Dose of Sunshine Monday — Inspiration comes

Happy Monday!  I hope your weekend was filled with inspiration. I had a fantastic weekend learning and growing and networking at Bloggy Boot Camp in Phoenix. I was inspired so much and now I have so many new ideas! (Now which to start first?)

I spent Sunday unwinding and thinking…and enjoying the garden. Look at this beautiful image I captured at just the right time of sunset. I hope it reminds you that inspiration is everywhere!


I hope you find your inspiration today. Take a deep breath and enjoy your week.

May your days be filled with sunshine,
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Vanilla Blueberry Scones for Nonny


This post is inspired by my grandma, Nonny. She is a fantastic cook and she shared her love for cooking (and baking) with me. She taught me to make orange rolls (from scratch) and sugar cookies. She taught me to love tea time with the girls — complete with dress up clothes and hats and gloves. She always cooked an amazing Sunday dinner with homemade rolls and creamed peas…oh, how I loved those creamed peas. And always, always there were pansies from the garden as the centerpiece!

Right now my grandpa, Poppy is in the hospital. And since I feel so sad and a little helpless, I thought I’d make some scones for Nonny and send her these pictures across the miles! So, Nonny, this post is for you…I wish we were enjoying tea together as we devour these scones.

Vanilla Blueberry Scones

First, gather the ingredients: they are simple and few.


Flour, sugar, baking powder, butter, blueberries, milk, vanilla and an egg. (full recipe at the end of this post)

Mix together the flour, sugar and baking powder. Add the butter and cut it in with a pastry knife (if you don’t have one of those, you can use a knife or a fork). Then add the blueberries and carefully fold into the flour mixture.


In another dish, mix together the milk, egg and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the flour and blueberries and mix together until the dough comes together. You may need to add a little extra milk to bring it all together. Dough should be a little sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a parchment lined baking sheet and form it into a circle, about 1/2″ high. Brush a little milk onto the circle of dough, and sprinkle with sugar. Some of the sugar will melt into the milk, keep adding sugar until you can still see it on the top. (I like a lot of sugar…it cooks up a little crispy on top and makes the scone SO delicious!) Cut the circle of dough into 6 wedges. Then separate the wedges a bit before you put it into the oven.


Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Do not overbake! That makes the scones crumbly and dry…and you don’t want that! When they are done, the edges should be just BARELY turning brown. Allow to cool. (But if you can’t resist…go ahead and eat one while they are still warm! That’s one of life’s best!) Make sure they are completely cool before you package them up in adorable little bags for gifting.


**Recipe here

Vanilla Blueberry Scones


  • 1/3 c. butter
  • 1 1/4 c. flour
  • 3 T. Sugar
  • 1 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 4-5 T. milk
  • 1 c. blueberries (fresh is best)


  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add blueberries and carefully fold them in.
  3. In another bowl, mix together the egg, 4 T. milk and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine together. (Be careful not to squish the blueberries or your dough will turn purple!) You may need to add an additional tablespoon of milk to get the ingredients to combine well.
  4. Turn the dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Form the dough into a circle about 1/2 inch thick.
  5. Brush a little milk on the top of the dough, and sprinkle with sugar. Cut into 6 wedges and separate them.
  6. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes or just until barely brown around the edges.

I love to eat these with butter and cinnamon/sugar or even whipped cream (my favorite)! But they are delicious even just plain…the blueberries add just a little sweetness and the sugar on top makes a fantastic coating when you cook it.

{This one’s for you, Nonny, complete with purple pansies! I love you}


Oh. My. Doesn’t that look yummy?!

You might decide to enjoy these scones for Mother’s Day, coming up May 12, 2013. But believe me, you really don’t need a special occasion for these beauties. When you make them, won’t you invite me to tea?

May your days be filled with sunshine,
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Taste Test Tuesday — Root Beer


The Root Beer Taste Test results are finally IN!

We had a little extra fun with this one by offering an online survey before we held the actual taste test. I wanted to see if the results of the survey matched the results of the taste test. Boy, was I SURPRISED!


The survey began the week before the taste test panel. Thanks to everyone who took our online survey!

