What just happened??!!

One of the things on my never ending list was to get bunk beds for the kids.
I just never got to it since I know a needed quite a bit of moolah for good, sturdy bunkbeds. My dream was getting pottery barn bunk beds. 

Well, as I was browsing craigslist on Wedneday night (7:30pm) (lazily laying on the couch) I saw a craigslist add for pottery barn bunk beds with two pottery barn mattresses for only $450! Now that is a deal!

I saw that the posting was listed only and hour ago, we quickly called and agreed to pick it up the next day at one. 

Well, I quickly measured the kids room and decided that it would be to tight for a bunk bed in there. Solution?  Move the kids room into the guest room. How simple, right? Not.

So right then,  I pulled out all of the furniture out of the guest room and got to work. I dug left over paint and started painting. Then I put the kids to bed and painted till 2 am! 

After 5 hours of sleep, I got up at 7am and continued to paint!

Then an annoying thing happened, I ran out of paint! 

I had to pack the kids up and run to Home Depot for paint, then back home to paint more, before hubby got home with the bunk beds. 

Lets just say that I had a very hard past 24 hours. 
I am very thankful for the sabbath, so I can relax now. 


Here is a before and after:



If someone told me that I would have to paint, move all furniture and organize a room, clean the house, go grocery shopping all while taking care of two kids in 24 hours, I would have said you are crazy! 

But all things are possible with Gods help. 


Thanks for visiting. :)


December Birchbox 2012




I always get so excited when I get my birchbox in the mail. This months theme is  "All wrapped up", The birchbox team wants their subscribers to look and feel  our best for the holidays. Aw, thats sweet. 



Don't know what birchbox is?


It's a monthly subscription service which is $10.00 a month. First you take a little survey, so they can find out more about your skin, make up likes and dislikes. Just so they know what to send you. You get 4-5 high end samples in the mail. You can then turn around and review your products for points. You get 10 points per product review. So you can get 50 points per box. 100 points is $10 you can use at the birchbox store. 


Now, lets see what I got:

Apothederm Firming Serum      Full size $75
What Birchbox says: Throw wrinkles a curve ball with this advanced serum, which is propritary peptide duo to firm and brighten skin. 
What I say: First of-kudos on the awesome sample packaging. Love the size and the pump. 
I started using this right away. LOVE it! I have some wrinkles starting to show on my forehead.
This seeped into my skin in less then 60 seconds and then I was able to continue with the rest of my skin care. I cringed at the full size price. But if I see a difference in my skin, once I am done with my sample, I might consider buying the full size with some of my birchbox points. 

Juicy Couture     Full size $19-$89
What Birchbox says: Juicy's signature fragrance in a blend of sweet and floral notes. 
What I say: It's to strong for me. 

Number 4 Clarifying Shampoo    Full size $32
What Birchbox says: Gentle enough for everyday use, this unique cleanser has a low suds formula that removes buildup without stripping hair of essential oils. Safe of colored hair. 
What I say: I am a big fan of clarifying shampoos. In fact I use one every sunday to remove all the buildup. This shampoo has great reviews so I am excited to try it. 

What Birchbox says: Play up your best features with this three in one highlighter, shadow and all over shimmer. 
What I say: This is my first powder high lighter. I tried this already and it is gorgeous! Perfect for my skin tone. It is also very highly rated, I can see why. 

Beauty Extra:
La Fresh Eco beauty oil free face cleanser wipes  Full size: 30 wipes for $9.99
What Birchbox says: Even the most stubborn mascara yields to these biodegradable wipes, which are laced with moisturizing jojoba and other plant oils. 
What I say: Sounds good, will try these out asap. Plus the price isn't too bad for a makeup remover. 



Well, that wraps up my birchbox. If you got one this month, please link it up, I would love to see what you got. 



Thanks for visiting. 



Celebrating Hanukkah 2012


Ever since having kids, I have been putting more effort into decorating for Holidays. 
Even with the slim pickens of Hanukkah decorations at the store, I made it work.

 Just some brief overview on Hanukkah and what it is:
 In Hebrew "hanukkah" means dedication. The name reminds us that this holiday commemorates the re-dedication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem following the Jewish victory over the Syrian-Greeks in 165 B.C.E.

