Sunday, December 19, 2010

I spy... Ten Tiny Fingers!

Now that the first of the holiday gifts have been handed out and opened, I have decided to show my work. I am a nanny for a two-year-old boy named Jude. I recently introduced him to the "I spy" game once the Christmas tree was up. We would sit for at least half an hour at times and spy different ornaments on the tree, even though his favorite thing was to point out all the blue lights. When we first started playing it, he would get so excited when he would find something which sparked the perfect gift idea light bulb going off in my head!

Well, here is. My perfect light bulb gift idea and my first project on the sewing machine I recieved as a wedding gift. I made a "I Spy" quilt for my little two-year-old. I think it turned out pretty gosh darn nice and every -whoops a daisy- in it is a "handmade with love" disclaimer.

For a gift for his parents, I help my little monkey make a special gift. Last year we gave them a cozy blanket with his footprints on so they could have cozy family time. This year Jude is all about hand prints and has become quite a pro at making them, so this is what we came up with.

I looked into using glass and porcelain paint but because of the violent warnings of possible cancer causing agents, I decided to use a non toxic acrylic paint for his hand prints and a permanent marker to write the poem. My husband than lightly dusted it with a clear acrylic spray coating. It can't be used for food, just display but I thought it was beautiful and I am in love with the platter I found at such a great price at Ross.

Happy Holiday Crafting to you!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I sure do love those Christmas Cookies, with tea!

 The tree is up and the house is decorated... Time to get started on the baking and present making! So, I can't tell you about the presents yet, but I can share the start of my holiday baking! I started the season of sweets with soft gingerbread cookies and some jam filled butter cookies. Both are our favorites, but I foresee a lot more baking in my future! I have included the recipes below - they aren't my own recipes, but I have altered them a little from the original. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do! Cheers to Christmas cookies!

Jam filled Butter Cookies

3/4 cup Butter (softened)
1/2 cup Sugar
2 Egg Yolks
2 cups All Purpose Flour
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2-3/4 cup Fruit Preserves

-Cream softened butter and sugar together. Add egg yolks and vanilla extract. mix well. Add flour slowly until all mixed well.
-Roll dough into 1 inch balls. If dough is too soft, refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes. Place balls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Use your finger or an instrument of similar size to make a well in the center of each cookie. Fill the hole with 1/2 teaspoon of preserves.
-Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown on the bottom. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.

Soft Gingerbread Cookies

*To make and keep cookies soft, Roll out dough on plastic wrap or wax paper while warm, then chill before cutting into shapes.

3/4 cup unsulfered molasses
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup butter softened
2 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 large egg - beaten lightly
4 1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
2/3 c crystallized ginger, finely chopped (optional)

1. Combine molasses and sugar in saucepan; heat over medium heat 2-3 minutes or until sugar dissolves and bubbles form around edges.
~ Remove from heat and stir in baking soda
~Add butter, ginger, cinnamon, salt, cloves - stirring until butter is melted.
~ Stir in egg, then flour: mix until no white streaks remain.
2. Roll out on wax paper to 3/8 inch thickness, cover with plastic wrap, place on baking sheet and chill in refriderator for 10 minutes and up to 8 hours.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line cookie sheet with parchment paper and cut dough into shapes.
4. Bake 10 minutes or until firm to touch.
5. Serve warm or transfer to wire rack to cool.

Decorate with melted chocolate (optional)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

My Christmas story, limb by limb.

After spending a lovely afternoon at the Department of Licensing to get my new name on my license, I came home to make an early easy dinner of turkey grilled cheese sandwiches, tator tots and salad. Yeah, not very healthy, but a very yummy indulgence for a Saturday night dinner.
Well, after all the dishes were done I pulled out our tree and began to decorate. Funny how the boys seem to disappear when the Christmas decorations come out, but I had a lovely time putting it all together, pulling out the ornaments one by one and getting lost in the memories. Here is the finale along with a few closeups of some of my favorite ornaments, which have been mostly created by my eldest sister, Jessica.

 Ready for the celebration of the Birth of Jesus!
 When I was little, the treasure chest ornament was my favorite and a favorite of a few of my siblings. I cried when Jessica made this the annual ornament she made for gifts. I love that I have my own and hope my future kids will have some day dreams of treasure hunting as I did when I was young.

 Who couldn't love a Frosty the Snowman adorning their tree?
 An angel I bought shortly after my youngest sister passed away. She is with me every day, but also on my tree every year.
 Ok, any house without a glimmer of a leg lamp isn't truly celebrating Christmas, right?
  Beautiful angel handmade by Jessica. This angel has a song in her heart and if you have a quiet evening and a listening ear, you can hear it perfectly.

