Thursday, May 21, 2015

Aunt Foo's Bestest Brownies EVER.......

I know what you're thinking.......
Who.......or WHAT is an Aunt Foo?
Well, that would be me!
When my sweet niece Macy was little,
she called to wish me a happy birthday.  When she tried to say "Aunt Sue", it came out as "Aunt Foo", so my happy birthday message was Macy singing "Happy Birthday Aunt Foo." :)
Absolutely made my day!!!!!  
She probably doesn't even remember that but I sure do!
My girls know that it is a special memory to me because she sounded so darn cute!
I used to joke that I was going to name my blog Aunt Foo or something. could still happen;)

But on to the brownies, right?
Everyone has their favorite brownie so it's hard to say one is "the best".......
which is why i call these "the bestest":)
I do know my grammar, but eating these makes you forget all about things like that.
At least they make me forget!  They're chewy, fudgy, just the right amount of cakey, sweet but not sickening sweet.......simply the BESTEST!

1 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup milk ( I use 2%)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a 9x13-inch baking dish with foil and spray foil with non-stick spray. I don't know why exactly but it works.  So do it:)  
If you have an electric stand-mixer, add the melted butter and cocoa powder and use the paddle attachment, blending until smooth.
Add the flour and sugar. Beat together then add the eggs and vanilla. Mix just until combined. The batter will be thick but remember not to over mix. 
Pour batter into prepared baking dish and spread evenly. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove brownies from oven and let stand 15 minutes before frosting.  The brownies will still be slightly warm when you frost them but that's a good thing:)
Beat together all the frosting ingredients until smooth. 
Pour and spread over warm brownies. 
Let cool completely before cutting and serving.
Makes 12 large brownies or 24 small brownies
*These brownies were adapted from Saltbox House Creations with a few minor changes such as the omission of nuts.

So there you have it!  Now, if y'all make these and decide your own are better, that's cool. We each have our own preferences.  For's Aunt Foo's Bestest Brownies all the way:)

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Hey Guys (and Kiddos)...Do THIS Not THAT For Mother's Day...

Okay, okay, okay.......
I know what y'all are thinking.
You're telling yourself "It's the thought that counts."
or "My wife/mom isn't like that." 
or "She doesn't like us to fuss/spend/make stuff."
But the best one is "She already knows we love her."
Ummmm.......yeah. RIGHT.  Let's go with that.
Or not.  DEFINITELY not! :)
But we can have a little fun with this, so let's get started.
Anyway, I'm gonna help you navigate the tricky waters known as Mother's Day.
Ready for this???
  Okay, in no particular order, we will look at traditional (#old and #boring) ideas,
 and then we'll tweak them a bit to make mama happy.  
Ready?  Let's DO this.......

1.  Breakfast in Bed.
Who doesn't like Breakfast in Bed?  Just remember this.......
NO mom will enjoy breakfast in bed if Junior sticks his hand in the toaster, 
and the dog pees on the floor cause no one took him out.  And if she walks out to 
a kitchen wth syrup dripping from the ceiling and sticky juice on the floor, it's pretty much worthless.  Save yourself the trouble. 
SOLUTION:   If you are gonna do breakfast in bed, do it RIGHT! 
Keep it simple.......some fruit cut up and placed in a pretty bowl, coffee just the way she likes it,
and some sort of toast/pastry/scone.  (*Hint:  buy this the night before;)  
* *Bonus points for a simple flower in a vase on the tray.  And it's a perfect time for a few handmade cards for her to read while sipping java.
You can do more...but clean it up!  And no screaming and fighting in the kitchen.
This makes mom nervous.

