Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Chocolate Valentine Thumbprint Cookies


I love thumbprint cookies because it is a simple cookie that can be changed with very little effort (just change the color of the sprinkles). I had a lot of pink and red sprinkles and sugar, so I had a nice variety of Valentine cookies. Of course the girls loved the pink ones.  I'm hoping my 52 smiles recipients enjoyed them too. 


Chocolate Valentine Thumbprint Cookies
Makes about 24 cookies 
2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sprinkles or colored sugar 
24 milk chocolate kisses, unwrapped
Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter on medium-high speed for 30 seconds.
3.  Add sugar,  egg and vanilla until combined.
4. Add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt until combined. 
5. Roll dough into 1-inch balls.
6.  Roll balls in sprinkles to coat.
7. Place balls 2 inches apart on your lined cookie sheets and, using your thumb, make an indentation in the center of each cookie. 
8. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes or until edges are firm.  Immediately press a chocolate kiss into each cookie’s center.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Hello Monday

Poor Olivia has the hives. They started Thursday morning and spread all over her body. Thankfully they are not bothering her and are starting to fade. We're not sure what caused them. The doctor said extreme cold can cause hives but we'll probably never know the true cause.

We got a couple of inches of snow over the weekend and the girls were over the moon excited. We're treating every snowfall as if it is the last one of the season.

I am totally crushing on this Valentine's Day banner. I love the "perfect pairs".
Pink Pearls Studio


I've recently discovered Friday Night Lights on Netflix. How was this show on for five years and I never watched it? I have cried during every.single.episode. 

My friend Sasha, at The Strawberry Hill, recently unveiled her new Little Guys' Bow Tie collection. It is the cutest thing ever. Makes me wish I had a boy. 

Today Emily starts potty training. She's been ready for over a month now, but I've been in denial. Potty training is my least favorite milestone. Yes, you get rid of diapers but the accidents and hours in the bathroom make me want to break into hives. So wish us luck. It's panties or bust. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Salt Painting

Olivia and I have found a new favorite art activity, salt painting. We've done it three days in a row. Who knew salt could be so much fun.

What you need:
paper
glue
salt
food coloring*
water
pain brushes

1. Mix water and a couple of drops of food coloring to make your watercolors.
2. Draw a design on the paper with the glue.
3. Cover the design with salt and shake off the excess. Save the salt for your next picture.
4. Dip your paintbrush in the watercolor and lightly touch the salt. Watch the color run along the salt path.
5. Have fun!

*You can use watercolors but since Emily was painting I wanted to use something that was non-toxic.

Have you done any salt painting?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

As part of my 52 Smiles project, each week I've been delivering a bag of cookies to 2-3 friends that need a little pick me up. I've tried to be anonymous, usually get busted in the act. 

This week's cookie is one of my favorites. I love the chewy gooeyness of these cookies.  I hope my friends (and you) enjoy them. 
Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup dark-brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

Directions

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment.  In a medium bowl, sift together flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cocoa.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and grated ginger until whitened, about 4 minutes. Add brown sugar; beat until combined. Add molasses; beat until combined.
  3. In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in 1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water. Beat half of flour mixture into butter mixture. Beat in baking-soda mixture, then remaining half of flour mixture. Mix in chocolate; turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Pat dough out to about 1 inch thick; seal with wrap; refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or more.
  4. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Roll dough into 1 1/2- inch balls; place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Refrigerate 20 minutes. Roll in granulated sugar. Bake until the surfaces crack slightly, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
    Adapted from Martha Stewart.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Hello Monday

Hello toddler style. I absolutely love my girls and their sense of style. Over the years I've learned to let go of what I think they should wear and give them the freedom to dress themselves. Most days they look like hobos but they are happy hobos.
Hello Chocolate Banana Cookie Bites.  I love frozen chocolate covered bananas and this offers a yummy spin on my favorite snack. Adapted from this recipe.
Chocolate Banana Cookie Bites
1 banana
20 Nilla Wafers
1 cup Semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
Toothpicks 

1. Melt the chocolate.

2. Slice the banana into about 1/2 inch slices.
3. Place a banana slices between 2 Nilla Wafers, secure in place with a toothpick.
4. Dip in chocolate, turn the sandwich in the chocolate gently until sides and bottom are coated, gently shake of the excess.
5. Place all dipped sandwiches onto a tray lined with wax paper.
6. Put the sandwiches into the freeze until the chocolate harden, about 15 minutes.

