Sunday, October 28, 2012

Our Enchanted T.P.

Yep, that kind of t.p.
It seems my upcycling ways have rubbed off on my wee ones, because my oldest little fellow has been collecting T.P tubes from our house for months. Whenever we have guests he proudly drags out his giant bag  and dazzles them with his collection. For months I have been asking him what his tubular plans were, and for months he has refused to tell me. Well as of this very morning his bag was at absolute capacity and we decided it was high time we put all those tubes to good use.
It really is a great thing having kids, had I spent 6 months collecting tp tubes and then assembled them into a castle for any other reason I'd just look crazy! 

the proud architect! 

This well appointed abode quickly found a deserving family

And a staff of knights to protect it!

The King and Queen are enjoying settling into their new digs

and the royal pooch seems to be enjoying the view!

The king is planning on expanding his castle and a royal decree has been issued for more t.p. rolls!
What are you up to this sunny afternoon?

& Tubular Towers!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Cake Mix Flare

Sometime I use cake mix. 
There I said it.
As much as I do prefer a cake made completely by scratch I really feel like in the end, a good "cake mix" cake is indistinguishable form an "all scratch" cake. Yesterday, after being invited to a neighbor's house for dinner I decided to whip up a cake to share. Here's where that handy cake mix comes in. It literally took me five minutes to prep this mix and get it into the oven (well actually it's seven if you count the 2 minutes I spent whimpering after burning my leg on my oven door) but all the same under 10 minutes to get this baby in the oven!
Now I am well aware of the 10 gazillion cake recipes here on the internet but with the addition of flax and marmalade, this little beauty was just too good to not share so here we go...

Spiced Pear Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

The beauty of this cake is that it is so flexible, You can add as much or as little spice as you want. I almost never use the oil a cake mix calls for, instead I will use either sour cream or yogurt. Sometimes if I am in a particular rush I will just use "Pumpkin Pie spice" in lieu of using all the spices individually. making the cake  a little healthier without the oil always makes me feel a little bit better about piling on the cream cheese frosting, but you could omit the frosting all together as the sliced pears at the bottom of the cake do make their own yummy glaze. Any which way you do it just do it, and enjoy this amazing treat!

For the cake:
1 box spice cake mix
1-2 fresh pears sliced (or) 1 can good quality canned pears
1 1/4 c. apple juice (or) water
1/3 c sour cream (or) greek yogurt
3 eggs
2 tbsp. marmalade 
1/3 c. ground flax
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. Vanilla extract

For the cream cheese frosting:
1 package 1/3 less fat cream cheese
1/4 c. or half a cube of butter
powdered sugar (I don't measure but somewhere in the 1 1/2-2 c. range)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Begin by prepping your pans and turning your oven to 350 degrees. I lined two 9" round cake pans with parchment paper and said to heck with greasing anything! Next I sprinkled some brown sugar and cinnamon in the parchment lined pans and arranged my sliced pears on top of the cinnamon sugar mix. 
In the bowl of a stand mixer go the cake mix, spices and ground flax. I like to mix a little to get all the flax incorporated. Add the water, sour cream, vanilla and marmalade and mix it up. You may not be a marmalade fan but I happen to have 8 jars or marmalade that need to be eaten so in it went. The orange does provide a really delicate flavor but feel free to leave it out. I like to add my eggs 1 at a time after all the other wet ingredients and then mix up the whole heavenly scented batter for a minute or two. carefully pour the batter into the 2 pans and bake about 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted to the middle comes out clean. I chose to make cream cheese frosting which only involves dumping all the frosting ingredients into the mixer and whipping it up, easy peasy! Allow cakes to cool completely before flipping them and peeling off the parchment because those amazing gooey pears are hot! Frost your cakes and enjoy!

& cake for breakfast!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Paper hauntings

Today is one of the best days of the year! It's October 1st!

October is my favorite month of all, and not just because it's my birthday month! This week I'll be spookifying my entire house and today I'll be making some fun paper decorations like this one. Rather than scary store-bought goods, most of our Halloween decorations are handmade by the kids and I. I love the child like whimsy of this season so naturally I like to hang up the paper ghosts and bats my kiddos make rather than more gruesome ones.
I found this forever ago on here from pinterest and have been waiting to finally make it! I am also going to add a bat, a witch, a vampire and maybe even a pirate!

What fun decorations are you planning?

& paper spells
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