Monday, January 31, 2011

How To Make A Birthday Cake When You Are Too Lazy To Go To The Store

Today is this guy's birthday.

Happy 71st Birthday Dad!

Saturday we went to celebrate it with him. Of course, the night before at 8 pm I decided to make him a cake. Yes, I do like to plan ahead for these things. It had to be something yummy, chocolatey, he likes nuts so nutty and he lives for candy so throw in some candy too while you are at it. The perfect cake for him? Giada deLaurentiis' Hazelnut Crunch Cake with Mascarpone and Chocolate.

Since I didn't have everything to make it, I tweaked it a bit. Her original recipe is posted, but the changes I made are in parenthesis.

1 box chocolate cake mix and everything you need to make it.

I didn't have a chocolate cake mix, so I made this one from scratch.

Devil's Food Cake

4 oz unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup of milk
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg yolk
2 cups cake flour (I used all purpose)
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sifted sugar
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1 t vanilla
2 egg whites

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt chocolate in a double boiler. Add milk, brown sugar and 1 egg yolk. When thickened remove from heat. You want a custard like mixture.

Sift flour. Resift with baking soda and salt. Beat butter til soft. Add sugar. Beat til creamy. Add remaining egg yolks one at a time. In a bowl mix milk, water and vanilla. Add flour mixture in three parts to butter mix, alternating with milk mixture. Stir til smooth. Add chocolate mixture and stir.

Beat whites til they form soft peaks. Fold into cake batter. Grease and flour two 9" cake pans. Add cake mix equally to pans. Bake in oven about 25 minutes til done. Let cool completely.

Now back to Giada's recipe.


1 cup hazelnuts (I used cashews)
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup water

Spread nuts out on parchment paper. In small saucepan combine sugar and water. Stir til sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil. Continue to boil until mixture is light brown. Remove from heat and let bubbles subside. Pour mixture over nuts. Let crunch completely cool. When cool, break up saving a few large pieces for decorations. In a food processor, pulse remaining crunch into small bits. Set aside.


2-8 oz containers mascarpone cheese, room temp. (I used cream cheese)
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1 t vanilla

Add all ingredients in mixing bowl. Whip til it forms soft peaks. Fold in chopped crunch.


1/4 cup chocolate chips
1 T sugar
1 t grated orange zest.

In food processor add all ingredients. Pulse til a fine crumble.

To assemble cake, Add filling to top of one cake. Place other cake on top and ice with remaining mixture. When completely covered, sprinkle with toppings on top and sides. Add large pieces to top of cake.

This cake is a definite must try. I have made it exactly according to Giada's and both ways are good.

Happy Eating!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Doesn't Everyone Have A Wrestling Mat In Their Basement?!

We have made some progress in the basement. We are moving as slow as a herd of turtles, but that means we are doing it right right?! Right! Enough of the rights onto the stuff.

We are starting to get some of the stuff out of here. I can actually not only see the floor, I even swept the floor. Which reminded me, when this gets done I have added onto areas of the house I have to keep clean. I may like it the other way better. You can see in the corner of this room where they repaired the wall. Don't know why, but it is poured concrete and not the stone. I even found my table that I cherish and adore. You see it in the pic? Yes it is the one with the garbage bag full of garbage on it. I really take care of the stuff that I cherish and adore don't I?

Do you want to hear the story of the table? Well too bad, I am going to tell you anyways. You see my dad is a professional diver. Not the high diver variety, the dumpster diver variety. Ok, so it is not an Olympic sport but we are proud of how he excells in his area of expertise. Anyways, he found this table in the garbage. His wife didn't want it, but I said I wanted it. We brought it home and Jeff refinished it for me. He put the beautiful rosewood finish and urethaned it all for me. Cause I am spoiled and nothing but the best for my dumpster retrievals. So.... once she seen it all "gussied up" she wanted it back. I kept it cause I am mean and a hoarder. In one of the drawers it has a stamp that says OxBow Tables. I tried to find the company online, but no luck.

Ok, I am done with my dumpster diving dad's great table find. Onto the bohemuth bookcase.

