Thursday, August 31, 2017

Try It Thursday: Boston Cream Pie Poke Cake

Happy Thursday! Things are finally starting to settle down around here after days of chaos! I had a different recipe planned to share today, but since I didn't get around to baking much during the storm, I thought I'd share Trip's favorite cake these days, Boston Cream Pie Poke Cake. 

Back in February, I found THIS recipe from Delish. We originally made it as a sheet cake like the recipe, but for Trip's birthday, I decided to play around and make it a layer cake instead. I think it turned out perfectly, and it's so easy that we'll be keeping this cake in the repertoire for years to come! Scroll down for the recipe!

* 2 small boxes OR 1 large box of instant vanilla pudding 
* Milk (as called for in the pudding mix)
* 1 box yellow cake mix 
* Eggs, water, vegetable oil (as called for in the cake mix)
* 2 cups chocolate chips
* 1 cup heavy cream 

* Prepare your yellow cake mix according to the box's directions. (I baked the cake in 2 round pans.)
* Let your cakes cool.
* While the cakes are cooling, prepare the vanilla pudding according to the box's directions. 
* Once the cakes are cool, put one cake on your cake stand.
* Poke many holes into the cake with a wooden spoon handle.
* Spread vanilla pudding all over this first layer, and make sure that the pudding fills the holes.
* Lay the second cake on top.
* Again, poke this layer with the spoon.
* Spread the remainder of the pudding on top, ensuring the pudding fills the holes. (If you don't use all of the pudding, that's okay! The amount of pudding is a personal preference, and I usually use less than what is called for in the Delish recipe.)
* Put the cake in the fridge for at least two hours to set.
* Pour the chocolate chips into a glass bowl.
* Heat the heavy cream over medium high until it starts to boil.
* Pour the cream over the chocolate chips, and stir until smooth. 
* Pour the ganache over the cake.
* Refrigerate until ready to serve, and enjoy!

Is there a cake that you ALWAYS serve for family birthdays? Tell me in the comments below, and make sure you check out the recipes from the other bloggers. Don't forget that you can check out all of the Try It Thursday recipes HERE! See you back here for Friday Favorites!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

What's Up Wednesday: August 2017

***NOTE: This is last week's post. If you've already read this, make sure you stop by for today's actual post- my August Ipsy Review!

Happy Wednesday! I hope that you're having a great week so far! It has been completely surreal this week in Houston, and I appreciate all of you who have continued to check in on us. Thanks for stopping by today as I link up with Mel to share what's been going on in the Lee casa!

What we're eating this week...
Well, remember how I was bragging about my awesome meal planning skills? Thanks to Hurricane Harvey, the best laid plans have definitely gone astray. If you're interested, we were going to have Robert's brown sugar salmon, my spinach bacon pasta, and our family favorite: Instant Pot Mexican Shredded Beef! We haven't been able to find meat at the grocery store, but we had a great dinner with friends last night. They brought the chicken, and I cooked up some Instant Pot Creamy Tuscan Garlic Chicken for our families. So thankful for our great friends and neighbors!  

What I'm reminiscing about...
The "On This Day" feature on Facebook has been showing me lots of first day of school posts, and I love this one from Trip's first day of kindergarten! I can't believe that Ari is now in kindergarten, and Trip is in 3rd grade! We are hoping to start school next week, but we are still waiting on word from our district leaders. 

What I'm loving...
Trip's homeroom teacher called me on Saturday to check to see if we had any questions about school and to learn more about him. I really appreciated her taking the time out of her weekend to contact us, and I'm so excited for Trip to be in her class!

What we've been up to...
We have been watching a ton of movies since we've been trapped at home. One that I absolutely LOVED and am wondering why I waited so long to see was My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2! It was so cute and definitely as funny (if not funnier) than the first. I highly recommend it!

What I'm dreading...
Originally I was a brat and had written that I was dreading going grocery shopping after the hurricane. After seeing how much others in our city have lost, there is nothing for me to dread. I feel terrible for those who have lost their homes or who have been separated from their loved ones who are on call to help others in the floods. Anything that I could be "dreading" right now is trivial compared to what others are going through.

What I'm working on...
Umm...lesson plans? 

What I'm excited about...
I'm excited to have the school year get underway. I think Ari is going to love her music class and meeting new friends, and I can't wait for Trip to be loved on and supported by his new teachers. He will finally get to do a switch this year, so he's excited for the change. I just have a great feeling about this year and can't wait to hear the stories my kids come home with each afternoon!

What I'm reading...
I've actually been really bad about reading since I finished Lauren Graham's book. I did download Liane Moriarty's What Alice Forgot, so I will start listening to it when I drive to work.

What I'm listening to...
This video popped up on Facebook the other day, and I thought it was so fun to see the hit summer songs of so many years!

