Monday, December 27, 2010

From Our Family to Yours

We are busy enjoying some of the things I love most... family, food, twinkle lights, playing games, shopping, relaxing, and coffee-drinking.  We probably won't be blogging much the rest of this week, but I wanted to take a moment to wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  Thanks for reading and watching and allowing us to share some of our lives with you.  We both look forward to more blogging in the New Year.  So from our family to yours...

Merry Christmas!

With love,
Paul, Bethany, Charlie & Norah

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

CWP Episode 4 - The Bertinet Method (Sweet Dough)

Cinnamon Rolls
Sweet Dough
  • 18oz. all purpose flour
  • 4 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
  • 3 Tbs sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
  • Ground cinnamon, enough to cover the rolled out dough
  • Brown sugar, enough to cover the rolled out dough
  • 3 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- For the dough, rub butter and flour together with your hands until combined and somewhat crumbly in texture.
- Add yeast, sugar and salt and combine.
- Add the eggs and milk and stir to combine into a sticky dough.
- Remove dough from the bowl and onto a clean work surface.
- Scoop the dough up with both hands from either side.  Lift the dough, flip hands over and slap dough onto the work surface.  Slowly stretch the dough toward you and then fold back onto itself.
- Repeat this step for approximately 7 - 10 minutes, until the dough comes clean off the board and looks very smooth.
- Sprinkle just a little flour on the board and form the dough into a ball.
- Place in a floured bowl, cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let rest in a warm place (room temp) for 2 hours.
- After two hours, gently removed the dough onto a floured surface and roll out to a large rectangle.  The dough should be about 1/4" to 3/8" thick all over.
- For the filling, spread the butter all over the surface of the dough.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar.
- Starting with the edge closest to you, roll the dough up into a log and pinch the seam to close it.
- Take some unflavored dental floss and slide it underneath the dough.  Pull up on both sides of the floss and cross them, cutting the dough with the floss.  Cut the roll into 12 equal sections.
- Place the rolls into a buttered baking dish, equally spaced.
- Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let rise for another 30 - 40 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 360 F.  Yes, I do mean 360.
- While the oven in heating and dough is rising again, combine the icing ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.  Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
- Once dough has risen again, bake in a 360 F oven for 20 - 22 minutes.
- Remove from oven and place a dollop of icing on each of the rolls while they are still hot.
- Serve immediately.  Enjoy!

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

"Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them.  He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us- to show mercy to our ancestors and to remember his holy covenant, the oath he swore to our father Abraham:  to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days."  Luke 1:68-75

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

CWP Episode 3 - Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 Tbs milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 10 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the white and brown sugar.  Slowly add the butter with mixer on Low.  Increase speed to Medium and beat for 3 - 4 minutes, until mixture becomes light in color. 
- With mixer on Low, add the egg and egg yolk, one at a time, letting each one incorporate fully.
- Add the milk and vanilla and fully combine.  Scrape down the bowl and mix again shortly to blend evenly.
- With mixer on Low, add about 1/2 cup of flour mixture to the mixing bowl.  Increase speed slightly to incorporate flour and then back speed down to Low again.  Repeat until all the flour has been added.
- Lock the head of the mixer.  With speed on Low, add the chocolate chips and fully combine.
- Chill the batter for 5 minutes.  After chilling, stir slightly and chill for another 5 minutes.
- Using a #40 disher, place 9 balls of dough evenly on a sheet pan and bake for approximately 9 1/2 to 10 minutes, until edges are slightly brown and center is still "doughy".
- Let cookies cool on the pan for about 45 seconds to 1 minute, just long enough to prepare another pan of dough balls and get them in the oven.
- Remove cookies to a cooling rack and let cool.  Enjoy!

