Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Yule Log

 I was on a small baking frenzy this last week, I think it is just about over!  Anyway I had to make a dessert for our church Christmas party.  I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, and then I just got an inspiration to make a Yule Log.  One of my sons is always asking for that "rolled up kind of cake", which is a lot of work, that I don't usually have the time or energy for, but I was in the mood this day.  We had seen a beautiful Yule log cake in a bakery a week or two ago, and I noticed the cute little mushrooms on it, which I didn't realize was a traditional part of the Yule Log decorating... Anyway after I got my inspiration to try one of these, I started googling recipies and came
 across several interesting ones.  Martha of course had the mushroom recipe.  I didn't really search anywhere else as her recipe was pretty clear and concise, and not a tremendous amount of work!  I didn't like her cake recipe so I used a different one from Easy French Foods.  The Yule log is a traditional french Christmas dessert and can be decorated many ways, including santas, or dancing elves atop the log.  I didn't have any dancing elves on hand, so I opted for the mushrooms.  I thought they came out pretty realistic looking.  Merry Christmas!
Here are the mushrooms before going into the oven.  Once they are dry you simply spread melted chocolate on the bottom of the cap, and add a stem.  I cooled them upside down in an egg carton till I needed them.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Meet Kissing Bunnies Cloth


I recently talked with Michelle of Kissing Bunnies Cloth.  I was really interested to know about using fleece for diaper covers, etc.  She makes some really cute fleece longies as well as diapers and other items in her Etsy shop.  She first started using fleece as she has a wool/lanolin allergy.  It works and is waterproof because it is made from polyester, the weave is so tight that it is both waterproof and breathable. The pattern she uses  is from  Christine Stevens, another etsy mom.  Michelle says, "  I really like her longie pattern because it is slim on the legs and still allows the child to wear a cloth diaper or none at all."  After trying many types of diapers and doing some embroidery (so much that her machine died!), Michelle discovered fleece longies, she says they make fantastic all day pants, or overnight pants.  

Michelle has been sewing for a long time, and started sewing diapers when her little man was about 4 months old.  A back injury has kept her from doing many things that she used to, so sewing has become her way of keeping busy while staying at home with her children.  I like how she puts it, "I sew almost everyday, it is kinda like my zen. Keeps me calm and rational with my back issue and my lack of movement.  My body may be much quieter than it once was but my heart will just not let me stop. Got to keep busy somehow! This is my solution."

Michelle now sells exclusively on Etsy and at craft fairs. I asked her what she loves about selling her creations,
she replied, "I love that people buy my items. I really love that people sometimes find me and come back to see what else I have made. I love being able to stay home with my little man and keep him out of daycare, and still supplement my fabric stash. " 

 Please check out her fleece longies, wrap diapers and all her different creations in her Etsy shop Kissing Bunnies. 
 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Painting on Cakes Using Luster Dust

When I started the idea for this post, I was actually going to blog about the cake recipe, but I had so much fun decorating the cake, that I decided to switch it up and talk about the decorating.  I will give you the link to the recipe however, as this is one of the best cake recipes I have made, and I make a lot of cakes!  The cake itself is chocolate with a terrifically pallet pleasing salted caramel frosting.  This may sound like a bit of work, and it did take a little extra time, but the flavor of this frosting is worth the effort.  This blog has great pictures of the frosting making process, but the recipe is found here at Blackberry Farm.


So on to my cakes...  I discovered using luster dust several years ago while poking around at the bakery supply store. I am not really much of a cake decorator, but I like to experiment with new cake or cookie decorating ideas.  A friend had actually won an amazing fondant covered cake at an auction while we were out of town, it had polka dots on it that were iridescent gold.  She bought it for a birthday cake for someone, and in traveling back home some of the polkas got smudged.  I have this philosophy that I can fix anything, so I told her I would fix it. this is what led to my trip to the bakery supply.  The sweet lady that runs the shop told me you simply mix the dust (made from some undefined powdery sparkly wonderful substance) with some kind of alcohol; she suggested vodka, but use whatever you have on hand.  Then paint it on your fondant, or frosting.  When the alcohol evaporates, you have a slightly sparkly luster dust design on your cake or cookie.