Hello bookmarks. I think one of the reasons I started making bookmarks is because I read so much. Right now I'm reading City of Bones and The Paris Wife

Goodbye crib. Last night was Emily's first night in a toddler bed. We have left the baby stage. 
No more crib, late night feedings or swaddling. I'm not sad. I am ready to move  a new season in our lives.  
Hello snow. We're suppose to get snow today and we're over the moon excited. Our last snow was barely a dusting so hopefully we'll get a bit more. 


What are you saying hello to today? 

Linking with Hello Monday and Miscellany Monday

Saturday, January 19, 2013

National Popcorn Day

Today is National Popcorn Day. I LOVE popcorn. I could eat it every.single.day. So in honor of this great holiday, I've gathered some yummy popcorn recipes. Now I just need to decide which one we are going to eat today.
1. Red Velvet Popcorn from Cookies and Cups
2. Caramel Apple Popcorn from Virtually Homemade
3. Salted Caramel Cashew Popcorn from Bake Your Day
4. Chili Lime Popcorn from With Style and Grace
5. Chocolate Popcorn from Chocolate, Chocolate and More
6. Chocolate Covered Caramel Balls from Diethood
7. Buffalo Parmesan Popcorn from Bake Your Day
8. Cinnamon Popcorn from Dinners, Dishes and Desserts

Are you a popcorn lover? What's your favorite popcorn recipe?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

January Freezer Meal Exchange

This month we had a small exchange do to the holidays but the meals were still so yummy. 
Menu

Pizza Soup
Ham balls with pineapple- no recipe
Italian Meatballs with sauce- secret family recipe
Curry chicken- see below
Pizza Casserole- see below
Chicken Broccoli Alfredo- see below


This month I made hubby favorite meal Chicken Curry. The recipe comes from Fix, Freeze Feast. The original recipe makes enough for three meals but I decreased it down to eight servings. 


Chicken Curry

2 lbs boneless, skinless, chicken breast cut into bite sized pieces.
1/2 C of light butter
1 C chopped onions
1/8 C curry powder
1 tsp of ginger, powder
9 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp chicken bouillon powder
1 tsp table salt
1/2 C all purpose flour
2 C water
2 C fat free milk
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1. Rinse and trim chicken. Cut into bite sized pieces and cook thoroughly. Remove from heat and cool. Place chicken in a gallon sized freezer bag. 
2.While chicken cools, melt butter, add onions, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
3.Add curry powder, ginger, garlic, sugar, bouillon, and salt; cook, stirring for 2 minutes.
4.Add flour and cook, stirring, 2 minutes longer, mixture will be a thick paste. Gradually add the water and milk; cook; stirring constantly until the sauce has thickened. Whisk to make a smooth sauce. Add lemon juice only after sauce has thickened.
5. Cool sauce. Divide cooled sauce evenly over the chicken. Seal bag and freeze.
To serve: remove bag from freezer and place bag in fridge overnight. Heat curry on the stove top; be sure not to boil. If the curry is too thick you can thin it out with milk. Serve with rice or noodles. Makes 8-1 cup servings. 

Other recipes:

Chicken Broccoli Alfredo (I LOVED this recipe. I've added it to our rotation on meals.)

1 ½ pounds chicken breasts
1 pound broccoli florets
2 (16 oz) jars Alfredo sauce (I use light)
1 large sweet pepper, chopped

1.Place all ingredients in a resalable gallon-sized freezer bag and mix together.
2.
To serve: remove bag from freezer and place bag in fridge overnight. Cook on LOW in the crock pot for 4-6 hours. 
3. Serve with noodles.


