Thursday, May 28, 2009

A little poke

I've been wanting to make this cake for many weeks and this morning we finally had time. The girls were SO excited! They love to make this cake with me because I let them do almost every part of it themselves.

It's called Jell-o Poke cake, and here is all you need

1 box yellow or white cake mix (oil, eggs, water)
1 sm box of any flavor Jell-O
1 sm tub of Cool Whip

Start off by baking the cake per the package directions. Hopefully you won't have to hunt down your eggs because the Egg Bandit hid them all under the couch. Because that happens you know. Really. I wouldn't lie to you. And don't forget to check the refrigerator in their play kitchen for that one missing egg. Eggs need to stay cold you know.

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Then you let your Egg Bandit hungry daughter mix the Jell-O with 2 cups hot water.

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Did you see it?

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Let's take a closer look.

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That's right, a true Princess can not make Jell-O without her Sleeping Beauty purse.

Next, you give the cake a little poke.

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Then turn the fork over to your oldest and pray that you've taught her everything she needs to know as she has grown up so fast right before your very eyes and will some day go off into the world without you by her side to poke a cake.

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Then you pour the hot Jell-O over the still warm cake. You might hear your Egg Bandit little helper say "those holes are thirsty Mom."

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Until it looks like this.

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Then you put it in the fridge to cool while the kids are at pre-k. Once they are dropped off you will feel compelled to hurry home, making all the yellow lights lest you be slowed down, put the baby down for a nap and let your nose direct you back to the kitchen where the cake is just waiting for you to rescue get it from the fridge and spread a whole tub of Cool Whip on top of it. Of course you have to "test" it before the kids get home, just to be sure it's edible. Don't worry if the first piece falls apart when you take it out of the pan. The second piece could use some testing too.

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Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I have died and gone to chocolate heaven...

...having eaten the BEST chocolate cake ever! Sorry I don't have a photo, but Pioneer Woman's photos can't be beat anyway.

You may know this cake by another name, Texas Sheet Cake. It's an old standard, but one I had never made before. I had this in mind for my Grandma's 85'th birthday party. I wanted to try it out first though, to make sure it would really turn out for me. I had a bad run-in with a Red Velvet recipe (Paula Deen's of all people...gasp) a while back and I didn't want to repeat that.

My first cake, I baked in a regular cake pan with a lid. I knew we'd have leftovers and just wasn't quite sure how to store it in a sheet pan. Too bad I hadn't seen Darby's post yet. Sheet pans come with lids? Where have I been?

The cake turned out perfectly, but I was a little squeamish about the frosting. It was SO runny. I kept looking at PW's tutorial to make sure it was supposed to be this runny. It was. Still not believing, I even added extra powdered sugar to thicken it up (totally NOT necessary, but yummy none-the-less). I ended up pouring just half on. That was a mistake waste of outrageously yummy frosting. It would have been even more perfect with twice the thickness in frosting. Mumble...mumble...grumble.

That night, thankfully, we had Bible study, so I was able to share it with friends. This meant only about half of it ended up on my hips. I made it again the next day, as instructed. But, again, squeamish about the frosting, I poured it on slowly, fearing it would spill over the edges (it wouldn't have). You see, the cake pretty well filled up the depth of the sheet pan. Had I known then what I know now, I would have just poured it all out fast and I would have ended up with a flawless, satiny, chocolate frosted cake. This frosting sets quite quickly and if you try to spread it around later, it starts to look messy. No worries though, it still tasted like heaven.

I dare you to make this cake soon. Just be sure you're not alone when it's ready to eat, or you might eat the whole thing. Or, you could just call me...I'll bring my fork.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Officially Obsessed

Allison Mae, 9 mos
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Emily Rose, 9 mos
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Samuel David, 5 mos
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Monday, May 25, 2009

A handy little giveaway

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Amy, the talented designer behind In My Hand Designs is giving away this super cute clutch purse. I met Amy at the class I taught at Eagle Creek Quilt Shop over a year ago. She is a lovely mompreneur. We got along really well. She even invited me out to her house to help her with a couple of things last year. She has such a cute family.

I love the story behind her business name. You can read about it here. So hop on over to Amy's blog and enter to win a fabulous clutch. It's even lined with dupioni silk...just divine.

***The winner won't be drawn until June 1st, so there is still time to enter.

Last Chance Harvey

Isn't that the name of a movie? I think it's in our Netflix queue. Today is your last chance to own a brand spankin' new TaDa! Creations dress. "Three little Pigs" ends about 11:30am CST. So sorry to be ending this on a holiday! I totally spaced that when I listed it. Yeah, I'm dumb like that. I'd say it was the cold medicine...but oh wait...I didn't start taking that until yesterday. My bad.