I used a salmon pinkish colored dust and an apple green for this cake and the little cake for my sweet GB...pictures at the end of post.  I just mixed with a few drops of my little travel size vodka bottle, that I hide with my baking supplies, so no one drinks it, and started painting on a viney design with pink blobs that were supposed to look kind of like rose buds!  After finishing the painting I sprinkled pixie dust all over the cake, just to give it a fun, magical fairy tale look.  The pixie dust, also known as Disco Dust and the Lusters are manufactured by CK Products


The painting on the cake was pretty straight forward, I noticed it was easier and the colors came out stronger if the dust mix was a little on the thick side. The more vodka the thinner and lighter the color would appear.
I made the big cake in the pictures, but I also made my GB her own personal cake for her one year birthday celebration.  



Now on to the best part, getting to see that little rose bud eat her cake....





Gone!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Meet CarpeDiemTreasures


I like to review Etsy shops when I can, so today I want to introduce you to CarpeDiemTreasures.  I love all things vintage, and as I was shopping for something on Etsy I happened upon their shop.  There was a vintage item that I just had to buy, but not in the sense you would imagine.  While stocking many amazing vintage items, CarpeDiem also creates pendants from vintage sheet music, maps or any other interesting vintage paper item.  The pendant I saw happened to have the word Winter in a piece of old sheet music, and I couldn't resist buying it for a friend as that is her last name.  



CarpeDiemTreasures has wonderful service, great communication and not only that, but my pendant arrived in a sweet little hand made origami box.  I didn't even have to gift wrap it, I just handed my friend the box.  They are a mother daughter vintage loving team, and have many vintage items as well as their recently added handmade section with origami pieces and pendants from vintage maps . Check it out! www.etsy.com/shop/carpediemtreasures?section_id=10597699

Find them on Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter.
http://carpediemtreasures.tumblr.com/
www.facebook.com/CarpeDiemTreasures... happy shopping!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Healthy Recipes - Avocado Pear Salad

My wonderful mother in law is here visiting for the Thanksgiving Holidays, we were in the kitchen, having a good time, making chicken pot pie with Thanksgiving leftovers and drinking tea.  As I perused through the fridge for something to go with this yummy cold weather meal, I noticed the fridge was a little bare.  I dug further and grabbed out a few ingredients, 5 to be exact, and made this amazing salad.  We just celebrated Thanksgiving, but the beautiful greens and subtle reds of this salad fit right in with Christmas.  We found it a delightful blend of fruit and tart, I hope you like it too.

Avocado Pear Salad

1 Avocado sliced and diced into bite sized pieces
2 Ripe Pears sliced and diced into bite sized pieces
5 Green Onions chopped
1 Cup (approximately) Crazins
Briannas New American Salad dressing to taste


That's it!  Just mix all these things together and chill for a bit while your dinner cooks, and serve it up with your meal!



Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Golden Bars

I recently read somewhere that if you cut a small portion of the sugar out of a standard recipe, and gradually kept cutting a bit out, then over time you would be consuming less sugar, and you wouldn't notice the difference. I have been thinking about this for a while (and not really trying it as, ya know, I like sugar! Especially brown sugar!) but as I was getting ready to make these mouthwatering and delicious "Golden Bars", I decided to give the sugar cut a try!


I have listed the recipe as it was written and in (parentheses) I showed how much I used to make this less sugar, less fat version.  I cut about 25% of the sugar and fat out of the recipe.  Try it and let me know what you think!

