Sunday, February 26, 2012

Scrumptious Sunday...Oreo Truffle Cake

We had a big family dinner last Sunday and I was in charge of dessert. I originally thought about making the beloved "Better Than Sex" cake, but wanted to try something new. My nephew, dad, and hubs to be are all lovers of Oreos so I thought I would try an Oreo Ice Cream Cake that I found on Pinterest. However, after looking at the recipe and seeing it was going to be a lot of work, I decided I would just attempt to create my first cake without following a recipe. I knew that Oreo Balls were amazing, so I thought I could work off of that recipe and try to turn it into a cake. It actually came out really well; so well in fact, that my loving fiance, who likes to make fun of  blogs, said "Oh baby, you've gotta put this on the blog!" So, here it is and remember, I just thought this up, so I'm sure you can adapt it to your needs/wants.

1 Box Devils Food Cake Mix
1 package of Cream Cheese ( I used Kroger Brand Neufchatel Cheese to help save on calories)
Approx. 15-20 Oreos (I used Aldi brand)
1 tub of Cool Whip (I used Kroger brand Lite Whipped Topping)
1 can of white frosting (I used Pillsbury Whipped)

-Bake cake in 2 round cake pans according to directions on box
-In bowl, mix oreos, cream cheese, and about half of the the whipped topping. I mashed up the Oreos with a spoon, then used the blender to mix everything.
-After the cakes have cooled, spread the cream cheese mixture onto the bottom cake.

Top the second round cake onto the first and let cool. In fact, I would recommend placing in the freezer for a bit to harden up. I didnt have time to do that and when I went to ice the cake, it became quite the mess.

I mixed the white icing and remainder of the whipped topping to ice the cake. The combo had sort of a marshmallow fluff taste, so I would imagine a  real marshmallow icing would be excellent as well.

It looks like a hot mess here because the cake was NOT cooled enough when I went to ice it. Be sure yours is cool or else you'll get a mess like this too :)
I crushed up a few more Oreos for the topping and thats it! So simple, yet super delish!

Happy Oreo Cake Making

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wedding Wednesday....On A Thursday....Save The Dates

Totally forgot to post yesterday. Whoops! Buuuuut today happens to be exactly 100 days from our wedding(YAY1!), so that makes up for the late post, right?! ha :)

We FINALLY (better late than never) got the STDs in the mail (well except for a handful of them that we are still locating address for). I really like the final result, and they were definitely budget friendly. We originally toyed with the idea of doing a scratch off or photo strip STD, but we decided that we wanted something that people would actually use and not just read then throw away. i.e. your wedding invite which is why I refused to drop big bucks on mine. We decided we'd go with what a lot of other's have done and do a magnet. I still have every STD wedding magnet that was given to me out in my garage on my wine/overflow items fridge. It's so fun to look at them and remember that particular friend's wedding and the good memories that went along with it. It's also great b/c I use them to hold little notes and such that either my students  have given to me or to hold a picture drawn for me by a friends' little kid. Of course, a lot of people will probably not keep our magnet for forever, BUT I hope that all of our guests can get some use with theirs.
As mentioned last week, we used the website Save The Date Magic. I liked how affordable their magnets were (ours cost only .50 cents a magnet) and I really liked their design that we chose for ours. We wanted something simple that had both our picture, our wedding website address, and the date. I saw the one we chose on the first page of examples and was sold right then and there that it was going to be our magnet. Probably because said magnet was already in navy and had our exact wedding date. We only had to change the picture, the website information and the font color and we were complete.

By early December, I realized that we really needed to get the magnets sent in and printed. M and I were headed to Cincy one night and were heading to mom and dad's to drop off Gonzaga. Since we were both dressed up and M happened to be in green, I thought we just needed to take the picture then. I couldn't find any plain white paper so I wrote the "Save The Date" part on the back of my flight itinerary from when I went to FL in November. Ha! It totally did the job though :) We snapped a picture and after a few takes, we had the one we were going to use.
We sent in the picture and because it was taken in a btmp form, the designers were having trouble making it print clearly. They were so helpful and finally just printed off the picture in their studio and re-scanned it in so that we wouldn't have to take another picture. Should we have used a real camera? Absolutely. However, the iPhone was all we had at the time and maybe it's just me, but I think the iPhone takes some pretty wonderful pictures when you're out in sunlight :) Anyway, our magnets were printed and shipped very quickly and we are pleased with the quality. I highly recommend that company; they were SO helpful and nice.
To prevent simply sticking a magnet in an envelope, we wanted to mount them to cards with a fun saying. Since I wrote a rhyme to ask my girls to be in the wedding, we thought we'd just continue the tradition by writing a rhyme with each card. It went like this:

Michael Proposed and Ashlee said, "Yes!"
And we'd be honored if you'd be our guest.
Here is a magnet to stick on your 'fridge
The Big Day is coming, June 2nd it is.