I love the ornaments that tell a story, so I have a hard time purchasing them from the store - handmade from the heart is always best and every year I can't wait to see what surprise ornament I will receive to add to my story telling collection.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving with Cranberry Sauce on Top!

Our first Thanksgiving as a married couple was simple, small and sweet. We had a lovely time visiting and eating our share of turkey, baked yams, yummy potatoes, dressing, three bean salad all the good stuff. My favorite was the cranberry sauce recipe I found on (Cranberry Sauce Extraordinaire). It was delicious... and it was what I craved when I woke up this morning. I will definately use this recipe for this coming Sunday for our second round of Thanksgiving goodness and also for all the years to come!

Hope your day was as amazing as mine! Cheers, Prost, Be Thankful and may your days full of Turkey coma naps!

Here is the recipe, if you would like to try.

Cranberry Sauce Extraordinaire

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 (12 ounce) package fresh cranberries
  • 1 orange, peeled and pureed
  • 1 apple - peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 pear - peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 cup chopped dried mixed fruit
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg


  1. In a medium saucepan, boil water and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat to simmer, and stir in cranberries, pureed orange, apple, pear, dried fruit, pecans, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries burst. Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature.
 * I left out the pecans - some people don't like nuts. I also didn't puree anything, just kept it as a chunky sauce and it work out really well. Lastly, I substituted the sugar for 2/3 cup Agave and added 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Homemade Chicken and Dumplin make me feel better soup

One of my most favorite gifts that I received for our wedding: The Lodge Pot. A new light an has entered my life. This bright red enameled cast iron pot has cast a new light on my kitchen and my cooking too! I've been battling a cold the last few days and craved a nice pot of homemade chicken dumplin soup. So, I started with the onions, garlic, chicken and stock and allowed the whole afternoon to create a make you feel all better soup in my brand new Lodge Pot. It was absolutely perfectly yummy and yes, it did make me feel better.

Hip Hip Hooray to Homemade Chicken and Dumplin make me feel better soup and cheers to my new Lodge Pot!

I've had a few requests for the recipe, so here it is.


2-3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium onion diced
4 cloves of garlic, sliced
2 ribs celery, chopped
3/4 small bag of baby carrots (about 1 1/2 cups)
16 oz chicken broth
1 1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp parsley ( I used dried)
2 Tbsp oregano
1 tsp cayenne (adjust to your liking - we like it spicy so I add more)
4-6 chicken legs ( you can use any part of the chicken, but I like to use the darker meats for a richer flavor or breast meat that still has the bone)
Salt and Pepper to taste

~ In large soup pot over medium heat: saute onion, garlic, celery until onion begins to turn soft. Add parsley, oregano, cayenne and let the heat mix the flavors for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
~ Slowly add Chicken Broth and water.
~ Add Chicken, Bring to a boil, cover and lower heat. Simmer for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tender and chicken is done. Remove chicken and allow it to cool enough to handle.   
~ Add carrots once chicken is removed. Keep broth at a simmer.
~ Bone the chicken, discarding all skin, bones and cartilage, and tear meat into bite-size pieces. Set aside.

Homemade Dumplin's:

Ok, when my mom would make these, she would roll out the dough and cut them into strips for noodles. She would also have a handful of us kids pile up these noodles on a paper plate, take them over to the stove and drop them in the simmering broth one by one. Yes, I sometimes do this, but when I'm not feeling good and just want my soup I drop them in the broth a half teaspoon at a time. So, it's your choice.

1 cup unbleached flour
1 egg
1/4 c milk ( may be a little more or less, I eyeball it. Just pour a little at a time until the dough becomes a dough)
2-3 Tbsp chives
Salt to taste

~ In a mixing bowl: Flour, egg, milk chives and salt. Mix all ingredients together until you get a good sticky dough. 
~ If you choose to drop the dough in, drop dumplins at 1/2 tsp size drops into simmering soup. 
~ If you choose to roll out the dough,  roll the dough to a 1/4-inch thickness, and cut into strips, no larger than about 2 x 2 inches. (The dumplings will plump up when they are cooked.) 
~ Bring broth to a boil before you drop the dumplings in.
~ Cook dumplings 10-15 minutes with a medium simmer. The flour in the dumplings will thicken the broth, and it is absolutely not necessary to thicken it further. 

~Return de-boned chicken to the broth to warm. Remove from heat and serve. 

Makes 6-8 servings.

If you know me, you know I don't measure much when I cook - baking on the other hand is a science but cooking for me just happens. I have given the best measurements that I feel I can give for this recipe, so please adjust to your liking but overall it's a great base to start with.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Applesauce Success and Awefully Burnt Mess!

