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What's Up Wednesday!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Hi!! How has your week been going so far?  Our's has been good! Nothing big going on...just cruising right along! :)

So...it is the last Wednesday of the month...which means it is time for another What's Up Wednesday Post! I am joining MelShay and Sheaffer for their super fun link up party!



What we're eating this week...This week several yummy things are on our menu! On Sunday, I made some super yummy slow cooker chicken enchilada soup, so we are having leftovers of that and we also are having some delicious BBQ pork my mom sent home with us when we were visiting my parents a couple weekends ago!  Of course, pizza is on permanent rotation, EVERY Friday night!

This made me laugh SO hard!!

What I'm reminiscing about...Even though Aaron is done with all of his schooling (hello 7 years of that!), he still has to take several, really big tests while he is in residency.  He is currently preparing to take one in the beginning of November and seeing him go down to our basement and study has made me think about all the years of him studying non-stop when he was in school.  And it makes me SO thankful that he is no longer a student!! HA!
It was a loonngg road to get to where we are today and we are so excited for what the future  holds for our family and his career!!
One of the best days for our family- graduation day for Daddy! 

What I am loving....I have refreshed a few little areas around my house and I am loving them!
The first one is this little strip under a section of my kitchen cabinets.  It is right by my "command" center.  I had my hubby hang up a strip of cork and now I have a place where I can hang up papers that I need to keep in a safe spot!
I can't tell you how happy I am to have a place other than the counter for random papers I need to keep track of!
I am currently loving my mantle because my super sweet neighbor brought me some flowers the other day and they are GORGEOUS!! Don't they look so pretty on my mantle??
And finally, I am loving this little space in our combined laundry room/pantry/mudroom.  We re-organized it a couple of weeks ago and I am SO happy each of the kids have a space for their shoes, jackets and backpacks!  The bins on the shelf will be used for their hats and gloves once winter arrives :)

What we've been up to...school, Daisy scouts and soccer for Charlotte, school, gym and swimming class for Cora Maye, work, studying and several work conferences for Aaron, school and dressing up in princess costumes for Celine, eating, playing, and destroying the house for James and well...I am just here for all of it! And I love it :) 

What I'm dreading...so I know I don't live in Alaska or Maine (Hi Johannah :), but I really am dreading the cold months that are quickly approaching.  It definitely gets REALLY cold here in central Indiana and I just loathe being cold. ( I know- DRAMATIC much Justine!?!) Does anyone know what this year's Famer's Almanac is predicting about how cold this Winter is going to be?? Please tell me it is a mild one ;)

What I am working on...well...I am ALWAYS working on the never-ending piles of laundry that accumulate :) I am also getting ready to go through all of the girls' and James' clothes and switch over their spring/summer clothes to their fall/winter clothes.  I always feel SO overwhelmed when I start the process...but it feels so good once everything is packed away,  folded up in their drawers and hanging up in their closets.  I am thinking daddy is going to have to take them to the park so I have can a kid-free hour to just power through and GET IT DONE! Also- I really want to decide what Santa is getting the girls this year and then start looking for sales on that item so I can get it purchased! I have a few ideas of what I want to get them...but being completely honest- I feel like they have SO MUCH STUFF- it is hard to think about buying them MORE! (Even though I know it is totally fun and they are only kids once...it is seriously kind of gross how many toys they have! Definitely going to be donating a good amount of them before Christmas time!!)

What I'm excited about...sooo...with no family in town and Aaron's nutty work schedule- we just don't get out hardly at all as a couple. It is just how it is, so we happily (not all the time :) just deal with it :)  Anyway- we have a little event we are attending next week and my good friends are going to watch the kids. We pretty darn excited to go out for a couple hours, on a school/work night nonetheless!!

What I am watching/reading...I am so excited to FINALLY be watching NEW episodes of all my favorite shows!! Thank goodness we have some fresh TV shows to watch! Since we don't have cable (we do get NBC, ABC, and CBS), Aaron and I were getting pretty desperate! I may or may not have been caught watching QVC one too many times! HA!
(I don't even care...I love QVC and David Venable is my favorite!!)

