Monday, December 27, 2010

Fröhliche Weihnachten!

the weekend before christmas we had lots of parties to attend!  we celebrated our son alex's 5 th birthday early with 2 of his cousins, who turned 2 and 7.  i made them the R2D2 cake and it was yummy.  chocolate fudge betty crocker made like the box says, with 1 c. flour, 1 c. sugar, 8 oz. sour cream, 1 tsp. vanilla, and 1 egg added.

then on sunday we had an annual family christmas to go to, and one of the cousins asked me to make a traditional german dish.  so after browsing some recipes of meat, potatoes, and cabbage, i decided to do a dessert.  and strawberry schaum torte it was!  super easy if you have a mixer with a whisk attachment, and delicious!  it's basically a big meringue cake, filled with whipped cream and topped with strawberries.  it tastes eggy, and custardy, sort of like angel food cake.  but the texture is something all to itself, crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle.



schaum (which means mousse or foam) torte can also be served with ice cream, which would be wonderful, or other fruits, like banana or raspberries.  i am definitely making this one for my family next weekend.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

not an apple

how's everyone doing?  i have been absent lately because i can't find my camera's battery charger.  that is number one on my priority list today - i need to take some pictures!  so anyways, i have things to show you, but you'll have to settle for some links instead. 

first up - so glad to have this how-to on making cookie boxes.  next year!  i always give cookies to the neighbors.

this year, i made these cookie jar mixes for all the bus drivers, teachers, and paras at our school.  our kids have 4 bus drivers, 4 paras, and 2 teachers.  so yep, i used a whole case of quart jars!  and i have 2 left for last minute gifts.  i did find the recipe a little dry, so i used 2 tsp. vanilla and the cookies were so good!  i used red and green m&ms for the preschool teachers, and chocolate chips for the other teachers.  i also made one jar with peanut butter and vanilla chips.

we have a very small school, and one of my favorite things is that the entire school does everything together.  field trips - all grades on one bus.  the 5th and 6th graders read to the preschoolers.  the kgtn and 1st graders have recess together. and as a result, all of the teachers are working with our kids.  so i wanted to do something for everyone.  i made one batch and wrapped them individually with saran wrap, twisting the ends like a giant wrapped candy.  i piled them on a red platter with a cardstock sign saying "thanks for being so sweet".  i left that in the teacher's lounge for everyone who works there. 

so what are you making for teacher gifts?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

beeedebedebeep




















i made this cake today for my nephews' and son's birthday party.  there was no theme to go from, so it came down to the charlie brown pan or R2D2. the robot won.

Friday, December 17, 2010

tooth fairy!

emma lost another tooth!  this time she didn't swallow it!   so as a special treat, the tooth fairy left her a note and a folded dollar bill ring.  after printing out the note, "she" sprayed the paper with some leftover gold hair glitter from halloween.  it makes great fairy dust!





















it was all rolled up with a red ribbon, and ticked under a super sleepy little girl's head.  she's thinking that each tooth will get an origami dollar surprise!  some money origami here, if you're interested.

and the winners are...

yay!  101 followers!  in case you're wondering, 100 was the magic number that one company told me i needed to reach before i could participate in their product giveaways!  maybe now i can get some more good loot to share with all of you!  so thanks so much for helping me reach it! 

and now, for the giveaways.  i decided to give away a fat quarter of old school amy butler as my bonus giveaway.




















so winner #1, of the book package, is #81 - sarah - who also happens to be having a birthday today!  yes way!  so i'm extra happy for her.


















and winner #2 of the AB is #124 emily elizabeth!


















i know i said noon, and i did draw the numbers then.  so thanks for being patient over the last hour while i tried to count comments AND put three little boys down for a nap AND answer the phone every few minutes AND attempt to adjust the html code on my comments to count for me, total fail there.  ah well.  the good news is, it's done, everyone is laying down and maybe i can sneak upstairs to quilt...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

gouda dea?

only one day left to enter my sewmamasew giveaway! pssst - if i reach 100 followers, i will have a bonus giveaway - some yummy fabric!  only 5 to go!

and can i say how hungry i am from reading your comments?  so many yummy ideas!  like charleston cheese dip.   a hot reuben dip.  crustless quiches (just use a slice of squash for a crust!)  caprese salad balls - mix shredded mozzarella cheese, pesto, and a small amount of minced tomato. form into balls. roll in beaten egg, then in bread crumbs. fry. use a deep fryer so they don't fall apart.  (thanks for the recipe, sharon!) jalepeno popper dip.  and so many of you are like me - going with the popular spinach dip or lil' smokies.  anyways, thanks again for all the great ideas!

oh - i looked for brie at wallyworld yesterday, but could only find a wedge, not a wheel.  i found a small round of smoked gouda - and thought mmmm, smokey gouda with red onions and mushrooms...  maybe my favorite pizza ever.  and then i thought - hey, maybe with this onion and pepper relish i want to try.  get it?  gouda dea?  heehee i'm hoping to make some this weekend, we'll see...

here's a project i am glad to be done with.

those teeny hands!




















i bought these kits months before baby was born.  they've asked and asked to do them, so we got them out the other day.  where i realized that only two of them could be made at a time, because there were only two molds.  then i realized they have to sit overnight to dry.  can you imagine the chaos that ensued?  i want to paint them!  i want to make mine now!  why can't i paint one!  i think it's dry NOW!  poor kids.  life is soooo hard sometimes.  :)  anyways.  this pic is before the painting.  that was physically hard for me to endure.  watching them paint all willy-nilly.  i was cringing even though i tried not to.  and the funny thing is? in the end, i like theirs better than the one i painted for sawyer.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

giveaway time!! CLOSED AT NOON CST

i was so happy to see that sewmamasew was having giveaway day again!  if you've been reading here for awhile, you know that i have been really lucky in the past, and i always try to participate with a giveaway of my own.











