Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Scrapbook Organization

I use part of our dining room table for my scrapbooking area.  This is not ideal for when we need the dining room table for company, but it gives me a place to work while watching the kids play.  I am currently working on 3 projects; so the area is getting really messy.  Today, I reorganized!


Recently, I read a post by On the Banks of Squaw Creek that gave some tips on hiding things in plain site.  So, I used her tips and brought up (or rather my husband brought up) an empty cabinet from the basement ...AND TADA it is my new scrapbooking cabinet and now resides in the corner of our dining room.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Welcome to the Bunny Trail

At the Blissdom 12 conference, Hershey's asked bloggers to write about their favorite Easter traditions as part of their 2012 Bunny Trail across the country. 

So I have been thinking about what my favorite Easter traditions are.  I loves Easter mass, Easter chocolate, the spring flowers that we begin to see as Easter approaches, but my favorite tradition is dyeing eggs.  I know this may not seem very unique, but decorating eggs is what I remember most about Easter as a child.  My mom let us decorate eggs on Good Friday, and that tradition remains one of my treasured memories from my childhood.  So, I was so excited when our daughter was old enough to decorate eggs.

Where are the eggs, Mommy?

In addition to decorating eggs, we started a family egg hunt.  (My "cow man" husband plays Easter Bunny and hides the eggs.)

I hope our kids will treasure our Easter traditions as much as I have.  Happy Easter!

Friday, March 23, 2012

King Cake

This month, I joined the Iron Chef Red Star Yeast Challenge hosted by a Latte' with Ott, A.  I have always loved to bake, but I have been afraid to do much with yeast.  So, I was happy to give this a try as a learning experience.

I made King Cake, which some countries make as part of Epiphany celebrations and is also made in celebration of Madi Gras.  A King Cake often has a toy baby (to symbolize baby Jesus) or other trinket hidden somewhere.  Whoever is the first to find the trinket gets special privileges.  To make your own King Cake here is the recipe and some tips that I would suggest.

1. Combine 4 tablespoons butter and 1/2 cup of milk in a small bowl.  Microwave the mixture until the butter is melted.  (You may want to stop the microwave after 1 minute to stir and then restart it if the butter still needs to melt more.)  Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract to the melted butter and milk mixture and let cool.

2. In another small bowl, add 1 packet of Red Star Yeast and 1/2 cup of warm water.  Let the yeast mixture rest for 5 minutes.

3.In a (very) large bowl combine 5 1/4 cups of sugar with 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of sugar.  Use a whisk to combine.  Make a "well" or hole in the middle of the sugar and flour mixture and slowly add the yeast mixture into the hole.  Use a wooden spoon to fold the yeast mixture into the dry ingredients.  Add the butter/milk mixture folding again with the wooden spoon.  Lastly, you will add 3 large, beaten eggs and combine them as well.  Finally, you have your dough!

4. Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead the dough for 8 minutes.  (You may need to add more flour to the surface and your hands so that your dough does not become difficult to knead)  After 8 minutes, transfer to a large bowl that is well oiled.  You will cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 2 hours.  (Your dough will double in size over the 2 hours.)

See what I mean about needing a large bowl!

5. While your dough is rising, I would start on the filing for the bread.  To do this, mix 6 tablespoons of unsalted soft butter with 1 cup of dark packed brown sugar and 1 and 1/4 tablespoons of ground cinnamon.  Use a fork to blend.

6.  After your dough has risen for 2 hours, transfer it to a lightly floured surface and roll it to a rectangle that is 10 by 16 inches.  Spread the filing over the dough leaving a 1 inch strip uncovered at one of the long ends.  Beginning at the opposite end (opposite the 1 inch uncovered strip), roll jelly roll style.  Pinch the seams closed with your fingers.

7. Place the roll on a 13 by 16 inch baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.  Seal the ends of the ring together using water or flour.  With a knife, cut 1/2 inch slashes along the top of the ring.  Cover the roll and let it continue to rise for 45 minutes.

8. After your roll has had an additional 45 minutes to rise, bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.  (To keep your ring from closing during baking, place an oven safe bowl in the center of the ring).  After 30 minutes, remove ring from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.  After 5 minutes you can insert the toy baby or trinket.  Cool the cake for another 30 minutes.

9.  The last step is to make the icing by whisking 1 cup cofectioners' sugar and  2 tablespoons of milk.  Ice the cake while it is still warm and top the cake with colored sugars.  We used purple and green because my daughter helped color the sugar.  (The purpose of the color is to hide the baby toy and color choices vary depending on if the cake is made for Madi Gras or for an Epiphany celebration).

This has been breakfast some days this week-Yummy!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Another Cleaning Adventure

To motivate myself, I joined the Spring Cleaning Challenge being hosted this month by a group of bloggers.  Today, I cleaned and organized my son's room.  This was a challenge for me because he has a pup tent that he loves to play in, but there is not enough space in his bedroom for the tent to be up all the time. SO, his room has been an obstacle course of toy and tent.  I accomplished the organizing of his room by:
1. I put some of his toy boxes in his tent.  He helped select what toys he wanted in his tent. Now he has space for the tent and still has toys in his room.

2. We went through the toys in his room and are donating the toys he is no longer playing with.  This left me with an empty basket that I put the kids barn/outside shoes in which makes me sooo happy because these shoes have been piled together next to the washer and dryer.

Do you have any spring cleaning plans?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Just for Fun Fridays

Greetings Blog Hoppers from Just or Fun Fridays!  To view my favorite post click here.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Our Potty Chart

Our 6 year old daughter has had problems with her colon since she was an infant making potty training difficult especially when you combined the medical problems with stubbornness, that she of course gets from her father.  (Laugh, laugh)  We tried everything to get her potty trained.  We used one piece of candy, two pieces of candy, a potty that played music, reading books on the potty, using a timer so she would try to potty every time it went off, and so on......

I searched article after article for ideas on potty training and I finally came upon the potty chart idea and it worked well for our daughter.  So, when our little man quit using the potty for us we made him a potty chart.  Today, he filled up his first chart!

To make a chart all you need is a small sheet of poster board, a marker, and stickers.  We give him a sticker if he actually goes to the potty because we know he has a good understanding of the concept.  For younger kids, I would suggest giving stickers if they try to use the potty and work up to giving them stickers only when they go in the potty.  Maybe this idea will help other potty stressed moms!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Spring Cleaning Challenge: My Closet

We only have a few closets in our home and my husband is really anal about his closets.  So, all the "extra stuff" has ended up in my closet.  Kids clothes that are still too big, books, and items that need to go to the dry cleaner are all stacked on top of my shoes, which were miss matched and sperad all over the floor of my closet.  Today as part of the Spring Cleaning Challenge, I cleaned and organized my closet floor.  YIPPEE.

Here is my after picture.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Spring Cleaning Challenge

I am going to be adventurous and join the Spring Cleaning Challenge.
We will see where this adventure takes me. Maybe it will take me to at least one clean closet!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Monday Book Mania: The Swan Thieves!

This past fall I picked up a great book by Elizabeth Kostova. It was her first book and is titled The Historian. Upon completing this book, I quickly purchased The Swan Thieves Kostova's second and most recent book.
The Swan Thieves is an awesome book that has something for everyone: Star Crossed lovers, mental illness, art, an intense look at family life and a journey across a span of several hundred years. Happy reading!