Let’s Go Camping

Let's go camping

Camping is a Summer time favourite activity for our family. This year I am even more excited because my Hubby & I just bought a pop-up trailer, and we will be using it for the first time next weekend!

I am a list person, and having one go to Camping list helps to ease the packing & preparation process.  I made one for myself and thought I’d share it with all of you.

Here is a cute & very practical FREE PRINTABLE Camping Checklist.Camping Checklist

Get your Printable PDF List here: Camping Checklist

Curious Easter Bunny Bum Cake

Hippity Hoppity Easter,

The last couple Easter’s I’ve made an Easter themed cake for our family dinner. They are fun to make, and they are always a hit. Now I have my family asking; what am I going to do this year? 🙂 Last year I decided to try a Curious Easter Bunny Bum Cake.

If you would like to see how I made this adorable cake, see my step by step instructions and photos below. **Note I am an amateur baker so if I can do this, so can you!!!**

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You could use your favourite cake recipe you have, but for simplicity and I used Betty Crocker Cake Mixes.

What you need:

  • 1 -9″ round cake pan (the ground), 1-cupcake pan (the tail), 1-small circular mixing bowl (the bum)
  • 2 boxes of Betty Crocker Cake Mixes -I used Rainbow Chip & Chocolate to get two flavors.
  • Milk
  • Vegetable oil
  • Eggs
  • White Chocolate – I got a white chocolate bunny
  • Food Colouring
  • Oreo crumbs
  • Oval Cookie Mold
  • Cream Cheese Icing
    • 1 cup of unsalted butter, softened
    • 1 block of cream cheese, softened
    • 4 1/4 cups of unsifted powdered sugar
    • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
    • 1/4 cup of milk

1. I prepared the cake the night before, but you could do it the same day. I followed the directions according to the Betty Crocker cake mix.

2. I greased the inside of the cake pan, cupcake pan, and mixing bowl, and filled the cake pans with the cake mixes, and baked them in the oven until fully baked. The cupcake, and cake pan took approx 25 minutes. The mixing bowl portion took a little longer. I just tested it with tooth picks until it was finished.

3. To make the icing. Blend together butter and cream cheese.  On a low speed gradually add the powdered sugar, vanilla and milk.  In a separate medium bowl mix 1/2 of the icing with a few drops of food colouring to make a light green icing.

 

4. **Note I did put icing on the cake first. I realized while decorating it would have been easier to have assembled the cake first**

When the cake is finished baking, and cooling you can begin the fun part. I placed the ground part of the cake (flat circle cake) face down on a plate for an even surface. Use a bit of icing to secure the bunny bum (mixing bowl cake). Then cut a part of the top of the bum deep enough for the tail (cupcake) to fit in half way. Insert the cupcake.

 

5. Once you have your bunny assembled. You can start the decorating. Put icing on the bunny bum. Then grade white chocolate to cover the bunny. This helps create texture and make it look like fur.  Cover the remaining ground portion with icing. Save a little bit of white icing for later. Place a pastry bag with a small star tip in a tall glass, and fold the bag over the glass.  Fill bag with white icing; and pipe the bunny tail.

6. At this point pick a top half and bottom half of the cake. To make the grass place a pastry bag with a small circle tip in a tall glass, and fold the bag over the glass. Fill bag with green icing; and pipe the mix up and down around the cake. On the top half of the cake pipe the grass to the bunny bum line. On the bottom half pipe the grass to the line of the ground.

7.On the bottom half of the cake sprinkle oreo crumbs underneath the bunny.

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8. To make the bunny paws melt some of the white chocolate, and line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper. I did one paw at a time. Put the melted chocolate in a cookie cutter mold and then in the freezer for 10 minutes, remove the mold and repeat. Let them both cool to a harden piece of chocolate again. With the little bit of white icing that you saved put a drop of red food colouring in it. Place a pastry bag with a small circle tip in a tall glass, and fold the bag over the glass.  Fill bag with the pink icing; and pipe the paws. Use a bit of icing to stick the paws on the cake.

