Make Your Own Mug Cakes

If you’re in the mood for something a little sweet, but don’t want to go through the trouble of making a complete cake just for yourself, consider whipping up a mug cake. Just like it sounds these fast cakes are made right inside your coffee mug, so they’re just the right size for one person to eat. Best of all, they take just minutes and cook up inside your microwave, so you don’t need to mess around with mixing bowls, pans, and oven timers just to enjoy a few bites of warm, delicious cake.

How to Make Mug Cake

This cake is so easy to make, you’ll want to make one every day of the week.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup or chocolate spread

Instructions

  1. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a 14 ounce mug.
  2. Carefully add the milk and vegetable oil and stir to combine.
  3. Take a spoonful of chocolate syrup or your favorite chocolate spread and scrape it into the center of the cup so that the batter covers the top of it completely.
  4. Set your mug in the center of your microwave on top of a plate or paper towel in case some of the batter spills out while cooking.
  5. Microwave on high for roughly one minute and ten seconds. Keep in mind that microwaves  do vary, so you may need to experiment with the timing using your microwave.

Take your cake out of the microwave and let it cool for a few minutes before eating it. The chocolate spread in the center will keep your cake moist and delicious, with a thick, gooey center. The rest of the cake should firm up perfectly to a delicious chocolaty bite that is sure to eliminate any and all chocolate cravings you may be having.

The next time a chocolate cake craving hits you, try a mug cake on for size and see if it hits the spot.

Thanksgiving Wrap Up

Here is a quick look at a few of our past Thanksgiving posts!  You’ll find decorative china patterns, how to prepare for hosting guest, how to prepare your floors for these guests, and the best ways to remove gravy stains from your carpet!

Small Spaces Series – How To Decorate and Design a Tiny Bedroom Part 4

SPACE

As mentioned in Part 3, minimizing the amount of space your bed frame requires is an excellent method for designing a tiny bedroom. You have two options. One is to leave the space open so the room feels light and comfortable. The other option is to maximize the recaptured space by placing something more functional where the footboard used to be. (Go back and read Part 3 – Beds – if you want more detail.) Don’t be hesitant to try other types of furniture at the end of the bed.

For example, if you have a long, narrow room, try positioning a desk at the end of the bed. If the desktop is big enough, you can set your television on one side of the desk, facing the bed. Then create a visual wall by leaning a few tall framed photos against the back of the television. Slide a chair under the desk and you have a workspace. When your work for the day is done, simply walk around the desk and jump in bed and watch TV. Warning: This might be best for kids’ rooms. Most adults would love to take a midday nap, and the temptation may prove to be a challenge!

Another effective way to manipulate space is to create depth using mirrors. They open the room up psychologically because they reflect the entire volume of the room. Be sure to hang them in areas where they can work their magic. If they’re facing an area that no one ever occupies, then no one will get to enjoy the effect. They should face into the room.

Finally, increase space in the room by using furniture with rounded edges. They call it “cutting corners” for a reason. Angled corners take up a lot of mid-level area. Rounded corners on furniture are easier to navigate too. We’ve all had the thigh bruise from the sharp corner of a dresser. Curvilinear lines also contribute to the visual sense of continuity and this makes a room appear larger. They eye keeps moving around the room instead of coming to a stop at every hard edge

GO BACK AND READ:

PART 1 – DECORATING TINY BEDROOMS – INTRO & CORNERS

PART 2 – DECORATING TINY BEDROOMS – WINDOWS & COLOR

PART 3 – DECORATING TINY BEDROOMS – BEDS

NEXT READ PART 5 – DECORATING TINY BEDBROOMS – ORGANIATION & SHELVES

Small Spaces Series – How To Decorate and Design a Tiny Bedroom – Part 3

BEDS

Less is definitely more when purchasing a bed for a tiny bedroom. However, there are ways to reduce the spatial presence of a bed without having to downsize your mattress. One option is to only use the headboard and forego the footboard. Beds with footboards, such as a sleigh bed, appear enormous when there’s very little floor space. The footboard also creates a hard line visually which interrupts the flow of the room design and makes the space seem smaller.

Try adding drama in place of the headboard by hanging sheer drapes on a small rod at the head of the bed. (Drapes don’t necessarily have to flank windows!) Another option is to skip both the headboard and the footboard and just adorn the head of the bed with a multitude of various pillows. Pillows have inherent lightness about them which will add airiness to the room. Furthermore, both the bed and the space will seem bigger every time you remove the pillows and stow away the ones that are just for decoration.

If you think you’d like to try the frameless method consider taking it one step further by setting the bed on blocks. This may sound a little crazy, but if you use solid structural blocks to ensure the bed is safe, you can store all sorts of large items underneath it. Simply add a beautiful bed skirt to cover them up. You might have to sew one so it’s a custom fit, but that’s a small price to pay for so much extra storage space.

