Prepare to be redirected to thebloominghydrangea.com!

This page is a time delay redirect, please update your bookmarks to my new location at thebloominghydrangea.com!

December 31, 2010

A New Year

The last day of 2010 is upon us. I am not one for making New Year's Resolutions because I am horrible at sticking with anything for long. Mr.A on the other hand loves to make resolutions. He even writes them out and signs them. (I know, it's kind of dorky but that's why I love him!) There are a few things I'd like to accomplish in 2011 and so I thought I'd be like Mr.A and put them on the blog. Here they are:

1. Take some type of family trip that doesn't involve the 4 states we usually visit. Along with this, I'd like it to be a trip where we aren't visiting anyone, staying at someone's house or going because it's a holiday.

2. Run a 2K race in June.

Ok, well those sound easy enough. Hopefully sometime this year you will read a blog about my running a race and going on a family vacation! And if not, there's always next year!
If you have any resolutions or goals that you have for 2011, I'd love to hear them, please feel free to post a comment and/or link to your blog below!

Until next year,

December 23, 2010

Oreo Truffles

My friend shared this yummy recipe with me. It's another quick and easy one, so if you don't have a lot of time, this might be a good one for you. Sorry for the instructions but this is what I did and it worked for me.

1 package Oreo cookies
1 8oz package of cream cheese (softened)
1 12 oz bag of white chocolate chips

I placed the Oreo cookies in a large freezer bag and then went to town with my rolling pin, crushing and rolling those Oreos into a fine crumbly mess.   I then dumped the crushed up cookies into a mixing bowl, added the softened cream cheese and mixed it all together until it looked like a big bowl of mud. Yummy, right? I then rolled the mixture into about one inch balls. I placed them on a cookie sheet and refrigerated the balls for about an hour or so, pretty much until they weren't sticky to touch. It was suggested that I place a toothpick in each one before they hardened to make it easier to dip them in the white chocolate but I just didn't have a lot of luck with that method. Here's how mine looked before they went dipping!  Not my prettiest or most perfectly rolled balls but they get covered in chocolate, so who's gonna see them?   If you will be eating these at my house this weekend, just ignore this picture.  Ahem....so anyways, back to the recipe.

Melt the white chocolate chips in the microwave until it's nice and smooth and perfect for dipping in. Cover your tray with wax paper, less mess to clean up off the tray. I dropped the yummy balls of Oreo goodness into the bowl of white chocolate, swirled it around until it was covered and then just dug it right out with a spoon and placed it on the wax paper to harden. I then set the tray of Oreo truffles in the refrigerator for an hour to make sure they set. Transfer the Oreo truffles into a covered container and keep refrigerated.

Here they are, in all their glory, ready to be eaten! 

You could also use semi-sweet chocolate chips or maybe mix half semi-sweet and half milk chocolate chips for dipping instead of the white. Another idea is to save some of the Oreo you crushed and sprinkle the crumbs on top right after you dip it. I'm sure you could also use candy cane crushed up. You could also drizzle some of the extra dipping mixture on top and make a pretty design.  However you decide to dip them and decorate them, I'm sure they will be gone in no time, these are really  yummy!!!!

Peanut Butter Blossoms otherwise known as "kiss" cookies

I've already made one batch of these cookies but they were scarfed down before I could even get a picture of them.  For some reason this batch didn't turn out as pretty as the last batch but the pictures will just have to do for now.  Maybe next Christmas I will take a nice photo of them and update this recipe.  Ok, who am I kidding, I probably won't remember. 

Here is the recipe:

1 3/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 egg
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. shortening
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
2tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
48 Hershey kisses unwrapped

Combine all the ingredients and mix on low speed with your mixer. Shape into small balls, roll the balls in sugar and bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees.
When cookies are done baking, top with a Hershey kiss and press down gently.
Let cool and then they are ready to devour  eat.

