navygreen: (Sugar Cookies!)
When Amy contacted me at the end of spring, asking for ideas for her baby's 1st birthday, all she knew was that she wanted something "hot pink and orange!" We tossed ideas back and forth for a few months, and she finally settled on a theme: "Modern Girly Circus."

Now you tell me - is this not the cutest, most original thing you've ever seen?!

Modern Girly Circus Cookies.


Okay, maybe not THE cutest, as that award probably has to go to little Miss Ainsley herself. Look at this sweet picture her mama sent me so that I would know the special baby I was creating cookies for!

Miss A.
Little Miss Ainsley.


When the time came to make and decorate the cookies, Amy had modified her color choices to include "light pink" as well. I incorporated her three colors as much as possible, also including a bit of white here and there for distinction. She also wanted a few special lions and elephants, and I suggested some popcorn boxes to round out the collection.

Click to see lots more! )
navygreen: (Christmas: cookie cutter)
It's that time of year, folks! The time when families come together that can't get away during the school/work/winter months, and when I bring out a warm recipe just for "the holidays!"

Well, it sounds nice, right? I mean, it wasn't necessarily my plan, but it sure does SOUND like a great idea. I once visited some extended family in a gorgeous Adobe-style home, and I remember most that they were celebrating 'Christmas in July.' I'd never heard of such things at the tender age of 11, but they assured me it was the only time of year they could all get away to meet. Hey, any time I see a Christmas tree bedecked with presents, I'm willing to believe WHATEVER YOU SAY!

And so, I present you with a lovely piece of Christmas bread on this hot July day. I promise your tastebuds will thank you for the seasonal mistake. ;-)

Cheery Cherry Blueberry Christmas Bread.


(If nothing else, my pals in Australia appreciate this timely winter recipe, right?!)

After you drag your dripping self out of the pool, you sit back in a cabana chair. If you're like me, sitting still is a rarity, and instead of relaxing thoughts, you're hit with ideas at mind-whizzing speed. In one particular case, it was, "What should I make with the leftover pie filling?" ... followed by, "How should I use up the leftover sour cream?" Next up, "Hey, I wonder if I can use 'em both at the SAME TIME?"

Fast-forward to typing ingredients at AllRecipes.com, and finding this recipe among the yielded results. It sounded perfect, but I was ever-so-stumped. When/where was I to use the sour cream, egg, sugar, and almond extract? Was I supposed to combine it with the pie filling? Was I just too dumb to make this bread??

So I asked friends for advice. Almost unanimously, my friends suggested they would combine with the pie filling. I was all set to bake, yet something distracted me, and I'm forever thankful for it. In the time where I was away, my friend Miriam suggested that the recipe sounded like a German pastry she'd made several times before, and that I was to combine the sour cream, etc. and DRIZZLE it over the pie filling. She even researched further and found the same recipe (by the same baker!) on a different website here!

Hooray! The day was saved, and so was my Christmas Bread! I don't know why I didn't think to look further for the same recipe elsewhere, but I wasn't surprised in the least that it showed up at Taste of Home. Me & ToH are practically best friends, after all. We work together every night in the kitchen, and sometimes even more often! ;-)

Recipe and more pictures. )
navygreen: (Sugar Cookies!)
Nothing says 'Happy 1st Birthday' quite like a timeless icon:

Mickey Mouse Shorts Cookies for a 1st Birthday.


...

Did that help you out?! They're Mickey Mouse shorts! (I know, I know - at a first glance, they almost look like something from 'Dora,' don't they... maybe in the wrong color?)

You see, a very special little boy was celebrating his 1st birthday with a darling little girl who was also celebrating her 1st birthday, and the two mommy friends teamed to come up with a most adorable theme for their party: Mickey & Minnie! I thought it was just SUCH a clever idea, and I couldn't wait to get started on their cookies!