I've become obsessed with collages. Well, maybe not obsessed as I only just figured out this function yesterday. We'll see if I'm still making them tomorrow. Then I can say I'm obsessed. Come on, one day doesn't quite qualify me, yet. I'll just say I'm a fan.

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How to:
Do you have Picasa, photo editor? If not, you need it. Just go to picasa.google.com and download it. It's that simple. I love this editor because I can use it on my laptop without having to go downstairs for Photoshop6.0. I use this for blogging and little things like that. If I plan to print, then I make the trek downstairs.
  1. Click on one of the photos in the file you'd like to make a collage of and chose to "edit in Picasa." When that opens up, on the bottom tool bar you can choose the "collage" button. It's right next to the "blog it" button (I need to try that one next).
  2. Go to the "clips" tab (up top) and then click the "+" to move all the photos in your file to the right hand side. You can click on, and remove, individual photos from there if needed.
  3. Then, click back to the "settings" tab and choose your lay-out (there's a drop-down arrow there). I like mosaic and grid the best. You can shuffle the photos, but so far I haven't figured out how to place them exactly where I want them.
  4. When you're done, click on "create collage" and it will do just that. It doesn't get saved to your photos until you "export" it though.
Have fun! Once you start, you'll be making collages of everything you can get your hands on. Even outtakes. I should know, I'm obsessed a big fan.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Quilt-Along

I've taken the plunge into making my first quilt. Dana, over at the Old Red Barn Co. has organized a Quilt-Along (pssst...it's not too late to join). We'll all be making our own throw quilts over the next 6 weeks or so. I'm getting a bit of a late start and won't have my fabrics until the end of the week. I'm hoping to make mine queen size to fit our bed and use it as a jumping off point for redecorating our room. But, if I'm not crazy about it as a go, I'll stop at the throw size.

I'm in love with red, aqua and yellow so it was only natural that I would choose Heather's Pop Garden prints. I'm excited to see all the fabrics together and get started. Wish me luck!

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Danish anyone?


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TaDa! (punn intended)

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I made a double batch thinking 4 wouldn't be enough for the 4 of us. Boy was I wrong! It was more than enough.

Things I would have done differently...

I squeezed a fresh lemon, and next time I will only add half the amount they call for. It was truly tasty, but almost too rich and sweet. You could even leave the lemon out and it would still be great. I didn't have peach preserves on hand so I used orange marmalade. I think that made it too too sweet. Next time I'll be sure to have peach or raspberry on hand.

I had to bake mine for about 10 minutes longer than the recipe says, but that made the jam spill over. I might even add the jam after they are cooked. The heat from the danish should make it spread plenty.

My girls both refused to take even one bite, preferring to just lick off the icing. They tend to be picky about new things.

These actually tasted even better cold. I should know, I ate the leftovers at 3am that night. Insomnia stinks! But sometimes it's yummy.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Rhubarb anyone?

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Spring in Minnesota means rhubarb. And lots of it! I love that it reminds me of my childhood.

I made this to take to a friend's house last week. Isn't it purdy? I used about twice as much sugar when making the sauce, since my stalks weren't quite ripe enough. And I'll admit to adding a bit of red food coloring too, because the red and green stalks turned a bit gray when cooked.

More yummy rhubarb treats on my list to test.
By the way, www.tasteofhome.com is my new favorite recipe site. Go to recipes, then advanced search and you can type in the ingredients you have on hand, even ones you don't have, and it will bring up all the recipes that match (I'm the queen of run-on sentences, commas are my friends, see I just made this one even longer). It has been a dinner-saver on more than one occasion.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The shower bandit has struck again

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Yes, that IS a banana shoved into Sam's new (hand-me-down) shoe. What you can't see are the Care Bears fruit snacks underneath it.

Getting out of my shower, I found her eating a banana. Not just any banana, my last banana! I had big plans for that banana....sigh. This is what she brought me when I asked her where the banana peel was. Both were hidden under the corner table. They might have stayed there forever. Or at least until I cleaned the house for Bible study tonight.

I haven't had a shower incident in almost 4 months. I guess I was due.

Here comes the brown

3 months
Sam 3mos 2wks

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Sam 6mos 3wks

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Vitamin C

...tastes even better in a pretty glass. Don't you think?

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I bought these at Williams Sonoma sevenish years ago (don't hold me to that).

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I adore them.

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I adore the girls too.

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They didn't even mind that I bought the wrong kind. They liked the "pulps."

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I'm trying to chase away a sore throat.
If you're doing the same, you might want to pick up these.
They're almost as cute.
Almost...
ok, now I have to buy them too.
Good grief!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Three Little Pigs

My last OOAK sun-dress, sized to fit 3T/4T.
Chest measures 24.5" so it may also fit a slim 5T.
Overall length is 23" but I can shorten it
or move the buttons to lengthen the straps.