**Look for a special Christmas episode coming Christmas Eve**

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Santa Take 2

Santa visit #2, at the library!
 Charlie was still a little anxious, so I decided to get cozy with Santa too...
By the way, that's a baby Bjorn I'm wearing that I just took Norah out of... not some weird overalls like it kind of looks like, haha.
Charlie never quite seemed to loosen up, but did get his candy as promised...
Thanks, Santa!
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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

CWP Episode 2 - Tomato Sauce

Paul's Easy Tomato Sauce
  • 3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped 
  • 2 14oz. cans whole or diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tbs tomato paste
  • 5 - 7 large basil leaves, sliced into thin strips
  • 2 Tbs oregano leaves, roughly chopped or left whole 
  • Salt to taste
- Heat oil over medium heat in a large saute pan for a few minutes.
- Add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook for about 7 minutes until the onions soften and start to brown a bit
- Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the tomato paste, basil, oregano and tomatoes to the pan.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for approximately 20 minutes or longer, if desired.

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Monday, December 13, 2010

My House- Part Six- A Christmas Tour!

Welcome to my home, dressed up for the holidays!  I'm posting this as part of the Nester's Christmas Tour of Homes!  Before you proceed I have to let you know... I have a five month old and a potty training 2 and a half year old.  I LOVE decorating for the holidays, so that was a priority... but in my mind, twinkle lights camouflage a multitude of messes, as do close up pictures, hahaha...

This little guy never knows where he may find himself, but this year he's ended up on this chair.  I'm enjoying him alongside this pillow!

These are hand made by my mother-in-law and are replicas of the original family heirlooms (made of out toilet paper rolls- yes I said heirlooms!) that reside at Paul's childhood home.  Aren't they sweet??  You have to watch them, though, sometimes I find them in some compromising positions, but I'll keep it family friendly for the blog...

Even the kitchen gets in on the fun!

Love this little Santa door hanger...

Charlie's room!

He's even made a few of his own decorations this year...

I bought this little candle tree several years ago at Target... I like it, but just never know where to put it!  This year it finds itself in the bathroom.  Not sure how I feel about it there...

There's a fun little penguin rug for the winter in here too right now, which, along with the tree, makes all our hours spent in the bathroom lately (potty training, remember?), just a little more cheery.

Here's our room... just a simple wreath hung over the bed with a push pin... so easy, but so merry!

Merry Christmas!  Hope you enjoyed the tour!  

Want to see more of my house?

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Santa, Baby

 Look who loves her some Santa...

... they look like they could be related with those jolly, rosy cheeks!  Reminds me so much of this picture from two years ago...

Charlie wouldn't go near the man this year, but let Santa know from across the room that he'd like a "blue car."  Good to know!  He did let me take a picture once we were outside and safely away from the scary bearded man.

The hustle and bustle has officially begun around here and I have been shopping, wrapping, and decorating up a storm.  With all the busyness, we do have some posts coming up- Paul's got a new video up his sleeve and I'm thinking its time for a new house tour post, Christmas edition (if I can just get motivated to clean up around here, it'll happen this week!).

Until next time...  
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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

... with joy

We started a new tradition this year.  We're celebrating Advent each Sunday with candles and a short bible reading.  Its something my family did when I was growing up {and still does} and now we're teaching our children about this season of expectancy... of hope to be revealed in Christ's birth at Christmas.  Its a nice slowing of pace and remembrance of what this season truly means.  Even well-meaning Christians get caught up in the shopping, and wrapping, and lights.

But lest you think we are all candles and spirituality in our house, let me give you a little insight into what had taken place that day...

This was, quite possibly, one of my worst days as a mother to date... I decided to start potty training Charlie and it wasn't going well.  I felt like I had spent the day cleaning up mess after mess and growing more and more agitated with him, to the point of losing my patience in a way that I never had before.  Norah was feeling neglected most of the day and in her own way, was letting me hear about it.  Naps had not gone well, dinner was waaaay late (and too spicy- see the glasses?  I got poblano juice in my eyes- not fun!!).  It was one of those days.

