Thursday, May 30, 2013

Baby Shower Gift & Wrapping


I've never been a pretty gift-giver. If you've received a gift from me that's wrapped in anything at all, consider yourself lucky! It's not that I don't WANT to give pretty gifts, I just get so meticulous that if the gift isn't perfect, I throw away the idea and give up. By the time the gift is wrapped to my liking, I'm exhausted- and all for what? To be torn to pieces once given!

However, I'm making effort to change this habit. When my ex-coach's baby shower was announced, I was thrilled to be able to put my gifting skills to the test! I went for a simple theme of light pink because she's having her first little girl. Finding the gifts themselves was easy enough, because she registered herself at Target. I don't like straying too far from registries, because I'd much rather give a gift that the expectant wants, rather than something that suits my own tastes. 

I decided to pick out a couple of my favorite items from her registry that went with my light pink theme, and then chose to add in one of my favorite baby books- "Guess How Much I Love You" by Sam McBratney. My mother used to read it to me all the time when I was little, and it was one of my favorites. If you've never read it before, you should pick it up sometime because it's adorable (who says that adults can't read children's books!). In the baby aisle, I saw a little tote box with a light pink bottom and thought that it would be perfect to put my gifts in. I like to use baskets and other reusable packaging. Not only is it a cute way to tie your gift together, but it serves as a functional piece, rather than something to be disposed of. On my way out, I spotted a sparkly, light pink fairy wand for a dollar and threw it in my cart, knowing that I could use it for SOMETHING. Heck, it was a dollar.

Having the light pink tote to put my gifts in, I found a bit of gifting-cellophane at Joanne's and a darling spool of light pink ribbon that I could continue to use for future crafting.




My last baby gift to-do was the card. I don't like buying cards at the store for the simple reason that somebody else created and wrote them. Getting hand-made cards, even on tattered scraps of notebook paper, makes me feel much more special than receiving a store-bought card, and so I try to do the same for others.

However, I don't have any of those nifty die-cut supplies (but I do have a birthday coming up, aaaah hem... ;p ), so I do the best with what I have. I made my card with half a sheet of card-stock and a piece of "baby girl" scrap-booking paper that I had picked up at Michael's craft store a while ago. I wanted a simple symbol on the front, so I added a little rattle that I created with the same card-stock, and dipped the rattle in a pastel glitter. I hole punched the side and tied a bow with the same ribbon that I wrapped the present with, and made a last-minute decision to line the sides with white buttons.


Not too shabby for a girl without die-cuts!

Choosing a simple theme for my gift and the wrapping made my task SO much easier! Everything seemed to fall right into place and the final result was pretty adorable, if I don't say so myself!

What's your favorite way to make gift-wrapping personalized and special?



Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Belly-Rabbit and Boyfriend



I woke to a gloomy, rainy morning to which I groaned out loud, but celebrated secretly on the inside, for that meant that my morning jog was canceled! Instead, I took the liberty of sleeping in and taking shelter under blankets- soaking up the warmth (and covers) from my boyfriend. My sleepy morning included yummy, vegan apple cinnamon "pan-muffins" (pancakes baked in muffin tins) with a steaming cup of green tea. 

The sleepy morning turned into a much-needed sleepy day, but I did happen to catch a few photos of Aaron and Belly bonding out on the back patio as it drizzled. At one point, the rain was at a perfect tilt as to trickle a bit on Belly, who's never felt the rain before. I assumed she was going to be frightened, but instead she seemed delighted and playfully shook out her fur like a pup! 

It's so wonderful when the weather gives out free excuse-vouchers on days like these! What do you like to do on those sleepy, rainy days?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

New Sidebar Tabs, Social Buttons, and Twitter!


I finally took the time to make a few sidebar tabs and social network buttons to help organize my blog! You can still find my button swaps under "Blog Love". I also took the leap and joined Twitter! You can follow me using my new sidebar buttons, or here.

2-Step Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies




Last night, my boyfriend had a couple of friends over at our house to make some Kandi (Tradeable Pony Bead bracelets for EDM/Rave events). I found Aaron digging around the fridge solemnly, and then he looked up at me with the classic puppy dog eyes and said, "I want something sweet!" I had a long day, and the LAST thing I wanted to do was to bake.


But how could I say no? His friends joined in on our conversation, awaiting eagerly for my reply, and so I compromised by whipping up a batch of these SUPER quick and easy, vegan, chocolate chip cookies that I adapted from this recipe to better suit my tastes and the ingredients in our house.






































Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Put ALL ingredients together into a large bowl and mix until uniform.

3. Place spoon-fulls on a greased cookie sheet. I flattened them just a little bit with a wooden spatula because they don't expand a lot.

4. Bake 11-12 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted and come out clean. These cookies don't brown very much, so don't use color as a timer!

5. Let cool and eat!

Okay, so that was five steps. But really, 3 of the steps are common sense. Just mix, and bake!



Everyone at our home LOVED these cookies (and nobody even now they were vegan, tehe!) They're so quick an easy that I'll definitely be making these in a pinch sometime in the future.

If you have any questions about my recipe, feel free to ask! I hope that you enjoy them as much as we all did :)



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Monday, May 27, 2013

Recycling Old Lipstick to Make New Lip Tint!



Something always happens to my lipsticks, whether I leave them in the car and they melt all over my seats, or I twist them up too high and they break in half. This makes me a bit of a lipstick whore- mourning the loss of my Russian Red for an hour, and then quickly moving on to the next. Such ultimate failures wouldn't get me down, if it wasn't for my college budget. Nowadays, food comes before makeup on my list of living essentials, and so I tough it out and rock the naked lip- saving my last morsel of lipstick for special occasions.

But I've had enough! I want to wear lipstick, and I want it now. Something about the instant dose of color it brings to my face just makes me a happier girl.  And so, I gathered my old lipstick tubes (I'm a bit of a pack-rat when it comes to old makeup) and set out with a plan. Thus, this DIY was born. 

All you will need are your old tube(s) of lipstick(s), a toothpick or another thin instrument to extract your lipstick from its casings, a microwaveable bowl, an old and emptied lip balm jar or a new one for 18 cents here (You will need more than one if you're using over 2 lipsticks), and a bit of Jojoba oil. I recently fell in love with Jojoba oil for its many uses and use it in everything from an under-eye moisturizer to leave-in hair treatments! 



What to do:
1. Gather up your old lipsticks. Using a toothpick or another instrument that's disposable, scrape out the remainder of lipstick from each tube that you're using into a small, microwaveable bowl.

2. Microwave the mixture until soft, but not liquidy! My microwave did this in about 18 seconds, but I would set yours for 15, open and check the consistency, and put it back in for the desired time.

3. Take out the bowl from the microwave and add 1-5 drops of Jojoba Oil, depending on the consistency that you prefer and how many lipstick tubes you're using. For 2 lipstick tube remains, I used about 2 drops of Jojoba Oil. The more oil that you use, the more moisturizing it will be- but beware, but too much, and your lipstick will never harden and take the form of your lip balm jar.

4. Make sure all lipstick and Jojoba Oil are evenly mixed, and then scoop out the mixture into your lip balm jar. Using the toothpick, try to make the mixture even, but don't worry if it isn't perfect- as soon as your lip balm is finished, you'll be able to use your finger to smooth it out.

5. Screw cap on to your lip balm jar and place in freezer. Two + hours should do, but it won't hurt to leave your lip balm in for any longer.


The result? (See Below)




Good luck to all those sad, little lipsticks!

Sunday- Unplugged


I LOVE my technology, but last Saturday, I had an "ah-ha" moment. I was visiting my mom's house, waiting for her to finish up her load of laundry so that we could chat, and immediately, I pulled out my phone to surf through Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook to pass the time. My old cat brushed up against my arm, and I blindly pat him on the head without much thought. The cat gets little attention nowadays- separated from the rest of my mom's house ever since she got a dog that looks at the kitty as a play-thing. My mom asked me to play with him, using his favorite little green shoe string, and, instantly, I was struck with annoyance that I was going to have to peel myself away from technology to play with a cat.

It was then that I realized how backwards my feelings towards this situation were and it was then that the guilt set in. I put down my phone and made myself completely available to the present moment as I played with my old cat and found so much joy in making him jump like a wild beast over beds and under chairs to grab his green string. It was such a simple experience, a childish experience of play, but it was beautiful and fulfilling because I was fully present.

That night, I decided that the following day (Sunday) I would be unplugged from all technology in order to be fully present in every moment that the day would offer. I almost broke this vow when the sun woke me and my first instinct was to lay lazy in bed and surf  Instagram! My boyfriend reminded me of my vow and so I put the phone down. A surge of anxiety tinged my stomach like lightning, and it was then that I recognized the reality of just how dependent I was on technology to entertain my wandering mind. The rest of the morning followed the same pattern, but with each free moment, I was reminded of how to live.