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I popped in a little carrot I had (non edible) and used it to decorate the cake. Voila your Curious Easter Bunny Bum Cake is complete. Sit back, snap a picture and enjoy.

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Anniversary Photo Chain

_MG_1157 internetMy Hubby and I started a tradition to celebrate our Anniversaries, and each year we take a self-portrait of ourselves holding a photo from last Anniversary. I can’t wait to see year 25, or 50!

Anniversary Photo Chain – Start by taking a photo on your 1st Anniversary holding your favourite wedding photo, and then take another photo on your 2nd Anniversary holding your 1st Anniversary photo.

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Adorable Easter Bunny Cake & REAL Chocolate Eggs

Bunny 1

Easter Bunny & REAL Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs:

Bunny:

I found this adorable and delicious recipe on the internet and decided I wanted to try it out. You can find this recipe & walk through here:

For a simplified version I used a Betty Crocker Party Rainbow Chip cake mix and followed the box directions for the cake portion.

I am not to crazy for coconut, so I purchased a white chocolate bunny which are really easy to find at this time of year. I grated this chocolate down and covered this cake with it.

I also used white construction paper and glued pink on it for the ears. The ears and nose stuck to the sticky icing pretty well. But I only put them on when I was ready to serve it.

This cake was lots of fun to make.


REAL Chocolate Eggs:

Surprise your kids this Easter with REAL chocolate eggs!

3-4 Eggs

2 Cups milk or white chocolate chips

Optional: 2-3 TBSP Peanut butter

1) Take a few eggs and punch a hole about the size of a dime or smaller into one of the ends. I used a nail for this part. Drain the egg whites and yolk. ** I did this to more then a few eggs so if some broke I had others to use**

2) Sterilize the eggs by putting them in cold water and boiling them for about 15 minutes.

3) Put your hollow shells gently into water with a few drops of food colouring and a teaspoon of vinegar for about 20-30 minutes or until you have reached your desired colour.

4) Let them dry on paper towels for a few hours.

5) Melt milk chocolate chips on low until melted. Once melted remove from heat, and let this chocolate cool for a few minutes.

6) OPTIONAL:While it is cooling add a couple tablespoons of peanut butter into this chocolate mix. Give it a taste to see if you want to add any more peanut butter.

7) Place a pastry bag with a small tip in a tall glass, and fold the bag over the glass.(You can also use a sandwich bag and just cut a corner off.)  Fill bag with chocolate; and pipe the mix gently into the egg. **TIP put your eggs back into the egg carton before you pipe them.**

8) Let eggs cool in the carton and place them bottom down on your serving dishes.

9) Crack open your egg and enjoy your yummy creation.

Bunny 2

Colorful Deviled Eggs

With Easter just over a week away I thought I would share these fun coloured eggs I have done over the years. These are guaranteed to be a hit for Easter!

Easter

Colorful Deviled Eggs

1 Dozen Eggs
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
Food Colouring
Vinegar
Chipotle Powder or Paprika

1) Put the eggs in a pot with cold water and turn the heat on high. Once the water is boiling cover the pot, and turn the heat to medium for about 15 minutes.

2) Once the eggs are cooked, cool them with cold water and peel them.

3) Slice them in half, and spoon the yolks into a medium sized bowl.

4) Place the egg white portion of the eggs into a bowl with water and a few drops of food colouring till you are satisfied with the colour, Make sure there is enough water to cover the eggs. I also add about a teaspoon of vinegar to the water to help with the colouring process. Let the eggs sit in this mixture for about 30 minutes, or until you reach the colour you desire. They will turn out to be a lighter pastel colour.

5) In a medium bowl with a fork mash the egg yolks, and then add the mayonnaise together.

6) After you are finished colouring the eggs, take them out of the water and let them dry on a paper towel.

7) Place a pastry bag with a medium star tip in a tall glass, and fold the bag over the glass. (You can also use a sandwich bag and just cut a corner off.) Fill the bag with the yolk mixture and pipe the mix onto the egg whites.

