Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

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I told you my mom was a crafty crafter from WAY back.  Here’s the proof…

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“Halloween Back In The Day”

100% Homemade Halloween Goodness

Steven and Sabrina – circa 1983

Hope you all have a wonderfully spooky day with family and friends!

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fall Portrait Session

Pin It A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to take some great photos of my good friend Carrie and her adorable sons. 
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The little one is one of Braden’s best buds…
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We had a great time playing in the leaves and capturing the colors of the Midwestern fall season.
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We also tried out railroad “look”.  My first time doing this, but I really liked how it turned out.
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And we didn’t get arrested, so I guess that’s a plus. :)
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Once again, a super photogenic family….makes my job easy.
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Thanks Carrie, J and Z!  You guys were great!!!  Hope you enjoy your pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them.
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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Coffee Table To Bench Reveal

Pin It Remember my “shopping trip” in the my dad’s basement?  Well, I did a little happy dance when I saw this coffee table.
I remember it from my grandma’s house when I was really little…
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BTW…Who thought that faux formica marble was a cool idea?
Then I remember it being at my little brother’s pad…
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It had rough life there.
Notice the boo boo??
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Anyway, my house wasn’t really in need of another coffee table.  Nope.
However, I was in the market for a table with pretty legs that I  could convert to a end of the bed bench for our master bedroom.
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This table was fit the bill:  pretty legs, sturdy when sat upon (once I fixed the “boo boo”) and FREE! (Thanks to the p’s!)
I fixed the leg issue, spray painted the legs and sides with my new favorite, Heirloom White, added some padding and upholstered the top.
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Sounds simple enough, right?
Well, maybe not all that simple.  I’ll be sure to post a step by step soon!  Until then, here’s the before and after:
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Isn’t she lovely?  And functional to boot!

I’m linking this post up to the below parties!  Check them out for some fabulous inspiration!

handmade projectsHOGShow and Tell GreenGet your craft on Thurs. Funky Junk's Saturday Nite SpecialThe DIY Show OffUndertheTableandDreaming

    

Miss Mustard Seed’s Furniture Feature Friday

 

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What I’ve Learned…during my 2nd grader’s fall baseball.

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1.  Whatever is growing in that outfield is freakin’ awesome and memorizing.  All the little outfielders (including my own!) seem hypnotized during the last inning.

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2.  Big League Chew is still super cool.  Kids between the ages of 6 and 7 look hysterical with a wad of the stuff in their mouths.

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3.  Catching gear.  Catching gear that’s too big.  Nuf said.

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4.  Little boys like to really get into the game.  Translated, this means they literally like to get.  into.  the.  game.  And since the game is baseball, it involves a lot of dirt, sand and grass….all of which ends up on their tiny little white baseball pants.  They look like they really had a rough night on the field when they come home.  ;)

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5.  What’s funnier?  (1)Watching the 1st baseman lay flat on his stomach (WHILE the game is going on!) brushing dust off the base OR (2) looking at the expression of his mom sitting next to me, shrugging in horror at her boy. 

We embrace to comfort each other.  Ha!

6.  Did you know that if little boys are left for more than a few seconds WAY out in the outfield, that they will find rocks…and then proceed to have a little catching game in the outfield with the rocks.  Did I mention that this all happens DURING the game? 

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7.  I’m pretty sure the only thing that keeps them all going during the last half hour of a game is the promise of yummy treats when it’s all over.

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8.  And last, but not least…all laughs aside, I’ve learned that getting kids involved in something like baseball…no matter their skill level…is a wonderful experience.

My son LOVES baseball.  Even though he’s struggling in all areas of the game, I’m SO PROUD of him for sticking with it and being so excited to head out to the field each week.  Looking forward to spring ball now! 

Well, watching the games… NOT the bleacher butt.  :(

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Monday, October 18, 2010

No-Knead Bread: An Experiment, Part 2

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Two different bloggers that I subscribe to recently posted two different recipes for No-Knead Bread.  Well, doesn’t that sound great?!?  I’m always in a time crunch and honestly, bread making is kind of a process.  Cut out the kneading part?  Sign me up! I decided to try them both out and review each method. Here’s Part 1.  Now, we’re on to Part 2.
Method 2:
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I ran across this recipe posted by Kimba from A Soft Place To Land.  Her method is actually a recipe from the New York Times in 2006.  (Once again…where have I been?  Ugh.)


(UPDATE:  Check out this video to see exactly how this bread is made!)

The NY Times recipe is even simpler than the first recipe I tried, but uses a cast iron Dutch oven instead of a pizza stone.  Kimba suggested this Dutch oven from Amazon, however I bought a slightly larger, yet similar one from CSN.  I had a gift certificate!  Both are awesome deals considering their size.  Basically, you need a 5-8 quart pot with a lid that can handle at least a 450 degree oven.  No plastic people!
Dutch Oven No-Knead Bread (New York Times)
  • 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 1/2 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.  I put my in the microwave…not on, of course. IMG_4682 
  2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.  IMG_4687
  3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a piece of wax paper with flour.  Place dough on wax paper, seam side down.  Lightly sprinkle the top surface with more flour.  Cover with a tea towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
  4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 5- to 8-quart heavy covered pot in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Carefully lift wax paper and turn dough over into pot, seam side up.  This will not look pretty, but no worries.  Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.
  5. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack. IMG_4702  
NOTES and Review:
  • Although this method is SUPER easy, it does take some forethought.  For instance, I you want to have bread for dinner, you have to start it right before bed time the night before.  If you want it for lunch the next day, I started it the day before right after lunch.  SO:  Easy recipe…lots of wait time.
  • This recipe makes one easy to deal with loaf, which is all my family (and my rear) needs!
  • Notice that I used wax paper for the final rise stage.  The actual NY Times method called for using a tea towel .  Many blogs mentioned that this made kind of a mess, so I decided to try the wax paper.  It worked great and was most likely less of a mess.
  • Love my Dutch Oven and can’t wait to use it for other things like soups and braising.  Happy to add it to my kitchen arsenal.
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CONCLUSION:
Both methods are great, it just depends on what your needs and time constraints might be.  The loaves were wonderfully crusty and had just enough bite on the inside.  Method 1 would probably work well as both a dinner bread and a sandwich bread.  Method 2 is great with dinner and soup, but works well as a crostini too.  A little too holey for my sandwiches.  
Of the two recipes, I like the Dutch Oven method a little more.  The one loaf thing is a plus to me.  I love eating bread morning, noon and night, but I would also like to fit into my jeans this season. ;) 
If I can figure out how to properly store my refrigerated dough from Method 1, then maybe I’ll like having bread dough on hand all week.   One reader mentioned making dinner rolls from the Method 1 dough as well, instead of one large loaf.  Also, the longer you store this dough, the more it becomes like sourdough.  That would be nice to test out too.
Well, I hope my little dabble in No-Knead methods has inspired you to try out one of these recipes for yourself.  They truly make homemade bread a manageable task! 

   
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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sometimes We All Need a Break…

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My husband surprised me with a quick getaway to Door County, Wisconsin this past weekend for our 5th wedding anniversary.

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It was gorgeous…the best place to see fall in full gear.

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Lots of hiking…

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And beautiful shorelines…

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Just got back tonight, but I had to share a few pictures and say I’m sorry for not responding so well to comments and messages.

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We were a little busy…

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Doing NOTHING!

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