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July 2020 Wrap-Up: A Month in Photos

Whoops! Meant to do this post at the end of July but better late than never, right? 😉 After doing one of these photo-based monthly wrap-up posts for June, I thought it would be fun to carry on and make this a regular sort of installment here on my blog. 🙂 I hope everyone had a fun and safe July. Obviously with the coronavirus still running rampant this year’s 4th of July festivities were MUCH more low key, but Mr. Moth and I still had a great time.

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BAKING: I made these S’mores cookies on the 4th of July. They were quite good, and I’m not even a S’mores person normally. 🙂 Another fun part of the 4th of July is that my very own little corner of the blogosphere celebrated it’s 4th Blog Birthday. Woo! 😀

OUTDOORS: It’s been far too hot for me to want to do much of anything outside this month, so I mostly just admired and watered our plants and then scuttled back inside.

We also recently had the pleasant surprise of discovering baby pumpkins! Can’t wait to have homegrown pumpkins this Halloween! That will certainly be a first. 🙂

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BOOKS: In reading news, I’ve mostly been on a DC Comics binge this month. I recently joined the DC Universe streaming service and now that I have quite the catalog of DC titles at my fingertips I’m taking full advantage of it. 🙂 As for actual novels, I finished the third novel of the Innkeeper Chronicles and also fed my Leigh Bardugo addiction by finally reading King of Scars. Now that I’ve read all of the books in the “Grishaverse” that are currently out my wait begins for the follow-up to KoS. Luckily I still have her Wonder Woman novel and Ninth House to keep me going until then. 😛

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DRAWING: Aside from my Weird and Wild Animal Drawings, I did find time to do some other drawings. 🙂 Near the end of the month I decided it was time to push myself out of my comfort zone and start drawing more dynamic poses. Then I kind of lurched to a halt on the drawing front. I’ll be back at it soon, though! I’ve had a lot of house and research projects keeping me busy.

ANCESTRY SEARCH: One of the research projects I started in July was that of my very own lineage. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and what better time than while my place of work is still shut down? I’ve been able to trace 3 of my grandparents’ family histories back pretty damn far and there have been some really fascinating results that I want to do a lot more research on.

How was your July? Any exciting plans for August?? What with the pandemic and all I can’t say I have a lot planned for August, but one thing I look forward to are the Friday night video chats with my BFF Cupcakes & Machetes as well as our current buddy read as we take on Gideon the Ninth together. 😀 Not super far yet, but really enjoying the book already. Well, that’s it for now. Hope you guys are all staying safe and well. Have an amazing August! ❤ ❤ ❤

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June Wrap-Up: A Month in Photos

Can you guys believe it’s already almost July?? It feels like June came and went in the blink of an eye somehow. I decided to do something a little different with this month’s wrap-up post, and showcase what I’ve been up to through mostly photos. 🙂

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LAZY DAYS: As has been the case for much of the past few months, there’s been a lot of time at home. Here’s a pic of Bailey curled up for a little catnap in a pile of blankets. ❤ Rest assured, if there is a comfy spot she WILL find it and she WILL nap on it.

GARDENING: Hostas, Rhododendron, Columbine, Peonies, Poppies, Oh My! It was a good month for gardening and learning. We planted more lilies, new bushes, moved some stuff around, and did a lot of other outdoor projects.

BAKING: I finally slowed down my baking spree I had been on. 😛 I did, however, make a really yummy peanut butter ice cream pie (graham cracker crust, thin layer of hot fudge, Reese’s peanut butter ice cream with thin sheets of chocolate, whipped cream, Reese’s peanut butter sauce drizzle, and chopped up Reese’s cups as pictured above). I also baked another loaf of Garlic Cheddar Beer Bread (soooo good!) ❤

DRAWING: I’ve been on a drawing binge lately that you can check out on my Instagram if you’re interested, but here’s a little sample of what I’ve been up to this month. 🙂

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WORK: I got to go to work a couple times (staff only) to start setting up for all of the social distancing/PPE changes we will have to put into effect upon our return. Also got to redecorate a little. Pictured above is the head start I got on one of my room’s bulletin boards. We’re supposed to return to work July 6th, but with COVID cases back on the rise, we’ll see what happens. We can’t open back up until our state enters Phase 5 of our reopening plan, and thankfully our Governor has been taking this very seriously since day 1 so I don’t think she’ll rush us into that until it is actually safe to do so.

