Sunday, January 24, 2010

Last Minute School Projects

I am certain our family is the champion last minute project maker. I remember all too well when I was growing up, that waiting until the last minute to inform mom or dad, (No not dad...just mom) that a school project was due was definitely a no-no. This rule has definitely not been handed down to our children. As I recall we also didn't have nearly the amount of projects that kids today have.
Kristina announced one night about 7:00.."Oh, I have a language arts project due tomorrow. I have to make a character puppet and a poster." Off we ran to Walgreen's to pick up some poster board. Gratefully, we just happen to have an array of wonderful materials to make just about any school project with last minutes' notice! This project called for an Asian girl puppet, with a pink party dress and a heart shaped necklace...
What do you think?
Not too bad eh? A paper bag, some googly eyes, pop dots to make a nose, lip linerfor the mouth, an American Girl pink party dress and necklace, coke box arms, and an Asian wig carefully removed from one of my porcelain dolls and voila! One last minute language arts project. By the way...she got an A. And I think that puppet could not have been any cuter!
How bout you? What do you do that's crazy last minute?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

So you miss the midwest do you?

It's about this time of year that I get really tired of winter. Usually we head to a sunny beach in December to help me get through, but we weren't able to do that this year. appears I may be in for a loooooong winter. The bright side however, is that this winter has been especially beautiful and not especially cold, which I appreciate. For some reason we've had quite a few days of frozen fog. You's foggy at night and then you wake up to this...
Looks like someone has gone around with their spray can of "flocking"

What a beautiful Sunday morning!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

14 !?!?

Can you believe the precious one has turned 14?!? Where has the time gone? I have to be honest that a part of me is celebrating joyously a bit relieved that the some times tumultuous 13th year is now in the past. Middle school is on it's way out and I, for one, am looking forward to high school. The fun, the experiences, the memories. I still can't grasp 14...for my baby.

The family gathered for cake on Dad's side...

Mom's side will be coming up as soon as all of our schedules coincide...and then of course there'll be the friend party. More on that later...

For now...Happy Birthday Nina!

Make a wish lovie!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I think not...

We are a 3 cat family. One cat is my brothers...we are caring for him until my brother gets an apartment that allows pets. Then there's Julio...He was our third cat...and I love him, but he is not the chosen one. The chosen one, is our first cat...Jake. There is no upsetting Jake, no picking up Jake, no moving Jake, no bothering Jake...because Jake is the chosen one. Really! I love him the best (GASP!) And I'm just a little bit honest about it. He sleeps on our bed. He is just precious.

The only bad thing about Jake is that he likes to sneak outside. All of our cats are indoor cats, but since Jake likes to sneak out, we've had him micro chipped. Even so, it still terrifies me that he will get out and meet a terrible a coyote. :( Today, as in most of the nation, we're getting snow and lots of it. Jake was curiously by the door....thinking perhaps it was time to sneak out. I bravely left the door wide open for him, prepared to run right outside and grab him, should he take the opportunity. Let's just say....Jake passed on that one... He's safe and warm sitting next to me in a chair by the computer.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

It's heeeeeeeeeeere!

My project life kit arrived today and I am SOOOOOO excited. Last year, Creating Keepsakes offered the project 365, but sadly I missed out. This year, I was right on the project life kit, by Becky Higgins. I ordered it for myself for Christmas from my mama. So far, I have been faithful in taking my photo a day. (All 5 days, I know...right?) I just love the elements of this kit and can't wait to get started...

Monday, January 4, 2010

Home and Sick...

My precious one went out of town with friends to Virginia. Sounds like she had a great time...she's home today...and sick as a dog. Baaaaaaaaad cold. Feel better soon love!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Christmas Photos finally!

Finally around to posting some photos from Christmas for my family near and far. Even though Christmas had to be postponed to due a stomach bug I had (YUCK!) We did get around to it eventually once I was feeling better! Here is our newest addition...Ashlyn Rosie's first Christmas

All of the kids got awesome presents, but as usual had more fun having a paper fight with the left over wrapping!
Experimented just a bit with my new camera (7 months old now, but still new to me) and the Christmas tree. It was sooooo beautiful this year. Perhaps it was because I had time or took the time to enjoy it!
Our other new addition...Julio...enjoyed himself in the midst of all the chaos with a nap!
Santa brought the Wii Fit Plus for the kids this year... and new Christmas Jammies!
Aubrey got many things princess this year...including this card from her Grammie. There is nothing like Christmas will little ones!

Now that I felt better, we gathered for a hearty meal of Ham, mashed, broccoli gratin, rolls, deviled eggs, and ambrosia. Yummmm!
It was wonderful to be together...
in the real life snow globe we've been living in...

