Friday, November 30, 2012

Little Christmas Touches



It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....

So that means I am decking my halls every chance I get. Little green here, little red here, sprinkle in some silver and gold. Glitter? Do you even have to ask?

I wanted to share a few quick Christmas tweaks I've made to projects you've already seen.

First, I made a Christmas ribbon wreath, just like my fall one. For the easy as pie directions go here. It seriously only took me 30 minutes to make. I had stocked up on Christmas ribbon at The Christmas Tree Shoppes a few months ago.

                                     
Thanks again for sharing all of the pictures of the ribbon wreaths you have made. I LOVE seeing  how you have customized them and made them your own. Please keep sharing :-)

                                           

Second, I switched out the fall scrapbook paper in my rotating holiday kitchen frames.  Now there are festive silver reindeer frolicking in the snow.

                                
I kept the fall paper directly behind the winter one in the frame. That way I will never misplace one and know it will stay nice and flat.

Now that it's colder out and getting dark at 4pm, does anyone else never want to leave their house. I just want to snuggle up with a blanket and coffee and watch Christmas movies.

And that's what I'm about to go do.

                                       
Thursday, November 29, 2012

Applesauce Spice Christmas Ornaments



I saw the idea for these ornaments on Pinterest and right away thought it would be a great project for the girls to do this Christmas. The other day we got the very first snowfall of the season and so it was the PERFECT morning to make our house smell glorious making these adorable, cinnamon decorations.

    All you will need are:
  • 1 cup of applesauce
  • 1  1/4 cup of cinnamon 
  • 2 tbsp. ground cloves
  • 2 tbsp. ground nutmeg
  • cookie cutters
  • plastic straw
  • yarn

Pour all ingredients into a bowl and mix until thoroughly combined. You may need to take off your rings and knead with your hands. Just like sugar cookies, if the dough feels sticky, add more cinnamon, if it feels too dry add some more applesauce.


Sprinkle some cinnamon on a clean surface.


Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness.

                                       
Press cookie cutters firmly into the dough.

                                   
Place shapes onto a cookie pan with either a sil mat or parchment paper. Using a plastic straw, poke holes into the top center of each shape.

                                    
Bake at 225 degrees for 2 hours or until rock hard. Then let them completely cool.

                                       
We were able to make about 40 ornaments! If you don't want to make so many, then simply half the recipe above.

We tied red and green yarn through the hole to hang them on the tree. On some we even added tiny jingle bells.

                                        
Easy peasy, right?! My girls and I had a blast making them as the snow was falling outside.  We hung some on the tree and have the rest hanging by the front door. Any visitor to our house gets to take one home as a keepsake.

                                                 

What a great way to kick off the most wonderful time of the year.

**Just a note to remind you that these are NOT edible. So as much as you may want to, do NOT eat these. Go find yourself another snack.**

                                     
Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Make It Work



Oh how I love to quote the fabulous Tim Gun.

I've been eying up my utensil crock for at least a year now. You see, ever since we painted our kitchen cabinets white last year, I've been slowly trying to make my old accessories work in the space. Sometimes that meant yard saleing the old and getting something different. However, when I can, I like to re-imagine a piece and still use it.

The problem was that it was just too bright and to, well, yellow. It was the first thing my eye was drawn to when I stepped into the kitchen. It didn't fit.

                           
So out came my good, old friend, spray paint.

                      
I gave it 2 thin coats of primer and about 3 thin coats of "Heirloom White" paint.

                                  
I let it dry overnight in the garage, while I not so patiently waited.

So much better!

                                    
Now it feels like it belongs, yet still has a bit of an eclectic touch since it doesn't exactly match the white on the cabinets.


And yes, those are dog bones  :-)

Now comes the age old question.......... what ELSE in my house can I spray paint?........

Have a great day!

                                                 
Monday, November 26, 2012

Chocolate Chip Rice Pudding



This recipe was my Everest. It took YEARS to get it just right.

                                      

Let me start at the beginning....

Once upon a time I lived in New York City during a summer college internship. My roommate, Becky and I shared a teeny, tiny room in the beautiful, historic New Yorker hotel. It was so small our beds practically touched.