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LOSS OF A LOVED ONE: The pic above isn’t from this June, it’s actually from last year when we celebrated my parents’ pug BeeBee’s birthday party for her Sweet 16. ❤ She was such a sweet and adorable little dog and was so loved by our entire family, but unfortunately we were forced to say goodbye to her this June. It is sad not having her around anymore, but she lived such a good life while she was with us. She was adopted by my family a decade ago, and by that point she had already lived through a lot. BeeBee was a puppy mill survivor who didn’t even get to feel the grass beneath her paws for the first 3 years of her life. She was rescued from that awful situation and found a home for some time with a woman who loved her, but eventually her owner became too sick to be able to take care of her any longer. My mom was in contact with a woman from a pug rescue league and she told my mom about BeeBee and that was that. She came to us blind, but this was nothing daunting for our family. We’ve taken in several animals with special needs over the years and her inability to see was no big deal. She was sassy and fun, and my dad especially spoiled her with so much love and affection. She had a new brother and constant companion in my parent’s other pug, Brutis. They were attached at the hip and formed an instant bond with one another. ❤

She had the cutest little “bubble bark” that sounded more like “Borp Borp Borp” than the normal kind of bark you hear, loved being held, liked to adventure forward without a care in the world like she could see where she was going even if she was always bumping into things or barking in the wrong direction while trying to be “tough” like her brother. She preferred to be inside the house and wasn’t shy about making sure you knew it by finding her way back to the door and doing her little bubble bark to announce when she was “over this outdoors bullshit”. Haha

Her vet sent a very sweet card and a package of Forget-Me-Not seeds for my parents to plant and grow in BeeBee’s memory. ❤ I thought that was such a touching and thoughtful thing for the vet’s office to do.

That’s it for my own personal June Wrap-Up. How was your June?? Can you believe the year is already halfway over? With how 2020 has been going I’m sure we’re all hoping for a better second half of the year. As always, take care and be safe, guys!

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Binge-Watching, Baking and Back to Blogging

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Anyone else feel like they’ve lost their grasp of time lately? It’s been just over two months since my other half and I last had regular Monday through Friday schedules, and almost just as long since my last blog post as well. Quarantine has my brain all over the place, even more than usual these days. I can’t tell you how many times this month I’ve still thought we were in April. lol

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I’d like to say I’ve been using my time wisely and kicking the shit out of my new year’s resolutions, but this is NOT the 2020 I signed up for, so that’s a big NOPE for me. 😉 What I have mostly been doing is just been binge-watching shows and movies with my fiance and kitty, and doing things that make me happy and keep me focused on one thing at a time instead of a thousand things and worries all at once. Gotta keep that mental health in check! ❤

I used to bake all the time and eventually got kind of sick of it a while back. (I was always the person who was in charge of baking for every single event, be it in my personal, work, or school life and baking big batches of stuff time and time again just kind of got old after a while.) Well, with all this free time on my hands, I’ve been on quite the Quarantine Baking Spree. Some recipes made include:

  • Pumpkin Toffee Bread
  • Peanut Butter Cookies
  • Rainbow Chip Cake Cookies with Whipped Frosting
  • Strawberry Cake Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Banana Bread
  • Butterscotch Mousse
  • Dark Chocolate Oreo Mousse
  • Banana Cream Mousse

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As for creative things, it’s been touch and go. I have been drawing a fair amount, which has been nice. I’ve been posting the art over on my Instagram account which I use far more regularly. I really like Instagram for more frequent use, but I do miss the wonderful community and friends I’ve found here on WP. Like Imperial Rebel Ork has pointed out before, I think the blogosphere allows us to get more connected and have more of an actual dialogue with one another. 🙂

I’ve also been trying to learn new tricks and techniques to get back into digital art. I got a fancy new art tablet for my birthday back in January and there is sooo much to learn but I am really loving all the options and artistic freedom it allows. Hopefully in the near future I can start actually making pieces with it once I feel I’ve learned how to best utilize it.

