Monday, November 20, 2006

Christmas Dress....Aaaaarrrggghhh

Well, here it is. I think this dress actually took me about 28 hours of labor to finish, and about three hours of sulking and throwing things down in frustration. But in the end, I have to say that it turned out pretty good. These pictures don't give you the greatest idea, you'll have to see it in person. It is so fluffy! The crinoline was yards and yards of netting and lining, and as frustrating as it was to sew through all that bulk, it was totally worth it for the fluffiness effect.

This is a close-up of the diamonds on the sleeve. They actually turned out the best of all, which is a little sad because you don't notice them as much as you do on the front of the dress. And just so you appreciate it....all that is hand sewn. You have to machine sew the triangle shapes, and then you have to hand sew the points together...apply beads...hand stitch the velvet ribbon behind the diamonds and THEN you can cut out the sleeves! Wow...I'm pretty sure I won't use this pattern again, but it is pretty cool all made up.

Here's the back, where I nearly lost my mind as I cut through the button hole to the edge of the dress after it was all finished. Fortunately you can't tell...and I think I fixed it (fingers crossed!).

This last one you can see the diamonds on the front better. Oh, and Madison is really into having her hair curly lately. Every night she begs me to put in the sponge rollers. It is so cute...and she is such a girly girl!

Well...that's what has actually been keeping me busy for the past month. With it all done and out of the way, I don't know what to do with myself. Aaahh...if only that were true........Christmas sewing, here I come!!!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Baking Day!!

I just thought I'd show everyone my very first loaf of bread I have ever baked without cheating (you know....breadmaker...). Isn't it gorgeous? I didn't get a good post-baking shot of this one, but if you look below there is one of my mini loaf that we ate with some home-made pear butter. I did the pear butter in September with pears from my parent's fruit trees. It is sooo delicious!! Next year I'm making a ton more!

I was so proud of my bread because it raised up perfectly and tasted divine. Not bad for my first try. I can't wait to try some other bread recipes if you have one, send it my way!

Mmmmmmmmm............pear butter and freshly baked bread......perfection!!!!!
After the bread success, I decided to use up some pumpkin I had and try out my Grandma's pumpkin cinnamon roll recipe. Wow! It was awesome!! And aren't these rolls just gorgeous?! The best part is the "secret" ingredient in the icing.......a dash of almond really complements the pumpkin. This pan plus four more rolls on a separate pan makes up half a batch....can you believe it?? It was enough to feed an small army, not to mention that a whole batch would not fit in my mixer. I spiced up the recipe a bit because I like it that way...but I thought I'd post it. Now just remember...if you enter it into a baking contest and win, make sure you give credit to Grandma Nedra Allen....this was her mom's recipe...and I can still remember when I was a little girl going up to Great Grandma and Grandpa Pack's cabin...Great Grandma Pack always had a pan full of cinnamon rolls, and a batch of homemade old fashioned root beer waiting for us. Okay, enjoy!!!!

P.S. This recipe isn't really exact...that's the way it came to me, so feel free to play with it, and good luck!! I put my additions in italics.

Grandma Allen's Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup shortening

1 cup pumpkin

1 egg

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp allspice

1/2 tsp ginger

1 pkg yeast dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water

flour to make like bread dough

2 cups warm milk

---cinnamon, sugar, butter and raisens

Cream shortening and sugar, add pumpkin, egg and salt and mix until combined. Add yeast mixture. Alternate adding warm milk and enough flour to make like soft bread dough, you may need to knead in the remaining flour as it will FILL your mixer. (I went with the dough still a little on the sticky side...use your judgement.) Raise to double. Roll out to 1/2 inch thick, spread with butter, sprinkly with cinnamon and sugar and raisens (if you don't like raisens...they are still delicious without). Roll and cut into 1 inch thick rolls, place on greased cookie sheet and raise again until desired size (I love them HUGE). Bake at 400-425 degrees about 15 minutes.

The glaze is just milk and powdered sugar to make a glaze consistency, with a dash of vanilla and a dash of almond extract. Please do try the is so perfect for the not so sweet pumpkin rolls.


Friday, November 03, 2006

Happy Halloween!!

Here is our little had so much fun dressing up! We went to the ward Trunk or Treat this year, and it was long walks down a crowded fighting to get to the door only to find out they've run out of candy...just lots of concentrated candy receiving and cute kids.
Madi had me put "princess make-up" on her....I hope this is what she meant! She actually had some more obnoxious lipstick on...but after all night it seems to have disappeared.

We had traditional "Orange Dinner" again this year, although rather impromtu. We ended up with macaroni and cheese, orange colored Rice a Roni, mandarin oranges, leftover enchiladas (they looked orange to me!) and butterscotch pudding. It was delicious, of course, and we had a good time.

I know this doesn't look like a ton, but this is actually only some of the candy we came home with. Between pre-school parties and trunk or treat and the two houses we visited, we'll be eating this candy until Christmas!

The Wait Is Finally Over!!!

Okay, here's the moment you've all been waiting for...and frankly, I've been waiting too! Brian was supposed to post the sonogram a loooooong time ago, but he didn't. Soooo, I've been getting all of the harassment, and he just keeps putting it off. I decided to just post something and let him get the sonogram up when he gets to it.

The Proud Papa didn't actually get to see the ultrasound...I told him that if he didn't come then we'd for sure find out, but work being what it is...he couldn't get away. So what is the first thing the ultrasound technician asked me about five seconds into the whole thing? You guessed it, "Do you want to know what you're having??" I could have been patient and kind and said, "no, I'll wait until my husband can come," but then again...I'm not patient or I said, "Of course I would like to know!!" We weren't actually supposed to find out until my next ultrasound, which would have worked out perfectly since it is the day before Thanksgiving. Oh well!! I was so excited and started planning how I would tell Brian and then how we could surprise everyone else.

Madi and I bought Brian some Eggnog to celebrate with, and got some little baby clothes in the appropriate color and laid them out for him to see when he got home. He was, of course, soooo excited! He didn't actually have to wait to find the clothes, because Madi told him the second he walked through the door.

Then plan to tell the families was that we would just go along with the original not knowing until Thanksgiving plan, and then we would bring a cheesecake to Thanksgiving that was the right color for the new baby...but Madison and Brian spilled the beans that we knew what it was going to we had to adjust, knowing that there would be no end to the harrassment on both sides if we didn't just tell them.

All of this brings us to the surprise!! We are having...............................................

A BOY!!!!!!!!
Can you believe it??? Brian is excited to even out the stakes in this family, and Madi is just gloating because she's been telling us all along that it was a brother. And I'm just happy that it will be a healthy little guy. Hooray!! Get ready for another Hobbs Boy!!!!