Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Plop, Drop, and Kurplop

Once upon a time there was a glass jar that sat on a shelf above my washer and dryer. Everyday, pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and the occasional one dollar bill would plop, drop, and kurplop in the jar. The loot would mound with each passing day. After a few months the cha ching would spill over the sides of the jar! Antsy as a 4 year old ready to tear open her birthday presents, I would bring the container into the kitchen to dump my reward all over the table and then I would commence to Rollllll… Rolllll… Roll up my laundry loooot! Yep, every couple of months I would roll anywhere between $75-100 of ME money. That’s right, some call it pocket change, I would call it a facial!

That was until… someone in the house got a real piggy bank…

Darn piggy bank is cutting into the only thing that motivates me to do the laundry. But I have to admit, since this pig was carried into the house and devoured its first $.57 of MY pocket change, it has been so much fun watching Miss. E learn how 1) beg for money and 2) to put the change in the money slot.
Each night when my husband gets home, one of the first things he does is empty out his pockets on the counter. She will be in the other room and come running out at the first sound of change hitting the surface. She will run up to him, hands spread out, and will go "money, money" which  sounds like "honey, honey" it is simply the best (boy that's my second Tina Turner music quote of this post, was anyone else counting?). Then watching her run to the piggy bank and concentrate on putting the tiny piece of change into the equally tiny money slot, is priceless.
opt, I dropped it...

oh man... where did it go?

got it!
See what I mean? Too cute to be jealous right? I guess I can go another 16 years until my next facial.

Happy Tuesday!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cookie + Another Cookie = Amazing

One of the best wedding gifts I received is not sitting on a shelf, hanging on a wall, or accumulating interest in some bank, but can be found in the Betty Crocker Cookbook, Bridal Edition (B.C.B.E.). Located on page 146 is the best Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe I have ever used. It wasn’t until about a year ago when I found this recipe and it forever changed my life… You see, in the past I have tried baking chocolate chip cookies, but they have never been easy on the palette. They have either come out too hard, too flat, too crumbly, or just plain too gross! So for years I forwent feeding my trash can another batch of cookies and resorted to the practical refrigerated cookie dough you can buy at the store. No complaints, they were good. They got the job done, but I longed for something more.

So a year ago I opened my B.C.B.E. cookbook and while perusing the cookie section I saw a “Learn with Betty - Softening Butter" tutorial on page 138. Come to find out the secret to the perfect cookie is all in the BUDDAH! Yep, the butter. I had always thought that the term ‘softened’ butter meant melted butter, PFFF, I was such a novice back then. Come to find out ‘softened’ means like soft to the touch - DUH! I flipped a few more pages and on page 146 spotted THE Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe that is exactly what my taste buds have been longing for and my jeans have been dreading!

I make this cookie at least once a month, sometimes I make too many and send a batch or five to daycare with my daughter, other times I share the calories at work, and every once in a while I will hoard the entire loot for myself - hehehe!

I saw in a blog where they had baked a chocolate chip cookie on top of an Oreo and thought "I have to try that." So this weekend I did. And this is how it went down.


Followed by a little scoop of dough on top of an Oreo:

For the record, eating them like the picture above is equally as satisfying  as waiting until they are baked. Trust me... I know.

Put them in the oven for 13-14 minutes and this is what will be staring you right in the face:

Walah! Put them in a tupperware dish, bring them to work and your status among your co-workers goes from zero to hero before you even log into your e-mail.

Okay, Okay, I know you are all dripping in drool for the B.C.B.E. recipe, so here it is:

Pre-heat oven at 375.

3/4 c. granulated sugar
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 cup butter - softened (which means soft to the touch)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg
2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 bag of chocolate chips

Beat sugars, butter, vanilla, and egg in large bowl. Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt (dough will be stiff). Stir in chocolate chips. Bake for 8-10 minutes. BUT if you are going to try making these with the Oreo's, you need to bake them for about 13-14 minutes or until the cookie oozes over the Oreo.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Friday's Question

What is your favorite fruit?

Just because they are covered in decadent milk chocolate, does not compromise the fact that underneath all that silky smooth cocoa this a fruit!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

"irdies, irdies!"

