My Life of Travels and Adventures: 2011

Recipe: Peanut Butter Cookies

28 December 2011


I  love, love, love peanut butter cookies.  Here is my tried and true recipe...

Ingredients:
1 1/4 C flour
3/4 Tsp baking soda
1/4 Tsp salt
1/2 C butter
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C peanut butter
1/2 C brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 Tsp vanilla

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 375F
2. Cream the butter, sugar, peanut butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla together
3. Mix the flour, soda and salt into the peanut butter mixture

4.  Shape the mixture into 1 - 1 1/2 inch balls

5.  Flatten with a fork on a baking sheet
6.  Bake for 12 - 15 minutes.

Enjoy!

A Christmas Center Peice

19 December 2011


After decorating the house for Christmas, I realized that I had no centerpiece for the table.  After searching a few stores for something that would work, Neil suggested that I make my own centerpiece.  Yay, craft time!

I started with a wooden box from Joanne's.  The same wooden box I used to make the name basket for the baby's room.  
I also picked up some random poinsettia's, sparkly things and red balls.  








Then the "fun" began.  Ok, so I just randomly stuck the flowers into the foam and went with it. 
There you have it.  My Christmas centerpiece.

Baby Room Storage

10 December 2011

On a recent trip to Ikea, I saw these storage baskets while wandering the kid section. 

The green was the perfect color for the nursery, so I picked up 2 bins for under the crib.  I love that the tops are filled with numbers. 

I filled one with clothing that we have that is too big for the first few months. 

Yay, for more storage in a small room!

Book Shelves for the Nursery

03 December 2011


The nursery is slowly coming together... 

But I keep find odd projects for Neil.  Like book shelves.  

I have been on the look out for some kind of shelf for the room.  I couldn't find anything that I liked or would fit in the space I wanted it.  I finally resolved myself to making some book slings that I saw online.  

But as we were taking measurements and figuring out what we needed... Ikea popped into my head.  Ikea has everything.  Surely they would have some kind of shelf that I would like.  

One would think I know the entire stock at Ikea as often as we have been there for this nursery... but after a quick online search we found something that had potential. 

We ended up buying these picture ledges.  For only $10 each how could we go wrong?

I knew that I wanted them installed next to the chair.

So another project for Neil began.  As he measured and leveled, supervisor Molly came in to place.  

While Neil installed the shelves, Molly and I sat and watched. 

Perfection!

These shelves fit perfectly in the space we had for them and hold several books on each. 

There you have it.  Another baby room update.

Recipe: Refrigerator Rolls

02 December 2011

I ripped this recipe out of Taste of Home magazine a while ago and just now got around to making them.

I am thinking they will make a nice addition to my meal plan for Christmas.

Ingredients:

1 pkg (1/4oz) active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (110 to 115)
1/2 cup warm milk (110 to 115)
1/4 cup butter flavored shortening (I used plain crisco)
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 egg
3 cups flour

The how to:

1. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water.
2. Add the milk, shortening, sugar, salt, egg and 2 cups of the flour.
3. Beat on medium for 2 minutes.
4. Stir in enough of the remaining flour to form a soft dough.
5. Place the dough in a greased bowl, grease the top of the dough.
6. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
7. Punch the dough down (Fun part alert!)
8. Turn the dough on a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 balls.
9. Place the balls about 2 inches apart on a greased baking sheet.
10.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about 1.5 hours).
11.  Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes (until golden brown).

Overall verdict.  Yummy!

Book Review: The Baby Sense Secret

01 December 2011

I picked up The Baby Sense Secret by Megan Faure at Borders when they were having their going out of business clearance sale.

According to goodreads... Worried about why your baby is crying? Not getting enough sleep? No time to yourself? The Babysense Secret shows you that the answers to all these problems and more lie in understanding how to read your baby's body language and signals. You can use this knowledge to structure a flexible routine around your baby's needs, creating a gentle schedule that will guide your child into peaceful, easy nights and calm periods of daytime wakefulness.
Learn how to create a baby-centric routine so that you aren't struggling to get your baby to sleep when he or she is awake and wants to play
Understand your baby's senses in order to avoid overstimulation, a leading cause of fussiness
Invaluable advice and reassurance from babycare expert, mother, and occupational therapist, Megan Faure
The Babysense Secret reveals that the key to your baby's contentment and sleep lies in understanding his sensory world and signals.
This was an interesting book.  I think it will come in handy once Baby Rudiger is born.  It does outline information about each age up until one year.  I liked reading it before the Baby is born but we will see how it goes once he is born.

Check out all my book reviews here.


Organizing the Kitchen

30 November 2011

In my frantic hurry to get our house clean before we had guests and before the baby comes... I reorganized our kitchen.

Why not, right?

Besides moving all our tupperware containers around and storing some of our rarely used items above the fridge, I decided that my measuring cups and spoons needed a better home.