Golden Bars

2/3 Cup shortening, butter, or oil (1/2)
2 C Brown Sugar (1 1/2)
2 Beaten Eggs
1/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp Vanilla
1 1/2 C Flour
2 tsp Baking Power

Melt the shortening or butter on low in a sauce pan.  Remove from heat, add remaining ingredients, pour into greased 8" x 8" glass pan.  Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.  Cool, cut into 2" ish squares, enjoy!

 After baking this recipe with reduced fat and sugar, I really did not notice any difference in taste, texture, or the overall outcome of the cookie bars.  I have been making this recipe since I was in high school, and my mom made them before that, so I figgure I am a pretty good judge of their appearance :-) .  I didn't even tell my family that I did it, and no one noticed!


I would love for you to give this recipe a try and let me know how it turns out for you.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Meet Viki of PettiBearKIDS

Viki Tiamat is the owner and designer of PettiBearKIDS on Etsy.  She is a very busy mom, as she also has two other Etsy shops; PettiBear, a shop for womens' fashions and accessories all designed by Viki, and TiamatDesign her original Etsy store specializing in graphic art prints, as well as branding, banners, and other graphic design needs. It is obvious by looking at her shops that sewing and designing are her passion.  I spent some time talking with her about her fitted AIO cloth diapers.  

Although her very first diapers were based on a free pattern she found online, her creative ability and sense of style soon tweaked the pattern to better fit her daughter.  Something I admire about them is that they are made with high quality all organic fabrics inside and out.  She uses hemp fleece for the inside layer, and bamboo velour for the outside super soft layer, as she believes these are the best fabrics for her daughters skin, and your babies as well!!  She says, "I owe a HUGE thanks to the free web patterns that got me started".  
She also told me,"I first started to make diapers with the birth of my second baby daughter ,Sheluv. She is fully diapered with mommy's organic diapers and I LOVE it!"  It was when her second daughter was born that Viki decided to open her third Etsy shop just for kids.  I am impressed with the high quality and reasonable prices of her all organic diapers.  

The opening in the front of theses diapers allows you to use the diaper both as a pocket diaper or an AI2 diaper style, by snapping in the insert on top of the lining. They have a Wrap & Snap option for petite babies, ADJUSTABLE button rubber back and a specially designed internal pocket flap to prevent the soaker from slipping out through the opening, and includes one 4 layer hemp fleece inner soaker .


I asked Viki her thought on being and Etsy seller in another country..."I think is the same like having an Etsy shop in the US but with shipping time difference! The only difficulty selling from abroad is that people not always aware of the fact that they buying from Israel and wondering why it takes so long for their item to arrive :) 
Time zones are a bit confusing as well,but with time I learn to understand that if one really like one of your items,he wouldn't mind waiting for a couple of hours till I reply to their questions..At the beginning I was obsessing about answering right away and lost many sleep hours trying to be in the American time zone while in Israel :D But now I know better-I sleep well and answer first thing in the morning!"  

Thanks so much for checking out her cute kids Etsy shop...PettibearKIDS.  No giveaway this week, but please go to the promotions and giveaway page and check out all the sales and promotions for  Black Friday ~ Cyber Monday and  and Small Business Saturday Sales!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tender Tushies Giveaway


Here is a giveaway posted by clothdiapercontest.com head over and check them out and enter the giveaway

Tender Tushies Review & Giveaway


I am very excited to partner with "mompreneur" Rachelle on this latest review & giveaway. Based out of Maple Ridge, BC, this Canadian mama of three began Tender Tushies after she herself tried many different types of modern cloth diapers and finally found her "perfect" diaper! Her entire lineup of manufactured Tender Tushies diapers features a wide variety of pocket diapers--some which are similar to others I've seen before, and some that seem to be an all new creation! I was excited to give all these gorgeous products a whirl and let all of you lovely readers know just what I thought!

