Monday, November 15, 2010

Threw my eyes.....

As my eyes look at these photos 

 They see PURE happiness
PURE laughter

Pure Goofiness

I am so thankful for this little girl.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Nana's Happy Day- Part 3 - "THE CAKE"

"Nana's Happy Day Eat Cake!"-Nana

This was by far my most favorite cake project yet!

First I started with two bowls of batter. I used strawberry cake mix for the red. Having the pink base really helps in the amount of food coloring that you need to use. I used plain white cake mix for the other.
Last year I inherited all of my Great-Grandmothers baking stuff. Included in it was this checker board cake pan set made by Wilton. Its really old, but still the same as they sell today.

So you then fill the rings with the two colors, like in the photo below. if you want STRIPES, like I did, then you need to fill ALL of your pans the exact same way. ( if you want checkers, then you alternate)

I baked 3 or 4 at a time, lucky for me i have about 8 round cakes pans so this too significantly less time, I think my cake was 11 layers!!
After all the cakes were cooled and removed from there pans i stacked them on cookie sheets with wax paper in between and put them in the freezer until 2 nights later.With 3 kids it would be impossible for me to do this in one day!! So the3 FREEZER is your Friend!!!
I covered the bottom of my cake caddy with wax paper because I knew i would be moving this to a cake board at some point. There would be NO moving this without the wax paper.

my cakes were pretty flat and required minimal work to insure they would stack properly. I used  cream cheese frosting in between and for the crumb coat!
When you are stacking cakes it is VERY important to make sure that you reinforce it! If you don't it WILL fall over! I just use the straws that they sell at the baking supply shop, they are like 10/$1.00
Once you are all stacked this would be the time you would want to trim or shape your cake!

Then give it a nice crumb coating. And put it back in the freezer untill you are ready to decorate it. About 24 hours prior to your party!
I decorated this the night before her party and then placed it back in the refrigerator untill about 2 hours before the party!
I used a Wilton Star Tip This worked out great for me. I had been dreading how to frost this cake all week. How would i get red and white stripes perfectly spaced with out messing it up? THIS was my solution! I actually love the look of the star tip!
I went back and forth between the colors a few times, just so i could get my spacing how I wanted.
 The morning of the party I added the black. I used a gel icing with glitter made by Wilton. I had never used it before and was concerned it would run so I waited but it did great and stayed put.
I had also made some number 2's out of the white chocolate when I make the cupcake toppers.
Here is a great shot of the inside of the cake!
And of COURSE one of the Birthday girl about to blow out her candle!
the last three photos were courtesy of Ashley Cherney Photography!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Tortilla Soup Recipie

Southwestern Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipie

 I have been craving tortilla soup lately, which also happens to be my husbands favorite soup. He really should have been born south of the border because he would be a very happy man to have mexican food every day! I didnt have a recipie, and wasnt sure I had all the ingrediants for ones I was looking at online, So I just went to the kitchen and started gathering! 

What I used-

3 small yellow onions
4 large fresh tomatoes
5 or 6 cloves of garlic
1 can tomato paste
1 can corn
2 cans black beans
1/2 bag pre cooked schwans fajita chicken
Garlic salt
Garlic Powder
Taco Seasoning
hot sauce
olive oil
chicken broth bullion
and wondra (not pictured)

First things first, gather all your ingredients, and Turn on your crock pot.

Boil 6-8 cups water and make your chicken broth ( feel free to just use canned broth if you have it, I use this cause its WAY cheaper!) Pour that in your crock pot
Chop up your Onions and garlic, add to a pan of 2 tbls hot olive oil and saute for a few minutes, add to crock pot
Dice up your tomatos and add those as well
At this point you will want to add your tomato paste, as well as all of your spices. I used about a 1/4 cup of taco seasoning, but adjust that as well as all other spices to your liking. If you like your food spicy now would be a great time to add a little jalapeno!
Cover your crock pot and let cook for several hours.