What I am listening to...the Anthem Lights channel on Pandora! Kate, from The Small Things blog mentioned in one of her posts last week- and I am so glad she suggested it! It is SUCH a good channel.  Go to Pandora now and add it to your playlist! :)

What I'm wearing...oh wow...I am SO boring when it comes to this question! I wear my workout clothes every morning, because I go to the gym after I drop my girls off at school.  The good news is I am changing out of my SUPER sweaty gym clothes when I get home :)  Lately, with the weather cooling off just slightly, I have been wearing leggings or capri leggings with a tunic and some flip flops :)  I look somewhat put together- but feel like I am wearing pajamas- HA! I will wear my flip flops until it gets uncomfortably cold :)  Last week a I did a post about some Fall clothing favorites from Walmart...check it out here! I ordered the necklace, cardigan and cream top.  They should arrive any day and I can't wait!


What I'm doing this weekend...Charlotte, my oldest daughter, has her last soccer game of the season on Saturday morning and then in the afternoon, Charlotte, Cora, Aaron and I are participating in the girls' school community wide service day.  We did it last year and it was a great afternoon! We will be going to a family shelter in downtown Indianapolis and helping out in any way we can!  My friend is going going to watch Celine and James for us... because...well let's be honest- James is in total destructor mode right now and we would not be able to get anything done with him in tow! HA! So James and Celine get to hang back and play, so we can work! :)

What I'm looking forward to next month...We have a packed calendar in October! We have something going on every weekend in October- with the two most exciting things being a trip to Carbondale, IL to visit my grandpa AND to go to my Alma Mater's (Southern Illinois University- GO SALUKIS!!) homecoming football game with my sister, her husband, my dad and Aaron! Then the following weekend, it is Halloween and Aaron's parents are coming to visit us from Texas! We are going to be busy- but it is definitely going to be such a FUN month!

What else is new...there is not much else to report! Life is boring, regular and GOOD :)

Bonus Question: What is our Favorite Halloween Tradition?
We always carve our pumpkins 2 days before Halloween.  We cover our kitchen table with newspaper and the girls pick out the 'design' they want on their pumpkin.  Aaron is so good and always carves their pumpkins just how they want them.  We don't necessarily have any set traditions on Halloween night...but we always get dressed up and go trick or treating...even if the weather is gross! It was hailing and raining and freezing last year and Aaron and the girls still went out! Nothing is going to hold my girls back from getting candy! HA!

Two Must Try Recipes!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Hi!! Hope your week is off to a great start!

Over the weekend, I made two new recipes- both of which were a hit!

Reasons why I loved both of these recipes:

1) There were minimal ingredients involved (there's a good chance you might already have everything you need in your pantry!)

2) My 6 year could have made both recipes- completely on her own. SO easy!

3) Both recipes were complete hits with my family! 

Okay- so the first recipe is Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup from the blog, Gimme Some Oven.


Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup from Gimme Some OVEN:

INGREDIENTS:

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
2 cups good-quality chicken stock
1 1/4 cup (or 1 10-ounce can) red enchilada sauce*, homemade or store-bought
2 (14-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, with juice
1 (15-ounce) can whole-kernel corn**, drained
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 white onion, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt, or more/less to taste
optional garnishes: chopped fresh cilantro, diced avocado, diced red onion, shredded cheese, sour cream, tortilla strips/chips

DIRECTIONS:

Add all ingredients to a slow cooker, and stir to combine. Cook for 3-4 hours on high heat or 6-8 hours on low heat, until the chicken is cooked through and shreds easily. Use two forks to shred the chicken
We topped our soup with a dollop of sour cream, some shredded sharp cheddar cheese and crushed up tortilla chips.  You need to make this soup! It seriously took under 10 minutes to get all the ingredients in the slow cooker and then 6 hours later...viola! Our delicious soup was ready! That is my kind of meal! Especially on a busy weeknight or weekend!
For dessert, I finally made the Chocolate Chip (Pumpkin) Muffins my blog friend Johannah has been talking about!! I wanted to make an easy dessert for after dinner on Sunday- but it needed to be easy and quick.  Well- I don't think dumping 3 ingredients into a bowl could get any easier! HA!
This recipe is from Shay's website, Mix and Match Mama.  The recipe I linked to is for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins- all you do with this recipe is swap out the spice cake mix for a chocolate cake mix!
Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
1 Chocolate Cake mix
1 cup of chocolate chips ( I probably used more like 1 1/2 cups :)
Mix the 3 ingredients in a bowl, then fill your greased muffin tin with batter.  Bake for (approx) 25 minutes at 350 degrees!  
These turned out SO good.  I am not a fan of the spice cake mix, pumpkin and chocolate chip recipe- so I wasn't sure how I would like this version.  The chocolate cake mix makes these muffins SO moist and honestly- quite rich!  My husband could NOT believe the muffins only were made with 3 ingredients- one being a can of pumpkin! If you are a chocolate lover- make these ASAP!
Now your turn! Have you tried out any new recipes lately?? Any that you want to share with me? I am always looking for something new and yummy to make!
Hope you have the best day!!