And the winner of the survey, with 37% of the votes was A&W Root Beer.
Tied for second place was IBC, Henry Weinhard’s and Barq’s Root Beer

I thought this was fun because we, as a society, are bombarded with marketing messages constantly. And A&W is a master at their marketing: “A&W Root Beer has that frosty mug taste!” Did A&W win the online survey because of marketing strategy, because it was the best recognized root beer out there? (I would not rest until I found out the answer to this with our live taste test! Yes, I am seriously dedicated to finding the truth for you, dear reader!)

Another interesting note: Barq’s must be working day and night to secure their place in restaurants and soda machines. I see Barq’s more than any other root beer as the choice at the soda fountain. (Although, today MUG was the root beer available at the pizzeria we tried.)

IBC is delicious, as I well know. But I had not heard of Henry Weinhard’s before the survey. In fact, IT WAS NOT EVEN AN OPTION on the survey, but was rather a write-in choice. AND…I had already gathered all the root beer for our taste test panelists, but this was NOT ONE of them! So, what did I do? I ran right out and found Henry Weinhard’s Root Beer to add as a contestant.


Would our taste test provide the same results as the online survey? Drum Roll, please….

The Winner of our Taste Test was:


A&W Root Beer!! Yes, the taste test reflected the SAME #1 Root Beer as the online survey! A&W is well-loved and the results of both tests showed that.

Note: I searched all over the valley for A&W Root beer on tap. They used to offer it at both A&W restaurants AND at select KFC restaurants. My kids LOVED it when we brought home a gallon of A&W root beer on tap and then served it up in the frosty mugs we kept in the freezer. However, when I called to find it for our taste tests…it was not to be found! The contract with KFC must have ended, because they now serve only MUG rootbeer in their restaurants. :(

We had a TIE for SECOND PLACE:


Henry Weinhard’s & IBC Root Beer tied for second place. If you take a look at our online survey: BOTH also came in second place (together with Barq’s…but Barq’s did not place at all with our Taste Test Panelists.)

So far, we are pretty consistent with our choices!

We also had a TIE for THIRD PLACE: (I know, I know…I wanted to hold a tie breaker, but ran out of panelists!)


Mug & Teddy’s tied for Third place. I could not compare to the online survey, but Teddy’s did get ONE vote online.

Interestingly enough, Teddy’s also was one that many judges did not appreciate: They reported that it was “too sweet” or “too strong.”

But we definitely had a DEAD LAST root beer. It was one that was voted as last place by the MAJORITY of the panelists:


Panelists commented that it was “too strong” or had a “weird cherry taste.” So much for using this as a cute Father’s Day gift. (Crafty Bloggers everywhere will shed tears, I’m sure)!


Just look at all those cups! (I used over 100 cups for this challenge…but it was certainly worth it, don’t you think?)
A special thanks to all our judges…I could not do this without you. :)


Now that we know A&W is the winning root beer…and we know the winner of our Vanilla Ice Cream Challenge (see the results here)…I think it might be time to introduce the two of them, don’t you agree?

We shall combine the two to make the BEST ROOT BEER FLOAT ever. And we’ll invite our panelists to come and see if they agree. And now, dear reader, I invite YOU to try these at your house and see if YOU think it is the best root beer float you’ve ever had! Then, report your findings back here on this blog post.

Another Successful Taste Test! (I can’t wait for the next one!)


Linking up with Lil’ Luna (I’m number 438! Ha! Someone’s got to be a little more on top of things….)

Until then,

May your days be filled with sunshine,
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Dose of Sunshine Monday — Joy comes in the morning!

This weekend I was reminded that there is always an end to suffering. A season and a time for everything. And I was reminded to stand strong until additional inspiration comes! I love that thought…and I love that there is inspiration around us everywhere! (we have only to open our eyes to see it).

My chosen words for this year are wrapped up in this idea: (“Inspired and Inspiring”). Do you have a word for the year…a word to direct and help you throughout the good times and bad?

So my Sunshine today is two-fold: First, my words for the year, which are “Inspired and Inspiring” to remind me to find something every day to be inspired by. Also to remind me to try to be inspiring to someone else.


