Mobirise




Blogging since 2009, I'm a 1950s housewife to the bone and I love to share what I've learned with others. I'm a lifelong foodie, raised with Sunday dinners at my grandmother's and daily scratch cooking in my childhood kitchen. I'm a nerdy homeschooling mama of 3, and a wife of 17 years.

I drink tea when I knit and coffee when I do everything else.



From Memorial Day to Labor Day!
Day 1 - Skirt Steak w/ Chimichurri
Day 2 - Top Sirloin w/ Homemade Rub
Day 3 -
Rib Eye w/ Herbed Butter
Day 4 - Rosemary Chicken
Day 5 - Top Sirloin Gyros
Day 6 - Kansas City Style Pork Chops
Day 7 - Steak and Mushroom Kebabs
Day 8 - Dad's Hamurgers, 2.0
Day 9 - Top Sirloin w/ Mushrooms
Day 10 - Kid's Lunch
Day 11 - Chicken Souvlaki
Day 12 - S'mores Cones
Day 13 - Short Ribs



Kitchen & Sewing Skills!
Intro - Syllabus
Lesson 1 - Running & Whipstitch
Lesson 2 - Cookies

Summer Home Ec – Week One – Kitchen Lesson One

Domestic, Kids

For our first kitchen lesson of the summer, the girls each made a batch of cookies. They were supervised, but with no assistance. I put all the ingredients on the kitchen table, along with measure cups, spoons, a wooden spoon, a whisk, a spatula, my Kitchen Aid mixer, and a smaller mixing bowl. Oh, and a recipe stand and a cookbook. ;)

Letting the kids loose in the kitchen is something I think every mom needs to do from time to time to test her inner resolve to not correct – or rescue! Daphne baked chocolate chip cookies and Lena baked gingersnaps, both with zero help from me (or anyone else).

 

 

I reminded them to read their recipes and ingredient lists before they started to be sure they had everything they needed, and then to re-read them to check again. Daphne caught that she needed a second mixing bowl and baking sheets on her second read-through.

 

They also knew that a big part of this project is following the instructions, and learning that you can make pretty much anything with basic skills and the ability to handle directions. In that spirit, I didn’t correct them when I noticed them not following the directions, and assured them it was all part of the process of figuring it out when they each realized they gone a little off course. No biggie.

 

 

We ended up using recipes from The Good Housekeeping Cookbook. The recipes in this book are tested and straightforward. I’ve had it since 2001 and never had a fail that wasn’t my own fault!

Overall, they both did really well. We talked about possible missteps with their baking while they critiqued their own cookies, and what they would do differently!

They’re back in the kitchen on Saturday for cake baking!

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Summer Home Ec

Domestic

It’s so funny to me how often homeschoolers will pick a whole other curriculum for summer and their kids are so excited! Mine worked hard all year and finished two weeks ago. Now, they are already asking me about the summer school ideas they had. Months ago, they all – even my 16 year old – said they wanted to cook more this summer. Specifically, they all want to be able to do more for themselves and to be of some actual assistance lol. The girls also said they wanted to do more sewing, and to learn new skills.

That’s when I thought it would be fun to put together a fun little 8 week summer home ec program. I have been really inspired by the Great British Baking Show, I love the way they do three challenges (signature, showstopper and technical) in each catagory. I can’t do it that way in a short summer course, but I think that’s how I’m going to deal with cooking and baking for the next school year.

I went through all my kids sewing books and all my kids cookbooks, then I turned to my bookmarks. Then I laid out a timeline and edited it about 15,000 times. ;)

Obviously, you can do this right along with us from June 5 – July 28, or you can do a week here and there, you can mix up the weeks if you feel so inclined. I just thought it would be fun to share a program I put together for the kids, and I’m sure a lot of you will find it useful. I have broken each week down into two sewing lessons and two kitchen lessons for a total of four a week. Depending on your schedule it may work better for you to do home ec weekends or just weekdays. It’s as flexible as you need it to be, but we will be doing our sewing projects on Mondays and Fridays and our kitchen projects on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Every weekend for the next 8 weeks, I’ll share with you my specific ideas for upcoming week. Of course you can substitute your own projects or recipes instead if you like. It’s all a jumping off point to getting inspired. For sewing, I have two kids at the same beginner level, and three kids at two different skill levels in the kitchen. So all the recipes have two options. I will also update as we do these projects to share our progress and I’d love to see if you join us by tagging #summerhomeec on Instagram, or sharing your photos in the comments.

