Monday, October 13, 2014

I clearly underestimated my commitment

So being the over achieving, want to do it all woman that I am, I thought I would do it all.  Blog, kids, move, craft, bake, the list goes on.

What I didn't get done:
Go to Estes Park to see the Aspens this fall (fall isn't over yet but that probably aint happening).
Go on an amazing money saving, style grabbing home shopping spree (I still don't have a washer and my dryer is still uninstalled).
Throw a housewarming/chocolate party.
Blog all my Fall adventures.

What I did get done (but just forgot to share with you):
Throw the twins a great puppy party.
Make party decor for my friend's wedding.
Move to a new home!  Yay!
Get a dog! (Dream come true, its been a long time coming)
And mostly unpack.
Get some awesome fall recipes checked off my fall recipe board on Pinterest.
Get a few pumpkins decorated

I even had my mother in law over and everything.  Now I need to get some of my girlfriends in here and I am contemplating having a b-day party for myself.

If you are like me, the only thing you cared about on that list is the new dog.  Let me introduce you to Charlie.  Our family's first rescue.

From the moment I saw him, sitting patiently waiting for our family's attention from his kennel. Not jumping on the gate or barking, but sitting and batting his sad eyes, doing his best puppy impression.  My hubby was drawn to the rambunctious, jumping greyhound mix and we checked him out first.  I almost thought we wouldn't get to look at any other dogs, based on hubby's infatuation with the greyhound but I convinced him to check out Charlie as well.

And Charlie wasn't overly affectionate, or calm when first met him in the play area.  He was distracted.  He wanted to watch the cars and people outside and clearly wanted to get out.  Not in a fearful way but in an excited way.  But he still came when called, allowed the twins to pet him and once we broke out the treats he became super focused.  He showed off his sit and come like an old pro.  That sold me.  I still wasn't in love, he wasn't very affectionate, as I said.  But, being a dog trainer, I know it can take dogs a while to come out of their box for new people.  He had all the traits that would fit perfectly in our family.  And my hubby knows, happy wife, happy life, so he went to fill out the paperwork.

That's when the wind picked up and the cold air drove Charlie (all skin and bones, with no fat layer) to my side.  As soon as I crouched down, he was firmly against me.  Resting his head on y lap,  legs trembling and he showed me his cuddly side.

Since coming home, this dog has two modes: cuddling and work/play.  He is an excellent walker, a professional fetch player, and natural pointer.  He loves to circle and point to the tree, chasing its resident squirrels.  Its perfect entertainment for my two-year-olds.

I'll be sharing more on Charlie soon, giving you stat updates on his latest tricks and accomplishments (he isn't perfect).  But for now I'm gonna go find my cuddle buddy.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Gluten Free Peaches and Cream Birthday Cake for the twins second birthday.

My kids are incredibly excited for tomorrow's birthday festivities.  And so am I.  The greatest thrill for me is that I get to use all my pent up crafting energy.  I get to create stuff I love from Pinterest and my kids actually love it too.  You wouldn't think two year olds would be psyched to see photos of dogs at birthday parties from the early 20th century but they were.  The truth is they are psyched to see any dog, whether its walking down the street, on tv, Pinterest or Zak George's Youtube channel.

So I have been busy making party hats, stickers, goody bags, and this delicious Peaches and Cream Cake.  My hubby's aunt sent me this recipe and I am so glad she did because I have been wanting to make a rose out of peach slices since spring.  And this cake is gluten free because a few of the invitees are gluten free.  Can you imagine being a kid, allergic to gluten, and not able to eat the cake at a birthday party?  My heart would break.  And now that there are gluten free boxed cake mixes it really made no difference to me.  But the cake mix itself turned out sooooooooo good.  So fluffy and moist.

So here is the recipe (adapted a bit)
Peaches and Cream Cake

2 boxes yellow cake mix (and the ingredients needed to bake the cake)
6-7 ripe peaches (I used Palisade, lovely, local, in season, super sweet)
1 cup  +1 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ginger (divided into 1/2 tsps)
2 Cups Whipped Cream

Make the cake:
Bake the cake according to directions, adding 1/2 tsp ginger.  Let cool completely.  

Make the filling:  While the cake is baking, peel and slice the peaches.  Add 1 cup sliced peaches, 1 cup sugar, and 1/2 tsp ginger to blender and puree.  Add a little water if needed.  Pour into a saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until all sugar is melted and the glaze drips like a syrup.  Cool completely.  
Pour 1 tbsp sugar and 1/2 tsp ginger over the remaining peaches and toss in a bowl. 

Once the cake is completely cool, gently remove it from the pans and slice off the rounded tops.  Put the bottom layer on a cake stand. Starting in the center of the bottom layer, arrange sliced peaches onto cake in a rose shape (or simply spread them evenly).  Drizzle 1/2 of the glaze over peaches and top with second cake.  Top with peaches in the same way and then drizzle remaining  glaze.  Top the cake with whipped cream!  

Note:  I don't have my cake topped yet because I am throwing this party at the park after church and I don't want the whipped cream to deflate.  So I am bringing a can of whipped cream with me in a cooler alongside the cake and other goodies.  Pictures will be posted after the party!  I also have a good way to pack my cake so it doesn't slide all over on the drive.  I put down parchment paper on my work surface before starting, just to keep things clean.  So after I assembled the cake, I rolled the parchment paper and wrapped the rolls around the outside of the cake.  Since I haven't frosted with whipped cream yet, this will help keep everything packed securely so my cake shouldn't lose it in my car.  Then when I am ready I can just take out the parchment and frost it.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Typography Pinata Tutorial

The twins are turning two this month and I am so excited!  Its my way of not only showing off my kids, but my party planning skills.  I've got mad skills.  And because they are only two I basically get to do things my way, which means cheesy and a little feminine.  But I am definitely taking a step back this year from last year's hand made everything.  We are buying pizza, simplifying snack and drinks, and letting the venue shine, instead of too much added decor.

I will be handmaking a few things in between packing boxes for our upcoming move.  Including this Ampersand Pinata.  I love that the twins are twins, and I get to use this trendy wedding motif for their b-day!
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