2.  Gift Certificates/Gift Cards
These are great gifts.  A relaxing spa gift card. Shopping at her favorite store.
But your job does not end at buying the gift card boys.
Yes, you are telling her to splurge.  Treat herself.  Have fun. Enjoy!
But you have to BABYSIT!!!!!  Or arrange for a sitter.  And make sure sanity reigns at home.
(Meaning she doesn't get all chilled out and happy, only to come home to a house thats been destroyed, babies crying for mama, and a sitter or daddy who is ready to blow.
Not cool.  Give her the whole package.  Please do this.  I can't tell you how many times my husband gave me a spa day to go with my best friend (who was also my baby sitter at the time), only to be too busy to babysit.  And a note about gift cards.  Tell her to buy whatever she wants with one condition.  Show and Tell when she gets home.  Because I promise you,
there are MANY moms who will end up buying for you, the kids or the house. 
I still do that sometimes.  THEY need the treat, okay?

3.  Mom's Day Off
Let's see how this works.
If you give her this ON Mother's Day, she'll be happy but really, this won't work.
Why?  Think about it.  Here is what her day will be like.......
(and I'm assuming Mom goes to church, but even if she doesn't, it may be similar).
You: "Honey, you are not to do a THING toady"
Her:  Well alrighty then.  I can do that!  Think I'll hop in the shower.
And when she comes out, all fresh and pretty, ready to go........
The kiddos still aren't dressed.  NO WORRIES.......she wants to help her babies, right?
You finally get to church and when you get home, YIKES!  Did anyone take the dogs out before we left?  GUESS NOT!  
Her: Hahahaha it's okay.  I love you anyway!!!
As the day goes on, little things remain undone.  Dinnertime?  Clean up again!
And don't forget if the kids have homework, git r done!!! And pack those backpacks for Monday:)  See my point?  If you are gonna give mom a day off, then do it right!  
Cover all the bases OR better yet, let her get away with a friend for the day and maybe night.
Girl time, Relaxing time........and home comes a HAPPY Mommy who missed her family and can't wait to jump in there and take care of her family.  Hopefully!
Give her a day off:)
4.  Chocolates and Flowers really took the easy way out.  
If the kids did this, okay.  But Dad.......come on.
IF you are giving sweets, please make sure she likes them and/or even WANTS them.  If she's trying to get in shape, then what the heck are you thinking? give her a box of THESE chocolates:)
And a mom I used to hate if my husband ordered expensive flowers at a florist.
Get them at Costco or something.  Beautiful and not so pricey.  And give her the rest of the $$$$$ if you FEEL cheap.  But that isn't necessary, since it's not about how much money in the end.
Even worse though is giving her a bouquet of super thorny roses, so she can sit and trim them all morning.  Please, buy trimmed flowers or do it yourself. Or buy flowers she can plant outside if she likes gardening.  There are many ways to make mom feel special.  One time (and I believe ONLY one time LOL) my husband taped messages of love all over the house and pics the girls drew for me.  (They were young)  
* * * * * BEST gift ever!

5.  You know those commercials for a pricey necklace to celebrate "MOM"?
Save yourself the trouble, dude.
Chances are she won't like/want that generic piece of jewelry.
If you want to splurge, go for it. IF as a family you can afford it, and only if !
But seriously, ask her what she might like, or buy her something awesome that celebrates HER as a MOM and HER family and is something more to her taste.  Personalize it!  Etsy has great gifts for this.

6.  Perfume
When you go shopping and the salesperson wants to show you their new fragrance but you really came for her all-time favorite, BE FIRM.  Buy her favorite and ask for a sample of the new one.  No's her fav for a reason, okay?  
Here's my favorite.........Michael by Michael Kors;)
7.  Lingerie
Here is my tip from most of the moms I have ever know.  
Chances are, what you think she wants isn't what she wants.  If you have young children, she needs something she can hop out of bed at 3 in the morning to soothe a nightmare or doctor a sick child.  
Now, what you CAN do is get her a super comfy yet super cute pair of PJ'S.  
(Notice I now call them PJ'S.  THIS is what a mommy wears, so deal with it;)
Just check her size before you go and make sure there is a good return policy, just in case.
Remember......CUTE/PRETTY/COMFY are the key words here.
8.  A Clean House
You and the kids can do this yourselves OR you can hire a maid service to come in and deep clean the house for her. Personally, I would love this.  
But I have this weird habit when on the rare occasion someone is coming to clean my house.
I nearly kill myself the night or morning before they arrive cleaning the house.
YES, the house you paid them to clean.
Because I don't want some stranger to think I am a gross hoarding slob.
Or I didn't raise my girls to clean up after themselves.
I'm serious.  AND,  I am not alone here.
So as part of the package, YOU go around and make sure the things that SHOULD be put away are.  I'm not saying you have to clean.......just pick up.  Straighten things.  
Fluff and Buff a little.  She's gonna LOVE you for this gift if you do it right:)

