Thursday, May 26, 2011

cookie therapy

I have a serious problem. I am sure everyone out there can relate to this problem too... I dont have enough time! There are just not enough hours in day to keep the house as clean as I would like, to run the errands that need run, wash & and put away laundry, and spend truly meaningful time with my amazing family (forget any crafting,baking,& blogging that this momma might enjoy!) Add on top of all that the fact that I have to try and fit in as much sensory therapy for Owen as I possibly can in a day to help him be the best he can be (more on that in a minuet)and it usually leads to some days where I feel like I have all my ducks in a row and others where I feel like they are scurrying about a willy nilly!

This morning was a ducks in a row kind of day!:D Man I love those days! The littlest Mr. let me "sleep in" until 7:15 and then since we didnt have school this am Owen sure wasnt waking up early (he's pretty sure he's a teenager @ 2.5 already and pulls the covers over his head if I try to get him up before 9 I was able to shower, tidy up a bit and start some laundry first thing this am while Liam played happily!! I was also expecting a sweet friend for a coffee date late this am (funny how people coming over can lite a fire under your butt eh?) Now, I really love to bake and I also love to have fresh baked goods when I have people over (yeah I know your all signing up for a coffee date soon right? lol )So I was excited to have the time to get ALL that stuff done in time to make some yummy cookies before my coffee date!

These cookies also served a different purpose this am though. They were part of Owen's sensory therapy for the morning! If you've read my previous post about Owen you know he has an educational "autism" diagnosis but the more we research and the more his occupational therapist has worked with him we are leaning more towards the fact that he may have something called sensory processing disorder. (you can read more about SPD here ) I will try not to bore you with all the complicated mumbo jumbo, but basically we need to fulfill  his sensory needs in order for his body to calm down enough to learn and be content. One of the goals his occupation therapist has for him is to achieve better wrist rotation ( turning door knobs, screw on lids ect).... I know this might seem like a silly "goal" to some of you especially if you know Owen because most people think of him as a "normal" child but these "small" things are the kinds of things we work on every day to try and get our sweet, handsome, energetic boy caught up to where he needs to be. I try to sneak these activities in where ever I can in our day to make it fun and since Owen loves to bake with me there is no complaining or resisting about doing it ;) He carries all the heavy things like flour,sugar ect from the pantry and puts them on the island for me, he adds ingredients to the bowl, he stirs... they are all great fine/gross motor activities that any child enjoys but they serve a defined purpose for him in getting some of the pent up energy out of his body! Today I choose a recipe that included a special challenge! DUN DUN DUN the peanut butter jar!!lol

We made peanut butter chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. I used pretty much this exact recipe from Baking Bites  but I left off the icing and I added chocolate chips! 

This recipe is really simple. Basically you mix the dry ingredients in bowl

Then you cream your butter and sugar together and mix in the rest of the ingredients

dont you LOVE the look of success after opening the pb jar ??:

I  pulled the bowl out of the kitchen aid to add the chocolate chips so that little Mr. could get a good work out from stirring that super sticky dough!

and then we waited: 

("hey I am going to get some of those too right?"...yeah not so much buddy) 

Our finished yummy cookies :) 

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Chocolate Coconut Spritz Cookies

I dont know about you, but I am ALL about a product that is super easy to use and results in people thinking I have spent so much time in the kitchen slaving over something! Lately I have had quite a few people tell me they dont know how I do all the cooking, baking, and crafting that I do with a 2.5 year old running around and an almost 6 month old ! As much as I would adore the "superwoman" title some have busted out ..... Its completely not true because I CHEAT!... a lot... LOL Sometimes I choose baking cookies over doing laundry just because I feel like it and I blessed enough to be a SAHM, meaning... guess what, that laundry will still be there tomorrow! LOL I also have several crafting projects that are sitting around partly finished because I just dont have the time sometimes! 

Let me introduce you to one of the ways I cheat :

Truth be told I actually bought this beauty as Christmas gift for someone this past year... and I just couldnt bring myself to give it away! 
Seriously if you dont have one of these, you NEED one! They are not expensive at all and turn out the cutest little cookies with ease! 

I actually made these cookies a while back on the same day I made those oatmeal chocolate chip cookies! The house was in decent shape already that day and both the kids decided to nap at the same time (cue chorus of angles singing!!!) I still felt like baking and I hadnt made a treat for the hubs to take to work to share in couple weeks,and  I was starting to fear a riot of treat craving men.. so I busted out my cookie press and went to town! 