What I'm wearing...
I picked up the last few pieces on my back to school list at Target last week and was excited to score some clearance Merona pieces. I think THESE pants will be fun to wear to school this year!

What I'm doing this weekend...
I'm hoping the weather will be much clearer this weekend so I can get outside and go for a run! (I never thought I'd say that!)

What I'm looking forward to next month...
As much as I love summer, I'm excited for cooler temperatures to finally move into town in a few weeks so that I can get back to wearing darker nail colors!

What else is new...
I'm learning how to be more of a Google Docs and Google Slides person. I'm so used to being a Microsoft Word person that this change is taking me some time to get used to. Are there any cool Google apps that I need to know about? Help me out please!

Question of the month: What are your back to school lunch tips? 

I shared some of my back to school tips, including meal planning for dinner time and the bento boxes we're using for the kids' lunches in THIS post. I grew up eating the same thing 5 days in a row, and I turned out just fine! I'm going to mix things up this year for my kids by doing peanut butter sandwiches on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and then we'll have turkey on Tuesday and Thursday. They always ask for fruit and/or apple slices, some Goldfish, and a granola bar. Trip also likes to take a beef jerky stick. He loves Duke's Sausages! And, if you're looking for lunch ideas for yourself, I'm going to be packing my overnight oats for school this year. Check out the recipe HERE!

Finally, if you have a moment and a few bucks to spare, will you please consider donating to help the thousands of Texans who lost everything due to Hurricane Harvey? A list of ways you can give is HERE

Also, if you're in the market for a new Yeti cup or cooler, they are donating 100% of their sales this Friday 9/1 to Hurricane Harvey funds! Check it out HERE!

Ok, sorry for the meme-heavy post today! My brain is a little fried right now. What's been going on in your life this August? Tell me in the comments below!

Follow along with me on Instagram, Facebook, Bloglovin', and Pinterest!

Don't forget to link-up with me to share your favorite recipe of the week for tomorrow's Try It Thursday! See you soon!

Disclosure: Links in this post contain Target affiliate links, and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase on Target's website after clicking on my links. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Show & Tell Tuesday: Best Day Ever

Happy Tuesday, friends! Thanks for joining me for Andrea's Show & Tell Tuesday link-up! I'm going to keep today short and sweet as I'm writing this ahead of time during the hurricane.

Today's prompt was to share our best day ever! I think this is really tough to narrow down to just one, so I'm going to share a few.

Although our wedding didn't happen exactly the way I had envisioned, it still was a great day and was the official start of our family. You can read more about our wedding HERE!

Being a planner, Trip's birth definitely did not go as expected, but his arrival was one of the best days ever as he helped start our little family! You can read more about that experience HERE!

And to keep with the tradition, Ari's arrival completely caught us off-guard and unprepared! You can read more about her story HERE

I think our family loves vacations, too. The kids seem to actually get along on our trips, and we have a lot of fun exploring new places. You can read about our Dallas vacation HERE and our recent trip to St. Louis HERE

I am hoping that we will have some more amazing days when we go to Disney World in June!

Thanks for stopping by today! If you need a good workout, check out my Tuesday Training from earlier this morning, and make sure you come by tomorrow for the What's Up Wednesday link-up. See you soon!

Tuesday Training: Week 35

Good morning, fit friends! We may be cooped up in the house for days on end, but I haven't let that get in the way of my workouts! It's actually kind of entertaining to get off the couch and workout with all of this rain. I love Dana Mccaw's Tabata workout on Popsugar, so I was excited to try another one from her. This workout has 10 exercises that will keep your body guessing which is perfect when you've gotten into a rut of doing the same workouts over and over again. Try this one out ASAP: The 10 Minute Fat Incinerator Workout

Check out all of the Tuesday Trainings to switch up your workout routine HERE

Stop by later today to check out my Show & Tell Tuesday post, and I'll see you back here tomorrow! Have a great day!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Life With the Lees: Weekend Recap 8.28.17

Hey everyone! Thank you to everyone who has been checking in on us! We've had a TON of rain the past 3 days, and we are preparing for more. Before the bad weather moved in, we went to Meet the Teacher night at school. I took one kid with a swollen eye (sty inside his eyelid) and another kid missing half her face (fighting with the sidewalk at the playground) to meet their teachers, so who knows what those poor ladies think of me as a mother! The teachers were great, and I have a really good feeling about this school year!

The rain and wind moved into Houston on Friday, and we prepped the back yard and the pantry for a long weekend of "hunkering down." We were very fortunate to be passed up by some tornadoes that touched down just 2 stoplights away from us on Saturday! 

On Saturday night, the water started seeping into the house. It appears that our fireplace has become porous and is the culprit for bringing water in. We're changing the towels out and trying to shop vac as much as we can out of the fireplace. We're safe, just frustrated.

