Tag Archives: family

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! I know we did- lots of games, a walk with mom’s dog, really really good food, and a healthy dose of family 🙂


M taking a peek at my AWESOME cookbook….she’s a great gifter. 🙂 Can’t wait to share some of these recipes!


M and Joey passed Winnie the Pooh back and forth all night to practice for baby Judah! 🙂


Tamales! Our Christmas Day dinner tradition


M and Lindsey had a ‘nunchuck/wrapping paper roll/sword’ fight….




M and Joey on our dogwalking expedition 🙂


Gibbs may have bitten off more than he could chew….he almost knocked me on my butt trying to run to Curtis!!


Curtis and me on our walk!


Merry Christmas from M and K!!!

‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.’

Luke 2:14


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Filed under Family, Favorite Things, Food Stuffs., Holiday, Pets, Vacation

Easy Pull-Apart Monkey Bread

Hands-down, the best thing to wake up to on a Sunday morning is the smell of monkey bread baking in the oven.


One could argue that cinnamon rolls have the same effect- I wouldn’t deny that either. But I just love the tiny little bite size pieces you can tear off of this melty cinnamon-y goodness! Each little piece is doused in melted butter, then rolled in cinnamon sugar, and then baked to perfection… whereas with a cinnamon roll, let’s face it. All you really are going for is the little nugget in the middle where all the gooey deliciousness is.


As you can see, I burned these slightly. I popped them in the oven on Sunday morning and then hopped in the shower, hoping my timing would be about right… which it would have been, if I hadn’t tried to quick blow-dry my hair before checking on them too. Anyways, ended up with a few er, crispy ones which happen to be my favorite! Joey cannot understand why I like things slightly burned- and neither really can I. So I just go with it.


This lovely treat is so simple to make. And very cheap! Just pop open a can of those Pillsbury Buttermilk Biscuits, tear each round into 4 chunks, and then dip in melted butter, then cinnamon sugar, and throw into a pan!


It is so hard not to munch on these all day long… just a warning that these have somewhat of an addictive quality! However, they work like a charm to win over a sibling that you may or may not have snapped at earlier the night before. They really help the apology process. “I’mreallysorryIoverreactedlastnightpleaseforgivemeImadeyouMonkeybreadanditsstillwarm!!!”

Works like a charm.


Either way, these are a super fun and easy treat for your husband, kiddos, roommates, siblings, or houseguests on relaxing mornings- they’ll be sure to impress!



Easy Pull Apart Monkey Bread

serves 4-5


2 cans Pillsbury Buttermilk biscuits

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon

1 stick butter


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Melt one stick butter in the microwave, set aside. In a separate bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon until mixed.

Open the cans of biscuits and tear each biscuit into 4 pieces- drop each piece into the melted butter to coat, then into the cinnamon/sugar mixture to coat. Then place into a greased pan (you can use a loaf pan or cake pan!) until all pieces are covered.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, keeping a close eye on them at the end!


Filed under Food Stuffs.

Bringing a New Name to ‘Picture Frame’

I’ve wanted to try out this craft for quite a while now, and I finally found a few (literally, a few) minutes to throw it together! I love how clean and polished this ended up looking, and for just a few bucks.

Hardest part: Finding a window frame.

Easiest part: Everything else.

Total crafting time: 15 minutes.

I say that finding the frame is the hardest part because I’ve been looking for a frame for weeks. Months, rather. And finally, on a random trip to IKEA, I found a frame buried in the very bottom of the clearance corner under cabinet parts with the glass still in tact! You gotta persevere, people. I knew what I wanted, and I searched high and low until I found a frame I liked.

Love the white frame.

This one happens to be a cabinet door frame that had built-in nail holes already so it was a win-win. Or win-win-win-win-win considering all the other ‘perfect stuff’ I found there. I’m not sure yet if IKEA is a blessing or a curse. But seriously- 78 cent kitchen towels? In a cute pattern that matches my kitchen? How do you not stock up? I ask you.

So the picture/window frame. I chose a P (on flickr, thank you toofarnorth!) for our last name, and I wanted to do the whole ‘Established January 2, 2010 so I messed around with fonts and styles and came up with this.

Letter, Wordage, and roll-y cutt-y thing making a reappearance

I decided to do the ‘est. 01.02.10’ part with some textured paper…

A little weave texture for the backing

And a little linen texture for the top piece to print the words on

(I have a 1/2 bag of mixed paper scraps from Flax, a craft store in San Francisco.)

Mod Podge is awesome.

Before permanentizing (not a word, I know) everything, I arranged everything the way I wanted it and made little marks with a dry erase marker so it was even.

So then I Mod-Podged (hereafter referred to as MP) the ‘word’ paper onto the darker paper and MP that right onto the glass. Now, for other projects in the past I do suggest MP over top of everything, but in this case (working on glass) I advise not Mod-Podging over everything. Just MP the backside but don’t worry if you can see it. It’s easy to get off, and I have a method at the end that gets all the excess MP off. So, I covered the backsides of everything with MP all the way to the edges, and smoothed it onto the glass.

Now, the trick to getting most gunky stuff off of glass:

A gift card or credit card of some sort and a little glass cleaner of your choice.

Voila! Clean glass!

So cute!

I love how a craft like this matches pretty much whatever room you choose to put it in! I made a conscious choice to use neutral colors so that it’s movable into any room in the house.