See lots more! )

My friend Kelley tells me that the cookies were a smashing success at the party, and my dear friend Jennie testified to their taste, as she was a guest as well. I don't make chocolate cookies often, but every time I do, I hear such wonderful praise, and I'm so glad! :-)
navygreen: (Baking)
What do you make when you're invited to a birthday BBQ in the summer?

"Hot Off the Grill Cupcakes," of course!

Hot Off the Grill Cupcakes.


I came across this idea in my latest issue (August/September) of Taste of Home magazine, and I thought it was just the cutest idea! The original decoration is shown on a brownie, rather than a cupcake, and topped with candies. However, I had some buttermilk I wanted to use up, so I opted to go with my Chocolate Cherry Coke Float Cupcakes (minus the icing and cherry buttercream) as the building block instead. I love the springy texture of this chocolate cake, and it's quickly become my go-to recipe for using up leftover buttermilk. I never have complaints when I give away cupcakes to all our neighbors and friends, either! *wink*

To make these oh-so-hot treats, you'll need the following:

  • 2 dozen cupcakes (or brownies, as the original idea suggests)

  • 1 can store-bought chocolate frosting (omit if using brownies)

  • orange icing sugar

  • 72 pieces Hot Tamales candy

  • black royal icing (piping consistency)


Click for more. )

You could jazz these up even more, too. Try some Hershey's Chocolate Drops™ to make tiny burgers, or small bits of red and yellow royal icing for ketchup/mustard accents. I can't wait to do more the next time I make these! :-D


(As an aside, I'm ridiculously proud of the photos in this posting, as every single shot is "SOOC," or "straight-out-of-camera" with no post-processing at all. *squeee*)
navygreen: (HP: Draco - banned books)
The boys really dived into the Summer Reading Program at the base library again this summer. A.J. went to the library on a Saturday with a friend, and he signed up on his own, coming home with log sheets, three new books, and a cool T-shirt (awesome, compared to last year's design!). Philip and I took Jack in the following Monday, and we signed him up as well. He checked out a bunch of books and received a different T-shirt, and I've been logging hours for both of them ever since!

They can pick up prizes when they turn in one log sheet, and both are close to being done. Jack's currently read for 27 hours (of the 32 slots on a sheet). He looks like this often:

Jack reads for his Summer Reading Program.
Jack reads for his Summer Reading Program./


He was reading A Tale Dark & Grimm in that picture, and it was a recommendation from our librarian. He loved it, and I really enjoyed the parts I read here-and-there as well - very funny! It was a new book to our library, so he read it first in his selections so that he could get it back quickly for others to read.

We'll have to return one of his books tomorrow for a different one. He visited the library with Philip a few days ago, and he brought home Fire World. Now, he's read The Fire Within before, and it's the first in the series, so he thought this next book was just a sequel. Turns out, it's the seventh in the series, so he's going to return it and get the second book instead. The books in this series are Harry Potter-huge, but he really likes them.

A.J. has read for 21 hours himself (though he read some this morning that I haven't logged - I'll have to double-check with him again), and he's currently plowing through the Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights series. He checks the storylines against things on the internet in the Star Wars universe too, so it's been very engaging for him as well.

(He won't let me snap a picture while he's reading, though. *wink*)

One of the funny things (I think) that Jack does while he's reading is put his extra hand up under his chin. He always does this, even without a book in his hands, when he's laying on his back, and I think it's so strange. I wouldn't find that comfortable at all, but he sure seems to. If nothing else, I love how it brings out his little chin dimple, too!

Summer Reading Program.
navygreen: (Sugar Cookies!)
In the Arrrrrrrrr-my!"

That was my favorite slogan for the U.S. Army, and I was nonplussed with the change to "Army of One" in the early 2000's. Thank goodness it has changed again, but I still don't think "Army Strong" is quite as catchy. ;-)

What's the segue, you ask? After all, I'm an Air Force wife, and I shouldn't be discussing the Army at all! Well, it's a favor called in. A favor asked by family, and cookies made for non-family, so I guess it's okay. Even so, I jokingly called my husband up (he's currently visiting his father and family in West Virginia) and asked for permission before I tackled these cookies. He gave me the green light, of course, but he made me promise not to eat any of them!

