Friday, December 25, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Oreo Truffles

Okay, so recipes for Oreo Truffles are all over the Internet, but they are so yummy, and so easy to make, that I had to post the recipe here. If you like Oreo cookies at all (who doesn't??), then you will find it hard not to eat these until your stomach aches.

Oreo Truffles

1 package Oreo cookies

1 package cream cheese, at room temperature

white or milk chocolate candy coating

(if you want to use a color, then you can also use Wilton candy melts - - they come in all kinds of colors and can be found at WalMart and at Michael's craft stores)

Crush Oreo cookies in food processor until finely ground (there should not be any chunks of cookie at all). Put into a bowl. Add softened package of cream cheese and blend together with a hand mixer. Roll into walnut-sized round balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper or parchment. Refrigerate for one hour.

Melt chocolate over double boiler until smooth. Using a toothpick, dip each ball into the melted chocolate. Place back onto cookie sheet and allow to harden. If not serving right away, store in the refrigerator.

If you want to get all fancy, you can put some of the melted chocolate into a Ziploc bag. Cut a very small hole in the corner of the bag and then squeeze a zigzag design on the top of each truffle.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Weekend Projects

What a lovely weekend we had!

It snowed on Saturday, enough to cover the ground - - and it is still out there, as I type. I don't think it will be around for long though, as there is rain in the forecast this week.

On Saturday, we all found ourselves working on projects. Steve's project came in the form of trying to repair a 55-year old pocket door. While pocket doors are really nifty (we have one as a closet door in the living room, and one that separates the kitchen and dining room), they are not easy to repair, as it turns out.

Can't you see how absolutely thrilled Steve was, to be spending his day, wrestling with that thing? The good news is, the door is back on its track. The bad news is, it is very difficult to open or close now. Guess that's another project for another weekend.

Most of Camden's and Griffin's weekend projects involved snow. They must have gone in and out approximately four times on Saturday afternoon. You can see here that they are hard at work on their snow angels.

Camden also spent quite a bit of time working on a new Lego masterpiece (a ship, of course). If you look closely, you can see that Griffin spent quite a bit of time working on annoying his older brother. He's a rascal, that Griffin.

As for me, I worked on some craft projects. I love the idea of being crafty, but as is the case with cooking, I have a hard time doing something that doesn't come with specific instructions. Somehow, I have managed to break out of my cooking rut, and am finding that I can, in fact, create a lovely meal without always following a recipe. It is very liberating, I tell you! Now, I am also learning that I can find all kinds of neat ideas in books, magazines, and on the Internet, and then come up with my own versions of what I've seen.

For quite a while now, I've been infatuated with fabric brooches. I've seen them all over the Internet, on blogs and on Etsy. So the other day, I got some scraps together, and just wanted to see what I could come up with. It was so much fun! In the end, I took a fleece hat that I bought at the Dollar Tree, and then made a flower out of red fleece that I had on hand, finished it off with a polka-dot button, and sewed it to the hat. After that, I took some more of the fleece and tried my hand at making some fingerless gloves for myself. I'd bought a pattern to do this last year, but alas, the pattern was too complicated! Instead, I traced my hand and made my own pattern. They came out exactly how I wanted them to. Let me tell you, if you are a novice seamstress such as myself, polar fleece is extremely forgiving. I have a feeling that I may have to make everything from here on out, from polar fleece.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Cookies for Santa

It started with this post. Then, I read this. The end result: some cute little gifts for my
niece and nephews...

Super easy, and fun to make. The boys and I made a batch to "test" the recipe. The verdict:


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Hey Stranger

Well now. That was officially my longest blogging dry spell ever. Hello? Anyone out there??
All I can say is that for some reason I have had zero desire to write about anything lately. I think it has something to do with short, cold days, being cooped up inside, and all that goes with that. Yeah, that's the reason!
Here is a brief pictorial of what we have been up to....

