Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mother-daughter Journal

I found this project on Pinterest and thought it would be a fun way to connect with Maddie.  She is the type of girl that loves gifts and secrets.  I hid it on top of her pillow the other day.  I wrote that we could leave little messages to one another and then hide it somewhere for the other to find.  I'm still waiting for it to turn up somewhere.  I asked her to use her cursive when she writes, so it will be handwriting practice for her as well!

You can download the cute labels (they have one for boys, too) here.  I decorated it by covering the outside entirely with scrapbook paper.  There's a great tutorial for doing this here.  I hadn't thought to use washi tape on the binding--I may have to see if I have any that matches. There are many possibilities for making this cute little journal, but the important thing is just to have something special between you and your daughter.

Here's another fun journal-decorating idea:  Fabric-covered Prayer Journal
Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Better-Than-Anything Pumpkin Cake

I found this recipe online the other day and decided to give it a try.  It got rave reviews from my kids.  I would say that if you are one of those people that can sometimes find desserts to be "too rich," this may not be the recipe for you.  For everyone else, please read on!

Better-Than-Anything Pumpkin Cake (Adapted from Betty Crocker)

1 box yellow cake mix
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice


1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 jar (12 oz.) hot fudge topping
1 container (8 oz.) Cool Whip
Heath English Toffee Bits

Heat oven to 350 degrees (325 for dark or nonstick pan).  Spray bottom only of 9 by 13 inch pan.  In large bowl, beat cake mix, pumpkin, water, oil, eggs and pumpkin pie spice with electric mixer on low speed until moistened, then on medium speed 2 minutes. Pour into pan. Bake 26 to 33 minutes or until cake springs back when touched lightly in center.  

Immediately poke cake every inch with handle of wooden spoon halfway into cake. Drizzle condensed milk evenly over top of cake; let stand until milk has been absorbed into cake, about 5 minutes.      

Microwave fudge in jar as per directions on label.  Spoon and spread over cake, pressing slightly into holes. Run knife around sides of pan to loosen cake. Cover and refrigerate about 2 hours or until chilled. 

Spread Cool Whip over the top of the cake and sprinkle with Toffee Bits.  Store covered in the refrigerator.                          

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Kopykat Krispy Kreme Donuts

This post is not going to provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to make donuts.  Rather, it's a celebration that the kids and I made them, and it was a big success.  I'll try to provide a few helpful hints, though.

I had told the kids that if they did really well during school, we would take a Friday morning and make donuts together.  The kids were fascinated at the idea.  Well, a couple of weeks ago, I decided that we were going to do it.

I found the recipe here on Pinterest,  During the week, I read through the recipe several times.  I was a little nervous because I had never made donuts before,  I wanted it to be a fun project with the kids instead of getting too long and tedious.  Also, I don't own a deep fat fryer.

I was able to get up early to mix the dough.  I added about a cup extra of flour because the dough seemed so sticky.  We were able to get breakfast eaten while the dough rose the first time. 

The dough rolled out fairly easily, and the kids had a great time cutting out the donuts.  We used the second rising time to clean up the kitchen, heat oil, and make the glazes.

I ended up using a large saucepan on the stovetop to fry the donuts.  I used a candy thermometer to keep track of temperature.  This was a little tricky, and I did end up getting one batch too done.  Nonetheless, I am not going to go buy a deep fat fryer to use for the once-a-year donut-making party at our house,

We made a batch and a half of the creamy glaze recipe (link above).  We poured a third of the glaze (one half batch) into a second bowl and added about one-half cup of melted semi-sweet chocolate chips.  We dipped all the donuts in the plain glaze.  I frosted around half of the donuts with the chocolate glaze.  Of course, the kids had to add lots of sprinkles!

I had prayed that the donut project would go smoothly, and God answered my prayers.  Even though Grant would not lay down for a nap and spent most of the morning in the front pack, the donuts worked out great.  The only comment my husband made was that I should have made them all chocolate.

The day was a fun memory for me and, hopefully, my kids.  For that I am very thankful! 