And second, a reminder that there will be an end to trials. And when doubt and difficulty come, we should not be afraid to ask for help. All things are possible to those that believe. JOY comes in the morning!


I hope you have an (inspired and) inspiring day!


May your days be filled with sunshine,
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April Fools Day — Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk

Well believe me, I cried* plenty over this one. And because of my anguish, I wanted to share my findings with YOU so you don’t have to experience the same trials. (Ok, trial might be too strong a word….let’s replace that with FRUSTRATION.)

Spilled Milk, the Making of:

I found this fantastic blog post about DIY spilled milk for April Fool’s Day. As you might know, I’m having some very serious people over on April Fools and I must make them laugh. :)

So, in my haste to get these beauties made, I gathered all my supplies from WalMart: Plastic Glasses (2 for 88 cents!), Glue (at only 33 cents per bottle!), and a little white acrylic paint. I was a little more than excited because this was going to be the cheapest most inexpensive craft ever!


I started out by making the milk “residue” inside the glass. Take 1 part glue, 1 part white paint, and 5 parts water. Stir it all up and pour it carefully into a glass. Swish it around a bit, then pour it back out of the glass. Set the glass on it’s side and allow it to dry.


So far so good!

After it dried, I made the “milk spill” by mixing equal parts of paint and glue. Stir well. Pour a splotch of the mixture onto waxed paper and put the glass into the splotch, as pictured below.


Easy enough, right. Allow this to dry. I let the first batch dry for 2 days. (I only made 2 glasses the first round, but my intention was to make 12 glasses of spilled milk to use at each place setting for the dinner party).  When I went to check on the dried, spilled milk, I found this:


It didn’t look like spilled milk at all. It looked like dried paint…and when I peeled off the waxed paper, they actually started to tear at each cracked area. It looked TERRIBLE!

Good thing I started early, I thought. So I made another batch. This time, I had to use all the rest of the glasses (10) because I only had 2 days until the party.

I mixed much less paint this time. Just enough to tint the glue a nice milky white color. Then I let them dry. I checked on them periodically and they seemed like they were doing much better. However, they were taking MUCH longer to dry.

I turned the ceiling fans on to help them along.

When they were finally dry enough to peel from the waxed paper, here’s what I got:


The “milk” was warped and curling by the minute! That didn’t look very realistic! I was sad and a little frantic. These were to be a main part of my April Fools Jokes. I didn’t have time to make more.

So I did what any self-respecting crafter would do. I IMPROVISED!

I took that warped and curling milk and I glued it down with glue dots to some white cardstock. Then I cut around the cardstock. And by gosh, it worked! I ended up only prepping 5 glasses of milk this way, but I think the table turned out great! I used them as a sort of centerpiece:




And, even with all the issues, I think in the end they looked realistic enough. I even had someone who saw the “spilled milk” and wanted to CLEAN IT UP! Yes, it’s reactions like that to make it all worth while! :)

So my advice to you if you are making these beauties, is take enough time to find the ratio that works! And if you do find that magic ratio, please let me know so I can share!

I hope this posting helped you in some small way! Happy Joking!

May your days be filled with sunshine,
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Take our Root Beer Survey!


I’m excited for our next Taste Test Tuesday! In anticipation for this, I’ve decided that we need to hear from more of YOU.

Won’t you please take our survey and answer this question: Which {store bought} Root Beer do you like the best? I will gather all the results, and compare that to our WINNER of Taste Test Tuesday!

It will be interesting to see which root beer wins the survey vs. which root beer wins the taste test!

Go here to complete our survey (only 1 question…it will only take a minute!)
Click here to take survey  {Hurry! Survey will close on Monday, April 8, 2013}

Thanks for your input! See you next Tuesday.

May your days be filled with sunshine,
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April Fool’s Party Re-cap

When my husband told me the next Events Planning Meeting for the Arizona Chapter of the BMW Car Club of America was going to be on APRIL FIRST, I just knew we had to play a few jokes. I mean, those members are way too serious, right? So I set about researching and plotting for this party. We decided to hold a dinner before the meeting outside on the back patio to enjoy the beautiful Arizona weather.



