Penny's Passion: March 2016

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Five on Friday - April 1, 2016

Welcome Friday! I'm coming off a late night out last night so my eyes are a bit heavy today. Eric and I went to see Barry Manilow. Before you scrunch up your nose and say Barry Manilow - yes, I love Barry and he put on one heck of a show. The memory flood gates opened and all things happy poured out. Ahhh - great way to head into the weekend.

Now before I head off to work for my eight hours before the weekend, here's my five for this week.

1.  Cheetos Sweetos Cinnamon Sugar Puffs
Have you seen these? I'm going to be on the look out for them when I head to the grocery store this weekend. Rumor has it they have a wonderful cinnamon toast flavor. No cheese at all. As a matter of fact, this is the first non-savory snack Cheetos has ever had in its' 67-year history. They are out for a limited time so get them before they are gone!

2.  Plod On Baby Crawling Knee Protectors

It's only a short matter of time before my nephew is crawling.  I think a pair of these are in order.  Their house has all hardwood floors so I'm guessing it's going to be a little slick when he starts trying to crawl.  These adorable things are designed to protect baby's knees as they crawl around.  No more boo boos on those sweet little knees.  They make several colors/styles.  Check them out!
Plod Ons Baby Crawling Knee Protectors, Rainbow Stripes
Click HERE to purchase
3.  Celtic Salt
One of the many things I really miss when I'm trying to drop a few pounds is salt.  Well I won't be missing it anymore!!  Celtic salt actually has some health BENEFITS!  "With a natural balance of minerals and trace elements, Celtic sea salt products are a beneficial addition to most diets. As a natural salt, Celtic sea salt products are an important source of natural sodium chloride, which is vital for good health in small amounts. Unlike ordinary table salts, Celtic sea salt products provide potassium, magnesium and other important trace minerals. Celtic sea salt products impart a rich, exceptional flavor that enhances the taste of any dish."  So glad someone told me about this stuff!

Celtic Sea Salt, Light Grey, 16 Ounce
Click HERE to purchase
4.  Ladies' Night
As you start planning your summer vacation, don't forget to plan some books to read.  Ladies' Night by Mary Kay Andrews should be on your list!  It's a cute little story about a blogger (yes, a blogger!).  You will fall in love with Grace and her relationship with her mom and friends.  The story has everything - humor, heartache, with a little mystery on the side.  Perfect for taking to the beach or reading while you sip your coffee on the back patio.  To sweeten the deal even more, the Kindle version is on sale right now at Amazon for only $2.99.  You will definitely get your money's worth out of this read!

Mary Kay Andrews

5.  Fear not....

Don't forget today's April Fools Day.  If you missed my post from yesterday and are looking for a few fun pranks, you can catch it HERE.  

Have a wonderful weekend.  I'm going with a bride tomorrow to check out the reception venue and get some details squared away.  Love doing that!  Then Sunday Eric and I are headed down to my home town to see all the nieces and nephews.  We just saw them last weekend, but I just can't get enough of them!!  I'll share pictures on Monday.  They are just so darn cute!  Toodles for now!

Linking up with:
High Five for Friday
5 on Friday 
The Evolution of Mom
Why Girls Are Weird
Ins and Outs
This post contained affiliate links.  I may receive a small commission if you click on the link and purchase.  Thanks!

Thinking Out Loud Thursday - April's Fool Edition

Happy Thursday guys!  We're almost to the weekend and I, for one, can hardly wait to see it arrive.  We had a wonderful Easter weekend and we're still recovering (hence the lack of posts this week).  It was so much fun having my family here -- lots of babies and lots of fun!

We're glad you stopped by today for some Thinking Out Loud Thursday.  Today I'm thinking about tomorrow - April Fool's Day.  Do you have some "fools" up your sleeve to bring out?  If not, I thought I'd give you a few.

