Friday, January 30, 2009

Foodie Friday: Triple Chocolate Scones

I just checked out the book "The Modern Baker" at the library and YUM!! Everything in it looks so tasty. I decided that my first project would be "Triple Chocolate Scones." I am a woman who loves a scone and chocolate. (In fact I am in love with any food that makes chocolate socially acceptable for breakfast.)

Last Saturday was the day to make this deliciousness my own. I woke up early enough to bake a breakfast. (That is what happens when you fall asleep while watching the movie that you rented. At least M could stay up and enjoy "Traitor." If you want to know if it was good, you will have to ask him.) And since it is back to being freezing cold here, why not heat the house up a bit with the oven?

These are very, very, very good. It took all of my will power not to continue eating them all morning long. So, here is what you do:


-3 oz. milk chocolate, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (I used left over Hershey's kisses from Christmas)

-1/4 c. baking cocoa

-1/3 c. sugar

-2 2/3 c. flour

-3 t. baking powder

-8 T. butter, cut into 16 pieces

-6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, cut into 1/2 inch chunks

-1 egg

-3/4 c. milk + additional for basting

-coarse sugar

Preheat oven to 400 with rack in the middle. Combine milk chocolate, cocoa, and sugar with mixer. (He suggests that you use a food processor for all of the mixing. I don't have one anymore as we don't have room in our kitchen. I just used my KitchenAid, and as previously stated, these were delicious.) Mix in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter. (After mixing the butter for about a minute with the beater, I used my pastry blender to incorporate it the rest of the way.) Mix in the bittersweet chocolate.

Whisk egg and milk together, add to bowl, and mix.

Place dough on floured work surface and fold it over on itself several times.

Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Pat each piece of dough into a 5-inch circle. Place circles on parchment covered baking sheet and divide each into 4 equal wedges. (Make sure to give each circle room to expand.) Brush each wedge with milk and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake scones about 15 minutes. (Until they are firm, well-risen, and a deep golden color.)

These little guys are so good they deserve another picture.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

C-Y-O: Glass Etched Window

As promised, here is a post on our glass etched window. This project idea began when my friend and I were driving around town on large garbage week looking for treasures. The two treasures I cam away with were old windows. M wasn't so sure when I brought them home and then again when we had to move them, but I knew they were beauties in the making.

The white eight paned window is still waiting for its beauty treatments, but the brown three section window has found its home in our bedroom. (At least for now. We may end up hanging it on the wall or moving it to a different room entirely, but for now it is cozily adorning the wall next to a dresser.)
I have always wanted to try glass etching and decided that was just what this window was in need of.
I started by cutting clear contact paper to the size of each glass section and applying it. I then traced on the images that I wanted to etch. After all
three sections had been traced, I cut out the parts that I wanted etched with a razor blade. Here is a picture of M making sure that the edges were firmly adhered.We then applied the etching cream. (I got mine at Michael's.) We applied it with foam brushes. After trying a sample on some glass I stole from an old picture frame, I knew to apply it nice a thick so that you don't see the brush strokes. We worked together so that we could get the cream on in a timely manor. After letting the cream sit for around 5 minutes, we put the entire window into the bathtub and rinsed off all of the etching cream with the shower head.
Once the cream had been rinsed thoroughly, we peeled off the contact paper and were left with the etched image on the glass. The etching isn't super dark. If you look at it from the right angle it is easily seen, but from the front it is faint. M is trying to come up with ways to back light it to help the image show up a bit more. But for now, I am satisfied.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Nursery Planning

The time has come to start working on the nursery! We have been talking about what we might do for a long time now. (Even during the building process, we took into consideration where we would keep any future offspring.) Now it is more reality than dream.

Here are the current plans:
1) Move the office into the other spare room which is currently the craft room.
2) Move the futon from the downstairs living room into room that will also be the office.
3) Create a craft nook in the downstairs living room.
4) Change the current office into the nursery.