We printed the rhyme on white post card sized cards (Purchased from Office Depot) and attached the magnets with sticky tack. Can you tell we are teachers with our sticky tack?! Ha!

Isn't my groom so super handsome?!

Here is the final result once attached the the cards:

Sorry the picture is such poor quality
We promise to get the actual invites out in time!!

The Bride To Be

Monday, February 20, 2012

St. Patty's Day Ribbon Wreath

I've been searching for a fun St. Patty's Day wreath for the front door. I havent seen anything around town that I really loved, so I decided I would make my own. Since we were supposed to get a big snow storm on Sunday (where we ended up getting a whopping 0.0 inches of snow) I decided I would make a wreath while being stuck inside. On Saturday, I dragged poor M to Hobby Lobby (which he has now decieded needs a men's lounge for all the poor fellas who get dragged into the store by their women. ha!) and we began searching around for what I was going to make. I really didnt have a plan when I went in the store; I thought I may take one of their pre-made wreaths and jazz it up a little bit, but then I noticed that all of their ribbon was 50% off.
I decided I would make a ribbon wreath since they seemed (by looking at pictures of them) pretty easy to make. I grabbed 4 different spools of ribbon which varied in thickness, material, and shades of green and then I grabbed a round foam wreath. I came home and cut the ribbon in 8-10 inch strips, about 20 strips of each ribbon.
I then began tying each piece of ribbon around the wreath and tied it into a double knot. I didnt follow a pattern with the colors; I just grabbed what was on the table and tied it onto the foam. It's SO super easy to do!!
One ribbon ended up having teal on the back, which I think added a nice color pop
Once finished, I painted a wooden "C" ( $2 at HL) and tied it onto the wreath some ribbon. I then added one of my thicker ribbons around the top and tied it to the door hanger. Seriously, such an easy project!

Happy Wreath Making,

Friday, February 17, 2012

Fun Friday Finds!!

Here are two awesome products/deals to share for the week:

1) St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse. This stuff was a 'must have' list from a Hollywood make-up artist, so I thought I'd give it a try! Since I'm very anti-tanning bed, I am all about finding a good fake tan in the winter months that doesn't leave me looking like an Oompa Loompa or smelling like a men's bathroom. This stuff is PHENOMENAL. I received my bottle last week and I'm LOVING it. It has absolutely zero urine smell, it goes on super smooth, and makes your glow look nice and natural. It costs around $40 for a bottle, but it requires you to use so little, that it will last a while. I simply add one squirt to my hand every other day, rub it together between my palms, and apply it to my face and neck. It gives you just enough color to look refreshed and sun-kissed; perfect for the wintertime! Here's the link to their page on Amazon which is where I ordered mine :) I think it may save you a few dollars by ordering it on there! St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse

2) The Neckalina from KaVatee. Katie, one of the co-owners of this company is married to one of my brother's co-workers. I have known Katie for a few years and her and her friend have created the CUTEST necklace scarf combo, the  Neckalina.
It's a 3 in 1 statement piece
You can wear it as a necklace, a scarf or the necklace and scarf combo! I LOVE these, the Tiffany's Blue being my favorite. Just today, the girls were featured on People's StyleWatch as part of their Exclusive Deals section and you can score one for 50% off! How fun! Just follow the link above and you'll get the discount code! They come in several colors, so there's one for every outfit! Be sure to get your's today!!

Happy Friday Finds,


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wedding Wednesday....Great sites to use!

Here are a few websites that we have found to be both great and provide products and services at very affordable prices. We have used each site for various things so far and I've been very pleased with them! If you're engaged and still on the hunt for certain things, definitely check them out:

1. Exclusively Weddings : We used this site for our wedding invites, reception beverage napkins as well as some gifts for my bridesmaids. I love the site for a few reasons.
    1) Their prices are VERY competitive
    2) Their products are extremely high quality. Our invites are super nice and literally costs us $1 per invite after we used their 20% off coupon code. They are printed on sturdy card stock, with the raised lettering, and lined envelopes; reception cards, as well as printed envelopes.
   3) They have great customer service. They're very friendly, are more than willing to answer any questions, and were quick to send any requested items i.e. invitation samples.