One of my favorites that I played on my mom quite a bit was the old rubber band around the sprayer trick.  Easy to pull off - just wrap a rubber band around the sprayer until it is compressed enough for water to spray out.  Thank heavens my mom was fairly mild tempered!

The result looks something like this:

I saw this beauty on the Martha Stewart website.  Mix in some blue (or any color) food coloring with your milk and watch your kids eyes when they pour it out.  

Another one straight from Martha is this gem -- switch your spouse's drawer contents.  Hopefully they will notice before they try putting their underwear over their head thinking it's a t-shirt.  

Here's one for your coworkers: 
April Fools Joke Prank ideas Krispy Kreme turns into veggies, Easy and nice Aprils fools jokes for kids, family friendly gags, Popular funny pranks:

Do you have any April Fools Day pranks you do at your house?  Would love to hear about them!  

Now it's your turn - join me and Vanessa at X-tremely V by linking up your favorite post(s) from the week.  

Enjoy more Thoughts for Thursday at

This post contained affiliate links.  I may receive a small commission if you click on the link and purchase.  Thanks!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Five on Friday - March 25, 2016

Happy Good Friday!  Hope you're like me and have the day off.  I'm checking stuff off my list today to get ready for Easter.  The list is long, so with no further ado, here's my five for this week.

1.  ED Footwear at Nordstrom
It's no secret that I'm in love with Ellen DeGeneres and most things she does.  Well, this week her footwear line came to Nordstrom.  I'm just loving these little flats!  Just might have to get a pair (or two).  Look at them -- they are just so adorable!  LOVE is written across the front.

To purchase, click HERE

Another style I'm digging is the sneakers.  I'm not a huge tennis shoe wearer, but these could sure change that.

To purchase, clicker HERE
2.  On Fire:  The 7 Choices to Ignite a Radically Inspired Life
As I was driving to work one morning this week, the radio personalities I was listening to was talking about the book On Fire.  The author, John O'Leary, is from here in St. Louis.  When he was nine years old he burned 100% of his body while playing with matches and gasoline in his garage.  He was given a 1% chance to survive - and did!  This is his very inspirational story of survival.  Amazon writes, "On Fire encourages us to seize the power to choose our path and transform our lives from mundane to extraordinary. Once we stop thinking solely on the big moments in our lives, we can begin to focus on those smaller opportunities that tend to pass us by. These are the events—the inflection points in our lives—that can determine how we feel about life now, where we are headed in the future, and how many lives we can impact along the way. We can’t always choose the path we walk, but we can choose how we walk it. Empowering, inspiring, remarkably honest, and heartfelt, O’Leary’s strength and incredible spirit shine through on every page."  

John O'Leary
Click HERE to purchase

3.  Big Fat Greek Wedding 2
I'm so excited to see what Toula and Ian are up to in the new Big Fat Greek Wedding!  It's been 14 years since the first one came out and I'm hopefully this movie will be as clever as the first one.  John Corbett is one of my favorites so if nothing else, I'll get to watch him for a couple hours.  

4.  Whirly Pop
This week my friend Debbie and I went to a cooking class at Vom Fass.  Long story short (which I'll post about later), they had popcorn on the table for us to munch on made by the Whirly Pop.  Two flavors -- the first one was popped, then drizzled with truffle oil.  They then topped it with grated Parmesan cheese, black pepper and salt.  The second was popped in the Whirly Pop with a quarter cup sugar, then drizzled with orange olive oil.  Both were fabulous!  So my buy for the week was this magic gadget.  Come on over if you want to try some popcorn!

Click HERE to purchase

5.  Happy Easter!

funny easter quotes - Google Search:

Hope you have a fantastic weekend!  I'm off to stuff puzzle pieces in 100 plastic eggs (trying to stay away from candy this year).  My plan is the kids can find all 100 eggs then put the puzzle together.  I'll tell you how that goes on Monday! 