Chocolate Caramel Ritz Stackers

We typically do our school work on Monday through Thursday.  Often, my Friday is spent trying to catch up on the mess from the week instead of spending time with my kids.  Also, we took a couple of weeks off at the beginning of September for a much-needed vacation to Lake City, CO.  As a result, we have been doing some school on Friday to make of for lost time.  Talk about "all work and no play"! 

I decided that I wanted to some enjoyable things with my kids instead of always slogging away on schoolwork or telling them to go play while I got something done.  Thus, "Fun-Day Fridays" were born.  We take some time on the occasional Friday to do neat activities together.  On our first Fun Day Friday, we made these tasty treats.

I found the recipe from Something Swanky on Pinterest.  I thought that the kids would really like them.  We made them in the microwave instead of the oven.

Simply place Ritz crackers on a paper plate.  Top with a Rolo (we used two Mini Rolos.)  Microwave about 20 seconds or until Rolos are soft.  Top with second Ritz cracker.  The kids were excited to have a yummy snack that they could put together themselves! 

Keep this in mind the next time you want something special that doesn't take a lot of time to prepare!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Infant Car Seat Cover

I had seen these cute covers for car seats, so I decided that I wanted to make one for Grant.  Sure, I could have just Googled the promo code and paid for the shipping on one, but I wanted to make it.  After finding a tutorial and reading the instructions several times, I thought, "How hard can it be?"

So, I went to my local quilt shop and picked out some fabric.  The car seat is gray with lime green accents, so I wanted something that would go with it without being too matchy-matchy.  I used a flannel fabric on the outside and a cotton fabric for the lining fabric on the inside.

Turns out, it was fairly easy to make, but it was not what I would call a "quick" project.  It took me quite a while to get the fabric cut and smoothed out before beginning to sew.  Also, I like the extra pop of color that the binding fabric added, but binding the edges did mean spending more time on it.  If I ever make another one, I will simply topstitch around the edge. 

I found the tutorial here.  I thought that the instructions were very easy to follow.  However, if you want to make your straps from the same fabric that your cover is made from, I would recommend buying 1 1/8 yards of each fabric.  Once I cut out the material for the cover from my yard of fabric, I did not have enough left over for the straps.  Luckily, I had plenty of binding material to make my straps from.  Also, I was not thinking when I cut my binding strips.  I just cut straight strips.  With the rounded edges, bias tape would have worked much better. 

With the project, I was able to use my new binding foot on my sewing machine.  With it, you can sew the binding on your project in one step.  I can't wait to try it out on my next pillowcase dress project.

You can find the binding foot here on Amazon.

It was chilly and windy today, so I used the cover when I took Grant to Bible study today.  It worked well, and I am really glad I was able to invest the time to make something for him.

Pumpkin Waffles

With the many pumpkin recipes being featured on Pinterest lately, I have been in quite the mood for all things pumpkin.  So, when my friend Lisa posted on Facebook that her family was having pumpkin waffles, I had to have the recipe!  I modified it slightly to make it somewhat healthier--I substituted some whole wheat flour for some of the white, and I cut the amount of brown sugar called for in half.

I thought it would be fun to cut them into pumpkin shapes to have on Halloween morning.  Here is the recipe:

Pumpkin Waffles

4 eggs
3 1/2 cups milk
1 15 ounce can pumpkin (1 3/4 cups)
3/4 cup oil
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
mini chocolate chips, optional

 Mix wet ingredients.  Add dry ingredients and mix well.  Cook on your waffle iron.  If desired, cut into pumpkin shapes with cookie cutter and sprinkle with mini chocolate chips.  Serve with maple syrup.

Note:  I had a bit of trouble with these wanting to stick to my waffle iron.  I ended up buttering the waffle plates each time I started a new set of waffles.  Next time, I may use some more oil in the batter. 

My kids really enjoyed this one.  I sampled a bit of them (I'm still trying to avoid those carbs!) and they reminded me of pumpkin bread, which I adore.  Hope you enjoy this one, too!

Looking for more great waffle recipes? Check these out, too!

Cinnamon Roll Waffles

Whole Wheat Waffles

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