Thursday, January 27, 2011


Someone needs to teach my kids the basics of graffiti. Not that I want them to do it a lot, but even I know that when you vandalize something, you shouldn't write your name. You're pretty much signing your own death warrant. Rookie mistake.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dad's Day

Today is "Dad's Day" at preschool. They eat doughnuts and cookies and drink coffee (and other things) while the kids sing and the dads enjoy the general cuteness. Nicole likes to go all out for this day. So, she wore her "wedding dress" and asked me to curl hair, put on mascara, borrow my earrings, and wear perfume. She looked pretty dang cute, but she decided that she needed a headband to complete the ensemble. Yay!! I have an excuse to make a headband in the middle of the day!! Here's what I came up with:
(despite the look on her face, she loves it)

Then she was feeling the need for a little photo shoot and I was happy to oblige. She's so funny. She wants to be a model on Project Runway when she grows up.
(This is her "beautiful pose")

(This is her "model pose")

I'm pretty sure Ben is going to die from the cuteness. If not, I'm sure he'll think she looks pretty at least. Now, if only Tori would let me doll her up, I'd be set!

Cookie Jar

My grandma gave me a cookie jar a long time ago and it has worked wonderfully to preserve the freshness of our cookies for many years. But, it recently acquired a rather large chip on the lip and no longer seals. A cookie jar isn't much good if it doesn't seal. So, I went to Tuesday Morning and got a jar that would work for a cookie jar. My awesome friend, Lynelle, has one of those Cricut cutting machines (so jealous) and she made this cute vinyl sticker for my cookie jar:
Now, if only it was true...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Soup and Sandwich

I love soup. I love sandwiches. I absolutely drool over the two of them together. One of my favorites is just a classic grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup. Usually I do a can of Campbell's Tomato Soup and my sandwich is buttered white bread with cheddar cheese. But sometimes I want something a little fancier.

Now, when I say "fancy" I don't meet "weird" kind of fancy. I still use cheddar cheese. I don't use abnormal butter or anything like that. I just change it up a little. I use sourdough bread and when I butter the bread (I actually prefer I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Spread) I then sprinkle a little garlic salt on the bread. Then I grill it like usual. When it's cooled off a little, I cut it into strips so I can more easily dip it into my soup. (Grilled cheese sandwiches MUST be dipped in soup) I call these dippers. Dippers are more fun to eat than regular shaped sandwiches too. If I'm REALLY feeling like I have extra calories to spare, I'll butter and grill BOTH sides of the bread. I know, it's genius. I have to give the credit for that idea to my husband. Thanks.
(This is NOT homemade tomato soup, I didn't have that kind of time today)

For the soup, I like to throw some roasted red peppers in my tomato soup. Here's the recipe I use:

Tomato Soup
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 rib celery, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 4 pounds very ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 jar of roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves, rinsed and patted dry
  • Salt and freshly ground black or white pepper
In a medium enameled or other nonreactive saucepan, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onions, 2/3 of the minced garlic, the chopped celery and chopped carrot and sauté until tender, 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the crushed red pepper and tomatoes and continue to cook, covered, until the tomatoes give up their liquid and begin to fall apart, about 15 minutes. Add the water and orange juice and continue to cook, covered, until the tomatoes have completely broken up, about 15 minutes longer. Add the roasted red peppers. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
While the soup is cooking, combine the basil leaves, remaining 2 cloves of garlic, and remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil in a blender and process until very smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste and set aside, refrigerated and covered with plastic wrap, until ready to use.
Remove the soup from the heat and puree, in batches, in a blender, or use a stick blender. The soup may be served either hot or cold – if you plan on serving it hot, return the pureed soup to a clean saucepan and keep warm until ready to serve. If you plan on serving it cold, pour the soup into a heatproof bowl and let come to room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator at least 2 hours and up to 2 days before serving. (Remember to taste the soup and re-season if serving it cold.) When ready to serve the soup, ladle into bowls and garnish with drizzles of the basil-garlic puree. The soup will be fine after this amount of time, but I like to cook it for an hour or two longer. If you want it creamier (and fattier) add a cup or two of cream.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Girls' New Room

Nicole feels homeless. She had her own room until Tori was born. Then she moved in with Tyler until Tori was old enough to share again. Now they share a room, but Nicole still calls it "Tori's Room" and doesn't feel like it's hers. So, to remedy the problem, I told her she could make it her room and she could decorate it. Ben's mom made new blankets for the girls so we went with those colors: pink, green, brown, and white. The girls and I LOVE the blankets and I'm thrilled I didn't have to actually buy new comforters to match the new room.