Week One – Sewing Basics and Cookies
  Monday (sewing) – Just the Basics: threading a needle, running stitch and whipstitch
  Wednesday (kitchen) – beginner: chocolate chip cookies / intermediate: gingersnaps
  Friday – (sewing) – Adding On: sewing on a button and trim
  Saturday – (kitchen)- beginner: oatmeal cookies / intermediate: soft sugar cookies with frosting

Week Two – Finishing in Sewing and Making Breakfast
  Monday (sewing) – Finishing Part One: making a hem
  Wednesday (kitchen) – beginner: pancakes / intermediate: french toast
  Friday – (sewing) – Finishing Part Two: Making casings
  Saturday – (kitchen)- beginner: boiled eggs / intermediate: fried eggs

Week Three – Pattern Making and Lunch
  Monday (sewing) – Making it Your Own: Making a simple pattern
  Wednesday (kitchen) – beginner: grilled cheese sandwiches / intermediate: mini pizzas
  Friday – (sewing) – Bringing it to Life: Stuffing and stitching closed
  Saturday – (kitchen)- beginner: chicken noodle soup / intermediate: beef barley soup

Week Four – First Projects and First Pies
  Monday (sewing) – Project One: Stuffie
  Wednesday (kitchen) – beginner: blueberry pie / intermediate: lemon meringue pie
  Friday – (sewing) – Project Two: Tote Bag
  Saturday – (kitchen)- beginner: tourtiere / intermediate: chicken pie

Week Five – Drawstrings and Cakes
  Monday (sewing) – Project Three: Drawstring Tote, Part One
  Wednesday (kitchen) – beginner: simple chocolate cake / intermediate: two layer vanilla cake
  Friday – (sewing) – Project Three: Drawstring Tote, Part Two
  Saturday – (kitchen)- beginner: strawberry cake / intermediate: oreo pudding poke cake

Week Six – Sewing Machine Intros and Bread
  Monday (sewing) – Sewing Machine 101: The Basics
  Wednesday (kitchen) – beginner: basic white bread / intermediate: dinner rolls
  Friday – (sewing) – Sewing Machine 101: Pot Holder
  Saturday – (kitchen)- beginner: pretzel bites / intermediate: cinnamon buns

Week Seven – Sewing Machine Projects and Donuts
  Monday (sewing) – Sewing Machine Project One: Simple Toy Skirt
  Wednesday (kitchen) – beginner: basic chocolate cake donuts / intermediate: basic yeast donuts
  Friday – (sewing) – Sewing Machine Project Two: Custom Pouch
  Saturday – (kitchen)- beginner: cinnamon sugar donuts / intermediate: baked vanilla donuts

Week Eight – Final Projects
  Monday (sewing) – Sewing Machine Final Project: Apron, Part One
  Wednesday (kitchen) – beginner: blueberry cobbler / intermediate: meringues
  Friday – (sewing) – Sewing Machine Final Project: Apron, Part Two
  Saturday – (kitchen)- beginner: fudge / intermediate: baked Alaska

Here are the specific details on what we are doing this week!

On Monday, we’ll be threading a needle, which I think is pretty self explanatory. We’ll also be learning the running stitch and the whipstitch. For this, I’m just using basic needles and colorful thread on felt.

On Wednesday, we’ll be making cookies! The beginner recipe will be this chocolate chip cookie recipe from my grandmother, and the intermediate recipe will be this gingersnap recipe from Food 52.

On Friday, we’ll be learning how to add buttons and trim to pieces of felt! We’ll learn how to add buttons with four holes, buttons with two holes and buttons with the little nub on the back. ;) We’ll add lace, rick rack and other fun trims to felt as well. It really doesn’t matter what you choose, just some kind of trim for practice.

On Saturday, we’ll bake some more cookies! The beginner recipe will be this oatmeal cookie recipe from Better Homes and Gardens, and the intermediate recipe will be this copycat Lofthouse cookies recipe from Your Home Based Mom.

The children and I are so excited to get started and I can’t wait to see and share with you what they accomplish with this project this summer!

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Cookie #1 of 2016 – Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Cookies

Domestic

We have declared 2016 the Year of the Cookie. I have attempted projects like this before we varying degrees of success. This year promises to be an achievement because I have three kids that love cookies and love to encourage me (& help) in the kitchen.

