Friday, December 19, 2014

A Christmas Treat for you {Free printable!}

I'm sitting here enjoying a beautiful overcast sky (praying for rain) and drinking a gingerbread latte (I'm going to miss them!).  I survived another trip to Target (we go there often) and am now soaking in a quiet morning.  I just know that once 1:30 rolls around there is going to be some CRAZY going on.  Ethan was so excited to get to wear his PJ's to school!  Easiest morning of getting ready.ever!  Can they make Pajamas part of the normal dress code?   In fact, I am preparing for 3 weeks of CRAZY!  But, I am prepared!  The Kinetic sand will make an appearance, some new playdough is in the works (thank you Pinterest!), and crafts are getting organized.  We will survive!!!  

This past fall, I have had the most wonderful opportunity to co-lead a table of amazing women though the study of Gideon.  My co-leader has been wonderful and I can't wait to start a new Beth Moore study in January.  Last week, we wrapped up Gideon with a festive table and treats and some really fun games.  I made all the ladies some of this yummy bread and created a fun treat tag go along with it.  This bread is one of my favorite go-to recipes!  I just can't get enough of it!  I even gave some to Ethan's teacher, who also loved it (although, I think she had to keep it away from her son!).  

Mini loaves are awesome, because you can make  one batch of quick bread and get several loaves of bread, depending on the size of your loaf pan.  Several years ago, I was gifted these by my in-laws and seriously they are THE BEST!  I will worn you, William-Sonoma's goldtouch pans are awesome.  I am thinking about putting the cookie sheets on my wishlist.  America's Test Kitchen gives them their highest rating!  I can usually get about 6 mini loaves with this recipe! 

You should make this.  Tonight.  And then give them to your neighbors and friends in the morning.  It'll be fun.  I promise!  

GO  here to get the printable.  

Orange Glazed Poppy Seed Bread

3 cups flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/8 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp poppy seeds
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 tsp imitation butter flavor*

1/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp each of vanilla, almond, and butter flavorings

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Spray your mini pans with Pam. 
Mix together all the ingredients.  Beat for 2 minutes.  
Pour batter into bread pans and bake for 55 minutes (may be less time depending on the size of your pans.  I would set it for 30 and work your way up).

While bread is baking, make the glaze.  Whisk all the ingredients together and set aside.  Glaze evenly over the hot bread  and allow to cool before removing.  The glaze will get hard and add such a wonderful flavor to the bread.

*I found imitation butter flavoring at Michaels in the cake decorating section.  Mine is by Wilton.  

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Chocolate Chip Muffin time!

Right now, I am sitting in bed watching Gilmore Girls (thank you, Netflix!) and writing this post.  I've been waiting all day for some rain.  I got some beautiful clouds and saw some amazing pictures of the craziness to the North of us.  Our rain is starting and I should probably go to bed at some point, but right now. . . it's me, you, and the Gilmore Girls sitting down to a nice warm latte and girl talk (sorry, if you are a guy reading this).  We will also eat these scrumptious muffins, because really, they are amazing. . .and food goes really well with latte's and conversation.  

I've made these muffins several times and they are always a huge hit!  Although, I am pretty sure that anytime I feed the kids chocolate for breakfast, I get the Mom of the Year award.  I think that it's all about the sprinkling of sugar sprinkles on top of any muffin makes them better. . . I'm sure that I'm not the only one?   

Chocolate Chip Muffins
Recipe adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction

3 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla (I always just eyeball it)
1 cup mini dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Line your muffin tin with your favorite liners.  (Right now I am really digging these liners).  

Mix together eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla.  Carefully fold in the dry ingredients.  Be careful not to overmix the batter (a big no-no for muffin making).  Fold in the chocolate chips.  

I like to use a cookie scoop to scoop the batter into the muffin liners.  Fill almost all the way to the top and sprinkle with sprinkles (so that sounded repetitive!).  Bake at 425 for 5 minutes and then lower the temp to 375 and bake for 25 minutes.  I always forget to raise the temp for the second round of muffins, and they seem to bake very nicely at 375 for the whole time.  

Monday, December 01, 2014

The first day of Advent & Truth in the Tinsel tips

Today was the first day of Advent!  It's my favorite time of the year.  We are once again participating in Truth in the Tinsel.  This is year 4 for us and we aren't sick of it yet!  In fact, Ethan was begging all afternoon to do the first ornament.  I love that's he's excited about this!

If you haven't hear of it this program, it's a very inexpensive E-book with a short devotional and a cute ornament to make.  It is incredibly flexible and you can make it fit around your family's needs.  I highly recommend spending the extra four dollars and getting the printable ornaments because even if you don't have time to actually do the craft, you can hand your kids the crayons and talk about it while they color.

Last year, I worked really hard putting together sandwich bags with the clue and the supplies already ready for the craft.  It made it so much easier this year (once I found them, of course!).

I also went with the paper lunch bags again this year.  Last year, I did this. But this year, I decided to go simpler. I printed out numbers on them.  Once, I figured it out, it went really quick. I really like the simplicity of it.  I might even be able to keep the bags for next year.  We will see.
Then, I used the basket that normally holds our library books and filled with with our advent bags.  Super easy!

Then, we got to work and had fun learning about how Jesus is the Light of the World.  Weston is really into pirates and now makes a pirate face instead of smiling.  (ahh, the life of an imaginative almost 4 year old!).
and hung them on the tree.  I can't wait to get more ornaments up on the tree!

Here are my tips:
1.  Plan for the whole month, but don't stress if you miss a few.  Christmas is busy and you don't want to stress and not have fun.  You can always go and do two on a quiet day, if you want.  It made it so easy to get everything ready because some of my bags were still full.  
2.  Get everything ready ahead of time.  You are more likely to do it if it's all ready for you.  
3.  Don't stress if you don't want to make it exactly how it's written.  People have been doing this for 4 years now and there are a lot of ideas out there for the ornaments to change it up or make it easier.  For example, the day, the sheep yard ornament, we are making hand print sheep with cotton balls and black paint.  Super Easy!  
5.  Take advantage of Instagram and hashtag #truthinthetinsel.  It's a ton of fun to click the hashtag and see what everyone else is doing .
6.  Don't think your kid is too young.  I've been doing this with Ethan since he was 3 and Weston started when he was 2 (but he's been around for it all!).  
7.  Have fun.  Buy the extra ornaments. . . So easy!  We do a little of both, but don't feel guilty if all your doing is the paper ornaments.  They are cute and the goal is to teach them about Jesus!  

I think that's it. . . for now.  I might think of something to add as I go and drift off to sleep, but feel free to email me or leave a message in the comments.  

If you are curious about our other traditions check these previous posts. 
click here, here, here, and here


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