Pizza Casserole

1 box Linguine cooked according to package, drained
1 26oz jar of your favorite Spaghetti Sauce
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
Your favorite pizza toppings. I usually use pepperoni
Italian seasoning.

Preheat oven 400
Put cooked Linguine in 13x9 pan. Top with the sauce, mozzarella cheese, Italian seasoning and then put on your favorite toppings. Cook 20-25 minutes until cheese is melted and browned a little.

I'm always on the look out for new recipes. Do you have a go to freezer meal?

Monday, January 14, 2013

shop update

I'm excited to announce that I've added fun and funky zippered pouches to the shop. I love zippered pouches. I have four of them in my purse. Each of the girls have one filled with hair clips, toys and sunglasses and one had crayon rolls, snacks and stickers. I also have one for my lip gloss and lotion.
Do you use zippered pouches? What do you put in your pouches?



Thursday, January 10, 2013

Ten on Ten {January 2013}

Ten on Ten: One photo, every hour, for ten hours on the 10th of every month. Find beauty in the ordinary of your day.

This girl gave me seven hours of uninterrupted sleep. It was glorious!
Playing dress-up.
 Picking up great-grandma for the day.
Meeting with my sweet friend to discuss taxes. Eek! 
Making 52 smiles deliveries. I tried to make them anonymous but got busted twice. 
Library pick-up. For once I only got books for mama. 
We got some green eggs today. Olivia can't wait to try them. 
Soaking up some sunshine. Olivia also got a new hat in the mail from her Nanny. 
 Bathtime. This awesome towel is from Baby Zebra Creations.
I'm hoping to end my day with this yummy guy and some Grey's Anatomy.
What did you do today?

{on} Repeat



I've had Mumford and Sons Babel on constant repeat this week. I can't get enough of them. Their words, voices, energy makes my heart very happy.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Hello Monday

Hello Monday! You are the first Monday since the new year. I have a lot planned for you. You are our fresh start to the new year. You are the day that we're going to get back to our routine. I hope you enjoy us as much as we enjoy you.
Cleaning List  
Hello Downton Abbey! Did you see the season premier last night? I loved it! I loved it even more because it was a girls tv night.

Hello new book release. Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson's new book Desperate goes on sale today. I can't wait to read it. Every mom has a had a desperate moment or two. Right now I'm struggles with the constant picking up of toys, the still sleepless night and the three (and sometimes two) year old attitude. I'm looking forward to reading their message of grace.

Hello clutter-free approach. I love Organized Simplicity's approach to freeing your home of clutter and only having things in your home that are functional or beautiful to you. Over the next few weeks I hope to purge our house of the unnecessary "stuff". 

Hello Amazon reviews. If you need a good laugh you should read some Amazon reviews. They are laugh-out-loud hilarious. Some of my favorties are the security check point toy, the banana slicer and Bic for her fashion pins. I actually own these pens.

What are you saying hello to today? Do you ever read Amazon reviews? 

Linking with Hello Monday and Miscellany Monday


15. chats over coffee
16. hearing "I love you" for the first time
17. journals 
18. freezer meals 
19. fuzzy boot slippers 
20. playing dress up 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Currently...Lately...

Currently...



loving: all the snow we had last week. It makes my heart happy.

thinking about: new products I'm working on for the shop and my goals for January.

listening to: the hum of Emily's monitor and Simple Mom podcast.

drinking: my last cup of coffee with creamer. I've realized creamer causes me to drink too much coffee. Plus I don't need the extra sugar.

reading: She Read Truth daily devotional and City of Bones.

watching: The Good Wife and Parenthood. I'm trying to catch up before they start back up next week.

anticipating: the season premiere of Downton Abbey.

Lately:


the kids: have been a challenge. I have to remind myself, everyday, how difficult it must be to be two and three and have so many rules to remember.

life: honestly, it has been sad. Tomorrow will mark a year since we lost my father-in-law. There has been a lot of change lately and I don't do change very well.

I've: been a little disorganized this week. I'm hoping to get my mojo back soon.

my house: is a wreck. Next week I'll begin the new year purge. I feel like we have too much clutter.

