Saturday, December 29, 2012

Regency read along challenge!

Well, I signed myself up for a regency read along challenge on The books are all regency romance books written by Candice Hern. There are different levels of commitment, and I chose disciple. I already have and read one, "A Proper Companion," (sorry, can't do italics on my blogger app) and got a free short story for my kindle. So that leaves one to three others to buy (or borrow?) and read. I plan to reread the one I have already read so I can write a little review of it. I did tell them that I am not an accomplished book reviewer, but will try to give a proper two cents about the book. I will just try to look at it like a book report in school :)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas full of love, family and friends. And while Santa and presents are fun, knowing the true reason we celebrate is the birth of our Savior. Follow the star...

Monday, December 24, 2012

Gingerbread pudding cake

My small group at church had a Christmas gathering last night. We had a potluck dinner, chatted, and sang carols. It was a nice time with friends.

I had recently gotten a free kindle book called Slow Cooker Spoon Cakes and Desserts by Sara Winlet. As with many free kindle books, I think it was self published, as there were some errors I think an editor might have caught...such as none of the recipes stated what size crock pot to use.

Anyway, that book was my inspiration for wanting to make dessert for my potluck in my crockpot. I found some that were possibilities, but I searched Pinterest, too. There I found a recipe from Better Homes and Gardens for Gingerbread Pudding Cake. Since I was trying to find something Christmasy, gingerbread seemed the way to go. It was very easy, and got many rave reviews from my friends. Here it is:

Gingerbread Pudding Cake (source: BHG)

1 box gingerbread cake mix (14.5oz)
1/2 c milk
1/2 c raisins (I omitted these)
3/4 c packed brown sugar
2 1/4 c water
3/4 c butter (1 1/2 sticks)

In a saucepan, combine sugar, water and butter. Bring to a boil, turn down heat, and simmer for 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, lightly spray the inside of a 3 1/2-4 qt crockpot with cooking spray. In a bowl, combine cake mix and milk; it will be very thick. Stir in raisins, then spread evenly in the bottom of crockpot.

Carefully pour butter and sugar mixture over the cake mixture (do not stir), cover pot, and cook on high for 2 hours. Cake may still look moist in center, but will set as it cools.

Remove crock from base, uncover and let cool for 45 minutes before serving with vanilla ice cream and/or whipped cream.

I had been concerned, because I have a 2.5qt pot, and I was worried it would be too small. But I gave it a whirl, and it was fine. It made a yummy caramel sauce in the bottom of the pot, and a thick cake on top. Yum.

In the kindle book, I found a recipe for Cinnamon Bread Pudding (similar ingredients as French toast, but a lot less work) that I was thinking of making as a breakfast on New Years Day (it would be nice for Christmas, too, except M is at her dads until late Christmas morning). I will let you know how that turns out :)

Cake mix in crock
After I poured butter and sugar mixture on top
A decimated cake during serving (I forgot to take a pic pre-serving)
A big spoonful of cake, sauce, ice cream and whipped cream

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas open house

We had an open house last night at my preschool. In addition to sharing with parents the developmental progress their children have made, we had cookies. And more cookies. And still more cookies. The kiddos had been helping make, and watching teachers make and plate, trays of cookies and cupcakes. So obviously, the first place they all wanted to go when they arrived was the treat table :)

This pic is of the two "fanciest" (read: fussiest) cookies that were made. Boss Lady saw the Santa cookies somewhere, and wanted us to make them. But they were way too tedious for 4yo kiddos to make, so I made them, with the exception of a few that a 10yo girl helped with. But she agreed...while cute, they were not easy.

The other ones were s'more sticks. A friend of a friend mentioned them on Facebook a week or so ago, and they sounded yummy. I made them as well, not because my kiddos couldn't dip something in chocolate, but because it is difficult to dip things in chocolate while sleeping. Yes, I made them during nap time. They consist of quartered graham crackers sandwiching marshmallow fluff. I then dipped them in melted chocolate, and gave a little sprinkle of Christmas sprinkles for pizazz. To speed up the process, I then popped them in the fridge for a bit to firm up so they wouldn't leave all their chocolate on the wax paper. They were my preferred cookie, mostly because I prefer brown chocolate to white chocolate :)

The kids then had a party while parents were able to go shopping (or whatever). They decorated giant gingerbread cookies and a gingerbread house, made little egg carton snowmen, and ran around and were silly. I, however, left and went home, while other people stayed and cared for the kiddos :)

In case I don't post before then, here's wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Gingerbread man pin

I was browsing Pinterest last month looking for Christmas crochet projects. I saw some cute ones, but nothing that was exactly what I wanted. So I made my own gingerbread man.

