Clevercat Litter Box Knock-Off

I realize this is probably not a post that is going to appeal to everyone...but I wanted to share it for the millions of households that own cats, especially those with cats and dogs. Feel free to share it with your pet owner friends. I will be back soon with a recipe or fun craft. ;-)

Back in July when we had little Oliver, it became obvious that we needed a solution for his litter box. You see, we have a dog, Scamp, who loved the smell of the "packages" that our little kitty left in the litter box. It was a constant battle to keep him out of the cat's potty. Apparently, dogs smell each individual ingredient that is in whatever the cats ate. Where we would smell a birthday cake baking, a dog would smell the eggs, sugar, flour, etc. I guess their taste buds aren't as choosy as ours are. Gross, right?

Anyway, I saw the Clevercat Litter Box at one of the big pet stores and thought that it was pure genius. Cats enter from the top of the box, do their business and hop out. The tall sides keep the litter in the box and prevent a cat from hanging over the side. The lid with the hole helps with the smell-factor and most importantly, keeps Fido (or Scamp) from investigating. They can't see what's inside and neither can you. Honestly, I would have paid more than the $40 the big pet store was charging for this lifesaver. But knowing I could make something similar, I went back home and got to work.

Taking a large lidded tote (I think it was in the garage housing some of our water toys), I traced a circle about the size of a luncheon plate on one end of the lid.

Then, I cut the circle out using a box cutter. This worked like a charm and cut like "buttah".

Next, because I didn't have the ridges on the top of the box like the Clevercat Litter Box did, I felt it needed something else that might help with keeping the litter from spraying all over when Oliver jumped out. I took an old towel and cut it to size, securing it to the top with hot glue.

Now that the lid was finished, I filled up the box with fresh litter and put little Oliver in it. He took right to it and had no problems adjusting to the top entry.

We have had no more incidents of Scamp getting into the cat box. He still goes into the bathroom, but only to see if he can catch some cat food that may have fallen off the counter.

Although sweet little Oliver isn't with us anymore, we were able to re-use this Clevercat Litter Box Knock-Off with our big cat, Taz, that joined our family at the beginning of this year. I was concerned that he might be too big for the top entry hole or that he might not like it, but he has had no problems adjusting to this new box.

This box is a necessity in our house with a cat and a dog. Do you know anyone that might benefit from this? Have you had similar problems in your house with cats and dogs? Any solutions you would like to share?

Here's another favorite pet product to make life a little easier!
The Litter Genie keeps kitty odors at bay.

I'm linking up at some of these great parties and


All Things Thursday Blog Hop #34 and Features

Happy Wednesday, Friends! So glad you could stop by for our 34th All Things Thursday Blog Hop! Remember, you're not just hanging out with my buddies, you are getting to mingle with the friends of 3 other bloggers too. That's lots of exposure for you!
I don't know about you, but I am having trouble getting going on my Spring decor and crafting. It's not that there isn't tons of inspiration, I just can't seem to get my mojo. I love catching up on all the fun projects you are working on, though. They are so creative! Keep the inspiration coming! Here are a few that caught my eye from last week's party:
Clockwise from Top Left
Chess Board Cake by A Taste of Madness
Master Bedroom Reveal by Little Vintage Cottage
I Just Got Dumped Brownie Bars by Gal on a Mission

New Feature! We now have an All Things Thursday Pinterest Board where each of us hosts will be pinning our features from the week.  Just another way to bring attention to your great creativity! If you were featured this week, be sure to grab a button.

All Things with Purpose
Okay, it's time to link up those awesome projects you've been working on! We can't wait to see what you've brought to the party. Don't forget to visit some of the other links. Everyone loves a sweet comment!
All Things Thursday Blog Hop
Are you new to Posed Perfection? I'd love to connect with you!


Delicious Fudgy Dairy-Free Brownies

Here's another super easy brownie recipe for you! We had plans to go to our small group on Saturday and I had every intention of making my family's favorite Watkins Brownies to take with us. However, I was running low on brown sugar. I went looking through my trusty recipe box and came across these Delicious Fudgy Dairy-free Brownies from a dear friend of ours. Do you have someone who is allergic to dairy in your house? Now you can make them brownies too!
Delicious Fudgy Dairy-free Brownies

1 3/4 cups sugar
2/3 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup flour
1 cup oil
2 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9 x 13 inch pan with cooking oil. In large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix together and pour into prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes.

