A family's journey of learning how to make a home, save money and be healthy… while having fun doing it!

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Chinese Chippendale Chairs- Before and After

I have been waiting patiently since we moved in to this new house to give this set of chairs a little upgrade (they were covered in shiny brown paint and fabric that just didn’t match in our house).

chair 1 (1)

I debated a ton of “refinishing” options:

  • sanding them and then staining
  • spraying it white or black for a classic look
  • going bright turquoise, navy, or even a fun yellow/green color

But then my sister thought of a charcoal color and I was sold. Although I wish I was more adventurous with color in my decorating (from seeing all of these beautiful colorful, Pinterest homes) I just can’t seem to breakaway from my grey habit/slightly masculine color taste in design.

I’ve wanted Chinese Chippendale chairs since I can remember. I’ve always loved the style. So I updated mine with a light grey linen tablecloth (cheaper than buying fabric!), a test-size can of paint in charcoal grey, a hand sander and a staple gun.

Here’s what they look like now:

chair 2


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Salted Caramel Pretzel Cupcakes Recipe/ Caramel Buttercream Frosting Recipe

Up here in Wisconsin, where the temps are currently -12 (-35 with the windchill), we’re stuck inside with nothing to do but bake! So I made homemade chicken soup and my favorite kind of cupcakes: Salted chocolate caramel pretzel cupcakes.

These are easy to throw together and look nice for parties or events. The recipe is below:


Salted Caramel Pretzel Cupcakes/ Caramel Buttercream Frosting

Author: The Family Class
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time:  20 mins
Cook time:  16 mins
Total time: 36 mins
Use your favorite boxed chocolate cake mix to first quickly make the cupcakes. Or, I like to use this recipe (minus the frosting) for my chocolate cakes from scratch.
Next is the salted caramel buttercream. This recipe uses butter, whipped cream, vanilla, powdered sugar, and salt.
  • 2 sticks UNSALTED butter softened (but not melted!) The ideal texture should feel like ice cream. I can’t stress this enough: perfect frosting is almost 100% the right consistency of the butter. I microwave mine on 1/2 power and watch it very carefully for about a minute.
  • 3 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely ground sea salt
  • 3/4 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup caramel topping from Starbucks. I bought a whole bottle (they sell it seasonally) but if that’s not available, order a drink and ask for the caramel syrup on the side (any excuse to run to Starbucks!)
  • Snyder’s or any brand square-shaped pretzels
  1. Beat the butter for a few minutes with a mixer on medium speed.
  2. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the sugar doesn’t blow everywhere) until the sugar is incorporated with the butter.
  3. Increase the mixer speed to medium again and add vanilla extract, salt, and 4 tablespoons of cream and beat for 3 minutes.
  4. Add the Starbucks caramel (note: if you don’t want the caramel to be strong, I recommend adding a small amount at a time and taste testing!)
  5. Pipe on the frosting and top with a pretzel and crushed pretzel pieces (I do this by putting them in a baggy and letting my son “smash” them)


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My New Cakes!

In addition to the blog, I also make cakes in my spare time. I’ve been busy making cakes all weekend, and have been away from the blog for a little bit. These were definitely the most challenging cakes I’ve done to date, but I’m pretty happy with how they turned out!

Here’s the princess cake:


and the Woody/Toy Story themed cake:


What do you guys think? I’d love some feedback!

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Orange Glad Review and EXCLUSIVE Promo Code- A Dessert Box Subscription- SAY WHAT???

We were so thrilled when the nice folks at Orange Glad offered to send us a box to review. Orange Glad sends an assortment of desserts in the mail every month, and although we try to eat healthy over here at the family class, we both have a sweet tooth and we enjoy gourmet sweets.

 The box:

Orange Glad: $19.95/month. Orange Glad is a assortment of gourmet sweets delivered straight to your doorstep every month.

Promo code: Orange Glad has a special code for our readers only: 10% off with code “FAMCLASS10″


ImageOur box contained five different types of treats.


It also came with two inserts as well.  The first one told us about all the treats and the companies that made them.  


The second insert was an ingredients list. I always love when companies include ingredient lists, because I have Celiac (so I eat mostly gluten-free) and I like to know what the ingredients are!

ImageAnd here’s all of the delicious desserts we received! (Also, we received this box the same week of our move. I had to BEG Greg not to eat it before I could photograph it- if there’s chocolate in the house, he finds it.)


The Crispery S’mores Crispy Cake

Marshmallows are my absolute favorite dessert, I think because they tend to be gluten-free! So my eyes lit up when I saw The Crispery S’mores Crispy Cake. I’ve actually seen these in a different subscription box and I’ve always wanted to try them. This yummy marshmallow treat is layered with crunchy graham cracker cookies, rich chocolate, and marshmallows. This was the main thing I had to keep away from Greg. Want proof? He was hovering over me while I took pictures waiting to snatch this one away when I was done. He didn’t even bother to take the cardboard sleeve all the way off before he tried it:

ImageSeriously. He’s like a dessert vulture.



Cary’s of Oregon Milk Chocolate Almond Toffee

From the info card: Cary’s Toffee is made from a mouth-watering blend of sugar, butter, milk and a hint of vanilla extract. Cary’s of Oregon creates award-winning toffee based on family tradition.

These were delicious. I love toffee. It’s one of my favorite types of chocolate. I claimed these right away!



Julian’s Recipe Liege Style Vanilla Belgian Waffle

From the info card: European Belgian dessert waffles are steadily gaining popularity in the United States. These treats are made with pearlized sugar that create a dreamy caramelized coating on the outside, yet the inside of the waffle is still perfectly soft and fluffy. Julian’s Recipe Liege Style Vanilla Belgian Waffle has a subtle sweet flavor and can be enjoyed during any time of the day.

These were seriously magical. My sister and I tried this one on Black Friday. We both loved it! I only wish I had more. I’m going to be ordering these for sure. It was a keeper.



Isabella’s Cookie Company Choco-La-La-La

Soooo… my sister and I may have also eaten these for breakfast on Black Friday. Hey, no one ever said Black Friday breakfast had to be healthy. My favorite thing about the winter season is all of the holiday-themed treats that emerge. Isabella’s Cookie’s had white chocolate mint chips and red, green and white sprinkles. They were adorable and tasted great! I thought these would make a good gift/comfort food for someone far away at Christmas time!



Newark Nut Company Chocolate Peanut Butter Brittle

Peanut brittle is a childhood favorite of mine because my grandma used to make it. I love the salty sweet flavor combination of the peanut brittle and the chocolate. We all loved this one!


Our verdict:

If you couldn’t tell from our glowing reviews, we’re completely in love with Orange Glad (I mean, chocolate treats delivered to my door, how can you not love it?). Each of the featured products seems to taste homemade, and has a fancy artisan feel. Orange Glad would make a great last minute Christmas gift this season!

What do you guys think? If you want to check Orange Glad out, don’t forget to use coupon code “FAMCLASS10″ to score 10% off!