My ideas were far too many, so I edited them down a bit to include some of my favorites! And boy, did we get a great reaction!

The jokes included: Brownies, Andes Mints, Name placecards, Spilled Milk, and a Logo cake (decorated by Sassy’s Cafe and Bakery). When we first talked to Sassy’s they were excited to create this cake for us because it was the first April Fool’s cake they had done! And boy did we share a few laughs with the owners (thank you, Melody and Jeff!)



Prep for this party started weeks before. Luckily, my husband gave me plenty of advance notice (that is quite rare around here!)

1) I used my cricut to cut out the Letter “e” multiple times on brown paper. I got the idea for the Brownies (“Brown E’s!”) here.

2) The spilled milk idea is from this website, and I just LOVED how they turned out. Although, I did have multiple “spilled milk” issues. You can read about the making of my spilled milk here.

3) The mints idea came as inspiration from a dinner out at Olive Garden, actually. Every time we go there and we get their after dinner mints, I quickly open and eat mine. Then I WRAP IT BACK up and give it to my husband saying, “Here, I don’t want this.” He falls for it EVERY TIME! If you unwrap the mints carefully, you can easily take out the candy and re-wrap them to look just like normal. I unwrapped only about 10 mints to create a top layer of “JOKE MINTS.”


We started out with two 8′ tables pushed together to create a giant square (like a Board meeting table). We added black table cloths so the SPILLED MILK would really pop!

milk-on-table flowers-in-milk

Then we added some small flower arrangements (nice and low to the table so the board members could still see and talk to each other).

To give a little nod to Spring, I used yellow napkins and cups and tied the utensils together with a striped ribbon.



You may notice that the BMW logo on each place card setting is UPSIDE DOWN! I also used an alternate spelling for the “Bored Meeting.” It took the members a while to notice that! We played jokes throughout the night, at one point even announcing that one of them would win a new car at the end of the night. (They caught on to that one quickly…ha!)

My Andes Mints got a good laugh…one board member kept pulling them out of the bowl and grunting with each empty wrapper. Everyone was baffled by his actions until they learned that some were empty!

Then, we brought out the CAKE! We talked this cake up plenty…explaining how their whipped frosting was so delicious and we were excited to try the cakes from Sassy’s because we knew they had delicious sandwiches, but didn’t realize they also took special order cakes until now. The president of the club began to open the cake box, and when he looked inside he displayed a look of shock! Everyone ran over to see what the disbelief was about…and that’s when they saw it had the WRONG LOGO!! Ha!


All the members laughed even more (and was I ever relieved)….it turns out the BMW Board members DO have a GREAT sense of humor. (whew).

Not only was this cake hilarious, this cake was also delicious! It was a marbled chocolate/vanilla cake with chocolate mouse filling and white chocolate whipped frosting! Wow.

We served the cake with Tillamook Ice cream, of course, since it won our Vanilla Ice Cream Taste Test! (read about it here). And we also tried the Tillamook Chocolate Mint ice cream, which may now be among my favorites.

My final report is this: I LOVE to have an April Fool’s Day party! I didn’t think I would enjoy it, but with a few good-natured jokes spread throughout the evening, the laughs kept coming and we all had a good time (even though it was REALLY a meeting).


If you look closely, you can see TWO photographers at the same time. That’s my reflection there in the window. {A special thank you to Kait for helping with some last minute arrangements.}

If you have an April Fool’s Party (next year?), please send me over your ideas. I just might be doing this again. :)

Happy Joking!

May your days be filled with sunshine,
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Dose of Sunshine Monday — Happy April Fool’s Day

It’s the first of April and a beautiful time of year! Oh, how I adore Spring. But it’s also April Fools Day. A day of trickery and jokes. I am not a big fan of playing jokes or having jokes played on me; however, this April Fools Day is a special day. Because it’s a day the Board Members of the BMW club are coming over for dinner and a Board Meeting. Except this day it will be called a “Bored” Meeting.