Lacey just can't get enough of the snow! She runs around like a crazy dog and usually has a face covered with snow. After trying for more than 10 shots to get a picture of it, I gave up. She has a way of shaking the snow off her face right as I take her picture!
Speaking of little ones...we finally had EVERYONE at Grammas this year. Gramma, two kids, two spouses, 6 grandkids, and 6 great grandkids. So awesome. Do you think we took a picture of us all together? Heck no! How crazy is that?
We did however take SOME pictures...
Grammas not really drunk, in fact she rarely drinks. She just manages to look 'drunk' in every picture!
This is my favorite Christmas picture this year...My mother in law collects rocking horses of all types, shapes, and sizes. She has quite the amazing and beautiful collection. I have a baby great niece Lizzy, who looks an awful lot like my big girl...check it out...
How stinkin cute is that?!? Couldn't they be sisters? Next time you visit the Ruchus, that ones' gonna be framed on a wall. So precious.
Finally, a few more cookie shots and one more recipe...I love cookies that taste good AND cookies that are beautiful...
These cookies taste good...Raspberry thumbprints...
And these cookies are beautiful...Strawberry Sandwich Cookies
My new recipe I'm sharing is Carrot Cake Sandwich cookies. Sorry that I don't have a picture....but MAN were they yummy.
Here's the recipe...
Carrot Cake Cookies
1 1/2 C all purpose flour
1 1/2 C granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
8 oz. unsalted butter
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 C chopped or sliced almonds
3/4 C shredded coconut
2/3 C pureed cooked carrots
2/3 C drained, crushed pineapple
Cream Cheese Filling
8 oz. room temp cream cheese
6 T sweet butter
3 C powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy, add eggs and vanilla until combined. Add four, salt and baking soda. When flour mixture is combined, add remaining ingredients and mix until just combined. Portion onto sheet pans prepared with parchment paper lining using a #40 scoop.
Bake at 350 degrees F 10 - 12 minutes.
While cookies are baking prepare filling by combining all filling ingredients until smooth and well combined.
After cookies are completely cooled, turn over using a metal spatula. Frost every other cookie bottom with 2 tablespoons of the cream cheese frosting and top with unfrosted cookie.
If you double this recipe (as I did) you only need a single batch of frosting to frost all of the cookies.
Single batch makes 29 cookies.

Friday, January 1, 2010 promised!

Computer glitches are my very least favorite thing...however...I'm baaaaaa-aaaaaack! So sorry for the delay in the Christmas pictures, baking pics, and recipes. I'm going to do my very best to catch up. Here goes.
As my children get older, my helpers get more limited. I was lucky to have at least one helper per day...
Some new recipes were a total flop... and will not be making a return next year. This was the first batch of chocolate chip kiss cookies. Even after adding enough flour to avoid this...the cookies were still not very good. So long chocolate chip kiss cookies...
Other tried and true favorites were amazing as always... like my very favorite cranberry orange walnut cookies...Total yum. I pink puffy heart these cookies as does my mother in law. Whenever I show up around Christmas time at her house, I best be carrying a baggy of these little darlings for her!
Finally a new twist to an old favorite...Check out these peanut butter blossoms...
A few years ago we added red and green sugar. This year we added Brach's stars instead of kisses. Aren't they so pretty? The good news is, I overbought the stars and have 4 bags there will be more of these come some cold snowy day.
Here is the wonderful cranberry walnut orange cookies recipe...I can't give credit...I know I got this recipe out of the newspaper about 5 years ago. It quickly became a family favorite.
Cranberry Orange Walnut Cookies
If you double this recipe and use a 1 tablespoon scoop, it makes 5 1/2 dozen cookies.
1/2 c butter
1 c granulated sugar
3/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c milk
2 tbsp orange juice or orange liqueur or 1/2 tsp orange extract plus 1 1/2 tsp water
**I prefer to use orange juice. The orange extract is too strong a flavor for me
1 large egg
3 c all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 c chopped walnuts or pecans
2 1/2 c coarsely chopped frozen, fresh, or dried cranberries
**I use craisins. They stay soft in the cookies
Preheat oven to 375F. Grease baking sheets. Beat together butter and sugars until creamy. Stir in milk, orange juice and egg. Mix in dry ingredients. Stir in nuts and cranberries.
Drop dough by tablespoons about 2" apart on greased baking sheet. Bake 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool for 2 minutes on baking sheet, then remove to wire cooling racks to cool completely.
Remember...if you store these in a zip lock with a slice of white bread, they stay amazingly soft and chewy.
Stay tuned for more recipes.