Writing has been a real “when it rains it pours” kind of situation. Some days I’m really productive, and others I’m like “What the hell am I even doing??” My attention span has been all over the place during this so my reading has been a lot less frequent as well. I’ve started reading multiple books (interesting ones, too) and then my brain goes “Nah, bitch, not today!” and they return to the TBR pile from whence they came.

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On days that the weather has been kind, we’ve gone walking, but it’s mostly been snowing and raining or just too cold, so there hasn’t been as much of that as we would have liked. I think one of the major things I miss doing is going to the gym. Hitting the treadmill with my earbuds in and listening to music or an audiobook was something I really enjoyed doing before or after work. I’m not cool enough to pretend I haven’t put my gym shoes on and done laps in my dining room/kitchen while listening to an audiobook. 😛

Mr. Moth returns to work tomorrow, so I’m guessing that will bring some normalcy back into our routine, but I’m also anxious about him going back too. Michigan is one of the states that has been hit really hard with COVID-19, and one of the parts of Michigan that has been a hot spot for the virus is the place we call home. I know good people who have lost their life to the virus, and it breaks my heart thinking about them and their families. Luckily most of the people I know who have gotten it have since fully recovered. ❤ A lot of the major people in my life that I care about are essential workers and have been working through the whole thing and I’m so glad that they’re okay. I hope you guys and your loved ones are doing well, too. ❤ I’m looking forward to catching up on some of the blog posts I’ve been missing. Please feel free to link me some exciting posts of yours I may have missed in the comments! I can’t say for sure how frequently I’ll be posting, but I’ll try not to make it another 2 months of radio silence between posts. 😉

 

Posted in Baking/Cooking/Nomming, Uncategorized, Whatcha Reading??

Book Club, Buddy Reads, and Vegan Chocolate Mousse– OH, MY!

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This weekend has been a blast. We had some good friends over to the house for the first time, which was very exciting. I hosted this month’s book club get-together, and my boyfriend and Cupcakes and Machetes‘ husband went out to one of the nearby breweries so we ladies could have the whole place to ourselves. Which basically involved a lot of snacking, inappropriate conversation, a tour of the house (the reading nook and giant bean bag were both a hit!) and more snacking. Most of the girls in our book club are strictly vegan, so I made a variety of vegan dishes for everyone to nom on and everything turned out great. The chocolate mousse was definitely a success, so I’ll share the recipe at the bottom of this post in case any of you are interested. 😉

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C&M and her hubby brought us an amazing bundle of goodies, which was so sweet and thoughtful. Aaaaand she and I decided to do a buddy read for Kevin Hearne’s A Plague of Giants in August, so there’s that to look forward to as well.

3 Ingredient Vegan Chocolate Mousse Recipe:

This recipe is SO EASY. You just need 3 ingredients:

  • 2 small boxes of Jello brand instant chocolate pudding mix
  • Chocolate almond milk
  • “So Delicious Dairy Free” coconut whipped topping

In a large mixing bowl, whisk your pudding mix and chocolate almond milk together, adding enough almond milk so that it gets to a cake batter consistency. Then, using a rubber spatula, fold in the coconut whipped topping so that it is fully blended but not over-whipped. Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.

I served ours with graham crackers for dipping and it was seriously addicting. I think it would be great for dipping strawberries or sliced banana into, too, though. The great thing about this mousse, is how versatile the recipe can be. If you want to use vanilla or plain almond milk instead of chocolate, the pistachio, banana cream, vanilla, and lemon flavors of Jello instant pudding are also vegan-friendly, so you could make a mousse in any of those flavors just as easily. The mousse is also great for filling or topping cupcakes, or even just eating plain or parfait-style, so you can really do a lot of different things with it.

