Monday, July 21, 2014

Favorite Book & Summer Vacation GIVEAWAY!!!

It was so great getting to know all the creative and talented contributors of Or so she says.  If you missed it you can blog hop to all of these wonderful bloggers and check out their blogs and learn more about them through Mariel's Contributor Q&A Blog Hop! There are some AMAZING recipes that I am excited to try from these great ladies, and it was so much fun getting to know each of them a little bit better.

There is not much in this world that appeals to me more than hanging out on the beach with a book in hand.  What a great summertime activity, don't you think?  And 'Or so she says...' has teamed up with all her contributors to give you the chance to win just that!  All of the OSSS contributors got together to give away their favorite books, perfect for summer reading! The coolest part is, one person will win EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM. That's right, the whole bundle! That's 15 books, yo. Oh, but it gets better. Get Away Today, the greatest travel agency ever and 'Or so she says...' contributor, offered another winner a 3-night hotel stay in Anaheim or San Diego (winner’s choice) with their choice of two adult theme park tickets... PLUS, they get the 15 book bundle too!

Lets go over those prizes again:

Grand Prize Winner: 15 'Contributors' Favorite Books' Bundle PLUS a 3-night hotel stay in Anaheim or San Diego (winner’s choice) with their choice of two adult theme park tickets! Vacation courtesy of Get Away Today.

Runner Up: 15 'Contributors' Favorite Books' Bundle (details of books below.) Ready to enter? So, all we ask is for you to follow 'Or so she says...' and the contributors on Pinterest. We are all pin-maniacs and know you'll love the great ideas we send your way. After you enter, be sure to scroll down and check out all the books included in the giveaway. It's so fun to see what each contributor picked as her favorite book!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Want to know which books are included in the bundle?? What are the contributors' favorites?? Check 'em out! .

 1. Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley ~ "This book was not what I surpassed what I was hoping for. Mystery, romance and intrigue. Great characters and an interesting plot. It was a great read and perfect for summer reading!" Jana of Double the Deliciousness
2. Plate to Pixel by Helene Dujardin - "This book is a favorite because it teaches how to not only how photograph food, but how to do it beautifully!" Gina of Kleinworth and Co.
3. These is My Words by Nancy Turner "While I'm a country/ farm girl at heart, I can't even begin to imagine what the early settlers went through! I love how they worked the land, built their own homes, and made everything from scratch! And I'm always up for a good love story! Jack and Sarah's won't disappoint!" Brooke of Blissful Roots
 4. The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino - "Aw, I love this book! It's a super unique book, in that it's a parable, teaching you how to be a better person, but also an activity book. Each chapter, you read over and over, until you master the character trait. It's a great story with lots of great thoughts. I think I highlighted half the book!" Mariel of 'Or so she says...'  
 5. Eat Cake by Jeanne Ray "Eat Cake will make it's way into your list of favorite books, it's a quick and enjoyable read. I love this book for more reasons than the fact that the main character shares my name! It'll have you laughing and crying- all at the same time! If you're like me and have a unexplainable urge to bake... you'll totally connect with Eat Cake!" Ruthie of Cooking with Ruthie

6. Wonder by RJ Palacio - "My 9-year-old daughter recommended Wonder to me and I enjoyed it just as much as she did. This is a compelling novel that is fun and easy enough for summer, but also intelligent and thought-provoking. Share it with your family when you are finished!" Allison of Tips for Family Trips

 7. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin - "I love this book because it is getting me to think deeper about what I do to bring happiness upon myself. I am a happy person, but am loving the new outlook and am loving making new goals to make myself really live a happy life." Kiki of Kiki and Company

 8. Happier by Tal Ben-Shahar - "It's easy to think that once a certain thing happens, I'll be happy. Well, this book provides little life secrets to be happier each and every day. It is applicable for every life stage. It has changed my way of thinking about happiness." Melissa of So Festive!

 9. Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson - "Sometimes a mom just needs a good, quick, easy summer read to distract her from doing more laundry or to keep her busy during swim lessons. If you love a good Jane Austen romance, you will love this book! Set in Jane Austen's English countryside of 1820, this romance will keep you quickly turning the pages as you watch Kate's struggle to learn to follow her heart!" Veronica of Lolly Lu Designs

 10. Leadership and Self- Deception - "Do you want to know the secret to having a happy and successful family and marriage? Want to know how to have successful relationships with anyone you come in contact with? Leadership and Self-deception holds the key to mending, strengthening and flourishing in all of your relationships. This book is a life changer- Promise!" Heather of Family Volley

 11. Surprise Inside Cakes by Amanda Rettke - "It's a beautiful book of cakes and it's full of cake decorating tips for the everyday bake. Amazing cakes for every special occasion, all with a little surprise on the inside." Zainab of Blahnik Baker

