Monday, January 30, 2012

Baking Monday - Cake Mix Cookies

These cookies from Sweet Sugarbelle are seriously easy and seriously good!

The "dump" mixing method makes them extra fast to make. I like her suggestion to try these instead of store bought cookies when pressed for time. Mine didn't spread and get all crackly, but stayed poofy for some reason. I added mini chocolate chips and a tsp of cinnamon per the suggestion - highly recommended! I'm thinking the peanut butter version would be quite tasty, too. Really, the possibilities of add-ins are endless!

And in other news - a new keyboard cover! Isn't it cute? And it matches my office! I'm looking forward to keeping the keys pristine.
The cover is from Sticars and is both removable and washable ... because wine does get spilled from time to time. (I won't tell the kids that's why the K sticks on their "new" computer, whoops.)

Friday, January 27, 2012

I Heart FB!

I love Facebook, let me count the ways ...

• I love reading updates from people on a daily basis who I would not be in touch with otherwise - former co-workers, cousins, other school parents. Our Facebook connection provides a layer of familiarity and comfort. Maybe it's a poor stand in for actual communication, but I don't care, because ...

• I hate the phone. I don't know why, but phone conversations make me completely anxious. I'm working on it.

• I like seeing photos of you and your kids. Not a zillion of them, but an every few weeks update to see what you've been up to. Bring it on!

• Yes, I'm one of those people who gets news stories from Facebook first. I don't regularly watch the morning news, and only read the news on my phone if I'm really bored. If something newsworthy happens, one of my friends will post it on Facebook. I'm also not a sports person, but can get a vague idea of how the Bills and Sabres are doing thanks to my friends' status updates.

• I don't follow every link that people post, but some have led to entertainment or information that I would not have found otherwise. I try to be very selective in link posting, and only post if something really strikes me or I feel it may have value to someone else.

• Facebook (via my good friend from junior high) has introduced me to online Scrabble, my second guiltiest pleasure (next to Bejeweled Blitz. Seriously, why is that game so addictive? But I won't post game updates on my status feed ... you're welcome.)

Pet peeves? Oh, yeah. This article definitely hit the hot spots. The vague post is the most annoying - the one that hints there is a deeper, but more personal, story behind the sentence. Either share or don't share!

Facebook is still the first site I go to in the morning and the last one I check in with before bed. And yes, I'm old.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Happy Birthday, Dora!

We celebrated Dora's 10th birthday this month!

She won a gift certificate for our local bounce place last spring, we saved it and invited a few of her friends to come along as her birthday party. It was a very small group of girls - just the right size - they had a blast!

These little hair sets were stocking stuffers from Target, on sale after Christmas. We added a mini bottle of nail polish to each one for favors.

These little cupcake boxes were also after Christmas sale items from Christmas Tree Shop.

Dora wanted chocolate chip and sugar cookies as her birthday treat. There were enough of each to send little bags home with each guest.

Star cutout cookies! My grandma helped me decorate these on the day of her party. I don't like giving up control of cookie decorating, but I do love my grandma.

We celebrated with family on her birthday with a blueberry cake.

What a fun 10 years we've had!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Baking Monday - PB and Chocolate Shortbread Bars

Today's treat is a good one! Bottom layer of peanut shortbread, middle layer of fluffy peanut butter, topped with dark chocolate ganache. It's a bit time consuming, because the bottom layer has to chill, then bake, then cool before the rest can be put together, but these are quite yummy. I chopped the peanuts and blended the bottom layer in the food processor - easy.

(... and next time I will remember to de-crumb before taking photos.)

They're sort of like a fancy Tagalong in bar form. Delish!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Love Those Kids

Dora left this note for Theo at breakfast:

Translation: "Meet Dora in Ekat stronghold behind red chair after school." Further translation: Ekat = Ekaterina branch of the Cahill Family. (It's a 39 Clues thing.)

There's also been more panicking around here.

I regularly find additions to my grocery list.

Most common requests: soda and ice cream.

Lastly, I went upstairs yesterday and was greeted by a dozen of these signs, taped all around my bedroom.

I don't even know where that came from.

I signed each one with "No! Love, Mom" and hung them around his room in return.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Baking Monday - Compost Cookies

I came across this recipe from a reference on another baking site, and apparently it's pretty popular, because there are many reports of trying this recipe floating around out there in the interwebspace. The catch with this recipe is that you can incorporate bits of all different things into the dough. For these, I used white and semisweet chocolate chips, toffee bits, pretzels, and potato chips.

So, the recipe says to scoop the dough onto parchment, then refrigerate for an hour before baking to keep them from spreading too much. Well, I have a habit of not listening to recipe recommendations, so I chose to refrigerate the big bowl of dough, then scoop and bake it cold. They spread SO MUCH that it was practically a bar cookie! (Hence the rectangular rather than circular shape.)

They don't look pretty, but do taste yummy, though I still prefer poofy cookies. It might be a little too much butter for my taste, too. I love the idea of including bits of things from the pantry in this recipe ... I was getting lots of other ideas as they were mixing. Will definitely try again!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Just for Fun - Play Credit Cards

My sis gave her daughter her own wallet and play money for Christmas. She asked me to make up some cards for the wallet. (I gave Dora a play wallet when she was a toddler, but just filled it with promotional credit cards, these are way cuter.)

I used existing artwork from my archives and Dora helped me think of some the themes for the cards.

They were a big hit!