They used to be randomly thrown into a large bowl in the corner cabinet.  Not the easiest to search through a huge bowl for one tiny measuring spoon.

Enter a few unused items from the kitchen... A lazy susan and a couple bell jars.
I was able to fit three full sets of measuring spoons into the two jars I found. 
The measuring cups are stack nicely and because they all fit onto a lazy susan, all the measuring cups and spoons are within reach.
My "nice" set of measuring spoons and cups hang next to my "nice" set of spoons.
I also paired down our spice rack to only one rack.  The rest of the spices I do not use that often and are now stored above microwave.
Yeah, the kitchen does not look that different or even cleaner.  But it is.  Just check the inside of my stove!

The Alphabet

29 November 2011


The internet can be a dangerous thing.  Especially when it comes to cute baby things.  Yup, another baby room project. 

I love how this project came out.  Love, love, love it.  But while spending way too many hours of one weekend working on it, I was not loving it.  

Anyways, I stumbled across this post on an alphabet wall for the baby's room and decided it was a must for  Reid's room.  


Enter a huge pile of letters (Only $0.69 for two letters at Hobby Lobby - Score!l)
And a huge stack of scrapbook paper (50 sheets for $2.99 at Ross - Score!)
And a long day in store for me. 

First up was laying out the letters to fit in the space that I wanted in the baby's room.
Then on to figuring out the paper/color scheme for each letter. 

Next was my least favorite part.  Cutting out each individual letter.  So frustrating.  My hands were killing me after cutting 26 of these little suckers out. 

Do you know how hard it is with a belly to take a picture looking down without the belly getting in the way?  See.

About this time I took a break.  I was frustrated how long this was taking me.  I wasn't in love with how the letters look.  I was just frustrated. 

A few hours later, I came back to the pile of letters that were strewn across our kitchen table and painted the edge of each letter in a corresponding color. 

Then I used the mod podge (from the lego letter) to glue each piece of scrapbook paper to the wooden letter.  Frustratingly painful as well. 

I also used the mod podge to seal over each letter and give it a shiny finish. 

After a good nights sleep, I was up to tackling hanging the letters.  I again laid out my design.

Then used a random piece of a poster picture frame as a straight edge to hang them.  (Yes, I used the back of the poster picture frame to paint everything).

  This again was a frustrating process.


Neil helped apply the glue dots to each letter.  
I ended up using several elmer's glue dots on each letter.  I probably could have got away with one or tow glue dots.  Those suckers are sticky! But easily removable.  

Finally, hours and hours later there were 26 little letters stuck to a wall in the nursery.
Tada!
I really love how it turned out.  It seemed like a fun little project that ended up taking forever but I am so happy I struggled through it.

Check out all my pregnancy/baby posts here.

Recipe - Butterscotch Brownies

27 November 2011

Apparently, out of all the guys that Neil works with, he is the only one who does not have his lunch made for him.

So being the good little wife (with a baby bump) that I am... I decided to start packing his lunch (that way he fits in with the cool kids).

Well I need some snacks for his lunch... so enter me baking some butterscotch brownies.

I probably committed the biggest baking no-no by making these.  I used a recipe from the back of the nestle butterscotch chip bag but used bag of kraft butterscotch chips.  Oh well.

Ingredients:

2.5 cups of flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup softened butter
1 3/4 cups packed brown sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
2 eggs
11 oz butterscotch chips

How to make them:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  
  3. Beat in the butter, sugar and vanilla.  
  4. Add the eggs and then gradually add the flour. 
  5. Stir in 3/4 of the bag of butterscotch chips. 
  6. Spread into a greased 8x8 pan.
  7. Sprinkle with the remaining butterscotch chips. 
  8. Bake for 40-50 minutes. 
  9. Enjoy!



Recipe: Apple Pie

27 November 2011



My contribution to Thanksgiving dinner was an Apple Pie.


Luck for everyone involved, I make one mean apple pie (Thanks mom!).

Filling:

  • 10 medium/large apples (In my opinion cortland apples are the best)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp tapioca
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 
Crust:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2/3 c crisco
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1 tbsp butter
Instructions:


1. Peel & slice the apples.

2. Mix the sugar, tapioca, and cinnamon together and sprinkle over the apples. Make sure to save about 1 tsp of the mixture for later.   Mix thoroughly.
3. Meanwhile, mix the flour, salt, crisco and water together for the crust. 
4. Split the dough in half.  Roll out half the dough and place it in the bottom of a pie pan.

5. Fill the pie with the apple mixture.

6. Roll out the remaining dough.  Rub a little butter along the edge of the crust in the pan and then place the the top onto the pie. 
7. Pinch the edges of the dough together and cut off the extra.  Add a few slices in the dough.
8. Rub the remaining butter over the top of the pie and then sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon sugar mixture.
9. Bake for 1 hour at 350F.
10. Enjoy!

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