Tuesday, March 31, 2009
It's granola!!!! We went healthier this week.....everyone over it loves it! My sister in law shared it with me a few years ago. It's great as cereal, on ice cream or over yogurt. If you'd like to try it, here's the recipe:
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 c. water
Microwave this in a large bowl for five minutes.
4 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
8 cups rolled oats
2 cups nuts...any kind
raisins, craisins.....or any kind of dried fruit is optional.
Mix this with the brown sugar and water. Spread onto two buttered cookie sheets. Bake at 275 degrees for 45 minutes-1 hour...or until golden brown. Makes 10 cups.
This can also become a birthday present!!!
My dear friend Ms. A celebrates her birthday on Friday and we got together to celebrate this past Sunday. A few weeks ago I asked her if she would like to try something new for our birthday exchange this year. We agreed to the same thing as the soul sisters did for the soul sisters first annual Christmas party The way our gift exchange went was that we had to make our present using only things we had in our house....or only spending $10 on supplies. So for M. A's birthday I thought she and her family would like a glass canister of their very own to fill with wonderful treasures and treats. I made her granola and recipe cards with the recipe written out...the cards were just blank index cards I already had and I stamped them with a "from the kitchen of/recipe" stamp I had as well....I included two jars of "Pam's Jam"...strawberry and peach that I made last summer....a dozen vanilla cupcakes with buttercream frosting and a little OPI nail polish set I had......I think this is techinically re-gifting.....but I knew she would love it and I was honest with her and 'fessed up to it as she opened it :) I only spent $6.00 on the canister, $2 on the little metal scoop....and I got a cute birthday ballon at the Dollar Tree to tie on the basket. She loved everything....and I had so much fun putting it together!!
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Well.....here I am on my very first morning of making cupcakes all by my very ownself!! I could barely sleep last night knowing I was going to be doing this! I made two batches of cupcakes using the recipe Marzipan Mom taught me....one as a birthday treat for my dear friend Miss A. tomorrow....more on that tomorrow...and one batch I put in the freezer to have as a treat next weekend when my sister and mom are in town visiting.
And they turned out perfecty scrumptious!!!!!!! I am just sooooo happy! Now I know I can do it!!!!
......all I need is my very own mixer so I don't have to keep borrowing my sister in laws :)...I know to most, making your own cupcakes and buttercream frosting from scratch aren't a big deal....and for many of you, you truly enjoy it...but this is a turning point in my life!!! I don't "enjoy" it yet......I LLLOOOOVVVEEE eating them when they are done though!!! ....but the possibilities are endless.....sooooo many cupcakes, so little time!
Friday, March 27, 2009
Spring has finally arrived....and to prove it I thought I would take some pictures of all of the springy things around here!! I started out with these cutie patootie little bunny rabbits I treated myself too yesterday :) I always like things in 3's because of my three kiddos....
Here is a view of the mantle in my great room...again...3's of everything!!! This picture doens't do the chicks in the eggs justice...they are actually all glittery.
When Cindy Lou and T. were just little they painted two of these wooden eggs...and can you believe I found one more in my stash down in my craft room when Cubby was two and he painted one too!!
Cubby loves trains and when we saw this on ebay last spring...he had to have it!! He LOOOVVES decorations!! He always wants to help me when I get the bins out for every holiday....
He was in charge of arranging the little easter village too!
The day lillies in my back yard are getting ready as well. Pretty soon everything will be budding and green!
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Okay.........I got sucked in!!! I've been chewing on it for a few weeks now and I couldn't resist to give it a try. Cubby has been away all week and I'm missing him terribly so I thought I'd play around on the computer SOME MORE!!! I really didn't want to get wrapped up in the whole facebook thing....some weeks I had 8-10 friends asking to me to be their "friend".....and I just couldn't bring myself to get caught up with it...but last night I jumped off the deep end signed up for Twitter. Twitter is s social network that is like a cross between texting and blogging. You basically answer the question, "What are you doing?" in a 140 characters or less... I have been asking around to some nieces, nephews and friends if they had heard of it, or did it....and several didn't. Everytime I have the t.v. on celebrities are talking about too....Ellen Degeneres, Jimmy Fallon, M.C. Hammer....to name a few. And I guess my son had heard me talking about it all week....so when I went to sign up I was alerted that someone in my address book was a follower....it was him!!!! hmmmm, I'm not so sure I'm going to allow it....we'll see how it goes. Anyway... I thought I would play around and give it a try. It's easy to get signed up and give yourself a little avatar and a profile. Then the first thing to do is to find some fun people to follow....I've started with some celebrities.....and this morning I even got a notification that Oprah was following me!!! With 1,873 other people!! A terrific blog I follow Bloggety Blog Blog has a little Twitter sidebar to follow her twitters.....I emailed her to ask her help in adding this widget, but I'm proud to say I figured it out all by myself!! The only problem I'm having so far is not being able to recieve updates on my Blackberry. After a little digging I'm finding out this is actually a Verizon problem...so while I'm out tomorrow I will be stopping at the Verizon store to see what they say......I haven't actually responded to anyone yet....... I'm just taking baby steps for now. But feel free to follow my Twitters! Join in.....the more the merrier!