Before I get into this recipe, can we talk about this cookbook holder and how much I know you must love it?! I know you love it because I love it and we both have great taste! It’s from Pottery Barn, and it not only looks perfect in basically any kitchen, it works really well too! The base holds the book in place, and the weights hold the pages open without damaging the pages or getting in the way! We’re going to kick off the first month of the Year of the Cookie with a little giveaway of a cookbook holder just like this one and we can be kitchen twins!

There are three ways to enter, and you can enter multiple times for more chances to win!

leave a comment on this post
follow me on Instagram and tag a friend in the Instagram post of these cookies
follow me on Facebook and tag a friend in the Facebook post of these cookies
follow me on Pinterest

I will choose a winner at random next Saturday night! Spread the word!

It’s already the 7th of January and while I usually broadcast all my baking on Instagram as it’s happening, I have been baking cookies every day this year so far and have been hoarding the photos to post with the recipes. Now that I’ve waited this long I am holding out until Saturday and will post them all. So fun!

This was the first recipe I baked this year, and it’s from the Sandra Lee Bake Sale Cookbook.

1 package yellow cake mix
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
5 tablespoons buttermilk
1/4 cup melted butter
1 egg
3/4 cup butterscotch chips
3/4 cup chocolate chips

The original recipe called for 1 cup of butterscotch chips and 1 cup of chopped pecans but I altered it for my littles, who were not feeling the pecans when I made them.

  

It’s a very simple recipe, and comes together really quickly. Preheat the oven to 375 and mix the cake mix with the brown sugar. Then add the buttermilk, butter and egg. I left it in the mixer for a few minutes to be sure it was well mixed. The add the chips and stir until just combined.

  

Now just drop by heaping tablespoons onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes per batch. Check them after 7 minutes just in case.

These cookies are soft and a little chewy, but they also have a slight crust on top for just a little bit of texture. I kept them in a gallon bag and they only lasted a few days before they were all gone!

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Rappers Delight Cookies

Domestic

Our charter started back up again last Monday, so we have officially been back to daily schoolwork for a week. It’s a lot heavier than before the break because my younger kids tested out of their grades so they are on an accelerated pacing schedule to get them caught up to their new grade level. Thankfully, they are enjoying the work and we haven’t been having any issues with the material, it’s just time consuming. It’s all about finding a new groove, right? We’ll get it, this is our third program in three years and by far the best. I love our charter. Also our oldest only has three weeks left until first semester finals, so he’s stressing a little and I’m trying to help him out with study tips / materials as much as I can. ;)

2015 has been declared Chocolate Year, and in keeping with that here are last week’s chocolate cookies, hilariously named Rapper’s Delight because they are shaped like, you guessed it – hip hop legends Notorious BIG, Tupac and Eazy-E. My husband’s cousin sent us a super rad package at Christmas that included ‘Baking with my Homies’ which had cookie cutters / stamps and a really shoddy recipe. I say it was shoddy because in the ingredient list it lists baking soda, but when the recipe refers to it in the instructions it says baking powder and while there is only 1 egg, it instructs you to add eggs. Just silly and not proofread, but it really doesn’t matter anyway.

Rapper’s Delight Cookies

1 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup cocoa power
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

They are wonderfully simple cookies to make and they actually taste really good. I will be using this recipe for other cookies, my littles loved them so much they want this to be the go-to for chocolate cut outs!

 

Preheat your oven to 350 before you do anything. Then, sift together your cocoa powder, flour, baking soda and salt. Then with your mixer, cream together the brown sugar, granulated sugar and butter. Once the butter mixture is well combined, add the egg, water and vanilla.

 

Then you just add the dry to the wet and away you go! I added it about 1/2 cup at a time, just to be sure there were no clumps. If there was ever a time to be OCD about perfect cookie dough, it’s with cut outs.

 

I rolled these babies out with minimal flour between two sheets of parchment paper and arranged as many cookies as I could. Then I balled up the excess dough and did it again. You can maybe do it a third time, but after that the finished cookies will suffer and no one wants that.

Bake at 350 for about 9 minutes. It really all depends on how thick you rolled out the dough, so check on them after about 7 minutes and again every 2 or 3 minutes after that until they are ready. This batch wasn’t iced, I can hardly wait to make them again and decorate them!!