I actually added in some milk chocolate chips to my brownies, thus nullifying the "dairy-free" status, but they were just as delicious without the chips. {Warning: it is very easy to under-bake these brownies.  So, if you want the middle to be done, be sure to bake for the longer time.} So, are you an ooey-gooey in the center brownie lover or do you prefer your brownies more cake-like? Do you have a favorite homemade brownie recipe?
I'm linking up at some of these great parties and


Green & White Kitchen Table Vignette

If you give a girl a bouquet of flowers, she's going to want to turn it into a vignette. It's kind of like the old story about the mouse and the cookie, right? Last week, I had a couple of bouquets of flowers from my daughter's birthday and Valentine's Day that needed to be refreshed. After splitting up the flowers and tossing the ones that were "tired", I had a pretty little green and white arrangement. I posted it on Instagram, but thought it looked a little lonely. So, I started working it into this Green & White Kitchen Table Vignette.
Green & White Kitchen Table Vignette
I remembered reading StoneGable's post about kitchen table vignettes and I just knew, with a little work, I could pull together a vignette of my own. Now, I must say that setting up vignettes does not come easy for me. If you remember, I am more of a 'set it and forget it' kind of decorator.
Green & White Kitchen Table Vignette
However, Yvonne's tips were just the push I needed to play a little. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in doing what I have to get done in a day that I don't take time to stretch myself. Doing vignettes is a bit of a stretch for me, but they sure make the space look pretty, not just utilitarian.

After studying her tips, I pulled out my familiar white Staccato dishes and got to work. The floral arrangement determined the color scheme of the vignette. From there, I just started shopping the house for other green and white items.
Green & White Kitchen Table Vignette
I used varying heights by bringing out a Christmas present from my sister-in-law...the Holland Boone polished pewter cake plate. From there, I piled it high with the white dishes and even a little glass dome with cookies underneath.
White Candle with Sprig of Greenery
Adorning a white pillar candle with a sprig of greenery, I placed it on a small silver candle holder on top of a pretty green gingham napkin.
Green & White Kitchen Table Vignette
The white tureen was an estate sale find from a couple of years ago and I brought in the adorable green and white thrift store tea cup with a little sugar too. The mugs to the white dishes filled in the space as well.
Green & White Kitchen Table Vignette
All these elements were grouped together in a woven tray given to me by my mom from her stash of castaways. Have I mentioned before how much I love her hand-me-downs? Finally, it was all anchored on white runner.

If you are like me and struggle with putting together vignettes in the kitchen and dining room, go over and read through Yvonne's post. She breaks down the steps in the most logical way and puts together the most amazing vignettes. After playing around with all these elements (and a lot more) for a little while, I finally settled on this arrangement. Mind you, the first few tries looked a bit like a tray full of cast offs that were on their way to Goodwill. But with some patience and a little time, I was able to put something together that was pleasing to the eye.
Green & White Kitchen Table Vignette
Although with real life in my house, the kitchen table vignette will be moved to the side and soon dismantled. It was, however, fun having a pretty spot to enjoy my morning coffee, if only for a little while.

The next time I have a bouquet of flowers, you can be sure I'll be looking to make it into another vignette. You know what they say, "Practice makes perfect." Do you ever make kitchen table vignettes? What's your favorite element to put in them?
I'm linking up at some of these great parties and




Food for the Soul ~ James 1:22

We've been talking about true spiritual growth in church lately. Last night in our small group, we attempted to delve into the topic even more. What is it to grow spiritually?
I think the book of James is pretty clear about the topic. We can't just sit back and listen to the word, simply hearing and agreeing with the commandments to "love one another" and the calls to "go and make disciples of all nations". We need to take action...demonstrating love to others by serving them without expecting anything in return. We shouldn't just read the Bible to check it off our To-Do list, we need to be transformed by it. That often requires us to step out in faith...maybe serving in position where we feel completely inadequate or going on a short-term mission trip. Perhaps it is as close to home as loving our family members when they are being unlovely. Closer still, taking a look at those "acceptable sins" we've allowed ourselves to fall into such as ungratefulness and self-sufficiency, and asking God to step into these situations with us, showing us His way.

I feel like I should plaster James' words on my forehead, or at least all over the walls. How about you? Is there an area where you are struggling with putting action to the Word? For me, it's all of the above and more.

Praying that we all will have the courage and conviction to put action to our faith. Have a wonderful week!

Copy Cat Lemon Chicken Greek Salad

When we lived in Arizona, a favorite restaurant of ours was Pat & Oscar's. They had an amazing Lemon Chicken Greek Salad that I have never, until this week, tried to duplicate. Recently, we had dinner with some friends at Jason's Deli. One of the ladies had created a masterpiece of a salad that included beets. This sparked a discussion on the beautiful root vegetable that brought to mind this favorite salad from my past. Here is my copycat version of Pat & Oscar's Lemon Chicken Greek Salad.
Lemon Chicken Greek Salad
The Lemon Chicken has the perfect amount of tang with just a few ingredients. The Greek Salad would make the perfect side to just about any main dish. The sweet beets with the crunchy cucumbers are amazing together. And the dressing? Well, it is the proverbial glue that holds together this amazing salad. I hope you enjoy this delicious and healthy recipe as much as I do!
Lemon Chicken Greek Salad

Lemon Chicken Greek Salad

Grilled Lemon Chicken

zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup Italian dressing
seasoned salt and pepper
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Sprinkle chicken breasts with seasoned salt and pepper. In gallon-size ziplock bag, place lemon zest, juice and Italian dressing. Add the chicken and marinate for 1 hour. Preheat grill for high heat. Lightly oil grate. Discard marinade and cook chicken breasts about 6-8 minutes on each side, or until juices run clear. (I like to filet the breasts for faster and more even cooking.)

