Wednesday, June 26, 2013

lazy day meanderings. . .

I have had an incredible case of laziness. . . errr. . . lack of motivation.  I should probably do something productive, like clean my house (maybe?) or even do something crafty?  Today, I forced myself to mop the floors.  The kids love it, because they get to eat lunch in the living room and watch a movie.  To them, I am the  Little do they know, I hate mopping the floor and would rather join them. Unfortunately, I hate the dirty, cheerio filled floor even more.  I feel like I conquered.  

We were out of town and out of service this weekend.  It rocked!  We went on adventures in Gold Country.   We managed not to get lost each time we left the cabin.  We drooled over the golf course.  We watched our friends get married and our son be their ring bearer.  We saw really big trees, in the sprinkling rain.  We came home to an overcast 24 hour period. . . in June.  Best.coming.home.ever!

Yesterday, my husband and I celebrated our 8th anniversary by eating at the Rio Grill, a Brazillian Steakhouse.  I am not going to lie. . . I love meat.  Seriously, this was the best place for meat.  A guy came around ever few minutes cutting meat off a skewer.  It was so amazing.  Plus, add a salad in the mix and it was the perfect low carb dinner. 

I think someone has been sneaking into my house and stealing my measuring spoons and cups.  They seriously have been disappearing and breaking. So, I took my free Kohl's money that occasionally shows up in my mailbox and bought a set of colorful ones.  And then found some bright yellow measuring spoons at Marshall's for 2.99.  So, for less than 10 dollars out of pocket, I now have measuring devices.  I can now bake again!  (not that it stopped me before, it was just frustrating!).

Up until a month ago, I was making a lot of cards for different celebratory events.  The below card is from Mother's Day.
This card used some scraps out of my scrap box (which needs to be gone through again . . .eek!).  I may be a bit obsessed with chevron and this one definitely uses it.  The kraft paper in the backgrounds was some JOAnn's cardstock pressed with my Stampin' Up folder for my Big Shot.  The stamp set used was Heart's A Flutter and then dicut using the matching framelits.  The heart was raised using dimensional and tied with baker's twine.  The the green brad is a fabric covered one that I got on SU's clearance rack last year and had yet to use.

It was super fun to put together!

Now, I want to hear from you.  Getting comments last week was so much fun!  I absolutely love hearing from you!

Are you working on anything this summer?  Or how do you rekindle your motivation to craft (or clean?)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

veggies masked in chocolate are the best!!!!

Getting most fruits and vegetables into my kids isn't the hardest thing I struggle with as a parent, when it comes to feeding them.  I think they can live on homemade smoothies (yes, I occasionally sneak some spinach in them), applesauce, bananas, and avocados.  However, Ethan will gladly reach over and grab some carrots, cucumbers, and red peppers, especially if there is some ranch dressing to dip it in.  In fact, Ethan will sometimes eat some zucchini --as long as it's raw.

I made this bread because I wanted to.  I had a zucchini that needed used up and we needed something for a quick breakfast on the run. Perfect fix!  I found it most gratifying that my oldest ate several slices each morning.  I may have just told him it was double chocolate bread, intentionally leaving out the secret ingredient.  Weston didn't eat it.  But, he'd rather have a smoothie and cheerios for breakfast.
This bread was seriously amazing.  It made it very hard to avoid carbs (but the few slices I devoured were justified by that secret, unnamed vegetable. . . err. . . fruit (seeds. . . fruit. . . right?).   It was so moist and had this melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness that made me want to run to the backyard to see if my zucchini magically produced fruit overnight (no such luck. . . we are still producing beautiful flowers).

Do you mask vegetables and fruit to get your kids to eat them?  Or even your husband?  I know that my husband secretly doesn't trust me making dinner because he always assumes that there will be an excess of onion, sour cream, or even eggs that will scare him away.  But, he eats salads (not little side salads. . . the kind that take the place of an entire meal) willingly. . . and for that I an content with, although I remember the shocking look his grandma gave me when she didn't believe that he ate salads.

My sister got me this book a few years back. . . maybe I will actually use it next month?

And before I post the recipe, I will leave you with my favorite instagram from last week (ya know. . . since I didn't blog and all last week).  They boys were building a bathroom.  Yep. . . feeling VERY outnumbered in my house! 

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

1 1/2 cups zucchini, shredded (My microplane worked awesome for this!)
1 cup flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray loaf pan with cooking spray.  
In a mixer, combine oil and sugars.  Then add in eggs, zucchini, and vanilla.  
Slowly add your dry ingredients and stir until your mixture .  Beat until just combined.  Add in chocolate chips. 

Pour batter into loaf pan.  Bake for about 55 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes before releasing on to a wire rack.  


I am linking up here if you wanna check it out. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tis' the season for bridal shower gifts!