It was more of a challenge than I ever expected, but it was freeing. Usually when I run on the beach in the mornings, I listen to stimulating music to push me to run, but this time without, I was awake to hear the sound of the crashing waves and see the pattern of emerald green and blues where the sea marked it's depth. I was present enough to see a baby seagull dig his beak in the sand and then frolic away when the tide came close. I was fully alive and interconnected with my world, rather than an outside entity using it.

Because this experience was so altering, I've decided to make "Sunday- Unplugged" a ritual. I love my technology, and I love blogging, but sometimes it's beneficial to unplug in order to get back in touch with the purpose of human existence.

You're welcome to join me in Sunday- Unplugged, and I'd love to hear of your efforts and anything you learn from joining my feats!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Vegan Lasagna Recipe (Soy & Gluten Free too!)



When many people think of vegans, they think of people eating plain fruits, vegetables, and grains. While raw foods do make up a substantial part of my diet, vegans like comfort foods too! This mock-lasagna is so yummy that my non-vegan boyfriend loved it just as much.

I adapted my version of this recipe from Cheap and Simple Vegan Recipes here, because while the recipe looked yummy, I try my best to stay away from soy. There are many reasons that people have for including or excluding soy from their diets, and I respect everyone's decision as their own. However, my experience with soy included tummy aches and odd hormonal changes due to unfermented soy's tendency to act like estrogen in the body, so I like to leave the soy out whenever possible!





Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 375 F.

2. When cooking the quinoa and lentils, I cook them in the same pot and with the same water merely for convenience, but if you prefer to cook them separately, that's fine too. Paige's way: Add 2 & 3/4 cup of water and bring to a boil. Add green lentils and cook covered on low/medium for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, rinse and add quinoa to the pot. Cook for another 15 minutes covered.

3. In a separate, warmed pan, add oil. Chop the onion and saute until translucent.

4. Once quinoa and lentils are done, drain the pot. In the same, warm pot with lentils and quinoa, add Daiya, onions, salt, pepper, and basil. Stir until combined and the Daiya melts a little bit as to act as binding agent for the ingredients.

5. Slice both zucchinis lengthwise. These will act as your pasta "sheets". Don't worry about slicing them perfectly, but try to keep them roughly the same thickness.

6. In a 9x13 glass pan, spread a bit of the pasta sauce evenly. Arrange your zucchini slices in the sauce so that they cover the glass pan. To do this, you may need to cut some slices in half our fourths.

7. Sprinkle in some of the kale. As the next layer, use a few scoops of the quinoa-lentil mixture and spread evenly.

8. Continue alternating the layers in the following order: Pasta sauce, zucchini, kale, quinoa; until you've used all of your ingredients or run out of room in your pan.

9. Top with more Daiya (It gets so yummy and gooey in the oven!)

10. Bake, uncovered, for 35-45 minutes or until the zucchini is soft.



For vegans and carnivores alike, this recipe's simplicity makes it a great, weekend go-to meal that's a healthy alternative to regular fat-laden lasagna, and it's protein-packed!

New Blog Button!




Grab button for Little Blossom



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Cute, huh? I used Code It Pretty's helpful tutorial here to make my first blog button. I tried to keep it small and dainty so that it wouldn't take up too much space on anyone's blog. Feel free to share on your blog or ask to trade buttons with me!


Hopefully soon I'll add some cute blog link organizers to the side of my blog, so that it will be easily accessible at all times.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thrifting Adventures


This is my second of outfit collages, and I'm having so much fun with them that I plan on doing so more often! Today was my best friend's day off, so we decided to adventure around town and meander through thrift shops that caught our eye. It was a brutally hot day, so I wore something that was comfy, breezy, and still cute.

My Outfit:
- Denim crop tank: Charlotte Russe for $12.50
- Casual gray skirt: Plato's Closet (Brand American Apparel) for $7, what a steal, eep!
- Tiny sterling silver elephant necklace: Brand Dogeared, but you can find online here for $48
- Faded Green Tom's Shoes: Stolen (temporarily) from my best friend who didn't get much use out of them. I love my Tom's so much that I swear I'm going to wear them 'till my toes poke through the fabric.I hope to be able to buy this cute, crochet white pair here as soon as I land my job and get the money.



