Penny's Passion: May 2015

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Five on Friday - May 29, 2015

Hello Friday!  This week flew by for me and honestly Friday kind of sneaked right up on me.  But I'll take it!!  Weekends are always welcome around here.  But before we start the weekend happy dance, here's my Five on Friday.

1.  Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker
With Memorial Day in our rear view mirror, my mind is thinking it's summer.  And if it's summer, it's time to start making homemade ice cream.  Several years ago we got a Cuisinart Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream and Sorbet Maker.  One of the best purchases of my life!!  This little baby makes homemade ice cream in a flash.  After you freeze the bowl, you just pour in your mix and turn it on.  In 20 minutes you are ready to enjoy your frozen treat.  Man I love summer!
Click HERE to purchase

2.  Popsicle Molds
Speaking of summer treats, who doesn't love a refreshing popsicle on a hot afternoon?  Well, these Zoku Classic Pop Molds are just what you need to make your popsicle dreams come true.  This baby is much more sturdy than other molds.  It's a breeze to make your mixture, pour it in the molds and pop this thing in your freezer.
Click HERE to purchase
3.  What!  Say It's Not So!!
Only two months after the Bachelor Finale, Chris Soules and Whitney Bischoff have called off the engagement.  What a week this has been for reality TV - First the Duggars took a big hit and now Chris and Whitney are no longer engaged.  Oh my goodness.  Raise your hand it you're surprised.  Anybody?  Guess when she showed up at the farm and the barn was back to normal she just couldn't take it.  What about that big ole ring you ask.  Well, according to some articles I read, they have to return the ring if they break up before two years.  Better luck next time Chris and Whitney.

4.  National Mint Julep Day
Guess what tomorrow is -- National Mint Julep Day!!  In case you're wondering how to actually make a Mint Julep, here's my pal Martha Stewart's version:

2 tablespoons superfine sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
24 mint leaves, plus 4 sprigs for garnish
2 cups finely crushed ice
1 cup bourbon

Combine sugar, lemon juice, and mint leaves in a pitcher.
Crush well with a wooden spoon.
Add ice and bourbon, and mix well.
Pour into silver tumblers, garnish with mint sprigs, and serve.

5.  Something To Think About...

Enjoy the weekend everyone!  I've got Girls Night Out tonight to celebrate my friend Tracy's birthday.  Good times!  I'm also helping my friend and her daughter work on wedding invitations.  I'll be back on Monday to recap all about my weekend.  Hope to see you back then!

Linking up with:

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Thinking Out Loud Thursday - May 28, 2015

Happy Thursday!!  You know what today is -- it's Thinking Out Loud Thursday.  You know what I'm thinking out loud about today?  I'm thinking about all the TV shows on my DVR that I haven't had a chance to watch.  We were gone on vacation for 10 days, then I went to Kansas City for 3 days and now I've been staying at a hotel downtown St. Louis for a work thing all this week.  All that time away from home means our DVR is lighting up with all the shows it's capturing.

X-tremely V

How many shows do you record?  We have about 15 shows that we regularly record.  I thought it was genius when Eric started recording our 10 o'clock news.  We missed it more than we caught it, but now we can watch it whatever time we happen to be getting into bed.  And all those really negative stories they throw in - we just press that little arrow to fast forward right through them.  Don't know why we didn't think about recording this years ago.

Then we have the semi-crazy shows.  

The Bachelorette.  Yes we (and I do mean "we") are total suckers for this big bunch of crazy drama.  Britt or Kaitlyn.  Kaitlyn or Britt.  Geez!  We were sitting on the edge of our seats to see who's love life we would see unfold right before our eyes!  In case you're wondering, we're pulling for "The Healer" from St. Louis.  I mean, come on -- how can you not root for your home town man?!? 

Married at First Sight.  Yep - that's right.  These couples sign up to marry someone they have never even seen before.  A group of "experts" interviews the contestants (if you call them that) and decides who should marry who.  The bride goes to buy a dress, shows up and BAM, marries the guy at the end of the aisle.  Kind of crazy, don't you think?!?  Could you do that -- just marry whoever the experts think would be right for you?

We also tape a couple daily shows.

