Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Happy Birthday Wee One

A year ago today, our smallest one was born.

If you know me, you already know the story. Two days before our scheduled induction, we found out our insurance didn't cover the anesthesiologist, which means he did not cover the happy drugs. After a lot of worrying and crying, I put on my big girl panties (quite literally) and decided to just do the labor natural. To make a long story short, I did it.

When it was all said and done, he was here.


I know is it corny and cliche, but time really does fly by. They go from the above, to this...



before you know it. 

Now he can:

stand by himself
walk 3-4 steps
climb stairs
say, Momma, Dadda
eat everything in sight
play "there he is" our version of peek a boo
survive without nursing (mom's favorite)

Happy, happy birthday littlest man of ours.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Weekend of Carnivals and a Popcorn Birthday Cake

I think I might just sleep ALL this week. Oh I wish! What a weekend. We started with this fun little school volunteer project:

15 games signs
1 large clown
600 small pennant cut out, then stapled to endless feet of yarn
6 words made up of 29 letters hand painted no there is still no ink in my printer
sign up sheets
rolls of tape
and two days of volunteering later...






the school carnival is done. I may not be signing up for this next year I am just saying. AND the worst thing is, that I was in charge of taking pictures of the carnival for the school yearbook, so guess who didn't take pictures of her own kids...oh yeah that is me. Haha. 

With one carnival done, it was time for another. A MUCH better and more worthwhile one. 

Yesterday we had a family celebration for our littlest man's first birthday..which technically is tomorrow, he won't know.

We had a sweet little carnival themed birthday. 



We had polka dots, cake, cotton candy, hot dogs, nachos, all our carnival favorites. Our little man even had his own thing of popcorn, in cake form.

Popcorn Birthday Cake



This cake was my favorite part. I LOVE homemade marshmallow fondant. SO easy peasy to make AND it actually tastes good. Quick recipe...

Easy Peasy Marshmallow Fondant
this is a half recipe

1 10 oz bag of large marshmallows
2-3 TBS of water
4 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 cup shortening

Melt marshmallows and water in a large bowl in the microwave in 30 second intervals. Stir every interval. It will take about 2 and a half minutes. When the marshmallows are melted, stir in 3 cups of powdered sugar and stir until hard to stir. Shortening up the counter, and LIBERALLY shortening up your hands...yes it will feel GROSS. Dump the marshmallows on the counter and knead in the rest of the powdered sugar. Keep kneading until it is a firm, smooth ball. 5-7 minutes. You can use right away, but it will be a little firmer if you wrap in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for a couple hours. 

Use gel food coloring and then use this for just about anything...AND it tastes GREAT.

I didn't want to make two cakes, so I made these cupcakes for the rest of us. Oh and by the way, they look cute, but I have learned that you shouldn't put the cotton candy on until right before serving...the frosting melts the cotton candy and that is not quite as cute.



Now the important stuff. Our little man...after all this was all for him.

What did he think of his little birthday celebration?



I am pretty sure he LOVED it.



What's not to like...cotton candy, good. Frosting, good. Cake, GOOD.



He had so much fun with the cake that we had to wash his clothes right away, which lead to glorious diaper time. Check out his belly full of cake.



I wasn't kidding when I said I might just sleep this whole week. BUT if you are lucky, I will remember to post this birthday hat how-to.




Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Baked Potatoes in Roll Form

I promised you a recipe, but first things first. Today I have to take this sweet face in for a minor procedure. After almost a year, we are saying good-bye to his weepy, goopy eye. So long clogged tear duct. While I know this is a less than minute long procedure and is done in the office...I almost cry with the thought of him all swaddled up and super angry having it done. Wish me luck and courage all my blogging mommy friends...



Now that I have said weepy and goopy and ruined your appetite for all food...lets give you a recipe.

Last week at our monthly cooking club the theme was Irish or Green. I had an inkling that there would be some green deserts. While I love myself some dessert, I was feeling more in a bread mood. To be honest I was really craving the Baked Potato Bread from Great Harvest...yum love it. Since I probably shouldn't bring store bought bread to a cooking club, I searched for a recipe.

Alas, I couldn't find one. I did find a recipe for Potato Sour Cream Bread and then turned it into this delightful Baked Potato Roll recipe...yes there is bacon involved. PS the Irish component of my recipe is the fact that they are POTATO rolls...stretching it? I think not!