Before buying anything lately, I stop and ask myself, "Do I really need it?" My boyfriend and I will be moving a couple hours away next Fall to attend a different University, and so the less stuff that we have to lug, the better. We don't have any furniture that is irreplaceable or too expensive, so we plan on selling what we can while we're still here and picking up cheap furniture and living pieces from thrift stores once we move.

.....buuuuuut, we've been looking for a little room divider for our porch for quite some time now, as it gives little privacy by it's naked self. And when I stumbled upon this simple, classic divider at GoodWill for just $29, I knew that I needed it. Okay, so maybe not. But it was just too darn perfect to pass up (See Below).

...can you believe it!? Thirty dollars!

For the rest of our thrifting adventure, I vowed to spend under ten dollars. I almost bought a beautiful picnic basket, but when my friend questioned me, "Are you really going to use that?" I sighed and put it back. The idea of using it was so lovely, but I knew that now was the time for being practical and that it would've sat in my closet for months before it got the love it deserved.


I treated myself to one last thrift- something that wouldn't have to be hauled away in a moving truck- a delicate, antique, ring that I found in a glass dish, next to others labeled "$10". It fit my middle finger perfectly, so I bought the ring and we left to soothe our stomachs with food and tea.




We had such fun on our adventure, but I wish I would've brought my camera to have been able to document more of it! I promise more next adventure :)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Why the Name Change?


I've decided to change Craft Blossom to Little Blossom because I think that having the word "craft" in my blog's title is a little bit limiting in what I'd like this blog to be about. By making this blog more relevent to my life and what inspires me day-to-day, I'll be able to share more with all of you :)

Don't worry, plenty of crafts will still be posted!

Job Interview & Tips



I've been searching for a little Summer job since the beginning of May, so when I found a Craigslist ad looking for seasonal/temporary associate at a woman's clothing store, I was more than eager to pick up an application. I handed in my application today and I had an interview with one other girl, and it went wonderful! I was told that I should get a call back soon to start training, so I'm crossing my fingers. 

Interviews can be stressful, but if you fake confidence, the butterflies dissipate pretty quickly. It doesn't hurt to have an outfit that you feel cute and confident in, too. 



My outfit
- Pale pink, cotton top with lacey sleeve cut-outs: Forever 21 for $7
- Black, textured, fitted skirt: Cotton on for $15
- Black bow flats: Marshall's (past season) for $10
- "Oui oui" necklace: Forever 21 for $3.50
- Tiny black purse: Target (past season) for $7.50


If you can't rock heels, or walking in them makes you feel uncomfortable, don't wear them. A cute pair of black flats can look just as professional when paired with the right skirt or work pants. The place that I was applying to wasn't too upscale, so I was able to get away with wearing a tighter skirt and a top that was a bit dressy casual, but, my outfit could have easily passed by for an interview to a more upscale business or company if paired with a cute blouse and a fitted, cropped blazer. 



Helpful Tips for an Interview:
1. Don't be nervous! Take a few deep breaths before you walk into an interview. You're not being put on-trial. The worst that happens is that you don't get the job and you take your interview as a learning experience as what to do better the next time around.

2. Wear something cute and professional that you feel comfortable in, even if that means wearing professional-looking flats or wedges instead of heels.

3. Be yourself, polished. Your interviewer is a real person, just like you! He or she can tell if you're being fake, so give honest, heartfelt answers when ever possible. 

4. Spit out your gum! It just doesn't look attractive or professional.

5. Before the interview, think of questions that the interviewer might ask and make mock answers. That way, you won't chance freezing up. Common ones include: Why do you want to work here? What are your best and worst qualities? What's an example of a time when you received bad customer service, and how would you change it? What would you say to a customer who says that they're 'just looking'? 

6. Don't get so nervous that you forget to eat before you go! You don't want a growling stomach to distract you from being yourself and landing the job.

7. Make eye contact, but don't stare intently. Staring too much is just downright creepy, but making eye contact while speaking exudes confidence. 

8. Smile, a lot! Act like you want to be there, even if you don't.

9. Stay away from nervous hair-play, nail-biting, and leg jittering. If you're really nervous and need an outlet, trying folding your hands in your lap and squeezing. It's something that will release a bit of energy without being obvious to your interviewer.

