Sunday, September 30, 2012

Coffee cake is yum

So, I have not been the best blogger lately!!  I do have about 10 different things I want to write about, it's just finding the time to do it!  Well, I have been requested to share a delicious recipe from my husband's family: Nanni's coffee cake.  I was asked to make this the other day by David and after posting a delicious looking photo, I was asked to share.  So here goes:

Nanni's sour cream coffee cake
**note #1: this recipe calls for the use of a spring form pan.  I've never made it with a different pan, but I suppose you could try one if you don't have a spring form.

8T butter
1c sugar
2 eggs
1/4 c milk
1t vanilla
1c sour cream
2c flour
1t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2t salt

Center filling:
2/3c brown sugar
1t cinnamon

Crumb top:
1c flour
1/4t salt
1/4c sugar
1/4c brown sugar
1t cinnamon
1/2c butter

**note #2: as with all baking recipes, it's best to have all butter and eggs at room temp before beginning

- set oven to 350 degrees
- grease and flour a spring form pan very well, I use actual butter, not non-stick spray for this recipe
- mix together dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder and soda) and set aside
- cream together butter and sugar.  Then add in eggs, one at a time and then vanilla.  Add in dry ingredients and sour cream, alternating till all are mixed well.
- in a separate bowl, mix the filling ingredients together

- pour half of the cake batter in the pan, sprinkle center filling on batter, and then add the rest of the batter on top.
-in a small bowl, mix all ingredients together (I find it easiest to use my hands)
- sprinkle the crumb top on the cake batter
- bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes, let cool for 25 minutes before opening the pan.
- sprinkle confectioners sugar on top when cool

Yum!  Bake your cake and eat it too!

Monday, September 17, 2012

A new wreath

Yes, I am in love with yarn wreaths!  They are so pretty and versitile.  I want to make one for every season and holiday :) There are many different styles of felt flowers you can use on wreaths.  I am an expert on the rolled felt flower that I showed you how to make the last time.  This time I wanted to make a new style.  I made two different types: the felt "mum" and the folded felt flower. I also wanted to use a thicker yarn for a different look.

I started with a bright yellow thick yarn and wrapped it twice, to make it thicker.

 Then I started on the flowers.  To make the felt "mum", start by cutting your felt in a 2 in. long strip and hot glue it in half.
Then, use your scissors to cut through the folded part almost to the bottom, but careful not to cut through!
Once done, start to roll it, gluing along the way.  Once you are done rolling it, you will have a nice little felt mum! The flower on the left, I used close cuts and the one on the right, I used slightly more spread apart cuts.  This gives a slightly different look. Easy peasy!!

The second flower was also easy but took a speck longer.  This is a folded felt flower.  Begin by cutting 6 sqaures from your felt, smaller for smaller flowers, larger for larger flowers.  Cut a scalloped flower shape from all 6. I made them all look slightly different so they would look more natural.
Once cut, save one for the bottom and then you will begin folding the other 5.  Start by folding your flower in half with a dab of hot glue in the center.  Let cool slightly.
Then fold that in half again!  Dont forget the glue!
Afterward you fold all five, glue down four on the extra felt you didnt use in a circular pattern then glue the fifth one on top in the center.
Once glued, you will have a pretty felt folded flower!  Now, decidce how you want them to be glued on your wreath and then hot glue them on.  I also added some green felt leaves under them on either end.
Gorgeous!!  Yes, they are "springy" colors, but they go beautifully together.  I hung this one in the hallway on the hall closet door for some happy colors when I walk by.  These flowers could be easily made into headbands.  I think I am going to make a few for my girls for the kids upcoming pictures.
Now I want to make another wreath.  I think I'll begin some Christmas and winter ones...


Saturday, September 15, 2012

iPad sweater and other doo-dads :)

I think before I started this blog, I thought my life was so interesting.  I had so many topics I was going to write about!  Well, I am finding it hard to think of things to blog!  I think it may be because I don't want to pick things people will think are "boring".  Ha!  Well, I finally made a few new crafts I would like to share.
The other day Jacob had his first soccer practice and I foolishly thought I may be able to read my magazine on the ipad (what was I thinking??) so I thought that I needed a safer way to transport it around.  I do have a smart cover on it, but no real case.  A month or so back, they had some ADORABLE ipad cases on and, although only $25, I passed on it because I knew I didn't "need" it.  Well, sometimes I make a pass on a purchase and regret it.  This is one of those times because I keep thinking about them, daily.  Hopefully they'll have an archive sale and I can snag on, but I digress...So I thought I needed a snug cover to keep my 4th baby safe, and what's more snug than a scarf?? And who has more old scarfs than me??  So I pulled my scarf basket down and got to work.  It's good to mention that this project cost me about 15 minutes and a big, fat $0 to make :)
I laid my scarf down and unfolded it was the perfect width to fit the ipad, what are the odds??  This was an old Gap scarf from my high school days and since it truly never gets "cold" here, I have not used this or any of my other thick scarves in a decade. 
Cute dots, eh??  Ok, so I laid the ipad down and folded down enough that I know I'd want for the top and then I folded up the bottom enough to cover the whole thing, which told me how much of the scarf to cut. It'll be about 14 1/2 inches total.  Be sure to use the end of the scarf as the outside flap since it already has a nice seam.  Mine even had a cute edge so even better :)
So now I had the length I needed.  Then I hot glued both sides really close to the edge and did a simple stitch around the edges so that it would be secure.  After that dried, I hot glued a velcro circle on both the top and inside of the top flap.

