Saturday, January 31, 2009

Hey, I'm the Birthday Girl!

Today, January 31st, is my birthday! I have been told numerous times that I was born during a blizzard. It was so cold and there was tons of snow on the ground. My dad had a broken back and was in a full body cast and my mom either slipped or almost slipped walking to the car to go to the hospital. (I've been told that explains a lot!)I was born late at night and was just moments from being a February baby. I think I was 9 lbs and was over 18" in length. And, of course had red hair! My name, Amber has nothing to do with my hair color, although a lot of people think it does. Where it actually came from, I am not sure.

I told Ryan the only thing I want today is NOT to cook dinner!! I want him to take me out! We really do not do anything really special for the adults in my family for birthdays, which is fine with me!!

Here are some pictures to share. I really don't have that many pictures of me in my adult life, I am usually the one taking the pictures.

This is Ryan and myself at our wedding party. We got married at the courthouse and had a little party about a month later to celebrate.


I am about 6 months old here (according to the date on the picture)


I think I am about 3 or 4 years in Myrtle Beach, SC


About 2 or 3 jamming out to the record player!


This is one of my favorite pictures! I am of course the baby, my grandmother is holding me, my mother is sitting, next to her is my great grandmother, and behind her is my great aunt (grandmother's sister) There are 4 generations in the picture. It was taken out at my great grandparents farm.

Baby Shower Favors

Tomorrow is my sister's baby shower and I was "told" that I was in charge of favors for the guests. I decided to make the chocolate pretzels with blue sprinkles this time. I found the trinkets at Walmart at the after Christmas sale. They were ornaments for mini trees. I bought them before I knew what to do with them, I just knew I wanted to do something with them for the shower.

I also made the centerpieces and will post a picture tomorrow after the shower so they can be seen with the balloons. I have to make her cakes for the party today. I have 4 cakes to bake. I really wanted a round cake but, with the number of people coming, a rectangular cake makes more sense. I am just making a basic white cake with white frosting. I am going to put little blue flowers on the edges and the center. I'll post a picture of that tomorrow also.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Cookies & Cream Cake

Ohhh, this cake is delicious!! It tastes like one giant Oreo!! The icing tastes just like the filling inside of the cookie!!

For a fast shortcut, use a box cake mix. I prefer Jiffy brand because one box makes one layer for the cake. But, make sure to make homemade icing, a little effort will pay off!

Cookies & Cream Cake

2 boxes Jiffy White Cake Mix
( 2 egg whites, 2 c. cold water)
1o Oreo Cookies, smashed (leave some chunks)

Icing:
2 sticks butter, softened
6 c. powdered sugar
5 Tbs. milk
5 Oreo cookies, crushed to fine crumbs

In two separate bowls, make cake mix according to box directions. (Make sure not to combine the mixes so you will 2 equal layers.) Add 5 smashed Oreos to each batter ad stir to distribute cookies. Pour into 2 well greased 9" round cake pans. Bake at 350* for 20 minutes. Cool completely then remove from pans.

To make icing; cream butter with mixer. Add powdered sugar and milk. Mix well. Keep using mixer until icing is creamy and no longer lumpy. This may take several minutes. Add more milk is needed.

Place one layer upside down on cake plate. Top with icing. Add next layer, upside down also. Skim coat cake with a layer of frosting. Cover and put in fridge for one hour. This allows the icing to harden so you can ice your cake with out have crumbs mixed in. Remove cake from fridge and ice with remaining icing. With your hand, lightly press cookies crumbs onto the top and side of cake.

Chocolate Covered Oreos

I think these have to be Ryan's new favorite cookie!! They are so easy to make and they look so pretty!! I have seen them selling on ETSY for more than a $1.00 apiece!!

You can decorate them with sprinkles or drizzles of colored chocolate. I got my molds at a place called Sugarcraft, which is about 2 minutes from my house. They have all kinds of molds and packaging supplies for the cookies. They ship to anywhere, according to the website. You can spend hours looking at all of the neat items they have!! I can hardly get Jaiden out of the store!!

To make the cookies, you'll need:

Oreo mold
12 oz. white chocolate chips
1/4 block of paraffin wax
Oreo cookies

1. Melt wax and add white chocolate.
2. Pour a small amount in mold.
3. Add Oreo and press down.
4. Pour chocolate over cookie to rim of mold.
5. Freeze for a few minutes for easier removal from the mold.

Valentine Cake

This is a cake that Jaiden made while we were snowed in. It is made using a silicone pan that I bought from Target in the dollar bins fro $2.50. The cake mix is the Valentine mix by Pillsbury and so is the frosting. Jaiden made it as a surprise for her daddy. I think it looks cute!

Let it Snow Part 2

Here are some more pictures I took of the snow Wednesday. You can double click on any picture to make it larger.







Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Jaiden's Room


I have been taking advantage of the weather and working on Jaiden's room. It is hard to see in the picture but, I painted it a pretty purple.

