Friday, January 20, 2012

having a proud moment.

i'm going to savor this moment.

yes, i know i haven't updated this blog in over a year. lots going on and i can become notoriously bag at blogging. i have ambitions and often so little time.

and, like all knowledge that isn't applied on the daily, i file it away in a bottomless drawer in the back of my mind - good luck retrieving it on a day, oh, say more than a year later, when i actually want to use it.

so, is my blog visual perfection?

hardly. BUT...this is a start.

some quick updates and then more later when i've done more blog construction.

listening: to random 80's music on my iTunes. very, VERY into my 80's at the moment.

baked: butterscotch + chocolate chip cookies with a smack of coconut. new recipe. not sure if i'm entirely pleased with the results. for the record, using crisco in a cookie recipe has never worked well for me. have no idea why. so, mine did not turn out pretty + chewy + delightfully flat-looking as the picture in the link. they were more like, browned on the outside, light-colored-to-well-done on the inside. i couldn't bring myself to photograph them. would like to test it again, with some tweaks, at another time. also made this. haven't tried it yet. looks fabulous. very excited. i may be moved to photograph it tomorrow and post about it later.

weekend plans: i may be shaking my fist at mother nature tomorrow as we're supposed to get a wintry mix (i would take snow over a mix. a mix just involves more of a colossal mess that isn't remotely pretty to look at.) i have a birthday party to take my son to in the morning. questionable attendance given the weather forecast, but we'll see...

would also like to do more work on my project life. i'm excited to post pictures of my album as i do more.

wishing: i had more time right now to tinker around with my blog tonight.



Thursday, December 2, 2010

welcome, december.

hard to believe, but it's here. the last month of the year...and, to be honest, i'm a bit blown away by how fast the past...well, year...has flown by.


as we move forward, i'm going to attempt to post a few times during the season's craziness. i haven't been in a "picture taking" mood. for a variety of reasons. i have to play a lot of catch up - burning discs, clearing out memory cards, etc.

think i can do it?

ha. i'm not so sure.

so, here we are. december. peppermint. baking. snowmen. delicate ornaments. these are definitely some of my december "feel goods".

what makes me happy this time of year is the lights. i love the lights that decorate trees and homes...those little, electric candles that people put in the window. it's all very comforting. and, well, my kids are basket-cases right now...making a mile-long wish list and asking a million holiday-related questions. they're buzzing with excitement. tapping in to that excitement is a whole other story. recapturing the feeling of what is was like to be young, anticipating all the good things december's hard for me to do, but my kids give me glimpses of it...reminders from awhile back.

as we head into the height of the holidays, i hope you're able to bring back some of those memories. revel in what makes you feel good and happy and warm inside. twinkling lights. toasty fireplaces. happy elves.

you get the idea. =)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

got book club?

i do.

later today.

and, where's there's book club, there's an opportunity to bake.

so, of course i jumped right on that. and produced these sweet treats:

peanut butter cup cookies are a total piece of cake to make. made the dough this morning; baked them this afternoon. other than straight from a tube from pillsbury, it doesn't get much more convenient.

so, yes. i'm well aware that i haven't posted pictures from class. and no layouts. bad on both fronts. i'm dealing with a slow-poke of a PC, that makes it both time-consuming and frustrating to work with photo-editing software...let alone open then internet, which is a feat that sometimes takes minutes to accomplish. i get up and walk away a some cleaning...come the next thing...wait for that program to save or run...get up do some more cleaning...

it's a real bummer.

so, it honestly kills the motivation to do any of these things.

as for the layouts. my basement is in a state of chaos. i want to move my craft area to a different side of the basement. move the kids' stuff to the side where my craft desk currently sits. it involves time and...well, another person to help me out. and right now, i'm it. (if only i could single-handedly move

for now...there are cookies. and book club.

we'll be discussing The Book Thief. which was a good read. sad read, but good. it surprises me that this is a kid's book, but maybe i shouldn't be so naive? the narrator of the book is Death and takes place during WWII in Nazi Germany. so, it's not what i would exactly call uplifting. regardless, it's well written. coherent. expressed beautifully. a bit of a tear-jerker.

up next is The Kabul Beauty School.

if you do care to join, there will be guaranteed dessert. you may just need to bring milk. ;-)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

a thing of beauty... a nice neat package.
specifically in a package containing a piece of homemade chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake.

(and did i mention it's tasty? probably closing in on 500 calories per slice. + or - another 500 - after all, i did use light sour cream and some light cream cheese - hahaha).

delicious though.

it's been about a solid two months since i last blogged. that being said, the page is a little dusty. updates are coming soon. *slight update to my original draft...i have started making some tiny updates. the banner always takes me a very long time because i have to start from scratch and figure out how i updated the darn thing in the first place.* some highlights are in store, too. mostly from my photography class this summer, which took up a lot of my spare time. worth it though.

things are good here. settling into the fall routine with the kids. still settling. i feel like things have been a bit too crazy and i've been out a bunch. hoping it levels off soon. then again, if it didn't, at least things would be pretty "normal" here. ;-)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

we watched anyway...