What needs to be done for the nursery:
1) Paint the walls. We are thinking that we will paint the walls a pale aqua and then add a chocolate brown stripe around the top of the room.
2) Create bedding, curtains, and other accessories.
3) Get the furniture we will need for the nursery. (We have a plan for most of it. Crib, my dad will be building, Changing Table, take dresser from upstairs and make it into a changing table, Rocking Chair, get chair that is being stored at M's parents' house and refinish it.)

I had been tossing around two ideas for the nursery decor. I either was going to do a cowboy/cowgirl theme or brown and aqua. The later won out and I have started the collecting. I am looking forward to sewing the bedding and other accessories with the help of my mom. I thought that I might have a challenge in finding brown and aqua fabric. When I first started looking I wasn't finding anything. Then I came across a great Michael Miller aqua and brown plaid at It was on sale so I bought up 8 yards of it. Now to find some coordinating fabrics so the room didn't look like plaid threw up all over it. I headed out to Mill End Textiles and hit the jackpot. I found perfectly coordinating polka dots on their remnant table that was on sale for less than $2 a yard. I had to stop myself from buying all that they had.

What else could I need? Well, a brown for the background of the crib quilt and some splashes of other colors to liven things up a bit.

Here is a rough sketch of what I am thinking for the quilt:

Here are my main brown and aqua fabrics:

And here are some splashes of color:

Let the creating begin!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Recycled Room Re-Do

I don't know if it is the nesting instinct kicking in, but I am getting my motivation back for making this house our home. Things that I have been all too happy to let be have started to bug me and I am feeling the need to actually start decorating. Until this point I was just happy to be in the house and have it be functional for us. Now I also want it to look nice. Not such a bad thing. (As long as I can stay in our budget.) I knew that I wanted to tackle some problem areas in our master bedroom. And since I had last Monday off, I decided that would be the day. My dresser and nightstand were disaster areas. They were used as dumping grounds and little more. (As seen in this before picture of the dresser.)

(Now, my dear readers, you know how much I care for you to post such a picture. Or maybe how desperate I am for a good post.)

I started by putting things that have a place in their place. And one of those places was the garbage. Then I sorted out what was left in order to determine where it should go. One of the main causes of clutter was my jewelry. Apparently I have never graduated to the adult notion of a jewelry box. I just had little boxes filled with odds and ends everywhere. After doing some on-line shopping, I determined why I had never fully grasped the jewelry box idea. They are A) expensive and B) not really my style. So, I went scavenging. I found two small wooden cabinets that were not in use in our downstairs. Viola!--Jewelry boxes.

I also was given two new large Willow Tree figurines for Christmas to be added to the one that I already owned. I had been trying to think of a place to display these, but hadn't come up with a good solution yet. I added the trio to the dresser and then stood back to admire what I had accomplished--a simple room re-do without spending a cent.

M and I have been tossing around the idea of getting new dressers as a part of our grand reorganization for the baby. That might help this space out even more. (Do you think it is time for me to loss the primary color, hand-painted dresser I re-did in high school?)

Next on the agenda: finishing the etching of the recycled window to be added to the room. It is currently residing on our table awaiting the etching solution. I'll let you know how it turns out soon.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Foodie Friday: French-Onion Pork Chop Skillet

When M came home and saw this on the table, well really the counter, he asked if I had taken a picture of it for Foodie Friday. I hadn't planned on posting it, but after a reaction like that, I thought I would share. The original recipe is from KraftFoods and I really didn't do much to alter it.