And, if you are not interested in making it vegan, just use regular milk and a tub of regular whipped topping instead, and you can use whatever flavor of instant pudding mix you want, so the possibilities are unlimited. Go crazy, this stuff is so easy and delicious.

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Posted in Baking/Cooking/Nomming, Uncategorized

Pineapple Coconut Rum Cake

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Deciding to try out a new recipe is always kind of exciting. Will it turn out like you’re hoping? . . . Or will it turn into a radioactive pile of mush even your pets turn their noses up at? Being as sick of winter as I currently am, I decided to go for one of the more tropical kinds of recipes I found online. So here we are, with this delicious pineapple coconut rum cake. I tweaked the recipe I linked above just a smidge since I didn’t have any actual rum extract or pound cake mix. I was also lacking crushed pineapple, but it turned out pretty well even with the “chunks” style. (Which, by the way, who in the hell in marketing decided “chunks” sounded appetizing to begin with??)

Here’s the ingredients I used:

  • 1 box vanilla cake mix.
  • 1 20 oz. can of pineapple (chunks) in 100% pineapple juice.
  • 1/2 Cup shredded sweetened coconut.
  • 1 tsp. Malibu coconut rum.

Following the recipes directions, I mixed it all up, poured it into a lightly sprayed pan, and popped it in the oven for 35 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. It certainly doesn’t rise quite as much as your typical cake might, but it was a good, light cake with a pleasant flavor. Especially when there is whipped cream added on top, as pictured above! 😉 And for those of you who despise coconut, one of my testers who also loathes coconut said that it wasn’t even really noticeable, and also enjoyed the cake. So, all in all, I chalk this one up as a pretty decent success. 🙂 The flavor was good, but I don’t think it will really win many points for overall presentation any time soon. But if you’re just looking for an easy tropical dessert to enjoy at home, it does the trick quite nicely!

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Posted in Baking/Cooking/Nomming, Uncategorized

Sunflowers, Sweet Potatoes, Lemon Trees & Cream Puffs Galore!

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Hey, guys! I hope everyone had a great weekend. Mine was a lot of fun. My boyfriend and I went to see the new It movie, so expect a review of that to come soon. 😀 Since my previous post was about scary clowns, I thought I’d mix it up with something a little sweeter before delving back into that. 😛

Speaking of sweet, check out this growing sweet potato bush from the green house. I feel like with Fall quickly approaching I’m running outta time to share these gardening photos so pardon this random post.

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We’re also growing two different types of lemon trees in the green house. They’ve been doing really well so far this Summer, but we’re going to have to move them inside pretty soon so they survive the coming winter.

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So, plant business aside, I’ve been meaning to share the photos of those cream puffs I mentioned making before for my dad’s birthday. 🙂 Here’s some of the Work In Progress pics, and then the final product, topped with powdered sugar and filled with a light and fluffy cream filling.

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Here they are as little dough balls, ready to go into the oven
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Fresh from the oven and ready to cool on the cooling rack.
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Stuffed to the max and topped with powdered sugar.
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Banana Blueberry Bread + Spring Photos

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Hey, guys! ❤ Just sharing some baking and outdoors photos. This weekend was pretty busy but I managed to squeeze in some yard work and baking. The weather’s been so nice that I even did the little reading I could get in outdoors. (I’m loving Six of Crows so far!!)

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Banana Blueberry Bread
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Fresh From The Oven!
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Lilacs Out Back.
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Cute Little Winged Buddy.
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The Rhubarb is getting HUGE! Hoping to try some new rhubarb recipes this year.
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Firewood.
Posted in Random Fun Stuff, Uncategorized

Last Time I . . .

Decided to do a post about recent “Lasts” because why the heck not? 🙂

Last Thing I baked: Last night I had the chocolate craving to end all chocolate cravings so I baked fudge brownies with chopped up Milky Way candy bar in it. I’d never tried making brownies with chopped candy bar in them, but I will definitely do it again. The bits of Milky Way were so melty and delicious!