Enjoying the first snow of the season. Yes, all you New Englanders...that mere dusting you see behind Griffin was a Major Deal for the boys. Sad, but true.

Wasting toilet paper. Just because.

Loving on the World's Greatest (sweetest, smartest, most wonderful) Six-Year Old

Eating lots of Candy Cane Tootsie Pops

Inheriting Older Brother's hand-knit sweater set (and then insisting upon wearing it wherever he goes)

Receiving beautiful, hand-made jewelry in the mail from someone who seriously needs to open an Etsy shop (thank you, Kate ~ you so made my day today)

Not napping.


Drinking hot chocolate, eating chocolate covered donuts, while sporting a good old-fashioned case of Winter Hat Head

So, as you can see, we've been kind of busy here, enjoying life as it happens!

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Winner (and Thanksgiving Dinner)

I am so sorry in the delay of letting you know who won my "Random Acts of Kindness" giveaway! I didn't forget about it, but rather, haven't been near my computer much in the past 48 hours or so. This was my first completely unassisted turkey, so I was a little nutty. I think I had to call my parents 3 or 4 times for instruction. Alas, I'm happy to report that the bird was completely cooked, and it was nice and moist (thanks to the brine, I am sure!).
So, on Wednesday evening, I paid a visit to, which is a great tool to use if you have a giveaway on your blog. I went to the comments for the contest post, and removed all the comments that didn't say "done". You guys did a great job, I'm so happy that so many people participated, and some of you, repeatedly. Anyway, at 5:42 p.m. (Mountain Time), I entered in the parameters, and number 5 was the number generated, which means Jenn is my winner! Congratulations, Jenn! Please go to my profile and send me an email with your mailing address, and I will get your package off in the mail to you. I will edit this post later today to show you the loot that Jenn will be receiving, but I'm in my jammies at the moment and I'm going to stay right here in my recliner! You may know Jenn from my sidebar - - she has a blog about her life and her experiences with new motherhood that I enjoy reading. She also happens to be my cousin, or more accurately, my second cousin (her mother is my cousin, Susie). I have many wonderful cousins, but growing up, I was particularly fond of my Boothbay cousins. My brother and I loved to play with Margaret and Janet - - we were all very close in age - - and I just loved it when Alan would come to our house for a visit. I was particularly infatuated with Susie and Cheryl, though. Their weddings were the first weddings I remember attending, and when they each started having children, I was obsessed with babysitting. Not quite old enough to do so, but I wanted to so badly! Imagine my thrill, a few years later, when Susie had me come down to her house to spend the night and watch Jenn, Kristi, and Trent for her. It remains one of my earliest and best babysitting memories.
I would love to ask those of you who participated, to share your random acts with me, if you feel comfortable doing so. I will keep them anonymous in the post - - just sort of a bullet-point list of the little things that can make another person's day - - I figure we can all use some inspiration! So, if you'd like to share, just go to my profile and send me an email with a brief description of your experience(s). I'll be sharing some of mine, too.
We had a lovely day here yesterday! Today, I will begin sorting through the leftovers and coming up with a plan of attack. I see some turkey pot pie in our future. Okay, I see a lot of turkey dishes in our future. We were lucky to have Steve's parents, Rex and Kasey, and our nephew Banzer here for the day, and we had a great time. Steve's folks have been here for the past three months, but will be heading back to Maine this morning.
Thanks again for participating in my challenge!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Challenge

A Random Act of Kindness is defined here as "the good deeds one does because their heart moves them, not because society or Miss Manners expects them. These are acts based purely on giving and sharing. When someone practices random acts of kindness, they are doing so with a clean heart, a skip in their step, a “warm fuzzy,” if you will, and they have no thoughts of retribution, recognition or duty." I bring this up because I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about how closed-off society in general has become from one another, and it is pretty sad. There are probably a multitude of reasons that people would give as to why they don't smile and greet people they meet on the street, stop for people in crosswalks (oh wait...that's a law, isn't it??), practice common courtesy on the roads, give each other the benefit of the doubt, and so on. The fact of the matter is, none of us are perfect, but it sure would be nice if we could all try a little bit harder to be pleasant, wouldn't it?

