~Happy Birthday~

~Happy Birthday, Christine~
There are many reasons that I hate living away from family and days like today are one of them...Today is Christine's birthday and with all my heart I wish I could take her out to dinner or bake her a cake (although, she would probably rather have one of her own, baking isn't my best talent) but, alas I have to resort to technology. I love you, Chris.....you have always been there not only for me but for all of us kids...my husband always says in our family it is... God, Christine and so on and so forth...of course he is joking but not completely. :) Thank you for being strong and showing tough love to me when I needed it...you have saved me from heartache on more than one occasion.

You were here for me on this very special day in my life....doing everything you could to help me.....as well as every other important thing in life......

Get your tissues out friends...because I am teary eyed too...this is a picture of the last time we were together.....this picture was taken in NC while visiting our Dad....this was Christmas of 2008....the last time she was in the "lower 48" as they call us in Alaska was Christmas of 2009 and I couldn't go to Indiana where she was flying into because of my son being hospitalized...

So, you see why we started this blog? It helps us to have a sweet connection thousands of miles apart.....

I truly believe I have the best oldest sister in the world!

Happy Birthday with Much Love,



Shortbread Cookies

I love making these.  They are so easy and you can make them in any shape. I got this recipe from a lady I worked with at the airport here in Anchorage.

Peppermint Candy Shortbread

Beat 1 cup butter till creamy, add 1/3 cup sugar till. Beat till light and fluffy. Add 2 1/2 cup flour. Mix just till incorporated.

Divide into 3 balls. Pat the ball of dough out till about till it's about a 1/2 inch thick. Cut into triangles or into any shape you prefer.  Bake at 350 for about 20 - 25 minutes. Cool completely. While they are cooling, melt any flavor of chocolate. You can drizzle the chocolate, spread it half way or cover the whole cookie. Then sprinkle with crushed peppermint candies.

I used my ice cream cone and  sundae cookie cutters.

Enjoy, Christine


~Butterfly Tree~

My daughters room has somehow taken on a garden type theme...so, I came up with my own rendition of a butterfly tree that I have seen on a few different blogs. I used mostly things I already had...but did buy a few very cheap little items....here is how it went......

My sister in law had given me 2 of these....well, lovely urns...aka...a Goodwill find that had potential and I spray painted one of them the light green accent color that I have in Clairas room. (sorry forgot to take a picture, but I am pretty sure ya'll know how to do that!)
Then I bought a couple sheets of scrapbooking paper at Michaels for $.50 a sheet.....(and a little wooden butterfly pattern to trace for $.59)
I then employed my little sister Allie who was staying with us at the time to trace and cut out the butterflies......(she had to work for her food that day :)
My hubby thought he could help her get a better cut....he is an engineer btw...so everything must be meticulous...love ya, Honey!
We then took a walk outside to find some sticks......
Spray painted them white with some cheap Dollar Store spray paint....
Here is a close up of Allie's perfect little butterflies....:) Good Job, Allie!
Then the fun part of putting it all together with some hot glue.....
hmmmm...like it so far?

Here it is....cute little butterfly tree in its new home! Precious little girls room for a precious little girl....who by the way is very sick this evening....She is laying here on the couch beside me watching an old Spencer Tracey western..:)

Cheap, Fun & Easy!



Valentine Cake Pops

If you look at any food blogs these days like Amy Atlas's blog here you'll see that dessert tables are all the rage. This is my dream job to have a bakery and my specialty would be dessert tables. Actually, I'm in the process of starting a little side baking business. More to come about that later. Anyway, every dessert table has cake pops on them that are made to go with the theme of the table. Cake pops were actually introduced a couple of years ago. But, not until recently did they become so popular. I will admit that the first time I made these last year they seemed to hard and time consuming. They were falling off the sticks when I was dipping them into the chocolate. It was just a mess and I decided that even though they were so cute and such a cool idea, I wasn't going to make them again. It just wasn't worth the effort. BUT, then I came across a link for a recipe for them from one of the food blogs I look at and she had the best idea. WHY, WHY didn't I think of that idea? Her secret to making them was to keep them VERY cold. Let me tell you, it made ALL the difference. They were so easy to make this way. I have fallen in love with them again, and will make them all the time. So, here is how I made them.

First I made my chocolate cake. Obviously, you can use any recipe or flavor you want here. Be creative with these. It's so much fun. Other things you'll need: a bag of lollipop sticks (I got mine from Michael's in the cake aisle), chocolate (use any color) for dipping the balls (also from Michael's in the cake/candy aisle) and then anything you want to use to decorate the balls. Following is another of my favorite chocolate recipes.

Luscious Chocolate Cake (again from Martha Stewart)
-1 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter at room temperature (this does make a difference, the cake is lighter when all the cold ingredients are at room temperature)
-1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon best quality cocoa powder
-1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water
-3/4 cup milk
-2 1/4 cups flour
-3/4 teaspoons baking soda
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 3/4 cups sugar
-2 teaspoons pure vanilla (I'm in the process of making my own vanilla, more about that to come)
-3 large eggs, slightly beaten
Preheat oven to 350. Grease your pan. Your going to crumble the cake when it's cooled so it doesn't matter what pan you bake it in.
Stir cocoa into the boiling water until smooth; gradually whisk in the milk. Set aside to cool.
Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
Cream the butter until light and fluffy.
Gradually beat in the sugar, scraping down the sides twice. Beat in the vanilla.
Add the eggs a third at a time, beating after each addition. Alternate the flour mixture and cocoa into the butter mixture a little at at time, starting and ending with the flour mixture.  
Bake for about 20 minutes.
Let this cool completely.
My favorite chocolate icing recipe.
Melt 1/2 cup butter, Stir in 2/3 cups of cocoa. Alternately add 3 cups powder sugar and 1/3 cup of milk. Beat till your desired consistency. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Now to the fun part. Cover a cookie sheet with wax paper. 

