Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My Style: Vintage House Dress

I think it's safe to assume that I like the color mustard yellow.  ;)   A few months ago I was out thrifting and this pattern caught my eye.  I pulled it off the rack to discover that it was a vintage house dress.  I thought with a belt and sweater - no one would be able to tell.  Plus, it has the added bonus of pockets!  {To hold my handkerchiefs and granny glasses...}  I have since found a few more and they are just so comfy that I pretty much wear them everyday.  A dress is so much more comfortable than jeans.  {And tights are nice & warm in this faux-winter we are having}.
Also - my shoes...I was beyond excited when I found them.  If you've been a reader for a while, you may have heard me complain about my ginormous feet and never being able to find cute vintage shoes while out thrifting.  When I stumbled upon these I may have done a little happy dance right there in Amvets.  Except now I can't wear them for more than 10 minutes at a time because I have a cyst on my foot.  :(  TMI?  Sorry to the squeamish {I could do worse and show a photo...}.  I'm actually having surgery for it in a couple of weeks.  Apparently my surgeon has never seen anything like it {and if you know me at all - of course a doctor would say that to me!}.
Also - my entire outfit {'cept for the tights} - is all vintage thrifted goodness!  

Sweater, Dress, Belt, Shoes: vintage, thrifted
Tights: Target
Owl Necklace: vintage, thrifted by me?, Cait?, my mom?
 {I may have a few too many owl necklaces and not be able to keep track of them all}
Purse: Calista Miakoda {real life nifty-thrifty sale}

Linking up with:
Monday Mingle, Real Momma, Real Style, Pleated Poppy

Monday, February 27, 2012

Salted Caramel Cupcakes

These cupcakes are by far my most requested and popular dessert.  They are soo good.  I had my first taste of salted caramel a few years at a creamery - I instantly fell in love.  It became my obsession and I wanted to make every dessert I could with salted caramel in it.  The first time I made these was for Malacai's third birthday party, and they were very good, but not quite perfect.  There were just a couple things that weren't quite doing it for me.  Every time I made them after that, I tweaked the recipe a little bit more and finally I think these are it!  Also - I love that I have leftover salted caramel sauce after making these - it's so good I could just eat it by the spoonful!!

Triple Salted Caramel Cupcakes

Makes approximately 30 Cupcakes


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cups whole milk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line muffin tins with papers. Combine flours, baking powder and salt; set aside.

Cream butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. Add vanilla. Mix and scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beating until combined after each.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each about 2/3 full. Bake for about 25 minutes. When done, transfer tins to wire racks to cool 10 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely.

Salted Caramel Filling:

2 cups sugar
12 tablespoons salted butter cubed
1 1/4 cups heavy cream, at room temperature

Melt the sugar over medium high heat in a large pot. Whisk the sugar as it melts and cook until it becomes a deep amber color. Add the butter and stir it in until melted. Pour in the heavy cream (mixture will foam) and whisk until you get a smooth sauce. You may have some lumps but keep stirring until they have melted. Remove from heat and let cool.  {If you still have some lumps in the caramel after it has cooled - strain it through a fine mesh strainer}.

Cut a small round piece out of the tops of each cooled cupcake and pour in 1 teaspoon of caramel. Replace the cake piece and set cupcakes aside.

Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting:

1 1/2 sticks salted butter, softened
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
6-8 cups powdered sugar
1/2-3/4 cup of salted caramel filling {from recipe above} - completely cooled

In a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and salt together until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add 6 cups sugar {a little at a time}. Mix until thoroughly combined.

Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the caramel - start with 1/2 cup.  Beat on medium high speed until light and airy, and completely mixed (about 2 minutes). Taste test to see if you want to add more caramel.  If necessary, gradually add remaining 2 cups sugar to reach desired consistency.  Mixture should be ready to use without refrigeration.

Top caramel-filled cupcakes with frosting {I used a Wilton 1M tip to pipe the frosting}.  Drizzle cupcakes with salted caramel filling.  Sprinkle with large crystal sugar.

You will most likely have leftover caramel filling, keep refrigerated and enjoy on ice cream or other desserts {or just eat it by the spoonful straight from the bowl!}.