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Truer words have never been spoken.

Last Book I finished Reading: I recently got around to finally finishing Golden Son by Pierce Brown (second book of his Red Rising Trilogy). It was so good! I liked it even better than the first one. 5/5 stars!

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Last Photo I Took: Caught Bailey after she had crawled into my travel bag and made a bed out of it. It’s a poor quality pic because I took it with my crap-tastic phone, but it was too cute not to snap a picture of. 🙂

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Last Song Listened to: The Birthday Massacre- In the Dark.

Last Movie I Saw In Theaters: Power Rangers! lol Yeah, I went and paid adult dollars to go see it. (Actually my boyfriend did, but still, don’t you judge me.) 😛

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Last Food I Ate: Nachos! Had them for dinner earlier. 🙂

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Last Outfit I Wore: I’m in my pajamas because whenever you get home for the day and don’t have to go anywhere it is considered “Fuck Pants O’clock”. My pajamas make no sense today, I’ll admit it. I have on an old Cannibal Corpse band T-shirt with light blue Pajama bottoms that have cute little penguins all over them. Murder on the top, Cuteness on the bottom!

If you want to answer the same questions in the comment area, feel free to have at it! Perhaps we have the same tragically mismatched taste in bedtime attire, or both enjoyed a bounty of nachos for dinner? Only one way to find out! 😛

QUESTIONS:

Last Thing You Baked?

Last Book You Finished Reading?

Last Photo You took?

Last Song You Listened To?

Last Movie You Saw In Theaters?

Last Food You Ate?

Last Outfit You Wore?

Posted in Baking/Cooking/Nomming, Uncategorized

Festive Chocolate Truffles

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I’ve never tried making truffles before but after stumbling across a recipe for Christmas Sugar Cookie Truffles I just couldn’t resist giving it a shot.

I was pretty happy with how these turned out. Bonus: they were incredibly easy to make. I tweaked the second batch I made by using only one and a half tablespoons cream cheese and then adding one and a half tablespoons peanut butter. Then instead of dipping the peanut butter ones in white chocolate I dipped them in milk chocolate. Variety is the spice of life, and who doesn’t like to shake it up once in a while?

Posted in Baking/Cooking/Nomming, Uncategorized

A Sweet Throwback Thursday

Well, I was going to post an update on how that pop cake I made turned out (the triple chocolate fudge / Rock & Rye Faygo combo), and then I remembered that it’s Throwback Thursday which means it’s time to post creative past endeavors. So I’m just gonna post both! 🙂

Onto the first order of business:

The chocolate/Rock & Rye cake turned out great, but the chocolate flavor of the cake definitely overpowered the Rock & Rye soda’s taste (which may or may not be a good thing). I really enjoy the flavor of Rock & Rye, but I was a little hesitant to mix it with chocolate. Turns out I had nothing to worry about since it just tastes like a plain old scrumptious chocolate cake (a very moist one at that!)

If you have no idea what I’m talking about when I mention “pop cakes” see my previous blog post “Let Them Eat Cake”:

https://ignitedmoth.wordpress.com/2016/08/16/let-them-eat-cake/

I should have taken a pic of the cake when it was finished but I assure you it resembled most other chocolate cakes you have seen.

(ALSO: One of my co-workers just made the “spice cake / ginger ale” pop cake mentioned in that post and it was to die for. She ended up making it in a bundt cake pan and drizzling a homemade cinnamon vanilla glaze over the top. Would highly recommend.)

That said, now we can move right along to the second order of business: TBT!

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A birthday cake from a few years back I made and decorated for my buddy, Jared. (Birthday is purposely misspelled as “burfday”.) He greatly enjoys Final Fantasy, so I made him a black mage cake.

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Alice in Wonderland themed cookies I baked for a dark fairy tale themed Halloween party a few years ago. They were pumpkin spice cookies with cream cheese frosting. I’m pretty sure I accidentally baked them too long while running around like a chicken with its head cut off to get things ready for the party. Oh well! 😛