Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Golf Cookies!

I've been reading a lot of cookie blogs lately (like this one, this one, and this one) and was inspired to get a little more adventerous with these cookies.

My cousin Scot and his new bride Kelly had a golf-themed party to celebrate their marriage last weekend, and I thought these cookies would be fun.

The golf balls were inspired by this post.

And I found a few of these scenes on Flickr (search: golf cookies).

Big tray of sprinkle hearts ... mmmmm, sparkly!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Baking Monday - Chocolate Cappuccino Cookies

Baking Monday is back! I had forgotten that the pool season was starting tonight, so I didn't plan today's recipe in advance, but did find a good recipe in the Taste of Home cookie book to try.

They look identical to the Chocolate Brownie Cookies that I've made before, but a very different recipe and one additional ingredient - coffee, mmmm. I can't stand actual coffee, but love it in baked goods and ice cream. These mixed and baked quickly - done and out of the oven before any kids were down for breakfast this morning! Hershey's Dark Cocoa makes these look black instead of brown and makes them taste extra yummy.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Kids in the Kitchen

We haven't done a lot of home projects this summer - the kids have been so happy to just play their own thing when we're here - but it was easy to get everyone on board for a candy project.

We saw a segment on tv about a candy company that makes chocolate covered gummy bears and the kids were intrigued. We don't have gummy bears at home, but do have a big supply of gummy worms, thanks to a special aunt who sends the kids home with bags every time we see her.

So, we melted some chocolate and started dipping. Clark doesn't like worms, so they made him some jellybean clusters instead.

Not very pretty to look at, but ...

... everyone liked them. The jellybeans were preferred to the worms, probably because they are softer and easier to eat.

We also decided to make these lollipops!

Ours didn't turn out nearly as neat, but still very cool looking. They didn't melt evenly - perhaps because the Jolly Ranchers have been hanging around our house for awhile - but it was interesting to note that the grape melted first, followed by the green apple and the pesky pink watermelon were last.


Friday, August 19, 2011


Dora as Mary Poppins for the last day of camp - dress like your favorite movie character. Pretty good for a homemade costume put together with less than 24 hours notice.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Happy Theo Day!

The middle child has been quite moody lately. He and I were having dinner after a long day of errands, and despite an ice cream stop in the middle of the day, was still grumbling and complaining.

"There should be a day," he said, "where I get to make all the decisions."

Done. I told him. Tomorrow is Theo Day. You decide what to do. His face lit up. "Really?" Right after dinner, he sat down to make up a schedule, and posted it in the kitchen and outside the bedrooms.

I liked how he alternated some play time with the candy eating and Xbox-ing.

Morning tv time ...

... and play time ...

... followed by some candy eating ...

It was raining on and off all day, so the trip to the carousel was replaced with an hour at Chuck E. Cheese.

By 6 pm, the sun was finally out, so I suggested a walk instead of the scheduled evening XBox time, and he agreed. It's kind of nice when they realize on their own that a day of nothing can sometimes be too much. The playground was still too wet to play, so we walked to the creek and threw rocks. (Something we should really do more often - hours of entertainment!)

Luck was on our side, because mere minutes after we arrived home, the skies opened up and started pouring again.

This was a lot of fun, and I have to say that I really enjoyed saying yes to everything all day. Big payoff for not too much work. Happy Theo Day!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Summer Musical

Workshop tuition - $195
Tshirt - $15
Tickets - $90
Program ad - $40
DVD - $30
Flowers - $16
Ice cream cake - $20
Candy grams - $5

Seeing this expression up on stage - Priceless!

Dora just finished her first musical theatre workshop. She didn't love the experience - there were some tears early on, and I think the amount of work involved really surprised her. However ... that girl LOVED being on stage. She was just radiating happiness. 

She was in two performances of "The Best of Disney", playing one of the seven dwarfs. She had six songs and dances to learn and did a wonderful job.

Up until last night, she said that she would not want to do another show, but seeing her expression up on stage this weekend said otherwise. Hopefully, the big payoff of performance day will be enough to make her want to try it again. I'm just going to wait awhile before asking!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Fun With the Camera

The kids borrowed my camera and I found evidence of floating children.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Latest Sewing

I haven't been doing a lot of sewing, but had a big order for baby sets recently.

I'm working on finishing up a stack of napkins this week to fill the Etsy shop (it's about time!) for back-to-school.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Cloth Napkin Shop Restock!

Finally! The Etsy shop has been updated, just in time for back-to-school.

Prints for boys - pirates, rockets, and monsters.

Prints for girls - rainbow cats, trees, blue flowers, and bright butterflies.

