Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Leslie's recipe

Brrr. . . As I sit here typing, I am freezing my toosh off. My California body is just not used to these freezing temperatures. . . but thankful that I am not in sub-zero temperatures like my sister! Last weekend, I needed to use up some cream cheese and a friend from high school had emailed me this recipe back in October. What better reason to make Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins!
These muffins ended up being a little bit of work, but resulted in a beautiful combination of pumpkin, cream cheese, and strussel.
Yummy! Thanks Leslie for this great recipe!
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
1 pkg. cream cheese
3 eggs
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
3 tbs melted butter
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon (I added more, plus nutmeg, cloves, and ginger)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 cup canned pumpkin (I didn't measure, I used the whole 15 oz. can)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Put liners in your muffin tin or oil your pan.
Cream Cheese Mixture: Mix cream cheese, 1 egg, and 3 tbs sugar until nice and creamy. Set aside.
Strussel: Toss 5 tbs sugar, melted butter, 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Set aside.
Muffins: Whisk together egg, pumpkin, vanilla, and oil. Add remaining dry ingredients and stir until moistened.
Fill liners with half full pumpkin and then place a spoonful of cream cheese mixture into pumpkin and then top with more pumpkin. Sprinkle strussel over the tops.
Bake for 20-25 minutes.
Happy Baking!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Pumpkin strikes again

This time of year, I just really cannot get enough pumpkin to eat. . . It's just that scrumptious! I stumbled upon this recipe last week and couldn't resist the call to bake them. I think this may just be my new favorite pumpkin recipe! This recipe was oringinally found in Gourmet Magazine, but I found it at Smitten Kitchen.

Pumpkin Muffins

1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup pumpkin
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (I added a bit more.)
1 1/4 plus 1 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 and place liners in cup.
Whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, sugar, and soda until smooth. Slowly add in flour and baking powder. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Stir together 1 tablespoon of sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. When muffins are done, brush melted butter over the tops of the baked muffins and dip into cinnamon sugar mixture.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

I like it a latte

Recently I had the opportunity to borrow this really fun set of stamps from a friend. I had so much fun playing with them that I couldn't resist making a bunch of cards to keep for a rainy day. The set is Stampin Up's "I like it a latte." The scrapbook paper came from a SU kit from 5 years ago and I don't remember the name. Inks are Cranberry and Buckaroo Blue. I used Dazzling Diamonds to accent the frosting with 2 way glue. The hearts on the coffee cups are 2 dimensional. I used some leftover rubber from my rubber stamp scraps. . . that I keep on hand for times like this.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Thanksgiving Pies

My goodness, Thanksgiving was here and gone so quickly! I got the privilege to make some pies for Jon's family get-together. I had so much fun! In fact, it was the highlight of my day, since I stayed home with our sick son. Here are the three that I made:

I had to go with pumpkin . . . right! This recipe rates second on Jon's list of favorite pumpkin pies. Number one, would be Costco . . . and who can compete with them? Here's the recipe:

Pumpkin Pie:
(Food Network style)
Crust - I am lazy. . . I just use the store bought ones.

1 small can of pumpkin
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cup half and half
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. each of ginger, allspice
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Whisk together ingredients and pour into crust. Bake 50 to 60 minutes at 400. Cool on rack.

Jon also mentioned that a Boston Cream Pie would sound yummy and he had several echos. So, I pulled my recipe out and got to work. I really didn't mind, because it is so very easy! This went fast from what I understand.

Boston Cream Pie

2 round yellow cake layers (9inch circles)
1 cup cold milk
1 pkg. (4 serving) instant vanilla pudding
1 1/2 cup whipped topping
1 square unsweetened baking chocolate
1 tbsp. butter
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp. cold milk

Trim your cake to make it even using a bread knife. Set aside. Pour 1 cup milk into large bowl. Add dry pudding mix. Beat with a wire wisk for 2 minutes or until well blended. Fold in whipped topping. Let stand 5 minutes to thickin. Place bottom layer on serving plate. Spread with pudding mixture and top with remaining cake layer.
Microwave chocolate and butter 1 minute. Stir until completely melted. Add sugar and milk. Stir until well blended. Spread over top of cake. Refrigerate 1 hour until ready to serve.

Apple Tart
Lastly, I wanted to try a new recipe with apples. I usually bake my apple cheesecake, but really wanted to try a tart. This one was quite tastey and looked so pretty! You can find the recipe over at Joy of baking.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

In the mail. . .

