Summertime Staples: Ice Cream Cake

Corey and I love summer. There’s just something about the insane heat, the lazy days off, and spending tons of time poolside that makes my heart happy. And it helps that I’ve got a few different recipes that scream summer to me – I keep ‘em in near constant rotation throughout the summer and it just doesn’t feel like summer unless they’re in my kitchen. Last summer, I shared my favorite strawberry lemonade and sangria recipes, and I can’t believe I left out another favorite…

Ice cream cake.

So! Good!

This is probably the easiest ice cream cake in existence, and it’s oh-so tasty. I’ve had the recipe for years and have no idea where I got it, but I think I just stumbled on the original source the other day on Pinterest – it’s the exact same recipe as this one from Kraft, so I’m calling that my source.

Here’s what you’ll need:

– 12 ice cream sandwiches

– 1 8-oz tub of Cool Whip (depending on how much you like Cool Whip, you may prefer to get a bigger tub)

– 1/2 cup of hot fudge ice cream topping, warmed

– 1 4-oz package of instant chocolate pudding

– 1/4 cup of milk

– 10-15 Oreos

Start off with the hot fudge – get it warmed and toss it in a mixing bowl. Then, add in 1 cup of the Cool Whip (you’ll need the rest later). Mix it until it’s completely combined.

Add in the instant chocolate pudding and mix. It’ll get pretty dry, so add in your 1/4 cup of milk now too.

Once it’s all mixed in, crush up your Oreos and throw ‘em in. You may choose to use more or less depending on how much you love them, but I’ve found 12-14 to be my magic number.

Next up, grab a big piece of foil and lay it out on the counter. Unwrap 4 of your ice cream sandwiches and lay them out in a row.

Take half of your Oreo mixture and spread it out on top of the ice cream sandwiches. It’s super thick so you may have to get in there with your fingers to help spread it out. This is probably my favorite part – perfect excuse to taste the filling!

Once you’ve got it spread out nicely, add on another four ice cream sandwiches.

Then, top it off with the rest of the filling. Once again, use your fingers to help it get nice and even.

Finish it off with the last four sandwiches.

Now, you get to bust out the rest of the Cool Whip. Spread it out over the cake and cover it as well as you can – it may help if you’ve let the Cool Whip sit out for a little while before doing this so it’s easier to spread. If you’re using the 8-oz tub, you’ll have a very thin layer, but you can get it a littler thicker if you get the bigger tub – it’s all a matter of preference. I like to keep my focus on the filling (it’s the best part!) so I usually do a thinner layer, but it’s awesome either way.

Once it’s all finished, wrap it up in the foil and put it in the freezer for at least four hours – the longer, the better.

Then, once it’s all frozen and ready to eat…enjoy!

This is my absolute favorite dessert in the summer – so easy and SO tasty!

What dessert is a must-have for you in the summer?

Chopping It Off

So, I know you guys probably don’t care about my new haircut.

But it’s a pretty dramatic change, and the next time I throw up a photo of me you might not even recognize me, so I figured I’d dedicate a quick post to it today.

You ready for the before and after?

I’ve been wanting a haircut for the past few weeks – my hair was getting absurdly long, and with how thick it is (and the 100+ degree weather we have here in Texas), I was never wearing it down anymore and was constantly cursing it. So, it was time for a change. I’ve been dying to get bangs for years, actually, but I’ve just been too chicken – I had them in high school and hated the upkeep, but I think now that I’m a little older and more experienced with how to deal with my hair, it’ll be easier to maintain. Hopefully. We’ll see.

All I know is I’m loving the change so far, and I’m crossing my fingers the bangs don’t start making me nuts in a few weeks.

Anyone else make a big hair change recently? Any tips on how to make sure I don’t end up hating my bangs?

4th of July Fun

I have to admit, Corey and I kind of struggled last week to make the 4th actually feel like a holiday. We didn’t have any parties or picnics to go to, and since we’re both teachers and it’s the middle of summer, it wasn’t like we were enjoying an unusual day off.

But, it’s still technically a holiday, so we knew we had to do something. We decided to make waffles when we woke up to start off the day – we haven’t been making big breakfasts lately, so that right there was almost enough to make the day feel special.