Source: adapted from Sprinkle Bakes

Sunday, February 26, 2012


There are more than 30 million slaves in the world today, more than at any other point in human history.  

Nowhere in the world is the scourge of child trafficking more intensive than in India.  Fourteen percent of the world's children reside in India. Children under age 14 make up 42% of India's population. Of these, 12.6 million are exploited and trafficked for labor, debt service, sex commerce, early marriage, street begging, and/or organ procurement.
Eighty percent of India's exploited children toil in the agricultural sector. Underage children labor in fields as family or industrial farmhands. They are robbed of education, opportunity and a future.

Today is Freedom Sunday. Freedom Sunday is a worship platform that provides churches with what they need to become more aware and more active in opposing modern slavery.

What can you do?
  • Sponsoring a child is the number one defense against child trafficking.  Many anti-trafficking and human rights advocates agree that international child sponsorship is the #1 defense against slavery and child trafficking. Sponsoring a child today has an immediate impact as well as a long-term trajectory of change and hope for an at-risk child.
  • Use your voice.  Have a blog?  Facebook?  Twitter?  Talk about it on there.  The more that hear, the more that get involved - the sooner we can end this.
  • Donate to organizations like this that are fighting for human rights.
  • Attend a church?  Talk to your leaders about joining Freedom Sunday.  It can be done any day of the year - not just today.

*Must see the first 13 seconds of this video

Statistics {in italics} were found at: International Child Care Ministeries,  Freedom Sunday, and Not For Sale.  

Please feel free to re-post this - let us speak out for the 30 million.  

Friday, February 24, 2012


Hello Friends!  This month, The Red Bird Shop has been proudly sponsoring The Anderson Crew Blog.  Today Emily is hosting a giveaway {with some amazing things!!} - including this super cute wooden toy camera from our shop!  So head on over and enter yourself to win some goods!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Birthday Paintings

This was a guest post that I did over at Mama Loves Papa last fall.  I wanted to have it on my blog too - so here it is again!
Birthday paintings is something I thought up years ago - before I even had kids {I don't remember if I saw something similar somewhere or came up with it on my own...like I said, it was years ago!}.  The idea is to have my boys do a painting every year on their birthdays - and I hope to continue this through their eighteenth birthdays. I thought this would be a fun way to encourage them to be creative and I get some great artwork to hang on my wall!
Here's a glimpse of what it looks like doing our birthday paintings:

Getting ready. {It was a bit windy the day we painted, thus the rocks holding everything down}. I stocked up on acrylic paint from Michaels when it was on sale. I let the boys choose the colors they want to use.

My little artists - Lincoln and Malacai hard at work. {Also - I have no idea why they are painting in their good shirts...it never occurred to me to change them when we got home from church. Thankfully they were very neat painters this year.}

Levi doing his very first painting. It's a bit trickier on their first & second birthday - they need a lot of help to make sure that paint actually makes it on the canvas.

Lincoln proudly displays his 5th birthday painting {I love the little purple guy in the middle of his painting!}. I always make sure to write their name, date they actually did the painting, and what year the painting is for.

The collection of birthday paintings so far. Can you imagine what 54 will look like?!

Some thoughts:
  • My boys do not share birthdays or even birthday months, but as you can see from the photos - last year, they all did their paintings on the same day. Some years I do better at having them do a painting on or close to their birthdays - some years I'm off by a few months - I don't stress about it.
  • I have the boys do their paintings on a 6x6 canvas, but doing this on any size canvas would look great. Smaller ones would be cute. Or using a combination of sizes would look really good too. If you're worried about not having enough wall space for yearly paintings, another idea could be to use some quality paper, paint and frame it, and then every year just slide the new painting into the frame.
  • My husband actually makes our canvases. If you or your spouse is handy this could save some money on buying the canvases.
  • This year, I did a colored coat of paint on the canvas before the boys did their paintings, and I love how this looks.

What about you - do you have crafty/artsy traditions that you do with your kiddos?  Or any you did as a kid?  