8) Top with your eggs with chipotle powder or paprika and place them on a pretty serving dish. You can also top with chives or bacon if you wish. I like the chipotle powder because it gives it a tiny smoky kick.

Having a themed party?  Try using only one or two colours, and put a few drops in your yolk mixture too for an added colour boost.

Easy Way to Backup Documents, Photos, & Video

back up

Never underestimate the importance behind backing up your files. If you are like me you have lost important pictures, files, and video due to unfortunate events like a computer crashing, hard drive malfunction, lost or damaged memory cards/cell phones. It happens to all of us.

It is very important to back up your files. Once lost it can be very costly for an I.T tech to try and recover missing files, and that is not a guarantee.

But don’t fret, backing your files can be really easy!

I recommend having an external hard drive separate from your computer. This is for a couple reasons.

1) You can move it around to different devices – office computer, personal computers, laptops etc….

2) If your computer crashes it is separate so you don’t need to worry about recovering those files.

You can purchase them from places like Future Shop, Best Buy, Canada Computers, or just about anywhere you can purchase a computer. They range from $50-150. I recommend checking your local flyers as they ALWAYS go on sale. I recommend the Western Digital brand, and 500 GB, 1000 GB or 1 TB in size. Make sure to purchase a drive that will allow you enough space to backup all your devices with some room to grow.


Here is my simple step by step guide for WINDOWS USERS backing up once you have purchased and connected/installed your hard drive to your computer:

1) Rename your hard drive to “Back up” you can do this simply by navigating to your PC drive screen. This us usually called “My PC, My Computer, or This PC“. Once there right click your NEW hard drive and select RENAME.

2) Open the hard drive, create a new folder, name it what you want E.G “Lisas PC”, open this folder, and leave this window open.

3) Open your computers hard drive screen again in a new window. Here you will see your computers internal hard drive. Open it, select USERS, then the specific user you are backing up, in this case it’s LISA.

4) Select all (CTRL A), copy and paste into the new folder. You can do this several ways.

You can either then press CTRL C, go to the new folder you previously made in the new hard drive in this case Lisas PC, and then press CTRL V.

or you can right click the highlighted files, and while holding down the right click move your mouse over to the new folder and select COPY HERE.

Once your copying is complete you are done!!! Simple, easy, and you won’t regret it!!! I recommend backing up at least once a month.


Here are some screen shots if you want to visually see my step by step process.


FREE DOWNLOAD – I have attached a Back Up log list if you want to keep a log of what files you backed up and when. This can help you keep track of all files you have previously backed up.

Back Up Log Sheet(PDF) Back Up Log Sheet(EXCEL)


Tips for backing up your Cell phone photos and video

I recommend using DROPBOX, it’s a free, secure way to back up your phone and transfer the files to your computer. You can expand your account space for free by referring friends/family to join, or you can purchase larger space.

Once you have signed up you can install the free app to your phone, and PC. Then you can set up an automatic photo/video upload. You can modify the settings to copy your media over WIFI only to save data. Once you have successfully set that up, you can sync your photos to your Dropbox account. You can sign in to your Dropbox account online from any computer, or the desktop app to save your photos there. Dropbox even has the capability to sync photos right from your phone to your PC.

DIY Natural & Easy Boot Cleaner

DIT Boot Cleaner

I have made a fantastic easy DIY boot cleaner that cleans salt off your boots in seconds!!! No more scrubbing with soap!

It’s super simple, all you need is vinegar, water, and a paper towels. Although I am sure cloth towels would get the job done. I also like putting the vinegar and water in a spray bottle to use. Then I can easily use it  around the house too, because it’s a great super cleaner!

The ratio I used here was about 2/3 vinegar to 1/3 water, and this ratio works fantastically!

I simply spray my paper towel and wipe the boots, and voila – it’s clean! It dries super quick as well. Follow with your favourite boot protector product.

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Happy Cleaning!

~ Lisa