Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The World's Best Mom

Happy Birthday to the most incredible mom in the world! Thank you for keeping my plants alive, well my one plant. Thank you for keeping my dreams alive when I don't dare to hope they'll come true. So many of the best ones already have. Thank you for loving me when I don't deserve it, all of us, in that case. :)I love that you inspire me to think of things in ways that I would never on my own. I am so proud of how beautiful you have always been. I have all these snap-shot moments in my mind of how you have gone out of your way to create special memories for us and with us, with such enthusiasm. From little things like nature walks and building snowmen to milestone moments that you add your special touch to, and make them perfect. I love your drive and motivation, how you make a plan and then make it happen. You never say "someday" without following through. I love your cookies and your cooking. I love the way you decorate. I love how clean you keep your car (and my house)! There are all of these kinds of things that I notice and like about you just in an average day and I want to be the kind of mom you are.
Happy birthday, Mom. I love you to the moon.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Amos Dawn

I started public high school when I was 13 years old, after home schooling from 1st grade through 8th. I had lots of friends from church that were in my school and so I didn't feel like a stranger, and it helped that my sister and I were going into our freshman year together. There was this girl who was a friend of another girl from church. Her name was Amy, and she was the goofiest, most silly, most OBNOXIOUS person I had ever met! She never took a day seriously and would chase her pals around and goof off ALL THE TIME! I was astounded! I was intrigued. I watched her, a lot because we had every other hour together. Four out of 7 classes I would see this gal act like a nut! She was the funniest girl I had ever met! Soon after that, she asked me to help her with an English project. I was to be a model for her civil war re-enactment women's clothing that she was giving an educational speech about. She lifted my skirts and showed off my slips, she talked about corsets and undergarments, nothing was off limits! I loved the clothes and I loved her! I must have really expressed my interest in her topic because she invited me to join her family as they participated in an actual re-enactment, clothes, cannons, camping, everything! We had a blast! That was sixteen years ago and I have loved every moment of being her friend. The laughter and the tears have all become precious memories that I love to wander through. She is still the same goofy girl I met in English class but she's also a beautiful woman who is so sweet and patient.
Happy Birthday Amy #1, I'll always be your #2!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

She's Perfect

Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess who married a handsome prince. They loved each other so very much. The prince would write songs for his princess and sing them to her from the mountain tops for everyone to hear. Then one day the princess had some special news for the prince. She told him he was going to be a daddy, and she was going to be a mommy! They were so excited to meet the new little baby, and the day finally came when the baby was born. The princess and the prince were so happy to meet her. Everyone was gathered around the big nursery window, waiting to see her. The prince came to the window and held up the new little princess for everyone to see and he said "She's perfect". And she was.
Happy Birthday Princess!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Truffles For My Valentine

I bought some truffles with a gift card from my favorite store today and they reminded me of a truffle I had a few years ago, which I'll never forget. These were a traditional truffle, there was nothing unique about them but I was inspired to make some and take them to my husband for our Valentine celebration tomorrow (today).

I googled around and picked the first recipe I looked at. The recipe called for Ghirardelli chocolate, I was hooked right then. Also they seemed rather easy and had great reviews at .

For these amazing truffles I needed only 4 ingredients:

1/3 c Heavy cream
1/3 stick of real Unsalted butter
1/2 bag Dark or semi-sweet chocolate
Cocoa Powder
The cocoa powder isn't in this picture because it isn't time yet. It has a very special part to play. I'll tell you about it when your older.

Anyhow, to begin the truffles you need step one.

Step 1: Melt cream and butter together in a small sauce pan, like so:

Step 2: Add to the cream and butter, the chocolate chips, like so:

Step 3: Stir until combined and smooth, like so:

It's smoothing, its getting there.

Step 4: Pour into dish, like so:

Step 5: Allow to cool for a couple of hours in the fridge. I can't show you that part. It's very sacred and can only been seen by the Chocolatier.

Step 6: Use a melon baller or spoon to make the cooled chocolate into ball shapes. I suggest the melon baller and you'll want to remember to twist it, not scrape it like ice-cream. If the chocolate isn't firm enough put it back in the fridge or into the freezer for a few minutes.

Once you have about 24 small balls (from the small end of the melon baller), you'll need your extra special ingredient: the cocoa powder!

Step 7: Scoop out about 1/3 of a cup of this into a very small bowl with a round bottom, not like a ramekin. Because my truffles were rather bitter (due to the 60% Cocoa I used) I opted to add a bit of powdered sugar to the cocoa powder, maybe 2 tablespoons. Blend these together and drop your first truffle ball in, roll it around and get it nice and covered, like so:

Step 8: Grab a dish to serve them in, a treat box give them in, or a lidded container to save them for later in. I made a little treat box for sending them to work with my Valentine, like so:

You can't see the lid, it's clear.
I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day, I know I did, I hope to have an even better Valentine's Day tomorrow!

