Category Archives: Domestic Me

Truth In Advertising Part III

I read a lot of blogs from crafty chefs who create beautiful things by hand. I get inspired and often try to recreate what they’ve done with their kids or in their kitchen. I then come and show these successful attempts to you. But I want to make one thing clear: I AM NOT ONE OF THOSE BEAUTIFUL BLOGGER PEOPLE.

Example: Rainbow Pasta!

I found the idea on Pinterest of course (I think I still have invites if you want one!) and set out to do this with the kids this weekend. Look a the great pictures of the project!

Rainbow Pasta

Rainbow Pasta

Rainbow Pasta

BUT…Here’s the thing. On those blogs I talked about before they show these great photos of the kids working and the final products and everything is all colorful and crisp and just lovely. This is what it REALLY looks like.

Truth in Advertising

My workspaces are dreadful. I’m pretty organized, but while we’re working? Eh. It’s a disaster area. In that photo you can see the midpoint of some 4th of July projects we’re working on too. Oh, and do we want to talk about how I decided this weekend to learn how to use my sewing machine? I did okay, I guess. Got the needles threaded and sewed some practice stitches. But have I made anything yet? Hell no. No where close to that. But look at my lovely sewing nook!

Truth in Advertising

I’ve been saving fabric for a year (curtains, shirts, etc) because I knew someday I’d learn to sew. I’m also saving some of the stuff I had bagged up for Goodwill because I found so many cute idea for old t-shirts and I want to pull some out of the bags before I take them. This is also the same table our only (and ancient) Windows computer sits at because it has the router and is upstairs for better wireless reception. In other words? This area will NEVER be those adorable sewing tables you see on all of these tutorial blogs. HOW DO THOSE PEOPLE LIVE LIKE THAT?

I just want to make sure with all of my project sharing lately, that you guys didn’t think I had turned into one of those people who is all creative and artistic and beautiful in every corner of their lives. Nope. I do fun stuff with the kids sometimes and I’ve made some neat things lately. But in those corners? I’m still totally the girl with the stains on her shirt and a pen she forgot about stuck somewhere in her hair.

(And for those of you not around before, I’ve done other entries pointing out the truth behind the photos here and here, because I evidently don’t want anyone to ever think I live an orderly and clean life behind the scenes of my project photos.)

Pride! (To Hide The Shame!)

Handpring Frame Of Awesomeness!

One of the first things I pinned on Pinterest was this hand print project which I had found at Fun Mama. Unfortunately, it required a very specific increase of hand-sizes. Which, when you have a 16-year old, is kinda tricky. BUT I WANTED ONE!

So, I did something just as easy. I found a frame (with a mat!) stashed somewhere in my house that was empty. And I cut out our hand shapes in different scrapbooking cardstock. All of the cardstock came from the same book of papers, which makes it much easier to coordinate the colors/patterns. It took some tinkering to get them together in a way I liked, but once I did? Hodge Podge under the connecting pieces. Easy Peasy. I just picked a solid color to put BEHIND the mat, and glued the pile of hands to the FRONT of the mat.

TA DA!

I’m not entirely sure where I’m going to hang it. I may actually take it out of the frame and tie a ribbon to the mat and hang it on a wall with brown frames. Not sure yet. Obviously it’s a very flexible project. Adapted easily with colors, patterns and frames. And also? Friendly for families whose hands don’t consistently decrease in size.

NOW…let’s talk about another awesome thing.

It only took me 20+ years...

When I was in Junior High, friendship bracelets were the rage. I became quite good at the basic pattern but I could never figure out the one above. Which, is evidently called the Chevron. When I picked up the friendship bracelets again for my summer To Do list, I tried ONE MORE TIME to figure out that damn pattern. I thought, after 20+ years, I should be able to figure it out. I’m WAY SMARTER, right? Nope. Couldn’t do it. I was very frustrated.

BUT THEN! I remembered the INTERNET! And Pinterest! And I found this tutorial which made it SO EASY. And that bracelet? IS FOR ME. My kids have been watching me make it (it’s taking forever) and both are requesting it with serious intensity. But that thing? ALL MINE. It has basically taken me 20 years to make that bracelet. When I’m done? I’ll wear it with PRIDE.

Sorry for all the bragging this week! I’m just full of some Kim Is Totally Awesome blog content, aren’t I? I apologize. If it’s any consolation, I also made the BIGGEST PARENTAL ERROR OF MY LIFE this week, and I didn’t even realize it until hours later. I am not ready to share this story yet, because the shame is SO STRONG, so please tolerate my ego-pumping bragging as I try to convince myself I’m not the WORST PARENT IN THE WORLD.