9.  Family Photo Book
Chances are, she's your family photographer and/or photo organizer/scrapbooker/photo book maker.  This one is MUCH easier than you think.  Shuuterfly, Apple, Snapfish, Mixbook.......
even your local Target or Walgreens. 
You or the kiddos could gather your favorite photos (or drawings), no rhyme or reason necessary, and make a photo book for mom.  This is always a hit.
10.  Family Fun Day
This is always FUN!  A day at the beach, on the boat, at the park, at a ballgame........
just remember that if everyone pitches in 
(and I bet mom will too if everyone is on their best behavior)
it'll be an AWESOME day for everyone and nothing will make Mama happier:)

Tips and Tricks:
~when in doubt, ask her friends, her mom (yes, she may know her little girl better than you think) even your children.  
Hey........when it comes to things like favorite color, favorite music/movies, stuff like that............
my girls have always known me WAY better than my husband:)  Just sayin.......

~if you are determined to give her "gifts" to open, but you are not a shopper........
do what my nephew did this past Christmas.  He let my girls and I shop for his wife.
I think even she appreciated it.  But even if it wasn't perfect, he/we tried. 
All that counts:)

~Just because you golf. Or play tennis.  Or throw horseshoes........
don't assume she wants to.  And in fact, just because you don't get her love of knitting, or refinishing furniture, or anything crafty/diy..........let her do HER thing sometimes while YOU watch the kids.  Kind of like she does when you pursue your hobbies.
Support our friend from The Notebook!

Bottom line here is this;
If your're buying her a gift, make it something she will LOVE.
If you are giving her a gift that involves just "mommy time", give her the whole package.

And remember, MOST moms don't care what you spend.
And they TRULY LOVE handmade gifts from their babies.  
And they really don't ask for much.
Just go out of your way to make her feel special and appreciated on Mother's day.
Do your BEST!

Next time I have a few COOL and unique gift ideas:)

Saturday, April 11, 2015

I will be HAPPY to Pay $17,0000 for a GOLD Apple Watch when it does these things........

You read it right.
For this Apple Deluxe GOLD watch......or one similar to it.
Now, I believe they start at close to $350.
Some people can afford that model of watch, really want the watch, will use the watch.........
and if they want it, should get the watch. 
Within reason.
At least, in my opinion.
And in case you hadn't's still my blog:)  hehe

And before anyone complains, I know.
There ARE people who can afford to pay $12,000-$17,000 for the watch.
But that doesn't mean they should.
There ARE people who work very hard for the money they have.
But really?  For a watch?
Okay.........for the uber billionaires who want a super apple watch,
I say maybe up to $5,000.  
And this isn't just about Apple watches, but all watches that cost an astronomical amount.
I mean, are y'all crazy?

Because it's JUST A WATCH.
That lets you do things, yes.
And a $600 model will let you do those same things.
I'm not saying I'll NEVER have one but I will say it won't be the first one off the line,
and it won't be a high priced one.
Besides, I have too many beautiful watches that I'm not ready to give up.

I'm sure they're cool.
And techies love their cool tech toys.
I get that.
I'm happy for them.
The reasonable ones.
But 12,000/15,000/17,000?
What in the heck are we teaching our children?
We're messing them up, that's for sure.

My daughter works at a boutique in a high end shopping center.
And a few doors away is an apple store.
One of the salesmen said they had sold more of the $12-$17,000 version than anything else.  
In fact, there is a wait list.
So here is my criteria for what ANY watch with that price tag SHOULD do.
And when it does, maybe I'll buy it.