I have a thing for the combination of chocolate and coconut! When asked what my favorite candy bar is I usually answer with this "Almond Joy, with out the almond" I know what your thinking... so you mean Mounds?? ... NOPE! Mounds uses dark chocolate and Almond Joy uses milk chocolate! I much prefer milk chocolate so I usually just dont eat the Almond, unless I am feelin like a nut that day ;) tehe! 

Wilton's website has tons of different recopies for spritz cookies! They have a chocolate one and a coconut one... but I couldnt find one combining the two.. so I made my own! :D Basically I just made the chocolate recipe and tossed some coconut in ;) I know I made that super complicated!!  

1 1/4 c butter 
1 c sugar
2/3 c brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla 
2 1/2 c flour 
2/3 c baking coco
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1 c finely chopped coconut

Yields aprox : 5 dozen  
(note: I halved this recipe which is why it looks like there is next to nothing in the bowl) 

Cream together butter and sugars until its light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and then vanilla 

sift together dry ingredients in a bowl

I put my coconut in my food processor but you could chop it by hand as well... just made sure your chop it enough so that the pieces dont get stuck in the press! 

gradually add the dry ingredients and coconut until its throughly mixed  

Wilton's website suggests rolling the dough into a log to load it into the cookie press.... but I just take a small spoon and shove it in there as tight as I can it ;) 

after you load your gun you get to the fun stuff... you get to pick your cookie shape :D 

 and then place your press on the pan and squeeze the trigger! ( note... this is one time where you actually want to listen the part of the directions that says  " un greased pan" because the dough will not stick to the pan if it is greased and you'll get really upset about why its not working) 

bake at 375 for 8-12 mins and cool on a rack 

There are TONS of different recipes for these spritz cookies out there and they will keep for several weeks in an air tight container or can be frozen for several months to be easily popped out when company shows up last minute! 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Blueberry Lemon Bread

 What do you do on an evening when you are babysitting an extra 2 year old overnight, and your having your husbands family (roughly 20 people) over for mother's day brunch the next day? Well if your me... you take advantage of the extra help in the kitchen ;) 

Here is the super easy recipe for this yummy bread! I will definitely be keeping this one in the recipe box!

(the workers grated lemon peel)

(mixing dry ingredients)

(batter before blueberries were added)

(kiddos <3 the kitchen aide mixer! lol)

 (ready to bake!) 

while the bread was baking ALL the boys enjoyed some Toy Story 3 :)  

( finished bread! It was delish the next day I might add!)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day Presents Reveled! (Mod Podge Flower Pots)

Hope all you momma's out there had the most lovely Mother's Day!!! My sweet boys gave me beautiful cards and a fancy professional cake decorating kit :D YUP, pretty stoked about that one! :D I am sure you'll be seeing it soon ;) Now that the they have all but one been handed out I can finally revel what I think may possibly be my favorite thing I have ever made... although it seems like I may have said this before... humm..

Materials Needed:
clay flower pots
acrylic paints
foam brushes
mod podge
indoor/ outdoor sealer

Use a foam brush and acrylic paints to paint the top of the flower pots (I painted  to just under the lip on the inside and outside) You'll need a couple coats to get good coverage.

Then I used my rotary cutter, self healing mat, and quilting ruler to cut my fabric. ( but you could do this with scissors and a ruler as well!) These pots were 12 in in diameter just under the lip so my fabric is slightly longer than that and wide enough to fold under the bottom side as well. It works best to angle the edges as I did here! Dont ask me why it matters ....but after quite some time and experimentation its what worked! lol  

Apply a layer of mod podge to the pot and line up one edge of the fabric along the top, wrapping it tightly at the very top only

now you want to cut some slits in the bottom edge to make it easier and neater looking when you fold it over the bottom of the pot

There will be several creases involved here..They dont bother me...I think they add character ;) and all the recipients agreed! although they bother my husband immensely lol! Let the pots dry for a few mins and then apply a good layer to the entire pot (or 2...especially if you let these cuties apply the first coat ;) ) 

Considering mod podge is water soluble... if your intending to use these for actual flowers or put them outside you'll want to use an indoor/ outdoor sealer on them (the inside and outside so you dont have moisture seeping through the inside of the pot ! )

We gave these to all the Grandma's for mother's day! I intended to plant flowers in them..but I just wasnt finding what I wanted! So instead I picked up some packets of seeds . I also got some blank large gift tags from the craft store and let my 2 year old color them and then wrote a little something on them. Then I used cute ribbon to tie the tag to seed packets and tucked them into the pots with some shredded color paper as filler!  They turned out super cute! and I cant wait to make some more of these for my own front porch! :D 