Sure, the heat index was 108, but we still went to the Phils game.
Cheesesteak? Check.
Flying Fish beer? Check, check.
Water? Triple check.
Graham Slam ice cream...goes without saying.

The Phils had the game pretty much locked up and by the 7th inning, we called it quits. A shower never felt better that evening. But, it was so much fun.

Things have been pretty busy around here. I'm currently trying to finish
this book for book club - clear it out of the way so I can put all my focus in getting my assignment done for my photog class.

My husband reminded me that I need to rechannel some of my attention back to the basement, which we're currently organizing and getting ready to turn into a multi-purpose area that's mainly a rec-room of sorts for the kids. My craft section off to one side. And, yeah...a bit of a retreat. Complete with circa 1970's wood paneling. How sweet is THAT? ;-P

So, no, sadly no layouts right now.
Photog class has been my priority...getting every nickel and dime out of it, just like I did with Karen's class last year. We finished up Composition last week and I was able to learn a bit more in the realm of photo-editing, which is awesome. I learned some fun basics on photo composition last year; now, I got to build on trying to incorporate more than one of those fundamentals in a photo. Here are a few of my "comp fundamentals" photos that I edited using photoshop (PS):

Frame with a Frame + Rhythm + Leading Lines

Circle + Triangle (main flower, the flower beneath the main and the flower to the right forming a triangle)

Rhythm + Leading Lines + Negative space


Rule of Thirds

Circle + Rhythm + Leading Lines stuff...I'm still working with my photo editing stills. It's been slow progress, but I really enjoy tackling it when I set aside the time.

Now on to Depth of Field...and more photo-editing, of course! ;-)

On a completely random note and end to the post, what better time to chat about July 4th...other than at the END of July. (Well...I guess you could've answered with "December" and that would've been true, too).

Here are some fun, little cupcakes I made, inspired by this bakery and their Patriotic cupcakes. Yum, right? (Not sure if their World Cup Cupcakes are still up there, but if they are, you need to check them out...).

(Photos courtesy of the photos are not the best, me, these little suckers were more delish than they may look!!!) .

If you're sitting there thinking: "There's no way in heck I could make those..." THINK AGAIN. You CAN. It's many steps, but if you through each one and tackle it piece by piece, it's not so bad. Here's how:

Tools you will need: A pastry/icing bag, a pastry/icing tip with a large hole at the end (sorry, I do not know which number, but make sure it'll allow for a large, even flow of icing to come out); red, white & blue sprinkles; muffin/cupcake pans; cupcake liners; a sweet tooth. ;-)

Step 1: Make vanilla cupcakes - from scratch, if you're feeling industrious; from a good, old-fashioned box mix if you're a time-saver.

Step 2: Make a chocolate ganache filling ( picture). Don't have a recipe? Try this one or do a google search. I promise you - there will be plenty of ganache recipes to choose from.

Step 3: Stuff those little buggers with the chocolate ganache. How? Easy! If you have an icing set, take an icing bag and find the icing tip with the biggest hole at the end that you can find (I know this is very professional of me. If you're using Wilton or Ateco, I'm not sure about the tip number...); attach the tip to the bag with a coupler. Fill the bag with the ganache. Shove the icing tip into the cupcake and fill.

Step 4: Make vanilla icing or just buy a can of the pre-made stuff. Tint it to the desired shade of blue. OR...simply leave it white if you want. Frost your cupcakes.

Step 5: Make some star-shaped sugar cookies. Yeah you can do this from scratch. OR get a tube of sugar cookie dough from the dairy section of your grocery store. Roll the dough, grab a small star cookie cutter and make your stars. Once you bake the cookies, let them cool. You can ice them like I did...leave them plain...dust the edges of them with sugar crystals. Whatever your little heart desires. Be creative. Play with it.

Step 6: Grab some sprinkles. I got a red, white & blue assortment of shapes, sugar, regular sprinkles and dumped it into a bowl. Take your frosted cupcakes and roll just the edge of it in the sprinkles. You should have a blue middle free of sprinkles when all is said and done.

Step 7: Top each cupcake with a cooled, decorated sugar cookie.



And delicious.

