Monthly Archives: December 2013

Tasty Tuesday – Monkey Bread

Oh my yummy!  We have had company for the last few days, and wanted to have a good post holiday brunch on Sunday morning.  Off to Pinterest I went looking for something that fit with this month’s sweet treats theme and would also work as a complement for a breakfast/brunch type meal.  I came across a recipe for

Cream Cheese Filled Monkey Bread

The only problem…  I cannot seem to find my bundt pan.  That meant I had to head back to the boards and look for another option.  This is the one I came up with instead:

Perfect!  It could work away in the crock pot while I worked on the rest of the meal…

First I gathered the ingredients: a can of biscuits, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon, & 1/4 cup butter.

monkey bread ingredients

Next up, melting the butter…  I copped out and used the microwave, because I wanted not to dirty another pot and spend the time on using the stove.

nuking the butter  almost melted

While it was melting I combined the cinnamon and brown sugar in a bowl and set it aside.

cinnamon and brown sugar

Then I opened the biscuits, and cut each one into quarters.

quartering biscuits

When they were all cut and the butter was melted, it was time to coat the quartered biscuits with butter and cinnamon sugar.  I took each piece and dipped it in the melted butter.

cover with butter

Then I took the buttered pieces and coated them with the cinnamon-brown sugar mixture.

coat with cinnamon sugar

After they were coated, all the pieces went into the crock pot for 2 hours on low.

ready to cook

The finished product was so yummy!

ooey gooey monkey bread



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Snapshot Saturday – Rocking Christmas Tree

This week I’m going to share a snapshot we took from a visit to New York City last year.  We went to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring the Rockettes (boy can those girls kick!) and finished off the night with a visit to see the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.  This was something we tried to do every holiday season; however, because we moved out of New York, we had to create some new traditions.

Rockefeller Center Tree '12

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?



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Filed under bucket board, check-it-off-the-list, hunting for a new home, snapshot saturday

Quest to Read Them All – City of Glass

I’m on an ongoing personal quest to read every book I own, and I am making steady progress.  I am considering increasing the number of books I read at a time so that I can get through more books, but I’m not sure if that will work in my current schedule.  It’s something I must ponder further…

This week’s book is Cassandra Clare‘s 3rd installment in the Mortal Instruments Series, City of Glass.

I really am enjoying this series.  It’s not as consuming as Harry Potter was, but I love the supporting characters!  Magnus and Alec are 2 of my favorites and I just found this great link to an ebook series about Magnus Bane!  As soon as I finish this post, I’m going to download all 10 of them!  But I digress…  Alec and Magnus get some quality attention in this installment of the Mortal Instruments Series.  I feel like such a fan girl, culling through each book looking for specific mention and anticipating what will happen next in their relationship!

It was a good book, exciting and informative.  Clare answered some lingering continuity questions.  I am left wondering what’s going to happen in the next book.  Is it going to be about the happily ever after, because I don’t think that will support the next three books in the series.  I may have to rearrange my reading schedule to move the next one up in line!

I also heard a rumor that was slightly troubling while I was reading this book.  Someone on another blog was bashing the author, Cassandra Clare, because she supposedly created the series as a fanfic writing project based on characters in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series.  I have no idea if this is true or not, but I have to ask why it matters?  What difference does it make where the idea started from, because it has obviously taken off in a completely different direction.  There is no hint of Draco Malfoy in Jace, nor Ginny Weasley in Clary.  Who are we, as readers, to judge the creative impetus of the authors we love?  How do we know where Shakespeare got his inspiration from, or Poe, or Austen for that matter?

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Filed under books-books-books, check-it-off-the-list, read them all

Merry Mail

OK, perhaps the timing of this post is a bit late, but the project was completed to fill a need in our home this holiday season.  I had made a clothes pin Christmas card wreath last year, but it got broken as the decorations were getting packed away.  So, as I realized that we now had no where to display our Christmas cards, I headed to Pinterest to find a new Christmas card display.

This is the one I chose.  First I gathered the supplies I needed:  a piece of wood 6″ tall x 24″ wide, red paint, white paint, green paint, silver paint, a black paint pen, 1″ wide Christmas ribbon, an electric stapler, 1/2″ wide glittered ribbon, clothes pins, colored chalk, a pen, my computer and printer.