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Chocolate Russian Cake

Domestic

My first chocolate confection of 2015 was Sandra Lee’s Chocolate Russian from her Bake Sale Cookbook. A week ago, I had no idea what I was going to choose as the theme for weekly treats around here for 2015. I was thinking cookies, even toying with the idea of getting an ice cream machine and doing that when my friend Kathryn suggested a flavor as a theme – so inspired! She suggested chocolate and I jumped on it. This cake is so rich and so so uber chocolaty, it was a great kick off to 2015.

Chocolate Russian Cake

I really like the idea of Sandra Lee recipes, and her ‘semi-homemade’ approach to baking. This is the first recipe I’ve made from her bake sale cookbook and man it is weird. It follows the standard sift dry, whisk wet, mix dry into wet and roll out but the ingredients are a little unexpected and there’s mixes involved and you know how I feel about that! I subbed my own cake mix and frosting, but used the box pudding.

Chocolate Russian Cake

1 package dark chocolate cake mix
1 package instant chocolate pudding mix
3/4 cup chocolate milk (I used Ovaltine)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
6 tablespoons cream soda (don’t use the pink stuff, look for the clear kind)
1 tablespoons coffee
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups chocolate frosting
2 dark chocolate bars, grated

Chocolate Russian Cake Chocolate Russian Cake
Chocolate Russian Cake Chocolate Russian Cake
Mix the cake mix, pudding mix, chocolate milk, vegetable oil, eggs, cream soda, coffee and vanilla until well combined.

Chocolate Russian Cake Chocolate Russian Cake

Pour into two 9″ cake pans that have been greased, floured and lined with parchment paper. Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes. Cool for 20 minutes before you start frosting.

Chocolate Russian Cake Chocolate Russian Cake

Cut strips of parchment paper and tuck them under the cake to catch excess frosting and chocolate shavings. Frost the bottom layer and place the second one on top, then frost the top and all along the outside edge. Carefully press the grated chocolate on the sides of the cake and remove the parchment paper.

Chocolate Russian Cake Chocolate Russian Cake
Tah dah! Behold! This cake is so beautiful, I didn’t want to cut it.

Chocolate Russian Cake

…..but of course I did! It was incredibly rich – like two glasses of milk for each kid kind of rich, but so so good. My husband and I split a sliver and it was prefect with coffee.

Chocolate Russian Cake Chocolate Russian Cake

This is not the kind of cake you’d want to bake for a crowd at the birthday party, but it would be perfect for a small group after dinner with plenty of coffee.

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Advent Day 9 with Peanut Butter Pinwheels

Crafty, Domestic, Holiday, Kids

I hope your day 9 was good times! Ours was pretty relaxed. The kids were all hyped to dig into the box of crafty goodies that came yesterday, but first – their advent countdowns needed to be addressed haha.

 

I hate to admit that I didn’t understand what the Lego Friends toy was today (top left) until my husband came home and didn’t hesitate when I asked him what it was – candles. Duh. The Lego City toy was a little wagon with a baguette in it and the Calico Critter toys were the cutest kitchen accessories and plates of food! I’m a little obsessed with these! Today’s Jesse Tree was Surprise Gifts (GEN 15:20), we talked about how situations we don’t like often turn out to be blessings and added another paper ornament to our Jesse Tree.

 

Theeeeeen, we jumped into the glitter and sequins and white glue and foam snowflakes. It was a colorful, sticky and glorious festive mess. All three of them got into it (I did too of course but it’s way more noteworthy that my 14 year old son was down the with the crafty times). I have at least 6 of these sequin balls and I think I got 3 of the marshmallow snowmen. My favorites are yet to be made. Do you remember the clear plastic window ornaments that you’d paint as a kid and then hang in the sunlight? I got a ton of those because I was feeling nostalgic and I hope we get to do them tomorrow.

 

Our advent activity card for the day was to make Hot Chocolate Balls! They were super simple, really just chocolate chips, cream and vanilla extract. I will post a recipe once the balls firm up and I can finish taking pictures of them. We dipped some of our homemade marshmallows in the hot chocolate mixture before it started to set and sprinkled a little Christmas cheer on top. Perfect in a mug of warm milk.*
*Technically, I can’t drink milk because it rips my stomach to shreds, but the littles have told me it’s perfect in a mug of warm milk.

Our Christmas book tonight was If You Take a Mouse to the Movies. I read all of this series by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond to my oldest and he looooved them and it’s so rad to read them to his sisters now too.