(I promise. When a little bit more time has passed, I’ll share the story. I ALWAYS DO. Until then? Let’s just pretend I’m the awesome Mom who always makes cool crafts, good food, and never commits life-endangering mistakes, okay? THANKS.)

Look! I am excited and making exclamations in all caps!

Dessert

LOOK WHAT I MADE. Chocolate recipe found here but couldn’t resist doing a strawberry one when I found a Cheesecake pudding at the store. We added a layer of graham cracker crumbs to that one for the Cheesecake Effect.

These things are TRIFLES. And I’ve been pronouncing them TR(EYE)FULS. But I think they are actually pronounced TR(UH)FULS. Which makes me think I may have lost whatever cool kitchen points I earned while actually making them. What say you? How do YOU pronounce it? And would your host mispronouncing it negate any of the yummy factor of said dessert? No? GOOD! Come eat leftovers!

Walking on the Greenway

LOOK WHAT NIKKI DID! She grew out of her bike but I made her ride it anyway! I figure, if she’ll keep riding it without complaining (too much) then I’m going to try to put off buying another one until her birthday (October). Does that win me cheap-o Mom of the Year of WHAT? She rode 2.5 miles on Saturday and did GREAT. The only factor slowing her down was ME because I was carrying her 28lb brother in my hiking backpack.

Determined/Scared

LOOK WHAT WES DID! This has been a challenge at the playground for awhile. Being able to cross this entire contraption from the bottom of one side all the way up, and then back down to the bottom of the other side. His legs are still too short for the middle transfer, so I had to help him around that part, but other than that? HE DID IT! And then he wanted to do it AGAIN…and AGAIN…AND AGAIN…forever until we all died. THE END.

Necklaces

LOOK WHAT THEY GOT! Lego necklaces! They scored them at our Art Stroll which we have once a month downtown. So cute. I am going to figure out what kind of tool it takes to get that hole in those legos and I’m going to make some of these. They’re adorable! And the kids LOVE them, which means they were both broken by Sunday. I NEED TO MAKE BACKUPS. Any tips?

Dessert

LOOK WHAT I MADE! What? I already told you that part? Well…I am a bit proud so I needed to at least show you another picture. And also tell you, if you do NOT own a Trifle dish? GO TO WAL-MART. I actually went there first because this looked like something they’d have for cheap and I was right. $7. Target had one for $20 and it wasn’t even as cute. It was too frilly looking, all curved and stuff. I got TWO of these for less than ONE of those. Target? You are my soulmate in many things, but this time I had to cheat on your for price and aesthetics. I apologize. You usually counter the price WITH the cute-factor, but this time? Not so much.

What did YOU do this weekend? And once again…how do YOU pronounce the word “TRIFLE”?

And also…in case you’re wondering…there is NO BEEF in either trifle.

Some New Variations On Old Faves

Cake Poppers

For every birthday party, it seems, someone asks for Cake Poppers. And while I still stand by the Red Velvet/Chocolate combination being my favorite flavor, I do like to try to have fun with the appearance once in awhile. Hobby Lobby sells some great colors of candy coating, but it’s all vanilla. And since it’s a different brand from what I normally use on the cake poppers, it’s a little bit of a different consistency. Thicker and sometimes globbier. (Is that a word? It is now.) But – it makes for pretty treats. I let Nikki and Wes pick their colors. We also dyed the white cake batter before we cooked it so the cake poppers were the same color on the outside as on the inside. THEN…we picked out sprinkles and – BEFORE THE COATING DRIED – we sprinkled each one. The end result was BEAUTIFUL. And if you like vanilla? TASTY. It’s not my favorite flavor so I stuck with the chocolate/red velvet.

He asked for rainbow cupcakes and starsSpeaking of pretty colors…a certain little boy also asked for “Rainbow Cupcakes” which he also wanted to top with his star sprinkles. This turned out to be quite an easy project, albeit quite messy. Any project that dirties SEVEN BOWLS and SEVEN SPOONS is a bit extreme in my book.

All I did was mix normal white cake batter and then divide it “evenly” into 6 bowls. Everyone in town was out of Primary Food Colors (and you have to use the GELS…they color much better) but I made do with some pastel colors and a Neon color pack I found at Hobby Lobby. Without primary colors we had no “red” but the pink worked out just fine. I mixed each color and then just globbed (Another made-up baking term!) a spoonful of each into the cupcake holder. Don’t try to flatten it to make smooth layers, because then the colors get mixed up. They stay separated if you just let them be and – while it may not be a perfect layered rainbow – they are still AWESOME in every way. It only made about 16 a batch because I think you loose a little bit of the batter each time you divide it up, so I ended up cooking two batches. This meant I had to wash dishes first because I do NOT have 12 bowls to use simultaneously. But even with all of that mess? Still totally worth it.