Baked Potato Rolls

Ingredients:

 4 medium red potatoes, peeled and cut
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp 
1 egg
2 1/2 tsp yeast
1/2 cup chopped chives
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 cup bacon pieces (you can cook bacon and crumble it, but save yourself the work and just buy real bacon pieces, the ones in the salad isle).
6 cups bread flour

Cut up peeled red potatoes. Boil until tender. Strain out water and put in large bowl, while HOT. Add in sour cream, milk, and butter. Mash together.Tricky part, you want your mixture to be about 110 degrees (just like you would have warm water be in a bread recipe). Add in egg, instant yeast, and chives. Add in two cups of bread flour, stir until ingredients are all incorporated and mixture is smooth. Set aside for about 10 minutes.Add in salt, cheddar cheese, and bacon, then slowly add in the rest of the flour, at 1/2 a cup at a time. After a couple of cups of flour, the mixture will get hard to mix in the bowl. Turn out on floured surface and add remaining flour, mixing it on floured surface. Knead dough for about 10 minutes till the dough is smooth and elastic. Oil a large bowl and add in the dough, turning in the bowl making sure to coat all sides. Cover and allow to rest for one hour.

After the dough has risen, pour onto counter. Punch it down. Cut dough in 20-24 equal pieces, depends on how big you want your rolls. Shape into rolls. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Cover and allow to rise for another hour. Once it has risen the second time, sprinkle flour over the tops and place in a preheated 375 degree oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove and butter tops. Let cool on wire rack.

Serve with soup. Or heck just slap some more butter on it and call it good.

Hi My Name is Larissa, I am a Volunteeraholic, among other things...



Remember 30 seconds ago, okay a little longer, when I was complaining that blogger had malfunctioned leaving me pleading for help...

Okay, so I malfunctioned. My apologies to blogger, you did nothing wrong. It was silly, impatient me. ALL me. If you are curious, I had somehow been stuck on the edit html format in posting, so of course I couldn't post any pictures....duh.

To be honest, I blame it on all of this...




I am up to my elbow in painting. I think I have a problem. I can't seem to say no to volunteering for stuff. I think of my sweet little man at his sweet little school and I feel inclined to help. SO when did helping turn into doing all the decoration for a carnival?  Couldn't I have just baked a cake? I am just saying, next year, please someone remind me of this very moment!

So all you other over-achieving mommas who can't seem to say no to volunteering for stuff...ya' want to form a support group. I sure could use it.

Houston, We Have A Problem

So I had a post all ready to go this morning, with a very witty title I might add. Photos taken. Photos fixed in photoshop. Witty dialog soon to ensue.

AND then blogger happened.

I do not claim to be technologically savvy, never have been, never will be.

What is going on with this thing? The posting set up is all wack-a-doodle. I can't even upload a picture.

I have heard that sometimes you can reach a limit with blogger...oh know have I crossed such a line??? Or is this simply a glitch in the system that will work itself out and I am lacking patience....

...or is this a way to remind me that I have other things that need to get done today, and that I should not be sitting here giving myself an ulcer over blogger.

Um...yeah, it is probably that. Off I go to finish my project for Cole's school, tackle the pile of laundry, make my bed, wash some dishes, and clean some toilets.

Thank You Blogger for reminding me I have other responsibilities today.

PS If anyone has any clue what is happening, feel free to shoot me some advice. Me and my ulcer appreciate it.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Fabric Painted Silhouettes How-to




This was an one of those evolution projects. I knew I wanted to make some silhouettes of my kids. I knew I had some old frames laying around. However, I was unsure which crafty path I was going to take. I started with paper for the silhouettes, then I went to plaid fabric, then I went to paint. You might see variations at a later date, but this was by far the easiest. I love how crisp and clean they turned out.

Supplies you will need:

frames (either old ones you have laying around-painted black OR cheap black frames), enough for all your kiddos

cheap white fabric, cut to fit your frame

pictures of your kiddos profiles

freezer paper

black permanent fabric paint

How-to

I started with old frames. Popped out the back and glass. I laid them out in the sun (yes you heard right, THE SUN came out!), and spray painted them black.





I had taken pictures of my kids profiles. Try to take them so that your kids' profiles are the about the same size. Print them off, the quality DOES NOT matter, so don't waste ink.



Outline each profile with a black pen. Lay under your freezer paper, shiny side down and trace the outline on the smooth side.



Cut out each profile with an exact-o knife. This will be your pattern/stencil.






