Thursday, December 15, 2011

photo canvas: easy as 1-2-3

so it's been a LONG time since i've blogged. i'll be honest..i have missed it! in a whirlwind of photo shoots, editing, a little one named tag and just the busyness of the holiday season--i have had no time! not to mention a little guy coming in 2 weeks. yes, that's right...2 weeks!!! we are beyond excited. ready? yes. and no. yes to meet crew, but no in the actual part of preparing for him to be here. it's ok..i have 2 weeks. so don't come early like your brother baby crew ;)

so i have lots of things i'd love to blog about. today is an idea i saw on pinterest a few months ago. i 'pinned' it thinking it would be a great christmas present. not to mention--less than $5. seriously. personal, easy and cheap! chances are if you are hooked on pinterest as i am, you have seen it. so nothing new. but i thought i'd see how it turned out and guess what? well considering i decided to blog about it, i'm sure you already know. it was way too easy and looks really cool. and once again, did i mention cheap?!

what you need:

 i used an 8x10 photo. so i needed an 8x10 canvas. a few foam brushes, glue, water, paint and an empty glass.  i also made the mod podge--which is where the glue and water come in. i had an almost 8 oz bottle of elmer's glue so i used about 8 oz of water. pour both in the glass jar and shake really well. that's it!

First, i painted the sides black. and let it dry. then i applied the mod podge all over the blank canvas. i laid my photo in the center and painted the mod podge all across the photo.

instead of letting the mod podge dry, i went ahead and painted the edges black that way i could blend it into the wet mod. podge. i ended up using dry, clean brushed to help blend it in.

finished product!

One down and a few more to go!! Giving these to great-grandparents as gifts!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

your 'anytime' sugar cookie

these are really as yummy as they look! i love those cookies from walmart that are like this--the thick overly sweet soft cookies with lots of icing. but they are almost TOO sweet. and expensive. i don't think i've ever bought any, just have had them other places--like when i was student teaching or working at the daycare, kids would bring these yummy cookies in for birthdays--i loved birthday days :)

my grandma has this same recipe--i always thought it was weird that there was sour cream in the cookies, but i think it's what makes them soooo good. i always referred to her sugar cookies as 'the sour cream ones'. i couldn't find her recipe, so i got onto pinterest--big surprise, right? and entered into the search--'soft sugar cookies'. there they were. exactly what i was looking for. well the look anyway. i was just hoping they were just as good as they actually looked. and they were.

i usually always halve the recipe--one, because i never know whether or not we'll actually like it and two, because i don't need 6 dozen cookies sitting around the house. because, well..i would eat them. all.
i didn't do a step-by-step tutorial on this one..wasn't really thinking about it until after i made them and they were so good, i knew i had to share! the original recipe i found was from here:  once again, i cut everything in half.  this made 35 cookies.  the whole recipe calls for 3 eggs. i hate trying to divide and egg in half. most the time i will just wisk it and then use half--but this time i didn't really feel like it, so i used 2 eggs. this may have been why i ended up using quite a bit more flour. my dough was really sticky.

for the cookies:
  • 6 cups flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 sticks butter--room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
for the buttercream frosting--once again halved everything
  • 2 sticks butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons 1/2 and 1/2
  •  food coloring-optional
  • sprinkles--optional
  • in a bowl, combine 5 cups (if using the whole recipe--if not, then 2.5 cups) flour, baking soda and baking powder. set aside.
  • in another bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. add eggs one at a time--beating one, then the other. add the vanilla and sour cream. beat until just combined.
  • beat the flour mixture into the batter. mix until it starts to come together.  add flour as needed. as i said before, i ended up using quite a bit more flour. add up to 1/4 cup at a time until it's not too sticky. and it seems like it's good rolling out material.
  • if you're impatient like me, this next step is unfortunate. roll it out and place in the fridge. i of course did not wait. of course my dough was too sticky--so i only made 3 cookies--test cookies if you will :)
  • the original recipe says to roll them out in flat rectangles--yadda yadda. i didn't. i just wrapped it in saran wrap and threw it in the fridge. it says to leave it overnight, but a few hours would be fine.
  • once your dough is chilled, roll the dough out (i floured my surface, rolling pin and dough) to 1/2 thick or so. i didn't get a ruler out or anything. i have festive cookie cutters, but i wanted circles. i don't have a biscuit cutter or a circle shape, so i used a glass--it worked perfectly! 
  • place in a 425 degree over and bake for 7 minutes. the cookies will rise a little bit.  i didn't let mine get brown around the edges and they were perfect. just a little golden brown on the bottom.
here's how mine turned out :)



 delicious and pretty

today i made the rest of the batch--you can put them pretty close on your baking sheet as they don't spread very much. this is them right out of the oven. immeditately transfer to parcment or cooling rack.

yummy frosting. i can't stand store-bought anymore
i usually use one of food network's buttercream frosting recipes for cakes and cupcakes. 2 sticks of butter? ok :) this one was pretty much the same recipe.

 little sneak ;)
 can't stand to not see what's going on!