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Well.....the kiddos certainly are happy about whats in the canister this week!!! Fruit roll ups!!.....While I was at my all day scrapbook crop a week or two ago, Chip took the troops to wander around Costco...a favorite thing to do. They came home with the chocolate chip cookies from last week and this big, HUGE box of fruit roll ups. I guess Chip isn't aware of the fact that I NEVER buy these!!! In my mind they are a step below fruit snacks, which I only buy on rare occaisions. I can't wait for next week!!!!
Aren't these simple??? I got inspired by Danny Seo over at www.dailydanny.com last week. He is a green living expert with eco-friendly and crafty ideas for everyday living. I thought they would be perfect to use as place markers at an informal gathering.......I just used a set of my little alphabet stamps and a black ink pad on some rocks I collected last summer with the kiddos.
....and just check out jennifer junipers wonderful idea for wine corks as well.....hhhmm, looks like we both have food, drinks, and socializing on the brain!!
Sunday, March 22, 2009
My dad called several days ago to see if he could bring Cubby up to Buffalo for a while. He came today after church and the art show at preschool to pick him up. And of course he called yesterday to get my "order" of my favorite Buffalo stuff that he could bring down for me......usually it's Bison chip dip, Chiaveta's marinade, Sahlem's hotdogs....but 'tis the season for FASTNACHTS!!!!....I haven't come across them here in our area....but where I'm from the best place to get them is Eileen's Bakery.
Fastnacht is a german word meaning the Eve of the Fast. Fastnacht Day is Shrove Tuesday and that is the day before Ash Wednesday when lent starts. Eileen's only makes these scrumptious things for the six weeks of lent. And for anyone who knows me....I would literally o.d. on them when I lived at home...when there is a time limit on something like this, I just can't get enough!!! The fastnachts I know and love are a special doughnut. For this lovely little post I googled fastnachts and found there are a ton of different recipes and none of the pictures I saw looked anything like the ones from Eileen's. Hers are a little bit thicker around the edges like a doughnut.....and then the middle part are really super thin and crispy...like a potato chip. There are two kinds....the cinnamon sugar ones and the ones with all powdered sugar. My Dad brought me six of each!!! What a great guy!!!
I ate one of each standing over my kitchen sink just after he pulled out of the driveway with Cubby. Yep, they are as wonderful as I remember!!!! And Mom, I put a few in the freezer as a treat for you when you come to visit from Florida next month, I just can't guarantee they will still be there!!!
Thursday, March 19, 2009
I can't get over how EASY these crabcakes were to make!!!! And they were every bit as delicious as my favorite place to get them...Andora's!!! The kiddos loved them, and if you make them silver dollar size they would be a terrific appetizer as well!
Here is the list of ingredients:
1 lb. crabmeat...I got a container of it at Costco
3 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1/2-3/4 cup bread crumbs....depending on the wetness of your crabmeat
1 Tbsp. parsley
1 Tbsp. Old Bay seasoning
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
Drain the crabmeat. Place in small mixing bowl. Fold in remaining ingredients. Making sure to not break apart the lumps of crab
Generously coat the bottom of skillet with oil and heat over medium high heat. Gently form mixture into cakes. Cook a few at a time, turning once to brown both sides evenly. Add more oil as needed to cook the rest of the cakes. If making ahead, reheat in the oven at 250 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 Tsp. mustard
1/4 tsp. hot pepper sauce
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Welcome to a new feature to my blog, dear readers!! It is "What is it?? Wednesday"...a few of the soul sisters have added weekly features and I enjoy looking forward to them every week......Sunday and Friday have already been taken :) and I so I chose mid-week.....Wednesday! This weekly feature will highlight my lovely canister! I am still delighted with the simplicity of my canister and what it can hold. My family has also had fun with what they will find from week to week.