Before you iron your freezer paper stencil on to your fabric, iron the fabric lightly in halves, so that you can mark your middle point. This will help you center your stencil.



Once you have marked the center, iron on each pattern. Make sure there are no bubbles or gaps between the fabric and the paper.



Start painting. I painted on the edges first to seal the paper on. Then I filled in the middle. After the first coat is on, repeat to desired darkness.



Let it dry for about 5 minutes and then peal off the freezer paper. It will need to dry still for a couple hours.



Once it drys, assemble in your frame. If your white fabric is somewhat thin, you will need to place a piece of white cardstock behind it before you put on the back of the frame. 

And there ya have it. In one short day, you have perfect traditional silhouettes of your sweet kiddos. Set them on a shelf, your fireplace, or hang them on the wall. PERFECT!




Heard of  linky party? Yeah they are pretty cool and let me link up with other crafty girlies. I am linking this project at:




The Girl Creative

Friday, March 19, 2010

Just Another Fabulous Blog Friday

I have two blogs today. Both of them are jammed packed with useful stuff.

First: Kevin and Amanda,  I first read about through my friend Amber's blog Collectively Genius, in a how-to-make-your-blog-fancy post she did.



Fan of kevinandamanda.com! Free Fonts. Recipes. Scrapbooking. Photography. Blog Design. Tutorials. Giveaway. Everything you're into!




I get the cutest handwriting fonts at Fonts for Peas! kevinandamanda.com/fonts


I went to Kevin and Amanda for a simple font change and came away with TONS more. They have TONS and TONS of free fonts... yes I said FREE. My post titles are in one of their fonts. She also has tons of blogging how-to's. Thanks to her I have fun fonts in my titles and a signature. Her tutorials are super easy to follow. Seriously go and check out her site out. You might want to set aside some time to browse and then put her tutorials into action. You will be addicted...at the very least to the FREE fonts....yes I said FREE.

SECOND:

I found The Girl Creative just today. I heard about her through her link up New Friend Friday. I mean really who couldn't use another friend or follower...hint hint...I love you...hehehe.

The Girl Creative

She also has some bloggin' helps. There have been a couple of things on my make-your-blog-fancy to do list, and one of them was right there on her blogging secrets. My heart sang a little with joy. Guess what is on my weekend to-do list????

On top of her blogging helpfulness, she also has some really cute crafts. All together she pretty much seems completely delightful. So go over and say hi to her, and hey join her New Friend Friday, 'cause like I said, who couldn't use another friend.

I know you will find these blogs just as delightful as I do!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

BBQ Chicken Braided Loaf


Yes this was as delightful as it looks. AND it was really easy, but looks really fancy. The homemade dough was super yummy, and you know if I can make it ANYONE can make it. This recipe was adapted from a recipe by Melanie from My Kitchen Cafe. Yummers. I am pretty sure I spent the entire weekend copying down recipes from her site. 

This recipes differs from hers in a couple of ways. I cooked the chicken in a crockpot in bbq sauce, which made the chicken super fall apart fantastic. I used bread flour for the braid, which will make your braid fluffier. I also omitted the onions, not because I don't love onions, I simply didn't have them on hand. Lastly, I did not make two braids, I used the rest of the dough for a small batch of rolls and simply followed her roll instructions ( I will give those instructions at the end).




BBQ Chicken Braided Loaf


Hopefully this recipe is not too hard to follow. Do in this order: chicken in crockpot; make dough about 2 hours before you want to eat; when dough is done rising, put together with rest of ingredients.

Ingredients:

French Roll recipe
2-3 chicken breasts
your favorite BBQ sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Place 2-3 chicken breasts in crockpot. Cover with your favorite BBQ sauce. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours.

Remove chicken and shred. Place back in crockpot and turn it off. Place in your prepared braid dough.

French Roll Recipe:

1 1/2 cup warm water
1 tablespoon of yeast
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 teaspoon of salt
4 cups bread flour

Combine water, yeast, and sugar. Set aside for about 10 minutes until it is foamy.

Add oil, salt and 2 cups of flour. Start mixing the rest of the flour 1/2 cup at a time until dough starts to pull away from the bowl. For me this was about 3 1/2 cups, I used the other half to dust and incorporate in the dough once it was on the counter.

Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.

Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat. Cover with a damp cloth and set in a warm place. Let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Punch dough down. Divide the dough in half. Here is where I used one half for the braid and the other for rolls. If you want to do that...take the half for rolls and set aside.


