Thursday, December 30, 2010

End of the Year Projects

It seems like most people get projects done at the beginning of the year, so either I am really early in getting this done, or really late! You decide! Anyways, my first project was to hang some mirrors that we bought,oh, 2 years ago. Its one of those projects that I had to a) think about doing and b) have Jordan around to help me with, and having both those things happen at the same time took, well, 2 years! I am really happy with how it turned out and it makes the room look bigger and brighter.
The second project I did was to transform the boring, plain wall in my kitchen into something useful and cute. Here is the plain wall. Attractive, I know.
The first thing I did was starch some fabric to the wall. Thank yous go out to my sister, Tanya for the idea and to my mom for talking to me on the phone while I was in the fabric store trying to pick a fabric. I lack the confidence and decisiveness to do things like that quickly.
UPDATE: After a few questions on how to starch fabric to a wall, I decided to answer them! You need liquid starch(not spray starch. Don't worry, I didn't know what it was either, but it was right in the laundry section of the grocery store! Usually in a blue bottle. It costs about $3 and I only used about 1/4 of it. Think of how many more walls I can fabric!) and a sponge. Pour some starch into a shallow pan(like a pie dish) and use the sponge to apply the starch to the fabric. You may want to tack the fabric to the wall first so it is hanging evenly. Make sure to evenly saturate the fabric. Using a large scraper (or old gift card) smooth out the fabric so there aren't any bubbles. Let it dry. Yup, thats it.
Next, I spray painted some moulding I purchased. Again, thanks go to my sister Tanya, for the awesome idea and to my dear husband for taking my 7, yes I think it was 7, phone calls I made to him while I was Home Depot due to the reasons I mentioned above. And a very special thanks to Clara who was very good for the 2 hours we spent in said store.
After allowing the paint to dry, I glued the frame together using wood glue.
Once the glue dried, we applied adhesive strips to the back of the frame and mounted it to the wall on top of the fabric. Love it! I used adhesive strips so it wouldn't be permanent. Command makes a bunch of varieties to choose from and they don't damage your walls, so that is what I went with. The frame is very light, so it doesn't need too many. After the frame was up, we nailed in a few nails under the top and bottom of the frame to add a little extra support.

After framing the fabric, we hung all the cute frames that my sister made me for Christmas, my calendar and a small 3 tier shelf. Thanks go to my sister, Heidi, for the super cute and useful Christmas present!
And here are some extra pictures just because I am loving it so much!
My kitchen looks so much prettier now!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Present Thank Yous

This post is mostly for Grandma and Papa Muhlestein. They gave Clara a slide for Christmas and we videoed her reaction to seeing it for the first time. Like any little kid, she was a little distracted by the wrappings so it took her a minute to notice the real gift. She was definitely in awe of it, though! Here is the video:

We also want to say thank you to Grandma and Grandpa Sorensen. The new rug made Christmas morning so much more enjoyable, since we had a comfortable place to sit! And Clara loved the new clothes for her doll. The tutu princess skirt you made her matched well with her doll and she loved that! And I love the Snug Bugs you gave Lucas! Those are really fun! In fact, Clara has hijacked them a few times and I have to repeatedly remind her they are for Lucas!

And thank you to Heidi, Greg Brooklyn and Boston. All your presents were a huge hit! Clara loves the Cinderella Doll and her matching skirt and crown. I love the crayon holders for her and Lucas and I love Lucas' new trucks! Yea for more boy toys coming into our house! Jordan loves his game and the book. I love all the kitchen stuff you made me! I can now decorate my wall with the menu board, shopping list and FHE chart. I am sure there will be a blog post when that project gets done.

Thank you Thank you Thank you to everyone!

Christmas Eve

This Christmas was the first one, since Jordan and I have been married, that we haven't been with family. While it is kind of sad to not be together with everyone and missing out on all the fun activities and traditions (like making tamales! Oh how I miss you!) it has been a lot of fun to start our own traditions and have Christmas in our own house. We were much more motivated to decorate our home since the whole holiday season would be spent here. And it is much easier on Christmas morning when you don't have to plan gifts around what you can pack, or just give IOU's for stuff that is waiting for you at home. Clara is also old enough for Christmas to be magical, so it was a lot of fun for us to see that and have her experience it with just us.

For Christmas Eve, Jordan and I decided it would be fun to make tempura (using my Christmas gift from last year, a fondue pot!) and sushi. It was a lot of fun.
The sushi was awesome! It is so easy to make, but I don't always think about it. Making it made me want to make it more often! The tempura wasn't as good, but now I just see that as a challenge to get better at it! After our fun dinner, we each got to open one present- new Christmas pajamas! Jordan and I always pick out the kids' jammies together, and then we each pick out the others, so they are a surprise. Clara was already hyped up on Christmas fun!