I found a great deal on 5 lb bags of apples at a grocery discount store and jumped at the chance to replenish our applesauce stash by buying 6 bags! My father-in-law eats the stuff every morning and well, his stash is dwindling. I wonder if eating applesauce every morning will be one of those pieces of advice he will pass on when someone asks "How do you live to be____ years old?"

Well, the battle of peeling, coring and cooking began in the mid morning and ended right before I started to cook dinner. 

The apples were very well ripe, so I was unable to use my fancy dancy peeler/corer and resorted to the pioneer days of a paring knife. I filled up two large pots. One pot was for cranberry applesauce and the other for blueberry applesauce.

It was a long process and I kept my eyes on each pot, stirring them and mashing a little. The cranberry applesauce turned out perfect and I got twelve-eight ounce jars. As for the mess, I was way to upset and embarrassed to take photos so you will have to use your imagination. The blueberry sauce, well, imagine a brand new stainless steel stock pot with a one and a half inch black burnt layer on the bottom. Ugh! Money, time and love wasted away. Back to the drawing board!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Honeymoon!!!!

Our honeymoon was a two and a half day stay at the Boardwalk Cottages in Long Beach, Washington. The cottages were small and quaint. We had a good laugh with all the "rules" that were posted around the room, but it was a lovely stay and they provided fresh from the oven pastries every morning with the yummiest coffee we had ever had. We definitely picked some up before we headed out of town. The weather was beautiful. The only rain we saw was on Monday morning, which was fine because it was a very lazy morning for us. That afternoon, we ventured out for a little time in town, mailed our marriage license and grabbed a bite to eat at the bakery, which I still dream about and wish it wasn't a four and a half hour drive to get to!

Monday morning, we caught a little bit from the movie "Big" with Tom Hanks on the television. The part we saw was where he was at the carnival and he made a wish on the Zoltar machine to be big. Well, little did we know that we too would have a chance to make our own wishes with Zoltar! Our wishes weren't to be any bigger than we already are, but we were both given some advice. The advice I received was questionable and Peter's really didn't make any sense, but it was fun.

We also made a trip to March's Free Museum where we saw Jake the alligator man, a two headed pig and calf, several other wonders of the world and let us not forget the opportunity to view a peep show! One of our other stops were to see the worlds largest skillet. Our last evening in town, we went to a resteraunt that we would both be more than happy to recommend and go back to again. It was called, The Depot. It was so mouth watering good and worth every single shiny penny we spent!

On our way out, we stopped at Cape Disappointment. It was blue skies, warm and gorgeous! We hiked down to the light house and since I had never been in one, Peter couldn't let me pass up the opportunity. The visit was truly amazing and enjoyable. The lovely couple who was hosting were actually from Colorado and they came out to spend the winter and volunteer so that the light house could be open to the public. You could tell that they really enjoyed the opportunity and were so excited to share it with others.

As our trip came to an end, we traveled back home on Highway 101 - all around the edge of the peninsula and took the ferry from Kingston to Edmonds. It was truly beautiful. We were so blessed that we had such nice weather and some rest and relaxation. Hope you enjoyed the photos.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Then comes marriage... continued

So, we have received more photos from family and I couldn't help but post and share! I hope you enjoy them as much as we have.
 My bouquet- red gerbera daisies and blue forget me nots.

 Water bottle labels, designed by me, printed by my brother Kadin.
 Memorial candles for my sister, Chantry and Peter's mother, Elfriede.
 Eric and Jerrin (aka Adam)
 My brother Eric, my father Bartly and my youngest brother Jerrin.

 Banner designed by me and printed by Kadin
 In lieu of a wedding guest book, I designed a marriage certificate. My aunt Roselva embroidered it on her magic machine and then all who attended signed it. It's lovely and as soon as I get it into a frame, I'll take new photos.
 Our puffs that hung from the ceiling.
 Dad, giving me away.
 Ceremony prayer.
 Hugs and high fives as we end the ceremony.
 Signing the marriage legal stuff.
 A better view of our simple, country decorations.
 mmmmm.... Chicken! Not really, but Sophie loved her finger foods!
 The cake, was a gift from my oldest sister Jessica and her husband Doug. Jessica hired a chef to create the cake that everyone with any allergies could eat and wouldn't be bothered by. Jessica made all the flowers by hand! Absolutely gorgeous! Peter and I made our own cake topper together.
 Opening gifts!
 What wedding would be complete without the Chicken Dance!

 Day after brunch. (Ayrian, Peter and Peter's Father, Eduard)

  I love this photo. One of my absolute favorites from all 600 photos and counting!

Hope you enjoyed the new photos. I am still admittedly a lot giddy about my wedding. I loved it and several times a week say that I would love to relive it!

Hugs and kisses, stars for wishes!