After my initial attempt, I liked the proportions of arms, legs, head and body, but his head was a little cocked to one side...oops. So I diagrammed the base circle with the other parts so I knew where to put them. Then I tried again. And I did it!

So, here is my pattern:

Gingerbread man

Ch: chain
St: stitch
Slst: slip stitch
Hdc: half double crochet
Tc: triple crochet

Make a Magic circle (google it if you don't know how)

R1: ch2 (counts as first hdc), 8hdc, slst into ch2 (9 stitches)

R2: ch2 (counts as first hdc), 1 hdc in same stitch, 2 hdc in remaining. Slst into ch2 (18 stitches)

R3: 1 hdc in one st, 6tc in one st, 1 hdc in next st. Slst next 2st. 1 hdc, 2dc, 1hdc in next st. Slst 3, 1hdc 3tc 1hdc in next, slst next, 1hdc 3tc 1hdc in next, 3 slst, 1hdc 2dc 1hdc in next, 2slst. Fasten off and weave in ends.

Add decorations as desired. I embroidered white yarn in zig zags on the arms and legs, looped a piece of red yarn thru the neck and tied a bow (I dabbed tacky glue on the ends of the yarn and the knot to prevent it coming undone), and stitched small black beads for eyes, and green beads for gum drop buttons. I then stitched a pin back onto the back, just under neck level.He comes out 2.5-3 inches tall.

I think he is rather cute :)

Small print: if you post this pattern somewhere, please link back to me :)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Millet porridge in the crock pot

When we went to Telkwa, BC, at the end of August with our church for a building and fellowship project, our hostess made millet porridge in the crock pot for us the first morning, when only half of our group was there. It was a tasty alternative to oatmeal (which I want to try in the crock pot), and I wanted to make it once we got home. However, I only had a huge 5.5qt crock pot, which is nice for potlucks, but not for cooking for two. Last month, I finally got a 2.5qt crock pot that is more appropriate for cooking for two.

The next problem was finding whole millet, which, it turns out, is not something most stores carry. I found millet flour once. I finally remembered to go to the Food Coop, which is our local version of Whole Foods. And lo and behold, they had millet.

It is a very simple recipe:

8 cups water
2 cans coconut milk
4 cups millet

Mix and cook on low overnight.

I halved the recipe, since I was cooking for two, not 21 like in Telkwa (we had another 17 or so arrive over the next couple days). We will still have some left overs.

It was yummy, and easy, and didn't require me to be fully functional. We end up missing some weekend breakfasts due to that :) The coconut flavor was not noticeable, so if you want to add flavors, I don't think you would need to make other adjustments. I topped mine with a little milk and maple syrup, and M had milk and Smuckers strawberry syrup, which she uses on lots of things.

My issues were that it stuck to the crock, and was cooked unevenly. The parts around the outside were almost mushy, while the middle was more grainy. Once I stirred it up, it seemed to even out. But I am afraid I may still have to soak out the stuck on parts.

I may try that oatmeal in the crock pot for tomorrow before church...but that is a post for another day :)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Show ribbon invites

M's birthday party is this weekend. After much discussion, it was decided to have it at a local coffee shop in their loft (our apartment is too small for more than two or three kids) and play horse riding/jumping games. For invites, we made show ribbons. On the front is a stamp of a horse, and on the back is a bigger circle with all the party info. We may make thank you cards that are similar. Haven't decided yet :)

I will post more about the party next week after the event. Wish me luck!

Crochet turtle

My girl asked me for a crocheted turtle. After looking on yarn websites, and finally biting the bullet and joining Pinterest (I ::knew:: it was a time suck!), I have finally found a cute, free pattern thru Pinterest at for her jingle turtle. It is made to be a baby toy. I just omitted the bells, and have a cute turtle for my almost 11 year old baby :) And I finished it just in girl is coming home early from her dad's so he can take papa to the airport. Perfect timing :)