Once the Maccabees had regained control they returned to the Temple in Jerusalem. By this time the Temple has been defiled by using it for worship of foreign Gods and sacrificing swine. Jewish troops were determined to purify the Temple by burning ritual oil in the Temple's menorah for eight days. 
But they only had enough oil left for one day in the Temple. (It took 8 days to make more oil) They lit the menorah anyways and to their surprise the small amount of oil lasted for the full eight days!

Every year it is customary to commemorate the miracle of the Hanukkah by lighting a hanukkah menorah. The hanukkah is lit every night for eight nights.

Traditionally the Hanukkah menorah is set in front of the window (we tried it but with a curious 2 year old, it wasn't very safe) For next year, we will buy a electric menorah to put in the window. 

So I set up the menorahs in the dining area:



On the First night of Hanukkah:

Little Em lighting the menorah we got her

On the second night of hanukkah:


On the third night of hanukkah:




On the 4th night of Hanukkah:



On the 5th night of Hanukkah we made sugar cookies:







On the 6th night of Hanukkah:




The 7th night of Hanukkah was Friday night, which was Shabbat:



All the Shabbat food ready:


Playing the dreidel race game:


Anything cooked in oil is considered a Holiday food. 
We love our latkes:


On the last night of Hanukkah:


That was our Hanukkah!

The kids enjoyed celebrating for 8 days. We got them presents and spent a lot of time singing, playing games and eating too much food. I am already looking forward to the next Hanukkah!

Hanukkah Iced Sugar Cookies


Just because we are not celebrating Christmas, doesn't mean we don't get to eat beautifully decorated sugar cookies. How do you like my Hanukkah cookies?
Don't mind my Hebrew writing on the dreidels, I did my best. :)

I bought the cookies cutters on amazon, for the menorah cookie, I just used a round cookie cutter and then cut it in half. 

I found the recipe on Allrecipes:


Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups of flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS:
1.In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
2.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 8-9 minutes (depending on how thick you roll out your cookies. 



SUGAR COOKIE ICING:



This is the recipe I used for the icing. I love the almond flavor it has, it is a unexpected touch.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons milk
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1/4 tsp almond extract
food coloring




DIRECTIONS:
1.In a small bowl, stir together confectioners' sugar and milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup.
2.Divide into separate bowls, and add food colorings to each to desired intensity. Use a piping bag to decorate the cookies. 






Making Sufganiyot (Hanukkah Doughnuts)


This is our first year celebrating Hanukkah.

I have really been enjoying learning about hanukkah and all that it stands for. For example I learned that sufganiyot is a very popular fried doughnut that people make on Hanukkah to symbolize the miracle of oil that lasted for 8 days instead of one. 

OK, my dear hebrew cousins (I don't know if you read this blog or not) but how come you never made this for me to eat? These are DELICIOUS! I don't know if I made them right or wrong, but let me tell you that I will be making them over and over again, and not only on Hanukkah.

There are a lot of recipes out there for sufganiyot, Here are a few I found:




They all are basically the same: make dough, cut dough, fry dough, fill dough, sprinkle with sugar.

I didn't follow any of the above for the dough. I used by basic dough recipe for my bread machine. 

If you don't have a bread machine, then follow any of the above recipes. 

If you have a machine, then just let it do all the work for you :)

Basic Sweet Dough Recipe:

1 CUP water
1 egg
1/4 cup unsalted butter (softened)
3 1/2 cups of flour
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast

Place all ingredients into the bread machine pan.

Select Dough/manual cycle. 

Then go do whatever you want to do for the 2 1/2 hours it takes to make the dough.....
 I went grocery shopping and out for lunch with my kidos :)


Next, on a floured surface roll out your dough to about 1/4 inch thick:



Using a cookie cutter/or glass cut out as much rounds as you can, cover with plastic and let to rise for about 15 minutes:


While the rounds were rising, set up your frying station.

In a medium saucepan, add about 3 inches of oil. Heat on Medium heat.