The hotel reserves one entire floor of rooms year-round for college interns. What a great idea! We were able to meet other college students of various career fields to spend our summer with, when we weren't working, that is. We became friends with Danielle and Samantha, two wonderful girls from Arizona.

It was on one fateful day in June that Danielle asked us if we had ever eaten dessert at Rice to Riches.

"What is that?"

Danielle explained to us that it was a little place on Spring St. right above Little Italy at Mulberry St. It was basically like an ice cream shop, except that instead of ice cream they served up a huge variety of unique rice pudding flavors.

I was hesitant, I didn't even eat regular rice pudding that often, what was I going to think of this place?

Well, one bite of their "Chocolate Chip Flirt" (all their flavors have super cute names) and I was hooked. I mean, head over heals in LOVE. It was creamy, cold, and delicious.

Oh look, here we are!

                               Becky, me, and Danielle in a booth at Rice to Riches

As far as I know this is the ONLY location. So until a franchise is available for me to put in my hometown ..... I had to try and re-create my own.

I tried, and I tried, and I googled and tried longer, over the course of 6-7 years. I can finally now say that it is done. I did it!

Creamy, cold, delicious!

The secret is that you have to use Arborio rice (Italian risotto rice). It's a high-starch, short-grain rice that becomes super creamy when it absorbs the milk.

                                    
Ingredients:
  • 4 cups of whole milk
  • 1.5 cups of heavy whipping cream
  • 1tsp. vanilla
  • 3/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Italian Risotto rice
  • 1 extra large bar of dark chocolate  (coarsely chopped)
Directions:

Place the milk, cream, vanilla, brown sugar, and rice in a large pot and bring to a simmer.

                   
Once it's simmering, lower the heat to medium-high, and continue to simmer until the rice is cooked and the mixture is thickened (about 30 minutes).  Be sure to stir it frequently.

This is how it should look.


                                            
Turn off the heat and transfer the pudding to a casserole dish.
          

Leave the pudding out on your counter for about 30 minutes to cool down. Stir it every so often.

Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours.

Coarsly chop your chocolate bar. Then fold into the pudding.

                                    
                                            
Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours before serving.

I usually make this the day before I need it, that way it can chill all night.

                            

This makes about 4- 6 servings. If you make it for a party, double it, because it will be gone before you know it! People will be licking their bowls clean, I know I shamelessly do.

"Oh, what's that on my face? It's probably chocolate chip rice pudding."

*****If you are ever in New York and want to try one of their awesome flavors, check out Rice to Riches. It seems they are redesigning their web site right now, but be sure to check back in the future. 

If you don't think you'll be in the city any time soon, they will mail you some!*****
      
Enjoy!!

                                                 
 

                                         

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Putting Up Drywall



There's progress in the master bathroom! I can no longer lay in bed and stare right at the shower.

Once we passed our framing, plumbing, and electrical inspection last week. Jared got right to putting up the drywall.
                                                
Once he got to the inside of the bathroom, he installed the shower walls. The shower walls ended up being a special order and taking 3 weeks to come in!

                                
Here's a close up so you can see the slight tile texture of the wall.

 

We even had a little helper.

                                            
Jared had to drill out the hole where the shower lever would go.  I asked him if that made him nervous, because it sure made me sweat while I watched him. He assured me that it would be perfect. And it was. Thank GOD!  I didn't want to wait another 3 weeks for a shower wall.

                                  
                                     
The inspector was here yesterday morning and we passed the drywall inspection! He even said it was the best drywall job he's ever seen. Well, he didn't actually SAY that, but I could tell he was thinking it    ;-)

From here the only other inspection takes place when the entire bathroom is done. It's called the Certificate of Occupancy inspection.

That means no more waiting. Full speed ahead!

Jared already has the first coat of spackle up on the wall. I wanted to help him but he said he only had one set of spakle tools with him. I wonder if he did that on purpose......

                            
My room is a disaster, and yes it gives me the shakes whenever I go in. I can't wait to get it organized and make it a relaxing retreat from our zoo .... er, I mean house.

                                         
Be sure to check back for more updates.

Have a great day!