I had every intention of blogging last week.  It just never happened.  We were busy enjoying summer spontaneously.  It felt good!  It was energizing.  NOTHING got accomplished. . . unless you count creating memorable moments with your children.  In that case, I accomplished a lot.  
We have some friends that are getting married this week.  Ethan is in the wedding. . . he's going to be so cute!  So, I thought I would post what I made her for her bridal shower gift (which was a month ago!) in honor of their big day.  I even heard rumors, that her fiance thought that this was pretty cool.  Score. . . if you get the guys approval on a handmade gift!
I was super inspired by a gift that was given to me pre-marriage days.  I was blessed with an amazing secret sister who sewed me up an awesome casserole carrier.  I love using it because I don't have to just use a rectangular 11x13 pan because these handmade ones offer a bit more flexibility.  I had taken mine awhile back to our MOPS group and I got lots of . . . . "that is the coolest thing ever!" comments and I knew I wanted to make some for some gifts.
I was so happy I found this tutorial via Pinterest that didn't require buying a pattern.  I wanted to keep the cost fairly low, since these have the potential to be quite pricey.  I used my 40 percent off coupons and saved a lot that way (that made my husband happy since he gets nervous each time I mention that I would like to go to JoAnns).  I also really liked the adaptations that this blogger did based on the first one.   Both casserole carriers tutorials used velcro on the inside first fold over.  I wanted to add ribbon to allow for adjustments on the tie.  Sometimes, you may put your oval corning ware in. . . you never know.  Plus, I think it adds an big of an accent to it.
Ta-Da!  The finished project!  By the way. . . A big shout out for my best friend for taking the pictures with her fancy camera and emailing them to me. . . twice!

I made another one a few weeks ago, and forgot to take pictures.  That bride is on her honeymoon right now, but maybe when things settle down for her and she starts reading blogs, she might be able to send me some pictures or post them to Facebook for us to see.  I used a different print for the second one.  It came out super cute, too!

Friday, June 07, 2013

Friday Favorites

Last night I went to bed filling incredibly giddy inside.  This morning I woke up jumping for joy.  Not because anything super special was happening.  Solely because it is Friday.  It might have had something to do with some me time this morning.  But, I think the biggest part of my excitement is that it's the weekend and I get my husband home for 2 whole days (bummer that this is an  odd week, but happy that the upcoming week is a 4 day week).

So with that, I will leave you with some of my favorite things from this past week, so you can get to your weekend of fun! 

1.  This one of my most favorite books series that was able to download the first for free, now it's only about 5 dollars, which is still a good deal.  It feels so good to just read and not feel like I should be doing something else, which is good, because I have a rather large stack of books to read.

2.  Mrs. Meyers Honeysuckle dishwashing soap.  I love anything by Mrs. Meyers and have been using these for years.  But, I absolutely LOVE honeysuckle.  It's a little pricey, but I enjoy the smell and confidence that I am cleaning with natural based cleaners that actually work.  

3.  I love the idea of boxes coming in the mail with treats.  I am constantly taunted by those expensive kids craft and literacy boxes as well as snack boxes.  But they are always too expensive.  Stampin' Up (my most favorite addiction) has come out with one that's not horribly priced.  I've almost gotten my husband talked into it. . . it would be like my birthday once a month!  It comes with one or two stamps and pretty much everything you would need for a project.  I really hope I get to subscribe!
4.  I was so sad when I could no longer find one of my favorite magazines on the newstand.  I had not yet renewed my subscription and then it completely disappeared.  Apparently, Martha Stewart started to just throw it in with here Martha Stewart Living subscriptions.  Since, I don't subscribe to that one, I was soooo sad.  At least I was, until I looked to see if you could subscribe to the digital magazine.  And thanks to the App store, I found it for the IPad.  And the best part. . . FREE!  Seriously, the best part of my day!  

5.  Favorite Instagram of the week:
I've been enjoying my ice teas at Starbucks. . . especially since it is in the triple digits!  Today, I was able to find a quiet table at one of our local spots so spend some time in Joshua.  This is study I got for Mother's Day several years ago, and since I am usually doing a Beth Moore or similar study during the school year, I save this for the summer.  It is so refreshing!  As you can see, It was made into art by my first born.  ha ha.  I love getting away for some uninterrupted time.  In fact, today, I was reading about how the Isrealites were silent while walking around.  That had to be so hard.  Then I was challenged to find that quiet and listen to God.  That's hard. . . there isn't much quiet in my house.  So, it's these kinds of moments that I cherish!  

I hope you have wonderful plans for this weekend.   Enjoy and be blessed! 

Thursday, June 06, 2013

More tartlets

We are going stir crazy over here.  We have been home everyday all week.  Yep.  Possibly on the verge of craziness.  Thankfully, I have tomorrow to look forward to.  My MIL is going to come over and get her fill of the boys so I can get a break.  I LOVE that she does this, because although I LOVE my job, I definitely need a break every now and then.  (So, Carolyn, if you are reading this. . . you are appreciated and your grandchildren are super excited to see you!). 