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Levi's Vintage Style: Train Sweater

Vintage sweaters that zip up the back and have pointed hoods are one of my favs.  Levi got this vintage sweater from Cait for Christmas and I just love it.  The boys love it because there are trains on it.  {Are there any little boys that aren't obsessed with trains?}  I love the little xo's on the hood too {although I think it's supposed to be some kind of train crossing symbol or something train related...}.

I can't believe that Levi will be two in three months.  How is my baby so old?  He's such a happy little guy - always smiling and saying hi to everyone when we're out & about.  He's trouble though too - I don't know if it's having older brothers or just his style, but he definitely keeps me running.  He loves to climb and throw.  My favorite thing he's doing now is when you ask him where something is, he'll look around then put his arms out, shrug his shoulders and say, "I don't see it" {in a high pitched voice}.  He's also always saying, "it hurts" and pointing to some spot on his body.  Or pulling his hair and saying, "it hurts".    Oh little boy - you so have my heart!        

Sweater: vintage - gift from Cait |  Pants: thrifted | Converse: vintage - gift from Cait

Linking up with Small Style...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My Style: Teal & Mustard

If you live in this area and are not going to Caitlin's vintage clothing sales, you're missing out!!  Friday & Saturday, Cait hosted a sale {in a hardware shop!!} and everything was $5 and under!!  It was amazing.  Most of her items are sold in her online shop, but every now & then she'll host a real, live, in-person sale to clean out her inventory.  I scored this super cute vintage dress there, along with the amazing handbag {and a bunch of other goodies...}.
Also, I'm super proud of my crafting skills because I made my flower headband!  We had craft stations at our last MOPS meeting and making this headband was one of the stations.  {Thanks Hanna for leading this super fun craft @ MOPS!}.   

Dress & Handbag: Calista Miakoda
Cardigan: Delia's, thrifted
Tank, Belt, Tights, Shoes: Target
Flower Headband: made by me! 
Necklace: gift from Cait

Monday, February 20, 2012

Frosted Sugar Cookies

One of my all time favorite cookies -  sugar cookies with vanilla buttercream frosting.  And this recipe, happens to be the best.  It's my Gramma's sugar cookie recipe, paired with my favorite vanilla buttercream recipe.  I get rave reviews any time I take them anywhere.  Cut out sugar cookies are a bit of extra work with the rolling out and cutting - but these are so worth it, trust me!

Frosted Sugar Cookies

Yield: approximately 4 dozen {will vary depending on cookie size}

  • 1/2 cup {1 stick} unsalted butter, soft {not melted}
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup {2 sticks} unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 to 8 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cooking Directions

For the cookies:
  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add in the eggs, beating well. Mix in the baking soda, salt, nutmeg and vanilla and stir until combined. Alternately add the sour cream and flour until mixed in. Cover & chill dough, at least one hour or overnight. 
  2. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. On a floured surface, roll out dough to about 1/4 inch thickness {you will need to do this in sections, unless you have a huge surface to roll on}. Cut out dough with cookie cutters and place on prepared cookie sheets. Bake 7-10 minutes, just until the cookies are cooked through - but not browned. Allow to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Frost & decorate. 
For the frosting:
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. With mixer on low speed, add 6 cups sugar, milk, and vanilla; mix until light and fluffy. If necessary, gradually add remaining 2 cups sugar to reach desired consistency. Add coloring, if desired. 

  • As always, don't over bake your cookies - that is the key to the best cookies!!
  • If you are going to double this recipe, use just 3 eggs total. 
  • It's best to chill the dough overnight if possible.  The longer it chills, the easier it will be to work with.  {Although if it's super chilled, you are going to need to let it sit out at room temperature for a little while so that you can actually roll it out}
  • While rolling & cutting the dough, I keep my "scraps" that I am going to roll out again in a bowl in the fridge.  Slightly chilled dough works best!

Source: Cookies - my Gramma  |  Frosting -  Billy's Vanilla Buttercream

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Happy Birthday Baby Sis

Just wanted you to know, baby sis, that you are loved & missed!!  Wishing you the happiest birthday from the East Coast!  Glad that you have Craigie there to celebrate with you.  Wish we could be too!  xoxoxo

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine's Day...