Favorite Things: My Favorite Scarf!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Happy Monday! Did you have a good weekend?  We did!! It was very FULL- but super fun :)  Now I need a couple days to recuperate from our weekend before the week officially starts! HA!
Today is super fun because I am linking up with Andrea and Erika for their Favorite Things Party! Today- the topic is "favorite scarves!"

Okay- so you are going to think I am super weird... BUT- I am just going to be totally honest- I don't really like wearing scarves!!!  I know they are SUPER in style and are a fabulous way to make your outfit look awesome- but I just can't wear them on a regular basis!
Here are the reasons why I can't get on board with wearing scarves: 1) I have A LOT of hair- and I feel like when I have my hair down + a big, fluffy scarf around my neck- it is just TOO much.  2) I feel kind of suffocated when I wear them.  I KNOW. I am such a freak- but I just have a hard time having all that material around my neck!  3) I just don't think i meant to be a "scarf" girl.  I will try on a fun scarf I have seen multiple people wear- and they look great in it; however, I will put it on and just look ridiculous! HA!

So with that being said...here are the few scarves I have in my collection...
The scarf on the far right is really neat...it is chocolate brown and kind of an open weave- it is very light weight- and while I don't ever wear it- I really love it! (That makes a lot of sense- doesn't it??)
Here are a few more scarves...just very simple scarves...I do like to wear the red scarf in the middle occasionally during the holidays!
Now despite my difficult relationship with scarves- I do have a FAVORITE scarf! 
I have it in two colors....
Pardon the lighting in these next couple of pictures...I was taking them when the sun was setting!  Anyway- this scarf is from Old Navy!
I got the bright magenta one 2 years ago.  It is SUPER soft, NOT itchy at all and SO warm!!
I love the magenta one so much- that I had my husband get me the same exact scarf- in an oatmeal color last year (when they went on sale for $8!!!)
This color is such a great neutral and looks good with everything!
To prove that I am not lying and that I actually do wear my favorite scarf- here are a couple pictures of me wearing it! :) 
(This is a picture from Christmas time, 2 years ago with my sister, mom, 2 of my aunts and my cousin :)
 You can see- it is quite large and bulky....but it is SO warm and cozy- I don't feel over powered by it's size...does that make any sense??
(Sidenote- my girls look SO little in this picture!!)
Old Navy currently has my FAVORITE scarf...they have it in this gorgeous "asparagus" color and a couple other neutral colors.  From the pictures...it looks like they might have gone down just a little bit in the stitch size of the scarf...but other than that looks exactly like the two I have!

I am LOVING this golden color, that Old Navy has title "busta rinds" (HA!)...I am thinking this one will have to be added to my collection this year!! Currently they are $17- but they are not on sale.  Like I mentioned, I got my oatmeal colored scarf for $8 last year.  Old Navy runs CRAZY one day sales during the holidays and that is how I was able to score it for that low of a price.  I am lucky I have a super nice hubby who happens to work about a mile away from a ton of stores- including Old Navy- and he is always willing to make an "urgent" run for me! :)

So there you have it! I REALLY don't like wearing scarves.  They make me feel claustrophoic and itchy.  BUT- the one scarf I do LOVE is my chunky-knit infinity scarf from Old Navy and I wear it all the time during the winter!

Hope you have the best Monday!! Here's to a great week ahead!! :)

Friday Favorites!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Hi!! Happy Friday!! Can you believe this weekend is the last one of September?? 

How was your week? Any fun plans for the weekend?
We have my oldest daughter's soccer game tomorrow morning, then in the afternoon, we are meeting some friends of our's at our church's Fall Festival. On Sunday, we have church and we will probably take a family walk to the park.  As always, I am looking forward to 2 days "off!"

LOVE this :)

Now time for some fun! Here are my FAVORITES for this week!