After several hours of cooking, and about an hour or so before we were going to eat drained and rinsed the the 2 cans of beans, 1 can of corn and added 1/2 bag of Chicken. 

I used the pre-cooked chicken from Schwans, its already seasoned for fajitas, and went great with this soup. but feel free to use fresh chicken if you prefer. I am not a fan of pre-cooked meats, I have been trying out different convenience foods since Adam was born, simply because dinner time is usually his cranky time, And Im hooked. Its great flavor, great texture unlike some precooked chicken Ive tried. its also great to use on salads and in quesadillas and I love that I can just grab a handful and heat it up real quick!

I like my soups a little on the thicker side, so just before serving I added a few tablespoons of wondra to thicken it. You can also use flour to do this.

Here it is, ready to eat!
you can garnish with Avocado, sour cream, cheese and tortilla strips to your liking. I didnt put anything on top of mine and it was delicious! I did however make some of the "raw" tortillas from costco and dip them in it! 

This is a soup that will freeze well, with or with out the meat. Im planning on making a HUGE pot of this in the coming weeks and freezing in meal sized bags for lunches and easy dinners for the winter. You can also add an array of other veggies to it easily!

A small bowl of this along with a nice cheesy quesadilla-YUMMY!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fun with letters project!

I was looking for a cool wall piece that I could create for Adams wall. It needed to be inexpensive, but it needed to be something that stood out, as well as something that I could see staying in his room for a long time, not just threw babyhood!

I love all the Ideas I have seen where people take pictures of architecture that resembles letters and so that is what I set out to do. But after a month or so of never leaving home with out my camera and still only obtaining one OK letter I was starting to get discouraged.

Then I found the *perfect* frames for my project

They look like they just have black matting in them, but its not its the glass that is painted black. They were on clearance at Michael's for $.75 each. and there were ONLY 4 left. It was definitely a sign! They were meant to be part of my project!

Well once I got home I was so antsy to get this project on the wall I started scouring the web for images of letters. I finally stumbled upon a FLICKR site that I regrettably didn't bookmark :( and found some awesome letters! I then did the unthinkable and saved them to my computer and had them printed at my local target!! (actually this person gave you permission to use there images as long as you don't take credit for them!)

The colors really go well with the room, and I love the rustic-ness ( is that a word?) of each letter.

here is a better shot of them, ( oh look theres my tiny tornado)I think they look great on the wall, and I really think that this will be something that will be able to stay in his room with him as he grows!

This project cost me $3 for the frames and $.40 for the prints. And is SO FAR my favorite frugal design! This one will be hard to beat!

be sure to check out THESE link parties and all there great ideas!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Monthly Dinner Challenge- week 1

Since late in my pregnancy and during the last three months, dinner time has evolved into what ever is convenient. Convenience mostly equals unhealthy, overly processed, fast food of some sort. This is NOT OK with me. I know its mostly my fault, and I do own this completly, which makes this MY responsibility to change. Now dont get me wrong, I do cook. and we have NOT eaten fast or easy food every day by any means, but a couple times a week at least, and really that is just TOO much.

I have a friend who COOKS. EVERY. MEAL. except ONE. Every month, all year, for the past how ever many years. This is just what she does. I once asked her how she keeps up the motovation to this and how she keeps it from being repetiive, She gave me a better answer than I could have asked for, She wrote and entire blog post about it. You can read it HERE! -(Go read it, I promise its worth it, but don't forget to come back and finish reading this one!)

So Im challenging myself for the month of November to cook for the whole month. Now I do realize that Thanksgiving is this month, and so is my birthday, as well as my hubbie being on vacation, So there WILL be days were NOT home at dinner time, and well that is just life. So I might have picked a bad month to start this challenge, but with me its now or never. If I put things off too long I just dont end up doing them! And Im really hoping that I really enjoy the results and will want to just keep this going.

Ive made a list of my regular meals as well as meals Id like to incorporate into our regular rotation, and a few suggestions from friends! Im open to any and all suggestions anyone may have as well!