Several weeks ago, the mailman brought me a package filled with all sorts of fun stuff from my sister. She lives 24 hours away (by car) and it's always fun to get something from her. This time it was filled with Ethan's belated birthday present, fabric, and this framed creation.
My sister found a stash of fabric from my great grandma, who died a year and half ago, that happened to be the same fabric from a quilt that she had made me when I was 8. Needless to say, the quilt is faded and worn (from many uses!) and I feel so lucky that she found it and made me a mini-quilt out of it. It amazed me to see the colors as they were when I got the quilt. . . so vibrant and alive compared to the comfortable, worn-out quilt I know and love.
This mini quilt is hand stitched and hand quilted. I can't wait until we move so I can hang it up in the office/craft room, where I can treasure if always. A special thanks to my sister!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Playing catch-up

Where have the days gone? It seems like forever since I have posted something worthwhile and so I am going to start catching up today even though I should be napping. Apparently, when you are up most of the night with your sick toddler, the old rule applies. . . "sleep when they sleep." I confess, I should be doing that, but there isn't much time between packing (for our move), Christmas (there are gifts to be made), and the mess (sick kid + 4 day weekend = messy house and lots of laundry). But now, he will be waking soon, and so here, I sit, sleepy and relaxed, staring at my computer.

2 weeks ago (yes, it has been that long!), I found this recipe for the most amazing pumpkin-chip cookies I have ever tasted! I am not a huge fan of making pumpkin cookies, because they just don't store right and are more like cake than cookies. These cookies ended up being amazingly delicious. I only made cookies with half the batter and saved some for later, because they don't last long in their moist, delicious state.

Excuse my picture, I took it on my phone with not the best light. But these really are quite good!

Happy Baking!

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies

1 cup butter
1 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin butter
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp orange zest ( didn't have one, so I used a lemon)
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar. Add egg, vanilla, and pumpkin butter. Mix well. Slowly add dry ingredients, mixing well to combine after each addition. Stir in zest and chocolate chips. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Bake for 15-18 minutes at 350 degrees.

Friday, November 27, 2009

A new milestone. . .

Last week I celebrated my 30th birthday and I think I am in denial. I thought my family and I were just going to celebrate it quietly at home, but little did I know that my dear, sweet husband planned a surprise party with some friends and family. I was completely caught offguard! But, I feel so blessed to have a fantastic husband and great friends who would go behind my back to plan something like that (thanks Jon, Steph, and Josh!!!!). In honor of my 30th birthday, everyone dressed in black to mourn the loss of my 20's. And mourn them, I did.

My 20's were filled with so many adventures that I thought I would take some time to remember them for a moment.
:: Moved to Fresno
:: Traveled to El Salvador on a missions trip with my church
:: Graduated from Fresno State with my BA
:: Received my credential from FSU
:: Spent 2 years subbing
:: Attended Urbana Missions Conference (where I met my husband)
:: Taught for 4 years, moving schools 3 times and classrooms 5 times,
:: Got married to my wonderful husband, Jon
:: Traveled to Las Vegas and Chicago,Seattle, Oregon, and many of the western states
:: Gave birth to one cute little baby boy
:: Traveled and explored San Francisco too many times to count

And now I am 30. I am not sure what 30 is supposed to feel like, but I do know that I am going to dive right in and continue living life to the fullest. There are so many things that I want to do. The first is to move into my new house. I am looking forward to this upcoming adventure of being a homeowner and the many more adventures that follow.

So, bring on the 30's!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

pumpkin cheesecake

I love cheesecake and I love pumpkin, but the combination of the two is really quite heavenly. So, when picking a dessert for our small group potluck this weekend, I really couldn't resist. . . plus I only needed to buy a block of cream cheese (that means it was cheap. . . a big seller when it comes to picking recipes!).

Now, although I love cheesecake, I tend to make recipes that only have minimal blocks of cream cheese because it just gets too expensive. This recipe, however, only called for two. I added the chocolate drizzle over the top for a nice look. You can find this recipe HERE.

Happy Baking!

Monday, November 16, 2009

dish towels

Procrastination and a long to-do list have entered into my life. . . causing both organization and insanity. I am finding it hard to pack, but super easy to sew (It is so relaxing!). So, I thought I would share some dishtowels I made for the new house.
Believe it or not. . . I started this one last January! I just have been so busy with other projects I completely forgot about it . . . actually, it has been staring at me for 9 months! So, when all other projects had been completed I took the time to get the last few stitches finished. All that waiting and it took me 15 minutes! But, It will look perfect in my new kitchen.