ONE
BLUE BLOODS!! The season premiere of Blue Bloods is tonight and I am SO excited!! Besides Gray's Anatomy, this is the only show that I LOVE to watch.  Seriously- Tom Selleck is amazing!! And I just really love how every show ends on a positive note.  Soo happy to have this show back on Friday nights!!

TWO
Last week, in my Friday Favorites post, I mentioned I had just gotten a new Cover Girl Mascara- Flamed Out.  Well, my blog friend Johannah suggested I try Maybelline Falsies mascara...so of course- I went right out and bought some! :) And I LOVE it!! It goes on really nicely, makes my lashes very long, adds some volume to them- but does not get clumpy.  So between my Cover Girl Flamed Out mascara and my Maybelline Falsies mascara...I am SET! I actually love layering the two together to get some serious lashes!! :)

THREE
My precious James is growing at lightening speed!! He is almost 15 months old...but is the size of a solid 2 year old :)  His little feet are SUPER fat- SO CUTE!!- and he totally jumped from a size 4 to 5.5!! James definitely does not have any where near the shoe collection my daughters have- so when his feet grew out of his old shoes- he literally had no shoes to wear! We decided to invest a little more money (I am all about getting shoes from Walmart/Target/Payless) and get him a pair of New Balances.  They come in wide sizes...which my little guy needs :) and they are such great quality.
This is the pair we got him...can you even handle little BABY running shoes?!? Aaron and I were freaking out when we pulled them out of the box! There is just something so adorable about tiny shoes!! 
We are super happy with them and James seems to like them too.  Like I said, I have NEVER spent $40 on a pair of my kids' shoes...but given the fact these are James only shoes (and he has 1 pair of shoes for church)- it made sense to spend a little more. We will definitely be going back to New Balance when he outgrows this pair- definitely our new FAVORITE shoe brand for James!
I asked James to show me his shoes so I could take a picture of them....this is what he did!! Dropped down to a squat and pointed to them :) Love this baby boy of mine SO much!

FOUR
Soooo...Aaron has been working some late hours this past month...meaning a lot of the time he is not home for dinner. Last night- I decided I was totally taking a pass on making dinner and I picked up a Papa Murphy's Take N Bake pizza.  Get this- at our Papa Murphy's- you can get your choice of sausage, cheese or pepperoni Take N Bakes for FIVE DOLLARS!!! Seriously the best $5 spent! There is hardly any clean up, my kids love Papa Murphy's pizza- so there is no complaining and like I said- it's $5!! Totally one of my FAVORITE ways to make dinner easier when Daddy won't be home until late!

FIVE
Speaking of Aaron...
my oldest daughter took this picture of us last weekend and I just love it :)
Just a couple weeks ago, we celebrated our "when we met/started dating" Anniversary...it was 9 years ago!! Being totally honest, the past 9 years have been amazing, hard, filled with so much joy and quite a bit of trials.  There are days when this handsome man makes me want to rip my hair out :) HA! BUT- even on those days- there is NO ONE else I could ever imagine having by my side as we journey through life.  Always have been and always will be immensely grateful God put Aaron in my life! 
And just for fun- if you want to read about how we met- check this post out! We have a fun love story :)

Hope you have the BEST weekend!!

I am linking up with Andrea and Erika for their Friday Favorites Link Up!

  I am also linking up with April for Five on Friday!

 Joining Karli for her, Oh Hey Friday Link Up! too!

Thoughts for Thursday!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Hi!! Happy Thursday!! My girls didn't have school on Monday...so it has been a short week for us...and you won't hear me complaining about that! :)

My thoughts are kind of all over the place this past week...so you get a super random Thoughts for Thursday post from me today! YAY!

Sooo...I know that ankle boots are THE LOOK right now.  And I love them!! I see all of these women wearing them and they look fabulous.  But for me- I just can NOT see myself pulling them off! I have, what you might say are more "muscular" legs...and I can't get myself to put on a pair of leggings and then a short little ankle bootie! I feel much more comfortable in tall boots as I feel like they give the appearance I have nice, long, thin legs :)  If I were going to buy a pair of ankle boots- I think these are really cute!!  Very simple...but the wedge heel definitley adds something special to them!

I have my porch decorated for Fall and it turned out SO cute! I still need to get pumpkins...I am just trying to find the store who is selling them for the cheapest price :)  My Target had some for $1.99/pumpkin- which is crazy cheap!! The kids and I were going to pick some up- but I was smart and called before we went there to see if they had any left- and you guessed it- they were gone!  I think my next best bet is going to be Aldi...YES- Aldi sells pumpkins! And for pretty cheap! And they are huge! 
Anyway....hoping to get our pumpkins this weekend and the porch is officially ready for Fall!