This week was cookie week! Not homemade....they went to Costco while I was away scrapbooking on Saturday and got their jumbo chocolate chip cookies...and I picked up some St.Patrick day cookies.....and of course I'm hearing the clink of the glass lid every time someone sneaks one!
I may even expand the canister idea......jennifer juniper let me know of a blog that highlighted glass containers....she filled them with ever changing treasures and collections as well....they were in several rooms in her home... I mentioned it to Cindy Lou and she expressed an interest in getting her own for her room. I said sure thing!! So, check back on Wednesdays and see what is making the treat girl and her family happy for the week.
I hope everyone is enjoying the green!! Cubby came down stairs this morning and I wished him a Happy St. Patrick's day. We had the Today show on...Al and Meredith were in Dublin. They had all kinds of fun things on....funny shamrock glasses, scarves, and hats. Cub ran upstairs and came down with this hat on!! My Dad's girlfriend sent it to him a while ago just for fun....but he loves to dress up these days and he's had it on all day. Even to run into town to pick his best buddy up to play.....He LOVES, LOVES all holidays...and can't wait when I get the bins out of the attic to decorate. He couldn't believe I had no decorations for this holiday...I'll have to work on that! Maybe I can pick up a few cute things at Michaels or Joannes tomorrow on sale for next year.
We stopped at the bakery to pick out some cupcakes for a treat. You know I can't make it through a special occaision without one!!!
And here's a little bracelet I whipped up last year because I had to have something green and lucky and for the day! I don't have an Irish heritage...but it's always fun to pretend!! Have fun!
Sunday, March 15, 2009
What a wonderful day!!!!!!!....a dear friend from the Nail Shack invited me to an all day 12 hour scrapbooking crop!!!...I've really only been to two other crops and they just keep getting better! I was a little behind the eight ball yesterday morning...I had to stop at the post office to mail out some ebay packages, then get gas and fill up my "bucket" with Diet Coke....ran in Target to get my niece a birthday present and only then I was on my way.....but it was gorgeous and sunny and I was listening to my new tunes from my personal d.j. :) and loving life!!! At two different times red male cardinals flew right past my van...and I know my favorite scrappin' buddy was thinking of me, even though she couldn't make it....I got there about 10am and by the time I unloaded my van, got set up, checked everything out and got settled in I didn't actually start working/playing until 11.....The Hostess was soooooo nice!!!!!!! She put a lot of time and effort into making our day terrific! There were drinks, snacks, candy and a catered lunch and dinner with yummy desserts too! She was way more than helpful with her new favorite treasure....the cricuit expression....it is sooooo cool...she's taken four classes on how to use it....however, it may be out of the treatgirl's league....I'm not too handy with electronics!! But The Hostess helped out, and made me the cutest title for one of my pages. The day was flying by....and I was very happy with my progress...I got five pages complete! I am going to try and scrap every Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday night......it's a little schedule I made up for myself to try and keep this momemtum going...I HAVE to get through two years worth of pictures/memories to be able to start Cubby's book!!!!!!! He's FIVE!!!!!!!! I know...it's supposed to be all fun......I do want to keep up!
Thursday, March 12, 2009
I'm here to say that I think treat bags have gotten a bad rap. I know you're probably thinking, "Yeah right...she's the TREAT girl!" Well, I am.....and I guess that may have something to do with it....but who doesn't love a treat?? Especially kiddos at a party. I love planning my kids parties...and personally I think the key to a successful kid party is the number of children invited. Which is directly related to the treat bags. When you invite the child's whole class to the party this directly relates to what you can do....lots of kids = junky treat bags...a few kids and you can make them a bit more substantial filled with a few quality things and a bit of candy. I generally have the parties at my house and I know my limits...I don't do well with tons of kids....so I always have them invite just 5 or 6 friends and it works out great....and this all stems back to the treat bags!! I got these cute miniture lunch boxes at Joanne's in the dollar section months before Cubbys Thomas and Friends birthday party when he turned four. I bought a bunch because they were so cute.....and then they ended up coordinating perfectly with the theme of his party. Bonus!!