 I don't think I got a shower that day.  And, yeah, that's probably poop on my arm {didn't even notice that until I saw this}.  I was tired, I was cranky, I was complaining.

 And then Paul read the verse.

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Hebrews 12:2

We looked at each other across the table.   For a moment, we set aside our 'light and momentary troubles' and thought about Jesus' joy in His obedience to the Father.  We decided to look for ways to find joy in Christ this week.  We prayed.  Charlie got to blow out the candle.

And then we went back to our lives... clearing dishes, bathing children, cleaning up {yet another} accident, picking up toys.  And I still had that poop on my arm.  

But in my heart there was a reminder, that this isn't it.  There is more to come... because of our Savior, who for the joy set before Him, suffered for my sin- my complaints, my worries, my loss of patience, my pride.  

He endured it all that we may know the One who sent Him.

  Thank you, Jesus.

"No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.  For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."  
Heb 8:11-12

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Friday, December 3, 2010

The Big Room Reveal #1

So a looooong time ago I posted this about my big design project at my in-laws' house.  Well today I am happy to say that I am ready to reveal one of the rooms!!

Here is the before picture of the old squeaky full sized bed...

 And after a little TLC plus a new queen sized mattress...  The bedding is a combination of things from  TJ Maxx, and Bed Bath and Beyond.  The headboard is from Pier One.

Instead of a bedside table, we put in a small desk (from TJ Maxx, chair from World Market).  It turned out to be such a cozy little spot and really functional too!  Within a short time after getting there, my brother in law had his laptop and mouse set up and ready to go. :)  The lamp is from Pier One and the mirror I found at Home Goods.

Here is a before picture of the opposite wall...

And here is that corner now, cozied up with a floor lamp and picture (from Target, as is the one above the bed).

Here is the wall across from the windows.

Notice the dresser... its the same one refinished with new hardware.  It was sanded down and then spray painted a cream color.   And yes, its the only thing we saved.  Trust me, no one was using that Nordic Track, haha.  You got rid of it, right Teri?? :)

My sister-in-law and I dug around in the closet over Thanksgiving and found all these old family photos... we had them blown up at CVS and they turned out just beautiful in matching frames.  I love this wall!

While looking through the boxes of pictures, we also found some things stored away that had belonged to my mother-in-law's father, who died when she was a little girl.  We bought the shadow box at Target and my sister in law arranged everything so beautifully!  It turned out to be a really meaningful part of the room.

 I'm no professional designer, so I really have no idea about the "correct" terms used to describe the style of a room.  In my head, I was going for cozy, warm, and somewhat country, but not overly shabby or ornate.  Kind of a clean, cozy, country.  How's that for terminology? :)  But through my experiences with my own house, you don't need to know the "right" terminology, you just need some ideas and some inspiration!  I looked through tons of photos on blogs before starting.  Then we went shopping specifically for the fabrics (pillows, bedding, curtains).  After that we just did some more shopping... and I do mean "we"... Paul not only cooks but he is an amazing design assistant.  Didn't I hit the jackpot??  :)  We bought some things, tried them out, returned some things, kept some things.  You know, sort of a trial by error kind of process.  Gradually, the look developed and once the major pieces of furniture were found (the headboard, desk, and chair) the room really came together!  

Just for fun, here are a few pictures of my in-laws seeing the room for the first time.  It was SO fun to see their reaction.  It was over Thanksgiving break, so the whole family got in on the excitement...

Ooh, that ceiling fan is also new, as is the plaque above the closet which reads "The Lord is my Strength and my Song." 
 Love this picture... this is my sweet mother-in-law realizing its the old dresser...

The second room is close to completion but just needs a few final touches.  Here's a little sneak peek...

I'm loving these colors together, so warm and cozy!  Oh and don't forget to leave a comment on Paul's post yesterday if you have any requests for his video series coming up!  I am SO excited about it... he is very talented in the kitchen and I have learned soooo much from him.
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