If you love the bed on blocks idea, make it even more creative by anchoring an iron headboard to the wall at the height it would normally be if the bed were standing in its usual place on the floor. The bed skirt will cover the feet and it will look like a floating bed. Last, but not least, if you simply can’t live without an actual bed frame then iron beds are the answer. They offer a see-through effect that shows all that surrounds them and they’re lighter than wood. An iron bed with curved lines will increase the sense of space in the room, while geometrical shapes will do the opposite.

GO BACK AND READ:

PART 1 – DECORATING TINY BEDROOMS – INTRO & CORNERS

PART 2 – DECORATING TINY BEDROOMS – WINDOWS & COLOR

NEXT READ PART 4 – DECORATING TINY BEDBROOMS – SPACE

Small Spaces Series – How To Decorate and Design a Tiny Bedroom – Part 2

WINDOWS

Windows are one of the most reliable ways to work magic in a tiny room. First and foremost, try not to cover them up with anything. If you are going to use the floor space beneath them, choose items that are low profile and won’t obstruct any light. Harness the power of the natural light as much as possible because it has an airy quality not found in artificial lighting. Airy rooms seem bigger. Increase this effect by flanking the window with sheer drapes. The window will seem larger and the lightweight fabric will add visual volume to the room without weighing it down.

Opt for long, tall, sheer drapes and hang the rod high near the top of the wall. The long line will make the ceiling seem higher. Try putting two sheers on each side and bunching them together to increase the sense of size and volume around the window. It’s okay to make a small window seem much bigger in a tiny room. To add additional light, and a bit of whimsy at night, hang small, twinkly holiday light strands behind the sheer drapes.

COLOR

The use of color is an art unto itself. To keep it simple, though, let’s take look at a few basic concepts for visually maximizing a tiny space. Try selecting a palette that adds distinct color but is light and subtle. Crisp colors work well also. Avoid strong, dark colors as they will make the space seem much smaller than it is. Softer colors create a sense of flow, and they blur the hard lines at the edges and corners of the room so that it feels less restrictive. Furthermore, a low ceiling will seem higher and you can even paint the ceiling the same color if it’s not too intense. Lighter tints are also excellent for reflecting light. Options such as antique white, buttery yellow, and ballerina pink do wonders for opening up a room.  Especially in day light when pastel colors help reduce the harshness of direct sunlight.

GO BACK AND READ PART 1 – DECORATING TINY BEDROOMS – INTRO & CORNERS

Small Spaces Series – How To Decorate and Design a Tiny Bedroom – Part 1

Ah, yes, the joys of tiny spaces.  They are among the most difficult rooms to design and decorate. Sure, you can opt into the classic solution…COZY. But what does that really mean? Cramp the space and fill it with quaintness that ultimately ends up looking like clutter. If it’s a room meant for relaxation, that’s not the worst solution. But very few people have the luxury of a home large enough to dedicate one whole room to simply ‘being.’ We need spaces that function! To that end, we hope you enjoy this six part series about how to bring a tiny bedroom to life.

 

CORNERS

Easily one of the most under used parts of a room, so don’t leave them bare. Fill the space with function and form, but avoid using them for large furniture. Such as, putting a dresser in a corner with one side pressed to the wall. The right angles might fit well, but from a visual perspective it’s akin to creating a dead end. Instead, create a space. Think about ways to make a specific use for the corner.

Our suggestion is to tuck a chair in the corner so it’s an area in the room that can be enjoyed. Opt for a chair that has some space underneath. It will double as a bit of extra storage if you use a simple basket. Next, use the vertical space of the walls on either side of the chair. On one side you could mount a full length mirror. Everyone can use one, and it will also serve to make the room look bigger. On the other side, mount several shelves for storing and displaying items. Hang the bottom shelf low enough to function as a side table for the chair. Set a lamp on it for reading, and a few coasters for drinks to be set on.

If you don’t have enough floor space to place a chair in the corner, purchase multiple floating shelves that are L-shaped. They tuck in the corner at the perfect right angle without creating a dead end. From a visual perspective, the eye will naturally scan from one side of the shelf to the other. This creates a sense of continuity. Using L-shaped shelves also gives the space a built-in feel that makes the room seem more substantial.

NEXT READ PART 2 – DECORATING TINY BEDBROOMS – WINDOWS & COLOR

Fitness House Chores: How to Work Out While You Clean the House

Part 3 – BATHROOMS & FLOORS

In this final segment of our series we share how to use your favorite music while cleaning the house in order to accomplish your exercise goals. Here we tackle two of the least favorite chores. Bathrooms are dreaded by all and windows are a lot of extra work. But with a great playlist and a few tricks up your sleeve you can make the most of it!