Army Cookies


The family mentioned is my husband's dear 3rd cousin Paula (who I've mentioned here before), and she requested the cookies as a gift to her best friend. That best friend is throwing a large party for her son Paul's graduation next week. As monumental as that occasion is, Paul is then headed off to West Point just one week later!

Click to see more. :-) )

Lastly, best wishes to Paul as he begins to "Get an Edge on Life... in the Arrrrrrrr-my!"
navygreen: (School)
I can't believe it's the end of another school year! The boys go through tomorrow, the 26th, but I think they're already down to just the fun stuff. Jack had his Field Day yesterday, and A.J. had his math class finals. Today, both have been told they'll be cleaning out desks and lockers, and I made them empty out backpacks to prepare for the amount of STUFF I'm sure they'll bring home! (And they don't go back until August 24th!)

I'm icing end-of-year cookies right now, but I'm taking a quick moment to post these cookies I made for Teacher Appreciation Day back on May 6th. Once again, my timeliness astounds you, I'm sure. ;-)

I was so jazzed when the school announced a theme for this year's Teacher Appreciation week/event: LUAU! There's nothing that says party quite like a luau, and I couldn't wait to make these special cookies!

Teacher Appreciation Luau Cookies.

Teacher Appreciation Luau Cookies.


And do you even know? I mean, can you even really guess just how much fun I had making these adorable little hula shirt cookies?! I absolutely *LOVED* them!



See lots more! )

I brought a gigantic platter to the school (over 80 cookies!), and I heard they disappeared quickly! I'm so glad the teachers enjoyed them, as I have sure loved the staff here. We are so blessed to have such big hearts teaching our children!
navygreen: (Garden)
Isn't hail just the craziest thing? We're in the 60's all week, and I think we're finally due for some of those "April showers," but yesterday's short little storm brought more hail than actual rain. The little pea-sized hail just comes out of practically nowhere, and it covers the lawn like a new snowfall. I'm always amazed at how long those teeny hailstones take to melt - especially at warm temperatures!

Hail on my just-emerging salvias.


I dug around in my flowerbeds almost two weeks ago to find the teeniest, tiniest little pokings of green from my salvias and my hostas. Within a day or two, we got snow again, so they didn't progress much in the next week. These past few days, though, they are emerging forth as pretty green bunches, and I can't wait for them to become full again. If they're anything like my salvia in Nebraska, they'll be huge this summer since it's their second season.
navygreen: (Coca~Cola: bottles)
This is a guest-posting for Frosting For the Cause, but I wanted to keep it here as well for my own records. :-)


Remember those good ol' days? Way back when people didn't die until they lived to a ripe old age, and even then, you hardly ever heard the word "cancer" mentioned? Those days where you could sit on a porch swing and enjoy the company of your grandparents and an ice-cold Coke, and nothing was better...

... 'cept for the times when Pawpaw pulled out the ice cream, too! Nothing beats a Coke Float, right?!

Chocolate Cherry Coke Float Cupcakes.
Chocolate Cherry Coke Float Cupcakes


These deliciously moist cupcakes are so fudgy, yet so light... with just a hint of Coca-Cola. The cola glaze on top adds just a *bit* of fizz to your tongue, but the cherry buttercream is the high note to end on. In addition to the cherry on top, there's a second cherry waiting to surprise you in the cake!

Sing it with me, now! "I'd like to buy the world a ... cure!" ♪♫

Making these is simple, and I promise you will love them! Recipe & more pictures. )

Philip and I dropped these cupcakes off to the midnight crews at the oncology ward of our local hospital. What a surprise they were for the ER attendants when we came in the middle of the night! :-)
navygreen: (Sugar Cookies!)
~ posted just for [livejournal.com profile] takarakanashi, who assures me she never gets tired of my cookie posts


These little BIG guys are so adorable it kills me! XD

Red Dragon cookies.


