Sunday, September 30, 2012

Old Fashioned Apple Pie

Fall is definitely here.
We are wearing slippers at home and jackets to school and sweaters are feeling more comfortable these days. I don't know about you, but when the colder weather comes I start cooking all my favourites.
Apple pie is a family favourite and one that is always changing and tweaking in our house.
I made it this week with the kids help for their Daddy for our seven year anniversary.
Usually, I remember to peel the apples, but this time the kids washed them and couldn't bare to part with the apple peels (that, and my brother dropped in and we got a little distracted...)
First I cut up our apples, very finely.
Then we filled our pie crust with them.
You will use about 8 cups of whatever apples you chose. We used Macintosh and Spartan. Whatever you have will work! I promise!
You can use ready made pie crust, this time we did. Though my husband says that is cheating and I pretend I don't hear him.
Then we hunted down a large glass measuring cup and added all of the following ingredients.
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon milk
Who measures a tablespoon of milk?
The recipe calls for it, but I never do. When the kids ask what that step said, I say it says to eat a piece of chocolate and we go to the secret stash and help ourselves.
Shhhh. Don't tell.
Then, I got one of the kids to stir the mixture up super fast with a fork.
(We don't have time to search through our stuffed full utensil drawer to locate a whisk)
Melt the ingredients in your glass measuring cup in the microwave. The kids love beating eachother up to see who can press the microwave buttons first.
Then pour the sugary goodness on top of the apples that are inside the pie crust.
 Place second crust on top of the pie filling, cut slits in top of the crust to vent.
 Seal the edges of the crust with a fork or by hand. Feel free to get a six year old to cut out a pumpkin shape apple shape with a cookie cutter "just 'cause."
My darling mother would now tell you to make a mixture of an egg yolk and a bit of milk and paint the top of the pie crust to make it the best golden colour ever! And she might tell you to put tin foil around the crusts outer edge to make sure it didn't cook faster then the top of the pie.
If you have the time, go for it, if you are like me  though, and are already swatting away hungry little hands, just stick it in the oven!
 Bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes.
 Reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake for 30-35 minutes more or until crust is golden and filling is bubbly.
NOW, sit back and enjoy the smell of Fall wafting through your house....
The kids were so proud of their "apple" cut out and slits/air vent holes.
Serve with vanilla ice cream and enjoy the tastes of Fall!
So so yummy.
Even with the apple peels on!
I hope you get inspired today and use this easy recipe to wow your family.
Do you have your own apple pie recipe that you adore??
Please share! 
This dissapeared in a day!
We love a good apple pie over here!!!

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Simple Sunday - Finding Joy

Happy Sunday!
This week has been a busy one for my little family and I find myself getting frustrated trying to straighten up the house before guests arrive, while trying to make it on time for a  Doctors appointment, and ESPECIALLY at bed time when my little crazy blessings need another glass of water, another snuggle, another snack and another something-or-other.
I have been really trying to count my blessing these day, because I AM so blessed, and SO are YOU!

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This simple truth I have been trying to act out in my day to day life. I encourage you to do the same.
There are many joys in the problems, you just have to look hard enough.
I'm carrying a microscope in my back pocket these days ;)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Play House!!!!

Thank you for all of the encouragement we received after yesterdays post! It was so nice to get little messages throughout the day that were uplifting and positive.
That means the world.
If you visited my Pinterest page you may have seen all the beautiful images I have pinned under my board called "Salon". I am new at this whole "pinning" thing but I am loving all of the new images I am seeing every day, even if I don't feel original anymore ;)
So you may have wondered why I posted pictures of play houses like this one:
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This one is built from Anna Whites designs. If you haven't visited her site yet, you must! She is based out of Alaska and is uber talented. She offers FREE designs for building furniture and projects on your own, and she is gorgeous to boot! I love her creativity!
We have an awkward deep closet to the one side of what will be the salons entrance. It is a closet with no door. Odd. 