Ellen.  Love me some Ellen.  She is usually so funny with her interviews and guests.  I would absolutely LOVE to be at the taping of her show. 

Jimmy Fallon.  I can always count on a laugh when watching Jimmy, but can't always count on being able to stay awake long enough to watch his entire show. Thank you, DVR, for always letting me see the entire show.  Again, would love to be sitting in his audience.  

Jimmy Fallon
One thing I haven't gotten into recording are movies.  I have no idea why we don't tape the ones we would like to see.  Sure would make all the money we're paying for every movie channel known to man more worth it.  Maybe I'll make that one of my goals for June -- tape three movies.  That should be a pretty easy goal to accomplish.  We'll see if I actually remember to do it!

So what are some things you tape?  Would love to hear from you -- pretty sure we have a little bit more storage I could suck up by taping more stuff.

Now the fun part -- link up to Thinking Out Loud Thursday with me and Vanessa at X-tremely Vanessa . The rules are simple.  Link back to me and Vanessa in your post and linkup your favorite post below.  Super easy!  #ThinkingOutLoudThursdays

Enjoy more Thoughts for Thursday at

Monday, May 25, 2015

Chocolate Bundt Cake with Richmond Frosting

At the Cobb Washer Tournament this weekend, we had two days of pot luck food.  I'm telling you, there were so many tasty dishes I could blog about the recipes for a solid year!

Today I'm sharing one of those with you -- Chocolate Bundt Cake with Richmond Frosting.  If you're a chocolate fan, perk up your ears because you are going to want to make this winner!  The cake was full of moist goodness and covered in a not-too-sweet frosting.

First, let's talk about the cake.  This is one of those semi-homemade recipes that is quick and easy. Mix the following ingredients together until well blended.

Chocolate cake mix
1 box chocolate pudding 
4 eggs
1 cup water
1/2 oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and coat your bundt pan.  Here's a tip Linda taught me this weekend - since this is a chocolate cake, dust the pan with cocoa powder instead of flour.  That way you won't end up with that white residue on the outside of your cake when you flip it out of your pan. (She's so smart!)

Bake for 45 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Let it sent for 10 minutes then flip it over and cross your fingers your cake easily drops out of the pan.

Now let's talk my favorite part -- the frosting.  Here's the ingredients:

1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 Tablespoons corn starch
3 Tablespoons cocoa
Dash of salt
1/2 cup boiling water
1-1/2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Mix sugar and corn starch.  Stir in cocoa and salt.  Put water in a sauce pan on the stove and add in the dry ingredient mixture.  Cook until mixture thickens.  Remove from heat.  Add butter and vanilla.  Drizzle over cooled bundt cake while the mixture is hot for a glossy frosting which remains soft and smooth.

All said and done, this is one big bunch of chocolate goodness.  A true winner recipe to fix anytime you need a dessert.  Yum!  Definitely a crowd pleaser.

Weekending - May 22, 2015

Weekends are just perfect in my book if you can spend them with family and friends.  Luckily for me, this weekend I got to do just that.

Friday night we headed to my nephew Mason's high school graduation.  Mason graduated from the same high school I did many a few years ago.  It was fun sitting in the bleachers of the gym reliving in my mind all the fun times I had in that exact same room.  My brother has done a great job raising Mason and teaching him how to be a hard working adult.  I am so proud of both my brother and my nephews!  It was also wonderful to see a few friends I went to high school with also at the graduation to see their relatives walking across the stage to accept their diplomas.  Great way to start the weekend!  Congratulations Mason!  We can't wait to see all the wonderful things you do with the life ahead of you!

Of course, while we waited for the ceremony to begin we couldn't help but take some silly selfies.  

After graduation, Ian, Kayla and I headed to Kansas City for the Cobb's 24th Annual Washers Tournament.  Unfortunately Eric had to work this weekend so he headed home.  This wonderful Cobb clan is my friend Linda's family and, fortunately for me, they have let me be a part of their family since I was in my teens.  Linda is the oldest of nine children.  She and five of her siblings, along with their parents, were all present for this year's washer weekend extravaganza.

On Saturday before hooking up with the rest of Linda's family, we went to see Pitch Perfect 2.  In my opinion they should have just stopped at 1.  Cute, but definitely could have just waited to see this after it came out on video.  Have you seen it?  What did you think?