These dragons tell a tale of woe, I'm afraid. You see, I made a host of these dragon friends as favors for Jack's end-of-season soccer pizza party tonight.

But we live in Minot, North Dakota, and we're currently getting dumped with 12-18" of snow in a crazy Spring blizzard. (And we were just one day away from having all the snow completely melted!) Kids were let out of school at noon, and by that time the party was already canceled.

But, of course, I'd made the cookies yesterday to give them time to fully dry. *sigh*

Read more. )
navygreen: (Sugar Cookies!)
I'm not sure I'd ever seen this logo in my life before I needed to "cookie" it:

Pittsburgh Penguins cookies.


And, eek! What a challenge! Several weeks ago, Trisha contacted me to see if I could make some Pittsburgh Penguins cookies for her hubby. You see, the Steelers had been his team, and she wanted to cheer him up from their loss. I looked at the logo, gulped a few times, then steeled myself and said, "I'll do it."

Read more. )

But that wasn't all! Trisha had asked if instead of one dozen Penguins cookies, I could do half-and-half with some Minnesota Twins cookies thrown in, too! And so, I began working on another detailed set. At least this time, I was sure I'd seen the logo before. :-)

Minnesota Twins cookies.


Read more. )

I learned from these cookies that I can do more than I think I can, but I can also push myself in a real time-crunch, too. These cookies were ordered and turned out in about 40 hours' time. It feels nice to have something so intricate under my belt now, and it gives me a bit of confidence facing future projects!
navygreen: (Sugar Cookies!)
Well, these pictures don't need a whole lot of introduction...

Mardi Gras Cookies.


My first set of Mardi Gras cookies! (Then again, I've only been making sugar cookies for one year now... most holidays are still my "first" time...) But they were so fun! Also, I used chocolate dough for the cookies to make the colors really POP!

Read & see more. )

We've got a soccer game for Jack tonight, so I'm definitely ready for an easy Mardi Gras dinner of pancakes. I hope you are having a wonderful time, and eating some King Cake, too!
navygreen: (Eeyore)
Philip took the boys downtown to the arena last night for the Monster Truck Rally. I think they had a good time - they came home talking about mud, spinning tires, people getting stuck, rollbars crashing off, etc. Not only that, but next year, the boys want to ride in Philip's truck as he races through the mud at the event!

I'm glad they had a good ol' time, but that is sooooo not my kind of thing. I had a quiet girls' evening with my friend Tanya, and we watched Letters to Juliet and snuggled with kitties. It was my second time seeing it, but it was still just as cute.

Still, we didn't take pics of our night, but Philip did snap a few at the arena in downtown Minot:

A.J. and Jack at the Minot Monster Truck Rally.
A.J. and Jack at the Minot Monster Truck Rally.


Two more pictures. )

I had spent the afternoon baking chocolate chip cookies per Philip's request, and then we delivered them to neighbors and friends. I have a full week of sugar cookies ahead of me this week, but I wanted to pop in. I did so well posting at the beginning of the year, but I've been too quiet the last two weeks... so much so that [livejournal.com profile] gardenmama even had to LJ "nudge" me! Thank you for that, C! :-)
navygreen: (Valentine's: Snoopy)
I've got a Mini Sheeper with a sweet message for you:

Aren't ewe so sweet?


Read more. )

A sample.

Feb. 8th, 2011 01:20 am
navygreen: (Departed: spelling)
Sample.
navygreen: (HP: Wood - snitch)
We just returned home from the Jones's Super Bowl party. Everyone had a great time, even if Philip was the only Steelers fan in the bunch! (Not that everyone else was a Packers fan, of course. Some were Dolphins, Panthers, etc.) There were a ton of kids in the 9-16 range this time, so the boys were quite entertained as well - an unexpected bonus!

When I asked Jennifer earlier in the week what she needed for the party, she said there was plenty of food planned, but nothing sweet. Sweet?! I'm pretty sure I can handle that! *wink*

Super Bowl Cookies.