Cubby loves helping with the treat bags (he calls them "goodie bags" and I think it's adorable!) we send in to school for holiday parties. He loves to go to the Dollar Tree and pick out the things we put in.....a favorite is a packet of Kool-Aid....cherry for Valentines day....at just ten cents I think it something different. I'm probably the only adult you know that still loves it! :)He helps me fill them with the goodies, and the whole time is picking which one will be his when he passes them out at the party.
I LOVE,LOVE celophane too!!!....it just always makes things look bigger and better! Another thing I try to do is to make sure the container is practical and can be used for something else...Cindy Lou and I found these adorable cupcake bins in the dollar section at Target...we picked out shower gel, lotion, and lip gloss with some candy and when they were wrapped up with a name tag they were just too, too cute!!
Cubby is totally into clear bins!! He has to have one for every genre of his toy inventory...Star Wars action figures, transformers, chapstick collection, miniture football helmet collection, to name a few. It makes it easy for him to grab one to bring along when we have to sit at football practice or a restaurant. So it was his idea to get his friends a bin this past year for his treat bags. Again, I love that that when the treats are gone....the bin can be used for something else. They're only little once.....let them have treat bags!
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Well....I know it's kinda boring....but I'm just really happy there's something in my wonderful canister. Plain and brown...but they are my most favorite pretzels in the world....Now that there is something in it, I can hear the clinking of the glass lid everytime the kiddos help themselves...it makes me smile.
My pretzel of choice are the Utz's Sourdough Specials......I came across these a few years ago and prefer them over all others....just the right amount of salt! But don't they look so much more presentable in my pretty glass canister??? When I emptied them in, Cubby immediately had big plans for for the empty container....
His ever-growing beer cap collection!!! A big thanks to Daddy and Grampsy....regular contributors!
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
My 13 year old daughter LOVES Juicy!!!! She saw this necklace on their website for $48....she showed it to me and I thought it was cute too....not $48 cute, but really cute....she dissappeared for a while and showed back up with this....
Apparently living with the treatgirl is rubbing off on her!!! The thought," I can make this for waaaaayyyy less" must have run through her Juicy loving/gotta have it mind!!!!!
A while ago I saw these cute little Altoids cases while on a trip to Florida....they were in a boutique for $65....of course the ones that I saw had real Swarvorski crystals and the ones I used are from Michaels....but you know what the treat girls favorite last words are..."I could make that!!"
And you can too, with just a few blingy rhinestones, Aileene's Jewel-It glue, a paper clip, some chapstick (I borrowed mine from Cubby's chapstick collection :) a cute little tin of your favorite mints or gum....and some patience and time.
Working with the glue around the top edge of the tin run a thin line of glue about an inch or two....don't put down too much at a time...it dries too quickly and placing the rhinestones takes a little bit of time. The stones are quite tiny and I had to figure out a way to pick them up and place them accurately...the paperclip and chapstick now come into play. Tap the opened paperclip into the chapstick and then tap it onto the top of the rhinestone. It will stick and then you'll be able to place it where you need to. Continue working around and around until you have reached the amount of bling that you want. And as always, the possibilties are endless.....my niece and I spent an afternoon "blinging" our cellphones once too!
Monday, March 9, 2009
You may recognize this canister.......it started out as a terarrium. Well, it bit the dust several weeks ago....I emptied it and washed it out. I love the shape of it and it seems that this should be easy....but I sat it on my counter several days ago and have been pondering what to fill it with. I am definately thinking NO CANDY!!!! If you have any ideas....let me know......stop back every now and then to see what turns up!
Saturday, March 7, 2009
In my never ending search for quick and easy dinners that my kiddos will eat...I need to mention the hoagies that became popular during the Steeler playoff and Superbowl parties we hosted. If you remember, we called them our lucky hoagies. I struggle with the daily feeling of guilt when I have to serve dinner at 4pm on most days....because of all of our activities we generally need to be out the door by 4:45pm....the alternative is to eat at 8:15pm when we all get home and that makes me feel quilty too...so we choose to have a bowl of cereal or ice cream before bed. These are super quick and easy.....here we go....
1 loaf of italian bread
1/2 lb. of deli meat....whatever you prefer
1/4 lb. sliced deli cheese...we use provolone
5-6 slices of tomato
1/4 head of iceberg lettuce...chopped
sweet pepper rings
Beano's original submarine dressing...this is what makes it taste like it came from a sub shop!!!!
