Monday, December 26, 2011

Microwave caramel wins

Seriously good Sea Salt Caramels that you make in the microwave!

So, the triplets and I made dark chocolate oatmeal cookies on Friday night to take to a Christmas party.  They turned out really well, in fact so well when I looked at them Friday night we only had 8 left.  So, we needed a last minute recipe to make ASAP.  I looked around in the house and we had no chocolate (yikes!).  So, the best I could come up with was making Caramels.  Anyhow, I googled and stumbled across a recipe for microwave caramels.  I was skeptical, and then amazingly surprised at how great they turned out.  Original recipe can be found  here 

Salted Caramels
1/4 cup butter
/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup light Karo syrup
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

  • First, just dump all the ingredients in a Microwave safe bowl.

    Microwave for  a total of  6 minutes (I did 7 b/c our microwave is a bit weird).  Anyhow, stop to stir every two minutes.  It will look like the picture below, please be careful, this stuff is hot like molten lava!

    Stir and pour into lightly greased dish, i used a greased parchment lined 8 by 8 pan. At this point I sprinkled with kosher salt (I did not have "sea salt").  My husband did inform me that all salt is technically sea salt, LOL.  Anyhow, Kosher salt worked well if you have that on hand. This is what mined looked like after it hardened after a few hours on the counter and I removed it from the pan.

    Cut and enjoy!

    Tuesday, December 6, 2011

    Super Easy Enchiladas

    Super Easy Gooey Enchiladas.
    I guess enchiladas is a term I use "loosely", I don't think any recipe that includes Campbell's soup can be considered authentic Mexican fare.  Anyhow, I took the best parts of a few enchilada recipes I have made and came up with this, pretty yummy!

    6 -10 inch Tortillas (i used whole wheat)
    Shredded Cheddar-Jack cheese
    1 can cream of Chicken soup
    1 cup of milk
    1 (4ounce) can of green chilies
    half cup of sour cream
    2 cups of cubed chicken

    Okay, so mix about half the cheese with the chicken and divide between the six tortillas.  Roll up and place each one seam side down across your baking dish.  These should fit snugly and take up most of your dish.  
    Now, on the stove-top mix the can of soup and the milk, until warm (do not boil).   Now, take off the heat and stir in the sour cream and can of chilies.  This should be nice and creamy looking.  Now, pour this over your tortillas.  Next, sprinkle with the rest of your cheese.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, and if you like your cheese nice and bubbly, go ahead and stick this under the broiler for a minute or two.

    Saturday, December 3, 2011

    Disney safari tee's

    I can't believe how soon we leave for Disney World. We have been planning this trip for months, and I wanted to make something special for our trip. This project does require a Cricut machine.  Funny story about my Cricut machine, lets just say lots of night up feeding infant triplets + Cricut infomercial on every night = I own a Cricut Machine.  Anyhow, I have always wanted to use the Cricut to cut fabric and I was impressed at how easy it was.  I used the Disney Cartridge, obviously.  So, obviously the Cricut is an investment, but the rest of the materials for this project we inexpensive.  Including toddler black tees from Hobby Lobby at 2.99 each.

    Okay, just iron on a backing to your material  (I used steam-a-steam).  Next put on your Cricut mat, I recommend using a fresh mat that is nice and sticky.

    Feed into your machine to cut your Mickeys and iron on.  I added some iron on letter and a bow to Baby "C"'s.  
    We plan to wear these on the day we visit Animal Kingdom!

    Thursday, November 17, 2011

    World Prematurity Day, November 17th 2011

    On a non-crafty note.  Today is the first official World Prematurity Awareness Day.  For those of you that do not know me personally, my triplets were born 9 weeks before their due date.  They weighed 3lb7ounces, 3lbs6ounces, and 3lbs3ounces at birth. I am so happy that the technology is available today to take such good care of premature babies and give them a fighting chance.  My children have no lasting effects from being born at 31 weeks gestation.  I attribute that to the amazing care they got from the get go.  Please check out the March of Dimes website.  There is still so much to be learned to help babies that are born too early. It was grant money from the March of Dimes that helped in the discovery of Surfactant therapy.  Since surfactant therapy became widespread, infant deaths due to respiratory distress syndrome have dropped by over two-thirds.  My littlest guy got Surfactant therapy at birth, so I am especially grateful for this.

    Baby A- 24 hours old (I still get choked up looking at this picture)

    This picture is the triplets at 2 weeks old.  First time we all got to hang out together in the outside world :)

    We have come along way in 3 years.  Somedays it is difficult to remember what those weeks in the NICU were like, especially when I see 3 healthy, funny, strong and smart toddlers trying to draw on my walls.

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    Making pizzas

    We have been having alot of fun around here. Making our own pizza is a favorite around here.

    Sunday, October 30, 2011

    Happy Halloween

    Happy Halloween from the "Iron Chef". I am so happy with my super easy costume!