In the afternoon we headed over to one of Linda's siblings house to see everyone that had come in for the tournament.   It is always so fun to be around this large family!    (I was having too much fun to take any pictures.)

Sunday morning, despite the threatening rain, the tournament began.  The nine teams battled throughout the day to take home the title of 2015 Washer Champions and the gold washer.  Not only is spending the weekend with this family so fun, but it always is so heartwarming knowing they let us participate in this family function.  They welcome us like we are a part of them and that means the world to me.  I am truly blessed to have each and every one of them in my life!

After many, many years of playing in this tournament I finally got to feel what it's like to win!!  I was extremely lucky to draw Linda's dad as a partner to carry our team to the winners circle.  At almost 80 years old, he is twice the player I am.  We had to face off against Kayla and her partner Robert.  The winning blow was when Linda's dad sunk one in the can!  Great finish to a great day.

The food was plentiful and fantastic!  Everyone brings a dish and there is always way more food than all of us could possibly eat in a day.  I'll be sharing one of the cake recipes on Tuesday so you might want to stop back by to catch that.  Special thanks to Mary and Kevin for having everyone over on Saturday night and Janet and Brice for hosting us on Sunday.  You guys are the best!

Hope everyone is enjoying a wonderful Memorial Day today.  Be safe and hope to see you back here soon.
Check out what others were up to this weekend.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Five on Friday -- May 22, 2015

Here we are -- the Friday before the Memorial Day holiday weekend.  This week went by in a flash for me and now the weekend is about to begin!  I had quite the list of things to get through this week and I'm happy to say most of them got checked off.  How about you?  Did this week fly by for you too?

Let's get to this week's Five on Friday:

1.  US Flag Etiquette
Many people will be flying a US Flag in honor of Memorial Day this weekend.  I thought you might be interested in seeing this information from

Flag Etiquette

The Flag Code, which formalizes and unifies the traditional ways in which we give respect to the flag, also contains specific instructions on how the flag is not to be used. They are:
  • The flag should never be dipped to any person or thing. It is flown upside down only as a distress signal.
  • The flag should not be used as a drapery, or for covering a speakers desk, draping a platform, or for any decoration in general. Bunting of blue, white and red stripes is available for these purposes. The blue stripe of the bunting should be on the top.
  • The flag should never be used for any advertising purpose. It should not be embroidered, printed or otherwise impressed on such articles as cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins, boxes, or anything intended to be discarded after temporary use. Advertising signs should not be attached to the staff or halyard
  • The flag should not be used as part of a costume or athletic uniform, except that a flag patch may be used on the uniform of military personnel, fireman, policeman and members of patriotic organizations.
  • The flag should never have placed on it, or attached to it, any mark, insignia, letter, word, number, figure, or drawing of any kind.
  • The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
When the flag is lowered, no part of it should touch the ground or any other object; it should be received by waiting hands and arms. To store the flag it should be folded neatly and ceremoniously.
The flag should be cleaned and mended when necessary.
When a flag is so worn it is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of our country, it should be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner.

"We salute our flag so proudly,  and thank God for the chance to say...  'There's no country we love better,  than the good ol' USA!""    (

2.  Washers
I'm headed to Kansas City this weekend for a fun family washers tournament.  Have you ever played this great backyard game?  It's so much fun and I can't wait to get my game on.  If you're looking for a great game the whole family can play, you should invest in a set of washers.  Low down on the rules:  each player throws washers toward the opposite cup.  Put the washer in the cup and you score 5 points,  We play you also gets points if you put a washer in the box, but not in the cup.  Can't wait for the play to begin!

You can buy this set HERE
3.  Beach Read
In one of my previous posts, I was talking about beach reads and my friend Michelle, who blogs over at Grammie Time, suggested Diane Champberlain's trilogy that starts with the book Keeper of the Light.  I read the entire book last week on vacation and am deep into the second book Kiss River.  Keeper of the Light is a tale of romantic obsession and betrayal.  It's set on the Outer Banks and you can't help but fall in them with the good guys in this book.  Fun, easy read.  Perfect for vacation.