Excuse me, but where in the world does time go? My baby is going to be two in three months and I am having a hard time beleiving that is possible! The other day I realized it has been a while since I have taken Miss. E's pictures, so on a whim, I dressed her up in a cute little dress, placed her hair in adorable little pig tails, transformed my house into a instant 'studio' and I was ready to shoot! Unfortunately, I was the only one in the mood for doing pictures. Photographing children can be challenging, photographing your OWN child IS challenging, especially when you are in your home.

You see at home, there are distractions... such as the dog, the TV, her Tickle Me Elmo doll who spontaneously combusts in hysterical laughter at any given time of the day... which for the record is NOT hysterical to anyone over the age of 20 months! Pretty much anything can be a deal breaker for a little ole' Mom with a camera trying to capture her daughter before her second birthday.

So I got smart and turned the TV off and shuffled the dog downstairs, I was in the clear right? WRONG!

While I was busy taking care of the distractions, my little photographer in training found a new model for me to photograph. I thought 'huh, child's play', so I appeased her and took some picture of the doll.

After each click of the shutter she would grab at my camera to see the image and would laugh at what she saw. Having taken almost 30 pictures, it was now time for Mommy to take charge, so in my most excitable Mommy voice I said 'how about YOU go sit with your baby and Mommy will take a picture!!!' It worked!! She walked over and sat down with her baby, but not before fixing baby's posture.

FINALLY!! I got her sitting there, looking at me, and smiling. Snap, Snap, Snapping away until...

Down goes baby E, down goes my background, down went the camera... But I was determined not to let his rustel my game. I quickly sprang on my feet, picked up the baby, fixed my very sophisticated studio and was ready to keep shooting. But who was I trying to kid, at this point, she was done, I was close to being done, and her hair... well it was definetly done.

So we called it quits. As I was putting everything away, some birds flew up on the deck and I heard baby E screaming 'irdies, irdies' so I picked her up and we watched them flutter around outside the window. She looked so beautiful gazing out the window, eyes wide with excitement and wonder.  So I put her down and grabbed my camera. Luckily for me, when I came back the birds were still there and I was able to snap this picture. It's not posed, it certainly was not planned, it just happened and it is my favoirte picture of our whim shoot.

Happy Saturday!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday's Question

What is your biggest pet peeve!?

Yeah, how gross are those. Nothing irks me more than driving down the road and seeing the person in front of me flick their used butt out the window. How come you don't put that thing out in your car's ash tray, it is because it is disgusting and will stink up your car. Ohhhh, okay I get it. So throw it out your window and litter on the ground. Or better yet, wait till you are at the Dunkin' Donuts drive-thru and bounce it off the side of the building before you get to the window. Seeing them trailing up to the window is such a nice addition to the landscape and nothing smells better than a wet cigarette butt.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Another Productive Nap Time!

Instead of me typing to you a big long drawn out post about my latest little (nap time) project, I am going to let the pictures do all the talking.

In case any of you are wondering, the chair came from the same Great-Uncle who made the cute little baby cradle you read about here, and yes, I would consider special orders.

Happy Sunday!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday's Question

What is your favorite game show?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

What I am Reading

As some of you may have noticed, I am a bit of a blog fanatic. Well, actually, as a matter of factly, I am getting better. I don't click on every link that links to a blog like I used to, but I still peruse a fair number of blogs on any given night of the week.

I found a few in the last couple of weeks that I particularly like and think you should, at the very least, click on the link and check them out.

One of my all time favorite blogs is Ashley's, Under the Sycamore. She posts everyday of the week and chronicles her life as a Mom to four busy children, wife, housekeeper, and DIY extraordinaire. If you are looking for a Mom blog you can relate to, check this one out. If you are looking for inspiration on projects to do this weekend, check this one out.

Then there is eighteen25. I found this one about three months ago and have been hooked ever since! The blog is run by three sisters, each more crafty than the next, they blog projects anyone can do and often contain supplies you actually have in your house and one of the best parts of the blog, is when they blog about a project, they often offer a free download, so your project looks just as fabulous as theirs do! They share recipes too, Oh and they offer giveaways, who doesn't love a giveaway every now and then!?


