Monday, January 31, 2011

New Vintage Winter Coat

I spotted this coat while out thrifting last week. It wasn't on sale, so I decided to hold off on it. My mom was also out thrifting (we ran into each other there) and took a picture of it with her phone and told me she'd check for it on half off day. Yay for me that no other chubby girls were looking for a vintage turquoise winter coat (and that my mom goes to the store like every day!).
New coat - $4. (But I actually haven't paid my mom yet, so technically, free). Also, the boots are from my mom. Not thrifted. (I have ridiculously big feet, I can never find thrifted shoes). I love my Caribou Sorels.





This is why I have to wear sunglasses ALL THE TIME, even when it's snowing (or raining, or cloudy...). My dang pupils let too much light in and I can't see - little Miss Squinty.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Overheard

"Lincoln do you want a dog?"

"Yes. {pause} No. I want a chicken instead."

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Vintage Owl Earrings





I got these super cute owlies from my mama. She's had them for years - she doesn't remember where she got them or when exactly - over 30 years ago though. I love them because they're owls (and I have a love for vintage owls) and because they belonged to my mama!
I'm not sure which side is considered the front though. What do you think...is the top picture the front of the earrings? Or is the bottom picture the front of the earrings?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes



My {southern} brother-in-law introduced our family to red velvet cake when he started dating my sister. It was something his grandmother made for him growing up. I've only had this cake with cream cheese frosting. That's what sold me on this. The cake is good, but the frosting, amazing.






Red Velvet Cupcakes
Makes 30-36

Ingredients

For the cake:
3 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
6 tablespoons red food coloring*
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

For the cream cheese frosting:
12 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 to 4 tablespoons milk
8 cups powdered sugar


To make the cake: Arrange the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake pans with cupcake liners.
In a small bowl, sift the cake flour and set aside**. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter for 2 minutes. With the mixer on, add the sugar slowly and beat until very light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a small bowl, whisk together the red food coloring, cocoa, and vanilla. Add to the batter and beat well.

In a measuring cup, stir the salt into the buttermilk. Add to the batter in three parts alternating with the flour. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat. In a small bowl, stir together the cider vinegar and baking soda. Add to the batter and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth.

Divide the batter between the cupcake liners, filling each about 2/3-full. Bake the cupcakes, switching positions of the pans halfway through baking, about 20 minutes total or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes in the pan 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely on a rack before icing.

To make the cream cheese frosting: Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla in bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well combined. Gradually add powdered sugar. Add milk by tablespoonful until frosting reaches desired spreading consistency.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip with the frosting and frost cooled cupcakes as desired. (I used a Wilton 1M tip)

*I do not use the full 6 tablespoons of food coloring called for. Seems like overkill to me. I usually half it and still get a nice red color (my pictures are faded a bit by blogger...)
**A lot of times, I skip the sifting. Not a big difference if you want to skip this step.

Source: Magnolia's via Epicurious, Frosting: Pillsbury

Friday, January 21, 2011

Eight Months



My happy baby punk is eight months old. He's going through something right now - not sure what it is, but he is waking up 2, 3, 4 times a night and staying up for a good 45 minutes or longer - each time. Could be teething, but he still has no teeth yet!! I got panicky the other day when I realized that both Linc & Cai had gotten two teeth before they were even six months old. I was wondering if Levi was going to grow up with "mo peep" [that's how you say "no teeth" when you have no teeth - funniest Donald Duck cartoon! Also, Marla & I would have entire conversations with "mo peep" when we were younger and we could understand each other....haaa - dorks!].
Even though this babes is making me & my Michael miserably tired, he's just too cute and too happy not to love on. He is just about to start crawling. He scoots around backwards pretty well, but hasn't been officially crawling yet. But soon the baby gates will need to reappear again. He gets up on his hands and feet in a "bridge" position and it's so cute. He loves to make "raspberry" noises (is there an official name for that blowing/spitting noise??). He says "da, da, da" all the time. He loves to watch his older brothers. And he loves his little jumper swing. If he's fussy or crying Lincoln will bark at him and it makes him laugh every time! I love to munch his chubby cheeks every day!





Levi's Thermal: vintage - free from the MOPS free-cycle bins
Knit blanket: thrifted (5 bucks from Amvets!) I love the colors!!





Levi's Sweater: vintage - used to be Uncle Craigie's - how cute is that?!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Fan


I found this sweet vintage fan at an estate sale last summer. For five bucks. Five bucks! I love estate sales! My step-daughter is an estate sale queen. She finds the best ones; gets the most amazing things at the best prices. (And she can do an estate sale for ya too if you're looking to sell off your household items!).

Anyhow, I'd been wanting a fan like this for a long time. My husband has to sleep with a fan on every night. And now I do too. It takes me at least a half hour to fall asleep every night (unlike my Michael who falls asleep within 2 seconds of laying down). If I don't have a fan on? Sleep is just an elusive dream. Every little noise keeps me awake. What was that? Is that a mouse? Is my nose whistling when I breathe? What was that? That is definitely someone breaking into the house. Should I wake Mike up? What do we have in the room to fight this burglar off with? Which kid should I rescue first? Oh, that was just Cait coming home. See why I need a fan. I was super excited to find this cute vintage one. Now if only I would take the time to switch out my old fan and start using this one...

