Wednesday, April 25, 2012

a little excitement.

Matt knows how much I love a text like this. Sometimes I feel like he sends them because he knows I cannot take the excitement. But last night he sent me another one, I didn't fall for his game. Okay I did. I didn't want to beg like I usually do but couldn't wait for him to come home.

He gave me some "bad" news to throw me off. Not falling for it Matt, okay I did.

But I'm so excited to share:

We are moving over to Wordpress! I have been having some (okay a lot) of issues with blogger and since I do a lot (okay almost all) the blogging from my phone, it is going to be a simpler process and much more choices.

He bought our site- yah a real website, it's hosted on Matt's server, i have a killer designer for a husband so you will see some much better looking graphics and he will even make an appearance on the site.

I'm so excited. It's like a new baby but without 9 months of being pregnant. Okay not really but right now that's what I get I guess.

So that explains the lack of posts lately. Stay tuned, it will be worth it.

Any suggestions as some features weekly posts would be great and of course your overall feedback and ideas!!

Yah. Can't wait. To share.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tractor Time 2012

It must be Springtime! Our Dad pulls out the tractor to till the fields-which means TRACTOR RIDES!!

With two dirt fields next to the house he tries extra hard to keep them weed-free. He even gets people stopping by to ask him how he keeps weeds out!

Growing up, there was no tractor, we had to hand pick the nastiest, meanest, most stubborn weeds from those fields. So we were all glad that he loves his tractor.

But tractor time to us means rides in the bucket around and around and around the field.

Feeling the air in our faces, high up in the sky, and the waves and honks from those driving by makes us feel so special.

Seeing the smiles on their faces and the butterflies in our stomachs as the bucket quickly drops or tips are my favorite moments.

Secret talks that only Saige and I will remember.

About what she loves and cuddling under the blanket trying to keep warm.

Milo telling me his super powers and how he can drive the tractor too.

And seeing the calmness and joy on my Dad's face as he drives around makes me smile.

He really is just like a big kid with his toys.

Each time we get inside, it reminds me of our house in Hollister and the rides we had in his BIG BIG tractors.

As we jumped off my hopes for some memories for our kids of tractor rides, and good old fashioned fun were all around.

But most memorable may have been my footwear for the day- I helped mow the lawn and didn't want to ruin my shoes. So pulled out my dad's yard shoes. Hehe.

Overall it was a great day. Ending with swinging with my kiddos.

And crossing my fingers the swings don't break with me on them.

Yah for spring! Yah for tractors! And yah for memories that will last a lifetime.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Homemade Peeps

I need to clarify something before even beginning this post.

I really dislike store bought Peeps.

Okay, I said it. They have never appealed to me, never once have I purchased them, and really don't plan on it. My Mom gives us some each year, I usually sneak them into someone else's basket before we leave (sorry Mom!). But they are an Easter tradition. They are many people's favorite treat, and they really do help bring in the fun feelings of Eastertime.

So when my sister Candace asked if I would help her make some peeps for Josie's party, I became a little excited. I would love to see if we could make them taste better and actually something cute and edible. So we attempted it! We copied Martha Stewart's recipe, it was perfect. The recipe is really easy, simple ingredients, and within 20 minutes we had yummy, fluffy, delicious marshmallow.

1 unflavored gelatin (2 1/2 teaspoons)
1/3 cup cold water, for gelatin, plus 1/4 cup for syrup
1 cup sugar

Take your gelatin and place it in the bottom of your mixing bowl used for your mixer.

-This really is one of those recipes that you must have a mixer, this needs to whip for a while and I am afraid your arm might break off, or become rediculously strong, and who wants only one really strong arm? Just use a mixer. (I am sure you could bribe your friend/neighbor to let you borrow their mixer!)

Add 1/3 cup of COLD water and let your gelatin sit in the bottom of the bowl and soften, set aside.