Jaiden told me the other morning that she needed curtains. I really like the way they turned out. I have less than $10.00 invested 2 sets of curtains! Jaiden thinks they are beautiful! I need to get a steamer to get the rest of the wrinkles out.

I only have one wall that the old walpaper (former owner)needs to be removed. I hope to have it taken down and painted by this weekend. And just as a side note, I hate wallpaper!!! This house was covered with it!!! One of my rooms had 7 layers of paper with several layers of paint in between. The whole room had to be coated with drywall mud to made it look better.

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!!!

We finally got a significant amount of snow!!! It started Monday night at 12 A.M. and ended about 5 yesterday evening. After the snow, we had an ice storm. That started about 5 yesterday evening and continued to 7 this morning. We had a total of 4 1/2" with 1/2" of ice on top. At 8 this morning, it started to snow again. We are expecting another 4-6" with snow coming down 2" a hour at times!! This is a lot for snow for this area! There is no one on the roads. It is so quiet outside. Ryan had to go to work and it took him 20 minutes for a 3 minute drive.

This is Ryan playing with his Christmas present last night; a snow blower


The next two are the girls playing last night



This is the snow piled up on the edge of the bed of our truck


The girls bundled up playing. It took 15 minutes to get them ready to go play.



It is kinda hard to see in this picture, but the snow is sparkling like it does in the movies.



Daisy "playing".


This is the snow coming down last night.


This picture was taken at midnight Monday night. Look how bright the snow made the area.


The next two are from this morning. The snow is weighing the branches down to the sidewalk. I am not tall enough to reach the branches when they are upright!


Just a pretty picture of the ice on our tree.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Over 10,000 Views!!!


I noticed this evening when I got on my blog to see what was happening, my counter had reset itself!! Some time between this morning and this evening I had my 10,000 visitor to my blog!!! I just want to THANK EVERYONE FOR VISITING!!!

I know I haven't kept up with it like I should lately, but I plan on starting back crafting sometime in early February.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Cheap Snack Bowls

Every night before the girls go to bed, they have snack time. The snacks range anywhere from dry cereal to potato chips to pickles. Instead of washing more dishes or throwing away styrofoam bowls, I use coffee filters. They work great holding the girls' snacks. They love to take turns sitting the coffee filters out on the table for mommy to fill.

Coffee filters are extremely cheap (for the quantity you get)and create less trash than styrofoam bowls.

When Mommy is Gone for 5 Minutes

I ran upstairs yesterday to collect dirty laundry from the bedrooms. The girls scooted their chairs over to the baby gate and "scaled" the wall. I came down to find them sitting at (and on) the kitchen table having cupcakes for breakfast.

Luckily, the criminals were still at the scene of the crime:




These girls keep me busy!

Cookbook Give Away


I am in the process of cleaning out all of my cookbooks to make room for some new ones!! I have 10 cookbooks that I am giving away!! All you have to do is leave a comment and I will pick a random person to win!!

This Giveaway includes the following cookbooks:
1. Celebrity Dish 2000 88 pages
2. Community Methodist Church 1990 239 pages
3. Wesley United Methodist Church Villa Rica, GA 120 pages
4. Hammond PTA 52 pages
5. McIntosh Family Oxford, Ohio 1986 195 pages
6. Monday is Meatloaf 125 pages
7. Betty Crocker Cookbook for Boys and Girls 1981 123 pages
8. Betty Crocker Cookie Cookbook 1981 89 pages
9. Wonderful World of Cheesecakes 1974 94 pages
10. $0.99 Recipes 1997 93 pages

The winner can win all of the books or pick which ones they want. (I will have another give away if the winner doesn't want all of them!)

Remember, to win all you need to do is leave a comment. It's completely free!! This Giveaway will close Monday, February 2nd.

(TO LEAVE A COMMENT in the comment area, make sure you choose "NAME/URL" if you aren't a registered user. Type your name in the box that comes up. Or, type your name in the comment section. That way, I will know who you are!! Thanks!)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Thank God for Dirty Dishes


When going through an old cookbook tonight, I ran across the following poem:

Thank God for Dirty Dishes

Thank God for dirty dishes.
They have a tale to tell.
While others go hungry,
We're eating very well.
With home and health and happiness,
I shouldn't fuss.
For by this stack of evidence,
God's very good to us.

Author Unknown.

Keeping Busy

Wow! I have been so busy this past week!!! I have been making cakes and trying to decide what to do about buying this bakery. I finally came to a decision: not to buy the bakery. I found out that the price did not cover the building, it is leased, it only covered the equipment. There was a lot of equipment there that I would not need. I have decided to look into a home dessertery. I have been spending a lot of my time researching the steps needed to take. If all goes well, I will be able to start this spring. I will give more details about this when I am able to.


Anyway, last Friday it was soooo cold here. It doesn't get this cold in Cincinnati!! We are not used to that weather!!! I know that's not the greatest of pictures but, it was 1*F (-17*C)and -23*F (-30*C)with the wind chill at 11 in the afternoon!! I did have to go out but, thankfully, not for long. Jaiden's school was cancelled due to the extreme temperature.