School has been cancelled for this entire first week, so I have been living by the motto, "Watch as much as you can while there's electricity!" We watched Sing, Grown-Ups, Independence Day, Beauty and the Beast and more! 


I got some blogging in while catching up with my DVR. 

Tanya shared Jenna's M&M cookie recipe the other day, so we baked some cookies since we had power! Obviously these were a flood necessity!

I did a face mask from Freeman, and then we played around on Snapchat for a bit. 

And we pretty much repeated all of this again yesterday! We're going a little stir crazy and are ready for this weather to move on! Thanks again to everyone who is thinking of us and checking in on us- it really is appreciated! I hope that you have a much drier Monday, and I'll see you back here tomorrow for Show & Tell Tuesday and Tuesday Training! 

Linking up with Heather 

Friday, August 25, 2017

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, friends! I've had 2 weeks back to work, but I'm still pretty much feeling like this:

Last year, I asked the kids to tell me their favorites as we started a new school year. I thought it'd be fun to make it a tradition and see how/if things have changed in the past 52 weeks! 

Trip aka "Doodle"

Favorite color: Blue

Favorite food: Jambalaya

Favorite restaurant: La Madeleine

Favorite dessert: Popsicles

Favorite movie: Lego movies

Favorite t.v. show: The Crocodile Hunter

Favorite book: Diary of a Wimpy Kid series

Favorite subject in school: Science

Favorite specials class in school: Art

Favorite toy: Legos

Favorite sport: Swimming

Favorite activity: Play Legos

Ari aka "Roo"

Favorite color: Pink

Favorite food: Hot dogs

Favorite restaurant: James Coney Island

Favorite dessert: Minion popsicles

Favorite movie: Lady and the Tramp

Favorite t.v. show: Clifford

Favorite book: Mercy Watson

Favorite subject in school: Science

Favorite toy: Horse trailer

Favorite stuffed animal: Charlie the basset hound

Favorite sport: Soccer

Favorite activity: Coloring

Do your kids like some of the same things? Tell me their favorites in the comments below!

In case you missed any of this week's posts:
Life With the Lees: Weekend Recap
Tuesday Training: Week 34
Try It Thursday: Sugar Cookie Bars

Follow along with me on Instagram, Facebook, Bloglovin', and Pinterest!

I'm so sorry that I've gotten behind in responding to comments and checking out everyone's blogs lately! School has kicked my behind this week, and now, we're preparing to "hunker down" as Hurricane Harvey is to hit Texas this weekend. There is discussion of cancelling our first day of school on Monday due to potential flooding. Please keep all Texans and Louisianans in your thoughts. I hope that you have a relaxing and safe weekend!

Linking up with Andrea, Erika, Narci, Della, Tif, Katie, Amanda, Christina, Lauren, and Paula

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Try It Thursday: Sugar Cookie Bars

Happy Thursday! Thanks for stopping by today! The kids head back to school on Monday, so I thought it'd be fun to make them a special treat to celebrate the first week back. I love following a lot of bakers on Facebook, and I Am Baker does a great job of sharing recipes from others. Through her shares, I eventually landed on Betty Crocker's website, and I decided to try out the Cake Batter Cookie Bars. These are super easy to make, and the frosting is scumptious! I keep these stored in the fridge because the frosting isn't super stiff, but if you're pressed for time, you can always use store-bought frosting- just make sure to have lots of sprinkles on hand! Scroll down for the recipe.

* 3 eggs
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 1 cup melted butter
* 1 box white cake mix
* 1 pouch sugar cookie mix
* Sprinkles

Frosting ingredients:
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 2 - 3 Tablespoons milk
* 1 cup softened butter
* 3 cups powdered sugar
* Sprinkles

* Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
* Grease a 13" x 9" pan.
* Beat eggs, vanilla, butter, cake mix, and sugar cookie mix on medium speed for 1 minute.
* Mix in sprinkles. (Betty Crocker recommends 3 Tablespoons.)
* Spread the mixture into the greased pan.
* Bake 30 - 34 minutes, until golden brown.
* Let the cookie bars cool for approximately 2 hours.
* Prep your icing by beating the vanilla, 2 Tablespoons of milk, and butter on high until combined. 
* Add in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time. Continue to beat on high.
* If the icing is too thick, you can add in more milk, and continue to beat until the icing is a spreadable consistency.
* Spread the icing on the cooled cookie bars.
* Add more sprinkles.
* Slice, and enjoy! 

What is your kids' favorite after school snack? Tell me in the comments below, and make sure to link-up to share your favorite recipe of the week! If you need more ideas for back to school meals, check out all of my Try It Thursday recipes HERE! See you back here tomorrow for Friday Favorites!