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Monday, July 15, 2013

Sparking Motivation and Calling Carrot Cake Lovers!!

Do you notice a new page in my menu bar?  I am in the process of organizing ALL the Tried It Tuesday link ups from the past few months on this page!  If you click on "Tried It Tuesday" in the menu bar, you will see categories of link ups.  Then, click on a category to take you to a page of thumbnail links to past topics posted by so many amazing bloggers!!  It is taking me quite awhile but I think it will be such a useful tool when it is all done and be a great motivator for teachers to try something new.  So many past ideas will be right there organized by topic!
I am linking up this motivating idea for teachers (which will, in turn, motivate your students!) with one of my absolute favorite bloggers, Joanne, at Head Over Heels for Teaching.  
Speaking of Tried It Tuesday, scroll down to the bottom of this post to see all the great ideas linked up for July so far!  Bloggers, feel free to add your link anytime this month (even link up more than once!).  Click here for a link to the button and July's original post.  
The next new link up will be on Tuesday, August 6th when it will be back weekly!!

Also, for some motivation for me this summer, I committed to participating in two book studies.  One is on Guided Math hosted by Tina from Croft's Classroom.  See my posts here and here.  The other is on Word Nerds hosted by Sabra from Teaching with a Touch of Twang.  See my post here.  
It is amazing how participating in blogging book studies can get me in gear to complete some professional reading!  I like that I am getting a head start on learning some new information and right now I am just "taking it all in".  The difficult part will be in August when I truly have to start applying what I have learned and decide how it will work in my classroom come September.

Next, I am sharing a recipe for the fun linky at Teaching Tales Along the Yellow Brick Road:
Do you love carrot cake?  It seems like people either love it or hate it!  Well, my family totally LOVES carrot cake, especially this recipe!  We call it "The Best Ever Carrot Cake!"  I actually got the recipe from one of my husbands coworkers about eight years ago and it is the #1 requested cake for special events in my family.  
Guess who they always ask to make it?  Me!  I really don't mind though.  
Baking is like my therapy and I find it relaxing.  

This carrot cake is made using a bundt pan:
It is made completely from scratch and SO DELICIOUS!  Don't let the "made from scratch" part scare you.  It really is easy!  The hardest part about this carrot cake is grating the carrots.  
My hubby usually does this job for me! :)  What a guy!
Preheat the oven to 350 and spray the bundt pan with a non-stick cooking spray.
I use Pam with flour for baking.
Use a mixer to blend the cream cheese filling and place in a separate bowl for later.
The cream cheese filling is:
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg beaten
8 oz. cream cheese
Next, whisk together the dry ingredients:
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups flour
Blend the wet ingredients 
(I LOVE my Kitchen Aid Mixer!). 
1 cup oil
3 eggs beaten 
As a money saving tip for those of you who like to bake a lot, if you buy the large container of vanilla at Sam's Club, it saves a lot of money!  Here is a picture of my container of vanilla (a good brand!) next to a coffee cup.  This will last me a year and the tiny jars in the store are so expensive!
After blending the wet ingredients, add in three parts the dry ingredients, mixing after each addition.  Don't add the cream cheese filling yet!
 Add 3 cups shredded carrots
Add 1/2 cup walnuts (optional).  I use the finely diced walnuts.
The recipe also calls for optional 3/4 cup raisins.
I leave the raisins out but it is personal preference.
Spoon just enough batter around the bottom of the bundt pan to cover it.
 Next, take the cream cheese filling (already mixed) and drop it by spoonfulls on top of the batter.  
Finally, cover the cream cheese filling with the remaining cake batter.
 Bake at 350 in the middle of the oven for about 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
 I let the cake cool in the pan for about five minutes and then (using oven mitts!), place my cake pan on top of the bundt pan and flip both over.  The cake comes out clean from the pan every time!
Here is the pan after removing the cake:
After the cake has completely cooled, it is time for the cream cheese frosting!! Yummy!
Blend together for the frosting:
6 oz. cream cheese
4 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
3 1/2 cup confectioner sugar
1 tsp. milk (add a little at a time until it is a good consistency)

 We were busy this weekend with some camping Friday and Saturday (it was Halloween in July at our campground!).  On Sunday, my hubby and I celebrated 12 years since we said, "I Do!"
Here we are circa 2001.  
We were also busy this weekend bringing home the new addition to our family, Porter!  He is just an adorable Shih-tzu puppy.  Our other Shih-tzu (9 years old) has not warmed up to him quite yet but we hope she will soon!  Right now, she won't be in the same room as him. :(  Poor girl was the baby for 9 years.  Our other dog, a Pug who was 14 years old, passed away this past spring so she always had a companion.  
My house last night was a crying puppy and a barking dog telling the crying puppy to be quiet!  All settled down though and the puppy has not had "an accident" in the house yet. :)  
It is funny having a puppy again after nine years.  
You forget how little they are, how much they like to nap and then how playful they are when awake.  It is kind of like having a newborn baby!  Well, maybe it is a little easier. :)

Here are the Tried It Tuesday link ups for July!  Bloggers, feel free to add your link anytime this month (even link up more than once!). 
The next new link up will be Tuesday, August 6th when the linky will be back weekly! Thank you for all the fabulous ideas!!


  1. Holly, I was half way through writing my Tried it Tuesday post for tomorrow and remembered there isn't one tomorrow(I'm saving it for the next one though)! DUH, Alison! I was just so excited. Lol! That carrot cake looks YUMMY!!!!!!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  2. That puppy is the cutest!!!! I agree, it's hard to read those professional books over the summer, but book studies definitely motivated you! I'm so glad you're posting about them-I didn't sign up because I know better. I have too much on my plate and I hate not completing something. So, thanks to all of you, we get some great information without being stressed! :O)I hope you're bringing some of that carrot cake when you come to FL! Happy Anniversary! You both are beautiful!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  3. Oh my, your new puppy is ADORABLE!!! Makes me want to get another one, but my 11 year old Springer Spaniel would probably take his Milkbones and leave...

    The carrot cake recipe looks so yummy! I never thought of cream cheese filling on the inside. Definitely will make that one soon!

    Happy Anniversary!

    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

  4. I had to comment because everything you said about bringing the new puppy home was so true! You hit the nail on the head! HA! I brought a puppy (Sophie) into my home 4 years ago, and my shih-tzu (Chloe), who was 4yrs old at the time, absolutely REFUSED to have anything to do with the new pup. She went out of her way to walk as far away from the puppy pen as she could. It took about 4 days before she decided this "furball" wasn't going anywhere, and she went over to investigate. She and Sophie have been friendly since. Shih-tzu's are so fickle. They don't embrace new things so quickly, and can be so reserved. Don't you agree?

    Good luck with the new pup! And congrats on the "accident-free zone" so far....

  5. Hi Holly! Your carrot cake looks absolutely scrumptious!!!

    I love your blog. I have been a Google Friend follower for a long time! For some reason, when I transferred everything over to Bloglovin' alot of the blogs I follow were lost. I don't know why, but it makes me very sad.

    Anyway, I am following you on Bloglovin' now as well. :)

    ♡ Lori

    ♥ Owl in a Vowel Tree Blog ♥

    ✎ Owl in a Vowel Tree TPT ✎

  6. You were a gorgeous bride! Thanks for the yummy recipe too! Love you lady!

    Crofts' Classroom

  7. I do like carrot cake, especially for the frosting, but I've never made it. I might just have to :)

    Congratulations on your wedding anniversary! What a beautiful bride! :) Surely it can't be 12 years ago though, must have been last year, you've hardly aged a bit! :)

    Teaching Tales Along the Yellow Brick Road