Friday, April 21, 2017

Lemon Drop Chess Squares

Every single time I make chess squares, I wonder why I don't use this recipe more.  Everybody loves these things!

Lemon Drop Chess Squares Recipe || Chess Cake Ideas || Easy From Scratch Southern Recipe || Homemade || Cream Cheese Cake Mix

But then, a few days later, I remember why: they are completely addictive and I have zero will power against them.  As a matter of fact, a few of these are currently sitting in my kitchen and it's taking everything I've got to say no right now.

Lemon Drop Chess Squares Recipe || Chess Cake Ideas || Easy From Scratch Southern Recipe || Homemade || Cream Cheese Cake Mix

Another reason I love this recipe is that you can add basically any flavor in to change it up a little bit!  I made these for Easter Sunday...how perfect is the bright flavor of lemon for a spring dessert?

Here's the recipe I used!


print recipe

Lemon Drop Chess Squares
I delicious, bright, and rich spring/summer dessert!
Ingredients
  • 1 box lemon cake mix
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup), melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • cream cheese, room temperature 8oz
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup sweetened lemonade mix
  • 2 eggs
Instructions
Mix together cake mix, 1 egg, and stick of butter until smooth. Press mixture in the bottom of a greased 9x13" glass dish.Mix together remaining ingredients using a mixer (until smooth). Pour this mixture on top of cake mix in glass dish.
Bake at 325 degrees for 35-40 minutes, until mixture is set and top starts to brown. Let cool for 20-30 minutes before serving.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 16-20 squares


Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

My Secrets to Paperless Home Organization

Paperless Home & Office Organization || Tips and Ideas for Using Evernote || Organizing Your Day Through iPhone Apps

I've clearly been on an organization kick for the past couple of weeks!  Last week, I shared my guide to how I develop my home budget and a few cute worksheets to accompany it.

In that planning notebook post, I kind of touched on the fact that, in spite of running a blog that (in a large part) focuses around printables, I don't use them in my own home.  Like at all.  I absolutely love designing them and posting them for you guys, but I just have this weird thing with paper clutter.  It drives me crazy!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Ultimate Planning Notebook Add-On: Budget Tracking Printables

I laugh all of the time about how ironic it is that I run a blog known for its printables and absolutely hate using printables in my own life.  I know it sounds silly, but I love designing printables...I just don't like actually using them!

Take, for example, the household budget managing method I shared Tuesday.  It is totally paperless.  However, I love designing printables that help others manage their home and totally understand that using them works so much better for other people!  I couldn't help but create a couple of cute budget printables that match my Ultimate Planning Notebook for you guys.

If paperless organization just isn't your thing, you can totally use the following pages to track your budget in the way I described Tuesday.  Here's how to do it...

Free Budget Printable || Organizing Finances || Ultimate Planning Notebook Pages || Monthly Planning || Organizing Templates || Weekly Budgeting for Beginners


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Paperless Way I Set (and Stick To) Our Household Budget

Budgeting Tips || Budget for Beginners || Paperless Budget System || Household Budget Template || Online Budget Organization || Paperless Ideas



If you get the Lamberts Lately Newsletter in your email each week, you probably know that I like to feature a few older posts at the bottom that kind of line up with the time of year.  Last week, I thought about featuring my old How I Make Our Household Budget post...but, upon quickly reading through it, I realized it was incredibly out of date!  So how about we update that today?

Friday, April 7, 2017

#LambertsGoHome, Part 2


We've made so much progress on our forever home since my last update!  At the end the last timeline post, we were at day 39...today is day 205.  I've been updating periodically over on Instagram, but I thought I would do a more thorough update post over here today!

I originally started these updates because, going into the home building process, I really had no idea what to expect as far as the "behind the scenes" work and the timeline of it all.  There honestly isn't a lot of detailed information out there about what all goes into the complete homebuilding journey!  So, I thought I'd share our experience to help those who might be going into this journey.  It's also kind of fun to look back and remember what all went into building our home.

Let's pick up where we left off last time!  I mentioned on Instagram that there was kind of a dead period where a lot of behind-the-scenes things happened...this timeline details that a little bit more.


Day 43: We got our second floor plan revisions back (the image above is what they looked like at that point).  The square footage was much better, and we were actually ready to approve this floor plan...until our builder responded to the email to tell us that building this house would put us $75,000 over budget.  Whoops.

