December 29, 2011

Let boys be boys

We are about half way through Christmas vacation and the boys are patiently waiting for snow! In the mean's all about the BB guns and targets. I seriously get a kick out of watching my boys be boys. The neighbor boy who lives across the street from us brought over his Red Ryder BB gun and my son pulled out his brand new BB gun.

They each took turns setting up used tin cans to shoot as targets. The tall handsome kid standing up is my son Everest. Let it be stated that the new BB gun he is holding does not belong to him, but his younger brother Easton. Easton would have a fit if anyone thought the BB gun belonged to anyone but him! The boy kneeling next to him is the neighbor boy.

The little guy you see taking aim here is my son Easton...the proud owner of the new BB gun. Each tin can popped by a BB was closely counted. Of course they HAD to keep score! I have to say, boys are very competitive! They don't get it from me! I am WAY to lax when it comes to sports and competition. Some how that testosterone just shines through and it's always a matter of win or lose. Oh dear!

It's so fun to watch my boys grow up. I really appreciate every moment. They go from Hot Wheels cars to guns in a blink of an eye!

December 28, 2011

Poppy Seed Cake, a family tradition

Christmas has come and gone! My little family had a peaceful and sweet day! Each of us exchanged and received such thoughtful gifts! It was truly a warm family day.

It did feel a little like something WAS missing, however! I'll tell you what it was...THE SNOW!! Something ELSE was missing as well...the traditional poppy seed cake! I totally dropped the ball on this one! I waited too long to purchase poppyseed filling and I wasn't able to find it at the store the week before Christmas.

I know better than that, but I was lazy and didn't buy it when I should have! I'm crazy like that...sometimes I throw caution to the wind and refuse to buy baking ingredients when they are fully stocked at the grocery store! (hee hee!)

If you've never used poppy seed filling for pastries or cakes...this is what it looks like. It kinda looks like caviar. It has a thick pasty consistency. I could turn this spoon upside down and the filling would just stick to the spoon! Basically it's poppy seeds that are drenched and softened in corn syrup, sugar and water to create a thick filling for pastries of your liking.

The Monday after Christmas there was plenty of poppyseed filling on the grocery shelf and I was able to bake my cake!

Of course, it must be made in a tube pan like this.

Baking with poppy seed for Christmas as well as Easter, is a tradition in my family that goes all the way back to my mother's grandmother...maybe even further...but that's only as far as I know about. I have been eating poppyseed cake for breakfast on Christmas and Easter morning since I was a baby! Every. single. solitary. year!!! It's like just IS! It's a part of our family traditions that I have carried on and will continue to carry on until the day I leave this world!

Here's my kitchen by the way. The day I was baking and taking pics I just felt like sharing a photo of the place where I seem to spend most of my time! Now you know where I am most days..right, baking, washing dishes, making coffee and so on.

Anyhow, back to the cake...fortunately, my children love this cake! I anticipate them carrying the tradition on when they have their own families. Gee, I hope their future wives like it!!

Our favorite way to eat it...well the only way I've ever ate it, since I can remember...a slice at a time, smeared with butter and sprinkled with powdered sugar...oh yes!


3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
4 eggs
1 can 13 or 14 oz. evaporated milk
1 tsp. vanilla
8 oz. (1 cup) vegetable oil
1 10 oz. jar poppy seed filling

*(depending where you live, you may also find poppyseed filling in can..the size of a soup the brand Solo. I have used that as well)

Mix together dry ingredients. Mix wet ingredients in separate bowl and then add to the dry ingredients. Mix well and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour into a greased and floured tube pan. Bake for 60 minutes at 350 degrees. Check cake for done-ness with toothpick. Let cool in pan. Turn out of pan when cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve at room temperature. Serve plain slices or buttered with a sprinkling of powdered sugar!


December 20, 2011

It's finished! yay!

The painting is done!