What are you waiting for? Go make some (because it's still July...!). =)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

progress is as progess does...

and i'm moving along.

making time to do things that need to be done. even though time is slim to none.

the wallpaper border in the master bedroom is off. i finished taking it down yesterday evening. looked at the clock after i put my daughter to bed and figured, "what the hey...why not now?" and at 9.30 p.m. it was DONE.

now on to the tough part of the job: rubbing off the residual wallpaper glue.

i've googled a few home-made solutions that claim to do the trick. my mom is coming down to visit for a few days...i'm thinking of enlisting her help.

made barefoot contessa's peach raspberry shortcakes early last week.

not bad at all. having a really tough time with fruit. because of the early and consistent hot weather here (hot meaning a daily temperature of 80-mid 90 degrees), the fruit is ripening early...and rapidly. and, not holding up well. because of that, i'm not into my fruit desserts like i usually am this time of year. such a shame.

BUT, grilled salmon sandwiches are on tap for tomorrow night's dinner.

i'm a little "grill challenged", so this is guaranteed to be an interesting adventure for me. (interesting here defined as "resulting in a possible catastrophic outcome").

of course, my main focus right now is my photography class. it's been intense, right out of the gate. the homework assignments are definitely a challenge...they take longer...involve a lot of thought. hopefully, i'll be able to post the results of some of the photos from my first assignment. which aren't pretty. except they're mostly of my daughter, and i feel that my daughter IS pretty, so to say they're not would be putting her down. i should say that, technically, i'm not thrilled with them, but i'm pretty much starting from scratch again, relearning a few, the outcome isn't what i want. but, it's what needs to happen to get to where i want.

make sense? hmmm. i'm sounding confused, which isn't good for first thing in the morning.

i'll leave you with a recent layout:

you can also view it here.

will be back with more updates. hopefully, i won't be drowning in a sea of wallpaper glue and lovely glue removal solution made by yours truly.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

there are about 20 other things i should be doing right now...

oh well.

what's a little procrastination and a later bedtime every now and...every DAY. ;P

barefoot in the kitchen is still going strong.

i recently made ina's croque monsieur. (if you're a book junkie, you can also find this in her Barefoot in Paris cookbook).

think of it as grilled cheese, inside out. hmmm, except there's technically cheese inside, too. so, it's like and inside AND outside grilled cheese. (no, it's not burned. just nicely browned in the pan. seriously!).

okay, so where am i going with this? patience, my friend. (yes, you'll have to tolerate the dark pictures taken with my phone at hand. again...witching hour does not lend itself to a safe camera environment).

the efforts to put this together were minimal. the taste was extraordinary.

one of my friends was over that evening and can vouch. she can also take credit for handling the 5 pm crazies that my kids dish out...totally helps speed up dinner production. =)

on a whim, i also served up ina's jalepeno cheddar cornbread. WOW.

amazing. i've always relied on my super-special, hyper-secret cornbread recipe. tried and true. *ahem*. um, you know, the one found on the back of the quaker yellow cornmeal canister. ;-) yeah, that one. which i love...a little on the sweet side of cornbread, which is great. contrasts nicely with spicy mexican, if you're up for that sort of thing (and we are huge mexican cuisine fans here...well, minus the kids on that one). this recipe was right up there, though. it is made in a 9x13 pan. why the emphasis? because you will have a lot left over if you're making this for only a couple of people. and, even if you refrigerate it, you only have a few days to use up the leftovers. so, just make a mental note.

other stuff. oh, quick layout i did of james's storytime favorites. thank goodness i had this picture. i may have been scratching my head for awhile trying to think of what they actually were at 18 months as he's well into his 2's.

details of the layout and materials used can be found on my post here.

things on the scrapbooking front my take a slow down. this week was a big one as i started a new photography class, taught by wendy schultz. i'm really psyched about it. on the flip side, my free time (what's that again?) is going to be spent on the assignments and tutorials. which are sizeable. a wee bit longer than the ones from karen russell's class. i'm nervous. it's a big endeavor for me. i also don't have a clue what i'm doing (always a good feeling). i'm branching out into new territory, trying things on shaky legs because they're unfamiliar. but, it's what i have to do to be better...

slight confession: i may still use some of the extra time i find in a day to - oh, i don't know - rip down the awesome pink paisley wallpaper border in my bedroom. (i'm too embarrased to show a picture of my room because of the pink hideousness...and, well, frankly my room is a mess at the moment).


the former owners did. along with the pink carpeting in the same room.

seriously, what guy is OK with this? i'm thinking that the wife wore the pants in that relationship, BIG TIME. or he just didn't give a...well, you know.

(and if i've offended anyone out apologies...but, pink bedrooms are not my thing...unless i'm all of a sudden a tween again).

anyway, i've managed to spend 4 years (that's right) ignoring it. i'm sure it would've been less if i actually had one ounce of decorating prowness. it's taken me awhile to settle on a style, color scheme, etc. but, i think i've reached it...

in time for me to start another photography class. =)