 12. The Child Whisperer by Carol Tuttle - "It taught me how to parent my very determined toddler (at the time) based on her personality type." Amy of The Connection We Share

 13. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaleo Hosseini - "I read this as part of a book club and it has stuck with me ever since. It is a beautifully written, emotionally gripping story of two Afghan women's suffering, strength, and resilience. What I love most about it is the way it celebrates the strength of the human spirit - a beautiful thing!" Cathy of Lemon Tree Dwelling

 14. I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella - "A light, charming book by the author of the popular Shopaholic series. This clever romantic comedy makes for a fun and easy summer read, by the pool or on the beach!" Samantha of Five Heart Home

 15. Princess Academy by Shannon Hale - "I loved this simple story that has some fun little twists. My favorite part is that my daughter loved this book as much as I did. I love being able to enjoy the same books as my daughter. This is one that was enjoyable for us both!" Holly of Bits of Everything

 Bonus Book! Food Storage by Angel Paskett - "Everyone should be prepared on some level, and this is the book that can help answer your questions and get you there. It begins with the basics and answers almost any question you have with getting started. I wish I had this a few years ago, but glad I have it now!" Jamie from Prepared Housewives

Longest post of your life? Maybe! But, it's worth it. Good luck to you!

print: Must be U.S. resident and 18 years or older to enter. Vacation package must be booked at least 60 days in advance and is subject to availability and some blackout dates. This post contains affiliate links.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Strawberry Colada Cupcakes

I am loving my summer so far, but can't believe we only have a month left until school starts again!  Aaggghhh!  Kyla will be starting High School  (freaking out just a little bit!), my 2 middle boys will be in Middle school and then my youngest in Elementary school.  We'll now be a 3 school family!  Lots of running around for Mama!:)

So while there's still some summertime left you'll have to try these cupcakes...they are the perfect summertime treat!  They are one of my most requested cupcakes to bring to any kind of function.  I never have any leftover and I always get loads of compliments.  They are delicious, make them soon, you won't be diappointed and enjoy the rest of your summer!!

Strawberry Colada Cupcakes
1 box white or vanilla cake mix
3 eggs
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon coconut extract

Strawberry Buttercream Frosting
1 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons strawberry jam (they are best when you use this Strawberry Freezer Jam!!!)
Flaked coconut for top

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 24 muffin tins with cupcake liners.

Mix all cake ingredients together in mixer until smooth.  Put batter into liners about 2/3's full.  Bake for 17-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Set aside and let cool completely.

For the buttercream, beat butter until smooth.  Add the powdered sugar and jam and mix until combined.  Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.  Place coconut in a bowl and then roll the frosting in the coconut.  Top with a cut little straw and they're ready to go!

Recipe adapted from Your Cup of Cake

Monday, July 14, 2014

Blog Hop Q&A

I am so excited to be a part of this Blog Hop today!!!  Mariel over at Or So She Says has set up this blog hop for all of your contributors so we can all get to know each other a little better.  I love getting to know a little bit more about some of my favorite bloggers and am excited to share with you a little bit more about me!

And, here's a little teaser...this is all leading up to a fabulous giveaway next week hosted by all these fabulous bloggers!  Take time to go to all the blogs listed at the end of this post and check out there ridiculously awesome blogs, you won't be disappointed!  And then stay-tuned for a great give-away next Monday!  You won't want to miss it!

So let's get started with it!  And don't forget to hop around to all the others' blogs as well!

What inspired you to start your blog?

I started a blog that all my friends and family could use to share good recipes that they've tried back in 2008.  The only problem was I was the only one posting any recipes!:)  So, one day I had some inspiration.  How about I turn my blog into a Mother/daughter recipe blog.  Then I could not only do something I loved but would also be able to teach my daughter valuable cooking skills and get to spend time with, win situation!  And so our Double the Deliciousness blog was born!

Here's me and my daughter.  She hates this picture, but it's the only one I could find to crop that we were both in!  We're going to have to fix that sometime.:)

What's your favorite and least favorite thing about blogging?

I have many favorite things about blogging!  I love finding, making, creating and sharing wonderful recipes that are both old and new favorites.  I love learning new things about computers and blogging.  And I love connecting with readers and fellow bloggers out there!

My least favorite thing about blogging is that it can be very time consuming.  I've had to discipline myself to not use too much of my time blogging.  I've also had to take some time off of blogging so that I can devote more time with my family.  Time, time, would be so nice if my body didn't require sleep!:) (although that is one of my favorite things to do!)

Tell me with only 20 words, 20 things you love.

