday she and J were out for a run and another dog lunged at her, knocking it’s owner off her feet and onto the road. Raven snarled at the other dog and it backed off, which we thought was the end of it. J and the other owner didn’t even realize the dogs had made contact, let alone that so much damage had been done. To be honest, when he told me what had happened, I was more concerned about the other dog’s owner. I have talked to the owner of the other dog since Raven came home from the vet. I want to be clear that I don’t blame her or have any bad feelings towards her.

When we first got Raven, she was leash reactive. We worked very hard to fix the problem and finally got her to the point where she was able to walk anywhere on a leash and not react to other dogs or her surroundings. I fear that she will revert due to this incident. That, coupled with the extent of her injuries and the long recovery period, will require her to have some extra space once she starts walking outside again. Because of that, I made this bow. In case you aren’t aware, a yellow bow or ribbon on a dog’s collar or leash is a sign that the dog needs space. It could be because they are unfriendly or reactive, that they have injuries, that they are sick, etc. You can read more about it at The Yellow Dog Project.


Now that you know the why, let’s move on to the how. I used these instructions from Simply Homemade. 

Step 1:  Cut two pieces of fabric. The larger one was about 7 x 10 and the smaller was about 1 x 2. I wasn’t precise in my measurements.

Step 2: Fold the larger piece right sides together, pin, and sew.

Step 3: Turn it right side out and iron it so the seam is in the middle.

Step 4: Fold the two unfinished ends together, pin, and sew.

Step 5: Turn the fabric so the seam is on the inside in the middle and iron. Lay it to the side.

Step 6: Follow steps 2 to 5 with the smaller piece of fabric.

Step 7: Work the larger piece through the smaller loop, making it fold in the proper places.

Step 8: Use a needle and thread to put a couple stitches in the back, to hold it all in place.

Step 9: Please safety pin in place. You could also slide it on a headband, attach a hairclip, or whatever. Use your imagination.

As you can see in the picture I’ve attached it to Raven’s leash. That way we’re all ready once we’re given the ok to start going for walks again. She wasn't impressed yesterday when Benson got a walk and she had to stay home, so I take that as a good sign that she's healing.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Pantry Shelf Makeover

Do you have something in your house that drives you crazy but you never get around to fixing it? That was me and my builders grade wire pantry shelving… until today when it got a makeover.

As you can see, my bottles were constantly tipping over. I had to place them exactly right to get them to stay standing. I know, I know, first world problem, but it was always getting on my nerves.

Like I said, in the almost four years I’ve lived in this house I never fixed it. Then today I was at Walmart and saw really cute placemats on clearance for $1 each and inspiration struck. No, this is a not a sponsored post. I just love Walmart. We’re getting a Target soon in a city about an hour away which may cause my love for Walmart to fade, but I digress.

I cut them down to fix my pantry. For this part I was very precise – I drew roughly what needed to be cut with a whiteboard marker and then purposely cut a little larger than necessary to allow for my imprecise measurements. I then wiped off any remaining marker with my sleeve. Sometimes I’m very classy.

Then I placed all my food back in the pantry and it worked! My bottles no longer tip over. I also put placemats under a couple other sections: school snacks, dog treats, and tea and coffee. So for $6.30 and less than half an hours work, I have solved the problem. I’m glad it only took me four years.

By the way, if you'd like to see my pantry organization you can check it out here.