So back to the drawing board (literally) it went.  At this point, we shaved off a little bit more square footage, turned our back sunroom into a screened porch (something we didn't even think about that saved us about 100 square feet), and took out some of the built-ins.

Day 49: Newest revisions of the floor plans...this time around, we made the upstairs playroom bigger and turned our 3-car garage into a 2-car.

Day 58: One last revision to the floor plan was sent over...this is the one we actually approved!  In this one, the revision to the 2-car garage caused a pretty significant change to the upstairs that allowed us to make the playroom bigger and still reduce overall square footage.  The bedrooms/bathrooms were rearranged though, so they don't appear like the floor plan above at all.

At this point, our architect sent the plan to our builder to make sure there were no issues.  After that, our bid docs were drawn...those are the plans that are sent to the subcontractors to get estimates for our budget.

Day 64: Our bid docs were ready, and on Day 66 our builder submitted the bid docs to subcontractors for estimates.

Day 86: (This happened to be our 9th wedding anniversary!) We had our budget meeting with our builder.  Everything looked as expected, and the only thing we changed was the hardwood on the stairs to carpeting (for safety issues).  We signed off on everything that night and made everything officially official!

Day 90: One issue we talked about with the builder at our budget meeting was the site layout.  Because our site slopes to the right, we would have had to put in a large retaining wall next to the driveway if we built the house as shown in the plan.  Because I didn't want a huge wall/railing with kids and because the dirt work alone would have cost about $10,000 extra, we flipped the plan at this point.


Day 92: This final, complete plans were done!  I picked up our copies that day. (You can see a little bit more of our floor plans in this post and this post.)

Day 100: In this couple of weeks, permits and approvals were the name of the game.  We picked a few little minor details in this stage (exterior colors mostly) and our plans were submitted to the city for permits and to the HOA for approval.

Day 122: Permits and approvals are done!  We had what our builder calls a "button-down" meeting...all of the main subcontractors met with us to go over the plans and make sure we were all on the same page.  Only a couple of little edits came out of this meeting (we added a rain shower head, edited the lighting bid just a little bit, and changed the stair railing).


Day 124: We visited our site with nothing on it one last time!


Day 138: Our foundation frame was up!



Day 152: We visited the site and block work had started. (This was the same day as Jackson's birthday party!)


Day 165: Tons of block work had been done.  If you look really closely, you can see Noah behind that tree to get a feel for how tall the blocks are...he's 6'3" guys.  Our back wall of foundation is over 10' tall!  And no, we didn't put in a basement (although I would have if I had known how much space we had down there after we flipped the plan).


Day 172: Block work was basically done!  They kept the garage area open so they could put in the fill dirt.


Day 179: Dirt was pretty much all filled in, and we could see the beginnings of plumbing.  This was the first time we could really kind of tell where everything on the first floor would be!


Day 189: Noah checked in and found that dirt/block work was completely done and the foundation moisture barrier/rebar was in place.


Day 200: We check out our foundation that was poured on Day 197!  It looked pretty dry when we were there (but we still didn't want to walk on it just yet).

And that's basically where we are right now!  Our builder has warned us that things are going to start moving really fast for awhile...then really slow.  Weather permitting, they'll be working on our framing for the next few weeks...I'm so excited about this part!  It feels like this is really when it's going to start coming to life.

If you want the latest updates, I'll be sharing them on my Instagram over the next few months.  We're still on track for a late September move-in date!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

5 Tips For an Amazing American Girl Store Trip

When we started planning Emmie's birthday this year, we kind of wanted to go against the grain of our normal routine.  Now, you guys know I love planning a birthday party as much as the next person...but, this year, we wanted to try something a little bit different to celebrate her big day.

Instead of spending a ton of money on a party that Emmie's really already experienced in past years, we wanted to give her the option of traveling somewhere new and experiencing something different this year.  So, instead of doing a local birthday party, we surprised her with a trip to the American Girl Store in Houston, Texas.  It was absolutely the right decision...she had the time of her life and will remember that day forever!

Now, if you've never been to an American Girl Store, trust me...it's far from just a store.  It really is a full experience that can be the center of a fun mini-vacation for your family.  We made this a weekend trip for Emmie and definitely didn't run out of fun things to do!

American Girl Store tips || Houston, Texas trip || American Girl birthday || Awesome AG Doll Displays || Maryellen Larkin ||  Bistro Menu || Doll Hair Salon

If you're planning an upcoming trip, there are a few things I'd recommend taking advantage of during your stay.