Linking up with:

High Five for Friday
5 on Friday 
The Evolution of Mom
Why Girls Are Weird
Ins and Outs
This post contained affiliate links.  I may receive a small commission if you click on the link and purchase.  Thanks!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Thinking Out Loud Thursday - March 24, 2015

Happy Thursday!  So glad you stopped by to see what me and Vanessa at X-tremely V are thinking out loud about today.  This has been a busy week for me and I'm still trying to figure out what I'm serving for Easter, so I'm digging up an old post to share with you today.

On Saturday, my friend Linda called me in the middle of the afternoon to chat and I told her I was having the best day.  She asked why it was such a great day and it caused me to pause.  Nothing specifically spectacular had happened - I was just playing the stereo loud and getting stuff done around the house.  Getting stuff accomplished - Isn't that just the best feeling sometimes!?!

Well, that made me remember a blog post I did about two years ago just after I had started blogging about it's a good day when....  I went back and re-read it.  Sure enough, the things I said two years ago are still very true today.  Since I only had about 8 followers then, it's safe to say many of you probably missed this post so I'm going to share it again with you today.  Having a good day is what I'm thinking out loud about!

It's a good day when....

You wake up hearing the ocean and know your feet will be in the sand as soon as you walk outside.

A friend calls to schedule a girls night out.

A water main breaks near your office and they call off work for the day.  And the repair part for the said water main break doesn't come in and they tell you to take the rest of the week off.  (BTW -- this has never and will probably never happen to me.  Just sayin').

You have concert tickets for an outdoor venue and it's an absolutely beautiful day.

Someone you know gets an incredible honor that they truly deserve. 

A work friend surprises you with your favorite bagel for breakfast.

You're home recuperating and friends bring you food.

A surprise bouquet of flowers arrive from a secret admirer.

Upon opening the mailbox, you see there's an actual handwritten note or card for you. 

You pull into the parking lot at work and see the number one parking spot is open.

Someone else makes the bed (thanks Eric -- you know I LOVE when you do this).

What makes a day really good for you?  Hope you are having a really good day today!

Now it's your turn ~ share with us what you're thinking out loud about today!  Link up your favorite post(s) from the week below and let us read all about it.

Enjoy more Thoughts for Thursday at

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Meyer Lemon Iced Raspberry Yogurt Cake

Happy Tuesday morning!  I'm here to share with you a cake and icing recipe I tried this weekend.  With Spring arriving over the weekend (someone forgot to tell the sun to show up), I was looking for a cake recipe that was a little more fruity.  After perusing Pinterest, I found just what I was looking for over at Kitchen Trial and Error ~ this Meyer Lemon Iced Raspberry Yogurt Cake.  Kate from Kitchen Trial and Error comes up with some awesome concoctions.  You should check out her blog.

Let's start with the cake.  I have to admit, it's been a while since I baked a cake that didn't start with "open the box".  This is a true made from scratch creation.  

Here's What You Need

9 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature 
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, separated
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen

Here's What You Do

Preheat the oven to 320 degrees F.  (I know, 320.  Seemed like an odd temp to me.)

Grease two 8" or 9" cake pans.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Separate your eggs (yolks in one bowl and whites in another).  Add the egg yolks one at a time, mixing after each one.

Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda and mix until mostly combined.  Add the yogurt and mix until combined again.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until medium peaks are formed and fold into the cake batter.

Fold in the raspberries.

Divide the batter evenly between the pans and bake 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let the cakes cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before flipping them onto a wire rack to finish cooling completely before you spread the mouth-watering lemon icing on them.

Now for the icing.  Side note:  this icing is absolutely delicious.  I plan on using it on other things besides this cake.  I might even entertain the idea of making a batch just to eat straight out of the bowl.

Here's What You Need

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

zest & juice of 2 Meyer lemons 
pinch of salt
4 cups powdered sugar

Here's What You Do

Cream the cream cheese and butter together until smooth.  

Add the lemon zest, juice and salt.  Mix until combined. 