1.  When I lose weight by putting that watch on my wrist, I'll buy it.  
Not just a little, but about 30lbs.
And I don't mean by tracking my steps.
Or counting my calories.
But I mean when the pounds melt off at record pace, sign me up.

2.  When it cures childhood cancer and other horrific diseases
simply by wearing it, I'll buy one.
If it kills my MS once and for all, I'll buy it tomorrow.
But it won't.
So instead, I'll give my money to research.

3.  If it guarantees a good, sound sleep.......EVERY night, that'd be nice.

4.  If it takes my dogs out at 10 p.m on a rainy night, I'd be tempted.

5.  Cleaning house........that would be nice.  Or making dinner.
But's just a watch.

6.  It doesn't fight crime, so that's no good.

7.   It can't keep someone without heat it's pretty worthless there.
Or feed someone who is hungry.  What good is it;)

8.  It offers no solution to wars.........or to help our veterans.  I would've paid for that.

9.  I know........if it can come up with a really, truly, wonderful candidate for President and 
make sure they win........I'd fork out a few bucks for that.

10.    If it made me or someone else happy on sad days, strong on weak days,
energetic on tired days, I'd really like that.  

 When spending THOUSANDS of dollars on a watch guarantees these qualities in everyone,
 it's mine!

So there you have it.
When this watch does all that, I will buy one.
(and I am only speaking about the ones over $5,000, okay?  Got it? I'm not denying the pleasure to more sensible/affluent folk)
I really do understand that some people can afford luxury and truly love it.
But there is a limit.
I don't have a socialist mentality.
But i think I do have common sense.
Surely there is a local hospital or church that could do GREAT things with your money.
But until then, I'll keep my pretty little watches, and keep my phone, and keep giving to those who need it, and sharing what I have that I no longer need. 
Somebody please tell me when it actually does all this because then it'll be a keeper.

But UNTIL then, Apple and all you other OVERPRICED watch companies,
you can keep them.
I'll enjoy the simple things.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Going BANANAS....Banana Split Dessert, Bananas Foster Upside Down Cake and...Easter Fun!

Hey Y'all......thought I better stop by and send a shout-out to my PEEPS:)
I hope everyone is doing well and getting ready for SPRING!!
I didn't mean to be gone so long but with a few health problems,
birthdays and busyness in happens.
I promised myself that I would try to do more frequent, 
short posts but I find myself
 with a ton of stuff to share and I figure I better
 cram it all in, once again:)
So here we go..........

First up, one of my ALL-TIME FAVORITE desserts,
and perfect for Easter!
Banana Split Dessert 
We've made this in our family for years and I cam across it recently in 
one of our old cookbooks.
Everything about this is pure YUM
Seriously, this is so good I think you just need to try it:)
Banana Split Dessert

2 cups graham crackers 
1/2 cup butter melted 
1/2 cup butter 
2 cups sifted powdered sugar 
2 eggs 
5 bananas 
1 15 1/2 ounce can crushed pineapple, well drained 
1 8 ounce container frozen whipped dessert topping, thawed 
semisweet chocolate, shredded 
1/3 cup chopped nuts optional 
maraschino cherries 
In a mixing bowl toss together the graham crackers and the melted 1/2 cup 
butter.  Press crumb mixture onto the bottome of a 13X9X2 inch baking 
pan.  In a small mixing bowl beat the remaining 1/2 cup butter about 
30 seconds til softened.  Add powdered sugar; beat till fluffy.  Beat in eggs. 
Spread egg mixture over crumb mixture. 
 Slice bananas lengthwise into halves 
and arrange over egg mixture.  Spoon pineapple over bananas.  Spread with 
dessert topping.  Sprinkle with chocolate and the nuts, if desired.  Cover 
refrigerate at least four hours before serving.,  Cut inot squares to serve. 
Top each square with a cherry.  Cover and chill to store.  Serves 15. 
From the Avon International Cookbook 1983 

Ready for more banana goodness?
How does Bananas Foster Upside Down Cake sound?