-6 boneless pork chops

-2 medium onions, thinly sliced

-2 T. Worcestershire sauce



-1 T. Liquid Smoke

-1 pkg. stuffing mix (chicken)

-1 1/2 c. hot water

-1 c. shredded mozzarella

Brown chops and onions in large skillet for about 10 minutes. Season chops with salt and pepper. Add liquid smoke and Worcestershire. Flip chops and cook another 5 minutes. Remove the chops and continue to cook the onions another 5 minutes.
Return chops and top with the onions. Spoon stuffing mix around the edges and pour water over the mix. Top chops and onions with cheese. Cover and cook an additional 5 minutes.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Birthday Gift Idea

This weekend I was invited to a birthday party for one of my preschoolers. M and I made a brief appearance at the bowling alley, dropped off our gift, and continued on our merry way. While trying to come up with a creative and inexpensive gift, I read this post from Laurel over at "Ducks in a Row." I thought that this was a particularly appropriate gift from a preschool teacher.
I found the bag at Joann Fabrics. The clerk who checked me out likes me and gave me a 50 percent coupon even though I forgot mine at home. (She also gave me $10 off another time. I will have to try to get her every time I am in there.) I had the fabric for the L at home and used some Heat and Bond to attach it and then zig zagged around it.

Here are my final results:

I am thinking that this will be a repeat performance gift.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

6 Months and Counting

M and I had a discussion on whether I am six months pregnant since I am just starting my 6th month. I successfully argued my point. So here I am six months pregnant: In the beginning of this month, we went in for our "big ultrasound." We want to keep the gender a surprise for the delivery room, so we didn't find anything out there. We did see a perfect little baby that is currently cozily abiding inside of me. Today's technology amazed us! We not only got to see the beating heart, we also saw the four chambers in action. It all brought to mind the Psalm passage, "You knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." (My preschoolers sing these words in one of our songs. What a blessing it is to hear their little voices singing these words.)

We also made a big baby purchase over the weekend. I was showing M some of the options for car seats and strollers at I really just wanted him to know what was out their and what the prices were so that he could start thinking over what we might want. We had just looked at the Chicco Keyfit Travel System (that's right Nate, Travel System) and had said how nice it looked, but that it was so expensive we just couldn't see paying that kind of money or asking anyone to pay that kind of money for us. Just to see what was currently listed, I flipped over to Craigslist. Low and behold, there was a Chicco Keyfit Travel System for sale in our area for less than half the original price. We debated whether or not we were ready to buy it and decided on calling and seeing if it was still available. It was and we bought. It was in really good condition and the design and quality even impressed M. (This is no small feat. M's brain is programmed to be critical of how things are made and designed. That is part of why he is so good at what he does. His exact words were, "That new stroller is scary good quality.")

Seeing as we brought home a bassinet from M's parents, I am pretty happy with where we are on baby essentials. We can bring the baby home from the hospital and it will have a place to sleep.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Christmas with the Fam Part III

This year some new activities were also added to the traditions.
Here M talking to his sister who is in Paraguay with the Peace Corp. The family all took turns passing the phone around to wish her a Merry Christmas.

My niece decided that wrapping the presents was not enough. She decided that Freckles must be wrapped as well. There are two amazing things in this picture: 1) Freckles allowed her to do this and someone actually had to go and take the blanket off of him. 2) She is sitting that close to Freckles. He was a little stinky at the time.

One of M's brothers bought his wife a Wii for Christmas. Many hours were spent playing with it. (Funny thing is, I don't think the kids actually got their chance.)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Christmas with the Fam Part II

Another tradition is the annual family Christmas picture. (I really don't mind this one at all, however the "originals" aren't too fond of it. Maybe that is because they have been doing it their entire lives and I have only been doing it for the last few years.) I posted a series of three to show you how much fun everyone is having.
The first one: (With a little more work, we might get this yet.)

Probably the best: (You will have to excuse the fact that my three year old niece had been told to do something that she didn't want to do. It obviously didn't make her very happy.)

Check out some of the fun faces my nephew and his mom decided to make. Now as for my sister-in-law, I think that we can safely blame it on bad timing. My nephew, on the other hand, decided that it would be entertaining to keep making different funny faces throughout the shots.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Christmas with the Fam Part I

M's family has several Christmas traditions. My favorite has to be the munchie food spread that gets put out in celebration of Christmas. Here is M's mom preparing the meat and cheese tray.