December 21, 2010

New Recipe: Yummy Bars

If you're looking for something fast, easy and yummy then this recipe is for you! My mom made these bars and I remember them being a special treat just at Christmas time. They are so easy to put together, definitely a recipe the kids can help with and usually most ingredients you already have on hand. Just make sure you give yourself enough time to let them chill in the fridge!

16oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
12oz butterscotch chips
1 c. smooth peanut butter
3 c. miniature marshmallows (you can use the colored ones to change it up a bit too.)
1 c. peanuts

Melt together in the microwave the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips and peanut butter. (I melted this together on the stove top and it didn't turn out well so use the microwave, trust me on this!) Mix in the marshmallows and peanuts. Pour into a buttered 9x13 pan and let set in the fridge.
See, wasn't that easy!!!

This is what it will look like about part way through melting it.

After adding in the marshmallows and peanuts this is what it will look like in the pan.
And this is what it should NOT look like!  This is the one I did on the stove, still tastes good but doesn't look quite as appealing!

I cut this corner piece out for blogging purposes and promptly put it back in the pan!  Ok, I ate it.

December 18, 2010

A house is a house.....

We are living in our third house in the past 10 years. The first one was a three bedroom ranch that was small but worked for us when we only had little toddlers and babies. We finished the basement and we really liked our house but the layout was kind of choppy and small for hosting. We then built a nice big house with all the bedrooms upstairs and plenty of room for hosting. We didn't really like the mortgage payment on that house and I really prefer old houses so then we moved into the house we are currently living in. It's great except that we have 3 girls, 1 boy and only three bedrooms. We have an extra room off the kitchen which we use as a playroom that we could make into a bedroom but then we'll lose our playroom/extra room and I don't like having bedrooms on the main floor. So our dilemma is, add on off the back of our house, we have a flat roof that we could add onto and make two extra bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs, giving us a master bath and bedroom upstairs and each kid their own room. Or we could redo the room on the main floor but then all the toys would need to be in the kids rooms and we would be on the main floor. I know that they won't have toys forever but it would be nice to have another "room" for the kids to hang out in that we can keep an eye on and I don't like the thought of kids hanging out in their bedrooms with friends all the time. The last option is, we move into something that doesn't need remodeling and fits our family better. We go back and forth over these options and it's driving me insane! I'd love to hear from some people, what are your bedroom/family room/play room situations. We maybe could finish our basement but it's wet, scary and full of bugs. It's flooded before so I hate to think of putting carpet and drywall down there only to have it get ruined. Do your kids share rooms? Do you have a bedroom on the main floor? Do you have older kids that hang out at your house? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!

December 14, 2010

Thankful for my "job"

I am a stay at home mom, this is my job. My days are filled with laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning toilets, sweeping, more laundry, bringing children to and from school, bringing forgotten items to school, dentist and doctor appointments, scheduling appointments, making lunches,grocery shopping, homework, bath time and I'm sure a few more things that I can't remember at the moment. There are also play dates, playing trucks, hammering and sawing furniture and walls, playing play-doh, American girls, Polly Pockets, coloring,chase, catch and tickle wars. Reading stories, dancing, playing board games and Wii. Some days I am irritated at the mountain of laundry that magically appears in a 24 hour period. I'm not sure why I am suprised with 6 people living in one house, there is bound to be a lot of laundry. Yet, I am also reminded how blessed I am to be able to stay home all day, taking care of my family and doing my "job." Because I know some women who would love to have the same "job" as I do, to stay home and not have to work plus do everything I just listed above. I think being a working mom sounds like the hardest job on earth. I know that some of these women are working because they have to, they carry the insurance for the family, their husband is out of a job, they can't make it on one income, there are countless reasons why. After talking with a friend the other day about being a stay at home mom, I was reminded how very very thankful I am to be able to stay home. Not to say that it is easy all the time. We've had to make sacrifices along the way, we don't own two new vehicles, we don't take extravagant vacations, we don't own a cabin, heck, we don't even have cable! Our furniture is not new, most of it is second hand, we don't shop at high end stores, we get a lot of our clothes at Target. Yet these "sacrifices" are more than worth the blessings I've gained! I don't mind not having any of these "things" because I get to be home for our children. One day, the children will be grown and gone and then we can have "things," if that is what we so desire. Things will always be around, children will not.
This blog post is not to bash working women, far from it, I greatly admire those women who have to carry both loads. It is just me simply saying that the greatest decision we ever made was for me to be able to stay home and I'm so thankful! I know there are days that it seems like the job is thankless and you wonder if getting a "paying" job to pay those bills off a little quicker would be a good idea but in the grand scheme of things, my time really is worth more than money. One day, I will work myself out of this "job" and there won't be anymore running kids to school or school field trips to attend. I will have all the time I want to work, clean, volunteer or do whatever else I want with my time. Sometimes, I need a reminder, that this is just a season, enjoy it while it's here!!!!

