>> Wednesday, December 1, 2010
>> Tuesday, November 30, 2010
>> Monday, November 29, 2010
>> Tuesday, November 23, 2010
I set the butter and cream cheese out to soften while I put the Christmas tree together. I then mixed the softened cheese and butter with a glob of creamy peanut butter, a pour of vanilla, one egg and the discovered box of chocolate cake mix. The mixed batter goodness that Thing Two and I had a sample of was then tucked into the fridge the requisite two hours while I figured out the Christmas tree lights.
With the lights aglow and Yoda watching over us I was now ready to scoop and bake. Twenty minutes later I was popping a warm chocolate cookie in my mouth and rolling my eyes back in pleasure. It was good. Very good.
You couldn't really taste the peanut butter. I think I need to up that factor next time to really get a punch. Perhaps less cream cheese more peanut butter. I'll have to play around with it. Since the peanut butter wasn't overwhelming I thought the cookie could still use some umph to put it over the top.
I remembered my neighbor telling me the original butter cookies would be excellent with a touch of my buttercream frosting on top. I asked my man if he thought eggnog buttercream or Bailey's buttercream sounded better. He chose...
Bailey's! I'd never made such a buttercream so I just set to creaming the butter and Crisco, adding the powdered sugar then pouring in Bailey's a bit at a time until the taste seemed just right. I also added vanilla extract, almond extract and two drops of chocolate flavored oil.
I just did a small pipe of the Bailey's buttercream on half the cookies.
It took an already great cookie up a notch. And they tasted even better the next day.
I have a lot of the Bailey's buttercream left in the refrigerator. I think I see some cupcakes in my future.
>> Monday, November 22, 2010
I had a problem in my Eurovan o' Fun. Books. We don't have electronic entertainment in our vehicle, choosing instead to give each kid a small bag of little playthings and a stack of books. The issue's been how to keep the books in easy reach and organized. I had a plastic magazine box from the dollar section of Target for the past year. In theory it worked. In reality it tipped over and the books slid across the floor. Plus since it had to stay on the floor my oldest would often complain about having to "bend over" and retrieve a book for his little sister. Drama! Then I was in the thrift store the other day and saw the perfect solution at the perfect price: 99¢!
The slots to separate dishes work like magic to keep the books neat. Big boys are no longer put out to find a book and hand it to their sister.
I ran the buckle across the back and thanks to rubber feet this basket isn't moving an inch. Added bonus is the boys can't argue over the space between them and who's encroaching on it.
It's been in the car three weeks now and all kids are still happy and there have been no books scattered across the floor.
>> Thursday, November 18, 2010
Best laid plans and having children goes together as well as oil and water. Halloween is a great example. You may recall Princess Fierce wanted to be Darth Fairy for Halloween. Yet she needed the costume made in advance to also be worn while watching the Dragon*Con parade. She loved her Darth Fairy costume and was convinced it was still going to be worn again at Halloween...
And indeed she did buy them. Then she said something else. Her heart bursting with future joy, her eyes lit up with excitement she says, "and now I want to be CATWOMAN for Halloween!"
But, but, but what about the Darth Fairy I made? *sigh* I had to admit the boots would rock as part of a Catwoman costume. And I couldn't forget her favorite person to find at Dragon*Con to be photographed with was...
Catwoman. However, I asked her if instead of being the Dragon*Con Catwoman I could persuade her to check out a much more child appropriate Catwoman.
My man was out of town last weekend and my wonderful neighbors invited the kids and I to come over for dinner cooked on their new green egg. When I asked what I could bring she suggested something sweet. After a week on my own with the little ones I didn't have much energy to bake come Saturday morning. Step in this simple, yet delish sounding recipe for Gooey "Butt"er Cookies I saw last week in my facebook feed from My Effing Cookbook blog. The ingredient list was short: yellow cake mix, stick of butter, block of cream cheese, spoon of vanilla and an egg. I had all that. The directions were easy: mix all, chill a few hours, scoop, roll into balls, and bake a dozen minutes. It was a win-win.
You can find the recipe for her cookies here. Be warned she's fabulously irreverent and full of peppery language. She also tells you in real world terms how things should be. My favorite from this recipe would have to be her description to determine when the cream cheese is softened: "Take your index finger, poke the fattest part of your thigh and that’s how soft the cream cheese should be."
I think I may try to see what happens if I bake them using a chocolate cake mix next time. And yes, there will be a next time. And a next. And a next...
>> Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Princess Fierce wanted to paint my toes the other day with her dark blue glitter nail polish. Her first attempt at giving a pedicure resulted in my having blue nails and toes...and nail polish on her pretty new-to-her dress. Oy.
I didn't even attempt nail polish remover fearing it would take the color from the dress. I was planning to cover up the spots with some type of new embellishments on the dress. But before I did that I thought I'd just google my problem to see if there were an answer. And I found an improbable one.
But one that lots of people swore worked.
So I gave it a try.
Yep, this bug spray right here did the trick. I didn't believe it until it worked. I first tried with pump bug spray and nothing happened. I didn't give up after so many interweb comments said it would work. I bought aerosol bug spray and tried again. A spray. A rub with a white wash cloth. BOOM! Immediate lightening of the TWO WEEK dried nail polish. All in all it took me about five minutes of spraying and rubbing. A toss in the wash to remove the buggy smell and all was new again. Unbelievable. I absolutely had to share. Next time you have nail polish land on your favorite fabrics give it a try.
>> Thursday, November 11, 2010
I took my chances. And it worked! One box of black Rit Dye, in my front load washer no less, gave me a perfect and evenly dyed gray dress.
>> Wednesday, November 10, 2010
>> Monday, November 1, 2010
The entire table display is done kid height. I throw an old black sheet over the table then top with a torn piece of cheese cloth. For the cauldrons I cut cheese cloth in half, fold diagonally, lay across the cauldrons with a gap at the front. Next I fold up the corners loosely and stretch a rubberband around to hold them in place It's supposed to imitate fog coming out and leaves place for the kids to reach inside and also peek at what they touched.
The sign reads: Welcome to the Witch's Cupboard. Reach beneath the fog within the cauldrons and touch if you dare. I created the sign by doing a google image search for old paper. I chose the font from the free Halloween fonts at dafont. I do a cheap laminating job by using strips of packing tape. And I created the stand on the back from leftover cardboard. It's hard to see what's next to it in this picture but those are "Dried Bat Wings." I bought the dog treat pig ears and painted them black. Totally creepy.
>> Friday, October 29, 2010
I stood on the pudding aisle earlier this week and thought of all the layered Jello candy corn inspired treats I've seen. Why not pudding? French Vanilla has a yellow hue. And Butterscotch is in the orange family. I knew there was a tub of cool whip waiting at home already.
>> Wednesday, October 27, 2010
>> Monday, October 25, 2010
>> Thursday, October 21, 2010
Princess Fierce has changed her mind about wearing Darth Fairy costume I made her again on Halloween. Apparently she really only wanted it for the Dragon*Con parade, or at least until she found a pair of knee high faux black leather boots at Target. She bought the boots with her birthday money choosing the footwear over aisles and aisles of toys. And the same afternoon looked at me and said, "I want to be CATWOMAN for Halloween and wear my boots!"
I considered the more recent catwoman incarnation but really determined that's not fitting for a five year old. We're going old school, Julie Newmar style catwoman. I've got the boots, the black pants, the black shirt, the black ears but I need the gold belt and most importantly the gold necklace to pull this off.
As I mentioned before, I do not like to carve pumpkins. I only did a carved jack-o-lantern and expensive trip to a "pumpkin patch" one year with all our kiddos. I was disappointed the pumpkins weren't on a vine in this so-called patch but instead we were carried by tractor pulled hay ride across a field to yet another field where pumpkins were scattered about. The kids enjoyed the day, our wallets did not. And the resulting carved pumpkin became a stinky, rotting mess on the front step.
The next year I switched gears and instead of spending too much on one day in a crowded field with strangers to buy one expensive large pumpkin, we visited our friends that run a pumpkin patch in front of their church and let each kid pick out their own pumpkin to PAINT.
This year the kids started asking very early in October when we would be going to visit our friends' pumpkin patch to buy the pumpkins. And I suppose by year three I can call this a tradition, right?
>> Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Last night started normal enough, for our household. My man grabbed the best thrift store find from last week, a full size Optimus Prime helmet with voice changer for only 99¢, and ushered the kids to bed.
>> Tuesday, October 19, 2010
I had a couple bags of white Wilton candy melts, a bag of candy corn, some festive orange and black sprinkles and a bag of Halloween colored Oreos.
>> Monday, October 18, 2010
That same week I found a bevy of floral glass vases for one dollar each at a local thrift store. When I saw their shape I thought they'd make great pumpkins.