Hubby, children, chocolate, baking, sleeping, blogging, vacationing, sheets, baseball, strawberries, decorating, cookbooks, music, church, teenagers, friends, clean home (sorry, that was 2:)), surprises (but only if I don't know they're coming), holidays, summertime, and packages!

What is the one recipe you are most often asked to share?  Please share it with us!

I work with the young women (ages 12-18) in our church and we had a recipe exchange one evening where each girl brought one of their favorite recipes to share with everyone and the recipe.  The girls LOVED what I brought and I hear quite often "what are we doing for our next activty, and are you bringing breadsticks and cheese dip?"  I have been making this since I was a teenager myself and is still one of my favorite recipes.

5 favorite beauty products, right now...what are they?

This one is a little hard for me.  I'm a pretty natural girl.  All I need is mascara and a good moisturizer (which I am still trying to find!) and I'm good to go.  So, here goes...

1. Since I only wear mascara, I'll tell you my favorite kind that I have been using for the past 2 years or so.  It is Cover Girl LashBlast volume, in the orange tube.  Love it!

2. I love Dove's moisturizing shampoo and conditioner.  Perfect for my hair!

3. Bath and Body works Caribbean Escape foaming hand soap.  Smells like vacation!!!!

4. My favorite lotion for my hands and body is St. Ives intensive healing body lotion.  So good for my super dry skin!

5. And for my cracked heals/ won't believe how fast and great this stuff works!  My heals were pretty much healed within 3 weeks!  Now I just apply it once a week or so and it is working wonders!  Miracle Foot Repair!

What's your personal mantra? Something you tell yourself on a regular basis?

"Prioritize the moment".  We all have busy lives and it's so easy to get caught up in the busyness of it all, so I have tried to live by this saying.  Whenever I am doing something (usually dishes, laundry, computer time) and my kids ask for help with homework or just need to talk or my husband is feeling a little neglected, I remind myself that those things will keep until later, my family needs me now...prioritize the moment!

What movie made you laugh more than any other?

NACHOOOOOO!!  Makes me laugh every time I watch it!  Especially when it's with my hubby!  He cracks up and throughout and then quotes and talks like Nacho for the rest of the day...or week.:)  (That's Nacho Libre just in case you didn't know.:))

If you could recommend one family vacation, what would it be?

My favorite thing to do with my family is to go to our cabin.  It is so good to be away from civilization for a little while.  No electronics...all family time.  Hiking, swimming in the pond, and water sliding down the mountain, 4-wheelin', horney toad catching, etc.  Just quality time spent with my family is what I love!  So, I recommend finding a cabin to go to, or even just go camping for a week.  Time well spent!

What goals are you currently working on?

It seems I am always working on losing weight.  It's super hard when you love food, and especially baking.:)  My goal is not to lose weight to be skinny, but to feel better physically.  I want to be able to enjoy an active life with my family, children, and grand-children (eventually!:))

I am also working on family history.  It is so fascinating to me to learn about where I came from and the stories associated with my ancestors!

Please share links to 3 blog posts that are special to you and explain why.

I love how recipes create memories.  These 3 recipes are special to me because of who they came from and the memories I have that surround them.

1.  Helen Jean Punch   This punch has been a staple in my family since I was a teenager.  We have it every Thanksgiving and Christmas (and a few times in between!)  It is called Helen Jean Punch because we got it from a good friend of the family one Christmas named Helen Jean.  I also love recipes named after people!

2.  Grandma's White Brownies  This one goes back to when I was a child.  Grandma used to make these whenever she would visit from Kentucky and they were one of my favorites.  Brings back lots of memories of my Grandma whenever I eat them.

3.  Almond Poppyseed Bundt Cake  This recipe was "stolen" by one of my roommates and good friend from her former roommate.  She would not share the recipe and one day left it out on the counter....needless to say it got copied.  And I'm sure glad it did.  It is one of my hubby's favorite desserts and is made pretty much every Father's Day for him.

Get to know my fellow contributor friends too! They have fantastic blogs that will keep you pinning all day. (There are just a couple that couldn't participate in the blog hop, but pay them a visit anyway. You'll be glad you did! :))

Participating Blogs:
Cooking with Ruthie
Blissful Roots
Lemon Tree Dwelling 
Tips for Family Trips
Five Heart Home
Double the Deliciousness
Nine a Plenty
Creative Carmella
So Festive!
Family Volley
Bits of Everything
Kiki & Company
Additional Contributors (not in blog hop):
Packed with Fun
Darling Darleen
Prepared Housewives
Kleinworth & Co.
Blahnik Baker
The Connection We Share

See you next week for the awesome GIVEAWAY!!!
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