Sunday, February 27, 2011

Feelin' Kind of Cold

Our heater (boiler?) stopped working today and it's gotten colder and colder in our house.  It's got to be about 50 degrees or so...  I got warm by cooking this evening and now the laptop is somewhat warming my legs.  Looks like they can't fix it tonight so we are about to reap the benefits of the family bed and flannel sheets.  This malfunction is because 1. we are caught up on all our bills 2. Jan mentioned that the heat was too hot at night and we should crack a window and 3. It's a Sunday and we had to pay extra for a guy to say that he couldn't get the part tonight because the parts place is closed.  Yup, just our luck.

On the flip side, I have decided that even though I missed LOAD (Layout a Day), I am going to do a layout a day this vacation.  I've already done one a day (that would be 3 full layouts) for the last three days.   I'll take pictures some time soon, like when I can feel my fingers or my toes.

I think we'll go to bed early.... like, now.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Piling it On

I walked into the kitchen yesterday (ok, the day before yesterday) and this is what I got. Yup, this is the after school pile.  The thing is, my red backpack is in that pile.  This pile drives me INSANE.  In this pile is lunch boxes with freezer packs that need to go back in the freezer and food that needs to be thrown away, wet snowpants and gloves, coffee travel mugs that need to go by the sink, homework that should be corrected, and a million other little things. The thing is that there really isn't much of a solution to this problem.  We simply have NO PLACE to put our bags.  We do have a coat hook that is pretty high on the wall but the kids can't even get close to reaching it.  Even if they could, the bags are too heavy to hand them on it.  Besides building a mudroom next to our kitchen (which we really don't have money for), I'm not exactly sure what to do about this problem.  Sigh....

On another note, my dad brought over the little school desk that I had when I was a kid.  I used to love to sit in it or put a stuffed animal or doll in the seat (or even my brother) and "teach" them. This desk made for hours of fun.  For the moment, we have left the desk in the kitchen and it's been a great place for one of the kids to keep me company while I cook.  And yes, there are lots of sticker skeletons sitting on the floor because of the sticker book we seem to have left there. Isn't it charming? It even has a little drawer underneath where I remember I stored many a treasure.  The drawer is a little sticky so I'll have to do something about that, but I can imagine that El and Phoebe will be putting their "treasures" in there soon. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

This Moment

{this moment}

*** *** *** 
{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.  (From Soulemama- see link in sidebar) 

Snow Day

This is what we woke up to this morning, our sixth snow day of the season.  I may live in New England but six snow days is a bit excessive even with our winters. So the kids get an extra day for their vacation and my English 10 students totally win out because I was going to make them write an essay in class today.  Lucky them. 
Above is the massive pile of snow in our backyard.  Basically we take all the snow from our driveway and pile it in the back.  Our dirt driveway is a solid piece of ice.  As a frame of reference, here is what our backyard looks like in the summer without any snow. You can imagine how high it is when you see the playhouse.  The kids can step into the playhouse without any help right now.  I'm thinking we might still have snow in May. 

I've decided that I am going to use today to make a master list of all the things that I'd like to get done over vacation like organize my earings, try and once again make sense of my craft space (a never ending battle), make myself a school bag, and clean my kitchen floor (another battle).  I always have high hopes for school vacations, yet I almost always only get about half done of what I attempt.  Well, we'll see....

Monday, February 21, 2011

Taking a Break

I'm taking a little crafting break this week.  I'm not going to craft or cook or anything.  It's the week before vacation and I am just going to try and float along until we get there.  Teaching the week before vacation is always a challenge.  The kids are unfocused and normally you are trying to finish up that unit so you don't have to do it after vacation.  I was always so antsy as a kid about vacation, and the same is true as an adult. Well..... here's to a week that goes super quickly! Be back when I can...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

inspiration wednesday

After my friend Erica gave me the Donna Downey album, I checked out her website. Turns out that this woman is SUPER COOL and crafty and artsy and has really awesome glasses. I wasn't really sure what to do with my totally beautiful inspiration album, but this is giving me some great ideas....