Voila!!!  Adorable, right??  And since its a thick scarf it'll give my trusty friend even more cushion.  Now my ipad will be safe and warm all winter in her beautiful polka-dot sweater.

The other quick craft I made was a smaller fall wreath.  This wreath cost about $2.50 and used stuff I had laying around the house and a rattan wreath from the dollar section at Target.

Here's what I did:
Wrap green raffia around the wreath, leaving plenty of space in between to see the wood.  Hot glue fall leaves, pumpkin and gourd from fall foliage I bought to make the fall yarn wreath.  Tie raffia around top to hang on wreath hanger.  Done.  Simple and pretty.  Happy crafting!!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Diets suck

Getting older comes with lots of pros and cons.  The biggest issue I've had with "getting older" is my ever shrinking metabolism (where did it go??) Here's a brief timeline of my metabolism: in high school, I was skinny and didn't really ever have to worry about what or when I ate.  I enjoyed running then, and did it a few times a week and basically maintained the same weight the entire time. Lucky me!  College:  Ms. Metabolism started changing.  I actually had my first real "weight gain" in college when I moved here.  The culprit was cases of beer and boxes of pizza more often than I'd care to admit.  I remember that moment when I realized I had gained about 10 pounds, which was a lot!!  With some increased exercise and cutting back on so much pizza, it was lost quite easily.  Pregnancy stage: I was at my lowest adult weight ever when I was pregnant with Abby.  I gained 50 pounds with her, YIKES! Breastfeeding and some light exercise helped me lose it all within about 8 months of having her.  When I was pregnant with Jacob, I swore I wasn't going to gain as much and didn't.  I gained a whopping 5 pounds less than with Abby, haha! BUT here was the beginning of the decline.  The same "breastfeeding and light exercise" routine applied before did not quite work so well.  I has to bump up the workouts and still ended up holding on to 5 pounds.  When I was pregnant with Hannah, I SWORE I was going to gain less having realized that my metabolism was changing and it was obviously more difficult to lose weight than it had before.  With her, I only gained 35 pounds and began p90x at 6 weeks of having her.  I began counting calories and really watching what I ate.  I did that for a few months and then felt I had a nice grasp on how many calories I was suppose to eat. A year later, I ran my first half marathon and thought I looked dang good.  Running at that time was easier, and I lost an extra few pounds while I was at it.  I didn't really change my diet too much either. I lots all the baby weight and that extra 5 pounds from Jake. Fast forward to now.  Yet another notch heading downhill.  I'm currently training for my second half marathon that will be in October.  The running itself is going fine, I am increasing my distance by a mile a week and are currently at 5 miles.  I'm trying to run 4x a week and are also adding in a few mini-strength workouts in.  Here's the problem: I'm not losing any weight, this week I actually GAINED a few pounds, and it's not muscle, TRUST ME.  WHAT, WHAT?!? I'm seriously freaking out over here.  One part is water weight.  My body is weird and I will literally gain and lose a few pounds a day because of water weight.  Its annoying, am I the only one??  As I got on the scale at the beginning of the week, I had a mini-heart attack.  So I had to evaluate what I was doing wrong.  Obviously I could work out more, we all could.  I don't eat a lot of sweets, but I guess food was the issue.  I don't eat a ton, but definitely haven't been "watching what I ate".  So my metabolism seems to have vanished into the abyss of getting older.  Boo.  So I am starting a "diet" tomorrow.  I say "diet" because I'm going to not eat what ever I want, and to me, that's a diet.  ;)  I'm going to begin to count my calories again for awhile.  400 cals for breakfast and lunch each and 500 for dinner.  I'll add in a few 100-150 snacks a day and see how it goes.  I downloaded "my fitness pal" on my phone and the ipad so I can help keep track of how much I'm eating and I created a "diet food" board on pinterest with lots of ideas of yummy smaller meals.  I'll focus on increasing my water intake as well.  This is all stuff I SHOULD be doing, it's just more of a pain.  It's not fair that I can't eat a whole pizza if I want to!  Whaaa :(  I ideally would like to lose 10 pounds, but I'm going to allow myself to go out and eat and yes, I will still have a glass of wine at night if I see fit!!  I debated on blogging about this because its a) not super interesting and b) if I wrote it down and shared it, I'd have to stick with it.  The later is the reason I decided to.  It'll help hold me accountable.  So here I go again down this road....wish me luck!!  Anyone want to "diet" with me??