This is one of my favorites. It matches the potholder I did awhile back. I plan on making a couple more after the big move, between unpacking, painting, and working on Christmas gifts. just love it!
This one uses my Lizzy Dish and Red Letter Day fabric. I

MOPS centerpieces

Thursday night, our MOPS group dove into the topics of Infertility, Miscarriage, and Adoption. Three guest speakers came and shared the sorrow, as well as the joy, as they told the stories of their experiences. Earlier I had been approached by my friend Stacy to help with the centerpieces for night. We put together these hand sewn baby gifts with burpies, diaper pouch, and bib for people to enjoy as they ate, listened, and fellowshiped, and then had the opportunity to buy (they went fast!). Here are how each of them came out!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Hooray for new fabric

I am sitting here in my sweats enjoying this nice November beach weather. I just bought some new fabric and I am so excited to get home and start sewing some fun things (to be announced later!). Until then, I am going to enjoy the beach and savor the moments I have to not do anything (I think that once I return home I will be full speed ahead with my projects and moving). Have a fantastic weekend! Enjoy the beautiful November weather!

Until next time!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Life suddenly seems to have gotten incredibly busy. I don't like it! Here is a quick post of some things that I have liked and then I am off to tackle more projects (all the while fighting the urge to take a nap.)

Pumpkin Pound Cake -
I made this on Sunday for dinner (we were supposed to have company, but they cancelled after I had already started making it. . . So, now we have this delicious dessert to eat all by ourselves (no complaints here!). It was really easy and is super moist. It has great pumpkin flavor and looks really nice in a bunt pan. I topped it off with a dollup of homemade whipped cream and some sprinkles of nutmeg. Delicious! You can find the recipe here.
Fall Card
I needed to come up with a quick card for the ladies at my MOPS table, so after deciding that I was going to use this scarecrow stamp, I put this together really quick. It was super easy, no hassle card. (Stamps are Happy Fall Y'll by Stampin' Up and paper I found at JoAnns.)
Pumpkin Strussel Muffins
I found this recipe on a new baking blog I stumbled across last week. These muffins were good, although not as good as the recipe I normally use. It is a mild and moist pumpkin flavor compared to a strong, spicey one. It was good, though. This recipe was found here.

Now I am off to start some upcoming projects that shall remain a secret for now. Enjoy your day. . . the weather is brilliant, the day is quiet, and Fall is here!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

I am in complete shock that it already November (a little side note that I am roasting in our warm November weather!). Last week, was a whirlwind week so I am trying to play catch up on my blogs, projects, and packing. So, in addition to pumpkin, I love spices. Mmmm. . . the smell of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves just melts me to pieces. I love it! So, I found this recipe for chai snickerdoodles and baked them up with eagerness. They were delicious! The extra spices in the dough add the perfect touch to an already delicious cookie! You can find the recipe here. I couldn't resist the taste of these and baked the whole batch. Yes, they were THAT good! After realizing that I baked the whole batch and couldn't eat them all (well. . . I could, but I am hoping to stay at my pre-pregnancy weight through the holidays), so I needed a way to get rid of them (They were too good to give to the trash can). One of my favorite blogs, Skip to my Lou had a great idea. I am not a scary Halloween fan, but this one just looked so fun, that I couldn't resist. I put my cookies in a cute bag, tied it with a ribbon, and gave them to my friends with this "BOO" door knob hanger.

The other side says:
This Halloween Ghost has come to town.
To leave some goodies. . . I see you've found.
Put this ghost upon your door as a sign to your friends to Boo you no more.
If you wish to make this a happier fall, continue this greeting, this ghostly call.
Gather some treats and deliver them soon,
Within two nights, by the light of the moon.
Don't let them see you, be sneaky at night.
Ring the doorbell, be fast, and stay out of sight.
The directions you need are found on this site
to make ghost door hangers for this fun night.
Check the web for the letter to boo,
It's all right there on Skip to my Lou.
This is all in good fun and we're trying to say
Happy Halloween and have a fun day!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pumpkin is the best!

