Thursday, November 14, 2013

Laundry Nightmares

Today I am doing laundry, I do laundry everyday but I don't count it as done until it is folded and put away.

Do you also end up with three or four or ten baskets of clean laundry stacked up waiting to be folded and put away? Mine end up on the second couch, you know because if they were on the floor I would think they were dirty. Anyway the laundry got switched a few times this weekend, maybe four, but never got folded or put away. I don't mind folding, but I hate putting away the kids laundry. When I don't put it away they throw every item into one drawer so it is over stuffed and they still can't find anything, and half of it ends up on the floor and needing washed again before it was ever worn.  I guess they are still too young to put away their laundry.

I will occasionally fold everything and divide it into baskets for each child and hope that my husband will take the hint and put everything away. He often does not have the time after getting off of work late to help with laundry (and I think he hates it as much as I do). So the kids dig their clothes out of the baskets for a few days until I can't stand the mess and I fold everything again and put it all away.

We have a horrible laundry room, in that we don't have a laundry room at all. We rent and we found a house with laundry when we moved, but what it should say is washer and dryer hookups at the end of the kitchen between the oven and the pantry. It is a huge step up from the laundry mat but there is no storage for laundry and no room for folding of any sort. I was looking on Pinterest for ideas that I might actually be able to implement to make this never ending job a little easier or less chaotic.

I dream of this

This is about the space I have

Then I found this blog, the inquisitive mom. She has a great post on how to get each kids laundry organized, I will implement her two baskets per child idea for my two older kids and add it as the little ones can get into putting their clothes into their own basket. At this point I am lucky if they put their clothes into any hamper. They are often left on the bathroom floor or my bedroom floor.  So I am definitely going to have my husband ad the little shelf under the washer and dryer, this weekend. And hopefully I can get the older kids at least a little more organized on laundry.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles!

So I like to bake by just throwing things that sound good into the mixer. Yesterday I was thinking cookies, I had made these chocolate chip pumpkin cookies a couple weeks ago and they were a huge hit. This is definitely what I had in mind when I started. Then about half way through dumping things into my mixer I decided not to add any chocolate.  I had also made these amazing baked pumpkin donuts, and just thinking of the cake like texture and the cinnamon sugar coating made me drool a little.

So I decided to take my cookie dough and make tiny little bite size cookies and roll them in cinnamon sugar. They turned out super tasty.

Photo Credit
1 cup butter softened
3/4 cup sugar (beat together)
add 2 eggs (beat until pale)
add 15 oz can of pumpkin puree
add 1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg
add 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
gently add in 2 1/2 cups of a/p flour

scoop with your smallest scoop and roll in cinnamon sugar (I used 1 cup sugar and 3 tbs of cinnamon) place onto parchment lined cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes.

I didn't take this photo, my cookies were all eaten up by kids and husband before I got to the camera part of the day. But they turned out really yummy. You could also put all the pumpkin spices into the sugar you roll the cookies in.

These were super easy, the recipe made about 50 bite size cookies. If you make a larger cookie you will want to bake a little longer.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Christmas Tutu Dress Made!

So I decided it was way cheaper to make than buy these cute dresses.
They turned out really pretty, and super poofy. But the girls love it that way.

For the two dresses I read a ton of tutorials and then decided to just go for it. I ended up buying five rolls of ivory at 25 yards per roll and 4 rolls of red glitter at 13 yards per roll and 3 rolls of green glitter at 13 yards per roll. I also bought a roll of stretchy elastic ribbon, and a pretty glitzy flower button. Every single item was 50% off at Hobby Lobby. I Spent about $30 including taxes. I had a needle and thread to start with.

I spent about three hours total making both dresses. I used a crochet hook to help me pull the tulle through the holes in my decorative elastic ribbon, regular elastic might have been easier. I will also be making a slip for my older daughter to wear under her dress (hopefully this will cost nothing with some leftover fabric) and I will put the baby in a white onesie (that she already has) to keep her warm and covered.

Next time I will NOT let my daughter choose the sparkly tulle, it was very sticky and hard to pull, it was also a lot less soft than the ivory. Don't even get me started on the mess from the glitter, it is still everywhere.

Overall it was a lot less money than purchasing, the kids love them, and it only took a few hours, I made them while watching a movie, definitely worth it. If you don't want to make one, check my etsy site in the near future and you can purchase one custom made for your child.