I started this on November 2nd-  
Tuesday-Pan Simmered Pork chops W/ Rice and veggies
Thursday-Talapia ( from schwans) with Rice and Veggies
Friday- Low Fat Chicken Tortilla Soup- my very own Recipe to come!!
Sat- LowFat Beef Stroganoff
Sunday- Rount tip roast, oven roasted baby potatoes and salad.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Kids Halloween project!

I actually learned this project from my friend Jeny, who learned it from someone else. But I forgot to do it BEFORE Halloween, But its something I want to do every year to look back on and see how my kids have grown So I did it a few days late! :)

These are SUPER easy and fun to make!

These are Adam's 
These are Savanna's

So simple, yet so adorable! You just paint there little feet white and there hands (minus the thumb) black and Viola! You have and adorable little ghost, and a cute little spider!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Rainy Day Fun!

Savanna has recently discovered she has a LOVE of coloring. Which means there are now crayons ALL. OVER. MY. HOUSE. ::sigh::

About 20 times a day I walk around and pick up a hundred broken crayons. Needless to say I was about to declare my house a 'crayon free zone' until I remembered something I had seen in a Parents  magazine some time ago.

So I started hunting crayons, I went threw every room in my house, drawer by drawer, couch by couch and gathered every stinking crayon I could find!

Which looked something like this...UGH!

 So I gathered my chillins and told them to start peelin'-

SHE was less than thrilled. (can you tell?)
 so I bribed her with candy, and she was more than willing!
So they spent the next hour or so peeling crayons. I might tell you that this is something the both LOVE to do when I don't want them to...But once asked to peel so many it didn't seem FUN anymore! HAHA! MOM WINS!
 Then I let Brynn break them up and separate them into coordinating color groupings and put them into the silicone cupcake wrappers. (you can use paper if that is what you have) I just happen to have silicone ones, and it made them SUPER easy to pop out after they cooled!
I put them in a 250 degree oven and kept an eye on them, you want them to get melty, but not all the way melted, just enough to mesh together!

After they are melted to your liking, remove from the oven and let them cool for about 30-45 min or so and then you can pop them right out!

Throw them into a bowl and let the kids have at 'em. I now only have about 20 crayons to wrangle up at the end of the day, and they are EXTREMELY hard for 2 year olds to break!

And, if you are lucky, your two year old will truely compliment you by imitating how you made them in er very own play oven!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Nana's happy Day preperation -Part 2- Birthday Banner

While I had planned to have this party outside since we had been having BEAUTIFUL fall weather here in Sonoma County, Mother Nature decided otherwise. I hadn't planned much in the way of decorations but since we were moving this shin-dig indoors, I decided I needed to do something! I have seen these banners all over blog land, so this was in NO way my very own invention, only my design! They are Super easy and actually fun to make!

First thing, Find a font you love, I used Curlz MT, which worked perfect for my 'seussish' theme but was really actually kind of a pain to cut out. 

Type out your signage in word or what ever program you have and blow it up to about 300% and bold your letters if you like. Then print out your signage on card stock and start cutting! This was a tiedious process, I did a few letters each time I nursed threw out the day.  At this point, also print out any shapes and numbers you may want as well, I did "2" and A star! 

Then cut out your "flags" I just used a random assortment of card stock that I had in my scrap booking supplies

 And then I did some smaller flags in regular scrap-booking paper in random prints, glued them to the card stock and then glued the letters to the paper!

The best part of my theme this year was that because it was "seussish" imperfection was KEY. it gave all of my projects that special something!

I used scrap-booking eyelets to connect each flag to the next, and In between each word I used a star shape with the number "2"

I think it turned out Fantastic, and in all honesty its November 2, and its still hanging up. Every morning when Savanna Comes down stairs she says  "oh happy day nana" 
I plan on taking it least before she turns 3! 

I'm actually going to keep this for next year and replace the 2's with 3's!