                                  

                                         
Wednesday, November 14, 2012

And Now There Are Six



 You may have noticed that my posts have been a little scarce these last few weeks. I'm sorry. I have a good reason, though, I promise.

You see two weeks ago we brought home a new addition to our family! He's super cuddly and only pees on the floor a few times a day.

Would you like to meet him?

                           
This is Scout.

He's a beagle.

He's a BEAGLE Scout     ...... hehe

Jared and I have been thinking for some time now that we wanted to add another dog to our family. We have a 5-year-old chocolate labrador, Gracie, who is still a big fur ball of energy. She needed a brother.

                                                   
"Are you guys crazy!?  Don't you already have your hands full?!"

This is what most people in real life asked us when we shared our news.

And the truth is ......Yes, we are pretty nuts.

But when you are already nuts, what's one more?   :-)

                                              
I grew up in a house that always had at least 2-3 dogs. It was wonderful. I loved coming home to my dogs, I loved snuggling up to them by the fireplace, I loved the way they played with each other and ran circles around our pool. My home and heart was filled to the brim with dogs and I want the same for my girls.

Gracie and Scout have become fast friends. First Scout thought Gracie was his mommy, then Gracie thought Scout was her son.  Now they have realized they are brother and sister, they enjoy their afternoon races around our yard and games of fetch in our living room.

We think our family is complete now  :-)

                                          
Look at that face!!!  Oh cuteness!!!!!!

                                   Have a great day!
                                                
Monday, November 12, 2012

Comfort and Joy




My girls LOVE to paint. At least once a day one of them comes up to me and begs me to spread newspaper on the kitchen table, bust out the paintbrushes and let them create swirly masterpieces. They make a huge mess, and love every second of it.

I had an idea to let them paint something that I know wouldn't get tossed. Something Christmasy, something big. 



In my dining room I normally have a big canvas of painted waterlilies. I had the idea to have the girls paint a picture that I could hang during the holidays, not only to add to our holiday decor, but also to have a special keepsake of their "talents".

                                 

Since my girls are only 2 and 4, I had to think of some way to make the art noticeably holiday-ish, but not to be too restrictive (there is no way my 2 year old could paint a Christmas tree... or even color inside the lines of a Christmas tree.)

                                  
Using painter's tape, I spelled out the word "Joy".  Then I went around the edge of the letters with scissors to make them smoother.

First layer, green. Let dry

                                      
Then red. Let Dry.

I tried to teach the girls how to make "swirls" with their brushes to get a marbled effect. I was only semi successful. In fact to be honest, the perfectionist in me kept loosing my temper and wanting to take over to make it "perfect". But then I kept looking at the word "Joy" and needed to remind myself that this painting wasn't supposed to be "perfect".  It was about them, and the joy they bring to our lives. They were having a blast, and that is what I will always remember when I look at this painting, not that the swirls aren't evenly distributed!

                                       
Then gold. Let dry.

                                        
Then if you really want it sparkly (you know I did), do a layer of silver.

                                
Once that was fully dry. Peel off the painter's tape.


You could just leave it white (which was my intention in the beginning) however, I felt the white seemed a bit too graphic and "cold". So I painted the letters in the same green I used for the first layer.

                                   
(It is very hard to get a photograph to accurately show the texture and color of  how it looks in real life. I am not a great photographer and took about a million pictures of this and I think the closest representation is the picture with the "Joy" letters still in white.)

Here is a close up for you to really see the marbly texture.


                                      
This may be my single favorite decoration in my house. It's always shimmering and serves as the perfect reminder to take comfort in the big and small joys in life.

                                       
Joann's almost always has their stretched canvas 40% off. I got that huge one for only $23.00!

Even if you don't have kids, you could make (a much more polished) painting using the same steps. Try the words "Love" or "Hope"for a picture to keep up all year long.

Although, I may keep this one up all year long.

It's the most wonderful time......of the year  :-)

                                                            Take care, friends.
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CoffeeandCream
Hi! Thanks for stopping by. I'm a 28-year-old mommy who loves to bake,cook, decorate,sew,and DIY everything I can get my hands on. Grab yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy my adventures!
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