I'd like to redefine the way our society views Valentine's Day.  Not a day for lovers but a day for love.  Not about loving couples but about loving people.  My heart always feels sad when people are hating on Valentine's Day because they are single and hate the holiday....it's not about having a sweet date - it's about showing someone that they are loved!  You are loved!  And there's someone in your life you can show love to - your spouse, your children, your parents, your co-workers, the lady sitting next to you on the bus.  Do something sweet & simple for someone and you'll feel the love on V-Day - single or taken!

This is something I learned from my mom.  I can remember getting little trinkets from her on Valentine's day, nothing big or expensive, just something that said I'm thinking about you & I love you.  I try to love on my family in the same way.  I was talking to baby sis the other night about this and she agreed with my thoughts on V-day and challenged me to see how long I could keep the boys thinking that V-day was just a love day and not know that most associated it with romantic love.  I think I'll go for it.

{I am not saying we can't also celebrate romantic love on V-day...please do that too - I do!  I just think it needs to be about more than just that.}

Here's some little glimpses from my phone of our day of love.  I didn't get to do as much as I had wanted to do - Mike, Levi & I are all sick.  I'm such a lover of hearts, red & pink so I try to go all out for V-day but that was just not happening this year.

I woke up to this mug & hand made Valentine's from the boys on my kitchen counter!

Our little garland of love...made by baby sis!

A table of love for six


The cutest little valentine that Linc made in school!

The BEST sugar cookies!!  {Recipe to come soon!}

Little gifts for the kiddos

And Mike & I got to stay up late making this 100 Days of School shirt for Linc - 
glueing gum balls on a tee shirt - ou la la!!

Also - seeing this and this yesterday made me so, so happy!  Happiest wishes to my high school go-around-pal, Sarah and her husband Eric!!  Eeps - the happiness of that!!

Hope that you were able to share the love with someone yesterday!  xoxo

Friday, February 10, 2012

Ten on Ten :: February

One photo.  Every hour.  For ten hours.  On the tenth.

Lincoln's class Valentines were due today and I didn't remember until last night, so we were doing this at 7am.    

Ready.  Set.  Go.  

Three little boys means we play with a lot of trucks.  This is one of my favs.    

Grimm Farms Honey...the best!

We love Rody.  

Malacai told me he was cold and needed hot chocolate...

A little taste of summer...so nice.  Berries & yogurt for lunch.  

Filling up the tea {this is the only tea I drink!}

This kid came home with a crown on - and told me he could tell us what to do because he was the king and his teacher said so...mmhmm.  

Road trip - headed out to see Nana & Papa.
{One overnight and our van is packed full...you cannot travel lightly with kids!}

Join the fun:
ten on ten button

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Super Invite

Every year I host a Super Bowl Party - so that my sister & I can go crazy with appetizers & desserts - our favs.  These are the invitations I made this year.  It was so fun & easy...especially because we have an unlimited supply of brown eggs - thanks little ladies in the back yard!

We...er, Mike, blew out the eggs {french toast!}.  Then he hand painted the lines on the eggs.  I typed up an invite and we rolled it up and inserted it into a hole in the bottom of the egg.  Then we placed it in a little box with some tissue paper and delivered them to our guests.  This idea was inspired by this.
Wouldn't this be so cute for an Easter party?  I may have to throw one just to do these invites again!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Little Fashion - Awkward Poses

These pictures make me laugh every time I see them!  I took these a few weeks back and the boys seem to be really struggling with their poses.  They were certainly trying hard to work their model poses though! 

Starting off they were doing okay - cute, normal poses... 

Trying to figure what they should be doing with themselves...

Totally struggling!  Haa - I love them!!

Linc's wearing -  sweater: vintage, thrifted | jeans: thrifted | converse: thrifted
Cai's wearing - shirt: vintage, thrifted | cords: thrifted | sneakers: thrifted

Linking up with Mama Loves Papa's Small Style...

I've had a super busy week....lots of baking!  Made cupcakes to take to work on Monday for a friend's birthday.  Been working on another cupcake order I have for this weekend.  Plus busy menu planning, shopping & baking for the Super Food Party on Sunday...wahoo!  Do you have any fun plans for Super Bowl weekend?


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