Crumble your cake into a big bowl. Add the icing and mix together. Your hands really work best for this. 

When it's all mix together form into balls. Place on the cookie sheet and put in the freezer for about 15 minutes or until they are hard.

While they are freezing melt your chocolate. The key to keeping them on the stick is to dip your stick into the chocolate then into the ball. Put back into the freezer for about 10 minutes. Remove from the freezer and then dip into the chocolate and then into any sprinkles you want to use. You can also drizzle another color of chocolate on them. Here is where the sky is the limit. You can do whatever you want. Put into the freezer or refrigerator until the chocolate is hard. 
Remove from the refrigerator and ENJOY!!! Aren't they so cute? I LOVE them. Take these to your next party and people will be taking about them for weeks to come.


Solution For A Crooked Bedskirt

Ok, how many of you use the prime real estate under your beds for storage? A lot of you, I hope. I don't want to be the only one. Well, I use this area in the kids bedroom to store clothes that Luke has outgrown and Mac is patiently waiting to fit into. Okay, he probably could care less about fitting into Luke's clothes.  Anyway, to mask the storage area I use a bed skirt. As I'm sure a lot of you use one too. I loved how it covered everything up, but it would never stay in place. It would drive me crazy always trying to keep it hanging straight and lined up on the corners.  I don’t know about you, but with 3 kids 2 and under I don’t have an extra 10 minutes to spend straitening a bed skirt.
But, somehow I always find an extra 10 minutes (usually more) to look though blogs. As my husband would say “what’s more important?” My reply, “funny, I don’t remember asking”. In reality as long as he has something sweet to eat every night he could care less what I do.
Back to my DILEMMA.  So, I was looking though one of my favorite blogs one night.  Low and behold, she has the same problem with her bed skirt. SO GLAD I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE.  Her solution was to cut the actual skirt part off the flat sheet part. (If that made sense). She then glued the skirt exactly where she wanted it directly to the box spring with fabric glue. 
I modified the project just a little bit. It was late when I saw her post. And of course, I didn’t want to wait another couple of days to get fabric glue and find the time again to do it. So, with the kids in bed, (believe me this took some care not to wake them up) I took the bed skirt off, cut it, then used the hot glue gun to glue it into place.

The truck cut outs are chalkboards. The boys love to write on them.
Ta dah, no more skewed bed skirt.  It’s been a couple of weeks now and it’s still glued on.  I don’t think the hot glue will hurt anything, but even if it did, we’re already looking for bunk beds.  For some reason my husband wants bunk beds in their room. Me, not so much, just another bed to make. So, we’ll see how that plays out.



Well, this last week has been one long FREEZING snowstorm! Every time I turn around it is snowing again! We usually do get quite a bit of snow but it comes in spurts. Get a little snow, it will melt then we get a little more....on and on for several months..but this year its not melting! And it just keeps snowing! We had a blizzard last week which dumped 16-24in all over the area, on top of what we already had. The worst of it came through tuesday night and wednseday morning. All of northern Indiana was in a state of emergency! Unfortunately I still had to go to work wednseday morning.....good thing I drive a big truck or I would have never made it out of our driveway! And this is what I showed up too......snow every where!

These pictures above are across the street from my work....The pictures just don't do it justice to how much snow there was! I know this would be nothing to Christine in Alaska but like I said, we don't usually get that much all at once! When I got out of the truck the snow was above my knees!

Even though it was sooo cold ( and when I say cold I mean 10-20 below zero ) it was beautiful! The air was crisp and everything was covered in a beautiful white blanket!

Mary Elizabeth


Homemade Marshmallows for Valentines Day

I love the look on people's face when I tell them that I make my own marshmallows. In fact, the first time I made them I called to tell my little sister. She didn't say anything for a second and then asked why would I even think that you could make your own marshmallows. For some reason people think that homemade marshmallows is a hard and long process. People are shocked when I tell them how easy and quick it is to make them. Believe me when I say that once you eat a homemade marshmallow you will never go back to store bought ones.

This recipe makes about 16 small marshmallows. 
Nonstick cooking spray
3 (1/4-ounce) packages unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, plus 1 vanilla bean, scraped
Confectioners' sugar, sifted, for coating

Lightly spray a 9-by-9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Line pan with plastic wrap, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water;
let stand for 10 minutes.
In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water. Place saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil; boil rapidly for 1 minute. Remove from heat, and, with the mixer on high, slowly pour the boiling syrup down the side of the mixer bowl into gelatin mixture. Add salt and continue mixing for 12 minutes.

Add vanilla extract and vanilla bean seeds; mix until well combined. Spray a rubber spatula or your hands with cooking spray. Spread gelatin mixture evenly into pan using prepared spatula or your hands. Spray a sheet of plastic wrap with cooking spray and place, spray side down, on top of marshmallows. Let stand for 2 hours.

Carefully remove marshmallows from pan. Remove all plastic wrap and discard. Cut marshmallows into 2-inch squares using a sprayed sharp knife. Place confectioners' sugar in a large bowl. Working in batches, add marshmallows to bowl and toss to coat. Marshmallows can be stored in an airtight container up to 3 days.

The possibilities are endless with these. You can make peppermint flavored ones by adding 1/4 teaspoon of extract. Cut them into different shapes for hot chocolate and coffees.  Cut into squares and cover in chocolate for chocolate covered marshmallows. For valentines day you can do what I did. Cut them into squares and push a stick into them. Dip into pink or red chocolate then sprinkles. Set on wax paper and let the chocolate harden. 


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger... Follow Me on Pinterest