Roll the half of your dough out into a rectangle, roughly 11x17, no I did not measure.



Transfer to a cooking sheet. With a knife or cookie cutter. Cut slits from each side toward the center, about 3 inches long. Repeat this down the entire length of each long side, every two inches.



Place BBQ chicken down the middle. Place cheeses on top.



Fold over the top of braid. Then fold over one strip at a time, right to left, working your way down the loaf. When you get to then end fold it up and make sure to pinch closed.



Preheat oven to 400. Once you have finished your braid. Let the loaf set for 15 minutes.

REPEAT for second loaf here, OR cut remaining dough into 6 portions and pinch into balls and place in a muffin tin. Cover and let raise for 40 minutes. When the rolls are done rising you will bake them at 400 for  12 minutes, until golden brown.

Cook braid for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. I buttered the top when it came out.

Let it set for about 5 minutes. Cut and serve it on up.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sorry St Patrick Girlie Headband How-to Instead

Our house is not one of the houses visited by little men wearing green suits, anxiously trying to protect a pot of shiny money. They do not leave their little green footprints. They do not leave any golden treasures. AND they definitely do not turn any of our breakfast food green...after all it is hard to make a pop tart/granola bar/banana green.

There is a shocking lack of green, clover, rainbows and the word lucky.

Sorry St. Patrick I guess you just aren't that important around here. I guess my wee ones can tell there therapists later about the loss of you in their early childhood.

So today, this will have to do--2 out of 3 children wearing green.






Acknowledgement of St. Patrick completed!

On to cute Girlie Flower Headband How-to


Can you just imagine this on the cutest little girl noggin???

Disclaimer: I am a sew-by-the-seat-of-my-pants-figure-it-out-as-I-go-make-some-mistakes-fix-and-hide-self-taught seamstress. This is how I do it...as are all my tutorials. There might just be an easier way of doing it and a fancier way of explaining it. Hopefully it is figurable-outable.

Supplies:

2 different patterned matierals about 1/4 yard each, cut like so,
     1 strip of each fabric measuring 3 x the circumference of your little girls noggin 
     1 strip for flower measruing 4 x 20ish depends on how big you want your flower
     1 strip of fabric that will be outside measuring 2 by 3
     1 piece of small elastic measuring about 1 1/2 inches
     2 pieces 3 inch diameter circles cut from outside fabric
     scrap of flower material for button cover
     button to cover
     coordinating thread

How-to:

Cut material and lay out.










Cover elastic first. Fold 2x3 piece in half and iron. Iron length edges in 1/4 of an inch.



Lay elastic piece inside and sew one end of the elastic inside one end of the fabric strip. Continue to sew along open edge, making sure on this edge not to sew on the elastic.



Feed the non-sewn end of the elastic through to the other open end, stretching it out, and pin. Sew that end, securing the elastic in and then sew along the other lengthwise edge, again making sure not to sew the elastic on this edge.

You will have a scrunchie piece now.



Place scrunchie piece between your two strips of headband material, sandwiching in like so.



Pin.



Sew around the edges with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Leave an opening to turn out fabric on the opposite edge of where you have the scrunchie piece sewn in. Make sure to clip the corners like so...this will help your corners lay better.



Turn out headband. Make sure to use something pointy to help define the corners.



Fold in edge of unfinished edge and iron.



Pin the end of the srunchie piece into the unfinished, ironed edge. Sew piece in place, and then continue to sew around the edge of your entire headband, for decorative purposes.



Place two circle pieces right side facing. Pin. Sew around edge with 1/4 inch seam allowance, leaving an opening to turn out. Turn out. Iron in unfinished edge. Sew around the outside edge of the entire circle. This piece will go behind your completed flower.



FLOWER:

Cover button with scrap material. Use a button kit. Sometimes I use hot glue instead to secure my fabric in place. When fabric is covering front of the button, secure the back.



Fold flower strip of fabric in half and iron. Then hand sew a long the rough edge to gather.



Finish sewing all the way up the edge and then gather. Wind into a flower shape and then hand sew your flower.



Sew button to the middle of your flower. 



Before attaching the flower to the headband. Attach the flower to the circle piece. After the flower is secured to the circle, attach circle to the headband. 

As you are doing this make sure that your needle is not coming through the second layer of material aka the inside fabric. You want your hand sewing to be invisible.




Now put it on whichever cute girlie noggin it was made for. 

Corey and Jen...I can wait to see pictures.



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