The Sweetest Valetine!

She has the smartest eyes and the cutest nose. She likes to drink her mother's coffee. Her favorite colors are pink and purple! She likes to draw and play outside. She loves to be a helper and she's an awesome big sister! She is beautiful and has fantastic manners. I love it when she comes to visit me.
Happy Birthday to my Sweet Valentine!

Friday, February 11, 2011


I love to tell this story about my brother when he was sixteen. There was this new girl at work, he worked at the mall, and he really liked her. He talked about her a lot, we'd have to say "which one? Heather or Heather?". There were two of them. He'd say "Heather". Ahhh, Heather. It was really cute. Then one day I got to meet her. I had long curly hair which for some reason I had brushed out...? Why? Who knows. It was beyond frizz. I opened the door and there they were. My cute little brother with this cute little blond, and she said, "Wow! I love your hair!" I was like, no way sister, but I love you already!
Come to find out, her first day at work, while she was chatting with a couple other employees, the kids walks up and slings his arm around her shoulders and says "I'm gonna marry this girl". And they grew up and got married and had beautiful babies and she's still as cute and sassy as the day I met her. I just didn't know how sassy she was then.
Happy Birthday Heather Feather! I love ya!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Keeping Flowery Secrets

I have been making flowers and keeping them secret! Yes I have but everyone knows I can't keep a secret for long! My sister-in-law with the flair for fashion has opened my world to fabric flowers, for headbands, necklaces, broaches, and much more. Here's what I have so far.

I was so inspired by her work that I had to try my own hand at it. I loved it! I'm not usually so crafty but they are really hard to mess up, I have found. I have made four headbands. I didn't have the kind I wanted so I picked up the no-slip kind, that slip, and used those. I've added a couple to some small clips, and they can also be sewn or glued to pin backs to make it easy to wear them on your bag or coat!

This one I used my mom's sewing machine to make. I sewed black lace over champagne satin and then folded it to make two layers, which you can almost see in the picture. After I gathered the satin and lace layers I made a satin only cluster and used that for the center.

The hat you see all of these displayed on is my mother's wedding hat. I have pictures of her wearing it at their reception & dance.

Here's the one I wore tonight, I just slipped it on a bobbie pin and stuck it in my hair! Then I took my hair to the movies with my mom!

I didn't do anything so amazing as what my little SIL does but I can feel the potential growing inside me! I'm taking you along for the ride. Just you wait!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Vanilla Syrup

I found a recipe online the other day for some vanilla syrup. It can be used for flavoring your coffee or steamed milk, you can pour it on your pancakes or waffles, or sweeten your yogurt with it. I have to say it's quite delicious.

To make it you'll need the three following ingredients:
1/2 c water
1 c sugar
3 T vanilla
Don't worry about making a big batch since it's so simple to make fresh when you get low.

Combine the three in a small sauce pan and boil for about 5 minutes. Let cool and pour into a glass bottle, or if your glass bottles are filled with soap like mine are, you can use a small jelly jar. Like I did.

You can see I just used what I had on hand. I made on small amount with brown sugar and a little bit more than that with white sugar. The brown sugar has a stronger taste and I like it, the white sugar has a lighter taste which I like less, but I think the color is prettier. I might mix the two and see if I like about half brown and about half white sugar.

I had mine in hot milk with some Phase 10. Mmm, yummy!

Oh Whole Wheat Pizza!

We like to make our pizza crust at home because we like a thin and crispy wheat crust. We hadn't really planned on having pizza last night but once Cap mentioned it we were both sold. We could think of nothing else. We knew we had most of what we needed but the most important item was missing. The crust, we had no wheat flour. SO we popped into the big box store for a bag and passed something else on our way out. That something sparked in my brain and popped right out my mouth. "Lets use a wheat tortilla!" said I, "Great idea!" said he. So we ditched the idea of making our own and tossed a few tortillas into the oven for a quick crisp up. They were the perfect texture and oh so beautifully thin!

The captain cooked the chicken up while I slivered some onion. We smeared some spaghetti sauce on the crispy crusts, loaded them up with chicken, onion, a dash of seasoning, and cheese before swinging them back into the oven for a little cheese melting time.

My husband and my mom both like a little extra sauce, so Captain America loaded up more sauce on his, with a little jalapeno too, and mom just added sauce on the top of hers after we loaded our plates.

I despise red sauce so I put as little as possible on and I added yellow cheese to mine too.

We both had chicken and onions though, and we all love thin crust! It's a family thing, except for my poor step-son. He loves bread so we usually do something a little something extra when he's around.
It was super fantastic, really cheap, so good for you, and totally delicious!

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Sunshine of Our Lives

My nephew Ethan was born at a perfect time. A time when our world needed some sunshine after a long and cold winter. He was the first blade of spring grass, that tiny leaf that buds and grows and brings the promise of warmth and laughter. He is radiant with his kind heart and his happy grin. He is the sparkle of the ocean, our rainbow in the night, and the brightest star at dawn.
Happy Birthday Ethan! You light up my life.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Peanut Butter Jelly Time!