Now, back to the land of tarts. . . are you sick of them yet? 

These were amazing!  Even better, they were super easy.  The only thing you have to bake is the shell, which you buy at the store, pop in the oven and bang, they are done!  You can find the recipe here (because I am lazy and want to go soak in some reading time).
These were also super easy.  Puff Pastry rolled out and cut into circles, brushed with egg wash and then baked.  For the topping, it was a cream cheese, lemon curd filling and then topped with a strawberry.  I am so sad that I can't find the recipe anywhere!  I hate it when I think I pin something and it isn't there and then I can't find it by searching Google or Pinterest.

I hope you all have a wonderful Friday. . . I plan on being back tomorrow with some fun favorites of mine right now!

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

being honest {motherhood}

I love this blog because it's a place where not only can I be creative, but I can also share my honest thoughts.    I am so far from being perfect.  I always feared that at MOPS coordinator people thought I had it all together . . . most of the time, I probably don't.  Sometimes I yell.  Sometimes we watch a lot of t.v. (today is one of those days). Sometimes we don't get out of our pajamas.  And sometimes we eat chicken nuggets and corn dogs for dinner.   I am really curious what mom really has it all together.  Admit it, sometimes our beautiful children suck the life out of us with their energy.  In fact, today, I think that my sick son secretly stole all of mine, because he has been running around giggling, jumping, and having fun.  
This morning was hard.  I blame it on lack of sleep.  The little one is sick again (I may have mentioned that yesterday).  We thought he was getting better, but by golly, this bug is a fighter.  It just won't leave.  So, at  3 am this morning we were awakened to our little guy throwing up all over our bedroom floor.  Thankfully he stopped and didn't make it to our bed. . . that would have been bad.  So instead of going back to bed, I watched Tangled until the little one fell asleep at 7 this morning.  By then, my husband was leaving for work and the oldest was about to pop out of bed.  Needless to say we have been watching TV, playing on the iPad, and resting. . . I may have fallen asleep for a minute while cuddling with both my boys.  It is days like today that I wish my favorite coffee shop had a drive thru.
But, today in the midst of exhaustion, a sick kid, and a kid wanting "help" with everything I am reminded of promises.

Loving promises.

Joyful promises.

Hopeful promises.  

and even better. Restful promises.
I am thankful that I am not doing this mom thing alone.  Not only do I have amazing husband and great friends, but I have a God, who loves me enough to pay attention to the innermost details of my heart.  Who holds me when I am so tired that I cry over everything.  I honestly don't think that I would be able to get through some days without that love that even my husband can't provide.

I am thankful for my husband who lets me steal moments away.  Where I can just enjoy some peace and quiet.  Even going to the bathroom in peace.  Time alone is precious.  It brings me back to focus feeling so refreshed.

I am thankful for my friends who bring laughter and joy.  The ones who will go shopping late at night with you so can go kid free.  The ones who send you late night text messages that make you cry you are laughing so hard.

Today, I am especially thankful for my espresso machine. . . so I don't have to drag my sick kid out of the house just to get some caffeine (it's the little things!).
So, when the days get hard (like today), I am going to focus on the promises and take time and count my thanks, make a latte, and enjoy moments like the one above.  

Do you have hard days?  (don't lie) How do you get through them?

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

I {heart} ganache

I don't know if it just me, but spending the weekend with my son sick made me want to clean.  Not just pick up a few things, but serious deep cleaning.  I think I did this last month, too!  Yikes. . . thankfully today everyone is well.  I am hoping it stays that way.  So, yesterday I cleaned and still didn't get everything done.  Today, I have filled the dishwasher, put some clothes on hangers, and washed some towels, and played with my boys. Definitely not as productive as yesterday, but my house is clean and I got to play with my boys today! 

I don't know if any one out there reading this blog knows this, but I have a secret love for ganache.  Give me a ganache frosting/glaze/filling any day and I will love you forever.   I would rather have ganache than butter cream (I've had some good frosting out there, but nothing beats a good ganache).  The ganache tart (either big or small) is super easy to make (again, easy is good!). 

This particular recipe was super easy because I just picked up some of those phyllo dough shells and baked them for a few minutes.  While they were baking, I heated my cream.  A good ganache is 1 part cream and 2 parts chocolate.  Super easy.  I needed it to thicken a bit, so I let it sit for about 30 minutes. 

Then I topped each one with a raspberry.  These raspberries were super dark. . . I regret not dusting them with a bit of powdered sugar. . . oh well, there's always next time.

Ganache-filled Tartlets

1 package of phyllo dough shells, baked according to package directions.
1/2 cup cream, heated
1 cup dark chocolate chips
raspberries, rinsed and patted dry

Heat cream up in microwave until hot.  Usually a half cup takes less than a minute.  Pour chocolate chips into hot cream.  Stir until shinny and fully melted.  Let sit until it firms up a bit.  Spoon ganache carefully into each shell.  Top with raspberry.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving.


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