Do you read Kate's blog? I just love her!  She is SUPER down to earth, extremely knowlegdeable about hair and makeup and is hysterical!  She does a lot of video tutorials- and they are so great!  I just really enjoy her and if you aren't already reading her blog (which you probably are- she has a HUGE following)- you should definitely check out 

Speaking of blogs, my ALL TIME FAVORITE blogger shut down her blog this past weekend :(  I know I have mentioned before how much I love Grace, from Camp Patton (I would link to her blog- but it is closed down).  She is a mom of 5 children, 5 and under and her husband just finished up a grueling OB/GYN residency and is now doing a fellowship.  Anyway- she is ridiculously witty and super hysterical and reading her daily blog post was such a fun part of my day.  I follow her on Instagram and she said that she needed to take the blog down for safety concerns.  1) I hate that she feels like her family's safety was being compromised 2) She has a massive following- so I know the decision to shut down her blog was probably so hard! 3) It sounds so silly- considering I have never met her- but I really miss Grace and her writing! Fingers crossed she is able to bring her blog back sometime in the near future!

And just to keep talking about bloggers...another favorite blogger of mine is April, from A.Liz Adventures! I am sure she is one of your favorites too :) Yesterday she posted a recipe for super yummy and EASY French Dip sandwiches...and they look SO good!  This is a meal my husband would LOVE.  My in-laws are coming to visit us over Halloween weekend and I am thinking these sandwiches would be the perfect thing to make before the kids head out to go trick-or-treating! 

I am having a hard time believing October is here NEXT week! What happened to September?? I just feel like once school starts....the last 4 months of the year ALWAYS fly by! There is so much going on- and it is all SO fun...but you really have to make a concerted effort to stay right in the moment or it will just flash by you!

Here's to being present and THAKFUL for ALL of it...

Hope you have a WONDERFUL day!!

 I am linking up with Annie and Natalie today!

Weekly Walmart Finds!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Hi!! Happy Wednesday!

I was doing some "shopping" last night online and found some of the cutest things on- you guessed it- Walmart.com!! I am so excited to share them with you!

Let's start right off with something super fun!
I am loving this cardigan! I think the black and grey pattern totally make it a "neutral" piece. These types of open, comfy patterned cardigans are in almost every store- and of course- depending on the store- the price for a cardigan like this can be pretty high!  This one is only  $13.45!! I am all about spending more money on classic, timeless pieces- but with something like this trendy sweater- I don't necessarily want to invest a ton of money on something I might wear only 1 or 2 seasons!
How cute would this be with a neutral colored tunic shirt under it, black leggings and some booties?? Or it would look great paired with some skinny jeans and flats too!

Okay- so the plaid button down "lumberjack" shirt is super popular right now!  How cute is this one?? I LOVE the pink plaid!  This shirt is $12.88! Wouldn't this be so fun with a pair of dark jeans and booties?? 

 I think this baseball t-shirt looks so comfy AND cute! This shirt is very "me." I dress really simply- but still like to look cute! This shirt is $7.88 and comes in several other color combinations if you think black and grey are boring ;) 
I can totally see this paired with yoga pants and a vest for running errands on Saturday or it would look super cute with skinny jeans, cuffed a little at the ankle and some Converse chucks- like these!

Okay- how gorgeous is this necklace?? Aren't the colors just perfect for Fall?? This necklace is only $10!! I actually have several "statement" necklaces from Walmart and I love all of them! Again, for something trendy like a big necklace- I don't want to pay a lot of money for it- when I know in a couple years it won't be in style anymore. That's why I love being able to get necklaces like this one for such a great price!

 

And wouldn't this simple dolman sleeve top go perfectly with that gorgeous neutral colored necklace??  This shirt is $9.88! I am thinking this top, (it comes in several colors- but currently only the cream color is in stock), the statement necklace shown above, my favorite dark pair of jeans and tall, brown boots- this could be my "go-to" outfit this Fall! :)
Also- I think this shirt would be perfect with leggings, boots and a denim jacket for a super comfy- but cute look!