When I had everything together, I sanded the board and base coated it in white paint.

base coating for merry mail

While that was drying I headed to the computer and made a sign on MS Word that read “Merry Mail” and printed it out.

photo 1 (2)

Then I cut the page in half and used colored chalk to cover the back of the lettering creating a transfer stencil.

making a chalk stencil

I set that aside and used pouncers (round sponge brushes of varying sizes) to make the polka dots on the sign.  I made several dots of each size in red, green and silver across the white back ground.  I decided to have a few of the dots overlap and others hang off the edges of the board.

making polka dots

When that was dry, I used the chalk stencil to transfer the words onto the front of the sign.  With the chalk on the back of the paper, I used a pen to trace around the letters on the front of the page.

photo 3 (2)

When I had the chalk outline to work with, I used a black paint pen to fill in the letters.

photo 4

I then set it aside to dry and cut the ribbons to length.  I used the 3 types of 1″ ribbon to hang from the bottom to attach the cards and the 1/2″ ribbon to hang the sign.

cutting the ribbon

Then I used an electric stapler to attach the ribbons.  I hung the 3 colored lengths from the bottom of the sign, spaced evenly across the board.

stapling the ribbon

This is the finished product, before I hung the cards on it and put it up in our dining room.

photo 4 (3)

How do you show off your holiday cards?

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Snapshot Saturday – Oh Christmas Tree!

This week’s picture is the first shot I took of our decorated Christmas tree in our new house!  I made a bunch of huge changes this year, and this is just one more to add to the list.  We went with an artificial tree instead of a live one.  I have never liked fake trees, but I really do like how this one looks.

photo 2 (11)

There were a hundred reasons we went with artificial, and I can honestly say I’m not disappointed with my choice.  How about you… Real or Fake?

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Quest to Read Them All – The Bride Wore Size 12

The next book on my Quest to Read Them All is the 5th book in a favorite series of mine written by Meg Cabot, The Bride Wore Size 12.

We join former pop star Heather Wells and her PI fiance Cooper Cartwright as they get ready for their upcoming wedding at New York City’s famous Plaza Hotel.  Heather is an Assistant Director at NY College’s Fischer Hall, lovingly referred to as Death Dorm.  Anyone that is (even slightly) familiar with this series knows that things never run smoothly for Heather and her friends.  I love Meg Cabot’s writing, and her Heather Wells series is one of my favorites.  Heather’s goofy, self deprecating, adventurous, determination hits home with me in many ways.  I also love how New York City plays a distinct role in the book.  This book ties up some of the loose ends from the previous books, explores some new characters, and reinforces the connection between Heather and her core group.  There’s also a surprise cameo by the heroine of another one of Meg Cabot’s series – keep your eye out for The Queen of Babble.

I really hope that we will get to join Heather and her friends even more adventures!

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Putting our Puppy Prints on the Christmas Tree

Last week we talked about two ornaments we made for our Christmas tree, but those weren’t the only ones that were missing.  We needed to pay homage to all of the furry members of our family!  So, I went to check out Pinterest, and found this ornament and the directions on how to make it…

We decided that we liked the style of the ornament, but didn’t want to make the extra decorations.  This was our first time working with Sculpey clay and  making that bone & candy cane just seemed like it was out of reach.  (This time around…)

First we gathered our supplies:  3 colors of Sculpey clay (we have 3 dogs, so we needed 3 colors to be able to easily identify which paw print belongs to which dog), a nail, Sculpey glaze, ribbon, an oven, a cookie sheet covered in parchment, and a paintbrush.

photo 1 (4)

Once we had everything together, I preheated the oven to 275 degrees.  Then we assigned the colors to the appropriate dog (Paddy got blue, Murphy got purple and Harley got black) and started working the clay to get it malleable enough to make an impression of their paws.  The black clay was the hardest to soften.  Unlike the 1st House Ornament where we used 2 bars of the clay, we used all 4 bars for each of these.

working the blue clay

be careful it will stain your hands…

working the purple clay  working the black clay

Once it was soft enough, we formed a thick pancake like shape out of the clay, and made an imprint of each dog’s paw in their color  clay.

photo 3

Once the print was in the clay, we used a nail to make a hole for the ribbon to hang the ornament and to write the dog’s initials on their ornament.

puppy initials

Then we traced the paw print with the nail to make it more noticeable, because the color clay we used was so dark and it was hard to see the prints.

tracing the print

When all three were done, it was time to put them in the oven to bake.  The blue and purple ones took 15 minutes and the black one needed to stay in the oven for an extra 15 minutes (30 minutes total).

oven ready  baking away

When they were done, we took them out and let them cool over night, so that we could glaze them without an issue.

glazing murphy's ornament

We glazed each side of each ornament and let them dry for 30 minutes between coats.  When they were dry, it was time to thread the ribbon through to make the hanger for each.

making the hanger

Then it was time to put them all up on the tree.

Murphy's ornament  Harley's ornament  Paddy's ornament

What do you think?  What kind of ornament should we make next?


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Filed under check-it-off-the-list, Christmas Gifts, projecty type stuff