Another new addition to my blog list is Bakerella. Cool name right! I am still new to this blog, but have poked around a bit and this is one to definitely follow. They have neat how-to recipes where they photograph the baking step-by-step. I like looking at their photography and watching the recipe rise into something spectacular. This is one worth bookmarking fo sho!

May I also suggest you check out Kevin & Amanda. This blog is so much fun. They blog about photography, their two adorable dogs, recipes, and for those of you with photoshop or elements, they have free fonts! The fonts are really cute and fun to play around with, plus they are FREE! Oh and as you peek around the blog you will see that Amanda has a passion for everything sweet, you should see the places this girl travels to and the pictures of the sweets she eats!

Lastly, is a blog for an old high school friend, Lynn. She started her blog, The Coupon Crusader a few weeks ago. It is a blog on how to use coupons to their maximum potential - trust me, they have one! She also does posts on what products are on sale that week and how you can use them in conjunction with a coupon making the product pretty darn close to FREE! Oh, and did you know that if a store is having a great sale on an item, you have a coupon which makes the deal even better... well you get to the store and they are sold out of the product, did you know you could request a RAIN CHECK and they will honor the special AND your coupon (as long as it has not expired) when the item is back in stock? Neither did I till I read that in Lynn's blog. So go check it out here and learn more!

So what are you reading!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Baby Cradle

This summer, my husband's Great-Uncle made our daughter an adorable rocking cradle for her babies. It is adorable and she loves to use it, mostly to rock herself in, but none the less, she uses it all the time. I loved it from the moment I laid eyes on it.

He gave it to her unfinished and I knew this cradle had the potential to be a stand out. I didn't know  exactly how I was going to make this structure a one of a kind, but I knew one day I would. Until the inspiration hit me, the cradle was placed in playroom with all her 58,986 other toys.

Then one day while at A.C. Moore, one of my favorite places on the planet for those of you taking notes, and noticed a whole section of Home Decor Rub Ons. I saw these and my mind took off from there.

Close this window
Home Decor Rub Ons 4"X12"-Sherbert Dots
 I thought, ohhh I can paint the cradle white and put these on the sides, so I grabbed two.... THEN I found myself in the unfinished wood section and found a wooden "E", THEN I went to the paint section and found a green paint that matched the dots perfectly, THEN I called my Mom and told her my grand plan, she said she had leftover primer and white paint, so THEN I stopped over at her house, picked up the primer and the paint, THEN went home, brought the cradle downstairs took out all my supplies and THEN... everything sat there.... for almost two months. No kidding. Isn't it funny how you can go from being super amped about a project and then just like that the inspiration is gone. Orr is that just me?

One night I went downstairs and under two inches of dust saw the poor little unfinished cradle sitting there with all my supplies. They looked abandoned and sad. So I went over and decided to at least start the project, I did a coat of primer, went on the computer for a little bit, then came back and applied the first coat of while paint. It looked pretty good and all of a sudden I could feel the excitement of the project beginning to amp up again.

Over the next few nights I applied another coat of white paint and did some touch ups, by the third night of the project I was ready for the Rub-Ons. Having never applied 'rub-on's, I was scuuuurd of them. What if they don't go on right, what if I tore one, what if they peel, what if, what if, what if - EKK?
But I was pleasantly surprised how well they transferred onto the wood and how good they looked. 

Before I knew it I was a dot rubbing machine; one here, one over there, then I got super crazy and started cutting them in half and making it look like the dots were going off the wood. Yep, beleive it, I am that crazy annnnd that cool! Don't hate!

Once all my dots were dotted all over the cradle, I painted the wooden "E" and glued it on the end of the cradle. After the glue set, I picked up my masterpiece and thought "thereeeee, the potential has been released!" I am very pleased at how it turned out!

I pulled out the potential I knew was there all along. Now my daughter has a true, one of a kind, stand out of a crowd baby cradle. The kind of toy that cannot be mistaken or missed... or not.

Happy Tuesday!