I say that with sheer joy! It is possibly one of my favorite things. . . and I am so thankful that there are probably millions of recipes using pumpkin and I plan on making as many as possible!
This recipe is one that I have always admired. However, I have been kind of a baking wimp when it comes to actually making it because it just looked too hard! But contrary to my long-lasting belief that this was super hard, it was probably one of the easiest things I have ever made. I even took enough pictures to make a tutorial, if anyone is interested. . . it was that easy! I was even able to leave it cooling in the towel while out running an errand! So simple and so easy and so very delicious!

Pumpkin Roll

1/4 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup Pure Pumpkin
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan; line with wax paper. Grease and flour paper. Sprinkle towel with powdered sugar.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in small bowl. Beat eggs and sugar in large mixer bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with nuts.

Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack.
Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake; remove towel. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Re roll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I think I am suffering from chronic laziness. I just don't want to do anything! So, it is Thursday and this is my only blog post for the week. I have lots to post, just haven't felt like getting the cord to transfer pictures from the camera to the computer. Also, I think we are going to be moving shorttly. Escrow should be starting soon! It's looking good. Just praying that sellers would be able to get their loan approved for their potential new home. Thanks for your prayers!

Outside my window... The sun is shining and it's very warm. 5:00 is approaching and people are beginning to come home from work. Less than an hour till the hubby comes home and our weekend begins (he works longer hours to get every other Friday off. . . so nice!)

I am thinking... that I should be finishing the vacuuming and getting ready for tonight. Instead, I would much rather be here, writing, and hanging out with my son (who just finished his snack).

I am creating... well. . . a clean house right now. But there is card making in my VERY near future. Just needed to get the house clean so I could start. Tomorrow, I begin!

I am going... to MOPS tonight. I am leaving Ethan and Jon home to fend for themselves and I am going out. It's going to be nice.

I am reading... so much right now. But, for Bible Study we are continuing with Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, by Jim Cymbalta. So awesome! I think that sometimes we forget how much prayer is vital in our lives. I also heard a quote recently (ironically on facebook) by John Piper about how we won't be able to use lack of time as an excuse for why we didn't pray. . . we have Facebook and Twitter.

I am hoping... to have a great weekend! I think I will, lots of fun things planned!

I am hearing... Ethan clapping and giggling. . . and whining because he's out of snacks and wants to play and I am sitting here typing. In other words, he's bored! Poor guy!

Around the house... pumpkin! Lots of pumpkin! Many new recipes to try! Very excited!

One of my favorite things... Ethan! Seriously! He's a great kid! I am never bored. Today I went and checked on him at nap time. He was just laying there almost asleep, but his eyes were open and he saw me. He just layed there and waved to me! Priceless!

A few plans for the rest of the week: I guess I should say weekend, right? It is Thursday, afterall. MOPS, cards, Chocolate Fountain Night with the ladies in my Bible Study, Teen Valley Ranch Lunch, First Grade Sunday School, and Children's Ministry training. It's going to be a busy weekend!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

An Attitude of Gratefulness

I haven’t had much time to sit and contemplate. I have all these ideas for writing streaming through my head, but this one has stayed constant. Gratefulness. It is something that I have needed to do over the past few weeks, but last week it became even more apparent. . . I was becoming sad and slightly bitter. Not to say that being sad is wrong. . . it’s just that I was sad for incredibly wrong reasons. I forgot about being content and relying on God’s perfect peace. I was not in control and things were not going according to my plan and in my timing, therefore my attitude was in dire need of a readjustment.

Being grateful is taking the time to rejoice in the little things. It is so easy to forget that we have roofs over our heads, food on the table, clothes to wear, families that love us, and most importantly a God that loves us enough to forgive all of our mistakes (and trust me. . . I make a lot of them!). I am so thankful for all the gifts that God has given me. As I look at all the times that God has answered “no” or “wait” to my wishes and desires, I find that his presence never fails and his love abundant! He is constantly blessing me with gifts. . . no, not gifts as in beautifully, and carefully wrapped presents for me, but blessings that encourage me. . . a kind word, a hug, a smile, and even something unexpected.

So, in this time of waiting I am going to wait patiently with anticipation. God will eventually open the doors in his timing, but until then, I am going to hang out and wait for God’s blessings to shower down and swim in the blessings that already surround me!

Here are some quotes that I found about being grateful:
"He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has." – Epictetus

"Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion. Hope without thankfulness is lacking in fine perception. Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude. Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road." -John Henry Jowett

“The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.”-Eric Hoffer

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God."-The Bible Phil 4:6 NKJV

"If a fellow isn't thankful for what he's got, he isn't likely to be thankful for what he's going to get." - Frank A. Clark

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tis the Season . . .