I made cookies & cupcakes! I had an order for Steelers Super Bowl cookies for today, so I figured, "Why not go ahead and make double?" Then I decided to make a gift dozen for my friend Jan (HUGE Steeler fan!) and surprise her with them. While I was cutting out the cookies, Philip asked if I could make a few extra for a guy in his squadron, so I made eight more for Benford, too. Suddenly, 24 cookies turned into 61!

Click to see LOTS more pictures of the cookies! )
navygreen: (Food Porn)
I made these two new recipes for the boys' big sleepover on the 21st, and I definitely want to share them! They were well received by the crowd of boys, and I am already planning when I will make them each again.

Banana Pineapple Bread.
Banana Pineapple Bread.


This sweet bread has just a bit of tangy pop! from the crushed pineapple, and I thought it would be such a nice perk from the heavier winter foods. I wasn't wrong! It made two loaves, and the nine boys here polished off one loaf in just minutes!

Recipe and another picture. )

Cheddar Sausage Muffins.
Cheddar Sausage Muffins.


These hearty muffins were so light and springy in texture, and the golden bits of cheeses throughout made them practically melt in your mouth. You could easily substitute the sausage for another meat of your choice, too!

Recipe. )
navygreen: (Sugar Cookies!)
Who doesn't recognize this friendly little guy?!

Read more... )

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Cookies.
navygreen: (Birthday!)
I have a beautiful friend here named Jennifer. You would never believe her age if you were to meet her, but I think you'll figure it out from the cookies alone, so I didn't worry about offense in titling my post. She's just fantastic, and this past Saturday night, I was thrilled to be a part of a surprise birthday party planned by her husband and daughter.

When her hubby Dennis called me the week before, I asked if he needed help with anything. He didn't, but I told him I planned to make her some cookies and bring to the party. "Awesome! Then I don't have to worry with a cake!" Such a man. :-D

1971 Cookies for Jennifer's 40th Birthday.


Her husband told me that, since this was her 40th, I was free to make "black mummies" and such. I joked and told him I was sure I could come up with something a bit brighter. I think I got it!

I knew I wanted to go with popular symbols from the 70's: the peace sign, the groovy, graffiti-looking text. I also had the idea to work with hit songs from Jennifer's birth year, and I found this awesome list to choose from. (Now... admit it... you just plugged in your year and checked out the songs from when YOU were born, didn't you?!)

Unfortunately, of all the designs banging around in my head, I only had the heart and circle cookie cutters. For the rest, I needed to create them. I sketched "1971", then traced around it, and I did the same with a music note - those were easy. As for the magic mushroom, well... I must've drawn about ten of them before I had one that I felt was workable. Yeesh!

See lots more! )

navygreen: (AJ: camera)
My goodness, A.J. looks so very tiny in that icon up there. *points* That's from the Christmas where Heather gave him his own camera, and he took a picture of me taking a picture of him. Aww. ♥

Speaking of A.J. now, here's a snap from this afternoon:

A.J. delivers the mail to the front door.


I was in the middle of taking pictures, and he had been outside sledding with friends. I didn't even notice the mailman drive away before I heard a soft knock, knock! at the front door. I opened it, camera still in hand, to find A.J. with the day's mail. I surprised him by taking a quick picture. It was only fair since he had surprised me!

I love how it was so unexpected, and I love that his lip is so cold it's actually sticking to his teeth. Every day, I'm amazed by just how BIG he is becoming. It feels like he changes every single day. His voice has been deepening over the past two weeks or so, and let me tell you... that is just TRIPPY. I haven't heard his voice crack in the middle of a word, but one sentence is said in his "kid" voice, and the very next sentence comes out in a "big man" voice. Several times over the weekend, I was flipping out, laying in my bed in the mornings, because it sounded like there was a man talking with the kids downstairs (and Philip was sleeping beside me). It is just crazy!

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