Sumo Sweet Stuff

Sumo Sweet Stuff


Friday, May 6, 2011

an Owen update

We met with Owen's teachers this morning to discuss his progress and what he's going to be doing next year (because the program he is in only goes until age 3 so they are working on transitioning him out) So I thought I would update everyone in place where I can explain in depth whats going on! Although Owen has made some huge progress this past year (going from using 1-3 words in sept when he turned 2 to using almost 30 words + signing some more now) He is still testing roughly a year behind in his language as well as some other areas of development ( some specific motor developments, play skills, ect) because of this Owen has been given "an educational diagnosis of a child who has autism" this is NOT the same thing as a medical diagnosis and does not mean he would receive a medical diagnosis. ( Although I will be asking his paediatrician to do the medical screening at his 3 year check up just so we have both sides assessed and documented  ) You can read here more about the specifics of and educational diagnosis! This means that Owen currently requires special education services to hopefully get him caught up in time for K! It has been decided that this fall (possibly this summer if they have room that early in the class) Owen will be attending a preschool class in the same building he attends class now 4 days a week from 8-3. He will be given many wonderful opportunities in this class!! The class size will be small (typically 7 kids) with 3 teachers who will work with him heavily on bringing out more speech and helping him display more of the skills he does at home as well ( since typically being in different settings distracts him to the point where he will not preform skills he is quite proficient with at home) He will also have access to a large sensory room ( which has swings, trampolines, and many other interactive activities) daily. He will also get to swim in the pool (located in the building) and go horse back riding (also located on site) once a week! They would prefer that he rides the bus to and from school because of the different experience it provides and to consistency in the routine...but I dont know if mommy is ready for her baby to get on a bus and go to school all day... so we'll see... lol because at this point in his life Owen is requiring special needs services we may also qualify for a government grant that would supply us with extra monthly income to purchase things for him that would further his achievements such as specific new toys, additional therapies, or programs ect ! So there you have it!! Now you know what we know! Feel free to let me know if you have questions! I will try to answer them to the best of my abilities!! We feel very blessed to be able to give our little guy all this extra help now when he is so young and hopefully see him succeed and achieve great things :D

Monday, May 2, 2011

Teacher Appreciation Week :) Homemade Strawberry Jam!

This week is Teacher Appreciation week and Tuesday is National Teacher Appreciation Day! So dont forget to show some love to the ones who teach our little ones so much!!
You may or may not know all the details on Owen's schooling but he goes to a class that evaluates for Autism and works on speech delays and sensory issues 2 times a week! He has one teacher, a speech therapist, an occupational therapist, and several assistants who are in and out some that work in his classroom ... in case your counting thats a least 5 teachers that he sees on a regular bases! Which can make gifts add up QUICK!!! lol I have been racking my brain like crazy to find something small but meaningful to show our appreciation for all the help they have given our little guy! and then one day I had one of these light bulb brilliant moments that I think only the scatter brained head of a mother can have... lol My husband was making his lunch one morning while I was feeding the baby and he said to me "I need more jelly"  and I said "THAT'S IT ... I am going to give them homemade jam with tags that say "Thank you berry much!" on them"!!! I know I know...sometimes my wit astounds me too...especially when I come up with such fantastical things at 6 am ;)  ... My mom bought me a bread maker for Christmas last year and it has a "jam" cycle on it that I have been dying to try out! So I set off on my first jam making adventure and I am not sure I'll ever go back to store bought jam again! LOL :D

I mean seriously... I tossed some sugar (ok... a LOT of sugar... but seriously I'd rather feed my family quite a lot of pure sugar than all the crap they put into commercial and a slightly mashed pint of strawberries into my bread maker pushed a few buttons and about an hour later I dumped the super hot jam into my huge glass pyrex measuring cup (its a 4 cupper  and I <3 it) to let it cool and stirred it every few mins until it was cool and set to the right consistency! Then poured it into these ADORABLE little glass canning jars and that was it folks!! It keeps in the fridge for about 2 weeks and in the freezer for several months! (no canning method required BTW!)

Most of this batch was meant for gifts for Owen's teachers... so I got a little crafty with them! They were supposed to be even more cute than are... but I got a little distracted with a kitchen re-organization project and I didnt make it to the store to get the super cute scrap book paper I was envisioning in my head but none the less... they turned out pretty cute! 

The tags I made with some purple pieces of card stock, a hole punch, some decorative edge scissors, a sharpie, and a glitter glue pen 

They were all so surprised to get them this morning... (they didnt even know it was teacher appreciation week... LOL) I wish I would have been thinking about it more because I should have brought them a loaf of bread with it since they were all talking about searching out a piece of bread to eat some on right then! lol This will definitely be added to my list of go to gifts and it is soooo yummy it will definitely be a regular thing around the Frifeldt house since we eat a TON of pb&j and toast with jam here! lol