In a sauce pan, add 1/4 cup water and 1 cup sugar, stir, over medium-high heat,making sure that the sugar dissolves. If you get sugar up on the sides make sure to use a pastry brush and water and wash down. Once all the sugar dissolves, place a candy themometer inside and patiently wait until it reaches 238 degrees.

Once your sugar mixture has reached 238 degrees, take off heat and pour into the bowl that has your gelatin and water. Using the whisk attachment, mix the mixture by hand until it cools down, just for a few minutes.

This will help to cool down without adding too much air at first. After a few minutes, place on your mixer and allow it to work its magic. This is where that mixer is valuable. On medium speed, beat for 8-10 minutes, or if it is super amazing just watch for soft peaks to form.

While your mixer is doing all the work, get your pastry bags, tips and sugars ready. We used a 18" canvas/plastic bag. I will let you in on a little trick of mine- use the big bags, when filling bags I only want to do it once, especially when it is something sticky like marshmallow. Trust me, buy a big bag. Then we used an Wilton #1A for the body and a Wilton #11 for the head. Use one bag for each task. Trying to wash out and use another tip will take too much time, and your marshmallow will harden.


We lined our trays with the fun colored sugars, doing separate colors in each tray. Cute colors, huh.

Once your marshmallow has reached soft peaks, this is where you must work fast. Carefully fill your pastry bags with marshmallow.

To make the body, use the larger tip, Wilton #1A, and pipe out a small oval shape, trying to get the sides of the oval as close together. We chose to keep the point on the end to make a fun little tail. If you get your finger a little wet, you can go over after you have them all piped and try and smooth it down. But our philosphy was its homemade, make it look that way-if we wanted uniform and perfectly shaped ones we could just go and buy them.
Once the bottom is piped out, using the Wilton #11, press out some marshmallow on the opposite end of the tail. Press out and then gently pull up towards you. This will form the head and the small beak.
Once you have piped all the bodies and the heads, using the colored sugars, pour shake and cover your marshmallow with the sugar. I found out if  you get your hands a little sticky then dip your fingers in the sugar, it will coat your fingers, which will make it easy for you to pick up the marshmallow and make sure everything is covered. Work with one color at a time and then wash your hands. It can get a bit sticky.

Candace wanted some fun colors to do for Josie's party. These aren't even for Easter, we are having a Chicken Party for the cute girl. (Yes a Chicken Party I said. Candace will pull off perfectly, and have the cutest things- she always will. Don't worry I will share photos.)
The last few peeps, became a little difficult as the marshmallow was hardening. It wanted to stick to the bag and tip and really wasn't as easy to work with as the first ones were. So really work as fast as you can with these. It will make them much easier.

After we covered them all in sugar, we thought we would add some eyes. Have you tried the candy writers before? They are chocolate in little tubes and you place the writer in hot water and let it melt the chocolate. You then cut off the tip and you can write, decorate and have fun with chocolate. You could do it with royal icing, but I really dislike the taste of it, so we went with chocolate. They do come in a bunch of colors too!

But after a few eyes, we decided we liked the look of them without the eyes! So we left them eyeless- remember we went homemade looking (haha).

But overall, it was a simple task. Two people make it super easy and fun. We made 40 peeps in less than an hour with the two of us (we doubled the recipe- the recipe posted will make about 20).
After making them I must say- they taste SOOOOO  much better than store bought Peeps. I actually would eat a whole one of these. Although my favorite Easter treat will continue to be the Reese's Peanut Butter Egg-how do you compare the two?
I think I will make them again. Possible in fun shapes, and maybe even flavor the marshmallow. Use a really yummy subtle flavor that will have people begging for more.......
Have fun!


Monday, April 2, 2012

Just around.

We just got home from a great weekend up in Sundance. It was glorious and just what we needed. But as we have been getting back into real life I have really enjoyed the little bits of Easter and Spring around the house.

Because they made me so happy I thought I would share.

And thanks to one of the phone thieves I have a picture too.

Hope we brightened your day, and please share your favorite ways of decorating for Spring!

Happy Spring.... if only that dang wind would quit!