And now for my favorite- I can never get enough workout gear- I just love it!! 
These capri pants are SO FUN!  If you have never tried the Danskin Now brand at Walmart-  YOU MUST! Their workout clothes are GREAT quality and the prices can NOT be beat! Aside from one pair of workout capris I got at TJ Maxx a couple of years ago- ALL of my workout pants are from Walmart!! This purple design is SO awesome and I love the high waistband that keeps me feeling "sucked in" while I am pounding it out on the treadmill! :)
These capris are only $12.96!! Seriously- try a pair of these!

And wouldn't this hoodie look so good paired with those workout capris (pictured above)??
I would totally live in this hoodie!! I workout every morning after I drop my girls off at school- and now that it is getting cooler in the morning- this would be the perfect thing to have to throw on!! It comes in a lot of fun colors and is only $16.46!! What a great Fall/Winter workout staple to have in your closet!

I love finding great deals on cute clothing items!! My clothing budget is teeny tiny- so it is always so fun to find things that are super fun AND that I can afford!

Where are your favorite places to shop for affordable clothing? Do you mainly shop online or are you all about actually going into stores and tryings things on?
For me personally- I am ALL about online shopping with stores that I can return items for free or in the store!! 

Hope you have the best day!!

A Fun Twist on Chocolate Cake!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Hi!! Happy Tuesday!
We got back yesterday afternoon from visiting my parents for the weekend and it was such a great time!  My girls didn't have school yesterday due to a teacher in-service- so we figured it was the perfect weekend to go see Baba and Papa (that is what my kids call my parents :)  Our weekend was filled with lots of good food, BEAUTIFUL weather and a good amount of time spent on my parents' gorgeous screened in porch!
My mom's birthday was the day before we arrived at their house- so I brought a birthday cake so we could sing to mom and the girls could see her blow out candles.
The recipe I used is one of my mom's favorite and it is a chocolate cake my grandma made while my mom and her SEVEN sisters were growing up!
I thought it would be fun to share with you...its a really yummy twist on a traditional chocolate cake!

Here's what you will need:

Devil's Food Chocolate Cake Mix- try to find one without pudding in the mix
1 3.4 ounce box of COOK AND SERVE chocolate pudding
2 cups milk (for making the pudding)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
semi-sweet chocolate chips
First- you will need to preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Then it is time to make your pudding.  In a small sauce pan, whisk your pudding mix with 2 cups of milk- once it is all incorporated together, turn on the heat to medium-high.  You will just need to be stirring the pudding periodically until it starts to boil and thicken.  Once this has happened- turn off the heat and set it aside while you make the rest of the cake.  Occasionally stir it- just so it doesn't get gloppy and yucky.
 Next- it is time to make the cake batter! I was lucky enough to have the cutest assistant help me!  :)
In a mixing bowl, add your cake mix, 3 eggs and 1/3 cup of oil.
 Once you have mixed your eggs, cake mix and oil together, it is time to start adding the pudding.  You can wait until the pudding is completely cooled to add it to the cake batter- or if you are like me- and don't have a ton of time to sit around and wait for pudding to cool- HA- you can add a little bit of pudding at a time and mix it in with the cake batter.  I do this since the cake batter has eggs in it- and the pudding is hot- you don't want scrambled eggs in your chocolate cake :)
 One last bit of pudding to mix into the batter!
 Once all the pudding has been added to the cake batter, you will want to give it a couple really good "stirs," to make sure everything is even incorporated.
 Then it is time to pour the finished cake batter into a greased (I use cooking spray) 9 X 11 baking dish.
After the cake batter is in the baking dish, it is time to sprinkle chocolate chips all over the top of the cake! You can be as generous as you would like with the chocolate chips- just make sure you sprinkle them evenly over the cake.
Bake the cake at 350 for about 25 minutes!
And here is what the cake looks like once it is baked and out of the oven!
Of course, I forgot to take a picture of an individual piece of cake the night we had it...but just trust me- it was GOOD :)  The cake is moist- and the layer of chocolate chips at the top just makes it extra yummy! This cake freezes beautifully- so if you want to make it ahead- and then put it in the freezer until you need it- that would totally work great!

If you are a chocolate cake lover- I think it would be a good idea if you make this cake :)

Here's the full recipe if you want to copy it and print it off!