A Random Act of Kindness can be something as simple as holding a door for someone when you would have otherwise let it shut behind you, to surprising someone with an unexpected gift. From feeding a random parking meter that is about to expire, to cooking a meal for a friend in need. From looking the grocery checker in the eye and sincerely telling him/her to have a good evening, to paying for the person behind you in line at the coffee shop. The possibilities are endless, really.

Now, for the challenge. After you finish reading this post, go about your business as you regularly would, but really think about your interactions with those around you. Make an effort to make some one's day. You'd be surprised at what a difference a very small act of kindness could make in another person's life. For each Random Act you perform, come back to this post and simply post the word, "Done" in the comments. You may do this as many times as you can between now and next Wednesday, November 25th at 5:00 p.m. (mountain time). The more entries you have, the better your chances at winning.

The Rules: Your random act may be anything that has a positive effect on another person. It does not need to be elaborate. However, take this opportunity to be creative. Really think about how you interact with those around you. Your random acts can be directed at friends or strangers. Try to do both. The most important rule: You may not tell anyone at all about your acts. Not your spouse, not your friends...not a soul. You must perform your acts without any expectation of being thanked or recognized (thus, the simple "done" in the comments section). Out of all the entries, a person will be chosen at random after comments are closed on the 25th. That person will then receive a lovely package in the mail, full of treats. This will be my thank-you to you for participating in my little experiment. Have fun!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Farm Fresh Eggs

See these little lovelies? Today, I was the lucky recipient of one dozen farm-fresh eggs from my sister-in-law Kasey's hard-working "girls". See the blue-green ones? Those are my favorite. Call me weird, but I've gone to my fridge more than a couple of times just to look at them. Now, I must decide what to make with these wonderful eggs. It seems like it ought to be something special...maybe a quiche?

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Halloween Recap

We had a wonderfully awesome much fun! The festivities kicked off on Friday, when I had the pleasure of helping out at Camden's school party. The kids paraded up and down the hallway in their costumes - - so happy that I was able to see that.
On Saturday night, Rex, Kasey, Banzer, Rod, and Candy came to our home for a little Halloween party before we headed out for trick-or-treating. Kasey and I sure had fun preparing ghoulish appetizers and treats for everyone. I'm already looking forward to next Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Yellow Stripe Celebration

We are so proud of our Camden for earning his first "stripe" in Kung-fu on Tuesday. It is a big accomplishment for him, so of course it called for a little celebration. He wanted veggie tacos for dinner, and I whipped up some "yellow stripe" cupcakes for dessert. Great job, Camden! We love you so much!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Silver Tray Kitchen Chalkboard

I saw this post over at My Romantic Home a while back, and have been wanting to make my own silver tray chalkboard ever since. I have also been dying to try some chalkboard paint for the longest time, so it was a perfect project for me to attempt. I've only ever seen chalkboard paint in little cans, but found it in a spray at WalMart one day.

It costs a bit more than a standard can of spray paint - - I want to say it was somewhere around $6.87. I figured I could get multiple projects out of it, so it was worth it.

Next, I needed a tray. I see lots of silver serving trays at thrift stores, but it isn't often that you fine one that doesn't have some type of engraving on it. You really have to look. One day, I found the perfect, albeit beat-up, tray at my local thrift store for $2.50. It appears that someone may have used a harsh cleaner of some sort on it, but I knew it would still work for my project. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a "before" picture - - I could kick myself for all of the projects I've done where I've failed to take a "before" picture! Anyway, I washed the tray and let it dry thoroughly. Then, I used painter's tape to tape off the area that I wanted to spray paint. I tucked saran wrap under the tape to cover the portions of the tray that I didn't want painted - - if that makes any sense (see? It would have been much simpler if I'd taken pictures!). Next, I applied an even coat of the paint. It goes on super nice, and dries in no time. To be sure I had good coverage, I added an additional coat, and let it dry over night.