Vintage Jewelry Giveaway

Cait is doing an awesome giveaway! Go check it out here!! You know you want it.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Randomness

Hooray for surprise visits from family. Craigie came home this past weekend and didn't tell anyone (except for dad). I was sitting in the living room with Linc and Cait when Linc said he heard someone at the door. I looked out and there was Uncle Craigie standing at the door!! We love having him around...he is so funny.

--

Yesterday we took the boys sledding at the county park. They have quite a big hill there and the snow was packed down pretty good from all the sledders. We hiked up to the top and were standing around trying to decide who was going down in what sleds. (I was trying to convince everyone we needed to go down the hill a bit more for our starting point). Craig was with Linc and asked him if he wanted to go down by himself and Linc said yes, so Craig pushed him off. I about threw up as I watched my baby go racing down the icy hill by himself. Hitting jumps. By himself. Speeding. Iciness. Trees lining the hill the whole way down. Thankfully, Linc made it to the bottom safely and in one piece; and still on the sled. Turns out, all my worrying was for naught. He came back up the hill and wanted to do it again! He also told us he just holds on tight and laughs. Haa! Gotta love him! Racing down icy hills = superb fun. Seeing a cute, fluffy puppy = frightening.

--

I got to drink my entire cup of coffee in one sitting this morning! I'm not sure that has ever happened before.

--

When I looked at our thermometer this morning it said it was -1 outside! And tomorrow it's supposed to be warm enough to rain??

--

Levi has not been sleeping through the night for the last week. Miserable. He wakes up 3-4 times a night and wants to be up. For hours. We are sooo exhausted. The other night we went to bed at 8:00; and we were still tired the next day. My mom kept Levi overnight for us on Saturday so we could get some sleep. He slept through the night for her. Last night he was home and up again in the night. Sweet. He is so moving in with my mom.

--

Lincoln wet the bed for the first time ever last night. (It's pretty amazing that he never has before - he's 4 1/2). Not sure what the deal was. Thought I should document this for the "baby book".

--

My face has been breaking out like a 13-year-old's. Cool.

--

Must go change a diaper - gagging on the poop smell permeating the room.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Mocha Fudge Cake


I am not a huge fan of chocolate cake. It's more the texture than the taste. (I don't like the spongey-ness of it. The fudgier the cake, the better it is.) However, as a baker, I know I need to have really good chocolate cakes in my repertoire. So I make and I bake, even if it's not my favorite. This cake is still more on the spongey side in my opinion, but it's very, very good, so I'll forgive it for that. I also love that it's a "cheater" cake - it uses a mix with some add ins! (After making 'from scratch' cakes for so long, I was like, hey - this is great!) It has a mocha cream in it that's soo good and there's hot fudge in the frosting so that makes it one of my favorite chocolate frostings. And you can't really tell from these pictures, but this makes one giant cake. Very impressive.
(I first made this cake for Justin when Fabienne came home from the hospital. People had been bringing them meals - mostly vegetarian for Marla - and so I made Justin a chocolate cake, which he prefers. Best sister-in-law ever, right?
)



Mocha Fudge Cake
Ingredients:
For the cake:
1 (18.25 ounce) package devil's food cake mix
1 (5.1 ounce*) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup strong coffee
1 1/4 cups semisweet mini chocolate chips

For the mocha cream:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons white sugar
4 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
1 tablespoon warm water

For the fudge buttercream frosting:
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup shortening
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ½ cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 cup hot fudge topping
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


To make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and dust with cocoa powder two 8-inch cake pans. In an electric mixer, beat together the cake, pudding mix, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs and coffee. Stir in the chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared cake pans. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool cakes thoroughly in pans.

To make the mocha cream: Dissolve coffee granules in warm water. Cool. With an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat whipping cream and sugars together in mixing bowl until stiff peaks form. Add coffee to whipped cream and beat in. (Keep refrigerated)

To make the frosting: Cream together the butter with the shortening. Add the cocoa to the powdered sugar and add to the creamed mixture, beating well. Add heavy cream and mix well. Add the hot fudge topping and the vanilla extract. Blend until smooth and creamy. (Add more powdered sugar for thicker frosting, add more cream for thinner frosting).

To assemble the cake, slice both cakes horizontally. (I use one of these…they are great! However, I don't know what on earth I was doing with these cake layers - they were a little off.) Place one layer on cake plate, spread a generous amount of the mocha cream on cake (You might want to pipe a ring of frosting around the edge of the cake first to keep the mocha cream contained). Repeat layers. Frost cake with fudge buttercream frosting.

*I sometimes have a hard time finding the right size pudding mixes, so I’ll just use what I can find, it doesn’t matter if it’s a little less or little more.




Source: adapted from Allrecipes: Cake, Mocha Cream, Frosting

Thursday, January 13, 2011

baby shower invite

I forgot to post a picture of the invites we sent out for the vintage baby shower. I loved how they turned out. We took a baby picture of Marla & my mom and 'vintaged' it, then added the info on the back.






Cute lil' chubber cheeks!

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