so here's what's up for grabs...

a copy of star struck quilts by barbara h. cline,(it's got some beauties in it!)





a fat quarter of my beloved katie jump rope fabric,




















this adorable mini quilt (8" x 8") i bought at the handmade holidays craft show,

















and a jar of my homemade jalepeno pepper jelly.  this is a staple for my holiday entertaining, just pour over cream cheese and serve with crackers.  but i may step it up a bit this year, with this fab recipe for a baked brie.  

to enter, please leave me a comment telling me what holiday appetizer you rely on.  is it knorr spinach dip?  crescent wrapped lil smokies?  or something fancier, like a baked brie? (i'm not even sure where i'd buy a wheel of brie!)  i need to step up my game a bit this christmas, and could use some new ideas.

if you'd like an extra entry, you can become a follower right over there on the left.  and leave me another comment telling me you did.  or just let me know if you are already a follower. that's 2 possible entries per person.

the giveaway will be open until friday, december 17th at noon kansas time.  i will randomly choose a winner from all the comments, and ship your goodies no later than december 20th.  promise.  oh, and US shipping only, please.

thanks a bunch for stopping by. 

my secret santa rocks!

warning: this is a picture heavy post. in which i gloat over the fabulous present i got in the mail on saturday. simply FAB-U-LoUS!!  this was from my secret santa megan, from bee vintage.

the box weighed a ton. and i opened it to find:






















































ahem.  i am officially the luckiest girl in the world, and as far as i'm concerned, no one else need bother this holiday, because they will never top that gift.

seriously.  so please, go check out Monkey Beans, 100% of proceeds from her sales are donated to the arthritis foundation for camp JAM (juvenile arthritis matters).  check out her bookmarks and snack sacks!!


more baking...

i am soooo far behind!  so much to do and show you, but it will have to wait for now.  i did get my cookies done for the exchange, and here's one of my new fave christmas cookies!
















these are actually supposed to have dried cranberries in them, which i think would be so yummy.  but i can't find the bag i KNOW i bought.  and so i improvised with cherry & white baking chips.  next batch i will add a little green food coloring, they faded when cooked.  they are pretty sweet, but good.  i especially like that they keep well.  there's nothing worse than coming home from the cookie party with 6 dozen cookies, and then half of them are dry & hard by the next day.  i assume it's the pudding mix that keeps them soft.  i also assume you could alter this with any variety of pudding mix & nuts/chips.

come back monday, december 13th for sewmamasew's giveaway day!  good stuff up for grabs!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

baking...

mud cookies, mmm! 
















i was able to make these this morning with the help of my mini chefs, who took care of the marshmallow placement.  the finished cookie is delish - chewy and nutty and chocolatey. 

















these aren't for the exchange, but will probably go on a plate for the neighbors.



Wednesday, December 8, 2010

update!

thanks for your comments.  i did give it another whirl yesterday, actually reading the manual and stuff!  yep!  and i tried everything i could think of.  it improved, but not enough.  changing the tension didn't make that much difference.  i wonder if trying different thread would help? or a different batting - this is cheap poly stuff.  i remember sewmamasew did a month on this subject, maybe i should do some research.  and yes, it's probably my cheapo machine, but i'm not ready to accept defeat right now!

troy is working a bunch of overtime this week, which means, sadly, i won't get to go to kcmqg this month.  sniff.  or have any time for sewing.  i have joy's annual cookie exchange on saturday, which means friday will be spent baking 6 dozen cookies.  i am trying out two new recipes this year.  one is for these cutie santa hats, and the other is for these brownie bites.  only, instead of pumpkin, i am using candy cane kisses!  yum!  the mint truffle ones are tasty too.  i also bought the irish creme flavor, but bleah.  they were nasty.  in case you were wondering.  as a backup, i have all the stuff to make sugar cookies and cinnamon crackles.  anyways!  i will post pics on friday!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

help me help myself

sooooo. remember my big lofty dreams of learning to free motion quilt in 2010?

yeah, me neither, until this morning. and since i am about to run out of days in the year, i decided to give it a whirl. i have been making a few place mats for my messy boys. i figured they may be more inclined to keep their food on their plate that way. and it's using up some poly batting i had, as well as some large chunks of novelty prints. yay!

ok, so i dug out the little spare parts bag that came with my machine last christmas. and i found the feed dog cover. so i snapped it on. backwards. oops! try again.

next i tried a little stitching. and my presser foot fell off. and i realized, hey! maybe i have a darning foot or something for this. and yes! i did!

so i started stitching away, trying for a tight meander. i might as well confess something right now. i could never master this effect on my cakes - trying to control the line of icing into a random, never crossing line was impossible for me. but i thought it would be easier with sewing. after all, the machine is "squeezing" the line of "frosting" for me!

so i was going along, not too shabby! i thought cockily. a few jerky spots, but this is my first time you know.

















then i noticed some loose looking loops. uh oh.



















then my thread broke and the machine hung up. and when i clipped the threads and flipped it over - ugh!

















more confessions.  i never check my tension before sewing. i never check the underside of my stitching.  and i have no idea what caused this.  so any of you out there care to troubleshoot for me?  what should i try first?



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