2. Save the Date Magic: This is the company we used to make our save the date magnets (which btw, we STILL havent mailed out.....oops!) They, like Exclusively Weddings provide great products at awesome prices and have very helpful customer service. Within 24 hours of us sending our picture and design in, our magnets were being printed and shipped. They also do wedding invites and such, but we just found ones we liked better from the EW site. However, I'm sure their wedding invites are great as well :)

3.  Honey Fund: Since we already have so many typical registry items (we will be combining 2, 3 bdr houses into 1) we decided we would make a honeymoon registry. We are still having a regular registry with some items on it, but this is our other main registry. We have picked out several things that we'd like to do at our resort and people have the chance to purchase them for us. This way, while on our honeymoon we can say "This snorkeling trip was our gift from Mr. and Mrs. Smith!" We will be able to take a picture to send to each guest showing them us enjoying their gift once we return. It's just a fun way for us to add lots of perks to our honeymoon! I researched several sites, and this one seemed to be the best all around. For a regular registry, it's free, and an upgraded one cost around $30, but is a one time fee and allows you to make your site a little more "fun" We opted for the upgraded one since it's one of our major registries and are very pleased with the result. Here's ours if you're wanting to see an upgraded one: CooperKinneyWedding

4. The Knot: The Knot is FULL of tons of ideas, vendor recs, links to registries, etc. I originally learned of this site in college when I was a bridesmaid and it provided me with some great tips to use when I was a MOH for the first time. If you're engaged, I'd say its a MUST visit site, simply because it's FULL of ideas! We used their free webpage creation to act as our wedding webpage. We have everything on there and our guests will RSVP directly to the site. We are using the free version and are very pleased with it! Here's our webpage if you're interested in seeing it. KinneyandCooper

Of course, Pinterest and Etsy are also wonderful sites as well!! I've found TONS of ideas on there!!!

If you have any suggestions of great sites, let me know!!!

The Bride To Be

Monday, February 13, 2012

Vote for us!!!

Alright, bloggy friends, I need your help! Michael and I are in a contest with our local radio station to find the cutest couple in our area. The winners receive free tickets to all country concerts coming to town for the rest of 2012. My love is a HUGE fan of country music, especially Blake Shelton. He is dying to win these tickets, so if you don't mind, please go vote for us! You can vote once per day for this entire week!!

Here's the link that takes you right to our page :)

Ashlee and Michael

Thanks y'all!!!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Scrumptious Sunday...Pinterest Crockpot Chicken

Let's face it. We pin tons of yummy looking recipes to our Pinterest boards and what do they do? They sit there. On our boards, and we never do anything with them. I am SO guilty of doing this, so I've been making an effort to begin cooking some of these tasty looking recipes to see if they live up to their hype ;)

For our Mexican Monday a few weeks ago (we are super cheesy and eat Mexican on Mondays then watch the Bachelor), I decided to make my first recipe, Crock Pot Chicken Tacos. One of the reasons I like this is that it has the word Crock Pot in it. ha! During the school year I am all about ease of cooking when it comes to dinner. It's usually just the two of us and and we both find it silly to spend hours in the kitchen cooking after we've spent hours during the day educating the youth of America. From time to time I will make a big ol' meal, but most of the time, it's something that can be cooked in 30 min or less. This recipe didn't disappoint and it literally took me 5 min in the morning to prepare. Double love.

-Boneless skinless chicken breast (I used Harvestland Organic Chicken)
-fresh salsa- not the kind you find in the chip section but the cold deli type (used Aldi brand and it was delish..we had already eaten 1/4 of it with chips in the week prior, so I dumped in what was left)
-1 packet of taco seasoning  (used Aldi brand)

-Dump frozen chicken breast into crock pot (I added 3 or 4 big pieces, and had sauce enough for at least 2 more)
-Dump container of salsa into crock pot
-Pour one packet of taco powder on top

Set on low and let cook for 7-9 hours. Ours cooked for 9 hours simply because of working all day, but I'd imagine it was done before that?!

-Remove chicken from crock pot and pull apart with a fork
If desired, pour remaining salsa mix from crock pot on the chicken as the sauce.
-We paired ours with Gorditia shells (again, from Aldi) and I really liked using them vs simple tortillas. They're a tad higher in calories, but have a great flavor!