10. Bring your resume, even if they give you another application to fill out. Having your resume on hand shows that you're prepared and makes you look organized. I downloaded and used Template #1 from Primer Magazine's free resume templates here

11. Keep your resume simple and to the point. If you're applying for a job as a secretary, you don't need to list that one job you had in high school where you had to dress up as a hotdog on the side of a road. 

12.  If you have had less than 4 previous employers, include volunteer work and extra-curriculars on your resume.

13. Try, try, try again! If you don't land the job, it's okay. The more that you go on interviews, the better you'll be at them and, eventually, you will get hired!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Bunny Rabbit Home How-To




Earlier this week, Christina over at Home Made Ocean made a post about pets on her blog, so I mentioned my rabbit. She said that she was heading to my blog to hopefully see pictures of her, and that's when I realized the monstrosity- I have yet to introduce her on my blog! 

Meet Belly, our one and only bunny rabbit daughter. Okay, so maybe we're a little bit weird, maybe even a little bit bunny-obsessed. But what many people don't understand is that Belly, like many other rabbits, is a very intelligent little creature. I don't know the scientific specifics of rabbit intelligence, but I can tell you from first-hand experience that she's comparable to a cat. She has her own rabbit language, complete with gestures and social standards, she plays with her toys, she pouts when she's upset, she gives "kisses", she jumps for joy (also known as binkying), she has her favorite foods, and she chills out on the couch with us after a long day of adventure.


 I think that Belly has exceptional personality traits because we've cared for her since she was quite little, and she's always had room to explore and has had lots of human contact. It pains me to think of all of those bunny rabbits being treated like hermit crabs or fish in their tiny cages, with the only human contact being feeding-time. If I could take home all of the poorly-treated bunny rabbits, I would. I purposely avoid the bunny sections in the pet shops and cringe when I see these beautiful creatures in their tiny cages in other's home. I hope to one day be able to open up a bunny shelter for unwanted or hurt bunny rabbits. Yes, I'm going to be the crazy bunny lady.

For anyone thinking about getting a rabbit, or for anyone already with a rabbit that wants to make their home a happier one, I can help you. Belly's home is pretty spacious for a rabbit's home. If you create a similair setup for your loved furballs, I promise that they will be very happy just like Belly. However, if you cannot afford something of her home's build and stature, that is okay too, and I will share with you the bare minimum of what your bunny needs to live a long, healthy, and happy life with you.




The Home
Belly's home, seen to the right, is actually a ferret cage that we found on-sale at a local pet shop. I found one exactly like it, online here, for $160. At first, she didn't want to use the "stairs", but figured out how to use them within about a week. Until you're sure that your rabbit understands the concept of the "stairs", make sure that there is a supply of food and water on both levels.

 If you cannot afford a cage like this, your rabbit can still live a happy life. However, please beware of cages that you find in pet shops that are marketed for "small animals" even if they include rabbits. Most of these cages are simply too small for a rabbit of any size, and I'm not even sure why they're legal. A wonderful article I found here about rabbit cages claims that the cage "...should be at least 24-30' wide x 16-18' high for rabbits up to 6 pounds; 24-36' wide x 16-18' high for rabbits up to 8 pounds; and 36-30' wide x 18-24' high for larger rabbits or a pair or small rabbits (Rabbits at Chandrabeal)." If you do choose a cage that is nearing the "at least" requirement for cage sizes, please make sure that your rabbit gets a lot of time outside of his cage. Just like you wouldn't like to be locked up in a bathroom all day, your rabbit doesn't want to be locked up in such a small space either.

As for the cage's material, if your rabbit has adequate toys and things to chew on inside of his cage, chewing the cage itself shouldn't be a problem. However, just in case, I would say that it's best to stay away from plastic cages, as those are very easy for bunnies to snack on and could make for an unhealthy bunny. 

Please also pay attention to what the bottom of the cage is made of. I don't like when the bottom of the cage has slits or wires, because your little bunny's feet can get caught and cause distress. If you must have a cage with bottom slits, make sure to put a layer of newspaper to cover the bottom of the cage. Belly's cage has carpet squares (that were not chemically treated) that my mother found long ago. They work perfect in her cage by allowing her feet something to grasp, while allowing me to simply vacuum them when it's rabbit cage cleaning day. If you're lucky enough to find carpet squares, please make sure that they are not chemically treated with ANYTHING, and that the carpet is too low for your rabbit to nibble on.