4.   Dancing with the Stars
Congratulations to Rumor and Val!!  Eric and I were hooked on Dancing with the Stars this season.  I even voted during the last show -- so unlike me.  Anyone else watch?  This season had some awesome dancers and the finals were close.  I really wish our bodies could have just absorbed some of their dancing talent by watching the show.  I'd love to be able to whirl around the dance floor like some of the contestants did.  Who did you hope would win?

Full size image

5.  Tornado Season Is Upon Us....

Special shout out to our nephew, Mason.  He is graduating from high school tonight and I couldn't be prouder of this young man.  He's the oldest son of my brother and was my first born nephew.  Mason has always been the best big brother to Landon and is one of the hardest working people I know.  I'm honored to be his aunt!  Congratulations Mason!!  We love you.

It's also my friend Tracy's birthday today.  Happy birthday, Tracy!!  Can't wait to celebrate your special day next weekend!

Have a fantastic (and safe) weekend everyone!  I'll be back on Monday with a recap of what I did.  Hope to see you then!

Linking up with:

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Thinking Out Loud Thursday - May 21, 2015

I can't believe it's Thursday already!  This week is going by far faster than I had hoped it would.  My to-do list doesn't have much scratched off and I'm headed out of town after work on Friday so today is going to be one busy day!

With Memorial Day this weekend, I'm thinking out loud today about summer.  Even though the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day is packed with so many fun activities, it seems each year I let it slip by without doing some of the things I really enjoy.  This year I want to be more intentional with my time and really try to enjoy the things I love doing in the summer.  Here's a few items on my summer bucket list:

~ Eat More Meals Outside
I love sitting on the back patio to eat dinner, but it seems like we rarely do.  And honestly, I don't even know why we don't!  So if you come over to visit at dinner time and we don't answer the door, check around back.  Hopefully we'll be sitting on the patio enjoying our meal.
Google Image Result for
This is definitely NOT my patio -- but a girl can dream, can't she?!?

~ Riding Our Bikes More
Eric and I both have bikes and we love to ride around the neighborhood, but for some reason we don't do it as often as we would like to.  There is something about riding a bike that brings back all my fun childhood memories.  Definite mood booster! 
Enjoy the Ride Printable, Bike Print, Positive Quote, Floral Print, Flower Quote Print, Spring Printable, Spring Flower Print
Print available HERE

~ Using Our Fire Pit
Do you have one of these babies?  I love sitting outside on a nice summer evening staring into the fire in our fire pit.  On a really good night, I'll actually have s'more ingredients and we can toast up a tasty dessert.  
Patio Fire Pit with Cover. 32 Inch Backyard Fireplace Makes a Great Outdoor Heater for Your Deck or Patio Furniture.
You can purchase this one HERE
So what's on your summer bucket list?  

Now the fun part -- link up to Thinking Out Loud Thursday with me and Vanessa at X-tremely Vanessa . The rules are simple.  Link back to me and Vanessa in your post and linkup your favorite post below.  Super easy!  #ThinkingOutLoudThursdays

X-tremely V

Enjoy more Thoughts for Thursday at

Monday, May 18, 2015

Strawberry Spinach Salad

On Sunday I headed to our local orchard to pick some strawberries.  It was a little cloudy and the rain was threatening, but I was determined.  Luckily the rain held off and the picking was at its prime.  I wanted to pick some fresh berries to make this Strawberry Spinach Salad.

After all the food we ate on vacation, I wanted to fix something a little lighter Monday night for dinner.  I love fixing salads and adding grilled chicken and this strawberry spinach salad is so quick and easy it was what was for dinner on Monday.

The salad itself is a combination of spinach, sliced strawberries and toasted almonds.  The thing that pushes the salad up a notch is the dressing.  Here's the ingredients:

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Put the olive oil, white wine vinegar, sugar and paprika in the blender and give it a whirl.  

Then stir in the sesame and poppy seeds.  Mix well.

Fry up the chicken.  I love using the Tyson Grilled and Ready frozen chicken.  We always have a bag in the freezer to assist in quick and easy meals.

Toss the spinach, strawberries, almonds and dressing.  Top with chicken.  That's it -- easy as could be!  We also have this salad without the chicken to accompany meals.  Either way, it's a winner salad.

Handmade Tuesday's with Kristen