    Saturday, October 29, 2011

    Big Bird and Elmo Pumpkins

    I am so excited about our Pumpkins. They turned out excellent. All I did was buy the Sesame Street pumpkin carving kit at Target for $5. It came with the stencil and all the tools. I just followed the stencil and carved. My only complaint would bet arm and wrist got pretty cramped up from all the carving. We still have one more pumpkin ..... So I may make one more....

    Thursday, October 27, 2011

    Clean out the fridge Stromboli

    If your house is anything like ours, you might find in your fridge various half used packets of shredded cheese, deli meat packages with 2 slices left, and jars of sauce with not enough sauce to justify making pasta.  Well, let me introduce you to "clean out the Fridge Stromboli".  The only thing you really NEED for this recipe is a french bread dough loaf.  Then, just well, clean out the fridge.

    Set the oven for 400 degrees.
    Next roll out the dough onto a greased (I used Pam) tin foil lined cookie sheet.  Next pull and stretch the dough to meet the ends of a small cookie sheet.  
    Now, the fun part. Put the meat, cheese, sauce (go easy on the sauce), extra veggies, sure, why not.  Really anything goes.

    Next, you want to start at one end and roll it jelly roll style.  

    Now, seal the edges and pick it up and turn it to center it on the cookie sheet.  Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with some Italian spices and parmigiana cheese.

    Bake at 400 for about 25 to 30 minutes.

    Slice and enjoy.

    Saturday, October 22, 2011

    Apple sandwiches

    So, I had mentioned to the triplets Great Grandmother that peeling all the apples for our apple sauces making was super slow going.  So, she went ahead and bought me this super fun gadget.

    I had so much fun playing with this, that I actually used up all the Apples we had in the house.  After peeling and coring the apple in one easy step you end up with this.....

    So, next I cut my fun spirals into perfect little circles.  I spread some peanut butter, a few oats, oh and maybe a just a few chocolate chips.

    These little sandwiches were a huge hit at Breakfast this morning.  Pretty healthy as well.  I think using apple slices instead of bread would be a good idea for families that are a eating a gluten free diet- or just for those wanting to jazz up breakfast.

    Monday, October 17, 2011

    Family Drive-in and decorating caramel apples.

    Being stuck inside with three snotty nose toddlers lead to some creative thinking on Mommy's part this weekend.  I had to work with things I had in the house, so here is what I came up with.
    First, we had our very own drive-in Movie theater.  I happened to have a few large boxes that I had been saving for a time like this.  All, I had to do is fold the front flap of the box down into a triangle, and glue and paper plate to the inside to make a wheel.  And, I have no idea why we had these, but I glued 2 plastic coffee cup lids to the front as headlights.  I let the boys color there cars with crayons before getting in.  For, some reason Lila had no interest in having her own car, so she watched the movie from the couch.

    Since they were sick, I let them take there blankets and stuffed animals in there cars.

    In fact, Baby "B' liked this "car, so much that he curled up in his and wanted to nap in it. 

    After leaving our Drive-in we decorated Caramel Apples.  I used the Caramel apple sheet that you can find the grocery store now.  These were so easy to use.  The directions for these say to microwave them for 15 to 20 seconds.  My microwave must have been set to nuclear, because 5 seconds was all we needed.  I wrapped the apples in that caramel and they were nice and sticky, perfect for decorating.  I filled muffin tins with stuff I had around the house and let each triplet decorate and apple. For some reason, no one really used the walnuts :)

    Baby "C" the bean is hard at work

    Here is Baby B "the Biscuits" creation.  

    Glad we were able to have some fun while sick, but I am REALLY ready for everyone to be 100% healthy.

    Thursday, October 13, 2011

    Ghosts made from Footprints - crafts for $10 or less

    I saw this idea for this floating around the internet and thought - I have to try this! Great project for anyone who has lots of little feet running around their house.
    In an effort to keep things thrifty, this is going to be the first installment of crafts for $10 or less series.
    My inspiration piece for this was done on canvas. In order, to keep this under budget I went with foam board. The nice thing about foam board is you don't have to paint it. The draw back is that it can be difficult to cut. I used a serrated knife and then used some ribbon to "cover" some small imperfections.
    You will need:
    1 piece of black foam-board 5.99 with 50%off (Michael's coupon) =$ 3.00
    Googlie eyes - $.99
    White paint pen = $1.99
    White WASHABLE paint = $1.99
    Ribbon = 1.99 marked down $.99
    Letter stickers =$.99
    Grand Total =$9.95

     The triplets have been sick the last few days and super cranky.  But, they loved this project.  In fact, they were all smiles for the first time today as mommy painted there little feet and pressed it to the foam board.  Since, I cut the foam board in half, we made 2 of these.  Pictured below is the 1st one.  I find it funny that the first foot on there, the one I thought I messed up because Baby B keep sliding his foot around, looks most ghost like.

    Final Note: I was totally impressed by the Crayola Washable Paint, it came off their skin very easily and I was even able to wipe a drop off the foam-board with out it leaving a mark!

    Happy Halloween.