Our cookie of the day was Peanut Butter Pinwheels. I wrote this recipe on an index card from a magazine who knows when and finally made them this afternoon with the littles. They did not turn out very pinwheely, but considering they were mainly done by a 5 year old, I think they turned out awesome.

Peanut Butter Pinwheels

via a random index card in my kitchen

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips

 

Like pretty much every PB cookie recipe, you cream the butter with the peanut butter and the sugar. Beat in the eggs and milk. Then instead of using another bowl, I add the flour, baking soda and salt to my sifter and crank the sifter to mix the dry together and into the wet at the same time. Then roll the dough out between pieces of parchment.

 

Sprinkle the mini chocolate chips all over the dough, within about 1/2″ of the edges. You just want to make sure you can roll the dough up without spilled the chocolate chips all over.

 

Now, roll up the dough and pop it in the freezer for about 20 minutes. I just put it in the freezer, cleaned the mess I just made in my kitchen and it was about ready for me to slice it. Preheat the oven to 375 and start slicing.

 

The recipe is supposed to make 2 dozen cookies, but I ended up with a little more than that. I baked them for 14 minutes and they were perfect. Almost peanut butter shortbread-ish. We shared with one neighbor when they were fresh and tomorrow we’ll take some to another neighbor that brought us pumpkin soup and pumpkin bread on the weekend.

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Advent Day 7 with PB Reindeer Cookies

Domestic, Holiday, Kids

Ok, here we are at the end of day 7 and man has this adventing been a blast so far. It’s totally exhausting as well, but the kids all love it and when I’ve got a situation going where my 5, 9 and 14 year old are all having a good time, it’s a serious win! So here we go with the 7 adventy activities we did today.

Today’s Lego and Calico Critter advent scores were really fun. We are only 7 days in, but it’s so neat to see the little people and cute little Lego things they are getting that they can add to their existing collections and build even cooler things! (1, 2 & 3)

 

Today’s Jesse Tree was Genesis 22:14, we did a little reading and they made the paper ornament. (4)

Our daily activity today was making homemade marshmallows and it was so fun and messy, I’m going to write a proper post about it tomorrow morning. (5)

Today’s cookie is in this post! Classic Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookies! We make these every year and they are so fun. The kid’s do most of the work and are so proud when they are finished and since making them perfectly doesn’t require much skill, they are always so hyped about how great they look when they are done. (6)

Tonights new book was Christmas Tree and our 5 year old was able to read it all on her own. She loved it so much she kept it in bed with her as I read the rest of her bedtime stories tonight. So sweet!(7)

PB Reindeer Cookies

3/4 cup peanut butter
1 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 egg
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
mini pretzels
mini chocolate chips
regular-sized red M&Ms

 

This recipe is seriously so easy, if your child likes playing around in the kitchen, they can probably do this on their own (with supervision, duh). Preheat to 375 and let the kids mix the brown sugar, peanut butter, butter, milk and vanilla. Then add the egg and mix again. In a separate bowl sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry to the wet and voila! If you have two kids working on this recipe, it’s easiest to let one do the wet and one do the dry. They can do the faces together. ;)

Have the kids roll the dough into balls, about 1″-2″ around, depending on how large they want the reindeer heads, then flatten them out. Poke the mini pretzels into the reindeer heads and then add the mini chocolate chips for eyes and red M&Ms for their noses. I have seen recipes that add these in after baking, but we’ve always done them before we put them in the oven and they always turn out well. Bake them for about 10 minutes, longer if you like them more crunchy than chewy, and you’re done! So fun and so cute! Our kids like to share these with their neighbors and friends more than other treats they make because they are so adorable.

 
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Garlic Knots

Domestic

Mmmm carbs! Buttery carbs are second only to sugary carbs. <3

I especially love the way the bread cooks juuuuust a little less inside the little knots so it's a different texture and taste than the rest of the knot, and how the garlic butter and Parm find their way into the little grooves. Perfect Thanksgiving bread because it's simple and delicious and you can make a lot for your crowd at once.

Garlic Knots

via Damn Delicious
1/4 cup (or more) melted butter
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (16-ounce) tube refrigerated buttermilk biscuits

Garlic Knots Garlic Knots

Preheat your oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Instead of baking the biscuits in the boring little rounds they come packaged in, roll each round out into a snake and knot it. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk all the ingredients together (minus the dough, duh). I used about double everything, but if you’re going for subtle, follow the recipe.