This snow really brings out the food lover in me! If there was one (or two) food items you'd never want to be snowed-in without, what would it (or they) be?

I asked myself that question while I was at the grocery store the day before the big white-out. I walked out of the store with bottled water, cheese, and peanuts. I already had broccoli in my freezer. Be right back, I have to grab a cheesy peanut butter sandwich.
Just kidding.
I've be snacking on the granola today, and I had a hankering for some Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup. Yes, it's true. I still have the munchies though and I've just remembered the broccoli, so I think I'll have that. Hmmmm, yes I will. Yum. I like to over cook it in coconut oil. It comes out a little crunchy and keeps some of that coconutty flavor. Oh so good!
Anyway, I came here tonight to tell you about peanut butter. I read on a blog a while ago that you could pop some peanuts into a food processor and hit go for a minute or two and voila! Peanut butter! I've done it twice now and it is so so good! It tastes just like the peanut butter my mom used to buy in bulk from the food co-op in Iowa City. It was my favorite until we moved to MO. Anyway, that's all there is to it. You put the peanuts in the food processor and you turn it on. You might have to scrape it down a couple of times but I have an extra big bowl on mine so the blades don't quite reach.

Now, I suppose there are those of you who will want some sort of sweetener in your peanut butter. Just use honey, okay? Do it. Honey is the best stuff in the world. Eat your honey! If you wont, then I don't know what to tell you. Try agave. I love that too.

I use the 16 oz great value brand of salted party peanuts. I haven't tried the dry roasted yet and I don't know if I will. I'd like some peanuts that don't have salt, but also aren't dry roasted. I am sure I'll wind up using organic but for the first couple times I just wanted to try it out as cheaply as possible. Whoa man, it's good.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


I made granola today and I documented the whole process for you! By the time you finish reading this you'll realize how easy it is and you'll be inspired to make your own!
In a sauce pan on low heat combine brown sugar, honey, peanut butter, vanilla, and coconut oil. Melt it together and remove from heat.

Next I measured out the dry ingredients: I used a 9 grain oat type blend, slivered almonds, dark chocolate chips, cinnamon, and salt. Though I am positive the salt could have been tossed out.

I always think the salt is unnecessary.

Mix it all up - except the chocolate chips.

Now pour the sugary mixture over the dry mix and stir it up.

Here I am just-a-stirrin'. I wanted you to get a chance to see my new hair! Maybe I'll give you a step-by-step post on that too! Anyway, onto the chocolate. (PS, that's blouse #2!)

After you stir it you can add the chocolate chips. I waited to add them because I didn't want the warm stuff to melt them all away. Mine melted anyway.

Maybe you can't see it here but there were some obvious chocolate streaks on my bowl when I poured it all into the lined 9 x 13 dish. I would recommend a cookie sheet instead of the dish and skip the lining if you're oiling your pan, which I suggest that you do.

Spread it all out and stick it right in to your pre-heated oven. Give it about 15 to 25 minutes depending on how deep your pile of crunch is and pop it out. It wont be crunchy just yet though, that will come after it cools. It will still be delicious! Go ahead and taste it!

This isn't burnt, do you notice there are no chocolate chips? I stirred them all in. I had to, I'm a compulsive stir-er. Anyway, I really liked the affect it had on the granola, or is it effect? That gets me every time. The melted chocolate made for bigger chunks and a chocolate-all-over kind of flavor. Which I liked.

I made a second batch without the chocolate chips, and added some coconut flakes. It turned out great, but not as chunky. I really loved the flavor so the missing chunks weren't a deal breaker. I'll be making this again. Either way, or both ways!

Would you like the recipe?
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 c peanut butter
3 T virgin coconut oil*
2 T honey
1 T vanilla
2 c oats
1/2 c slivered almonds
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t salt (or not)
3/4 c chocolate chips
Combine the wet ingredients in a med sauce pan and stir over low heat just until melted. Remove from heat and let cool.
In a med bowl combine the dry ingredients. Include the chocolate chips if you don't mind them melted or exclude them if you'd like to have whole chocolate chunks in your cereal.
Once the dry ingredients are combined then add the wet and stir it all in.
Pour mixture onto a greased baking sheet and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. As the granola cools it will also become crunchy, so don't over cook it just because it's soft. If you'd like to keep your chocolate in the chip form, then don't stir the granola until it has cooled completely.
I found that the only ingredients I didn't have on hand were the oats and the almonds. I almost always have oatmeal but we use it up quickly. Nuts don't stand a chance in this house so I wasn't surprised that I needed those. Since this was so easy to make and calls for such common ingredients I was happy to make a double batch. I'm happy that I did!


*If you need information about the benefits of coconut oil and where to find it, leave a comment below with your e-mail address and I'll send it to you.