And had a hard time sitting still for pictures!
Here is a little video of Clara singing Jingle Bells.

Can you see the footsie pajamas Jordan got me? They are two piece, and not one, but they do have the feet on them! Jordan's may look a little boring in comparison, but he loves them! He said the piping on them made him feel classy.
After putting on our new pajamas, we read the accounts of Jesus' birth out of the Bible and Book of Mormon, then sang a bunch of Christmas Hymns. Clara has a love/hate relationship with singing, and apparently Christmas Eve was a hate day. The entire time we were singing (and we sang about 8 songs!) she was yelling at us to "turn it off". After that, we got out egg nog and cookies for Santa and a carrot for the reindeer to share. Then we went out to the front yard and spread reindeer food (oats mixed with glitter) to help them lead Santa to our house.

Then we sent the kids to bed and finished wrapping presents and awaited Santa's arrival. I t was such a fun night. We made great memories and, hopefully, started some fun traditions!

Cakes 2 and 3

I have completed my birthday present to myself by making all three cakes! I had to wait, of course, for occasions were there would be more than just our small family so we wouldn't eat the entire cake! I just wanted to try the cakes, not eat the whole thing! The first cake, I made for my birthday and we invited people over to come and eat it. The second cake, I took to a Christmas party at church. I made sure I got one slice! And the third cake, I made while visiting my sister and her family.
Here is Cake #2. It is the chocolate cake with a peanut butter frosting and a chocolate peanut butter ganache. My goodness is it good! Super rich, so only make it when you have a crowd to share it with and make sure you have a nice, cold glass of milk to drink right along side it. It was so good! I am in love with all things ganache!
Here is cake #3. This one is a brownie mosaic cheesecake with a chocolate cookie crumb crust and a chocolate ganache. Again with the ganache. I'm in love and I don't care who knows it!(Can anyone name the movie?) This cake is a triple threat with brownies, cheesecake and a ganache. Does it get any better than that?All three cakes will be made again. In fact, I have already remade cake #1 for Christmas dinner! I added some crushed candy canes to give it a holiday flair and it was still just as tasty as can be! If any of you are up for the challenge, I strongly recommend all three of these delicious confections! Happy Baking!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Birthday Cake Extravaganza

Since I am the cook/baker in the family, I either bake my own birthday cake or buy my own (if its store bought, its usually a pie or an ice cream cake). I'll admit it, I can be somewhat of a food snob. I don't really like cake that comes from a boxed mix. I usually do something else with a cake mix than make actual cake from it. In fact, I don't really like most cakes. It has to be really good (think words like raspberry filled or ganache and you are getting closer to cakes that are up my ally) for me to like it. This year, I decided I wanted to make a cake and started looking through recipes on one of my favorite food blogs, smitten kitchen. I found three recipes that I really wanted to try and just couldn't choose! So I decided since it is my birthday and I am doing all the work for the cakes, I would make all three throughout the month. Genius, I know. So today we had the first cake. Its called an icebox cake, but really it should be called the Ultimate Cookies and Cream Cake. Here are some pictures. You can start salivating.... now!
This cake was really easy to make. I ended up making my own wafer cookies because i couldn't find any in the store, but if you found the right cookies, this would be a piece of cake(pun totally intended!) to make. If you like cookies and cream type things, this is the cake for you!

Here are all the cake recipes I am trying out if any of you are interested.


For about 4 days, we were a house of sickos. One by one it hit each of us. Luckily it was quick moving, but this picture about sums up how we felt. While sharing is a good thing, I am sorry if we shared our germs with you!

Christmas Tree Triming

We decorated our Christmas tree over the Thanksgiving break, and Clara is in LOVE with all the lights. Instead of putting lights outside of our house, we put some on the banister of our staircase and lining our window. Currently, we are watching a movie by the Christmas lights. Cozy! Anyways, here are some pictures of us decorating the tree. Please excuse Clara's crazy hair.
Lucas just lounged about while we decorated.Clara and Lucas both love the lights.
And proof that I was a part of it.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Close call...

Dear Driver Who Stopped On The On-ramp This Morning,
The goal of an on-ramp is to reach freeway speeds so you can merge smoothly into traffic without problems. That is what I did. I was at 60 mph before I saw what you did. What you did was go slow and then stop and wait for a gap (in rush hour traffic). Thank goodness there was a wide shoulder, because I needed it when you gave me 5 feet too few to stop. That shoulder saved you a pile of yellow Nissan on your tail. I'm glad no harm was done, but please learn from this in the future.