Garlic Knots

Then brush the mixture on to the knots, making sure to get it all over each knot so it falls into the little spaces between. Mmmmm.

Garlic Knots
Bake for 8-10 minutes and tah-dah! Garlicky, buttery, carby perfection.
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Orange Creamsicle Cake

Domestic

The second cake of the year! It was actually a happy birthday cake for my friend Brigid! Happy Birthday, Brigid!

It’s wonderfully simple and could not possibly be easier to pull together. No really. It has three ingredients – 4 if you include the orange zest – you really should, it makes it more legit I think. ;)

You know how I feel about using a cake mix as a base, or anything that comes from a box like that when you can just as easily make it yourself from scratch. I keep being told that some recipes (like this one) need the cake mix and it wont work out as well if it’s done from scratch. This usually infuriates me, but I’m trying to pretend it doesn’t bother me relax about this stuff a bit.

If you’re counting calories, this cake is a pretty good treat. If you slice it into 9 pieces, each slice is about 200 calories.

Orange Creamsicle Cake

via Better Recipes

1 box white cake mix (see, this bugs me, is ‘white’ a flavor??)
6oz plain Greek yogurt
1 cup orange juice
zest of 1 orange

This is one of those ‘dump it all in one bowl and you’re done’ type cakes, which, hatred for cake mixes aside, is actually really helpful. Preheat to 350 before you get started.

Orange Creamsicle Cake

I mixed the yogurt and the cake mix together first, then added the orange juice and once that was well mixed I folded in the orange zest. Bake for about 30-35 minutes.

Orange Creamsicle Cake Orange Creamsicle Cake

I keep taking pictures of my finished kitchen accomplishments with my phone for Instagram and then I totally forget to get a picture with my camera. Lame.

Orange Creamsicle Cake

This cake is really, really moist. Even the next day! It’s orangey, for sure, but not as orangey as I would have liked. If I make this again I will add more zest and maybe even some orange extract.

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Christmas 2013 Rewind

Domestic, Kids

Oh my goodness, this Christmas season really seemed to fly by faster than others have! I think it’s that this year we are involved in more activities than ever before. Several years ago, when we lived in the middle of nowhere, I felt like I had a pretty good grip on being fully present and that helps to make time feel a lot slower! I’m going to have to think about that and try to work out a way to be fully present when there is so much going on. Challenge accepted!

This holiday season I made a knitted advent calendar and it was so fun to do the activities with the kids. Some of the activities were seriously time consuming like making homemade marshmallows and some activities were especially messy like making window clings, but they were all a blast. The whole reason we do so many countdown activities with the kids is to spend time together, add to the magic of the season and stretch out the anticipation!

We celebrate Eastern Orthodox Christmas as well, though the focus on our ‘little Christmas’ is to make things for each other and to bake traditional Greek Christmas treats. I’ll post some of the other Christmas treats we have made between now and then (January 6) because they were all so good! This year we made peppermint fudge, Oreo truffles, a holiday version of cowgirl cookies, checkerboard cookies, English toffee, two kinds of peanut brittle (the accidental kind was voted the best), red and green velvet Ferrero Rocher cupcakes, chocolate dipped pie crust stars, and date cakes baked in tin cans with caramel sauce. Our oldest had a Jiu Jitsu tournament where he placed second, and a promotion ceremony where he moved on to his next belt! Our second had a weekend of dance workshops to prepare for her competitions next month, she danced for a fundraiser and her dance company had a Christmas party. The littlest and I were just trying to make sure everyone was where they needed to be and that we managed to have a healthy dinner on the table every night. She’s playing around in the kitchen a lot more lately and loves when she makes something she can share with her friends.

Oreo truffles peppermint fudge
checkerboard cookies peanut brittle

My husband and my sister both got me the bulk of my kitchen wish list, and I could not possible be more thankful or more excited! Aside from the glass bowls and the stainless steel measuring cups and spice rack (thank you so much guys), I got cookbooks from my two absolute faves – Bobby Flay and Ree Drummond. I am really excited to cook and bake my way through these books. I think I will start with some of The Pioneer Woman’s finger foods for New Years Eve and work on some cute mocktails. Today though, today is for knitting and relaxing and maaaaaaybe making some lemon curd, because why not?

Merry Christmas!!

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