It's unusual…

..what started out as an IVF journey and ended up being about life

Valentines Fun February 12, 2015

Filed under: Do It Yourself!!,Parenting — gertyrae @ 9:38 pm
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Having a kindergartener and living on Long Island where snow removal is generally a fiasco makes for lots of craft activities. And so we prepped ourselves for V-Day.

First up was the kiddie valentines. Since Colin’s school is a no food zone we had to come up with a non-edible idea. Legos are the toy of choice right now so I decided to opt for Lego gifts. For the girls we made Lego heart necklaces and the boys get an assortment of block. We used Lego #3176 for the necklaces and I picked up a basic value pack at Target for the assorted bricks. The necklace strings were macrame cord purchased at Michaels. Then it was onto the packaging. A bag of 40 small clear bags from Dollar Tree and some cardstock labels that I mocked up and we were good to go.

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Now onto the teachers! For them I broke out the Shrinky Dinks and we made Valentine key chains. Again, Michaels saves the day with their little $1 Shrinky Dink kits. We also made some tissue paper stained glass hearts that C picked out while we were in Michaels. Add a chocolate rose and a Dunkin Donuts gift card and we are done. I got the hang tag via http://happymoneysaver.com/takes-big-heart-help-shape-little-minds/ and just cut out the shape. All packed up in a neat little Dollar Tree gift bag (can you guess my two favorite stores?).

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Oh yeah, we had another pretzel day in the mix!

Wishing everyone a Happy Valentines

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Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies February 20, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — gertyrae @ 12:06 pm

Two posts in two days! It could be a record for me. But, these cookies came out so good I need to get my recipe down before I forget.

Wanted to try something different and I had a bag of Heath Toffee Bits in the pantry. No single recipe grabbed me so I opted to experiment a bit. The end result is pretty darn good, thank goodness.

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So, here goes:

ingredients

2 1/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup vegetable shortening (1 Crisco Baking Stick, had these in the pantry also)
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups Heath Toffee Bits
1 1/2 cups Nestle SemiSweet Chocolate Chips

1/4 cup granulated light brown sugar for rolling

instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Using an electric stand mixer bowl, beat butter and brown sugar at medium speed for 2-3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat on medium until well blended, scraping down sides of bowl with a spatula periodically.

Turn mixer to low and slowly add the dry ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips and toffee bits by hand until well blended. Should look something like this:

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Using a small cookie scoop, form balls of dough. Roll balls in granulated sugar and place on lined baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Press down with heel of hand lightly to flatten. Bake cookies for about 12 minutes or until very lightly browned on edges. Let cool for 2-5 minutes before removing from parchment. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack and cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

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Enjoy!!

special thanks to twopeadsandtheirpod.com and sweettoothsweetlife.com for the initial idea

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Snow Day Projects February 19, 2014

Filed under: Do It Yourself!!,Life,Parenting — gertyrae @ 12:53 pm
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We have had a bevy of snow this winter and I have spent the bulk of my days figuring out what we can do in.the.house.all.the.time.

We’ve done puzzles, played Legos, watched movies and even broken down and purchased Disney Infinity….

But, it all comes back to baking and yesterday we decided to make pretzels. Great project for C and they were delishly yummy. Shout out to Jessica Fischer for the basic recipe on good cheap eats.

Here is our version:

Homemade Pretzels

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1/2 cup warm water
1 cup warm milk (microwave for 1 minute)
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon rapid rise yeast

Whisk all above together in stand mixer bowl until blended. Let sit for approximately five minutes to get a bit foamy.

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With dough attachment on mixer, add the following:

1 cup whole wheat flour
3 cups bread flour

And mix together. Remove dough from mixer and knead for approximately 10 minutes. You can take turns😉

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Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with a clean dish towel and place in a warm location to rise. Allow to rise about 1 hour, dough should double.

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When dough has doubled, flatten it out and divide into equal pieces approximately golf ball sized. I put them back into the bowl and let them sit as we shaped each pretzel. For each pretzel, roll dough into a rope about 15″ long, lay dough on counter and make a “U” shape

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Now take the open ends and twist them around each other twice.

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Turn twisted ends back to the “U” part and press together. Set aside. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Now you need to make a soda bath, in a 6 quart pot boil 8 cups water. When water is boiling add 1/4 cup baking soda…very slowly!. We had a volcanic eruption cuz we added it too quickly. When the mixture is at a rolling boil add pretzels one at a time and let boil for about 30 seconds. Remove each pretzel and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

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Once your cookie sheet is full, salt pretzels with coarse salt (or leave as is for cinnamon/sugar pretzels) place in oven and bake until browned, 8-10 minutes.

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Remove, allow to cool and Walla!! You have pretzels. If you opt for cinnamon/sugar brush the pretzels with melted butter while warm and sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top.

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Yummy delishness!!!!

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Oh, and enjoy the snow!!

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Cookies, cookies and more cookies December 20, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — gertyrae @ 11:10 pm

It’s that time of year. I think Christmas has become more about cookies lately than gifts. At least in my world. I love cookies…love to make them, love to buy them, love to give them and most importantly, love to eat them!
So, in all fairness I figured I’ll share some of my recipes. All of them have been partially plagiarized from someone somewhere and then tweaked a tiny bit in the process by me.