Then today, Arya climbed on top of the kitchen table, got a black marker, and decided to give herself tribal tattoos. As soon as I caught her, she ran to the wet wipes to clean herself off. Hopefully, the marker will be off by Easter. (Actually, most came off tonight in the bath.) I am just thankful that she just took off her night clothes. This all happened while I was getting her something to wear.



I hope to have some time this week to work on some new posts. I just have been putting all my "free" time into research for my dessertery.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Snow???

There is this white stuff falling from the sky. I think I remember it as snow. It has been since last March since it has snowed here in the area (between Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio). Everyone around us has gotten snow but us. I think I finally got my snow that I ordered from Crafty Sue in Italy last week! Jaiden is dying to make a snowman! We were promised some last week but it never came. Jaiden told me I lied to her when she got up that morning. I told her that it wasn't my fault. She was so disappointed! I cannot wait until she gets home from school!!

This is a short video I took from my bedroom window.
video

Superbowl Links

Here are a few ideas to get your Superbowl party going:

Game Day Ideas

Good Housekeeping Recipe Index

Family Recipes & Ideas

Game Day Recipes

Valentine Links

Here are some really neat Valentine projects I found this morning:

Soap Dispenser

Kids Crafts

Paper Treat Purse

Trinket Box

Candy Hearts

Conversation Heart Cookies

Sweet Heart Lollipops

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies

Let me first say, these are for people that are serious about chocolate! These are not grab one and go, they are plate and fork required brownies. So moist and gooey, and super simple to make!

I got the idea from Bakerella who got the recipe from the Betty Crocker web site. I had all of the ingredients on hand and it is a cold day, so I thought, "Why not??" The Betty Crocker site says to use regular chocolate icing and Bakerella used a chocolate ganache to top her brownies. I was in the middle, I used regular icing but I melted it on the stove to be more like a ganache.

I just followed the directions found on Betty Crocker. Also, I just used regular brownie mix and not the Supreme Brownie mix as listed.

Here's what they look like out of the oven:

Like I stated before, I put some icing in a pot and heated it until it was melted. I then spread it over the brownie and let it set.


These are sweet, be sure to have plenty of milk on hand! And, I hope I didn't ruin too many diets!

Cherry Pie Gone Wrong

This was supposed to be a beautiful cherry pie to share so that you could make it for your special Valentine. I instead got this pie. I had so much trouble trying to make this pie that I decided to post the picture anyway.

I first didn't get enough of pie filling so the half made pie had to go into the fridge overnight. Then when I did get the filling and went to put the top crust on, it kept cracking and splitting. I tried to roll it and pinch it back together but, it just didn't work. Then, I tried to sprinkle some cinnamon on top and the plastic sprinkle top fell off leaving me with a mountain of cinnamon on top; hence the brown spots. And lastly, because of the split top crust, the edges broke off which caused the filling to run over the top of the pie.

All of this being said, it really is an easy pie to make! I just was having a bad baking day and I think my crust might have been too old! When done right, this would make a "sweet" gift for the "Sweet Treat" in your life!

Cherry Pie

2 refrigerated pie crusts, at room temp.
2 cans cherry pie filling.
dash milk

Extras:
Pie pan
miniature heart cookie cutters

1. Place one crust in pan. Press sides and edges down.
2. Dump both cans of pie filling in pie crust.
3. Slightly roll out top crust. Use cookie cutters to make vents on crust.
4. Add top crust and pinch crusts together.
5. Brush top crust lightly with milk.
6. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Happy Birthday!!!

Today is Ryan's birthday!! We celebrated last night with the girls. Jaiden had me buy balloons, streamers, and butterfly plates. Ryan picked out gumbo as his birthday dinner choice. It was so good!! I'll have to post the recipes later.

I am so lucky to have Ryan for a husband!! He is a great husband and great father to our girls!! Happy Birthday, honey!!! I love you!!



Conversation Hearts



I found this really neat site, Acme Heart Maker, that allows you to make your own conversational hearts for web pages and blogs. I had a lot of fun playing around with this!!!

According to Info Please, "Conversation hearts were invented in the 1860s by the brother of NECCO's founder. These first hearts had printed paper notes tucked inside. The lengthy, old-fashioned sayings included such wistful thoughts as 'Please send a lock of your hair by return mail'.

Some favorites among the more than one hundred Sweetheart sayings have been in circulation since the hearts were first factory-made in 1902. These classics include "Kiss Me," "Sweet Talk," and "Be Mine." Sometimes a motto is discontinued for a time and then makes a reappearance; others are gone for good. Sayings considered outdated by NECCO include the funky "Dig Me" and the cheerful "You Are Gay."

NECCO must produce about 100,000 pounds of the candy hearts every day in order to meet the Valentine demand, when about 8 billion hearts are sold in six weeks." Candy Heart History