Bites for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is the holiday that I get to host. The grandparents on both sides still insist on having christmas festivities at their house. I get that but I really wish they would decide to all come over bringing their one (i can't get them to agree to this number either) gift per child on one day. Anyway I love hosting thanksgiving, it is so much nicer than toting the kids from one house to another. When we get all the families together it tends to be a pretty big event. I ask everyone to bring one side dish and end up only getting to cook a few basics, I always do the turkey and the pies and usually the potatoes and then I'm done.  I am not exactly complaining, it is really nice not being overly stressed by trying to make the huge spread. But I love to cook and I love to show off new or amazing recipes for anyone other than my kids (who refuse to try anything new).

So this year besides my tried and true basics.  I am going to make some small bites for the coffee table.  They need to be super beautiful, super delicious, and magically fit the dietary restrictions of my sister. She doesn't eat wheat, rice, or oat (it's kind of a pain) she never complains so I am always looking for a few recipes that never had these ingredients to start with. I would like to do about half sweet, and half savory.

Here are some amazing recipes I found, I will make all of them ahead of time, taste each one to make sure they are worth showing off and then store them in the freezer until the day of: Yummy, pretty and easy!

Sweet Stars

Aren't those the cutest? you can find the recipe here.

Cranberry Almond Cookies

  Not gluten free but a recipe many of my family members will love, find the recipe here.

Gingerbread Caramels

I know right. Amazing recipe here.

Fig and Olive Tapenade

Not as pretty as the others but the recipe looks super tasty, I will serve it with some crostinis and maybe some apple slices. Recipe here.

Broccoli Parmesan Fritters

I know amazing! I will definitely sub the a/p flour for some corn flour and of course fry them up just before serving. Find the recipe here.

Cucumber Cups and Salmon Salad

These should be light refreshing and super yummy. Recipe here.

I will let you know how they go over.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Holiday TuTu Dress - Do it Myself?

So my six year old daughter goes to a school where "certain" mothers dress their girls (who are usually about a year and a half apart) in the same outfit, with the same hairstyle and the same shoes. And for some reason she thinks this is the greatest cutest fun thing ever. She finally got a sister (three months ago) and loves the idea of dressing like twins. Anyway the baby is in 3-6 month size and my tall beautiful girl is a 7 slim. There is nothing in the world of retail (that I have found) where you can buy the same outfit in these sizes. Its just totally impossible. They do both have jeggings that are the same style but this is not enough for my daughter.

I happen to be blessed with family that can sew but of course there is hardly ever any time for sewing custom clothes to humor my daughter. Matching Holiday Dresses seems like an excellent idea.  Etsy has tons of made to order really cute little tutu dresses.  Here are a couple of my Favorites:
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So I could order a lovely dress for each child and spend 100-200 hundred dollars. That is a little outside my Holiday Dress Budget this year. So I went toPinterest and added diy to my search and I found about a hundred blogs on how to make a cute Tutu dress, for about 10-20$ worth of supplies. This is definitely closer to my budget.

 I love this one,  she is starting with a dress and adding the tutu to it.
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But I don't have two dresses that match already for the girls so this is not an economical choice. 

And then I found this one:

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Is it just the super adorable girl, or is this the cutest dress ever? Yeah I thought it might be the super adorable girl, I think this particular tutu will not be quite as cute on my four foot tall six year old. I love that she used the tulle for the straps.

So I will make that design for the baby, and this design for the Six year old.
Photo Credit
I think the only real difference in these dresses is that on the older girl, the dress is not so full. They will of course be in matching christmassy colors, I am thinking ruby and pale green.

Updates to come.

Chocolate Hazelnut Goodies!

I'm in a Nutella kind of mood today. Doesn't everyone just love this stuff, creamy, chocolaty and delicious! I try not to feed it to my kids on toast very often. Not that its not amazing and just as good a source of protein as peanut butter, but I don't want them to think of sweet chocolatey yumminess as an everyday kind of food. I want it to be a treat. So I had an amazing idea. TRUFFLES. I love truffles. They are an amazing dessert. Do you want a list why I love truffles? I thought so.