For Pumpkin!

October is here and my dreams of pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pies, and pumpkin . . . well anything else are coming true. I live for FALL. Well, I live for Christ, but I love fall! I look forward to it all year, especially when I start getting sick of triple digit weather!

Last week, I hosted a play date for the mom's at my MOPS table. I found the Starbucks Pumpkin scone recipe. . . mmmm. . . so delicious! I made mini ones for two reasons. . .
1. smaller ones make a batch go longer
2. I just couldn't see 560 calories in just one large scone. . . why not split them up?

After making the scones, I had a half of can (or about a cup) of pumpkin left and I just couldn't let it go to waste. . . especially since there seems to be a shortage of canned pumpkins out there (Many stores in my area are sold out!). So, I found this recipe for Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies that only called for 1 cup and a delicious cream cheese filling. . . so very tastey! I even added some nutmeg to the cream cheese filling that just added a little touch to the already delicious treat! My small group gobbled them up on Sunday night!

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 cup LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

PREHEAT oven to 350° F.

Lightly grease or line four baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt in medium bowl. Beat butter and sugar in large mixer bowl on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add pumpkin and vanilla extract; beat until smooth. Stir in flour mixture until combined. Drop by heaping measuring teaspoons onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10 to 13 minutes or until springy to the touch. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl on medium speed until fluffy. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Spread a heaping teaspoon of filling onto flat side of one cookie; top with flat side of second cookie to make a sandwich. Repeat with remaining cookies and filling. Store in covered container in refrigerator.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A fall day. . .

came and went.
Yesterday was the first, truly fall day. We had our first rainstorm of the fall/winter season. . . and it was perfect! Today. . . well, today is sunny and humid. . . did spring come early? (It's 85 degrees out there!) To make yesterday even perfect, I was treated to a delicious pumpkin spice latte and got to spend the afternoon veggin'.

I picked up these cool mini cupcake wrappers at Target yesterday. . . so festive for upcoming Halloween treats. I found some peanut butter cookie dough in the freezer, popped some balls in the tart pan and baked for about 8 minutes. When they got done, I pushed some unwrapped reeces peanut butter cups in the middle.. . a quick and instant peanut butter treat! My peanut butter cookie recipe can be found here. I was going to make some pumpkin recipe of some sort but I only have one can left and it seems that this pumpkin shortage is really happening. . . I can't find it anywhere!

Rain drops outside my front door. Ahhh. . . . the perfect addition to a peaceful afternoon!

My flowers in the rain. . . I love it!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

thinking. . . .

It's Friday morning, the hubby's home, and the kiddo is sick. All plans are cancelled, which makes it bittersweet (I was looking forward to a day trip to Sac, but am okay with staying home), so here I am blogging.

Outside my window... sun once again shining (hey, it's California, what can I expect?), the birds are chirping, and the road is freshly repaved.

I am thinking... that it is nice to hang out in sweats and a sweatshirt and it is okay that I just fell asleep with the kiddo curled at my side, while Jon is out doing my grocery shopping and buying pajamas for the kiddo.

I am wearing...hmmmm. . . sweats and a sweatshirt. I must note that I haven't taken a shower yet and am enjoying a morning of laziness while taking care of my sick baby.

I am creating...nothing at the moment. Although it might be nice to start on some upcoming birthday presents and I am really wanting to make some cards. Oh wait, I need to make a wedding card for tomorrow. I should get on that. . .

I am going... absolutely nowhere. I am not really sure how I feel about that. I had planned on taking the family to Apple Hill today. It just sounded like so much fun. . . and fall-like. Maybe another day.

I am reading... right now. . . just keeping up on the goings of facebook. So, very lazy today.

I am hoping... that God moves this house buying situation along. My patience is wearing thin. I know I am annoying my husband because I don't want to look at other houses. . . it just makes me so sad. Then I start thinking about Christmas and get so frustrated because there are boxes and bikes blocking the fireplace so no stockings to be hung and there are toys and stuff where the tree usually goes. So, I hope that God moves us soon, because I am not sure that we will be celebrating Christmas with decorations this year. . . and this makes me very sad!

I am hearing...absolutely nothing. . . until my cell phone rang.