My favorite cookie is the Chocolate Peppermint Crinkle

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Colin’s favorite part is smashing the candy canes:

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Anyway, I love these cookies cuz they are like thin mints but with a soft chewy chocolate center. I love them so much I doubled the recipe.

So, without further ado…the recipe

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
Makes about 3 dozen cookies

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
4 candy canes, crushed

1/2 cup confectioners sugar

In a small bowl mix flour, baking powder and salt.

In a separate bowl mix, on low speed, cocoa, sugar and oil. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add peppermint and vanilla extracts and slowly add flour mixture while beating. Mix in candy canes with spoon.

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Cover and chill for at least an hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Using a small scoop, roll dough into small balls (about 1.5-2″) and roll balls in confectioners sugar.
Place cookies onto lined sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes or until just set. Cookies will crackle while baking.

Cool cookies on parchment for a minute or two then transfer to cooling rack until completely cooled.

80-something cookies later:

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The worst blogger ever…. November 23, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — gertyrae @ 3:17 am

…is me. Another almost year has gone by. Funny to read back on my last posts and see what’s changed and what hasn’t. Our life is pretty much the same, albeit Colin has turned into a boy, Stormy has settled down quite a bit and Misty is starting to show her age. Thinking about going down a different path and posting more foodie stuff as opposed to journaling, because journaling is SO not happening obviously. Baking and cooking absolutely are…and a bit of kid crafting. Since C is a bit older and more capable we have been taking on littler projects. It lets me get out some of my creativity also, since although I used to do a lot of drawing I rarely get to it now. I’m hoping to create some nice memories and traditions with my little guy, plus we get to hang out together.

This all seems rather ambitious since I haven’t posted in almost a year but it can’t hurt to try, right?

A boy and his dog:

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DIY Mint Candy Bowls December 18, 2012

Filed under: Do It Yourself!! — gertyrae @ 9:03 am
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Before anything – I’ve got to thank Tutto Bella Blog for this idea…just loved it and wanted to try and take it to another level.

This is a great inexpensive way to make something cute and personal for a small gift. I made them to give to Colin’s teachers with the gifts in them.

Anyway, here goes:

Mint Candy Bowls

You need: Starlight type mints, parchment paper, cookie sheets, a bowl and an oven

I got my mints at Dollar Tree and since I couldn’t find red and green mints anywhere, I opted for red mints and cinnamon candy for contrast.

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Now preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Place the parchment paper onto the cookie sheet

Arrange the mints and candies in a circular pattern of your choice on the center of the paper. Make sure to leave a little bit of room between the mints.

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Carefully place in the oven making sure the mints don’t slide too much and bake for  8 to 10 minutes. This is the the first tricky part, you have to watch them closely after 5 minutes. You don’t want them to melt too little or too much.

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Take them out of the oven to cool.

While the candies are melting, take a small bowl (I used a kids cereal bowl) and turn it upside down and cover it with parchment paper. I turned the paper under the top of the bowl to hold it down.

Super tricky part now – when the candies are cool enough to maneuver without them turning into a molten mass and not so hard that they will break (I waited about 3-4 minutes), flip the parchment with the candy onto the upside down bowl, form it loosely over the bowl and let cool.

I let them cool another 3-4 minutes.

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Peel the parchment off the bottom and inside of bowl and

Walla!! You have a candy candy dish!

 

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I also made a couple of trays and another bowl – there was one bowl that didn’t make it. I didn’t let it cool enough before peeling the paper and it turned into a flat mess. To make the edges of the trays smooth, I used a pizza wheel to cut them about a minute or so after they came out of the oven. The trays are super fragile so be careful when using them. I find the bowls seem to be a bit less fragile but I have no idea why. Some more pics of the bowls and trays.

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The finished products – for a total cost of $6.00

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The Horror December 15, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — gertyrae @ 11:09 am
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I’m just floored by yesterdays tragedy.

As most of the world is, I’m sure.

I’ve cried an uncountable number of times in the last 24 hours.

How did his family not see the signs? How could he murder 20 little children? How does this man shoot small children and actually RELOAD his guns to shoot more?

This whole thing has changed many people I think…and part of me wonders why…until I realize that these are small children. Children who had the rest of their lives ahead of them – really. Not in the sense that we say it about teens or young adults, really the rest of their lives. As I read an editorial this morning it hit home. These babies were at the age of non-reality. They wear feetie pajama’s and eat chocolate until they are covered. They swipe their hands into pancake syrup until they are all sticky. They are truly, truly innocent.

And their parents sent them to school yesterday thinking they would be safe. My husband, who is a court officer, made a comment in passing last night about considering carrying his weapon at all times and I said “but you still couldn’t save them because they were in school – supposedly the safest place of all”. Not college, not high school, not a movie theater – a K-4 school. Noone was older than 10….and that is why it’s so unbelievably horrific…I don’t know how these parents will go on. Gifts unopened, holidays forever spent without the true loves of their lives. I just cannot imagine. I look at Colin and just start bawling all over again…and of course he has NO idea. What would I ever do? How would I be able to stand it?

My heart breaks for those families and the classmates of those babies. My prayers go out to each and every one of them. There is nothing more that can be said except if you have a child, hug him or her even harder and more often…let them know how much you really love them.

 

 
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