Alica, from Happily the cows....I chose your suggestion for my painting! The idea of the silhouette for the Nativity and the star really caught my attention. I knew I kinda wanted to stay on the theme of the other painting and your idea worked wonderfully. Thank you for sharing the idea with me!

Thanks to all of you for giving me some very wonderful suggestions! They were all great..really, I mean it! I have to say that it was really fun opening this up to my blog friends. I loved the fresh perspectives and clever ideas that I wouldn't have thought of. If I have a creativity block in the future...I just may do this again!

excuses, excuses

Well, I have underestimated the time that I thought I would have this past weekend and so far this week. It's really not that crazy at all, it's just that adding in a few extra things on top of the usual schedule is just enough to leave me with little time or energy to finish my painting. It WILL be done before Christmas, I can assure you that! I was planning on working on it all day today, but my mother in law called last night to say that she wants to take me out for a little shopping and lunch. Now, why would I turn that down? Ha ha ha ha!

Anyhow, I'm getting there!

Yesterday, I watched my 11 month old nephew for 8 hours, then I baked cookies for Scouts, made dinner, brought in a boat load of firewood with my son, enjoyed the fire, got sleepy because of the fire, started to watch the Steelers get their butt whipped by the 49rs, continued to watch the sad football game and busted up quarterback while laying in bed snuggling up with my youngest son.....and painting just went right out the window!! Oh yes it did!

Also on my mind is the 10 centerpieces I am making for our apple dumplin' ice cream social that will be held at church one hour before we have our regular Christmas Eve service. They are really quite adorable and very easy to make...but I only have 3 done. Here's a photo of them.

The tables we are using in the youth room for this event are really cute and small. They are cafe tables that are only about 2 feet in the centerpieces need to be narrow and tall and these just fit the tree per table.

Well, I'm outta here for mother in law will be here in about a minute or two!

December 16, 2011

wonderful suggestions!

Wow! I am so glad I opened this up for suggestions! If you're just catching up, you can refer to my previous post...I was stumped on what to paint to go along with my Christmas subway art I painted for the mantle.

I have decided what I am going to paint, and I will be working on it this weekend. I hope to reveal the painting on Monday. Goodness! I hope it turns out well, or I am going to be mighty embarrassed!

December 13, 2011

Help!! I need suggestions!

I am proud of my Christmas subway art I painted yesterday!
I think it turned out pretty great! I am totally dead in the water!
I don't know what to paint on the other canvas.

It doesn't have to have a Christian theme...
but I don't want it to be Santa Claus-y either.
Don't get me wrong...I love Santa...but it won't seem cohesive.

I am asking you for suggestions on what to paint on the other blank canvas?
Please help!!

I'm going shopping now...when I get back, I hope to see lots of suggestions!
I plan to use someone's suggestion, paint it, and then reveal it on my blog!

Until then, hope you are having as much fun decorating as I am!

December 8, 2011

Candy Cane Snowball Cookies

Can we talk???

I am in love!

With a cookie.

This cookie right here.

It is divine.

It is pepperminty.

It is buttery and sweet.

Honestly, if I had no restraint..

I can tell you, that I would pretty much eat about 15 of these..

in one sitting!!

However, I can muster up SOME restraint..

and stop at about 6!!

Forget about it! (Say this in your best Bronx accent.)

If you're curious about just how pepperminty these cookies are...they really aren't over the top at all. There's no peppermint's all crushed candy canes...and you can control the amount you put in. I use just scant of 1/2 cup in the dough.

You can taste the butter in these cookies as well.

It's like a little cloud of sugar, butter and peppermint...just perfect!

Give them a try...I really can't see how you would be disappointed!

P.S. I found this recipe while perusing Pinterest. I included the link to the blog with the recipe!!