It took Jeff and his buddy to move it from his mom's house to our house and into said house. They put it in the living room but we just didn't like it there. We really wanted it in the basement but after getting it here didn't think it would go. Thankfully we waited til after his buddy left to attempt to move it into the basement. We had to take off doors, trim around the back door, remove a post by the stairs.... I swear this thing weighs a ton! My father-in-law built it in 11th grade for his mom. He built it really solid but I wish he had made it out of styrofoam. It might have been midnight, but we got it down there and down there it will stay. When we sell it we are going to state "Cute and cozy Farmhouse (real estate speak for small and tiny) with bohemuth bookcase in basement."

As for the comment about the wrestling mat?! You probably are wondering what the heck I was talking about. Well.... we were trying to figure out what type of floor to put in here. It's a cement floor. Gotta say it like the Beverly Hillbillies too. CEE-MINT. Anyways, we also have clutzy kids. They definitely get that from their mother. Poor things should walk around in helmets to prevent further injuries. We thought about the flooring that is foam and looks like puzzle pieces but I knew they would end up taking apart the floor to beat each other with. The boy child is into wrestling. This year he is on the team.

Here he is in his wresting singlet. Want to drive a boy crazy? Call his singlet a leotard and practice rehearsal. Heeheehee. Yes it is the little things that I do to drive my kids crazy that make my day. You want to know what is really crazy though? I picked the above pictured boy up at rehearsal (heehee) the other day. He says "it's weird wearing wet underwear under my jeans". Ok, so he had me. I had to know why the undies were wet. Did he really sweat that much? Nope, he SHOWERED IN HIS UNDERWEAR! Why?! Cause Mr Modest didn't want to get naked in front of all the OTHER naked boys.

Anyways back to why we have a wrestling mat in the basement. I'm like a turkey, I can get distracted so easy. We figured that since the kids like to rough house and the basement is going to be set up partly for them it made sense. He can wrestle with his buddies down there, play video games, shower in his underwear. Whatever it is that boys do.

The mat is 3" of foam with a vinyl top. Does that make sense? It's supposedly easy to clean and in 2 pieces. We are planning on painting the floor to make it look a bit nicer. The computer hutch is going into the other room with my table.

For right now, I have a bohemuth bookcase to fill!

I am so happy that all of you love Yvonne as much as I do. I called her last night just as she was pushing the publish button on her post. I do so hope that she has a restful break and hurries back. I can't do without my daily Yvonne fix!

Monday, January 24, 2011

In My Next Life I Want To Be Yvonne!

Ok, so if you know me at all, you know that among others, I adore Yvonne @ Stone Gable. If you haven't stopped by Yvonne's blog you should! Not right yet though, I'm not done whining.... errrr.... talking.

You see she has this one set of dishes that everytime she uses them I drool....

.... I whine....

.... I cry....

.... I downright throw a tantrum worse than the bitty one!

I looked at my Home Goods. Don't you like how I refer to it as "my Home Goods" as if they specially put the store there just for me? Well anyways, I looked cause that is where Yvonne got them. They were ALL gone! Gone and no longer to return.

Except for in Yvonne's beautiful tablescapes. In case you are wondering I am talking about the bottom dish in the above picture that I stole without asking. Isn't her photography beautiful? Ugh, and you should see the fantabulous food she serves on them too.

Well.... no longer will I suffer from dish envy! It only took me 3 stores but I found 8 plates and 8 salad plates

Aren't they gorgeous?

I am planning their maiden voyage on a tablescape. Maybe they will make their debut on Valentines Day? I know it was well worth the wait.

Kinda made all the whining and crying worthwhile. Every time I look at them I think of Yvonne.

Ok, I am done talking now. You can mosey on over to Yvonne's to read all her drool worthy posts.

In the meantime.... I will be trying to find a way to con her out of those gorgeous leather chairs....

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Play Date and Cornbread with Asiago Cheese Bagels!

Today was a play date for the bitty one and her two BFFs.

She met these two little cuties in preschool and now the twins are all she talks about! Their mom is just a wonderful person too. I enjoy spending time with her so much. Since their parents are getting ready to leave for Thailand on Sunday, I took the girls for the day.

They are just so freaking cute!

Anyways.... while they played, I played in the kitchen.

Cornbread and Asiago Cheese Bagels!

My kids love these and they tend to go quickly around here. I promised Yvonne @ Stone Gable this recipe many moons ago, so without further ado, here it is!

1 cup scalded milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 pkg or 3 teaspoons yeast
1 egg
3 cups flour
3/4 cup cornmeal

In a small saucepan, add 1 cup of milk and scald. Add butter, sugar and salt and stir. Bring milk mixture up to 100 - 115 degrees.

