December 29, 2010

Gingerbread House

Ozzie and I visited Nanay and Pepa's house when Andy was also visiting to make gingerbread houses earlier this month. Instead of buying a pre-made kit, I decided to make my own ginger bread. I used Martha's Gingerbread Snowflakes recipe and one of her many gingerbread house templates here. I did cheat and buy store bought icing because I didn't have the patience to make her royal icing as recommended. It's delicious but powdered sugar tends to end up all over the kitchen and sometimes I just don't feel like cleaning it up!

It was interesting to say the least. I cut out two houses, one per kid, but Pepa, in his effort to perfect the construction of Andy's house, crumbled it. Must be the engineer in him to want it perfect. So Andy helped Ozzie and I decorate Ozzie's house and gingerbread men. Ozzie contribution was eating one cookie and walking away.

gingerbread house 2010
Our house and men

Andy's gingerbread house
Andy posing in front of the Christmas tree with his house.

O and A gingerbread
Forcing Ozzie to pose in the picture.

I love my parents tree because they still hang up ornaments I made in preschool and kindergarten.

O & A gingerbread 3
My foam snowman. Must be 30 years old now! These days they aren't giving 4 year olds foam to play with- ha!

O & A gingerbread 2
Ozzie still not interested but at least Andy had fun.

Next year it will be pre-made kits for sure!

December 25, 2010

Christmas Morning

This year, we let Ozzie open all of his presents on Christmas Eve because his Nanay, Pepa and cousin Andy came over to celebrate (pictures coming soon). So on Christmas morning, we only have pictures of him playing with his gifts instead of opening them. We did try to convince him to pose in front of the Christmas tree but of course he refused. He is two and a boy so he isn't exactly jumping up for photo opportunities.

christmas morning
Playing with toys he opened on Christmas Eve.

christmas morning 2
Fuzzy picture from my phone (my camera battery was dead) but he looked so cute in his pj's that I still uploaded it. Humor me!

There really is nothing cuter than kids in their Christmas pajamas on Christmas morning!

Merry Christmas

I thought I'd share a few of my favorites around my house this Christmas. If you know me you know how much I love birds and branches or really anything nature inspired. So it is no surprise that birds and birch bark made it into my Christmas decor this year. I just can't help myself.

My Christmas tree full of glitter birdies, snow capped pine cones and flowers.

Birchbark Tablescape
Dining room table with cedar garland, pine cones and birch bark tubes around candles.

One of my favorite curly winged birdies on my tree.

More birch bark tubes, garland and pine cones on the mantel.

mantel 2
Merry Christmas! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas filled with family, friends, love and laughter!

December 22, 2010

From Our Family to Yours

Merry Christmas! Wishing you a safe and happy holiday season. May you have health, love and happiness in the coming year!

With Love Blue Christmas Card
View the entire collection of cards.

December 15, 2010

Brie En Croute

Every year my friend, Trinette, hosts a ladies Christmas party/gift exchange. It is truly one of my favorite events of the year. After a few glasses of wine the gift stealing during the exchange can get pretty wild, which makes for such a fun night!

Most years, my contribution is brie en croute via Ms. Martha. It's another one of those recipes that completes the holiday season for me. Although I use crescent dough instead of puff pastry as her recipe calls for because I think the puff pastry is too delicate for rich, creamy brie.

Brie En Croute
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 3/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 2 standard packages (17 1/4 ounces) frozen puff pastry, thawed (again I substitute crescent dough)
  • 1 wheel (2.2 pounds) Brie
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
In a medium bowl, combine pecans and sugar, using your fingertips to thoroughly mix; set aside. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper; set aside.

Lightly dust work surface with flour. Place two sheets (one box) of puff pastry on the work surface one on top of the other. Using a rolling pin, adhere the two pieces of the puff pastry together. Continue rolling puff pastry until it is very thin, slightly less than 1/8 inch thick. Using a pastry wheel or a sharp knife, cut the puff pastry into a 13-inch round, reserving scraps for decorating.

Place the Brie in the center of the puff pastry. Top the Brie with pecan mixture, spreading to within 1/2 inch of the edge of the cheese. Be sure to remove any sugar or nuts from the puff pastry, as they may cause holes to form during baking. Fold puff pastry up and over Brie to enclose. The center of the Brie will not be completely covered with pastry. Transfer to prepared baking sheet.

Lightly dust work surface with flour. Repeat rolling and cutting process with remaining two sheets of puff pastry. Drape pastry over the Brie, tucking the edges under to enclose.

In a small bowl, combine egg yolk and cream to make an egg wash. Cut reserved scraps of puff pastry into decorative shapes. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the decorative shapes with the egg wash, and adhere to wrapped Brie. Brush the wrapped Brie evenly with the egg wash. Transfer to refrigerator and chill for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake Brie until golden brown and puffed, about 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake until dark golden brown, 25 to 35 minutes more.


December 14, 2010

Kale Chips

I've seen the recipe for kale chips floating around on the blogosphere for months now and finally decided to give it a try since I always receive kale in my CSA box and never really know what to do with it.

Ozzie and I had a play date with my friend and her daughter, so I served kale chips as our appetizer to lunch. They were good, not great as many people are saying but good. A touch too salty for me but my friend liked them. I will definitely cut the salt in half if I make them again. I did get Ozzie to try one but he never asked for more. Go figure?