“Bathrooms Hustle”   This one might leave you winded, but your bathrooms and body will be better for it! Rather than cleaning bathrooms one at a time, approach each fixture in the bathroom one at a time. For instance, start with the toilets. Go to each room and clean the toilet. Waste no time between them. Next, scrub the tubs, one right after another. Then, clean all the countertops, followed by all of the floors. Use up-tempo music to keep you moving and don’t stop until you legitimately need to rest. By doing one fixture at a time and having to travel between the rooms multiple times, you’ll burn loads of calories. You could even set a timer and see how fast you can get the whole job done!

“Wax On Wax Off Windows”   This workout is very effective for your arms and upper back. Windows have a lot of surface area and many of them are beyond arm’s reach. Use it to your advantage. The step-stool or ladder aspect of the workout is obvious: the more trips up and down, the better, and you’ll enjoy a nice supplemental leg workout. But the true work is accomplished by cleaning the glass in circular motions. Rather than just wiping in a back and forth motion, which leaves streaks, swirl the towel and the cleaner in repetitive circles. Start at one side of the window and continue to the other. Then, go back but switch the circles from clockwise to counter-clockwise so that both sides of your muscles are exercised. Be sure to stand straight and engage your core so that your upper body has a strong base for all this movement. Put on some 80’s music, get the job done, and your windows will be cleaner than ever before!

Don’t forget to go back and read:

Part 1: How to work out while you clean the house – DISHES

Part 2: How to work out while you clean the house – FLOORS

Fitness House Chores: How to Workout While You Clean the House, Continued

Part 2 – FLOORS

In Part 1 – Dishes, we discussed ways to work out to music you love while putting away the dishes. Here are several ways to do the same while cleaning the floors. The ‘dishes exercises’ were mainly strength based. Floors are your opportunity to achieve you cardio goals. Trust us, you’ll make it happen because you’ll be having so much fun doing this while listening to your favorite songs!  

 

Sweeping, mopping and vacuuming the floors:

 

“Rock-n-roll Sweep”   While sweeping the floor, channel your favorite guitar player. Recall the way they swing their arm in large, sweeping circles while they play. Set a number of strokes to sweep the floor with before each arm circle. Such as sweeping the floor for 20 strokes, and then doing 10 full air guitar arm circles. Repeat and be sure to work both sides. Be sure to use your upper back in addition to your arms so that it’s full body motion.

 

“Risky Business Slide” This is fun! Sweep the floor in long, narrow sections. Do so normally down the length of the room. Then, hold on tight to the broom, run a few steps and slide the rest of the way back across the strip you just swept. Bonus – your socks will attract lint, making your floors that much cleaner. This works best on hard surface floors.

 

“Mop Slow Dance”  Mopping the floor always requires a lot of repeated ‘rinse & wring.’ Each time you wring out the mop you have an opportunity to use it to work your core. Hold it horizontally, parallel to the floor, with both hands grasping it widely and near each end. Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Twist all the way to one direction, then back to center, and then twist to the other side. Repeat. Put on a slow song and pretend you’re at a school dance!

 

“Vacuum Shimmy”   This method entails long strides and rapid back stepping. Start at the longest end of the room, so you have as much space as possible to walk forward. Do so in long strides. Then, staying in the same ‘lane,’ use fast, small steps to shimmy back to your starting point. You’re heart rate will increase, and your carpet will get vacuumed twice all over.

 

Next read Part 3: How to work out while you clean the house – WINDOWS AND BATHROOMS

 

Go back and read Part 1: How to work out while you clean the house – DISHES


Halloween Inspired Treats

22534191_STrick or treat? Most of us would pick treat. Whether or not you have kids, Halloween can bring out the inner child in all of us. Why not grab a few pumpkins to carve and cook up some of the following spooky treats. It’s a fun way to spend an evening entertaining little ones and adults alike.

Once you have hollowed out a pumpkin you can use it to hold all kinds of dips. Use black tortilla chips for a creepy effect.

Make witch fingers out of bread stick dough. Cut pepperoni slices to look like fingernails. Don’t forget to score the dough with a knife, creating knuckles and wrinkles for a more realistic look. If you don’t want to use breadstick dough you can make fingers from carrot sticks. Simply attach an almond fingernail with cream cheese and stand the carrots up in a bowl of ranch dressing.

Make green jello, mix in pineapple juice, lemon lime soda and vodka (if adults only) and pour into a punch bowl. In the meantime add dry ice and water to a large cauldron. Fit the punch bowl into a cauldron. Now you have magically smoking witches brew.

Use test tubes to hold tomato soup. Cut out pumpernickel bread in monster shapes and make grilled cheese.