Most of our day was just a typical summer day – we lazed around, did some cleaning, watched an absurd amount of television, and just relaxed. But around dinnertime we headed out to a local 4th of July festival with Hadley in tow – we love an excuse to take her places, and she loves getting out of the house. We don’t even attempt to take our other dogs anywhere – Cullen would spend the whole time trying to jump up on everyone, and Ranger would be a nervous wreck. Hadley’s our only super friendly, easy to approach dog – which is a good thing, because she was quite a popular attraction at the festival – we had a few people come up and say hi and chat with us. It’s always fun to have her with us for that very reason – we actually get to chat with people we don’t know, which we normally probably wouldn’t do!

We hung out at the festival for dinner (Hadley and I split a barbecue sandwich!) and then headed back to the house for fireworks. We thought about sticking around and watching them at the festival, but we hadn’t been smart enough to bring chairs or a blanket to sit on, so we weren’t super comfortable, and it was about 9 million degrees out so we were ready to get back to the air conditioning.

We waited until it got dark outside, then we climbed up on the roof to watch the fireworks. We only live about a mile from where the festival was, so we had an awesome view of the show. It felt pretty silly and special to be hanging out on the roof for the show – definitely not something we do every day! – so it helped the day feel a lot more like a holiday.

Of course, we felt pretty bad when we came back in and realized how terrified our dogs were. Cullen is not a fan of fireworks, and the poor baby was shaking like a leaf. We grabbed him and the other dogs and headed into the garage where it was nice and quiet, and settled in to watch some television until the fireworks died down – it definitely helped everyone chill out a bit!

Of course, the fireworks kept going off long into the night – I’m always shocked by how inconsiderate other people are about stuff like that – I seriously think they were still being lit long after midnight! All in all, though, I think we did a good job of making the day actually feel a little different than usual, and we still got plenty of relaxing in, which is always important for a summer day.

What did you do this Fourth of July?

Homemade Pickles

I LOVE pickles.

Kind of random, but it’s true. Pickles have always been basically my favorite food in existence.

So, when we got these guys in our CSA box last week, I knew what I had to do.

That’s right, we made our own pickles!

We’ve actually had a pickle-making-kit from Crate & Barrel for several months now and have never gotten around to trying it out. So last weekend, I decided there was no reason to wait any longer.

It was surprisingly simple to make ‘em – I just cut the pickles into little slices, tossed them into the jars, mixed up the flavoring and poured it in. 24 hours later, they were ready for snacking!

Um, they’re GOOD! It made four jars, so they’re going to last a while – but considering how often I’ve been snacking on them, I could be wrong about that!

Have you ever made homemade pickles? I’m obsessed now!

Cameras, Cameras Everywhere

I may have a bit of an obsession.

You see, I own quite a few cameras.

I’m not sure how it happened, but I’m pretty sure normal people don’t own this many cameras.

It all started with the DSLR – we use it mostly for the blog, and it takes awesome, high-quality photos. Love it.

But, um, it’s big. And heavy. And it’s not very fun to carry it around on vacation, or when we go random places and want a few good photos.

So we needed a point and shoot. We originally bought a point and shoot right around the time we were getting ready for a vacation, though, and so we decided to go with an underwater camera – they’re so nice to have at the beach and it’s awesome to be at the pool and not have to worry about getting the camera wet. We love this one too.

BUT. It doesn’t really take super awesome photos. So, while it’s nice to have, I don’t love the photos that come out of it.

So…we decided to get another point and shoot. One that takes good photos. And isn’t an underwater camera. This way, we can use the underwater one when we’re at the pool or the beach, and use the other one the rest of the time.

What else do we have?

Well, we have a video camera. It’s probably not super necessary, and to be honest we don’t use it as much as I’d like to, but I love having home videos and an actual video camera just works so much better then using a regular old camera to take video. So, I love having it.

Oh, and we’ve both got our iPhones which, while not technically an actual camera, we probably use them more than anything else to take photos on a regular basis. It’s just easy!

So, yeah. We seem to be gathering quite the camera collection – I’m thinking now that we have the second point and shoot (it was a pretty recent purchase), we’ll be done. Five cameras is plenty, right?

Although, I would LOVE an old Polaroid camera…

How many cameras do you own? Is five cameras a lot, or am I just crazy and that’s a totally normal number?