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Homemade Valentines

Last night the kids and I made Valentine's to bring to school on Monday.  This idea is one that has been floating around the web and I love how easy it was.  I took a picture of each kid with their fist out in front of them.  We printed pictures and then took an exacto knife and cut a slip on both sides of the hand and wove a lollpop into the whole.  I used a circle scallop punch in two different sizes and colors of pink for the salutation.  El was dissapointed that he didn't get the heart lollipops but we had bought the blow pops for the cards and realized afterwards that you can't give toddlers gum pops.   Jan talked me down from adding an extra paper border to make the Valentine a little stiffer.  As she pointed out, most kids would quickly peel off the lollipop and be done with it  We kept it simple because Elliot officially is celebrating a "Friendship Day" at school  and also he has two different schools so the total equalled something around 50. We opted not to write specific names on it because of the number but El did write his name on all 50.   Go Elliot!  As long as you have access to photo prints (at 13 cents each at Target, it was a good deal) this would be a very fast and easy Valentine for kids of all ages.  

Friday, February 11, 2011

This Moment (or These Moments)

This Moment

{this moment}

*** *** *** 
{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.  (From Soulemama- see link in sidebar)  Even though these are from last Saturday, I think we can squeeze these sledding picutres in a this week.  Besides, it's my blog and I can do what I like. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

SMASH video

Look at this notebook. It's new and not quite in stores yet. It looks like the absolute perfect journal! I am thinking there is so much present potential for the non-scrapbooker and scrapbooker alike. I am actually thinking that my brother might really dig this. He kept journal after journal for years. My son (age 6) has already gone through one journal with his drawings and stickers and is working on a second. I haven't been journaling as of late but was the only one in my teaching internship that really kept up with it. I worked myself through one book and had to pick up a second.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Ode to the Kitchen Aid

I realized recently that my dream of receiveing a Kitchen Aid mixer for Christmas/ my birthday/ surprise gift / Groundhog Day was just not going to happen.  If I wanted one, I was going to have to buy it myself.  And since I do not have $200-300 hanging around, it occured to me that I could check Craig's List for one.  Guess what?  There was one on Craig's List.  Apparently there are people who redecorate their kitchen and decided that their "old" Kitchen Aid mixer does not match and they need a new one.  Really, it's true.  Crazy, but true. So for a mere third of the price, I got myself the mixer that I have always wanted.

Isn't it the cutest thing that you have ever seen?  No, I am not talking about the one in the dress but the white mixer with the cutest red stripe around it.  I would have picked one this exact one if I was buying it new.  As my friend Alison said, it is just so me.  Not 24 hours had passed until I was whipping up my first batch of whoopie pies.  If you don't know what a whoopie pie is then you don't live in New England and you are TOTALLY missing out.  They are little cake sandwiches.  In honor of my new Kitchen Aid, here is the recipe that I used. 

Maple Chocolate Whoopie Pies
Makes about 8 huge whoopie pies, and really why would you want small ones?
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 cup regular sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 F. Grease two baking sheets lightly with pam.
2. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper. In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, shortening and brown sugar on low speed until just combined. Increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for another 2 minutes.
3. Add half of the flour mixture and half of the milk to the batter and beat on low until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the remaining flour mixture and 1/2 cup milk and beat until completely combined.
4. Using a scoop, drop even big wads of batter onto one of the prepared baking sheets and repeat, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Bake for about 10 minutes each, or until the pies spring back when pressed gently. Remove from the oven and let the cakes cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.
Frosting Filling
1 lb. confectionary sugar
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons (or so) maple syrup
1/2 cup vegetable shortening

Mix the confectionary sugar, water, and maple syrup.  Then add the vegetable shortening until the frosting is smooth.  If too stiff, add water a teaspoon at a time. 
Assembling the Cakes
1. Spread the filling on to the flat side of one of the cakes, using a knife or spoon.
2. Top it with another cake flat side down. Repeat with the remaining cakes and filling.
3. Alternately you can use a pastry bag with a rounded tip to pipe the filling onto the cakes, which will give you a smaller, neater presentation but is probably too much trouble because they will be eaten really, really fast. 
Let's look one last time:

So cute!  And so worth it. 

Bring on the snow days because I am ready to bake more of these.  My last snow day adventure: chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese and regular frosting.  I had to use up the rest of the cream cheese frosting left over from the cake I had made the weekend before.  
Ummmm..... I think that I'm going to need to step away from the carbs slowly. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow Day

Another Snow Day today and I'm trying to decide which of my millions of projects to work on today.  I could finish those tablemats that are still sitting on the crafting table, or organize my desk, or work on the heart table runner that I've veen planning and have the supplies all ready for, or I could do some scrapbooking, or I could make those cupcakes that I've been craving, or, or, or....  I'll get back to you after I get off the chair and out from under the flannel blankets that I made the kids for Christmas.  By the way, they've come in handy as it's been terribly cold this winter and we've needed every blanket in the house to keep us warm in this 100 year old drafty house.  The laptop keeps my lap warm as well.