Add yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, add flour and egg to a bowl. Add milk mixture and mix well. Knead 10 minutes until dough is firm.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a large bowl and turn dough into bowl. Cover with a wet towel. When oven is heated, turn off and place dough inside. Keep in warm oven til dough is double in size.

Punch down dough and turn onto a floured board. Cut dough into 18 pieces. Roll each piece about 7" long, wet ends and pinch together to form a circle.

Cover rings with a damp towel and let rise 15 minutes.

Bring 4 quarts of water to almost a boil with 2 Tablespoons sugar. Drop small batches into hot water. When rings surface, flip over and cook 3 more minutes.

Remove from water. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly beat 1 egg white. Brush rings with egg white. Sprinkle with Asiago cheese.

Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Ultimate Bagel Spread

1 brick of cream cheese, room temp
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, micro grated
1/4 cup romano cheese, micro grated
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp heavy cream

Blend all ingredients in a small bowl. If desired, form into a ball. Cover and refrigerate.

Slather warm bagels with cream cheese spread and....


Monday, January 17, 2011

I Don't Want To Make You Jealous....

....but besides still being able to wear the earrings I wore in high school, I also have the most awesome kids! They have been so thoughtful and helpful since I have been stuck all last week and weekend doing the company books. I know I am such a slob making a mess at the kitchen table.

I just don't know where they get their neatness and thoughtfulness from. Must be from Dad. They were so good and patient picking up after themselves....

....and jumping right up when I asked them to fold the laundry for me.

I mean I didn't even have to scream and yell so that my head split open and my evil side came out! I just wish that the pic of the dishes they so thoughtfully took care of for me came out. Yes, I took a break to actually make them dinner and they showed their gratitude. I just wish that I paid enough attention to what I am doing as they do, maybe the pic would of turned out.

The boy was even thoughtful enough that WHILE he was jumping on the trampoline....

....he left the back door wide open so he could hear if his little sister needed anything. I feel so horrible now for yelling at him to close the door cause of a silly little thing like a $300.00 gas bill!

What a horrible mother I am!

When the older one took the bitty one upstairs....

....I know it was to clean their room! I mean they are so thankful that we gave up the biggest room to the two of them they keep it spotless!

And just when I thought I had it all? They even took down the tree like I asked 2 weeks ago!

See that? Not one ornament left on the tree. Ok so the tree is still up, but it is artificial. I mean, how much can you expect them to do in a weekend?! They do need some free time from doing cleaning! Now today, since I do believe that I have a permanent imprint of the caning of my kitchen chairs on my buttocks, I can take a break from the books!

What will I do with myself??

Cause I am such an outright braggart, I am posting this to Decor Chicks Real Messes Party! Ya'll should know by now how I love to brag about my neat, clean, thoughtful, well behaved children!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Little Camera Play

Yesterday was one of "those" days. You know, the one where you wonder why you even got out of bed?! I really didn't have anywhere to go and it was snowing. So I changed into my jammies from the jammies I had slept in. It should of been an indication of how my day was going to go when I found my deoderant missing. It was probably the same stupid burglars that break into our house and plant evidence of wrong doing in my son's room. Poor kid, he is so innocent too! I bet that they snuck in here last night and stole my almost used up deoderant too.


Anyways, since I was not going anywhere and it was just sitting there, I used my husband's Old Spice deoderant. Why not?! Why, because about a half hour my hubby called and needed me to run up to the bank to get some lien waivers notarized. I won't even bore you with what a lien waiver is. We need one for each and every invoice for one of our customers. Ok, so not a problem. The bank is only like a block away.

Here is where my day took a turn for the worse.

While I was sitting there the bitty one decided she would help me out and comb my hair. She is pulling a comb, not gently, through the back of my hair while I am trying to type up the lien waiver. Needless to say, I was getting really annoyed and just wanted to get this done so I could get back to not doing a whole lot of anything. It's finally done, grab her and we are out the door.

We get to the bank, me in my loungey jammies and sweatshirt looking as glamorous as ever. Being a SAHM is a real glamorous job you know. Anyways, I go to my favorite teller and ask her if she can notarize some papers for me. No problem. While I am standing there talking with her, she mentions how she just loves the smell of Old Spice.

Oh crap!

