Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Terrific Holiday Gift Tags! (Free Downloadable)

OK!! Who still needs gift tags because they haven't finished wrapping presents yet? Aaaaah, it's nice seeing all those hands waving wildly right along with me. And even if you ARE done (damn overachievers!), you could still use some awesomely cute tags to go on those perfectly wrapped packages you have there.
These are some super cute tags that you can download for FREE! That's right people, I am all about the FREE this Holiday season! Enjoy. Or print them and save them for next year!!!!
(I'll be some of you even have NEXT years presents wrapped, don't you?)

Click on Sass&Peril for the download!!!

FREE Prtintable Card templates from Becky Higgins!

I am an avid scrap-booker from way back. The name Becky Higgins is well known in the scrap-booking industry!! I absolutely love her back-to-basics approach to memory-keeping. Her strategy is keep it simple - so you don't get bogged down in all the details. It's hard enough to find time to scrapbook all my memories without having to worry about the "too many" products out there for memory keeping.
She has some awesome additional free stuff on her website, but I would like to steer you towards the FREE Printable Holiday card templates for now! These are super cute. You DO have to know how to use Photoshop (Elements at least) and understand layers, but she gives you good directions to follow!!!! ENJOY!!!!! Download Free Cards Here

Peace, LOVE & Reindeer Hugs - Adorable Free Printable tags!!

These holiday tags are too too cute!!!! I know I'll be using them for MY gifts this year. I mean, really, who wouldn't LOVE to hug a Reindeer?????
Thanks to Amy Moss at EAT*DRINK*CHIC for these adorable tags!!!! Download them from her site here: Free Printable Reindeer tags

(Free!) Vintage Rudolph Labels

I LOVE the Christmas Holidays! The lights, the colors, the music, the COOKIES (boy! do I LOVE the cookies!!) --- even the GRINCH! I will say though, as a single parent, it stinks trying to "economize" during this festive time, when all I really want to do is spend every last penny I have on those I love. Since most of my measly income goes towards "Santa" gifts for my favorite little elf during this time of year, I also LOVE (and really really appreciate) FREE things during the Holidays!! I'm going to share all the wonderful freebilicious stuff I find with you right here each day until Christmas!! There are SO many creatively awesome people out there. Maybe you will like this stuff too!!! Enjoy! ******************************************************************************
Here is my first Fabulous Find! Lucie and I made this "Reindeer Food" last year and shared with some friends. She is already excited about making it again this year. Here are some incredibly cute little tags to go with it from Kim at the
TomKat Studio!

Grab some clear plasic Baggies. Add oats, colorful sprinkles and Glitter -- LOTS of Glitter!!
Tie with ribbon and attach the FREE printable label!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Bit of Whimsey!

I edited this photo for a photo challenge over at .

The idea was to use post processing to give a photo a magical or dreamlike finish. I LOVE the way this photo of my daughters BFF Kennedy tuned out. I used a couple of free photo textures provided by Love That Shot and VOILA! Magical! Below you can see the before and after!

To see the rest of the lovely entries, go here !

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

...from a distance

My interpretation of "from a distance" for the I heart faces weekly contest!

…from a distance

Memorial Day - originally called Decoration Day – is a day of remembrance for those who died protecting our country. It’s also a day for coming together in peace and celebrating freedom. I think many people, especially children, who have no relatives in the armed forces, celebrate Memorial day from a distance. It’s just another day for a parade, cookout and fireworks – the beginning of summer! Teaching our children to understand the holiday by spending time talking to them about what Memorial Day means to us, as adults, allows them to get close and reflect on those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom! A very heartfelt THANK YOU to all our military who have served this country up close and personal!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Chocolate Mint Cupcake Yummies!

I can't believe it's been a month already. Time seems to evaporate like a volatile liquid around here. I scarcely had time to recover from the Key Lime Cupcakes before it was time to try out yet another new recipe! This month I had a request from Glitter Girl Kristin for Chocolate Mint Cupcakes for our monthly write-a-palooza!! I scoured the internet and found a lovely recipe on Martha's website, but since she gets on my ever lovin' last nerve, I decided to keep looking. I came by one from Delicieux (someone in Austalia, I believe) , and had to convert several of the measurements, but this one was a winner! Although I always test the cakes early in the baking, they all seem to be coming out a bit dry lately. Not overly dry mind you, I would just like mine a bit more moist! I decided to confer with some of my baker friends and was told two bits of info that seemed helpful and I shall incorporate next time. Either add a few tablespoons of applesauce or add a box of instant pudding to increase moistness. Of course, the "science girl" in me, couldn't just leave it at that! I needed to know WHY. And lordy, lordy, did I find my answer... if you want to understand the science behind baking, read this website, it's AWESOME and now I understand baking principles I never even knew I wanted to know!! I am a happy, informed baker now. :)
OK, on to the good stuff....the recipe!
Please note - these call for using Lindor Lindt truffle balls inside to form a molten center. I could not find those anywhere, so I used Andes mints instead...worked ok, but I am dying to try with the truffles for a true molten center.