Around the house... it's clean here. I cleaned yesterday. . . it's nice. Although Ethan has a few toys thrown around, it is nice. A great way to start the weekend. :)

One of my favorite things...my family. I am so very thankful for the treasures that God has given me with them in my life. I am looking forward to a long weekend spending it with them.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Well, it's Friday. . . the week is nearly over. So, I guess just hanging out with the family. I do need to make some treats for Sunday school on Sunday and plan my Sunday School lesson.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

mmm. . . chocolate. I think that I have been in the mood for chocolate. M&M's, dark chocolate bars, you name it. . . chocolate. So, what better treat than chocolate oatmeal cookies.
These cookies are delicious. I found the recipe at Hershey's and it got rated 4 stars.
Here it is:
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups quick cooking rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I omitted these)
Heat oven to 350.
Beat butter and sugars in a large bowl until light and fluffy; blend in eggs and vanilla. Stir together flour cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add the butter mixture, mixing well. Stir in oats and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for about 10 minutes, allowing them to be slightly moist in the center. Cool for 1 minute before removing to wire rack.

Monday, October 05, 2009

I finally got my pictures downloaded onto my computer! I have been such a procrastinator! But, oh, we have had so much fun the past few days and weeks! Check my here for details. So, now that I have pictures to show you, I am going to move on, so I can get started on this week!

Pot Holder
I found this Lizzy House fabric last April at the Cotton Ball (Morro Bay's really cool quilt shop) and have been wanting to make potholders out of it ever since. Now that I have my own copy of Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing, I decided to try out her pattern for a basic potholder. I really, really like it! Plus it was super easy! I opted to use the insulated batting that is specially made for hot things. Lotta Jansdotter warns about using cotton batting as it is flammable.

Chocolate Raspberry Bars
I made a pan of these because they looked so delish here. Here's the recipe.
I baked them for Jon. . . he loved them and would eat them again. . . really. . . he's my biggest critic! I also sent some home with our Breauna, a college student who is just such a great friend and help! She deserves all the study food I can whip up for her!
Baby Card
There seems to be a wave of babies being born around here. I made this quick card for Jon's cousin Erin's shower last weekend. The stamp set is Nice and Narrow (SU) and I used the water color pens to color in the ink from the Buckaroo Blue and Chocolate Chip ink pads. I then layered it with matching blue and brown card stock, snipped off the bottom and tied with a light blue ribbon. Then stamped the bottom of the card/inside of the card with "hello little baby" stamp. Super easy and quick. I am finding that this stamp set seems to be my no fail set when I need a quick, impromptu card.
I had my eye on this fabric for a long time. I bought it right after Christmas. I just now started using it. This fabric is the colors of our living room, and so I thought I would start making a batch of coasters. They are basically two pieces of fabric lined with some really thin batting and sewn at 1/4 inch.

Tag Blanket
I am finding more and more that these tag blankets are the answer to a quick, easy, and inexpensive gift. This one went to Jon's cousin Erin's baby on the way. I really like how the Heather Ross fabric looks with the blue chenille fabric.

Now, it is new week and it looks busy. I am hoping for some time to create. I hope it works out! If not, I have a ton of baking to do! Have a great week everyone! Enjoy the beautiful fall weather that God has given us!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

mid-week thoughts

Here are my thoughts for the week. They are probably awfully boring, but it's me and I am loving the first actual signs of fall since last year!

Outside my window... the sun is shining brightly and there is a soft breeze blowing! Not to mention the temperature is only in the 70's today. Can I just say . . . Pure Bliss!

I am thinking... that if I take a nap nothing will get done and that a Pumpkin Spice Latte sounds delish!

From the kitchen... hmmm. . . right now the dishwasher needs to be filled. But there are some fresh baked chocolate raspberry bars (which will get posted tomorrow?) and leftover spaghetti (with homemade sauce! scrumdiliumptious!)

I am wearing...sweat pants, tank top, sweatshirt. . . my comfy's so that I can relish in the bliss of the weather!

I am creating...nothing right now. It feels good! I did make my list of Christmas presents. Kids and women are easy. . . men . . . not so much. Too bad they don't like ties.

I am going... to take Ethan to the met tomorrow night. Bob the Builder is there and tomorrow night during Art Hop it's free. . . and I am cheap. Oh, Jon's coming too!

I am reading... Acts chapter 4 this week, more Mandie, and some craft blogs!

I am hoping... to be in a new house by my birthday. It would be the perfect birthday gift!

I am hearing...construction workers. I have absolutely no idea what they are working on. I love my apartment, but there was no mention of construction going on.

Around the house... there is a pile of boxes waiting to be packed. I am getting tired of looking at them.