(1) Devil's Food Chocolate Cake Mix- try to get one without pudding in the mix!
(1) 3.4 ounce COOK and SERVE chocolate pudding
(3) eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Semi-sweet chocolate chips (about 1 cup)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9 X 11 baking dish with cooking spray.
Make your cook and serve chocolate pudding according to the stove top directions on the box.
Mix your cake mix, 3 eggs and oil together.
Add pudding, in small batches if not cooled all the way, to the cake batter.
Incorporate batter and pudding all together.
Pour finished cake batter into your 9 X 11 baking dish (that has already been greased or sprayed with cooking spray!)
Sprinkle a generous amount of chocolate chips all over the top of the batter.
Bake for approximately 25 minutes.
Serve warm or at room temperature- SO delicious when paired with some vanilla or mint chocolate chip ice cream!! :)

Hope you have the best day!!

Friday Favorites!

Friday, September 18, 2015

HAPPY FRIDAY!!  We are excited for this weekend! After my daughter Charlotte's soccer game tomorrow morning, we are headed to my parents' house for a short visit!  The girls don't have school on Monday, so it was the perfect weekend to plan a little trip!
My girls are beyond excited to see their Baba and Papa....and Aaron and I are pretty excited about my mom's delicious cooking.  Who am I kidding- Aaron also loves that their fridge is stocked with Coors Light- HA!

Let's get this party started and talk about my FAVORITES from this past week!

ONE
The other day, it was just James and me in the car, and since he can't talk, he wasn't demanding that I turn on Bubble Guppies- HA!  I went through my CDs and popped in The Dixie Chicks...and WHOA! Talk about a flood of memories when the first song came on!! I listened to this CD on repeat when I was in graduate school, which was, ahem, 13 years ago!! I forgot how GOOD the Dixie Chicks are!! And the super cute thing is that James LOVES them! I have been playing the CD a lot this week- and whenever the first song comes on, he starts bouncing his chubby little legs in his car seat! YAY for old music that feels new again!! :)

TWO
I needed a mascara re-fresh- so I picked up this Cover Girl Flamed Out Mascara when I was in Walmart the other day.  I am really picky about mascara...but of course, don't want to spend any money on it- HA!  Anyway- I was pleasantly surprised with this mascara!! I usually have to layer several different kinds of mascara to get the "look" I want.  On days where I have worn lighter makeup this week- I have been able to do a couple swipes of it and it looks great!  I think I will forever be on the hunt for THE BEST MASCARA (that costs under $10- haha!!)- but for now the Flamed Out mascara is my new favorite!

THREE
After reading April's fun post about dry shampoo, I went and got some Batiste brand dry shampoo at Target.  I ended up going with the tropical scent and I LOVE it!! It smells like vacation in a bottle!!  What I really, really like about the Batiste dry shampoo versus other ones I have tried, is that it does not leave a heavy residue feeling in my hair.  Other dry shampoos- while they work- have left my hair feeling really gritty.  I will say that I sometimes have to brush out a little white powder that sprays onto my hair- but with just a couple back and forth brush strokes- it blends into my (dark) hair just fine! And did I mention how wonderful it smells!?!  I was wondering, since I have dark brown hair, should I try the Batiste specifically made for brunettes?  Does anyone have experience with that particular kind?? 
Here are the other two brands of dry shampoo that I use and really like! Not Your Mother's dry shampoo also produces a little white powder residue- but also brushes out easy.  If I had to pick, I like the way the Suave brand smells over the Not Your Mother's brand.  If I had to pick out of all three- I would say Batiste is my new FAVORITE!  Between the lovely smell and how much lighter my hair feels when I use it- it is the new winner for me!

FOUR
Aaron made me a new chalkboard sign to hang on our front porch.  He finished it up a few nights ago and hung it up on the porch for me.  It was kind of late- so I didn't go out to see how it looked.  The next morning, as I was pulling out of the driveway with all the kids at 7:05 am....this is what I saw!! SO FUN!! TOTALLY made my day seeing a love note from my husband on my new chalkboard sign!!

FIVE
It is my mom's birthday today!!! Without sounding completely melodramatic, I do not know what I would do without my mom. We are extremely close and her love, support, friendship, and honesty is one of the greatest gifts I have ever been given.  
LOVE YOU MUCHO Mom!!  I hope you have a wonderful birthday!!

I hope you have the best day and a wonderful weekend spent with people you love!

I am linking up with Andrea and Erika for their Friday Favorites Link Up!
 I am also linking up with April for Five on Friday!
 Joining Karli for her, Oh Hey Friday Link Up! too!

 
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