December 11, 2010

Spritz Cookie Recipe

This is a recipe that my grandma used and I made these cookies with my mom when I was a little girl. Now I make them with my girls. Every year I forget with the first batch to put sprinkles on the cookies BEFORE they get baked. I haven't made these yet this year but will be making them later today. Here is the recipe and before I forget, you need a cookie gun for this recipe!   You can use whatever shapes you like but I always use the tree, a wreath and some other weird design.  You can buy a cookie gun at Target and other retailers and they are usually under $20.  Here is one that target has, Wilton Cookie Pro Ultra II.  Now, onto the recipe!

1 c. Oleo (does anyone use that anymore?) I just use butter instead.
1 1/4 c. Powdered Sugar
Cream these together and then blend in 1 Egg and 1 tsp. Vanilla.
Gradually add 2 1/2 c. Flour and 1/2 tsp. Salt. Mix well and then put in your cookie press. Press onto ungreased cookie sheets, add sprinkles and bake at 400 degrees for 6-8 minutes. This is what they look like prior to baking, the spinkles make a nice mess on the sheet.

Here are some pictures of the finished cookie, I could really use a nice camera so my cookies don't look so white!


December 10, 2010

Pantry Makeover!

It's been three years since we remodeled the kitchen and there are still a few things we didn't finish, like baseboard trim in the pantry. Mr.A put up the shelving for me, put the door on and then I said, "Ok, that looks good for now, I have a new project for you."
A few weeks ago I came across this blog post here and had immediate pantry envy! So at 9:30 one weeknight evening I decided it's time to pretty up my pantry. Mr.A doesn't really like when this happens, especially so late in the evening but I talked him into it, saying it would be fun and adventurous. And guess what, he agreed! So here are the before pictures of the pantry, not bad but definitely not cute.

So it was white, white and more white without baseboard trim and pretty much a catchall for appliances, food and plastic bags. First order of business was to paint that bad boy, so I had my loving husband unscrew all the brackets and remove all the shelves. Acutally, he volunteered to do this because he knows my tendancy to hurry up and paint, why take it down when you can paint around it? 
Seeing as it was 9:30 at night and there weren't a lot of places open to go get some paint mixed, I just walked down into my little paint store in the basement and picked a color.  I decided to use the rest of the dining room paint to make it kind of a fun pop of color.
I also decided that  I needed some cute canister type storage stuff that was see through and I could put cute vinyl labels on.  After looking at a few stores, I decided to wait until we were in Minneapolis and I could go to IKEA.  Well the snow and some hives pitted against our trip but that's ok, I found some cute canisters at the grocery store for super cheap!
Here is the after so far, I want to add a few more things, like new cereal containers which was Mr.A's idea and a couple baskets of some variety but they will have to wait a bit.  Oh yes, and I want some vinyl lettering for my canisters. Just so I don't end up confusing the flour with corn starch or something crazy like that!

