Sunday, February 24, 2013

I'm a moron

Sorry I haven't been updating the blog in a week or so.  We have been through 2 or 3 rounds (I lost count) of sickies over here.  I have the lovely task of water boarding my toddler for the next week with her antibiotics.  Fun stuff, I tell ya.

Then, my daughter begged to have the cast party for her One Act Play at our house, so that was last night.  Apart from one incident where a dozen teenagers ran outside around 9:30 at night to play "outside ninja" (whatever that is...), they all had a great time.  My sweet husband watched from the kitchen looking wistfully as if he missed his teenage years. You could not pay me enough money in the world to return to 8th grade.

And now, it will be another week before I add a tutorial or update because I've got a craft fair next weekend that I'm currently working on.

Oh yes, and the reason I'm a moron has nothing to do with any of these things. It's because I thought I was being smart. I got the bright idea to organize my pictures over at Photobucket. I made all these little albums and organized all my pictures into the appropriate albums.  This was around 2 weeks ago.  And to my surprise, I just realized today, just now, that when I did that it completely screwed over all my pictures on this blog.  So, I'm sitting here fixing them all.  Stupid, stupid, stupid.

If you go to some long lost post and see the pictures are missing, please email me at stephanickety at yahoo and tell me which ones.  I'll fix them asap.  

Sorry I am a complete idiot for totally messing up the posts. 

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Valentine's Monster Mailbox

This year Mr E's teacher asked the children make their Valentine mailbox at home. This was a first, so I went to look for ideas. I discovered over at The Polkadot Penguin an adorable idea for a monster style mailbox. I thought this was a great idea for a boy. Mr E was feeling the Valentine ideas were a little too girlie for him.

Tonight, I stopped off at the Dollar Tree and picked up supplies, except I forgot googly eyes -- so I just made some with a marker and made the pipe cleaners on top some antennae.

FYI, Dollar Tree has solid white and solid red wrapping paper. I think I'm going back to get another roll of each. There is so much you can do with solid wrapping paper. It's pretty nice wrapping paper, too.

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This is what I came up with, and he loves it! I like the signs. I think that's my favorite part because it rhymes, lololol. It's super easy to make, and you can probably make it with what's lying around the house.

Click the link to The Polkadot Penguin above to take you to the super easy tute!

I'm trying to catch up on housework since everyone is finally on the mend. I will be posting new tutorials this coming week. See ya!

Sunday, February 03, 2013

French Toast Casserole with Strawberries and Cream Cheese

The flu has hit our house, so I've been up to my eyeballs in taking care of everyone.  I have 3 to 4 tutorials all about 75% ready for you guys. I think everyone is on the mend (crossing fingers!) so that I can get back to posting some new tutes very soon in the next week or so.

Wow oh wow oh wow! I made THE best breakfast last night.  It was so delicious this morning I had to make myself leave the table.  I've always heard people raving about the overnight french toast casseroles, but I've never had one until I experimented with my own version featuring apricots and cream cheese a few weeks ago.  It wasn't my favorite because the bottom was too done, so I tweaked my recipe a bit and tried again last night.  Oh my goodness was it delicious!

Unfortunately, we've had a house of sickies this week.  I have one with the flu (who had a flu shot, btw) and the littlest one had a UTI (aren't those fun while potty training?).  And, with all that fun, we've been staying home the past few days.  So, last night I whipped up a french toast casserole from scratch to have this morning.  I had just ran to the store yesterday, so I had fresh strawberries and cream cheese to add to it.

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French Toast Casserole with Strawberries & Cream Cheese

1 stick of butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar

8 eggs
3 1/2 cups milk or 1 1/2 cups half&half and 2 cup of milk
1 1/2  tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla
3-4 tbs maple syrup
1 pkg of Pepperidge Farm Sourdough bread cut into large cubes (about 12 pieces of bread)

16 oz (2 pkgs) of softened cream cheese
1 pint or about 2 cups of fruit such as sliced strawberries mixed with 1 tbs of sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

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First, slice up your strawberries and add about 1-2 tbs of sugar. Mix well, then put in the fridge for a couple hours.  This will pull the water out of the strawberries and create a delicious syrupy-ness to it.  If you don't have time for that - no worries.

Take your softened butter and mix with 1/4 cup of brown sugar.  Then smear it all over the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish.

Next, cube your bread.  I love sourdough bread, and I love how wonderfully thick and delicious this Pepperidge Farm bread is, but plain ol' sandwich bread will do in a pinch for this recipe too.  I cut mine into large cubes about 2 x 2 inches in size.  Place half the bread in the dish.

Take your cream cheese and microwave it for about 20-30 seconds.  This will turn it very smooth and a little runny and easy to smear on the bottom layer of bread.  Smear away!  Then, add your fruit.

Mix up the eggs, milk, cinnamon, maple syrup and vanilla.  Pour half the mixture onto the bottom half of the casserole.  Next, add the rest of the bread.  Pour the rest of the milk/egg mixture onto it.  Make sure you pour it so everything is evenly soaked. 

Take the 1/4 cup brown sugar and sprinkle it all around the top of the dish.

Cover with foil and put in the fridge til morning.  Or let it sit for at least an hour before baking. 

Remove from fridge.  I like to put mine on top of the oven as it warms up.  Preheat oven 375.  Bake for 45 minutes.  Then, remove the foil for the last 15 minutes or so.  Check to make sure it's not soupy in the middle.  A knife should come out clean when inserted in the middle.  Sometimes mine needs an extra 10 minutes.  It will still be a bit mushy when done because of the cream cheese.

Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes before serving.

This is also wonderful to make ahead and bake, and then serve it for breakfast on school days.

I made an earlier version with apricots and apricot preserves with the cream cheese.  It was delicious just needed something on the bottom of the pan to stop it from overcooking down there. That's why I added the butter and sugar -- which was PERFECT this time around.

However, if you'd like to use apricots, here is what I did:

I used about 1/2 cup of apricot preserves that I smeared on top of the cream cheese. Then I took a can of apricot halves, smashed them, and added those on top of the preserves.  The tanginess mixed with the cream cheese was so yummy!! I'm definitely going to make that version again.