Sunday, February 12, 2012

Be My...Valentine

A cute home made chocolate box, perfect for your Valentine (my daughter's teachers, in our case)!!!

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves!


Cardstock, Letter Stickers, Glue, Scissors, Paper cutter w/ Scorer, Chocolates, Ruler, Tape
Pretty easy to make
Paper Strips are about 1-1/4" x 3"

Wrap around


Add Letter Sticker.
Inner Box:
This one's a little more tricky since the measurements need to be precise in order to fit each chocolate comfortable.

Black Cardstock: 12" x 3-7/8"
Score sides, measuring 3/4" in between small widths and 1-7/8" in the middle

Line chocolates next to each other and center.

Measure 3/4" from edge of chocolate and mark.

Score sides
Fold Score Lines

Fold Score Lines

Cut from outside to SECOND inner line on the long side (12" side)

Fold Top Flap over

Fold the sides of the flap inwards

Take long sides and fold over shorter side flaps

Use Tape along sides to secure.

Repeat both sides

Add Chocolates to see if they fit!

Outside Cover:
Score SLIGHTLY wider than 3/4" and 1-7/8" but not too much.  Just enough to provide a snug fit over box.

Fold along score lines and glue sides together

Put Together:
Decorate your box how you want!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Ginger Molasses...Paradise Bakery Style

I've been looking for a recipe equivalent to the Ginger Molasses cookies sold at Paradise Bakery.  Gotta admit, they are my almost ultimate weakness and I'm not sure if it's a good or bad thing they're sold seasonally.

Well, it's almost Spring, and my efforts in finding the "just right" recipe became more crucial!  When February is over, I will only have my dear memory {oh goodness} to compare my attempts to the real deal.

The first place to look, as always, is from family recipes.  My grandma has an awesome Ginger Snap recipe, but they are hard and stick in your teeth for days.  I couldn't find anything else.

The second place to look, with optimism, is the Internet.  I had opened almost 20 tabs with recipes, cutting and pasting the ones I wanted to try and compare.  It seemed like the ones with more ingredients {argh} turned out better.  Though none of them really displayed any pictures like the ones from Paradise.

Well, the experiments began....and FAILED!  Miserably.  Some had not enough flour, which ended up producing something like Ginger Molasses Fried Chips.  Others had too much flour and were fluffy. {blah}.

Just when I had about given up, I found a recipe that my Great Aunt Edna had written down by her own hand, copied by my Grand-Aunt, in a cookbook that I was tranferring into loose leaf sheet protectors.  PERFECT!!!  Not only was this recipe time tested, it was GOLDEN!  The ingredients looked right, the proportions looked okay...and with some tweaking, I finally produced what is ALMOST EXACTLY like the Ginger Molasses Cookie from Paradise Bakery!!!  {of course, it's not going to be exact! It's got Craner-Flava!}

So, while I still might get a copy-right/Patent for it, it's here for the general public use for now. :)

"Soft Ginger Cookies"
Edna Hopkins

1 1/4 C Butter (yes...WOW!)
1/2 C Brown Sugar
1 1/2 C Molasses
1 Egg
2 tsp. Ginger
1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp All Spice (ground)
5 C + 2 C.** Flour (NOT PACKED, as loose as you can get it without sifting), Separated
1/2 C Boiling Water
3 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt


Add ingredients in that order.  If you're using an electric mixer, Kitchen Aide, Bosche, etc., make sure you treat the dough as though you were mixing by had, stirring until all ingredients are just mixed together.  The consistency of the dough will feel a lot like sugar cookie dough: thick, easy to shape.

When adding the flour, add 5 C. straight and mix together.  Then add the remaining 2 C. **AFTER YOU ADD THE BOILING WATER**, and mix well--almost kneading dough.

Separate into 2 in. balls (rolling into sugar, and coating with powdered sugar are all optional) and press a little flat with spoon or fingers.  The cookies need to be bigger or they will be too dry when you bake them.  You can fit about 8 balls on each cookie sheet.  No need to use non-stick spray, the butter will take care of that!

Bake 375ºF for 7-8 minutes.  Let cool on the cookie sheet.  Re-flatten them with a spoon.  The cookie will look doughy at first, but will settle hours after cooling completely.  Sprinkle with Powdered Sugar.

The BEST thing about these cookies is that they're better the next day, as they will not lose their softness.  ENJOY!!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

New space, or is there?

I found the coolest dishes at Goodwill, during one of their 50% off sales.  If you've ever heard of Denby of England{here}, then you'll know they're a high end priced porcelain company. In addition to the dinner plates, salad plates, bowls, and cups, I got the Tea Plate, Saucers, and Mugs!  WAHOO!  A set valued at over $1200 purchased at a thrift store for $30~I'd call that a deal!

Now, where to put them....

After rearranging pretty much all of my cupboards to fit it, I finally found something that worked.  But, the thought of cups taking so much square-footage and not much space above gnawed at me!  [How could I make it work?] [Should I make shelves?] [What about hooks?]....HOOKS!  Yes, that would answer the space question!

I had some left over hooks from a previous project {hanging my measuring cups and spoons to the door of another cupboard} and they would work fabulously.  I even got a little giddy about it :)  Not only do I now have more space in my cupboards, but I have an aesthetically pleasing place to put my mugs!

 (First row) Width of Cupboard: 25-1/2"
Width from edge to outer cup: 4-1/4"
Spacing between each cup: 5-1/2"
Depth: 3" from front
(second row) Width from edge: 7-1/4" 
Spacing between each cup: 5-1/2"
Depth: 3" from wall

Just make sure that if you do this project, you don't screw the hooks through the other end of the board!  Measure the depth first to make sure you have room.  Then slowly drill your hole prior to inserting hooks.  [I just can't say, "screw" and "hook" in the same sentence...ha ha]  The hook screw was too long, so I didn't twist them flush with the board.  It's okay, I still love the way they turned out!

Back to School...Back to Organizing

My girls aren't exactly the best at putting their homework, backpacks, jackets, etc away.  But really....when you don't have any real space dedicated for their work, backpacks,....yadda yadda, who can blame them?

Now that I have an extra space in my understairs closet, I have formally dedicated it to my girls' school stuff (and it really is stuff!!!)

A Place for everything!

Food Storage into Shelves

Do any of you have those 6 gallon buckets and DON'T know what to do with them???  We've been hiding them in the closet under the stairs for about 18 months now, and I thought of a great idea to create shelves with them.  Before, my closet was used for food storage, canned goods, and pretty much everything that didn't yet have a "home."  Plus it's shaped like an "L," so we would just cram as much stuff into the back, making it almost impossible to access any of it!

By using the 6 gal. buckets to hold pieces of particle board, we've created shelves that store our canned goods.  We were able to use the corners to our advantage, creating a space that allows us to walk all the way back into the closet, instead of just to one side...the pictures will show...I'm not good with words!

View from entry

Around the corner 


New Year, New Organization...

A New Year's goal that I have is to become more organized.  I am at peace when I feel like everything is in their proper spot, and when every space is utilized.  So, my posts will be focused on making my house and life more organized!  Yay!  I already have a list!