Litter Boxes: Belly has a purple V-shaped litter-box that we picked up at a pet store. It is made out of plastic, but we've yet to find a sturdy alternative. If you find one, let me know! We fill the litterbox with a thin layer of recycled, natural, pet bedding. You can buy this bedding in many pet stores, or online here in different quantities. Please do not buy "cedar-chips" or any other pet bedding. These kind of pet beddings are known to cause respitory distress in small animals, including rabbits, and are bad for your rabbit's overall health. They can even cut your rabbit's lifespan. 

How do bunnies learn to use a litter box? Just like cats, rabbits are clean animals that don't want to sit around in their own filth. When given the chance and a perfect "spot" to go, rabbits will choose to go potty in one place. This might need a little bit of encouragement by cleaning the rabbit's cage of any waste to deter him from going in a different spot, and by placing a bit of the waste in the litter box to signal that this is the place to go. 

It's important to change your rabbit's litter box at least once a week. If you have bedding in your cage but your rabbit is good about using his litterbox, that bedding can be changed a little bit less often, as long as it's clean. If you notice and signs of smelly bedding, your rabbit is liking not peeing in the litter box and the bedding should be changed often, too.




Food and Nutrients
A food bowl that has the ability to connect through bars and be secured is usually preferred because rabbits are playful creatures and, especially when bored, like to make mischief! I can't count how many times Belly has knocked her food over (even to different cage levels!) before she had a secured food bowl. Regardless of what kind of food bowl that you choose, the importance is in making sure that your rabbit is fed daily! Rabbits at Chandrabeal saves the day again with a nifty little chart comparing your rabbit's weight and how much food he should get that can be found here. Try to stay away from any food that is too colorful, as most of these colorful food bits are made of sugar and purely for the buyer's content. Simple food pellets made from Timothy Hay will do. I buy Nature's Promise Timothy Naturals, because it's labeled that the food is monitered for pesticide use and contains healthy, simple nutrients without all of the fluff. 

Just as important  as pellet feeding is making sure that your rabbit has an unlimited access to hay. There are many different kinds of hay, and I find that it's best to alternate them to jazz up your rabbit's routine. Rabbits love Alfalfa hay, but because of it's high calcium content, make sure that as an adult rabbit, this kind of hay is only fed once a week. Other hays, like Timothy and other grass hays, can be fed in unlimited amounts, and should be! Hay is an important  part of your rabbit's health, as it helps the rabbit's special digestive system. 

You also must feed your rabbit a healthy variety of fruits and vegetables daily. Some foods, like Romaine lettuce, can be fed daily without problems. Other foods, especially ones high in Vitamin A, need to moderated. Some sugary fruits also need to be moderated. Rabbits at ChandraBeal here has a comprehensive list. 

There isn't much evidence on salt licks and the health of rabbits. Some say that it's a necessity, and others say that it's completely unnecessary. They're cheap, and one lasts a long time, so I keep one hooked to Belly's cage just in case. 

There's also great debate over whether or not rabbits need wood chews, or hard things to chew on. While there's good evidence that it could be unecessary, there is also some evidence that without hard things to chew on, rabbit's teeth could grow too fast. My mother once told me horror stories about rabbit's teeth growing into their skulls because of not having wood chews, so whether true or not, I keep plenty of wood chews in Belly's cage just in case and you should too. Not only could they be important for health, but rabbits like to nibble on things to pass the time and play.




Water: Make sure that your loved one always has access to a water bottle. The ones that hang from the cage bars are perfect. Make sure that you place it somewhere that your rabbit can get to, but also where your rabbit won't have to awkwardly bend down to drink. Because of the size of Belly's cage, we keep one water bottle hanging from both levels. 




Play Toys: Rabbits love to play! Belly's favorite game is throwing her ball around in the air, and it might just be the cutest thing that I've ever seen (See above). Safe chewing toys include anything made of wood, cardboard, or healthy grasses. Belly has many wooden toys and grass balls that we've bought her from the pet store, but I'm always amazed when her favorite toy is an old toilet paper roll filled with hay or a fruity treat. Her other favorite toy is an infant's toy ball that my mother purchased her a while back. I don't like that it's made of plastic, but she loves it SO much that I can't bear to break her heart and take it away. She especially likes when I roll it towards her. She either picks it up and throws it into the air, or she rolls it back. She likes to do the same thing with plastic measuring cups and even a deck of cards. 