One of my favorite things...HULU and netflix. Who needs TV when you can watch shows the next day?

A few plans for the rest of the week: read, organize, grocery shop. Basically the basics.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

new background and banner

so it is the weekend. . . and i am exhausted, thanks to the kiddo waking me up at 5:30 this morning for some cuddle time (possible nightmare or teething). and in honor of it being the weekend, am considering not using capitals. . . hmm. . . . not going to work!

I spent some time this weekend playing with backgrounds and banners from CBOTB along with the free software paint.net. So much fun! I have to admit I am most impressed with the banner here. Let me know what you think. . . I am curious.

I hope everyone is having a great weekend! I am off to do a little bit of baking. . . some new raspberry chocolate bars while the hubby is doing the air forecast. Looking forward to it! I will post pics and recipe soon!

More later!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

English Toffee Bars

Let me just say that despite the fact that today is projected to reach triple digits and yesterday marked the first day of Fall, I am making fall foods in hopes that the temperatures may drop (I know. . . we live in California. . . wishful thinking, right?). I found this recipe on the Hershey website and ohhhh, it is pretty darn good! Very gooey and yummy. . . the perfect get in the mood for fall snack (which was later accompanied by a slice of pumpkin pie compliments of my friend, Amelia). When I printed the recipe out, I noticed that the skill level was leveled at advanced. . . trust me. . . this recipe is sooooooo easy! If you can follow directions, you will have no problems!

Okay for the recipe you will need a 13x9x2 inch pan. You don't need to grease it, which is nice. But, I didn't want to take my chances, so I lined it with parchment paper.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Ingredients: 2 cups flour, 1 cup light brown sugar, 1/2 cup butter, 1 cup pecan halves, 1 cup chocolate chips, 2/3 cup butter and 1/3 cup light brown sugar.

Combine flour and brown sugar in a large bowl. Cut in butter until fine crumbs form. I used my food processor and pulsed. . . it took about 15 seconds to do this.
Press mixture into bottom of your baking dish. Sprinkle pecans over top.
Prepare toffee topping by combining 2/3 cup butter and 1l/3 cup brown sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until it starts boiling. Allow it to boil for 30 more seconds and then, pour over your crust.
I doubled my toffee topping, because I felt that It didn't cover enough of the crust for my taste.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until bubbly and golden. Sprinkle with chocolate chips (I may have used the whole bag?). Cool completely, cut into bars, and enjoy!

Happy Baking!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

slab cookies

This week, I just took cookies out of the freezer, sliced, and baked. Ta Da cookies! Sorry, I was being lazy. . . and my freezer stash was growing and needed to be stopped! I made this cookies earlier in the summer, and never got around to posting them, so I thought I would take the opportunity to do so now.

These are not my most favorite cookies in the world. Easy. .. yes. Tasty. . . yes. So, why are they not my favorite. Well, I quite enjoy and gooey, soft, warm cookie that melts in your mouth whereas this cookie. . . well is dry (in a good way) and crumbly. It is more like a sandie cookie (you know those almond sandies you buy in the store?). So, yes, it is good (I am sharing it with you after all), you can do so much with the basic batter and they freeze incredibly well! They also look really nice stacked. . . a great gift idea possibly?

I found the this recipe at Smitten Kitchen. She just had the most adorable baby. . . so that may be incentive enough to check her site (she posted pics of their "almost" edible little guy! Very precious!). She also gives lots of different ways to make these cookies with a selection of add ins (kind of felt like I was at the cookie version of marble slab!). I used mini chocolate chips for this batch.

This is them all rolled out and frozen. . . just slice and bake!

Sliced, baked, and ready to eat!
I have to admit. . . they are really pretty.

So, please enjoy these cookies. . .
Happy Baking!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


My senior year of college, I decided to try my hand at quilting and loved it! I was also really into the colors red, white, and blue. . . it was how I was going to decorate my house! Needless to say, my house is not red, white, and blue. But, I digress. Let me get back on track here. . . oh yes, the quilt. I started it sometime during my senior year (back in 2001!). I got the actually squares cut out, sewed my quilt blocks and then the whole thing together. At this point, I knew absolutely nothing about quilting. . . just what I had seen from my sister, who was learning to quilt in her home-ec class. When the top was finished, it got packed away and unfortunately, it never got made into an actual blanket, until this past weekend. . . almost 10 years later. But it is finished and I am proud. It has lots of character since my lines are probably not the straightest, but it's my first quilt and I am proud. I think it will be a great picnic quilt.