Hope you enjoyed the pantry remodel, I know I am loving loving loving it! In fact, I don't want to use anything out of the containers because they look so nice and full and pretty. And yes, the big bag full of plastic bags is still on the pantry floor. They need to be moved to some other location or they need some sort of cute home/type thing. If you have a great idea for plastic bags other than to put dog poop in, I'd love to hear it!

I have since added labels to my containers.  On a recent trip to Wally world I found clear shipping labels and seeing as I don't yet own a Silhouette, (hint, hint) I thought this was a cheap $7 solution for labeling my containers.  It was super easy and if I ever need to change them out, the package came with 10 sheets and 100 labels, just make sure to buy Shipping labels and not Address labels. 

Also don't forget to check out The Kitchen Remodel, the Mudroom Makeover and the Cloffice Reveal.

An unexpected weekend at home

We were supposed to be heading to visit some good friends this weekend in Minneapolis but a bad case of the hives  in our third child (which the doctors are saying is a virus) and a winter snow storm for Saturday are causing us to cancel our plans. I am really bummed out we aren't going to be hanging with our friends but I am getting excited to be snowed in on Saturday! I rented three movies from Redbox, stocked up on baking supplies and am envisioning a really fun weekend at home, complete with popcorn made on the stovetop, cookies, cookies and more cookies and snuggle time on the couch!  Of course poor Mr.A will probably be envisioning lots some shoveling or snow blowing as well.
So in honor of the unexpected weekend, I'm posting some of our favorite cookie recipes. They will be without pictures to start but I will am hoping to remember to take some pictures of our finished cookies this weekend.   So stay tuned for the recipes!!!

December 7, 2010

Mantel fun

I've always wanted a fireplace in my house but that wasn't a reality until we moved into our current home. My mom knit us all stocking with our names on them and I have been so glad to have a mantel to hang them from! I originally had a turquoise/gold theme going on but changed it up when I made the christmas ball wreath and hung the stcokings.

So here's the original mantle:

And here is the updated version:

I use command hooks to hang the stocking because I am too cheap to buy the holders sold in the store.  Plus I need 6 and honestly I think it would just take up too much space.  I am linking up at the Lettered Cottage.

December 2, 2010

Trace Adkins - You're Gonna Miss This

This song gets me everytime it's on the radio. I don't listen to the radio often but I hear this song every once in a while. What a great reminder, life doesn't stay the same but changes all the time. Our kids won't live with us forever. Just thought I"d share this today!

December 1, 2010

December already!

Wow, where did November go? As usual time is flying by rather quickly around here. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. My parents were in town so we had a great meal together and even did some Black Friday shopping! I did not get up at the crack of dawn but instead left around 8:00 am and was home by 9:30 am. I did not find any amazing deals but I did get a pizza oven for $30, which we've been thinking of buying for a while now. Did you do some shopping on Friday and did you get any amazing deals?

Christmas will be here before we know it and I just read a great blog post by Emily over at Remodeling This Life.

I follow quite a few blogs about homes, decorating them and do it yourself projects. I love the ideas that I can get from them and seeing how creative people are but I also sometimes feel like I"m playing "Keeping up with the bloggers." I don't live in a $400,000 home and I don't shop at Anthropolgie or Pottery Barn. So I am so happy to read Emily's blog and how she's stepped off the treadmill of keeping up and instead is keeping it simple.

I am hoping to spend time baking cookies with my children, putting puzzles together, playing games, watching some movies, reading some books and just having fun together as a family. I'm sure we will also drive around and look at Christmas lights because that's a tradition of ours that I love! I want my children to remember Christmas as a special time of togetherness, giving to others who have real need and the birth of a Savior. Not toys, Santa, want, want, want and the endless parade of stuff that we don't need.

What are your plans for this Christmas season? Are you going to jump off the treadmill and enjoy the short few weeks before Christmas? What do you want your children to remember about Christmas 2010?