Monthly Archives: April 2013

Going Bananas

Another weekend has come to an end, a very busy weekend.  I couldn’t wait for this weekend.  I was going to get my garden planted, my house was going to be sparkling, and I was going to bake up a storm.  Well then I realized I didn’t have time for everything on my to do list.  I still got a lot accomplished even with the cold temperatures, the rain, and deciding I just wanted to have some fun instead of running around like a chicken with my head cut off!

We had a great time going out to dinner and then having a fire pit at our house Friday night.  On Saturday, Eric, Tyler and I went out for breakfast while all the marathoners were still out running, we went to Sam’s Club to try out the free weekend (and bought a lot of stuff and are considering renewing our membership), I bought a few new spring/summer clothes, and cleaned out my car!  My wonderful parents came to visit on Sunday.  It’s always fun to see them and Tyler interact, and Tyler was certainly putting on a good show for them today!  If that wasn’t enough, I also got a little bit of baking in, some amazing banana bread.

I have a bad habit of buying 5 bananas, one for each day of the week, to eat for breakfast.  Well lately I’ve been eating a little more food than that on the days that I get my butt out of bed to run in the mornings .  I haven’t been using up all my bananas.  This week I decided instead of tossing them out on the next trash day it was time to make something yummy with them.  I’m not a fan of just banana bread all by itself, and Eric doesn’t like chocolate chips in his banana bread.  As a compromise, I decided what we needed was a streusel topped banana bread.  I’d seen muffins like this and figured there had to be a recipe out there for a loaf of bread of it.  I found one on the blog, Just a Taste!

The ingredients that I used to make the banana bread.

The ingredients that I used to make the banana bread.

This bread was very quick and easy.  I think I was able to pull the batter and streusel topping together and into the oven in less than 20 min. Of course it took nearly and hour to bake, but during that time, I could accomplish other things like buying clothes online!

Bread batter before the streusel topping

Bread batter before the streusel topping

I did make one change to this recipe.  Instead of using buttermilk, I just used regular whole milk since that we have on hand for Tyler.  It still takes great, so I don’t think it made any difference at all.  Tyler even ate a good half a slice if not more this morning, so if Mr. Picky will eat it, I think nearly anyone would.  I think this quick and easy bread will be on the menu again when I have bananas that I don’t use!

The finished product.  The blurry picture is due to a little boy squirming!

The finished product. The blurry picture is due to a little boy squirming!

 

 

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Boozy Brownies

We had a lovely sunny weekend after a pretty bad week.  Last week included Tyler getting another ear infection, lots of rain, and our main credit card getting hacked, and someone using it at the Home Depot in Surprise, AZ.  Surprise!  Really it wasn’t so bad though because Chase caught it for me pretty quickly and took care of it very quickly.  On the bright side, the plumber came out and fixed all our minor problems (3 of them in an hour!), and we started the refinance of our house.

Then Saturday came around, and it was sunny and beautiful.  I helped work at the Science Olympiad and got to catch up with my former officemate, which was a lot of fun!  Eric had a less than fun day because he came down with strep throat…again.  I have a feeling that the liquid amoxicillin that he and Tyler were on wasn’t strong enough to kill all the germs like the pills did since I didn’t get strep again.  Thank goodness.  This time Eric got a fun penicillin shot in the hip!

Then Sunday, I got to work on a lot of projects that I’d been putting off for awhile.  While I worked on a few crafty projects that I can’t share yet, I also got some baking in this weekend.  I made some yummy Kahlua brownies that I found on Pinterest.  They were from a blog called Homemade By Holman.  Eric always loves having Kahlua and Bailey’s in his desserts, the boozier the better!

The ingredients for the brownies

The ingredients for the brownies

The brownies were made from scratch, and they came together pretty quickly.  My biggest problem with the recipe I found was that it didn’t say what size of jelly roll pan to use.  I used 15″x10″ pan, and only baked them for 30 min.  They still came out a little over-cooked though.  If I make them again, I will probably use a 13″x9″.  They were a little thinner than I would have liked.

All the ingredients to make the Bailey's icing

All the ingredients to make the Bailey’s icing

The icing was really simple.  I even mixed it by hand.  I probably added a third extra to the recipe.  The original amounts certainly didn’t make enough.  At least it was easy enough to make more. Starting out with the beginning amounts and adding on worked out well.

 

Someone got into the brownies a little early!

Someone got into the brownies a little early!

They are really good.  The only real downside is that we can’t really taste Kahlua, but the Bailey’s comes shining through! We’ll definitely be trying them again!

Busy Bees

So I have nothing interesting to blog about this week…at all.  I’m going to have to cook/bake something interesting soon because I’m certainly no where near being finished with any craft projects that I can actually show on here soon.  We’ve have been insanely busy but with nothing that is really bloggable!

Two weekends ago we (Eric and I) were sick with strep throat, so we had to cancel a trip down to Litchfield that had already been cancelled because of the snow at the end of March.  Needless to say nothing got done that weekend because we felt horrible.  Actually we did manage to get some major cleaning done because we had to, and honestly I’m not sure the last time the entire house had been that clean!  We had to do a great cleaning job because we’d been thinking about selling our house and were meeting with a realtor last week.  Unfortunately, we decided that wasn’t a smart move for us at this time, so we’re staying put.  We were getting pretty excited about all the houses we were finding in our price range.  Now, we’re going to refinance, put more money towards paying off our mortgage and hopefully pay a little less each month.  That took up an extraordinary amount of our time last week.