OH! Make sure you use cupcake holders because seeing the expression on your guests faces when they pull it off and see all the colors? PRICELESS. The kids loved them and the adults thought I was pretty damn awesome. Which, you know, I TOTALLY AM.

Wes also wanted a few “with worms,” so I used chocolate icing on half and topped them with gummy worms. Easiest – and most fun – cupcakes ever. Since I never make cupcakes (I’m sure you could guess that by how hideous the icing job looks) I didn’t have a way to store them. I’m sure every one of you has one of these Awesome Cupcake Holders but it was new to me so I had to share it just in case it would be new to you too. TWO LAYERS! And it even allowed for my gummy worms. Nothing got smooshed. You do have to be careful making sure the lid actually locks on the bottom dish, but other than that it’s easy breezy.

Last, but NOT least, is a “new” treat I came up with recently. Nikki was talking about marshmallows and I had melting chocolates I needed to use but didn’t feel l like making another batch of cake poppers. (For the record, since the week the power went out? I’ve made about 700 cake poppers for various events. I would like to take a break for awhile.) I had an idea to use marshmallows and try to improvise some S’mores Poppers with my leftover melting chocolates. BEST IDEA EVER.

S'mores Bites

This was SO EASY. First I crushed some graham crackers in a large sandwich bag. Actually – I let the kids do that – they love that job. Then I melted the chocolates (I always use the stuff I mention here because it’s easy to work with) and grabbed some bamboo skewers I had laying around. I rolled the sides and the “bottom” of the marshmallow in the chocolate and immediately (but slowly) rolled them in the graham cracker crumbs. I popped them on the wax paper to harden and TA-DA! S’mores bites! E took some to school last week and said the didn’t last 5 minutes. SO EASY but also a HUGE crowd-pleaser. I only wish you could buy a size of marshmallows between normal and mini – because I think these would be perfect if the marshmallows were just a tiny bit smaller. They are a bit big for “bites” for small kids, but that didn’t stop my kids from eating them.

SO! There you have it. Some yummy treats we’ve made for various gatherings lately.

I can NOT believe I just wrote a blog entry about various alterations to standby desserts. Just the fact that I have standby desserts now is quite a huge change from where I was when I had Wes. He’ll never know me as someone who is NOT comfortable in the kitchen. And that makes me damn proud.

But not as proud as my rainbow cupcakes. Those things were AWESOME.

featured_cookies

The Cookies That Can Not Be Named

My husband was craving cookies one night. He looked up a recipe online for chocolate-chip cookies and modified it to fit what we had in the cupboard. Basically – he just added some white-chocolate chips where we didn’t have enough milk-chocolate chips. What resulted was BRILLIANCE.

Here is the key: No one in my home had ever made homemade cookies before. Anyone who has? Will not be impressed by this recipe. HOWEVER, since I know we are not the only people out there who have never made cookies from scratch, I am putting the recipe (with his adjustment) here so that others can try it. Turns out? HOMEMADE COOKIES ARE GOOD! And not scary at all! I’m glad he tried them because I don’t think I ever would have.

My husband, now our in-home cookie expert, says that the most important part of the instructions were…the actual instructions. Not the ingredients. He swears that it was HOW he mixed the stuff that made the cookies brilliant, not WHAT he put in them. I will not argue with him. I just know I handed them out all last weekend exclaiming: THESE ARE MY FAVORITE COOKIES IN THE WORLD. Unfortunately, I don’t know what to name them to indicate the presences of milk chocolate chips AND white chocolate chips without getting into some sort of excess-chip situation. White Chocolate and Chocolate Chip Cookies is too much of a tongue-twister. For now? The Cookies That Can Not Be Named.

No Name Cookies

Ingredients

* 2 1/4 cups flour
* 1 tsp baking soda
* 1 tsp salt
* 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
* 3/4 cup granulated sugar
* 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 2 large eggs
* 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
* 1 cup white chocolate chips

Directions

PREHEAT oven to 375° F.

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.

In a larger bowl, mix softened butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Gradually mix in flour mixture. (We did all of this mixing by hand, no need to dirty up your mixer!)

Stir in all chips. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto baking sheets. (I greased my, Donnie didn’t. Both turned out fine.)

BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

No Name Cookies

No Name Cookies

No Name Cookies
Bagged up and ready for Dessert Theatre!