Up for review, Rachelle sent me three Tender Tushies diapers--one "Polka Dot" print, one "Purple Purple Eater" solid, and one "bamboo red" diaper. She also threw in a cute white & black polka dot wetbag for me to "test drive" :)

Round tab print PUL diaper ($10)

I love the variety of diapers that Rachelle & Tender Tushies offers, because it likely means that every mama will be able to find a style and fashionable look that suits their baby best. Both the purple diaper and the polka dot diaper that she sent me boast a leakproof PUL outer shell (softer and more flexible than many I've felt by other brands!), a supersoft microfleece inner, and a microfibre insert to slip into the pocket. The only real difference in these two diapers other than their print is that the print diapers are all available in rounded tabs whereas the solids are available with square tabs. Personally I'm almost always a square tab kind of girl as I find I always like the fit and stretch and reach a LITTLE bit better, and I like that the tabs always lay flat on a square tab diaper. Even the round tabs on the polka dot DID curl a little bit with how they fit on my daughter's tummy.

However, there is one MAJOR upside to these rounded tab diapers when compared to other round tabs I've tried before--they also have an extra hip snap like their square tab counterparts, as well as a crossover capacity on the tabs themselves. I've never seen these two features in a round tab diaper before! I love these extra snap options for a couple of reasons--firstly, of course they provides a better fit (the hip snap prevents wing droop and therefore leaks and blowouts; and, the crossover capabilities mean a perfect bit even when baby is at a bit of a strange size).

Secondly, apart from this more obvious perk, I am also very particular with how I stuff and fold my pockets for putting them away in diaper bags & baskets, and having crossover tabs means I can fold and SNAP SHUT this round tab diaper as well, making it more compact and stackable in my stash. Typically, my round tab diapers are flopping all over the place in my basket, coming unraveled and having the inserts shift and bunch even before Baby has worn them!

Great snapping options make this diaper fit perfectly
Aside from the waist and hip snaps on these diapers, they also are equipped with three sets of rise snaps to adjust for sizing (small, medium, or large). This is great and a money-saver as it means that one set of pocket diapers will take your baby from 8lbs all the way through to potty training, most likely! What mama doesn't want that?!

Rise snaps snug the diaper up to the perfect size
The only downside to the snaps is that I did find they were ever so slightly harder to snap than on some of my other brands. I noticed this only on the PUL shelled diapers (I had to apply a little more oomph with my thumb to get the snap to really stick in properly). However, this never resulted in any major problem or headache for me.

While these two aforementioned Tender Tushies diapers are quite similar & comparable to others I've tried before (similar to many Kawaiis & other Chinese-manufactured names), Tender Tushies also offers another type of pocket unlike any I've ever tried before. I'm absolutely ga-ga for this diaper: their bamboo pocket diaper!

Bamboo pocket diaper with bamboo insert
Outer Material: "70% Bamboo Fiber; 30% Cotton; Waterproof PUL"
Inner Material: "100% Bamboo Carbon Fiber; Micro-polar fleece"
Rachelle sent me this bamboo/cotton blend pocket in a cute punchy red color (also available in sky blue and soft green). Although slightly more expensive than the above-mentioned diapers (the bamboo is $12 whereas the PULs are in the $9-10 range), this diaper is SO worth it for a couple reasons. I've NEVER felt a pocket diaper as soft as this, inside & out! The outer shell is actually like a cotton jersey material--it honestly looks and feels like Baby is wearing a pair of underwear, not a sweaty, plasticy diaper! Because of this jersey material, it also has AMAZING stretch & flexibility--the square tabs easily pull and reach to wherever you'd like to snap them, providing not only a perfect fit, but also a super comfortable one. NOTHING digs in, and everything is fuzzy and tender (a namesake to the company name, perhaps!!).

My favorite diaper in ages!
Secondly, this diaper's inner lining is ingenious--other than being a bright white which may easily stain with messes, this microfleece lining (still fabulous at wicking and remaining super soft after washing) is a DARK GREY color. Not only is it fashionable and different looking, it is also so, so, so, so practical! Although none of these Tender Tushies diapers had any problems with stains, I would imagine that this diaper in particular would never be susceptible to stains of any sort, and I LOVE this!