Now you're ready to assemble...Slice the loaf of bread in half, not cutting it all the way through. Place it on your baking tray and layer your deli meat, cheese and tomato. Bake it in the oven at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until the cheese starts to melt and bubble. Take it out of the oven and finish topping with lettuce, olives, pepper rings and dressing. Slice, and add a side of your favorite chips and call it a meal!!
These are perfect for a quick lunch on the weekends, dinner during the week, or a crowd at a party. I'm sure everyone will love them!!
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
I was browsing through an Oprah magazine my mom left behind on her last visit and I came across a fabulous article about omelets. I can't believe I had totally forgotten all about them!!!...I know for a shower gift I had recieved an omelet maker and tried a few times...not much success...same thing with the waffle maker....but that's another post :).....we really don't have a morning with enough time to make a big breakfast.....and sadly we only go out for breakfast/brunch a few times a year...which has become the only opportunity for an omelet. Well, this article really sparked my interest when the author made the remark that is a simple satisfying meal on winter night.....it's been a long winter over here and I'm in need of simple meals to eat at 4pm!!!...I polled all of the kiddos individually to get their thoughts on an omelet and it was quite positive...so last night I tried it...with terrific success!!!! They all loved them....quick and super easy!...and need I mention quite an inexpensive dinner as well!! $2-3 for all of us!!!!!! According to Julia Child a real omelet is an accomplishment and in her book "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" she devoted EIGHT pages on making a simple omelet...I found out last night it takes just a few minutes!!...Well...if your interested here's the essentials on making an outstanding omelet:
3 eggs at room temperature
a pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
1 tsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter
Break the eggs into a small bowl...preferably metal...Beat eggs vigorously with a fork until a mousse of tiny bubble froth along the surface. While you heat a small non-stick pan over medium-high heat, sprinkle salt and pepper on eggs. When the pan is very hot, add oil, then butter...tilting the pan to coat it evenly...Pour eggs into the center. As they start to firm up, run a spatula under the eggs, bunching the mixture toward the center so the remaining liquid can cook. When the egg is firm and nearly dry, fold over the omelet with the spatula. Slide it onto a plate and serve immediately.
If you're feeling adventurous, you can always add ham, cheese, mushrooms, onions, peppers...just about anything!!....we started with ham and cheese.
I feel so accomplished to be able to make such a great omelet!!...Cubby even wanted one for breakfast this morning...and truly, it took as much time as it would have to put a frozen waffle in the toaster!...I was so excited about it when I got to my class at the Y last night that I mentioned to a dear friend and here she makes eggs every Tuesday night....I think I will be doing this much more often!
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
What to do on a morning with nothing planned.......bust out the playdoh!!! We have always loved playdoh over here....and only the original stuff......I don't make it from a recipe....I remember when my oldest child got her first playdoh.....we opened it up and it smelled exactly as I remembered it from when I was a little girl!!! We have a big bin with all kinds of accessories.....the ice cream shoppe, pizza maker, birthday party kit, barber shop, cookie cutters, rolling pins etc.....we play almost every week! When my Dad visits it's something they all love to do together too! I know a lot of moms think it's a hassle and a big clean up....but it's really not that bad....and they have so much fun...they're only little once!
Cubby even wanted a playdoh birthday party for his first kid party when he turned 3!!....We had it one morning and I got each kid their own duffle bag of playdoh and let them play!!!....then we dove into the Krispy Kreme donut cake.... They loved it!! So when they are looking for something to do.....say "yes" to playdoh and have fun!
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Today was the day!!!!...for the past few major holidays....Valentine's Day, Anniversary, Christmas, and birthday......all I've asked for is for Chip to help me paint our kitchen and great room....it's been six years and it needed it!...he called some painters, but they didn't get back to us...and I just couldn't see paying when we could do it.....plus, I figured with the money we saved doing it ourselves, that will pay for my Bruce Springsteen tickets!!!....we were painting it the same color so I'm totally sure it won't be noticeable to anyone but me...I taped it all off last night...and today we knocked it all out in just six hours!!! We even did the powder room, the stairs and the entry way!!! What a wonderful feeling to have it done!
And here's Chip painting.......he told me to take his picture because this would be the very last time he would be painting...hhhmmmmmm looks like the plans I have for our master bedroom and bath will be all up to me!!!