M's sister cleaning up. (Someone has to do it.)

M's brother making some yummy dip.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Foodie Friday: Chicken Enchilada Soup

We have been so busy this month that I have yet to make a menu and do our major grocery shopping. Due to a fairly well-stocked freezer and pantry, we have yet to go hungry. In fact, it is probably a good thing as it makes me use up the odds and ends that we have on hand.
One night this week I was trying to think of something that I could throw together and this recipe is what came out. I had no idea what it would taste like as I made it, but as you are seeing it here, you can be assured that it tasted wonderful. M even helped himself to another big bowl because "it was just so good." (It may have helped that the temperature was well below zero and soup is just good when you are cold. This may also be why I am putting off going to the grocery store.)

-3 chicken breasts
-5 c. chicken stock
-chili powder
-dried diced onions
-cayenne pepper

-1 c. uncooked rice
-2 pints salsa
-1 can black beans
-1 can navy beans
-1 can enchilada sauce

Bring first set of ingredients to a boil in large sauce pan. Continue boiling until chicken is cooked. Use spatula to chop chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for 40-60 minutes.

We ate this with shredded cheddar cheese and oyster crackers. (Because that is what we had in the house. If we had tortilla chips in the house, they would have worked as well.)

“Come join SoupaPalooza at TidyMom and Dine and Dish sponsored by KitchenAid, Red Star Yeast and Le Creuset

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I apologize to those of you who cannot see the pictures in my recent posts. I was getting frustrated with the slow upload speed from blogger so I thought I would try Picassa. That has been hit or miss for me, so I thought I would try some web photo hosting sites. I am in the process of uploading pictures to Photobucket and will be trying to repost some pictures with that.
If any of you have any suggestions, please let me know.

CO Cabin Part II

M took this photo further up the trail than I was able to make it. My aunt, uncle and sister made the trek with him.

Here is a scenic shot taken off the patio. (Notice the lack of heavy winter wear. The weather was beautiful when we were there.)

M decided to try and build a fire in the pit off of the patio. The cold and wet wood made it difficult, but eventually there was fire.

My roomies in the girls bunk, my younger sister and my cousin.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

CO Cabin Part I

Revised: Here is the back of the cabin.

Here is the front of the cabin that we stayed in. (Blogger isn't letting me post a picture of the back right now.)

This is directly behind the cabin. There is a trail that goes up and up and up. (I made it to about this point and decided to call it good. Others, braver than I, continued on.)

A view of Sylvan Lake. (Directly out the front of the cabin.) Most of us did a snowshoe around the lake when we first got there.

Monday, January 12, 2009

4000 Miles!!

Since December 25th, M and I have logged over 4000 miles in the car and made it to 7 states. While, it was great getting to see everyone, I think we will just stay put and enjoy each other's company for a while. And believe it or not, but we actually had fair to good driving conditions for all legs of the trip. A true blessing.

Here is a timeline of all of our travels:
  • 12/25 M and I head to my sister and bother-in-law's house for Christmas with my family
  • 12/26 M takes off to meet up with his brother in Colorado for a day of skiing*
  • 12/27 my two sisters, my bro-in-law and I head out to Colorado**
  • 12/28-12/30 we head to a cabin at Sylvan Lake State Park with my aunt, uncle, cousins, sisters, and brother-in-law
  • 12/30-12/31 my younger sister, M, and I begin to head back
  • 12/31-1/4 my parents meet up with us to pick up my sister and M and I go on to celebrate Christmas with his family
  • 1/4-1/8 M and I enjoy 96 hours back at home
  • 1/8-1/11 M and I head out again, this time for my grandma's funeral, meeting up with my sisters on the way
  • 1/11 we are home again with no plans to travel until February

Interesting side notes. (Okay, they are interesting to me, so just nod and play along.)

*My parents and M were together at my sister and brother-in-law's house for an hour before M took off for skiing. Its not that they don't get along, just that plans had changed many times for this Christmas.