Recipe from stolen moments blog

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3 cups powdered sugar, divided
1 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp. vanilla
1  egg
3  cups flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup crushed candy canes, divided
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 - 3 Tbsp. milk

Beat 1 1/2  cups  powdered sugar and butter. Beat in vanilla and egg. In separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture until well combined. Mix 1/2 cup crushed candy canes into dough by hand.

Roll dough into balls approx. the size of 1 tsp. Next, roll balls in sugar. Place on cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 9 to 10 minutes. Cool completely and glaze.

GLAZE: Mix remaining 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 2 - 3 Tbsp. milk. Use just enough milk to form a thick drizzley glaze. Immediately garnish with crushed candy canes.


November 26, 2011

Make a German Paper Star to hang on your Christmas tree!

Do not fear, the making of the German Star, young Jedi.

With the force, guide you I will.

Wise I am!

Oh yes, the classic paper German star!

Traditionally, these are hung on the Christmas tree.

Recently, I have become the master...master of disaster...I mean, master of the German Star!

Such beauty and bewilderment created with just 4 strips of paper!

From the time I was little, I have been FASCINATED with these works of art, but I never knew how to make them.

If you'd like to try, I will guide you....step by after photo...showing you exactly what to do.

No sweat man!

Before we start, you will need 4 strips of paper. I use basic 8 1/2 in. x 11 in. computer printer paper. You can use anything you like as long as the paper is not thick and/or stiff. For the smaller star in the above photo, cut 4 strips 1/2 inch x 11 inches. For the larger star pictured above, cut 4 strips 1 inch x 11 inches. Keep your remaining paper scraps handy, we will have to lengthen our strips for the final step. In the future, you can lengthen them at the beginning, or if your paper is longer than computer printer paper that's great. Ideally, you would want about 6 extra inches tacked on to the 11 inch length. The purpose of me extending the strips later is to help you to understand that it is no big deal to extend the strips to complete the star. This will free your imagination to use pretty scrapbook paper or brown paper bags...and not to worry about the size of the paper. Just at least start with the measurements I gave you.

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3



Step 4

Ok, let's stop for one second. So now your project looks like this.

Ok, moving on!

Step 5

*You can trim the strip of paper if it is giving you difficulty fitting through these small spaces. I always have to do a little trimming here and there throughout.

Repeat with remaining sides.
*Tip, with the remaining sides you will now have a flap of paper in the way that you will just move aside while working and then just lay it back down when done.

Here is the flap I am talking about.

Ok, continue working your way around the star...

and now your project will look like this.


Take a breath, relax, you're making progress!

Step 6

Lift only these 4 strips upward.

For each side, fold flap to the left, covering each point of the star.

Continue on until all points are covered.

Ok, let's stop a second...this is where we are at. Does your star look like this so far?

Ok, good! Moving on!

We now have to lengthen our strips of paper. You actually can lengthen your strips before you start. However, I did this on purpose so you will see that no matter what size you want to make your star...even if your strips of paper are too can make them longer without any trouble so you can finish the job!

Take your additional strip and add some adhesive to the very end.

Attach the strip to the very end of the existing strip.

Ok, the photo below shows the extended strips of paper.

Ok folks...this is the trickiest part!!

Take your time and you will succeed! :)

Continue until your star looks like this.

Trim only the strips that you have just pulled through.

Ahhhhh, now we are making progress!

You have completed one side of the star.

This is what your star should look like at this point.

Take a breath and congratulate yourself!

You rocked it!

Now, flip the star over

and repeat steps 4 through 7

Remember step 4?? Go back and take your time, you can do it!

*Tip: any time you are feeding a strip through, it may be a bit too wide, just take your scissors and trim a teeny tiny bit of the strip and it will go through just fine. I usually run into this a few times while making these stars.

I won't walk you through the rest of the steps now continue on with steps 5 through 7 and you will be done!

Finished product!

*Fun fact..I shot 204 photos for this post. Out of 204, I used only 59 photos!! Sometimes blogging is a labor of love!!

Enjoy making these stars!!