You can find it here.

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For almost 3 years now, I have enjoyed sharing my TaDa! Creations with you. But all good things must come to an end. I didn't expect that putting up this last listing would make me feel so sad. It's so final and permanent, it's well...The End. I admit that I've changed my mind a thousands times a day, but I remain steadfast to my commitment to get my family back on track.

So, thank you to all of you who have supported me with words of encouragement all this time and especially in my last post. You are all so dear to me and your friendship is invaluable. Thank you to all of my dear sweet customers who have made sewing for them a true delight. Thank you to my husband who has always supported my decisions (now more than ever LOL) and who never asked me to give it up. I love you Honey!

Sneak Peek and Some Bittersweet News

"3 Little Pigs" sundress starts tomorrow!

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It's a one-of-a-kind and fits size 3T/4T/5T. I'll explain more tomorrow. ;)

And Allison is sporting a new sundress I made her yesterday. It's pretty simple now, but I'm sure I'll be adding ric rac, yo-yo's and buttons to dress it up a bit. I plan to make the girls a bunch of mix and match pieces for this summer, out of Tanya's Barefoot Roses line. I just love all of her girly fabrics. I have 7 prints from this line that have been sitting in my stash forever. i'm even thinking of a skirt for myself.

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And on a bittersweet note...
I'm hanging up my scissors, so-to-speak.

I have had two nagging phrases whispering in my ear ever since I came back after Sam was born. They finally got loud enough that I could no longer ignore them.

"When in doubt, don't."
and
"Just because I can, doesn't mean I should."

I am glad to have finally figured out that "I" am enough. I thought that I needed to sew (as a business) to feel like I was contributing, enough. And to have something of my own, to be proud of, that others could see. But I didn't truly realize that it is enough to be the mom I know I can be. It is enough to be the wife I know I can be. It is enough to be the teacher I know my children need me to be.

Mother's day could not have come at a better time this year. While I toiled away these past few weeks, making countless stupid mistake after stupid mistake, it became crystal clear to me that I have made the right decision. I heard that message even louder after cutting out the same set of appliques not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES! And when after a several hour battle with my sewing machine, convinced that I needed to buy a new one, I took a break and came back only to realize my bobbin had become unthreaded, I knew it was over. Yes Lord, I hear you now!

With 3 kids under the age of 4 now, I find myself failing miserably at my goals. And even asking myself"What exactly are my goals?" Our Pastor preached a wonderful message on the Proverbs 31 woman on Mother's Day. Instead of beating myself up about how much I have failed, I came away from that message feeling refocused on what my goals should be. It was just what I needed!

Sometimes, to know within yourself that you can do something is just as powerful as doing it. Because I can, does not mean I should. For my family, for me, right now, this is the best decision. My family needs a less stressed, well-rested version of me.

I will continue to sew for my girls and friends, at my leisure. And I will continue this blog and will show you what I make along the way. I will also, without a doubt, miss sewing for my sweet customers and working alongside my "boutique" friends. That's what makes this so bittersweet for me.

As I look back on all that I have accomplished, it makes me smile. I have learned so much about this craft and have been inspired by so many other talented women. I am thankful for this experience and my growing love of sewing. That, I will always have.

Friday, May 15, 2009

A boy and his pal

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Here...

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You're welcome!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

He's a "Rock Star", this one

"What's this? Tummy time?"

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"You know I'm not a fan, Mom."

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"Are you sure I have to roll over before my 6 month appointment?"

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"That's not tomorrow, is it?"

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"I can't handle the pressure."

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"That's right Mom, Rock stars don't DO tummy time!"

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Would your kids flip...

...if you won this?

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Mine would!

That's right, you have a chance to win this great playset from HomePlace Structures, just by entering over at Skip to my Lou or MomDot.

Experience outdoor living at its finest with HomePlace Structures custom Amish crafted outdoor products. Enhance your property with a stylish yet functional garden building, garage, or gazebo. For the kids, HomePlace Structures also offers exciting playhouses and playsets. Its line of play structures from Pinnacle Play Systems include the best, most innovative ways to have fun: towers and lofts, playhouse lofts, ships/castles, and combination units.

About the Mountain Range Swingset you can win:

$3862.00 Complete Kit set - Finished product features 5’ x 5’ x 6’ deck, two 7’ swing beams, rock climbing wall, climbing net, ladder, slide, and numerous other features! This kit will be shipped to the winning customer’s residence within the continental U.S. Assembly is required; full-color assembly manual provided.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Zap...Pow...

Who knew little guys would be so much fun to dress?

We have these from Gymbo.

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And I bought these cute little macho Robeez.
(I actually found them a bit cheaper on eBay.)
I'm just giddy about it and can't wait for him to wear them!

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Why does this little man have more clothes than I do?

Somebody stop me!