Slowly add the powdered sugar and mix until combined.  I added a cup at a time.  Mix on medium speed for a couple minutes until light and fluffy.  Kate's tip was if your buttercream is softer than you'd like, you can either add more sugar or chill it for 30 minutes before spreading.

Store the finished cake in the refrigerator.  This dessert has a very fresh flavor and is extremely moist.  Perfect for serving guests.  Enjoy!

Handmade Tuesday's with Kristen
Let's Be Friends Blog Hop with The Dwelling Tree
Eat Drink & Be Mary: Delicious Dish Tuesday
Love From The Kitchen: Tuesday's Table
The Diary of a Real Housewife
My Own Home
While I'm Waiting
Tuesday Talk
Pennies into Pearls
Simply Sweet Home
This post contained affiliate links.  I may receive a small commission if you click on the link and purchase.  Thanks!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Weekending - March 18, 2016

Welcome Spring!  Well, we did have a bit of snow this weekend, but the calendar does say spring.  I'm sure the warm weather will be catching up to the calendar very soon.  I'm just here trying to be patient!

This weekend went by in a flash.  Friday night we had girls night at 3rd Degree Glass Factory.  On the third Friday of each month they host 3rd Friday.  This is the first time I'd attending.  Where have I been?!?  It was so much fun!  There was a band, glass blowing demonstrations, and fire throwers all thrown in to one great night.

We started the evening with a little food truck action.  Completely Sauced stopped by and their entrees were amazing!  I would chase this truck down the street to get some of their cuisine.  I had the blackened salmon and everyone else had the crab cakes.  Delish!

My friend Sherri had given us gift cards so we could participate in a glass experience of our own.  We decided to make some beads.

The finished projects will be ready for pick up in a week.  Can't wait to get a good look at them when we get them back.  I think I'm hooked and want to go back and do it again.

Saturday Kayla and I got together to make the invitations to Ian's graduation party.  She is going to have a family gathering to celebrate Ian getting his JD and I was so happy she asked for my help with the invitations.  I didn't really help that much -- but I was there for moral support.  I was finishing up dinner while she did most of the work.  Love the way they turned out!  We addressed the envelopes using my Silhouette.  Picture to come later.

I made a raspberry cake with lemon frosting for dessert that tasted pretty darn fabulous.  I'll be sharing the recipe on Tuesday.  It would be the perfect dessert for Easter.

Eric and I decided to grab a movie on Sunday afternoon.  We picked Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.  I have the hardest time taking comedians like Tina Fey serious in movies.  Rotten tomatoes rated this film 6.2/10 and I would have to agree.  I didn't hate it, but I didn't super love it either.  Definitely one I could have waited to see after it comes out on video.  Eric and I both picked up a goof in the movie.  Have you seen it?  Did you hear the goof also?

And that brings us to Monday.  This is a short work week for me because we have Good Friday off.  I'm looking forward to a three day weekend!  Now I just need to make it through the next few days...

Check out what others were up to this weekend.
Bella and the City
The Quinntessential Mommy
How To Get Organized At Home
Over the Moon

This post contained affiliate links.  I may receive a small commission if you click on the link and purchase.  Thanks!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Five on Friday - March 18, 2016

Guess what day it is?  It's FRIDAY!!  Yay!!  I'm pumped about the weekend.  This was our first week back after vacation and you know how those go.  Then last night the spring broke on our garage door and we were locked out of the house.  Yes, I know.  We should have been carrying a key with us.  But we weren't.  Lesson learned.  I'm moving on.  Thank you Mr. Locksmith for your quick service.  And for not making me feel like an idiot for locking myself out of the house.

On a much brighter note, let's take a look at my five for this Friday.

1.  Bachelors/Bachelorettes As Authors
How many of you are fans of the Bachelor franchise?  Did you catch my post on Thinking Out Loud Thursday?  Well, several of the contestants from the show have written books.  The one by Sean Lowe is currently only $0.99.  I think I might check that one out.  Courtney was just straight up cray cray when she was on the show.  Her book is only $1.99.  If you're interested in checking any of them out, click on the titles below.