Greek Dressing

1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 tsp. salt
1-2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 cup olive oil

In mason jar, combine all ingredients except oil. Secure lid and shake vigorously. Add in the oil, replace lid and shake again to combine.

Salad

2-3 Romaine Hearts, chopped
1-2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
1/2 English cucumber, sliced
3-4 green onions, sliced (or 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced)
8 ounces feta cheese
2-3 steamed beets, sliced (I got mine at Trader Joe's, but canned would probably work too.)
pitted kalamata olives (optional)

Combine all ingredients for the salad and mix with the Greek dressing. Top with sliced Lemon Chicken and more feta cheese.
Lemon Chicken Greek Salad
The only thing this salad was missing, besides the restaurant atmosphere, old friends and the fun memories, was the delicious breadsticks the restaurant staff would hand out to customers in line waiting to order. Thankfully, the salad was served with a couple of those delicious, out-of-this-world breadsticks too. I'm so happy to have this flavorful recipe in my arsenal now. Now, if I could just figure out how they made the breadsticks...

I was excited when I saw that Trader Joe's had beets in their produce area. Now, I can add them to all my salads! Have you ever put beets in your salad? I dare you to try!
I'm linking up at some of these great parties and

All Things Thursday Blog Hop # 33 and Features

Welcome to another All Things Thursday Blog Hop! So glad you could join us this week! We finally got around to seeing The Lego Movie yesterday as a family. Have you seen it yet? What a treat! Seriously funny stuff. Unfortunately, the song is stuck in my head and when I look through the links from last week, all I can think is "Everything is awesome!" Is the song in your head now too? You're welcome. ;-) Here are the features I chose from all the awesome links you brought to the party last week:
Clockwise from Top Left
Basic Popovers by True Blue Baking
Watercolor Resist Silhouettes by Enchanted Homeschooling Mom
Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie by Live a Sweet Life
DIY Polymer Clay Beads by Handmade in the Heartland
Rainbow Birthday Cake by Mommy in Sports
Sweetheart Table by Like a Saturday

New Feature! We now have an All Things Thursday Pinterest Board where each of us hosts will be pinning our features from the week.  Just another way to bring attention to your great creativity! If you were featured this week, be sure to grab a button.

All Things with Purpose
Okay, it's time to link up those awesome projects you've been working on! We can't wait to see what you've brought to the party. Don't forget to visit some of the other links. Everyone loves a sweet comment!
All Things Thursday Blog Hop
Are you new to Posed Perfection? I'd love to connect with you!


Kit Kat Piano Cake

Kit Kat Piano Cake
Hi friends! Well, I got my computer working again...I was having issues with my operating system not being updated. I seem to be back in business, and not a moment too soon. I wish I were more tech-savvy so these little glitches wouldn't derail my plans. Anyway, yesterday I shared about my daughter's Music-Themed Birthday Party. I wanted to give you a step-by-step tutorial to de-mystify the Kit Kat Piano Cake.
Kit Kat Piano Cake
I made the cake using 2 cake mixes...The chocolate cake was baked in a 13 x 9 inch and the yellow cake mix was baked in a 9 x 9 inch square pan and 8 cupcakes (put in the freezer for a later time). When the cakes were cooled, I began assembling the piano cake. First, I shaved the top off the cakes with a serrated knife to make a nice, flat surface upon which to build. After covering a cookie sheet with a sheet music paper runner, I placed strips of wax paper around the top of the pan. Then, I set the 13 x 9 cake on top of the wax paper and spread the cake with a layer of my favorite chocolate frosting. (I made a double batch of the frosting.)
Kit Kat Piano Cake
Next came the yellow 9 x 9 inch cake, which I set off to one side of the chocolate cake. This left just enough room for the "piano keys".
Kit Kat Piano Cake
Because the cake now looked a bit like an old car (and that wasn't the look I was going for), I decided to turn it into a Grand Piano. Using a toothpick to freehand "draw" a line, I cut the corner off the double layer with a serrated knife to give it the look of a grand.
Kit Kat Piano Cake
The next step was frosting the rest of the cake and then laying down the "piano keys". The ivory keys were made with 3 packages of White Chocolate Kit Kat bars, and the dark keys were made with regular milk chocolate Kit Kat bars that I cut in half. I simply used the frosting as glue to hold the keys in place.
Kit Kat Piano Cake
Once I was finished frosting the cake, I carefully removed the strips of wax paper, revealing a clean surface for the cake. I showed pictures of the cake to our piano teacher and she has already asked me to make one for our next piano recital. I think I might need to use larger pans, or perhaps make two for dueling pianos.
Kit Kat Piano Cake
I finally realized this year that I don't have to settle for lettering that goes off in different directions. To keep the lettering in a straight line, I lightly drew a guide line in the frosting for the letters to rest upon.
Kit Kat Piano Cake
That's it! Just a couple of cakes and some Kit Kats and you've got yourself a piano. This was such a fun and easy cake to make. I love when cakes turn out exactly as I plan them in my head, especially since I don't usually do a test run. I did have the cupcakes as a back up plan just in case the cake was a disaster. Thankfully, I was able to leave them in the freezer for us to enjoy last weekend when my parents came into town.  