Prints for mom - brown birds, painted flowers, mod fruit. (I loved the fruit so much that I kept a set for myself, which means there is only one set in the shop! Get them while they last!)

What We Love This Week (Girly Edition, Part 2)

Dora got this cute set from our cousins for her birthday and she loves it.

The dress forms have openings in the back that the fabric can be pushed through.

Of course, I have to take pictures of every design before she can start a new one. Fun!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

More Movies

Recent selections from Movie Night ...

Jeff bought this for me for Mothers' Day and then forgot about it until a few weeks ago (bonus gift for me!) The kids all loved it, though Clark went to bed before the end - it's another long one. I love the scene when Chessy realizes that Hallie is really Annie - tears every time! It's such a sweet movie, but sad at the same time, because of the loss of Miranda Richardson and the craziness of Lindsay Lohan. We liked the DVD bonus feature that explained how they filmed the twin scenes.

Totally stupid, but the kids all love it. At least it's short.

This was my choice - Jeff and I took my little cousins to go see this in the theatre when we were dating. The movie is just okay, but the music is great. A recent addition to movie night is the Rolling Credits Dance Party, when Dora and Clark typically bust their moves to the final song, and this one had them hopping!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

More Baking - Grad & Wedding Cookies

It's graduation season! These are cookies I did for a party order last month - my favorite batch of UE cookies yet.

The following week, I had an order for another six dozen cookies, with monograms. I usually freehand cookies, but wanted these to look more consistent, so I piped the letters on wax paper over a printout.

Then caaaarefulllly peeled each very fragile letter off the wax paper. (It goes without saying: make extras.)

The kids were SO interested in these! I said, "Don't touch them! Don't look at them! Don't even think about them, pretend they don't exist!", which of course they just found hysterical and then taunted me with "Mah-om, I'm think-ing about those letters!" 

These are some of the finished products!

I'm loving the new icing colors. I've had NO bleeding, but am still having problems with spotting.

... spotting here, too. (Frowny face)

And these lovely cookies were for our good friends' wedding the same week. Americolor Super White made these look extra fabulous.

212 cookies in one week! Happily, all three kids had a summer camp in the morning that week, I needed all the time I could get!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ice Cream Safari - Week 3

Today we went to a shop that Jeff and I had visited years ago, shortly after we first moved here, in a different location. It was a memorable occasion because ... the ice cream was awful. We were both a few licks in to our cones when we looked at each other and said, "Mine's not very good - is yours?" and both ended up pitching them. I guarantee, that has NEVER happened before or since.

So, I was happy to give it a second try today. We must have gotten a bad batch on that day years ago, because happily, the ice cream today was quite yummy!

Dora chose cotton candy, Clark and Theo branched out with chocolate chip. I loved the funky decor.

Clark got a kick out of the toilet seat on the bathroom door.

The restrooms were all decorated in jewels with a poem on the back of the door that cleverly rhymed "sprinkle" with "tinkle" and made us all laugh.

And more exciting news ... we won two baskets at our church picnic yesterday. Clark really wanted the sports bag, so he was very excited. Turns out, the tote bag was handmade! Gorgeous! (And I am LOVING the Vestal color theme.) Dora and Theo were both trying for the Halloween basket, so they were happy, too. They always complain that we don't have any scary Halloween decorations - my taste is definitely more cutesy - so they are thrilled that we now have a witch, skeleton and a pair of creepy spiders to put out in October.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Baking Monday - Red, White and Blue

First up - white chocolate strawberries for a 3rd-of-July pool party. The idea came from Family Fun, here's a link to the how-to from Our Best Bites. I didn't have enough blue sugar sprinkles for all the berries, so I mixed it up with some blue jimmies, too. For future reference - the crowd liked the sugar sprinkles better!

I had an order for graduation cookies the same weekend and happily, the school colors were red, white, and blue, so I made extra cookies and icing for the holiday weekend.

4th-of-July cookies for pool party #2 - it is nice to have so many friends with pools! (We always bring treats when we get invitations, by the way!) Lots of experimentation with this batch. Dora's favorite was the tye-dye looking star, I liked the polka dots and flags.

There was enough of everything left over to have a decorating session at home. I gave each kid two cookies to decorate, and by the time I headed back to the table with the frosting, one of Clark's cookies was already half gone.

Theo and Dora really took their time with these.

Dora tried to recreate the tye dye one, but was getting frustrated over the way they were turning out. I reminded her that it's just a cookie ... it will still be delicious!

Happy moment captured in between freak out fits because Dora wanted the picture alone with the cookies - she was up in her room about 10 seconds after we snapped this - sigh. I think that's why I treasure our family photos ... they help me remember the harmonious times and overlook the moments that are slightly less so.