Although there are a ton of recipes out there, I went with Smitten Kitchen. She has never let me down in the past. Click HERE for her recipe. I also like her idea of sprinkling the crumbled chips over popcorn.

photo courtesy of Smitten Kitchen

December 11, 2010

December 8, 2010

Adventures at the Christmas Tree Farm

Ozzie loved our helper Anthony

We couldn't keep up with him

Hope you had as much fun picking out your tree as we did!

December 2, 2010


Call me the worst mom ever but I forgot to post pictures of Ozzie's first day of preschool. Better late than never!

Oscar and I decided to enroll Ozzie in a cooperative preschool so that I can be involved in the class. Yes I have some control issues. Ozzie is a summer baby, so he will always be the youngest in his class. We figured starting him out one day a week at two will help. So far we love it!

First day of preschool- he was a little excited!

Finger painting on the second day of school. I was in another room doing my assigned duty (we have assigned jobs in coop school) and came back to find Ozzie like this. I think he got more paint on himself than on his art project. I should take a picture of it and post it here- it's pretty funny. 

December 1, 2010

Working From Home

We love it when Oscar gets to work from home. Ozzie wants to be just like Daddy.

A very important phone call

Love the headset!

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

I tried a new cinnamon roll recipe last weekend. They were ooey, gooey and delicious- just like a cinnamon roll should be. 

Click HERE for the recipe from my Mom's group recipe blog. Yet another reason I love this group!

I did make one adjustment to reduce my guilt level, I substituted half of the flour with whole wheat pastry flour. They still turned out great and were not dry from the whole wheat flour.

This may be a new Christmas morning tradition.

November 30, 2010

Movember Mustache

As I mentioned earlier, Oscar and a few of his co-workers grew out their mustaches during the month of November for mens cancer awareness.

My thoughts? Thank God tomorrow is December 1st!!! Here is a photo that the company photographer took of all the participants.

A Walk to the Mailbox

Later in the day we decided to huff it down the street to the mailbox in the snow. It gave us an excuse to try out Ozzie's sled that we bought last year when it did not snow. He's already outgrown it but it worked on our long (sarcasm) walk to the mailbox.


We had our first snow of the season this November. It was also Ozzie's first real snow experience, last year we didn't get any snow and the year before he was just a little munchkin.Oscar got snowed in from work and the two of them played in the snow all day long!

Throwing snow balls!

Making a snow man

Snow angels!



Hooray for snow!

p.s. please excuse my husband's mustache. He decided to join "Mouvember Moustache" with a local radio station for mens cancer awareness. December can't get here soon enough!!!

Almond Sherry Cake

Everyone has one, that special dish that confirms it is the holiday season, mine is my Aunt Lori's Almond Sherry Cake. Although I could argue that it is also the sinfully delicious eggnog latte but since Starbucks adds it to their menu earlier every year, I'll stick with the cake.

It is my Dad's favorite cake and I make it for him every year on his birthday (which is around Thanksgiving) and on Christmas. So the first bite of Almond Sherry Cake always commences the holidays for me.

Another great thing about this cake is that it starts with box cake and you add ingredients. It is semi-home cooking at it's best.

Aunt Lori's Almond Sherry Cake
1 box yellow cake mix
4 large eggs
3/4 c cream sherry
3/4 c coconut or vegetable oil (I prefer virgin coconut oil when baking)
1 package instant vanilla pudding
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Streusel filling (recipe follows)
Toasted almond slices

Streusel Filling:
1/3 c packed brown sugar
1/4 c flour
3 T firm butter
1 - 2 t cinnamon
3/4 c almond slices (optional if you have nut allergies)
Mix together with a pastry knife until crumbly

Sherry Glaze:
2 c sifted powdered sugar
1/3 c melted butter
1 t cream sherry (can substitute 1/2 t ground cinnamon if you prefer alcohol free glaze).
Stir in 1 to 2 t milk until glaze is desired consistency

Grease and flour 10" bundt pan and set aside.
Combine cake mix, eggs, sherry, oil, pudding mix and nutmeg.
Mix at low speed for 1 min scrapping bowl constantly.
Mix for 3 more minutes at medium speed scrapping bowl occasionally.
Pour 1/2 batter into prepared pan.
Sprinkle evenly with streusel filling.
Pour remaining batter.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or until cake springs back when touched. I also use the toothpick method.
Cool on wire rack 15 minutes.
Brush with sherry glaze and garnish with toasted almonds (optional).


November 17, 2010


I absolutely love these Thanksgiving printables from Silverbox Creative Studio. I have already finished my Thanksgiving crafts this year but have this bookmarked for next year. Love the paperchain!

November 15, 2010

Real Airplanes

As I mentioned earlier, two exhibits we enjoyed at the Museum of Flight were Air Force One from Nixon and Kennedy's presidencies and the British Airways Concorde.

Both planes were parked outside the museum and we were able to walk through them. Of course we did everything we weren't supposed to do. Ozzie sat on, touched and climbed up every thing he could, especially if it was labeled, "please don't touch". At least he enjoyed this part of the museum.

Walking across the sky bridge to the real planes.