Go-to apps and programs I use in my business

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Sharing some of my favorite apps and programs  that I use every day in my business!

Hi friends! How’s the week going so far? We’re hanging out over here – so glad to be done with the school hustle and bustle- and have quite a few appointments and things to do today. I have to take my car to get fixed (wah), head to the eye doctor (my eyes have been driving me crazy with the dry air and pollen), and getting some little goodies together for friends that are coming into town.

(my updated Work from Home setup is here! I now have an eye-level screen that has wireless connection to my computer so I don’t have to look down. I can also use it to watch streaming service, internet content, and apps.)

For today’s post, I wanted to share some of the apps and programs I use in my business. I’ve had some more requests for business and behind-the-scenes type posts, and quite a few of ya let me know that you enjoy when I pull the curtain back and share more about how things operate over here.

It’s easy to think that writing a blog is simply adding some text and photos to a page… but it’s a lot of unseen tasks and juggling. 90% of the work I do is all behind-the-scenes, from research, graphic design, crafting workouts and meal plans, filming content, taking photos, invoicing, emails, brand partnerships, Pinterest, email marketing, the list goes on and on.

There are quite a few tools that help me to stay on track and organized, and I thought I’d share some of my faves in this post! Many of these are helpful even if you don’t work in the online world, especially Canva and Voxer.

Here are some of my go-tos!

Go-to apps and programs I use in my business

Canva

Canva is like having a magic wand for your creativity! It’s a super fun and easy-to-use tool that lets you design stunning visuals without the need for any design skills. Whether you’re a student, a social media enthusiast, or someone who just loves adding a little flair to their projects, Canva is your go-to. With its endless collection of templates, fonts, and images, you can create eye-catching graphics, personalized invitations, beautiful presentations, and so much more.

I’m NOT great at graphic design, but Canva makes it very easy. You can also use it to create beautiful invitations, gift tags, and printables for your fam. (Summer Chore Chart coming in 3….2….)

Leadpages

Leadpages is an incredible tool for entrepreneurs, marketers, and business owners who want to create high-converti

Hershey’s Chocolate Cake

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This cake. Hershey’s Chocolate Cake is the most versatile and the easiest perfect one-bowl chocolate cake recipe I have ever made.

As long as I can remember, I’ve seen the well-known chocolate cake recipe on the side of the Hershey’s cocoa box and I’ve made it countless times. On a whim, I decided to try making a gluten-free version of the famous Hershey Cake a few years ago.

WOW. It turned out beautifully the very first time and I have made this cake many more times since then, both the original recipe and the gluten-free variation.

There is nothing quite like having a lightning-fast homemade cake recipe that turns out perfectly every single time. 

Hershey's One-Bowl Chocolate Cake is truly perfect!

Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake

The cake is sturdy enough to hold together in layers, as cupcakes or to slice as a bundt cake. I’ve made this recipe into cupcakes and topped them with Fresh Strawberry Frosting.

I’ve made a layer cake filled with strawberry frosting, and a layer of berries, and then topped the cake with chocolate frosting.

I’ve made bundt cakes and simply poured the warm frosting over the cake. Every way I’ve served this cake, it has disappeared in no time at all!

Hershey Chocolate Cake

Nothing sparks that warm fuzzy feeling like the aroma of chocolate cake baking in your home. Put something chocolatey in the oven and watch as all the members of your family suddenly flock to the kitchen like moths to an iridescent light.

Don’t get me wrong. I love an adventurous dessert ( hello, Flourless Hot Chocolate Cake) and sometimes you need an elegant showstopper like Chocolate Lava Cakes to wow a table.

But at the end of the day, it’s hard to beat the familiar pleasure of a simple Hershey’s chocolate bundt cake.

Books I’ve read lately (and if I’d recommend them!)

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Hi friends! I missed my April book roundup so I’m sharing the books I read in April, and most of the books from May + if I’d recommend adding them to your collection.

Hi hi! Happy Monday and I hope my US friends are enjoying a relaxing Memorial Day. Today, I’m praying for those who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our country. “Thank you” will never be enough, and I’m holding our Gold Star families in my heart.

Summer is officially in full swing over here! We had a little end-of-the-year get-together, it was Liv’s First Communion (I’ll share some pics in Fri Faves), and we’ve been living in the pool. We spent all day yesterday floating around at the Lodge, eating delicious food, enjoying cocktail samples, and chatting with friends. It was the perfect day. Friendly reminder that tomorrow is the last day to get 20% off HigherDOSE at this link and with the code MDW2023.

For today’s post, I wanted to share a book recap! I totally missed my recap for April, so I’m combining April’s books + most of May’s in this post. There was quite a mix of subjects and genres, and a couple of huge home runs. Here are all of the details!

 Books I’ve read lately (and if I’d recommend them!)