Lastly, this bamboo pocket diaper also comes with its own insert--a 5 layer, super absorbant insert with a uniquely soft, smooth surface of bamboo.  This insert is super soft, super compact and trim, and has been abosolutely foolproof for me!

This is honestly my favorite diaper that I've tried this year, and I plan to hopefully buy a bunch as gifts in the new year!

Double-zippered wetbag (medium)
Winding down from my diaper fever, I must also mention the cute, trim wetbag that Rachelle also sent my way. This black & white polka dot minky wetbag is cute and folds up teeny tiny in a diaper bag, which is so handy. A short (possibly a little too short for some peoples' needs) elastic handle allows it to easily hang on a change table or doorhandle if you so desire. As a double-pocket wetbag, it's also super handy for storing multiple different items and keeping them separate if need be (dirties & cleans separate, for example; or, wipes separate from diapers). I've tried other wetbags like this before and always love them! At 10"x13" this will comfortably store 3-5 diapers and is easy to toss in a diaper bag, car console, etc. This bag easily washes clean with the rest of your diaper or baby laundry and hangs to dry in a jiffy! My only feedback would be that I do wish the zippers were a little more heavy duty and that the zipper pulls were a tad bit larger, but regardless of that, they still do the trick! :)



BUY IT:
Head over to Tender Tushies right now and browse through all their cute diapers & accessories!

WIN IT:
Tender Tushies is also offering one lucky winner one cloth diaper of your choice!



GIVEAWAY ENDS 11/30/11 at 11:59 PM MST
OPEN ONLY TO CANADA & THE UNITED STATES
Please read all the Giveaway Policies and Rules before participating.
**EACH comment must have an easily accessible email address**

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Buttermilk Pie a Southern Classic



Here is another recipe that I have made for years and years. I better watch it, as I am making myself sound old! This recipe is from my friend Mary Fry, who went to be with Jesus a few years back. So it is extra special to me now, as it always reminds me of her, and the first time I ate this wonderful yet simple pie, and when she gave me the recipe.

I make this a lot in the winter when we need a warm and quick dessert. We slice it up right out of the oven and eat it warm. It is also good cold right out of the refrigerator.


Ingredients:
1 8-9" pie crust uncooked
4 eggs
1 Cup sugar
1 Tbs. vanilla
1 Cup buttermilk (I use sour milk if I don't have buttermilk)

Preheat oven to 350.  Crack eggs into a bowl and beat to blend together.  Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well (I use a wire whisk).  Pour mixture into uncooked pie crust. Bake for 30 minutes until set in the center.  Enjoy!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Red9 Studios



Reposted from last week, due to operator error! Today, I am not introducing you to an Etsy shop, instead I am introducing you to another blogger, and amazing artist.  He recently had a gallery showing in Roeland Park, he currently has several of his custom designed action figures on display at Elite Comics in Overland Park, he is also a very talented musician, and I have the privilege of being his Mom!


One of my favorites.
Patrick Quinn operates RED9 Studios, which is a sculpting and casting studio that specializes in creating and designing customized figures and designer toys.  As I also mentioned he paints and makes music as well.  The thing that I think is really neat about this is that all these things tie together to make a complete body of work.  I didn't really clue into this until after he showed me several of his action figures one day, and not long after that he played a show at our youth center coffee house.  As I was listening to one of his songs, I realized he was singing about the space man that he had just showed me the other day.  His paintings all have a similar theme and feel as well.  You can see several more of his paintings here.  Patrick's muisc from his band Top Kuss can be found here.  I hope you enjoy checking out his blog, artwork and songs.  


Comment below and let me know what you think.




Major Tom Space Man Figure in progress
Wasteland Wanderer

Space Man Painting!


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Healthy Yummy Apple Muffins

I first made this recipe in college in a cooking class. It has stuck with me for all these years, especially during apple season. So I have decided to share it here with you.