The only problem with telling a 5 year old girl that she can decorate her own room is that she'll inevitably pick out something that you hate. I tried to steer her away from a few things, but she was in love and it's more important for her to like it than me. So, here's the new room:
These little box frames are full of things that are important to Nicole. Mostly shells from my parents' beach house in Lincoln City. She thinks they actually found them on the beach. I think that my mom found them at Pottery Barn and took them to the beach, but I don't want to burst her little bubble.
She saw these stickers at Craft Warehouse and absolutely HAD to have them.
 I made this ribbon board and Nicole thinks it's great. It's just too bad there's so many ribbons and hand-made flowers in the way of the cute fabric. Sigh. I knew I should have gone with the polka dots.
 I hate these cats. Maybe it's because I'm not a cat person. Maybe it's because it's just ugly. Whatever. She loved it. It's her favorite part of her room.

I love the way the pictures of the girls turned out. Nicole says the picture is as big as she is, she might be right. I found the frames on clearance at JC Penny and covered them with cute scrapbooking paper. I think they turned out great.

They love the way their bed looks when it's made, but that doesn't make them want to actually do the work.

 We moved all their toys into their room. It's great! They play in there for hours and the mess is contained! Of course, their room is almost always a mess (like in this picture) but hey, I can close the door and pretend it's spotless.
 These pink sequined curtains are the other thing I tried to gently steer Nicole away from. She wouldn't hear of it. She loves them, I hate them.

Tyler's New Room

Tyler's room was pretty juvenile. It was red, white, blue, and green. The decor was mostly trains and stars. He was ready for something new. I had plenty of ideas, but after talking to Ben and Tyler (both actual boys), we decided to go with posters. So, Ben took Tyler to Walmart and Borders and picked out a bunch of posters. Ben's mom made him a new blanket for his bed (Spiderman) and my mom got him Star Wars sheets. I made him a ribbon board with Batman fabric and now his room is perfect for a 6 1/2 year old boy. He loves it and that's what's important. Apparently, yesterday Ben took Tyler back to Walmart and picked out some paint. He is tired of the blue on the bottom of his walls. The color he picked out is called "Energy Red". That is the perfect name for this color. It's like red on steroids. It's going to be painful to paint.

Carter's Mighty Fight

My dear friend, Robin Harris, found out recently that her son has Leukemia. His name is Carter and he's three and a half years old. I hate, hate, HATE that this is happening. It seems so unfair! Bad things shouldn't happen to good people! Sigh. I know that this is not how the world works. Bad things happen to people whether they are good or bad. I just wish it didn't have to happen to my friend. It seriously breaks my heart to think about it, but it has made me even more grateful for my family and for the relative health that we enjoy. If any of you know Robin or want to read Carter's story, here's the blog that she started for him. If you believe in prayer, please offer one for this little guy. He needs all the prayers he can get.

Caramel French Toast Breakfast Casserole

I love French Toast. I also love breakfast casserole. Combining the two would be my idea of the perfect breakfast. My mom made a recipe that she saw on AM NorthWest and it was okay. It tasted good, but it needed a little help. So, I did a little editing and took it to a meeting yesterday. It was a hit. Now people are asking for the recipe. I thought I should put it on here to share the wealth with anyone who happens across my blog. So, here it is:

Kristi's Caramel French Toast Breakfast Casserole

  • 1 ½ cup brown sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 6 Tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups eggs (just crack into a measuring cup until it reaches that point)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 slices of Cinnamon Burst bread from WinCo’s bakery, cut into cubes, crust optional.
  • Put bread cubes in a large mixing bowl.
  • In a small saucepan combine brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup. Cook over medium heat until slightly thickened, stirring constantly. 
  • Pour caramel mixture over bread cubes. Stir to coat evenly, pour caramel covered bread into 9x13 pan. (I put down parchment paper to keep it from sticking)
  • Combine eggs, milk, vanilla and salt. Stir until well blended.
  • Pour egg mixture over bread. 
  • Cover and chill overnight or about 8 hours. 
  • Bake uncovered at 350 degrees 40-45 minutes or until lightly brown and set.
  • Serve warm. I served mine with a mixed berry compote and Cool Whip. Also good with apple pie filling, maple syrup, or just powdered sugar.