Pretty good if you ask me:)
So here you go........
Bananas Foster Upside Down Cake

1 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup butter, softened and cut into pieces, (divide 1/4 cup for sauce and 1/2 cup for cake)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 large bananas, yellow but firm, sliced diagonally into 1/4-inch pieces
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
Place brown sugar, 1/4 cup of the butter and cinnamon in a small saucepan. Heat over medium low heat until butter is melted and mixture is smooth, stirring occasionally.
Pour into a 9-inch round cake pan or a 9" square pan.
Arrange banana slices over brown sugar mixture.
Place remaining 1/2 cup butter and sugar in a large bowl; 
beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.
In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
At low speed, beat in flour mixture in 3 parts alternating with sour cream,
 beginning and ending with flour mixture.
Spread batter over bananas.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 min or until cake is golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool in pan on wire rack 15 minute.
Run small knife around edge of cake; carefully invert cake onto serving plate. Serve warm.

Before we get to the fun stuff,
here's another cute idea for Easter.......Deviled Egg Chicks!
Simply make your usual recipe for deviled eggs but instead of slicing the egg
lengthwise, slice it horizontally and scoop out the filling that way.  
(Does that make sense?))
Add peppercorn eyes and a tiny carrot nose and you have the perfect brunch dish:)

Okay.......moving on to some fun stuff!
I think I am desperate for little kids again.
I know this for sure.......
if i did have a little one, I would grab some cotton balls, 
cut out bunny shapes and make a bunny photo frame of my kiddos!
Like it?

Using those plastic eggs and some pipe cleaners, make some egg bunnies to hold
a little treat.  This would be a great way to share treats with the rest of the class:)

Next is one of my favorites.......
Now you can "egg" your neighbors (without getting in trouble:)
I made this one because to me, it's the perfect combo of Easter Bunny fun
with a lesson/reminder on the TRUE meaning of Easter.
The reason we celebrate...........our risen Savior.

The obvious thing to do would be to share this with families with children.
However, I think the opposite would be a wonderful treat.
Do you have an elderly couple or someone living alone, who may like to wake up to some eggs in their lawn on Easter?
Now that would be a special treat:)
If you do a search online for "you've been egged", you'll find many variations on this.

Easter treats.........
these are so adorable!
I tried looking around for the exact instructions but came up empty.
However, it looks like these cute faces were made with pumpkin cookie cutters!
 Oh gosh, I have to share these EVERY year..........
Bunny Butt Cookies!
Here is the link with instructions: Bunny Butt Cookies

Kids would LOVE these straws.........
PEEPS Straws!

How about some bunny pancakes?
This is sooooo cute:)

Need a last minute favor?
These are super cute and easy...Cotton Tail donut Holes.
Follow the link for the free printable:

And who couldn't use advice on life once in awhile?
Especially if that advice is from the EASTER BUNNY?
Here's something just for fun........
What's your Easter Bunny Name?
My name is Bubbles MacDoodle!

Okay, told you I had some fun stuff:)
But now I leave you with this.
It's great to have fun............
but it's more important to remember this:

Happy Spring and may God Bless You!
XOXO Suzanne
A.K.A Bubbles MacDoodle

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

CONFESSIONS of a 50 Y.O Makeup Junkie...

Why hello there!
How are y'all doing today?
It's just me, your friendly, LAZY blogger:)
What can I say.........
I've been getting a few things ready for my friend's shop AND for some reason,
I've had a run on tutu orders.
The Beach Gypsies are back in business!! 
 I think. LOL
But more about that another time.
For today it's a beauty blog..........
for us chickies who are over the magic number of 50.
(And everyone else, too:)
So let's get to it!

I really am a makeup junkie.
But fortunately, I am a CHEAP makeup junkie!
And when I love something, I will use it to death.
(Or at least until something else catches my eye;)

this time, I feel really good about what I have chosen
I have been using this stuff for quite awhile now.
See what you think..........