1 C + 2/3 C. Flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
14 tsp salt
4 tbs. brown sugar
1 tbs oil
2 tbs honey
2/3 c. milk
1 egg
1 med apple peeled and chopped into chunks


Put all dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well, make a well in the center. In a seperate bowl, mix together ; oil, honey, milk and egg. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until just moistened. Add apple, mix gently, spoon mixture into muffin tins. (2/3 full). Bake 20-25 minutes at 375.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Meet Red 9 Studios



Today, I am not introducing you to an Etsy shop, instead I am introducing you to another blogger, and amazing artist.  He recently had a gallery showing in Roeland Park, he currently has several of his custom designed action figures on display at Elite Comics in Overland Park, he is also a very talented musician, and I have the privilege of being his Mom!


One of my favorites.
Patrick Quinn operates RED9 Studios, which is a sculpting and casting studio that specializes in creating and designing customized figures and designer toys.  As I also mentioned he paints and makes music as well.  The thing that I think is really neat about this is that all these things tie together to make a complete body of work.  I didn't really clue into this until after he showed me several of his action figures one day, and not long after that he played a show at our youth center coffee house.  As I was listening to one of his songs, I realized he was singing about the space man that he had just showed me the other day.  His paintings all have a similar theme and feel as well.  You can see several more of his paintings here.  Patrick's muisc from his band Top Kuss can be found here.  I hope you enjoy checking out his blog, artwork and songs.  


Comment below and let me know what you think.




Major Tom Space Man Figure in progress
Wasteland Wanderer

Space Man Painting!


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

More Fall Recipies.....Grampa Bill's Apple Cake

Apples imbeded in gooey brown sugar cinnimon, surrounded by moist, delicious cake.  This pretty much sums up this recipe that I copied from my step Dad (Grampa Bill).  He is German through and through, and this recipe was his grandmothers.  Needless to say it has been around in our family for generations.  You can substitute Italian (or any) plums in summer time, but we like it best with apples.


APPLE CAKE
ingredients:
1/2 C. Sugar                         1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 C. Butter                        1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 beaten Egg                         >1/3 C. Milk
1 C. Flour                            1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1 Apple sliced 1/4" wedges, peel on

Grease 8x8" baking dish.  Preheat oven to 350o


Mix dry ingredients together.  Cream butter and sugar together well.  Add egg and vanilla.  Add  alternating;  milk and dry ingredients.  Place sliced apples on top of cake.  If using plums, place skin side down on top of cake.  Cover cake evenly with fruit.  Top with crumb mixture (recipe below), and bake at 350 for 35 minutes.

Crumb Topping:
mix together till crumbly: 3 Tbs softened butter, 3 Tbs Brown Sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 2 Tbs Oatmeal (optional)  Sprinkle over your cake

Pin It

Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.  Experiment with your own fruit choices and let me know your results!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Meet Baby Swank

I wanted to tell you about one of my favorite Etsy shops...Baby Swank. Megan Visser is the creator of all the beautiful and useful products at Baby Swank. She recently started making herb infused organic baby bath wash, shampoo and oils. I recently ordered the baby wash/shampoo for my grand babe. I choose the lavender chamomile scent, as I know my DL loves lavender. After trying it, my DL said that is smells wonderful, and leaves babys skin soft, silky and feeling moisturized.

Megan says of her products, "I love items that are fun & fashionable as well as natural, good for you & the environment, & save you money in the long run. I strive to make products that fit into this mindset. "


Megan started her shop in 2010 selling her one-of-a-kind wash cloth bibs.  They are fashionable and functional, and since they snap on in the back, toddlers can't pull them off too easily!  She decided to offer them to the public after making them for her own sons and friends.  In that short time she has not only created a very nice Etsy shop, but has also been an awesome encouragement and help to moms who are learning to manage a business and raise a family.  You can read more about her and her shop at her blog Baby Swank.