 "gookies, mommy!"
yes, he got one :)

Monday, September 26, 2011

rainy monday--with a toddler :)

sometimes you just need a rainy day--a day to sit in and be warm and cozy and read or have a marathon of your favorite movies. oh, wait--those days are long gone in this house! his name is tag. you know him. the loud, but oh-so cute little guy that i am constantly chasing around :) he wears me out, but i love him so much :) 

we needed something new to do besides reading his 3 or 4 favorite books over and over.  he keeps himself  pretty well enteratined, but then again there are those times where he is bored..wants something new to keep his attention. so i created a 'board' on pinterest for tag. things that i would like to make for tag or something new to keep him entertained. fingerpaints were it! i figured he might be a little too young to really enjoy it and understand what the heck it was--but i thought i'd give it a chance. and as an added bonus, we made it together--with a few things we already had! tag helped, too. well kinda. tag watched more than anything. he loves to watch people in action. he spends quite a bit of time standing on the chair looking and yelling out the window while watching his daddy and papa working hard next door. it's pretty cute :)

for the fingerpaint, we used:
 1/2 cup cornstarch
3 tablesppons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups water
food coloring

 his ornery expression--this boy cracks me up

 tag helped himself to a wooden spoon and started stirring!
i used a wisk to stir bc the bottom was starting to thicken before everything else. after a few minutes of continual stirring, it thickened--and fast! i pulled it off the heat and put it in a measuring cup

 it makes 2 cups!

 i used some random containers i had with lids. aka--tag's cracker bowls.

 threw in some food coloring, used a popsicle stick and stirred

 viola! that was too easy!

 now it's time for my student to experiment. it was still warm--not hot! just nice and warm and gooey!

 he thought about putting it in his mouth to taste. but he didn't yet. i could see his wheels spinning!

 so mommy showed him what to do. he got the hang of it!

 now it's taste testing time! :) good thing i know what's in it :)


all stored up for next time!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

pumpkin pie, please!

i am very ready for fall! this weather has put me in the mood for everything fall--from decorating to baking. so here i am wanting some pumpkin pie--micah's favorite! the first fall we were married (way back in'07!) i found a really good recipe from paula dean--i love her! it called for cream cheese in the mix, so i thought it had to be yummy! and it was! even though i've only made this pie a few times, it is really, super good. you can always buy a premade pie shell, but homemade is so much better, cheaper and easy. here's my mom's recipe for the best pie crust ever!!

1 cup flour, 1/3 cup shortening (i use butter flavor) 1 tsp. salt, 3-4 tablespoons cold water. yep. that's it!
cut shortening into flour/salt mixture until it looks like below. then add water (i only used 3 T) combine until it all comes together.

flour your work surface and roll out dough

this part can be kinda tricky because your dough might stick. after you have rolled out your dough, start with one end of the pie dough and lay over your roller. continue to roll until you've rolled it all around your roller. then unroll over your pie dish.

take a knife and trim around the edges, then crimp

with my leftover dough, i cut out different shapes to put on top of the pie.
set aside pie dough

here are the ingredients for the pie
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon--i didn't measure
1/2 stick melted butter
1 egg + 2 egg yolks--slightly beaten
1 cup half & half
1 can pumpkin (15 oz)
1 block cream cheese--room temperature

          beat cream cheese, then add pumpkin. beat. add sugar. beat.     

add eggs, half & half and melted butter. beat. last, add your cinnamon, stirring until incorporated.

pour into your pie dough. i always have quite a bit left over, so i use small baking dishes to make crustless pie

ready to bake! 350 for 50 minutes or until center is set

 tag loves to look at what goodies are in the oven. then won't stop saying, "bite, please?" over and over

 now wait forever while it cools..

 the best part is the small pies don't take as long to bake so they are cool enough to eat. warm delicious pie!

 and now it's all gone :) good thing there's another mini pie and better yet, whole pie!