I totally forgot about the fact that I slathered on my hubby's Old Spice deoderant. Luckily when I looked up she was looking towards the old man standing in line. Phew! Atleast she thinks he is wearing it! I get all done with my stuff and turn to walk away. She calls me back with a big smile on her face. I go over with a big goofy smile on my face. She leans over and whispers....

"Do you know you have a comb tangled up in the back of your hair?"

Yes, yes I do. I always make it a practice to come out in public in my lounge pants, smelling of Old Spice with a freaking comb stuck in the back of my head! I know, all of you who are so jealous that I can stay in my jammies all day are probably just green with envy now right?!

Yeah, I would be too....

In less disturbing news, I decided that I am going to take some digital classes for my camera. In the meantime though, I am trying to self teach myself about it. Yesterday was my first "lesson". ISO measures the sensitivity of the image sensor. The higher the number, the more sensitive the sensor. So, I played with the ISO to see how it affects my camera. I really don't care for the flash on my camera. One, it blinds everyone and two, sometimes it is just not right. According to the site I used, if you can control your ISO you may not need a flash.


I took this pic of my creche that is sitting under a window during the day. For this pic, I let the camera set the ISO.

This one I cranked up the ISO to the highest setting, 3600. They say you get a grainier pic with a higher ISO, but I don't notice it. Maybe I am more pickier when it comes to picking out a deoderant for the day.

I do have to say though....

....nothing beats....

....a good ole black and white photo....

Monday, January 10, 2011

I Tried To Be A Good Girl....

....but it is so hard and boring. I really did try though. I had plans to spend the whole weekend doing taxes. *Yawn*. I took the bitty one to preschool on Friday and tried to get settled down to work.

I know it is an extravagant office. Admit it, you are jealous. See how hard I was working too? My blog is up on the one puter. I have to tell you though, these are the most comfortable chairs to sit in for 16 hours doing puter work too.

NOT! My buttocks almost went on strike when I even thought of sitting here for any length of time. These chairs are like some early farmhouse torture contraption. Have you ever had your butt go numb from sitting in a chair? I never had and I do have to say it is an odd feeling. So it was to the couch with my big bad sore buttocks. Yeah, I'll get alot of work done there. I was trying to get in the spirit of things, til I spied this.

Aren't those about the ugliest feet you have ever seen? I mean, not that feet are pretty. Those poor ugly misshapen toes. I do love my new jammies though. I got enough jammies for Christmas that I never have to get dressed in real clothes again for like 2 weeks. As long as I stay caught up on the laundry, I wouldn't ever never have to get dressed again. Well.... maybe for special occasions like weddings or funerals. As you can see, I was getting alot of work done while contemplating my ugly feet and comfy jammies.

Then, I needed coffee and to pee. Seems like peeing and filling up my coffee cup go hand in hand. When one is empty, the other is full. It can be a real inconvenience when I am working so hard too.

Why is it that 5 people live in this house and I am the only one that can tell when the garbage needs to be taken out? I mean, isn't all the crap overflowing onto the floor a hint? It is rather resourceful how they shoved the can against the wall so they could pile more on top without it flowing onto the floor. Now though, it is past that point and yet it still is here. Guess I should take care of that....

Which also leads to this. Is there a invisible force field around the basket preventing clothes from getting into the basket? This one is very baffling. The clothes will get brought in here and just thrown on the floor in front of the basket. I know that they do have to bend over and actually pull out the basket, put the clothes in and then push it back in. I think I just ask too much of them and should really lay off.

Here is another little conundrum. We do have hand towels. We do use hand towels. Maybe they are just thrown in front of the dirty clothes hamper pretending like they are being used though?! Cause this cute little curtain that I hung to hide all the junk on the shelves in the bathroom looks like it has been used as a hand towel. I can wash it and a couple days later, it is dirty again. Does it just breed dirt? Never fear though, I have iron out now!

Here is another one that I don't understand while we are on the subject.

"Moooooom! There's nothing to eat!" Really?! Are you serious? I can't cram any more in here and yet, there is NOTHING to eat. I would think that maybe I should get their eyes checked, but they just had that done. They really don't even have to cook either, just heat. Or is that too much? Maybe instead of storing leftovers in containers I should wrap it up on plates to make it easier for them.

Here is another baffling mystery of the farmhouse.

Actually this is not too bad. It has gotten so bad that they will step over the junk on the stairs to go up. It's all their stuff that needs to go up to their rooms, but it never makes it up there. I have asked them how they can walk past it, walk over and not think to take it up. Iuhhohh.... that is caveman for I don't know in case you don't speak caveman. My kids do it frequently so I am quite an expert in interpretting it.