Have fun with your rabbit! They're playful and loving creatures that love contact with others. If your rabbit jumps high into the air and seems to "spazz", that means that he's binkying, something that rabbits do when they're full of joy. If you watch your rabbit binky, you're doing something right! If your rabbit grunts at you or put his ears back and lunges, it means that the fun is over and that he feels threatened, so it's time to back off. 





I referenced Chandra Beal's Rabbit page on her blog many times because I found that it was an awesome source of rabbit knowledge, so don't be shy to go back to her blog here to read more.

Rabbits are beautiful creatures and they're so often thrown into the category of animals like hamsters and mice, that it's easy to see why many are unaware of the rabbit's intelligence. We adore our Belly and we hope you do too! 

I would love to see any pictures of your bunny rabbit's lovely homes :)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Vegan Jar Cake








I gave this cute, homemade vegan cake in a jar to my boyfriend, Aaron, and it's a good thing that I took pictures beforehand, because he gobbled it right up! My boyfriend is not a vegan, so he's the perfect, unbiased test subject for my animal-free goodies. While this layered cake in a jar turned out adorable, l'll let you in on a little secret: It was made from vegan cupcakes that I messed up!! If, like me, your baking and frosting abilities need some work, this recipe is perfect for you, because it's virtually impossible to mess up!

Earlier this week, I tried Little Blue Bird's "Chocolate Crazy Cake" and it turned out wonderful! I decided to make a batch of her vanilla version, which also turned out wonderful. However, I didn't realize that my cupcakes hadn't cooled fully (what a rookie mistake!) and the frosting melted all over the cupcakes and their liners. I was so dissapointed, because they tasted so yummy but looked like a two year old threw them together. That's when, in an effort to save my cupcakes, my vegan cake in a jar was born!




My vegan cake in a jar has three different types of layers. To make the vegan cake in a jar, first make each of these elements seperately: 

1. Vegan vanilla cake: I used Little Blue Bird's Crazy/Wacky Vanilla cake recipe



2. Vegan chocolate frosting:        - 1/4 cup Earth Balance margarine (I use soy-free), melted
                                                             - 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
                                                             - 1/3 cup vegan milk subsitute (I use flax milk)
                                                             - 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
                                                             - 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Directions: In a large bowl, beat the unsweetened cocoa and melted Earth Balance together. Add the milk and vanilla, and mix until smooth. Slowly mix in the powdered sugar until the mixture is smooth.



3. Vegan peanut butter frosting: - 1/4 cup Earth Balance margarine, melted
                                                             - 1/2 cup peanut butter 
                                                             - 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Directions: In a small microwave-safe bowl, microwave the peanut butter for about 30 seconds until warm. In a large bowl, add the Earth Balance and the peanut butter together and mix until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar until the mix is smooth. If you prefer an airy consistency, an electronic mixer is recommended. The longer the mixture is beat, the more airy it will be.





To make Vegan Jar Cake:
Once you have all of the elements made, you will need an old, clean jar, or a mason jar. Make sure that your jar has a lid if it's not going to be eaten right away. I bought my mason jar on a trip to the Dollar Store, can you believe it? 

1. Pour in a couple of spoonfuls of cake crumbles in your jar until it's filled a bit less than a fourth of the way.

2. Heat up the chocolate frosting in a heat-safe container that will make it easy to pour. I used a glass measuring cup with a spout and put it in the microwave for twenty seconds. Heating the frosting up will temporarily make the frosting mixture runny and will make it easier to pour into the jar without getting it all over the sides. Pour just enough chocolate frosting in the jar to completely cover the cake. The frosting will soak into the cake layer underneath, especially because it's hot. I found that by tilting the jar in a circle, I was able to cover all parts of the cake evenly.

3. Make another layer of cake crumbles.

4. Heat up the peanut butter frosting in a heat-safe container that will make it easy to pour. (You get the idea!) Again, pour just enough to cover the cake. 

5. Repeat steps one through four until your jar is filled to your liking. Voilà! You have an adorable Vegan Layered Cake in a Jar.





I made my own tag with a bit of cardstock and thin Sharpies, 
but I also made a free tag printable for your Vegan Jar Cake for you to use below.

Click here or the preview below to download a free tag printable for your jar :)
                
                       
   
I would love to see hear about how your Vegan Jar Cakes turn out :)