Prepare a bowl/plate lined with paper towels to absorb extra oil:



Put about 3 TB of jam into a pastry bag:


It took me approximately 3-4 minutes to cook the doughnut completely.

But 2-3 at a time. Don't overcrowd your pot:


Here they are just about ready to come out.
Wow, look how they puffed up!



Next you need to make a hole in the doughnut. I used the end of a wooden spatula:



Then you fill it up with jam!



The Martha Stewart recipe says to roll them in sugar:




However, I preferred them sprinkled with powdered sugar:




My daughter asked for some without jam, these were especially for her :)


And these are all for mommy and daddy!!!

YUM!




Thank you so much for visiting. :)



Mushroom & Cheese Tart



I love those times when I "accidently" make something and it actually turns out good! Does that ever happen to you? What am I saying, off course  it does. 
 I took some puff pastry to thaw. I had the full intention on making cannolis, but we already had a variety of desserts and sweets. So I decided to make something savory instead. Now I didn't want to pack up the kids for a grocery store run so I turned to my fridge. 
I had some mushrooms (I love mushrooms! I always make sure I have some in my fridge) I had some asparagus and cheese. I decided to risk it and snapped some pics along the way, just incase it turned out well. 

So this is what I created:




Ok, tell me that doesn't look good? 

I think this would be great for a brunch, appetizer or served with a salad for a meal. 


Here is what I used, but you can be creative and change it up to meet your needs:

2 sheets of thawed puff pastry
Cheese: I used 8 oz of Gruyere and Shaved Parmesan Cheese
Mushrooms: I used one Portabella mushroom, cremini and white mushrooms
Asparagus: you will need about half a bunch
3 garlic coves
2 shallots


Lay your puff pastry out and layer your choice of cheese in the middle:


Clean your mushrooms and slice thinly


Separately saute mushrooms, asparagus, shallots in olive oil.
Sprinkle with salt/pepper and add crushed garlic

Remove and place on a plate for now. 



Layer all the veggies on top of the cheese:


Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes or until golden brown like so:




Sprinkle with cheese


Slice with a pizza cutter into squares or rectangles to serve.


Enjoy!

Kids Craft Birthday Party

It isn't easy having a birthday in December. 
Everyone is still recovering from Thanksgiving, then you need to plan, shop and decorate for Hanukkah or Christmas. So the Birthday tends to go on the back burner.

But I vowed to myself, to still give my kids the best Birthday party I can. That means not combining their birthday and presents with any of the holidays. 

Since my kids birthdays are only 3 days apart, we throw them one party. I can't imagine having two parties in such a short time!

You can see last years party here

My kids love doing crafts. They love painting and drawing. So I thought it would be a really great idea to have a craft party. 

Take a look at how it turned out!



I used the kids chalkboard as the birthday sign outside.:


I love this pic! They are waiting for their friends.


I set up the dining table as the paint table. 
Each child got their own canvas to paint on. 
I made the pom-poms
The aprons are from amazon
The party hats are from Target, I just added some tassels to them. 






The next station we had was the bead station, the kids could make necklaces or bracelets:


And the third station was the paper doll station.
The paper dolls are from Michael's
I cut out some clothes for the dolls the kids could select and glue on.
There were ribbons, buttons, beads and stickers they could use too. 


Some of the presents and party favors:


And finally what I think the most important part: 

THE DESSERT TABLE!


Fabric: IKEA
Happy birthday banner: DIY
Paper straws: Amazon
White tray: West Elm
Drink Dispenser: World Market
Random Apothecary Jars: Michael's
Rice Krispie  "paint brushes": DIY, idea found here
Cupcakes and cakes from local bakery
Cake stands: Pier One
Cake pops: DIY, tutorial here
Tasseled garland: DIY, Check out this tutorial








My birthday girl!


My little man is now 2!


Me and my babies!


Little artists!



Making paper dolls!


Busy little bees:


Everyone did such a great job!


Time to eat!

We had cheese pizza & veggie pizza and an assortment of fruits and veggies


Time to blow out the candles!


Present time!


Everyone "helped" open the presents!


After opening all the presents, everyone played with the new toys!

I think the party was a success! The kids are happy, so I am happy too!

Thanks so much for visiting!