Then, I added a tulle bow to hang it, and my project was complete. I use mine to write what I'm making for dinner each night, but it is just a neat little chalkboard for your kitchen that you can use for anything. Final cost: approximately $3.50. That's a bargain!

I really have to restrain myself from spraying random objects with the chalkboard paint. I'd love to do a little table top for the boys, or maybe an area on their bedroom wall.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake

Last month, a friend from high school posted a link to Martha Stewart's recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Squares on Facebook, and yesterday I decided to give them a try. If you are like me, you are overcome by the urge to have the aroma of pumpkin goodies, wafting from your kitchen during the month of October. Why is that? I really don't know the answer, but it has caused me to make pumpkin muffins, scones, pancakes, waffles, etc. at an alarming rate this fall. I suppose that maybe it is just comforting, when the leaves change and the temperature drops.

I'm going to go ahead and call this "cake", rather than squares, as the recipe produces a very light cake with a delicate crumb. For me, squares or bars are much more dense, but I digress.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled (I made a very slight adjustment here by using 1 cup all-purpose, and one cup whole wheat pastry flour)
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 bag semisweet chocolate chips (12 ounces)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom and sides of a 9x13 inch baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. Spray the foil lightly with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt; set aside. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth; beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in pumpkin puree (mixture may appear curdled). Reduce speed to low, and mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes (mine was done at 35 minutes exactly). Cool completely in pan. Lift cake from pan (using foil as an aid). Peel off foil, and use a serrated knife to cut into 24 squares.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dreaming of the City

A few days ago, while up to my eyeballs in Swine Flu, I found myself reading random things on the Internet. Somehow, I happened upon the blog We Are Not Martha, and this post. Once I was done with that, I read this post and this post. Ever since then, I have not been able to stop daydreaming about jetting off to New York City. I want to take in all the sights. I want to ride in a multitude of taxi cabs. I want to visit Ground Zero. I want to eat an obscene number of cupcakes. I want to shop. I want to eat at Bobby Flay's Bar Americain on 52nd Street (oh, how I love Bobby Flay). I want to wander around Greenwich Village. I want to eat a lot of black and whites. I want to see a Broadway show. I want to go to Rockefeller Plaza, to pay my respects to Matt Lauer, of course. The list is endless.

I've been to New York City three times before. The first time was a bit of a road trip with my dear friend Jen, and it just so happens that the motivation behind our trip was, of course, boys. My second trip was also with Jen. We'd requested tickets to the Late Show with David Letterman our first time there, and then a couple of years later, we got the tickets. Unfortunately, Jen was in Maine and I was living in Washington, D.C. at that time, but no matter, we each hopped on a train and met up for a whirlwind adventure. The third time I went, I was living on Long Island, working as a nanny. I took a bus to the city for the day, where I proceeded to see Prince in concert on the Plaza on the Today Show, and then wandered the city by myself all day long. These were all great adventures, but like many things of my youth, I don't think I fully appreciated the experiences.
Now, I'd like to have a few days to really enjoy it. Perhaps and extra-long weekend? What do you say, Jen? New York City in springtime?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Derailed by the Swine Flu!

I had grand plans of sharing a recipe for Butternut Squash Soup last Thursday, and Friday would have brought the World's Best Banana Bread. Instead, we found ourselves with one very sick little guy, who, as it turns out, had the H1N1 virus.

Sweet Camden, packed in ice
So, we've been pretty busy around these parts, fighting the seemingly never-ending fever, Lysol-wiping everything, and tending to our little guy. I'm happy to report that the rest of us have remained healthy, and that Camden is finally on the mend. I think he'll be ready to head back to school tomorrow.
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