What are you doing currently...lately?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Downton Abbey

Are you a fan of Downton Abbey? I am! Season Three starts on Sunday and I can hardly wait! If you haven't seen the show you need to check it out. It is one of the best shows on television.

Here are a couple things to get you in the mood for Sunday.
Downton Abbey Paper Dolls
Downton Abbey Alphabet Cross Stitch
Downton Abbey Cards


Linking with Love on a Thursday.

9. warm blankets
10. new fabric
11. inside jokes

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Chicken Pot Pie {December Meal Exchange}

I'm not sure how I missed blogging about our December meal exchange. I LOVED all the meals we had last  month. We have been linking the recipes in our Facebook group so I'll link the ones I can find. I'll post the other recipes another day.

Our menu: 
Chicken Pot Pie- see below

Chicken Enchiladas
Cheeseburger soup
Nacho Pie
Alphabet Soup
Southwestern eggrolls
Enchilada Lasagna
Farmhouse chicken 


Now on to my Chicken Pot Pie. I read a lot of recipes and then took pieces of three different recipes to create mine. I have to say it is amazing. The great part is the recipe makes two pot pies so you can eat one and freeze the other (or just freeze them both). 

Chicken Pot Pie

Makes 2 Pies (each serves 6)

- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1inch pieces
- 3 medium carrots, cut into 1inch pieces
- 1 medium onion
- 1 rib of celery
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 6 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 3 cups chicken (or veg broth for veg version)
- 4 cups cooked chicken meat, shredded or cubed
- 2/3 cups frozen peas
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 Tbsp minced parsley
- 1 tsp garlic salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 2 package (15 oz) refrigerated pie pastry 

1. In a large pot, add butter, oil , potatoes, carrots, onion and celery.
2. Sauté until tender.
3. Stir in flour until blended.
4. Gradually add broth. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
5. Stir in peas, cream, parsley, garlic salt and pepper.
6. Stir in chicken.  
7. Roll out two pastries to fit the bottom of two 9 inch pie plates (one pastry per pie plate).
8. Divide the mixture between the two pie plates. ***
9. Roll out the pastry to fit the top of each pie. Place over filling and trim, seal and flute edges. **
10. Cover with foil. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.
11. Uncover and bake for another 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

***To freeze: Let your mixture cool before placing in the pie plate.
**Cover your pie in foil and freeze.

To use frozen pot pie: Do not thaw. Cover the crust with foil. Bake at 425 for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake for another 70-80 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Remove the foil during the last 30 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

52 Smiles

One of my favorite blogs is Katherine Marie. She's simply amazing and inspiring and I'm sure you've seen her all over Pinterest. When I first started reading her blog, I went back and read every single blog post. Yep, I'm kind of a stalker. Anywho, I came across her 52 Smiles project and was completely inspired.

I love this project because it is so easy to spread a little kindness. I also want to use this project to teach my girls to be others-serving. So this year my family is committing to complete one act of kindness every week for a year.


MONTHLY CHALLENGES:

Week ONE:  SURPRISE!  Anonymously leave a note, treat, artwork and/or gift for a stranger. 
Week TWO:  CREATE! Select a project that inspires childhood CREATIVITY!
Week THREE:  GIVE!   Pick a way to give that spreads LOVE, JOY and ENCOURAGMENT.  
Week FOUR:  SERVE!  Find a way to help others with your ACTIONS!  (Volunteering & Community Service)
Week FIVE:  THANK!  Develop a way to express appreciation and gratitude to those who make our world a better place. 

52 smiles. 52 teachable moments. 52 ways to show my kids how to serve others. 

Who is up for the challenge? I'd love to have you join us!


6. crockpot
7. tickling toes
8. sparkle nail polish


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Hello, 2013

I'm never good at making New Year's resolutions. I always plan big and then forget about them by January 10th. So this year I've made a list of daily reminders on how I want to life my life in 2013.
I still intend to make weekly and monthly goals but for the overall year, I want to carry these daily reminders in my heart. Tomorrow I'll talk about my goals for January. 

Did you make any resolutions or goals for 2013?