    Saturday, October 8, 2011

    Finishing the basement

    Our Basement-
    Um, so when we bought this house almost 6 years ago, we clearly had no idea that we would welcome triplets into this home a few years later.  Although, I love our house, it was feeling a bit, um, crowded after the triplets became mobile.  We toyed with the idea of moving, but finishing our basement just seemed a whole lot easier.  I am so glad we went ahead and finished the basement, now the triplets have a dedicated play space and I just wanted  to share a few pictures.  

    When we first decided to finish the basement we asked around and for recommendation on contractors. The guy we chose came highly recommended and has finished 14 basements in our neighborhood.  Becuase he had already done so many basements in the area, he was very familiar with the footprint of our house.  He gave us a good price, but of course being the trifty person I am, I simply asked him  "is this the best you can do?" and he actually took %10 off the price, score!
    Before he started we went and looked at a few basement he had done in our neighborhood and I really liked his work.  But, one thing I noticed is that all the basement were painted beige???  Was there a fire sale on beige paint or something?  This area is for my kids and I wanted it to be bright and inspiring.  A place were imagination and learning could come together.  As you can see I pretty much choose the brightest colors I could find!  Also, I wanted the decor to be unisex and fun, so I went with a Dr. Suess theme.

    In the picture below we used chalk board paint, and had it framed in with crown molding.  Above it we put one of my favorite quotes (the wall decals were ordered off ETSY)

    This next photo, is what the triplets see when they walk down the stair.  I thought this quote was a great way of reminding the triplets of there individuality

    Here is a general view, we have since put a book shelf under the big circle quote on the far wall.  As for the furniture we got that couch for less than $300 new.  One of the big furniture store in our area has an outlet store where they send product with small flaws or that were floor samples.  The only thing I could find wrong with this couch was that it is BRIGHT green.  I guess not alot of people are in the market for this color couch.  Oh well, finders keepers.

    This photo is the area under our stairs.  I noticed that in a lot of basements this becomes wasted space.  So, I had our contractor frame it in with a dutch door and a small pass through window.  I am hoping at some point to paint this to look like a store front, so the kids can play "store".

    But, in the mean time Baby C "The Muffin" just likes to run his cars on it.

    We also added a bathroom to our basement.  We figured running up and down the stairs with 3 potty training toddlers would not be fun or any one.  

    On a final note, we recently had our house appraised in order to re-finance and lower our interest rate and the values our newly finished basement for more than we paid to finish it.  So, basically, it has already paid for itself!

    Wednesday, October 5, 2011

    What is something your kids help with at home?

    The triplets just started going to pre-school 2 mornings a week. So far it had been a very positive experience and I love to see all the fun projects they come home with. But, I think this might be my favorite so far. Their teacher simply asked them "what is something you can help out with at home?" and let them finger paint.

    Here is what they came up with.

    Baby C says- she can help play.  Okay, well it is important that we play.  
    Baby A says- I like food.  I really like this answer, especially since he totally ignored they question at hand and just made a general statement.  My only guess is that they asked him before lunch time?
    Baby B-  This answer makes my day.  He can (and does) help with The Cookies.  Not just cookies, but THE cookies.  It makes it sound like we have a cookie infestation problem at our house, ha.  

    Tuesday, October 4, 2011

    I am so honored and excited to be the featured blogger on Multiples and More today, to read my interview please click here.  Thanks.

    Sunday, October 2, 2011

    Halloween in a jar

    So, when I bought the dozen ball mason jars I really had the best intentions.  I was going to make apple sauce and/or strawberry jam and can it.  But, August turned to September, and September to October and my jars sat sad and unused.  Finally, I came to the realization I just was not going to have the time to do either of those projects.  So, Mott's applesauce and Smucker's Jam will be served in my house until further notice. But, I did still want to use the jars.  So, I googled what to do with mason jars and found out you can bake in them, how cool is that?

    I went with a Halloween theme on these.  

    Pictured below is what you will need.  Minus, the man in the yellow shirt fiddling with the T.V.  Although, he does occasionally come in handy..
    I used 2 box cake mixes.  One Chocolate and one white
    Wilton Orange gel food color 
    canned frosting with sprinkles
    8 ounce mason jars.

    Now, go ahead and make the cakes according to their packages and add the food coloring to the white cake.  I used quite a bit of food coloring because I wanted to make sure the orange was vibrant.

    Now, layer the cake mix into the jars.  Fill the jars about 2/3 of the way.  Next, place them in a baking dish with about an inch of water.  I only made 6 of these because I was a bit nervous on how they would turn out...... I should have been brave and made all 12.  Anyhow, bake at 350.  I baked mine for about 35 minutes and they came out PERFECT.  

     Expect that when you take them out of the oven that they will have kind of a round muffin top on them.  Just go ahead and slice this part off and eat it.  Once they cool and you can scoop out a little cake and put on the frosting and sprinkles.

    You could serve these right away or put the tops on and add a bow and some Halloween stickers in order to make an awesome gift.  I am guessing you use some bubble wrap you could even mail these goodies. 

    Baby B (the Biscuit) would tell you how much he enjoyed this, but his mouth is full.