Truffles are:
1. Delicious
2. A lovely small pre portioned amount
3. Rich enough that you don't feel the need to eat twenty
4. Super special, bring anyone truffles and they feel happy and special
5. Really easy to execute. These things do not take baking skills, or decorating skills to do a great job on. (they do take high quality ingredients though)

So here is my super simple, delicious every time and totally creative truffle recipe:

1 cup dark chocolate semisweet chips
1 cup heavy cream

Buy the best quality you can, heat the cream over medium on the stove until it is good and hot, (simmering not boiling) take it off the heat. Stir in Chocolate. Stir some more till its melty and amazing. Add the secret ingredients:

1/2 tsp instant coffee granules
1 tsp vanilla extract

Put in a bowl and chill in refrigerator. once totally cold and hard, pull it out, use a spoon and your hands to make small balls. If you do this nice and quick and then roll in your choice of toppings.

If you want more perfect balls, freeze them, then take them out and roll around in your hands for a second to make more round before rolling in a topping.

Photo Credit:


Classic: Cocoa powder (unsweetened) dump in a bowl (feeling courages add a tablespoon of red chile powder for truffles with a kick) roll truffles in powder, shake off excess and place on pretty plate. Roll. Shake. Plate.

Mocha: take your instant coffee granules and blend in the food processor until nice and fine. Roll. Shake. Plate.

Lavender: (these taste amazing) pick up some organic lavender in the salad section of your grocery, process with equal parts lavender and superfine sugar. Roll. Shake. Plate.

Hard Chocolate (These are a little more skilled to make): Freeze your balls, Melt some high quality chocolate in a bowl over simmering water, stir until just melted, remove from heat but leave on top of water, Dip your frozen truffles into the melted chocolate, place on a cooling rack where the excess can drain off or onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. (its easiest to dip truffles into plenty of chocolate so use more than you need)

Nuts: Use any kind of nut you like, Pistachio, walnut, pecan, almond, piƱon, etc. Chop finely or food proceess to your liking, they are prettier if they are really fine, but i like the crunch you get with a slightly bigger nut. Roll. Shake. Plate.

Powdered Sugar: Roll. Shake. Plate.

Today I am making Nutella Truffles, and wouldn't you know it, pinterest has done this before. Nutella Sea Salt Truffles

Don't you just want to make/eat those? I did. and they were amazing. I am going to take some to my gluten free sister this afternoon. (another amazing thing about truffles, naturally gluten free) and make her feel special for no reason and with unbelievably little effort.

These also make an amazing Christmas present: Some packaging ideas from, you guessed it, Pinterest.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

No Bake Deliciousness

Do you ever have one of those cravings? The I have to have something sweet and there is nothing in the house kind of craving? I get those a lot, yesterday I ran out of milk, which meant I only got one cup of my amazing coffee. I normally drink two or three, yes I know how addicted I am.  I really wanted more but not badly enough to drag my five children to the grocery store. I will not go to the grocery store with the kids unless I have a long list, there is not one thing I ever need badly enough for that hassle.

So instead I channeled my coffee craving into a general sweets craving. I didn't want to spend time baking, and there was definitely not any pre made baked yumminess in the house. So naturally I went to Pinterest and decided to do a search for "no bake". I found a ton of cheesecake recipes that didn't really work with my list of ingredients in the house. I was looking for something with a little more ease and only pantry ingredients.

So i found these Oatgasm: No Bake Pumpkin Oatmeal Bites and these looked really good, but I didn't want to wait for them to chill before eating. So I will be making and raving about these in the future I am sure, But I decided on this peanut butter variation of my mom's Chocolate Haystacks.

This is my mom's chocolate haystack recipe, she always has a batch in the freezer (where my mom keeps all her baked goods) during the holiday season.

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • Dash of salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

     melted on the stovetop
stir in

  • 3 cups quick oats
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut

   drop teaspoonfuls onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and chill until firm

Eat the yummy amazingness. My husbands mom has a similar recipe that she calls "moose poop."  Yeah I really don't get that.

Anyway I don't particularly like peanut butter, I eat it maybe once a year, and I tend to abhor the peanut butter ruining delicious chocolate foods. But for some reason unbeknown to me I decided to try this Peanut Butter Oat Ball Recipe I of course changed it to fit my needs. I left out the chia seeds (because I didn't have any) and I doubled the chocolate chips and omitted the honey, figuring it would hold together the same and be a little more chocolatey. I also started eating them before chilling. Anyway I ate one and it was pretty good considering it had peanut butter in it, but then I remembered that I don't really like peanut butter and so i scooped out the rest of them, chilled for fifteen minutes in the freezer and gave them to the kids after dinner.

They were a huge hit, the kids loved getting dessert (which is not a regular after dinner event in our house) and they don't have the peanut butter hang up I have.