Seriously, 15 minutes. And it’s a great gift idea also! Mix it up, using photos, artwork, postcards, recipes…..really, the ideas are endless 🙂


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Filed under Crafts, Family

Book Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain


Guys…this book is fantastic. I will admit that I do tend to judge a book by its cover and, initially, this was one of those. I liked the shade of blue, and I love golden retrievers (that is to say, I love the idea of golden retrievers), so this book caught my eye. Then, when I read the first few pages I totally got sucked in! That’s the key for me. If I find myself wondering about what I’m going to make for dinner while I’m ‘test-reading’ a book, I end up putting it back. But when I find myself thinking ‘Eh, Curtis can make dinner tonight….I’m just gonna read’, then I know it’s a keeper. 🙂

The part about this book that makes it special is that it’s written in the dog’s voice. You’re seeing the story of a family from beginning to end from Enzo’s perspective. And it is fantastically perceptive. I don’t have a dog, I kind of have half a cat (a stray that hangs around because Curtis feeds her but she won’t let us touch her…?), so I wasn’t sure if this story about ‘man’s best friend’ would affect me, but it did. Enzo has all kinds of theories on life and what an amazing human he would be if he comes back in his next life as a human. You see the duality of his mind as he behaves like a dog (greeting other dogs by sniffing each other) and then uses his knowledge gathered from various TV stations to comment with surprising insight on why the lack of opposable thumbs and a voice are the only thing separating him from being an ‘amazing’ human. I found myself viewing animals in a different way- I know they don’t think like we do, but I do sometimes forget that they are living things. It was emotional to read, because there is such love between Enzo and his owner, Denny, and when conflicts unfold and emotions run high in the book I find myself wishing Enzo really had a voice so Denny could truly understand the loyalty he had in his ‘best friend’.

All in all, I highly recommend this book. It’s a great relaxing read that’s perfect to take on a vacation or read slowly when you have time.

Just to warn you though- If you don’t have a dog, you’ll want one by the time you’re done. If you do have a dog, you’re going to look at him/her differently (in a good way). I may have shed a tear or two while reading. But that’s just how I am- I’m that person that forgets that characters in books aren’t real, and I totally immerse myself in what I read.

Definitely a feel-good book.



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Filed under Books, Family, Pets

Jewish Coffee Cake












The other day I was torn in my mind. I wanted to bake something… maybe muffins? Eh… I love muffins but we already have some in our freezer… maybe a quick bread of sorts? Nah… man, maybe I should just make some coffee. Gah, shouldn’t have coffee (More on that later). But if I HAD coffee… I’d want cake to go with it. Ah-HA!! Coffee cake! Game, set, MATCH!

And of course there’s only one coffee cake I’ll make from scratch. And that’s my dad’s Jewish Coffee Cake. I have no idea why its called ‘Jewish Coffee Cake’… I googled it and it seems like the rest of the world doesn’t really know either! It doesn’t have any butter in it- but typically butter is okay as long as it isn’t eaten with any meat. Aaand there is no meat in this coffee cake, thank goodness. Yuck. My husband was so excited when he heard the name of this coffee cake- he is quite certain that he has Jewish blood in him and is exceedingly proud of that possibility! I don’t recall seeing any of this cake in Israel earlier this summer, but oh well- a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, eh?

My dad making Jewish Coffee Cake way back in the day!









K and I grew up with this coffee cake- it is moist, full of cinnamon, melts in your mouth, and perfect for breakfast or an afternoon snack. My dad loved to make this for us, and we could hardly wait the hour it took for the cake to bake. Especially with the wonderful aroma that filled the house while we waited! I can’t count how many times we burned our fingers and mouths trying to eat it too fast out of the oven. I would love to say that I have developed more patience in that area as I have grown, alas… my tongue is slightly burnt and my fingers are bright red. Guess how that happened.










Anyways, this is a totally simple recipe to throw together and is such a crowd-pleaser. The only time-consuming part of the process is letting it sit in the oven for an hour- but in the meantime there are a number of things you could do… Bible study… make soup… fold laundry… watch 2 episodes of Seinfeld… I’ll let you choose.










By the time you’ve finished a few chores or laughed with Jerry, the wafting smell of cinnamon and sugar will let you know that its time to pull that baby out of the oven and cut yourself a slice with your morning cup of joe. Or afternoon cup of joe. Or milk. Or just all by itself. I’m letting you make all the decisions here.













Jewish Coffee Cake

serves 10-12


1 cup shortening

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

3 tsp. baking powder

3 cup all purpose flour

1 cup milk

for the topping:

3 Tbsp sugar

3 tsp. cinnamon

(add Turbinado sugar, if desired for texture) ** do not completely substitute the Turbinado sugar for regular sugar!


Blend the shortening, sugar and eggs thoroughly. Then add the remaining baking powder, flour and milk. Mix until fully incorporated, then set aside. Prepare the topping by mixing the cinnamon and sugar together. Grab your bundt pan and grease it well with butter. (If you want some added texture, add some turbinado sugar to the bottom of the pan, and each layer). Layer 1/3 of the batter in the pan, then sprinkle 1/3 of the topping. Alternate batter and topping until finished. Make sure the top of the cake is covered with the topping- mix more if you need to!

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Poke with toothpick to make sure that cake is done before taking it out.

Enjoy warm!


Filed under Coffee, Food Stuffs.