And I’ve got a few other tricks up my sleeve. Nothing mean or mean-spirited, just a few friendly funnies that I hope will bring a few smiles and laughs. Those BMW folks need to be a little less serious. :)

So for now, I have a joke for you, and a Happy April greeting:


Soon I will post some more of my April Fool’s funnies: wait until you see the cake we have ordered just for this event!

Until then….

May your days be filled with sunshine,
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Easter Burlap Bunny Bag

This is the first Easter where I have not put together Easter baskets for my kids….I usually have a basket for at least one of them! But this year they are ALL adults and all out on their own. And I’m not liking it one bit. Nope, I do not particularly enjoy the “empty nest,” it’s a little too quiet, a little too uneventful, a little too boring. We didn’t even color eggs this year.

Before you get too sad for me and my kid-less situation, I must tell you that we did have a BEAUTIFUL Easter Brunch and Easter table setting! :)

And I did sew up an adorable “Burlap Bunny Bag” for my daughter.


I had all the makings for an adorable Easter pouch to send to my daughter: burlap, pink gingham ribbon, pink glitter iron-on vinyl….(I’m in love with this new glitter iron on vinyl! I learned about it from The Glitter Academy…and now I’m sold. What else can I make with this stuff?!? I am sure I will be coming up with more fun projects for this new vinyl.)


I sewed up a simple bag (using a straight stitch, and then a zig zag stitch on the edges to keep the burlap from fraying), then ironed on the glitter vinyl bunny. {I cut out this bunny with my Cricut earlier.} I used a tea towel over the vinyl as I ironed it down for about a minute or two. Then I peeled off the protective covering to reveal the brilliant glitter. I stitched on the pink ribbon and Voila! An adorable Burlap Bunny Bag to send to Amber!


I’m going to fill it up with plenty of Easter candy and maybe a special small treat just for her (like nail polish or hair ties)! Do you think she will like it? I sure did miss her this Easter!


I hope your Easter is overflowing with Hope, Joy, Peace, Kids and Easter Baskets! 😉

Linking up with Lil Luna: Lil\'Luna

May your days be filled with sunshine,
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Easter Surprise Rolls


These Easter Surprise Rolls are simple to make and delicious! I made these growing up and I think since they are SO easy to make, we actually made them more often than just Easter time! They take only minutes to put together, and are so fun to make with kids (I know, I made them when I was a kid!)


First gather the simple ingredients: Crescent Rolls, Marshmallows, Cinnamon Sugar, Melted butter.The next steps are super easy, and I will show you how to assemble them in pictures:




Seal those crescent rolls well…you don’t want the marshmallow to escape! Dip just the bottom of the roll in butter and place it in a muffin tin. Now just bake them at 375 for 10-12 minutes! But be sure to put a cookie sheet underneath your muffin tin. The marshmallows tend to seep out a bit and they like to drip. {You will thank me later!} While the rolls are baking, prepare the glaze.


Just 3 simple ingredients: powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla. I used my Watkins vanilla for this one. (Read the vanilla taste test here). After I made the glaze, I realized that I could have used my CLEAR vanilla and it would have kept the glaze a nice white color.

Allow the rolls to cool a bit, then drizzle on the glaze.

The surprise comes when you bite into one of the warm rolls and find they are EMPTY! What happened to the marshmallow?!


Easter Surprise Rolls

1/4 c. sugar
1 t. cinnamon
2 pkg. crescent rolls (refrigerated)
16 large marshmallows
1/4 c. melted butter

Dip large marshmallow into melted butter and roll in cinnamon and sugar mixture. Place in wide end of crescent roll, fold corners over and roll to point. Seal edges well. Dip point side into butter and place down in greased muffin tin. Place pan on cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Remove rolls from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Glaze while warm.

Variation: Place spoonful of canned apple pie filling in crescent roll and then put a large marshmallow on top of the pie filling. Fold, roll and bake.


1/2 c. powdered sugar
1-2 T. milk
1/2 t. vanilla

Whisk ingredients together. Spoon over warm rolls.



Aren’t they beautiful? Enjoy!

Linking up here: Somewhat Simple

May your days be filled with sunshine,
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