Out of all this do you know what is really awesome? Besides the fact that I totally avoided the taxes? The fact that I whined and cried about NEEDING a new camera, got a new camera and used said new camera to document to the blogworld what slobs we are!! Won't my hubby be proud?!

I was fully supervised this weekend so I did get some work done on the taxes you will be glad to know. I do better being closely supervised. Maybe it is just that when I am asked to do something I can get out of it by saying that I am working on something?

I do have another pic though for you. I know that you are on the edge of your seat waiting for it too.

I know, I know, you are probably sick of hearing about them. Here are my 2 new best friends. Don't I lead a full life that my best friends are cleaning products? I thought that I would post pics of the bottles though. Sometimes it makes it easier to look for something when you know what you are looking for. I have found them everywhere except for Walgreens. Meijers, Walmart, Target and Kroger carry them.

Ok, now I will shut up about them. They really do work though. I have even tried them on a few other things too. But enough of that.

I have to get back to my taxes and ugly feet.

I know this is an old post, but I am linking it up to Decor Chick's Real Messes Linky Party! This is about the only linky party I can participate in right now. Thanks Deborah for the suggestion!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I Will Never Fear White Again!

Ok, I'll admit I am as much a drama queen as Scarlett, but this is how I feel about white.

I love white.

It's pure, clean, untouched and had no business in my house with my tribe.

Last year when I redid the bathroom, I bougtht white towels against my better judgement. In two months time they were ugly orange with tan stripes. Not really what I had in mind. I thought of dying everything in the house black. I even went as far as to take the whites up to the laundromat. Everything still was orange.

Now.... and my whites are much brighter. I know, I know, you have heard this all. I have got proof now though.

Look at those bad boys! That is only after 1 washing! The one on the left is before and the one on the right after. 3 cheers for iron out!

I no longer cringe when opening the dishwasher after running it. No gritty feel that you have to try to rinse off. No orange dishwasher. No orange dishes!

The one on the left is just out of the dishwasher. The one on the right is how they usually look. The glasses are clear and clean. No spots! Woo hoo lemon shine!

As for the crappy pics, I took them with my phone. It was before I got my new camera.

Now the the dishes are clean and the laundry done, I feel like sipping a mint julep on the porch pretending like I am at Tara.


Monday, January 3, 2011

In With The New, Out With The Old!

I can't believe another year is over! I hope that everyone enjoyed the holidays. Even with all the chaos they bring, I wouldn't trade them for anything! Now, you know the drill, go pee, get a cup of coffee, feed the dog, anything pending cause it's gonna be a long one!

First, guess what I got for Christmas?!

Boy, you would of thought that atleast I could of done something better with my hair. Maybe color those roots atleast..... Yes bloggy buddies, Mama got a new camera! A Canon EOS Rebel t2i and.... a zoom lens too! I'm still playing with it. I'll get better though.... promise!

As for Christmas.... it came....

.... made a complete.....

....mess and left too quickly. It's amazing that everything was cleaned up for dinner and family coming over later!

We got tickets to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra for the 30th for a gift.

They were so nice.... allow the crazy lady....

....with the new camera....

....onstage to take pics.

Okay.... so they didn't really. We were in the 6th row and I used my zoom lens. I took tons of pics though and won't bore you with all 1623 of them!

Then was New Years Eve.... and....

....can you believe the bitty one is 4 now?! Yup! 4! I can't believe where the time has gone. One minute we were bringing her home from the hospital and the next she is turning 4. Yeesh!

My husband brought home his newest mount. Our great guard dog is scared silly of it though.

She's so crazy! Who would be afraid of this?

Oh! Remember the Fantabulous Basement Challenge?! I haven't given up on it.

The floor is visible.

You can see my partner in crime. Now, I have more stuff to go through and sort out. It did make Christmas easier. I didn't have to buy paper, bows or ribbon this year. After I found all that I had squirreled away, I had more than enough for this year. It's so nice having it all in one place!

It does seem that I can't get all the junk out of here as fast as I have been sorting it out. You won't believe what we have in store for here. I am so excited about it. For right now though, it is a secret!

Actually we have quite a few BIG changes planned for the White Farmhouse.

As for now.... isn't time for a nap. Time to get back to work!