Monday, September 21, 2009

What's goin' on?

This morning I was searching the net. . . in other words, I was procrastinating. . . and found a blog that had these fill in the blank like things linked to here. I am really wanting to do more writing and thought sharing with you (like here), so I thought I would give it a try. Here it goes:

Outside my window... the sun is shining and it's already getting hot. Glad I got my morning walk in early.
I am thinking... that being patient is really hard!
I am thankful for...God's constant provision.
From the kitchen... broccoli chicken casserole (for dinner) and leftover toffee bars (to be posted later this week).
I am wearing...skirt and t-shirt, but not going anywhere. . . just cool and comfy for the HOT fall day!
I am creating...a rattle, something for Jon's cousin's upcoming baby, bibs for MOPS, and something for me.
I am going... to try not to procrastinate too much . . . it's just so easy!
I am reading...hmmm. . . a lot actually. I just started the book Fresh Wind Fresh Fire for Bible Study and am loving every minute of it! I am tempted to skip ahead. I am also trying to read through the Mandie series (a childhood favorite!)
I am hoping... to hear some news of the house this week. It seems like such a long time ago that we put the offer down and won that "war." I am ready to move and make our home a bit bigger. I am happy here in our tiny apartment but long for the opportunity to host play groups and gatherings in our new, bigger home. All in God's timing, right?
I am hearing...lawn mowers. . . they are sooo loud!
Around the house...toys. . . blocks. . . since Ethan's birthday there are blocks everywhere! I love it!
One of my favorite things...right now. . . quiet Monday. Jon has the car today (his carpool buddy ditched him on accident) and it leaves me to a peaceful day with no errands. That and semi-frozen water bottles!
A few plans for the rest of the week: sew, sew, read, read. I really want to stay more consistent with my quiet times. I do so well and then I get to the end of a study or really busy and somehow they just get put aside. I am trying to regain my focus on spending time studying God's Word. It is just so important. . . my source of peace, patience, joy, love, and endurance! My cup needs refilled.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

i forgot. . .and other random thoughts

First of all, I realized I forgot to post a picture of Ethan's birthday invitation. I had so much fun making them, although I must admit it is really difficult to find masculine scrapbook paper that doesn't have to do with sports, military, or traveling. But, I found this paper that kind of matched the fabric of Ethan's banners, so I was set! I also must note that several years ago (before I was married), there was a stamp special through Stampin' Up that if I bought a certain alphabet set, they would throw in the numbers. So, I have these numbers and this is probably one of the first time I have used them. . . and used them I have!

Now, for some random thoughts . . .
:::: This week was the first week I haven't had much to do, so I found some time to get sick (now better) and read! It has been so relaxing!
:::: This week I am going to get my sewing machine out and do some sewing. . . I have some new fabric that I can't wait to try out. I am really excited about my new Lizzy House Red Letter day fabric to go with her Lizzy Dish line. I think it will make some awesome hot pads . . . for my new kitchen (if we ever move!).
:::: Starting a new Bible Study this week (well, it started last week, but I was too sick to go. . . sniff sniff) going through Acts and reading Fresh Wind Fresh Fire, by Jim Cymbala. I just got my copy today and already Jon is hooked. . . must be a good read! I am excited to get started.
:::: I am wondering if it is possible to find do it yourself projects for men. . . that are actually masculine and fun. If anyone has any suggestions, please. . . please comment.
:::: I am really excited about a fun, fall toffee recipe I am going to try out tomorrow. . . if its any good, I'll post something soon.

I hope that you are able to take some time and just read a book. . . I definitely feel refreshed and ready to begin some sewing projects!

Happy Sunday!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ethan's Birthday Party

Ethan's birthday shirt. . . fabric applique. . . so very easy!

I needed something fun for party favors that would be appropriate for all age ranges. So, I found these bubbles in the dollar section of Target (one of my favorite places!) and put them in plastic bags, tied with some leftover ribbon, and attatched a stamped tag on it.

Fabric Bunting - I made this out of Michael Miller and Amy Butler fabric. My inspiration was to have on that matched his bedroom. . . I can't wait to put this up when we move!

Happy Birthday Ethan! I made this out of cardstock and used brown ribbon to connect the pieces. So much fun!

Ethan's birthday cake - We did cupcakes with homemade buttercream frosting, and green sanding sugar. I made the toppers using a circle cutter.

Cupcake up close.


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