This past weekend we had Eric’s brother’s family up to visit.  It was a lot of fun, and we did several fun things.  Plus I got to hang out with my adorable nephews.  Unfortunately I forgot to take any pictures. 😦  We did go to One Week Boutique, a huge kids’ consignment sale that occurs twice a year in the CU.  Evidently you don’t get much unless you volunteer at the sale, are a first time mom, or a consignor.  In the fall, I’m going to have to volunteer!  The only thing I bought was one pair of shoes for Tyler.  It was kinda disappointing since I’d seen pictures online and was expecting something a whole lot more impressive than what we saw.  We also cooked out!  Yay for beautiful weather on Saturday and Sunday!  But the whole weekend went way too fast and was over before it started it seemed.

So while I have nothing really to show on the blog.  We have been really busy.  Maybe this coming weekend we’ll be able to do some things around the house or maybe get into the garden (although with the amount of rain we’re supposed to get this week, it seems unlikely!).  I have a long list of things I want to do and things to blog…there just needs to be free time to do them!!

Old Toys New Again

Tyler got some new toys a few weeks ago, but they weren’t new toys.  They were my old toys!  I didn’t remember that my mom kept any of these things.  To be honest I don’t even remember the puzzles from my childhood.  There were a bunch of books that I’m keeping away from Tyler for awhile until he can read them without tearing pages, and there were also 3 really nice puzzles that Tyler has been playing with quite a bit.  There was an animal, a nursery rhyme, and a three little pigs puzzle.

Books and puzzles from my childhood

Books and puzzles from my childhood

The books are my pride and joy (besides Tyler of course!).  Being the daughter of a librarian, I had lots of books and enjoyed lots of books while I was growing up.  The top right picture has 3 of my all time favorites, and it contains one that I spent months looking for online.  I don’t remember the original Poky Little Puppy Golden book from my childhood, but the Poky Little Puppy and the Patchwork Blanket I remembered very clearly.  Every time I tried to find this book online I could only find it for hundreds of dollars, which I wasn’t willing to pay even for my favorite children’s book.  The reason that it was so expensive was because it hadn’t been reprinted since 1983.  Since I’ve had my copy back, I have found it for $20 though.  Timing is everything!  Even though I could buy it much more cheaply now, I was still beyond happy when I laid eyes on my copy again.  When I looked in the cover, it had an inscription that it was from my Grandma and Grandpa for Valentine’s Day.  It was fantastic!

Tyler playing with my old puzzles.

Tyler playing with my old puzzles.

Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that make us happy, and this past Easter weekend added a little bit of joy to my life.  Also just to throw this out there and get a few brownie points, my mom is pretty awesome for saving these for me!

After the Bunny

One way I like to decorate is to put something on our front door to go with the seasons.  It’s really easy from October onward because there is always a holiday.  It gets trickier after Easter when I take my bunny down for the season.  The decorations add a little bit of color to our house.  Our front door is white, the trim is black and the house itself is grey (at least to my eyes, Eric will tell you it’s blue!), so it’s pretty monochromatic.  For the past several years, I haven’t put anything up between Easter and mid-October.  Even though we have flowers around the house in the spring and summer, this year I decided I wanted something on the door too.  I decided to make a wreath for our door!

The various steps in my wreath making.

The various steps in my wreath making.

I took a plain twig wreath to begin, and I spray painted it a cream color.  It ended up an ashy color which I really liked.  I then wrapped a teal ribbon around it.  I finished it with a wooden S that I wrapped in yarn.  I gave Eric the choice of 3 different colors, and he picked the maroon color (to be fair the other choices were purple and pink!).  I had some problems wrapping the S.  There is a good chance at some point it will be taken off the wreath for a painted S, but for now it looks pretty good.  It’s definitely better than no color at all since our flowers are later this year!

The finished wreath

The finished wreath!

Finally Cushions!

Finally I have finished my chair cushions for our bar stools.  It only took a couple months.  They were busy months though.  At least that’s going to be my excuse.

First Eric and I went round and round about the fabric until we found this bamboo patterned fabric on Spoonflower.  Although it’s not multi-colored like I was hoping.  It does add a color to the room that certainly wasn’t there before.  I used this as my pattern for my cushions.  I made each cushion 15″x16″x3″ for mine.  The only features that were different from the online instructions was that I didn’t make the piping, and I didn’t put a handle on them to make them look more like chair cushions.  I got some foam cushions from Joann’s Fabric (that aren’t staying inflated all that well, but there’s a zipper so I can always replace it!).

Different stages of the cushion being made

Different stages of the cushion being made

The zipper was definitely the hardest part.  It is true that practice makes perfect though because the second one went a lot easier even though I had to rip some seams on the second one and go back and start parts again.  The online tutorial definitely had great directions for the zipper though.  It just took me awhile to get all the sewing lingo.

The chairs with their brand new cushions

The chairs with their brand new cushions

I think they turned out pretty well even though it was only my second sewing project.  I might still add some ties for the back so that the cushions don’t fall off, and Tyler can’t pull them off.  They’re done for now though!  I already have my fabric for my next sewing project.  I just have to find some time to start on them!