The chicken was SO juicy and FULL of flavor! I ate on it for lunch for  several days after we ate dinner. At work, I simply ate the chicken straight and paired it with a cheese stick. Ha! Talk about a protein packed meal, but again it was super delish simply eating it alone! The best part is, its low fat AND the tomatoes from the salsa add lots of healthy vitamins and such! We are thinking of doing the same thing with buffalo sauce and dry ranch for wrappers on day; if it works well, I'll let you know!

Happy Crock-pot Chickening,

Friday, February 10, 2012

Our Love Story

In honor of Valentine's Day, and in place of this week's Wedding Wednesday, I'm linking up with from Mrs to Mamma for her

1. How long have you and your significant other been together?
1 year, 7 months and 9 days :)

2. How did you meet? {What's your "love" story?}
We were introduced by my co-worker and friend, Lyndsey. She and M went to high school together and ran into his mom one day. She asked how he was doing, if he was married, etc etc and when she found out that he was single, she and his mom plotted to introduce us. 1.5 weeks later, we went on our first date and the rest is history.

3. If married, how long have you been married? If not, is this the guy you hope to marry? {do tell}
We are getting married June 2nd!! It's SO close and we are SO excited!

4. If you are married, where did you get married at? Big or small wedding? If not, where would you like to get married? And will it be big or small?
We are having a pretty large wedding 300+ people and at M's childhood church. It's downtown, old and gorgeous! We toyed with the idea of having a destination wedding, but after realizing that there were SO many people that were a must on the guest list, we decided that a local wedding was best.

5. Do you have any nick-names that you call one another? Do share!
Babykins, baby, and boo

6. Name 3 things you love most about your honey.
-He is SO funny....all the time.
-He always puts others in front of himself- he truly has a servants heart which caters to my "Acts of Service" love language (if you've never taken the love language test, I highly recommend it)
-He is the yin to my yang. Seriously. As cheesy as it sounds, it's true. I'm crazy and outgoing and he's shy and mellow. When I get all wrapped up and stressed out about things (lately about the wedding), he just sits there with an open ear and then let's me know that everything is going to be okay.

7. Tell us how he proposed? Or your ideal proposal?
Here is our proposal story

8. Is he a flowers and teddy bear kind of guy for v-day, or strawberries, champagne, and rose petals?
Strawberries, champagne and rose petals type. Sometimes, he will just bring me chocolate covered strawberries, just because he knows I love them and he also will also randomly send me flowers to school.

9. Are you a sunset dinner on the beach kind of girl, or pop a movie in and relax on the couch?
Both. There are perfect times to do both- last Saturday, we spent our evening eating popcorn and watching 48 Hours Mystery, but on our honeymoon we are planning several sunset dinners on the beach. Oh la la :)

10. Tell us one thing you'd like to do with your significant one day. If you could do anything? Go anywhere?
Our dream vacay would be Greece and/or Fiji. We looked at doing both for our honeymoon, but opted to go to Caribbean all-inclusive so we could just relax and enjoy being married without the pressure of feeling like we needed to sight see all of the time. But one day, we will do both!

11. Tell us what you plan on doing on this Valentine's Day.
We are going out to dinner at a fun little place in downtown. Since we're not married yet, we will save all of the other fun stuff for after we say "I do"

12. Are you asking for anything this Valentine's day?
We've set a $50 limit for our gifts and then we surprise each other :) I've requested either a new iPhone (mine is ANCIENT), this cute necklace I've been eyeing or some more classes to my BarreAmped studio! However,  I've really left it up to him-he knows what I like so I know he wont disspoint :)

13. Give us one piece of advice of keeping a relationship strong and full of love.
Keep Christ the center of your relationship and realize that no one is perfect, only God. I think too many people place all their happiness in their spouse and face it, we are all human so of course we are going to disappoint one another from time to time. By relying on God for your happiness, you will always be fulfilled and your spouse will only add to that fulfillment.

14. Show us a picture of what love means to you.

This was us in Mexico celebrating our 1 year anniv. We found this abandoned hut that we would visit each day and hang out and just enjoy life :)


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Pink Swap!!!