Guest List

This thrilling novel is like a rollercoaster ride of secrets, surprises, and suspense. Set against the backdrop of a glamorous wedding, the story unfolds with twists and turns that will keep you hooked from start to finish. Lucy Foley’s skillful storytelling brings the characters to life, and you’ll find yourself completely immersed in their world. With its picturesque setting, intriguing plot, and a dash of romance, “The Guest List” is the perfect escape for anyone craving a delightful blend of mystery and excitement.

I tend to stay away from thriller-ish books, but I’ve read a few Lucy Foley books and enjoy them. Plus, I don’t find them to be overly violent or gory. If you’re looking for a beach read that you can blast through, I definitely recommend it. 8/10

From Amazon:

A wedding celebration turns dark and deadly in this deliciously wicked and atmospheric th

Chicken Tetrazzini

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The BEST chicken tetrazzini recipe begins with chicken, mushrooms, and pasta tossed together with a creamy, garlicky sauce.

Layer that deliciousness in a baking dish and sprinkle it with just a handful of cheese before baking just long enough to melt everything together. Served with warm bread and a salad, this meal is a hit every time.

creamy pasta with chicken on a blue plate with a wooden fork

Almost 18 years ago now, my sweet friend Lisa brought my family a pan of this Chicken Tetrazzini. It was a night just a few days after my middle son was born; and in the midst of our new baby fog and sleep deprivation, we managed to eat an absurd amount of this dish.

You know those dishes you taste once and can’t stop thinking about? This chicken Tetrazzini recipe is one of those. When you’re exhausted from a new baby, a hot meal at the end of the day is extra divine.

I promised Sean I’d get the recipe as soon as possible. Lisa shared her recipe with me and this pasta has made regular appearances on our table ever since. 

Best Chicken Tetrazzini Recipe

At the time, this was the best chicken and pasta dish we had ever tasted, giving it the honor of being christened “The Best Chicken Tetrazzini.” (And it still stands as one of the tastiest chicken pasta dishes you’ll ever make!)

It’s an easy and comforting dinner that I make so often I can just about cook it from memory at this point. And I have a feeling that chicken tetrazzini will be a meal my boys think of when they think of favorite family dinners from their childhoods.

Chicken tetrazzini in large stainless pan on floral towel

My whole family enjoys this meal very much and one of my boys would happily do his best to eat this entire recipe on his own! As I began to make this for dinner last night, I was surprised to realize that I didn’t already have this recipe on the blog.

It’s become such a favorite, I

Summer Strawberry Cookies

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a photo of several baked strawberry cookies lined up on a white parchment paper. some of the cookies are stopped with a white glaze and other have been rolled in sugar.

Strawberry cookies made with real strawberries! These cookies are soft with slightly crispy edges and a thick, chewy middle. You can top them with a light glaze or roll them in sugar.

I was about to make our lemon drop cookies a few months ago when I got the brilliant idea that if a candy could be blended to flavor a cookie, surely freeze dried fruit could as well. Sure enough, a summer strawberry cookie was born! 

I thought strawberry was the absolute best flavor as a kid. Now I actually tend to go more raspberry out of the berry family (curious what you all would pick), but my kids are for sure on the childhood bandwagon of fresh, juicy red strawberries. They love that these cookies are dense and chewy but they have the pick of rolling in sugar or topping with a crackly glaze.

I personally prefer to make a lemon glaze to brighten up these sweet cookies, but you can do whatever makes you happy!

Ingredients for Strawberry Cookies

Most of the strawberry cookie recipes out there use strawberry cake mix or strawberry pudding to get the strawberry flavor (in fact we have our own strawberry pudding cookie recipe here on the blog), but I love using real strawberries in this recipe to get that true strawberry flavor. Here is what you will need to make these cookies:

For the Cookies

  • Freeze Dried Strawberries: Don’t use fresh strawberries. They will add too much moisture to the dough and make the cookies cakey.
  • Sugar: regular granulated white sugar
  • Butter Flavored Shortening: You can also use regular shortening (you’ll lose a little richness in flavor) or just regular butter but they end up more dry with just butter.
  • Unsalted Butter: softened, combined with the shortening, the cookies are tender and still rich in flavor
  • Eggs: add structure to the cookies
  • Vanilla: adds flavor
  • Strawberry Extract: just for a little boost in flavor
  • Flour: use all-purpose flour
  • Baking Soda: leavening agent to give the cookies rise and fluffiness
  • Baking Powder: leavening agent that works with the baking soda to help the cookies rise
  • Salt: enhances all the flavors

For the Glaze

  • Powdered Sugar: adds sweetness and structure to the glaze
  • Milk or Water: milk will be a little more rich in flavor
  • Lemon Juice: I love to add a little lemon juice to give a nice flavor burst to the cookie, but it is totally optional.
    • BONUS: You could also add a little strawberry extract to the glaze if you want even more strawberry flavor.

Sugar

  • Sugar: Roll the cookie dough balls in sugar before baking if you prefer that instead of the glaze.

The measurements for all the ingredients and the instructions for making these cookies can all be found in the recipe card at the

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