  • 6 Tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups of plain flour,sifted
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup of buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2/3 cup of good quality cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon of mint extract
  • Lindt Lindor Mint chocolate balls

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin/cupcake tin with cupcake wrappers.

    2. Cream the butter and sugar in a medium/large bowl.

    3. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition.

    4. Switch the mixer to a low speed and in a separate bowl or cup combine the sifted flour, salt, cocoa and baking powder and add to the batter alternately with the buttermilk and mix until well combined.

    5. Add the mint extract. In a small cup mix the vinegar and baking soda together and add to the batter mixing on a medium speed for 10 seconds.

    6. Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake papers and press the Lindt Lindor Mint balls into the center and ensure the balls are covered by the cake batter.

    7. Bake in the oven for 17-20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

    Icing - Chocolate Mint Ganache


    3 ounces of dark chocolate (I used Hershey's dark chocolate chips)
    1/2 cup Heavy Cream
    1/4 teaspoon of mint extract

    1. Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place into a bowl. (or pour in the chips!)

    2. Pour the cream into a saucepan and heat until almost boiling and then pour over the chocolate pieces. Let it stand for 5 minutes before stirring until smooth and adding the mint extract. Let it stand for 10 minutes (or longer) before decorating the cakes. (I just dipped my cupcake tops in.

    I topped mine with Andes Mints....so pretty!


    Tuesday, March 1, 2011

    Key Lime Cupcake Heaven!

    Want some cupcakes with the WOW factor! These are sure to impress. I seriously think they may be the best cupcakes I have ever eaten. Light, fluffy, and soooo Key Lime! I hope you love them as much as I do! XOXO ~ Laurel

    (Recipe Adapted from from Bittersweet Bakery Recipe)
    3/4 cup all purpose flour
    1 cup self-rising flour
    1/2 cup salted butter, room temperature
    1 cup sugar
    2 large eggs
    3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (I use Nellie & Joe's Famous Key Lime Juice, it's fantastic!!!)
    1 tablespoon finely grated lime peel (approx 1 lime)
    1/4 teaspoon neon-green food coloring (regular works too)
    3/4 cup buttermilk

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Line standard muffin pan with 12 paper liners. (I usually get about 18 cupcakes!)

    Whisk both flours in medium bowl.
    Beat butter & sugar in large bowl until creamy. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then next 3 ingredients. Beat in flour mixture, alternately, with buttermilk.

    Scoop 1/3 cup batter into each cupcake liner.

    Bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. (ovens vary, mine only take 17 mins!)
    Cool 10 minutes in pan. Remove from pan; cool completely.

    1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
    2+ cups powdered sugar
    1/2 cup butter, room temperature
    1 tablespoon finely grated lime peel
    1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
    1 tablespoon fresh lime juice. (Again, I use Key Lime juice!)

    Beat all ingredients in medium bowl until smooth. Spread or pipe onto cupcakes.

    Friday, February 4, 2011

    I'll miss you...until we meet again!

    Goodbyes are not forever.

    Goodbyes are not the end.
    They simply mean I'll miss you
    Until we meet again!

    Dear Jo~
    How do you say goodbye to someone who means so much? Well, I can't.
    So, I. just. won't.
    If I think too long about how far away you are going, I will certainly break down into tears. Instead, I will view this as an exciting, wonderful new adventure starting for YOU.

    As you depart for another land ~ your homeland ~ know I wish for you the best of luck and good fortune. As your horizon is now expanding, I cannot be sad for the wonderful new adventures you will have. I know you came into my life for a specific reason. We both know. Lucie knows.
    I will treasure the many years we have had together. Forever. You are now a sister to me. And even though you may be going half way around the world, I know we will be together again. Lets look at it this way - now I have a new exotic location to vacation. :)

    Hug the Koalas, eat something from the barbie, put some flowers on Heath's grave for me and never, ever forget me and Lucie. We LOVE YOU! "May the odds be ever in your favor"
    Laurel and Lucie

    Friday, January 21, 2011

    A Few of My Favorite Things...

    Sunday I had the honor of spending time with two of the original "Glitter Girls" and writing muses (Kristin & Mary). We managed to pound out a few thousand words each all the while celebrating Mary's "early" birthday. In honor of the birthday girl, I got to make some of my favorite cupcakes ever...Pumpkin! I think they were a hit since Kristin "I hate Pumpkin cupcakes" downed a whole cake. I need another birthday to celebrate soon as I am DYING to try out my new Key Lime cupcake recipe! Any volunteers?

    We were graced with visits from two guest writers - an absent "Glitter Girl," Nicole, joined us via text (tried Skype, but it wouldn't connect) to have a word war and Jamee dropped by to share in the cupcake devouring (along with the ever beautiful half-pint Juliette!)

    I'm positive we got more eating and socializing done than writing, but that's part of the fun. We don't have "writing groups" to sit and write without speaking. And even though we gabbed too much, I got more writing done that I have since our NANO weekend in November. Now that we have planned to meet, eat & write at least once a month, I might just finish my novel!!