Do you make themed birthday cakes for your kiddos? I think I'm at the end of my run, but I have really enjoyed each one I've made over the years. Need some more birthday cake ideas?
 Lots of ideas here in this post of  Girly Birthday Themes.
 These Soccer Ball Cupcakes would be a big hit with your little soccer player!
 How about a Tank Birthday Cake for the guys in your life?
I'm linking up at some of these great parties and


A Music Birthday Party for My Tween

It's official! I am now the mother of two tweens...one of which will move into his teens in November. Eeek! Anyway, last weekend we had the pleasure of hosting a Music Birthday Party for my daughter's 10th birthday. That's right, my baby is 10. Crazy how fast the time flew by.
Music-themed Birthday Party for Tween
When my mom presented us with a paper sheet music runner she had found at Marshall's back in December, my daughter was adamant that her 10th birthday have a music theme. No problem. Well, it proved to be a bigger problem when I started looking for ideas. You see, she is not into all the hip-hop-"rock-star"-diva music. She's a pianist and loves Classical. I was a bit stumped with activities and decorations.

A black and white party would have been pretty easy to put together, but my girl is just full of all the colors of the rainbow and needed touches of color in her 10th birthday party too. I found some fun aqua colored cups and started building from there...even found some really cute "Happy Birthday" napkins and dessert plates at Wal-Mart in their party department. The colors were hot pink, white, black and aqua. Perfect! (Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of the napkins for you.) Hanging up on the walls and from the chandelier were paper music notes I picked up at Mardel Christian Book Store in their teacher resource area.
Music-themed Birthday Party for Tween
I knew the cake would need to be a piano, so I started searching for ideas on how to make it come together. I saw a really cute presentation of Kit Kats set up as piano keys on Secrets of a Super Mommy and used that idea to come up with the Kit Kat Piano Cake. This was really an easy cake to do.
Music-themed crafts for tween birthday party
Eventually, things came together (last minute). We even settled on a couple of crafts with music-themed scrapbook paper as the star. One is a paper feather, the other a small round decoupaged box. My little crafter loved shopping for the supplies, picking out all the papers and embellishments...a girl after my own heart ;-)
Music-themed crafts for tween birthday party
I had everything pre-cut for the girls to make the crafts go as smoothly as possible. As they waited for the glue to dry, the girls did a little spontaneous dancing and my pianist played a little ditty on the piano.

When the crafting was done, the girls went outside for a little trampoline time. (BTW, they did not all jump on the trampoline at the same time for the duration...just long enough for me to snap a couple of pictures.)

They came back inside for some lunch ~ small sandwiches, chips and fruit. I loved listening to their little conversations going on in the dining room. They even went around the table sharing what their Rose, Bud and Thorn of the day was. This is something we do with our 4th grade Women of Grace girls we meet with for bible study and mentoring once a week. Rose- something good that happened. Thorn -something bad that happened. Bud- something they are looking forward to. This was such a treat to listen to and catch a glimpse into their hearts.

Next, the 10 year old opened the gifts from her sweet friends. Taz was loving all the tissue paper.
Music-themed Birthday Party for Tween
Finally, we dug into the cake...well, some of us did ;-) Note to self...girls have no self control with Pretzel M&Ms. Most of them were too full from snacking during the crafting and then eating lunch to enjoy the cake. I sent some of them home with cake and we devoured the rest over the course of a couple of days.
The girls left with a little friendship bracelet we had picked up at a local Christian bookstore (A sweet deal I had found right after Christmas...I love a bargain!) and their crafts.

Overall, I think it was a successful party. I think all the girls enjoyed themselves and I know my sweet girl felt loved and celebrated just by being able to spend some concentrated time with her besties.
I'm linking up at some of these great parties and