**As we are nearing my aunt and uncle's house (after being on the road for nearly 8 of the 10 hour trip) M called me. He asked where we were as he was done skiing and heading to their house as well. He just so happened to be merging onto the interstate almost directly behind us. In less than five minutes he had caught up to us and was able to follow us the rest of the way.

I will post some pictures from all of our Christmas celebrations in future posts.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Another Saint Triumphant

M and I are headed off to celebrate my grandma's life here on earth and now her new life in heaven. I find my true comfort in knowing that she is now a saint in the presence of the Lord. What sweeter comfort could be found than the joyful knowledge that I too will one day be such a saint in the presence of our Lord.

"I know that my Redeemer lives,

and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.

And after my skin has been destroyed,

yet in my flesh, I will see God;

I myself will see him

with my own eyes--I and not another.

How my heart yearns within me!"

Job 19:25-27

Creative Christmas: Day 3

On the third day of Christmas, I made
Five scrap calendars

Once a month I go to a Close to My Heart Stamp club. The consultant usually has three projects ready for us to do. Sometimes I will also take an extra class as well. I took the class for these in November and decided that they would make some good Christmas presents. I ordered four more books and made up the rest.
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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Creative Christmas: Day 2

On the second day of Christmas I made
8 funky notecards!!

This was a gift for my teenaged cousin. I bought a fun paper pack from Target and then created 8 different notecards with it. I used some sketches that I had from a different card project. There were even directions for the holder. (Although we figured out that the flap should have gone on the top and outside once I gave it to her.)

Another fun, easy, and unique gift. (I think that I may need to make a set for myself.)

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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Creative Christmas: Day 1

I am now going to post some of the Christmas presents that I made this year. I was unable to post them earlier due to the fact that many of the people who read this blog are the people that I gave them to. So forgive me for being a bit late and here you go:

On the first day of Christmas I made:
18 scarves for my preschoolers

I got this idea from my sister. She made scraves for her first and second graders last year. I bought some fun fleece from Jo-Ann Fabric. (See how sneaky I was? I bought the striped fabric so that I could cut on the lines and not have to worry about pesky measuring.) After cutting all of the strips, I fringed the sides. Easy as pie.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Foodie Friday: Christmas Cookies

I was very busy in the kitchen over the last week. (I even had a helper.) I went through magazines and looked over internet sites and picked out the recipes that I wanted to try this year. I think they all turned out with the exception of the Eggnog Truffles.

Layer #2: (left) Cranberry-Orange Oatmeal Cookies, Million-Dollar Caramel Cookies (from Parenting Decemeber/January 09)

Double Chocolate Chunk Biscotti (from Better Homes and Gardens website)

Layer #1: (left to right) Soft and Spicy Gingerbread Cookies (Good Things Catered), Peanut Butter Cup Cookies (Taste of Home December/January 09), Peppermint Chocolate Cookies (Rachael Ray Magazine) (I also substituted Heath bits for the peppermint on some), Spritz Blossoms (Better Homes and Gardens)

Microwave Fudge Sampler (Womans Day December 2, 2008) (Pictured is chocolate, we also made the peanut butter, we did not make the pistachio)

Dare to DIY

Thursday, January 1, 2009

BoC: Christmas Tour Part VI

I saved one of new and favorite additions for the end. I have always loved displaying all of the Christmas cards and pictures that we receive. It makes me so happy to look at them time and time again. When we lived in our Check Spellingapartment I just slapped them up on the wall with some tape. I decided that it was time to change that up a little bit. (I am still really leery of putting holes in the walls and taping things to them. They are just so pretty and new.) I found these metal stars at JoAnn Fabrics and decided they would look good with our walls. I hot glued ribbon strips to the back. Then as we received cards I would sticky tack them to the ribbon. It is really filling up now. Do you see yours up there? (Notice that I used Command Hooks. I really don't want to ruin the walls.)