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 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 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 . . 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.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

memory cards

My nephew, George, turned 2 last month. . . and he wanted memory cards. Well, maybe his mom (my sister) wanted memory cards, so I whipped some up really quick. I only made a small set of 6 pairs, since he is only 2, but will probably continue to add to his collection. I used my circle and square punch for these.

This is what the game looks like set out. . .
And these are the pieces up close! I laminated each one so that they would be more durable. I don't think they would last long in a child's hand without being laminated. But it also gives it a nice glossy finish. . . you just don't get to feel the softness of the fabric.

Peanut Butter Cookies

Last week, in attempt to be a "wise spender," I purchased the JIF natural Peanut Butter rather than our usual Skippy peanut butter. It ended up being very slimy and oily. . . which doesn't really go great with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Jon eats them every day and even he was complaining (he usually only complains about egg based food and the color "white"). So, I figured the only remedy to speed the emptying of these containers would be to make peanut butter cookies (which I will making several batches over the next few weeks!). I looked online and found a great recipe at the blog Brown Eyed Baker and decided to make them. While reading her post she mentions that she found the recipe in an old cookbook of her mom's and the original had all sorts of name brands in it. So, after making these great cookies (the recipe did seem some what familiar) I googled the JIF recipe and sure enough, the exact same recipe. So, my delicious peanut butter cookies are the tried and true JIF brand Irresistable Peanut Butter Cookies. I guess you just can't go wrong with this recipe! Happy Baking!

Here's the recipe:

1¾ all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup vegetable shortening
1¼ cups packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 egg
Granulated sugar, for rolling cookies

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Line baking sheets with parchment or a silicone baking mat.
2. Combine the flour, salt and baking soda in a small bowl and set aside.
3. Combine the peanut butter, shortening, brown sugar, milk and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Beat at medium speed until well blended. Add the egg and beat just until blended. Reduce speed to low and add to the creamed mixture gradually, mixing just until combined.
4. Put the granulated sugar in a small bowl. Scoop a tablespoonful of dough and roll into a ball between the palms of your hands. Roll the dough into the sugar and place on the baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Dip the tines of a fork into the sugar and make a crisscross patern on the cookies, flattening them slightly.
5. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes or until set and just beginning to brown. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet before removing to a cooling rack.
Storing: Store these cookies in an airtight container for about a week. You can also freeze these cookies in a freezer bag for approximately 3 months and thaw when you are ready to eat them.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Brown Butter Cookie Company

This past weekend, I (along with my husband and son) spent the weekend in Cayucus. It was his family's annual retreat to the coast and a ton of fun! While we were there, we discovered this quaint and scrumptious little cookie shop. I really wanted to let you know about it because their cookies were so delicious. I also thought it was cool because I just happened to make my brown butter chocolate chip cookies for the weekend and we found a store that specialized in making cookies with brown butter. They have a special recipe for a brown butter cookie and brown so much butter just for those that they just keep their regular recipe for their peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies. All in All, this place was so friendly and welcoming. . . plus they gave a sampling of their cookies when you walked in! You can even order their cookies online. So, if you are ever in Cayucus. . . I highly recommend you treat yourself to some amazing cookies!


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