2.  Bunch O Balloons
Summer is just around the corner and the kids will be looking for something fun to do outside.  Here's the answer!  Bunch O Balloons will fill 100 balloons in 60 seconds -- making it fun for both you AND the kids!  I'm thinking about what a fun thing for the Easter bunny to drop in the kids baskets this year too.  Let the fun begin!

Click HERE to purchase
3.  Lily Pultizer Tote Bag
I'm a tote bag fanatic lover and this one really caught my eye.  There's something about going to the farmer's market and collecting my purchases in a cute tote bag that really makes me feel so hip.  Also, did you know that if you take your own bag to Target you'll get $.05 off your purchase.  So, if you get this tote bag and take it to Target 200 times, it will pay for itself.  I should have it paid for in about a week-and-a-half.  How long would it take you to pay it off?

Lilly Pulitzer Market Bag, Wild Confetti

4.  Happy 6-Month Birthday to My Nephew
My nephew turned 6 months old yesterday.  That sweet little face just makes me smile.  I thought it might make you smile too.

5.  I believe....

Have a great weekend guys!  I'm pumped about our girls night out tonight.  We'll be hitting up 3rd Friday at 3rd Degree Glass to do a little glass blowing.  Kayla and I are getting together to do a little paper project.  Stop back by on Monday to see what it is.  See ya soon!

Linking up with:
High Five for Friday
5 on Friday 
The Evolution of Mom
Why Girls Are Weird
Ins and Outs
This post contained affiliate links.  I may receive a small commission if you click on the link and purchase.  Thanks!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Thinking Out Loud Thursday - Bachelor Edition

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  Did you remember to wear your green today?  Glad you stopped by and joined me and Vanessa over at X-tremely V for Thinking Out Loud Thursday!

Did you watch the Bachelor finale on Monday night?  I had a little viewing party at my house and we had a great time sharing the most dramatic finale ever!  Since then, I've been thinking about the whole bachelor/bachelorette franchise and some advice for those thinking about applying to be a contestant in a future season.  That's what I'm thinking out loud about today.

~  Know what you're getting into.
If you hear it once, you hear it a thousand times on this show, "I didn't know it was going to be like this."  Usually this is followed by some tears and sniffles.  Seriously?!?  Well guess what -- if you didn't know what you were getting into, it is nobody's fault but your own.  Have you never watched the show before?!?  There's 20 seasons floating around out there -- check them out!  Know what you're getting into before you sign the contract to participate.

~  Don't try to make yourself look better by making someone else look bad.
Ummm, Leah.  Just because the love sparks weren't flying between you and Ben, don't go trying to make someone else look bad.  So girls, use this as an example.  Concentrate on your relationship and making it strong, not trying to tear down what someone else might have.  It will come back to bite you in the bottom.  Karma -- it will get you!  Oh, and by the way, when the cameras are taping your conversations there's a good chance it will be on national television.  No need to act shocked that the other girls find out what you did and said.

~  Know what you look like when you cry.
There have been some really, REALLY, ugly criers on the show.  And let's face it, at one time or the other if you're on the show there is a very strong likelihood that you are going to be crying to the camera.  So before you step out of that limo, do a little fake cry in a mirror and check out what you are going to look like.  And for goodness sake, pack some tissues!!  Try to figure out how to shed those tears without looking like these girls ~

~ Leave your chickens at home.
No explanation needed.

Can't wait to see how the next season plays out.  You better believe that I'll be sitting here watching the next group of contestants and their train wrecks happen right before my eyes.  What about you?  Are you a fan of the show?  Happy with Ben's selection?

Now it's your turn ~ share with us what you're thinking out loud about today!  Link up your favorite post(s) from the week below and let us read all about it.
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Enjoy more Thoughts for Thursday at

This post contained affiliate links.  I may receive a small commission if you click on the link and purchase.  Thanks!