First up is SKINCARE!
OOOOOHHH.......this is a biggie for us over 50 chickies:)
Some things go unspoken but assumed.
~Considering the fact that I grew up BAKING in Michigan as a teen,
and have lived in South Florida (ahem.......the sub-tropics, technically)
for just over 20 years, I know a bit about sunscreen.  
Actually, I know about the PRICE you pay for baking in the sun,
which led me to know a little about sunscreen:)
Here is what I have to say about it...........
Use ingredients that have it added so when you forget, you have some help.
If not, use at least 30 SPF.  50 SPF if you really want to.
But most dermatologists will say the 100 SPF is just hooey.
Don't ditch your 30 and run to the store for 100 thinking it's better.
That's just good ol American marketing at work!
I like SunBum, Australian Gold and Neutrogena.  But that's just me:)

But here's what I really want to show you and it's for every day skincare.
For less than $40.00
y'all can keep your skin soft and mostly wrinkle free!

* Prices above are approximate, within 20cents, from Amazon.
Let's face it.........most of us are fighting dryer skin in these magical years.
And wrinkles.
So those are the issues I'm addressing here.............
#1 Coconut Oil  
I've talked about this (as everyone else has) many times before.
But in a nutshell, it's the BEST I have found for removing makeup (especially eye makeup),
moisturizing skin all over your body, and adding shine to hair.
Oh.......and it is a FABULOUS shaving cream:)
I use the brand pictured above 
but just make sure you get any extra-virgin coconut oil.
I also use Lou-Ana, found at the grocery store.

#2 Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Serum
It's actually a very light cream in a tube, but we'll go with serum;)
Now, it boasts the claim that you will see improved skin in seven days.
And guess what?????
I DID!!!  I really LOVE this product and slap it on AS WELL AS coconut oil.

#3 Pond's Cold Cream
 If you are buying expensive cleansers, you're kinda crazy.
Sometimes you have to give Grandma credit for her soft skin back in the day.
My absolute FAVORITE cleanser is Pond's Cold Cream.

For simplicities sake, I am sharing my number #1 favorite drugstore line.
After that, I'll show you a few favorites from other lines.
But for me, the winner in the all-around make-up line,
the one that makes you say your friends are crazy for buying expensive stuff is.............
NYX.  (NEVER to be confused with NYC makeup)
I was a bit of a M.A.C junkie..........and I still could be.
(more about that later:)
But this is a copycat line that is significantly cheaper!
My advice is to go to Ulta for your NYX.  
They carry a HUGE selection and drugstores are only just adding in bits and pieces.
In the above photo, you will see the items I use.  
Shades are individual but I can say I like the brown, purple and black eyeliner,
 mascara in jet black, blush in desert rose
 and the lipstick is awesome in Audrey, Tea Rose or Natural!

Honorable mention goes to:
Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzer
which I also use with the desert rose blush.

Since my eyelashes seem to have disappeared, 
I use a primer before my mascara.
My fav is M.A.C Prep + Prime.

Lip Pencils........
You're gonna love these, cause they are awesome and even CHEAPER than NYX,
 which are pretty cheap:)
ESSENCE Lip Pencils (at Ulta) are $1.49!!!!!
And their lipstick is pretty great too...I like Natural Beauty.

Okay, I think that covers makeup:)
Moving on to HAIR.........
Mine is short these days.  (Very short!) 
So I wear it piecey and I like it soft and shiny.
So.........Garnier Fructis is my choice, partly because of the AMAZING scents;)
I love Pixie Play for the tousled/messy look:)
And next to Coconut Oil, I am in LOVE with shine serums.  I use this one,
 but most work great.
And not just for hair.........they are AWESOME for dry skin too, everywhere:)

Okay BEAUTIES, I'm done.
Rambled enough.
Showed you how cheap I am:)
Shared my confessions with you.
Hope you enjoyed this and found something you want to try also!

Wait.........I forgot to show you what I'm excited to see.
M.A.C Cosmetics CINDERELLA line, coming out this week.

So pretty............
Aaahhhh...stay tuned.  I'll be sure to let you know if I try it;)

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