I participated in my very first bloggy related event a few weeks ago, a Pink Swap. It was hosted by Monograms and Manicures and was a swap of all fun things pink! You were paired up with another blogger and were given a $30 budget to find at least 4 items to send to your partner. I was partnered with Jen from Cash Cowan (who also blogs about fun deals and should definitely follow her blog) and she totally hooked me up with some fun and fabulous pink items :)
For her gifts, I went the route of sending her some of my personal favorite things that were pink (OPI pink nail polish, a Lilly sunglasses strap, a Ms. Manicure nail set, etc) and she sent me all of these fabulously fun things!!

Everything came wrapped in cute pink paper!

I told her that I loved anything Lilly and she didn't disappoint with her Lilly giving! She sent me a LP journal, key chain, coffee cup and a stationary set! She then sent me some fun items for cooking and baking as well including cookie cutters, a cupcake set and some heart napkins for Valentines Day. She then finished off her gift giving with a magnetic notepad, a magnetic picture frame and some hot pink nail polish!

I was so excited opening up all of my gifts and have already put the items to good use! Thanks Jen, for all of my wonderful items. You were an excellent first swap partner!!

The Pink Swapper

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Must join site!!!

A few weeks ago, I mentioned this AWESOME new group on fb, Perfectly Preppy Resale. I bought a Lilly guest book for all of my bridal showers at a steal and then earlier this week, I bought my first Lilly dress from the site......for $45!!! Holy cow! Amazing! It is brand new, the tags are still attached and is absolutely adorable; and is even in our wedding colors (well not so much navy, but still) perfect for one of my showers! It retailed for $278 so that like getting it at 80% off!

Seriously ladies, if you haven't 'liked' this site yet, do it!

Happy Bargain Shopping


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wedding Wednesday....The Cake!

We FIANLLY booked our "cake lady" a few weeks ago after searching for the "perfect" person for several months. We have some Uh-mazing bakeries in Lex so we had lots of options to choose from for our beloved cake which made the choice kind of hard.  I L-O-V-E cake, so having both a beautiful and amazing tasting cake was a MUST. I have a few favorite local bakeries that I use as my go-to's for ordering cakes for friend's brithdays, showers, etc., but when looking at the prices for wedding cakes, I almost fell over. Starting at $4 a slice?! Really?! Okay, so maybe I understand a little. After taking cake class last year and learning the basics of being a cake decorator, I learned that a whole stinkin' lot goes into making and then decorating a cake. So I do understand. Somewhat. But when you're planning a reception for around 300, and you multiply that by 4+ dollars a slice, you want to cringe. So, I set out on my journey to find a deeeelish cake that wasnt going to make me puke when I saw how much it was going to cost. We found her, and holy cake amazement does her cake taste SO good!
Since I work in the smaller town that's adjacent to our's, I figured someone at school would know someone great. Here's the thing about Nicholasville, it's like one big small town full of lots of people who can cook some pretty amazing food. Whenever we've ever had anything catered in our building, it comes from someone "local" and its always delish. So, I began asking around at school who I should use.I kept getting the same response, Gourmet Goodies. I then emailed a childhood friend of mine who was married last year asking her where her cake was from since I remember it tasting so wonderfully? Gourmet Goodies. I knew then that this place was a definite contender in our great cake search. After sampling cakes at two separate bridal shows we had our cake choice narrowed down to about 3 bakeries, Martines, The Sugar Forest, and Gourmet Goodies. We planned a meeting with Thelma at GG on MLK Day and after sampling her cakes, and seeing her portfolio, we were sold. In fact, after seeing M having trouble STOP eating the samples, I knew she was "the one" He doesn't even like cake (he wants donuts for his grooms cake) and he kept eating and eating and eating. He looked at me and said, "This is the best cake I've ever had. Sorry, I ate all of your samples, too." Haha :) He was cute
We havent decided what our final cake will look like, but I'm pretty sure we are going with a 5-tiered round. I'm really loving the new rose tip and ruffle trend on a lot of cakes, so we are thinking of going with something like that. I also love the idea of having a very grand cake, so we are thinking of having flowers in between each layer to add some "grandness" to it.  Here are a few that I'm loving:

Love how elegant!!

We're thinking of having a few layers similar to the bottom layer of this one!

Who knows what our actual cake will end up looking like. Probably a combination of the above pictures,but I still have a few months to change my mind! ha :) We do have a fun and personalized idea for our cake topper. We haven't decided if it's a "for sure" or not, but I'm excited about it! I'll save that as a surprise for the actual day- and if I've already told you what we are thinking, don't tell!! One thing is for sure. Our cake is going to be super yum, so wedding guests, be sure to indulge in it's goodness at the reception!!

The Bride To Be