It is the perfect place to add a little kids corner so that a potential client can bring their child to the salon with them.
This is what I just HAD to have in the salon.
As a mother, I know how hard it is to rationalize paying for a baby sitter when you have to pay to get your hair done. And I completely understand the working moms, who want to spend their day off with their child, but really need to deal with the mysterious sparkles that keep popping out of their heads.
AND, I just really love kids and want to eat plastic food they might want to cook.
So the quest for the perfect activity area continued...
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I am in awe of the dual function of this space.
I love a nice cushy reading nook and thought this top level looked so inviting! Though very awesome, I don't think having the upper level open to below would be safe for children to play on; especially if a parent wasn't standing right beside them to offer a helping hand.
Unless we had mandatory helmets...but that would mess up the fresh hair cuts. Scratch that idea.
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This one under the stairs is so clever. I came across this picture a long time ago, before Pinterest and saved it a way in a file of things I would dream about. having incorporated into my own home.
Whaaaat?, Mommy's can adore play houses too!
I loved the cedar shingles and the fact that a lot of us have this unused space under our stairways. it is definitely an achievable design.
(Unfortunately the original sources may have been lost in the world of pinterest but I added sources from where they were pinned from originally.) Hope that helps if you are interested in these adorable slices of childhood heaven.
So I brought my idea to Art and he agreed to make it. Horray! But first we had to get one argument settled.
We he didn't know which was the best side to put the play house door on. The left side was where I wanted it to be, and my reasoning to him was because I had always made my house drawings as a small girl with the door on the left and the little window on the right and the triangle roof completing the top.
He disagreed.
We argued.
This is what we do to keep the passion alive to understand each others opinions fully.
 We argued some more.
Finally, we let our son be the deciding opinion.
Ya, the boys in this house stick together through everything.
This was no exception.
My future architect?
So, happy that his vision would prevail, they got right to work building it.
Bottom level is framed!
Our daughter has named it the "Play house" area.
Testing out the safety of the top level!
It can hold ten 30 pound children! (oh wait, I was never good at math..)
A little helper is always close by when projects are happening.
 Handing the tools to Daddy.
Taking a turn with the drill!
Surveying her handy work...
Yaaaa! Top level is framed!
My son calls it the "Hideout" area.
This may look like a bunch of wood to you.
So here are the finer details for the visionary types!
 Here is a close up of the awning over the entrance..
Taking it all in...
 Some dry wall goes up!
This little girl has not left this construction area. She is ecstatic and already has toys stashed on the upper level.
Sneaky bugger.
Telling Daddy what to do.
Testing out the window sill.
First phase almost done!
They approve!
Happy little kids in the new "Hideout/Playhouse"!!
Let me know what you think of the play house and let me know if there are any ideas we need to incorporate.
Feel free to use the comment section below!
PS: Tutorial to come later!
Have a great weekend!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Lower Level Overhaul!

Some of you know that I have been in school since Art and I were married seven years ago. Which means we have had a lot to juggle with having three children in that time frame too. My darling husband has lovingly supported me in completing my ever changing career path.
My latest venture was completing a three year apprenticeship and schooling in order to become a licenced hair stylist. Working nights and weekends are a must in the beauty business.  And those  kind of hours are just what I need to be able to fill my desire to be a traditional stay-at-home-mom.
So that is enough back ground info for one opening statement.
Now we have this...
This is the lower level of our fixer upper. It is right off of the front entry way to our home and is luckily big and bright!
This was it.  

We replaced the carpet to match throughout the house.
And my sister painted and we replaced the lighting.
Unfortunately, the idea of her living with us for a while didn't play out the way we had all expected.
After some wrestling matches for the remote, a lot of girl talk, makeup stealing and clothing stealing she met the man of her dreams and soon after got engaged and moved on from her sisters house.
We completely understand and our little family is also in love with the love of her life.
But now we have this big empty space.

We moved in in April and by August it was pretty much vacant and soon became a dumping ground for all things forgotten. A storage room/junk room.
I would give my mom a blow dry once in a while and set up a little area for it. Foreshadowing at its finest!
The room filled up as we started to acquire building supplies for what we were about to get started on!
To make a long story short, recently we came up with the great idea to turn this storage/room/junk room into a salon!!!
It doesn't look like much NOW, but once we change the flooring, trim, lighting, build a wall, patch a door, build an entertainment area for kiddies, install pot lights, tile, install a sink, move some plumbing, add crown molding, change window treatments and build and awesome sliding door this place will gleam!! 
I cant wait to be a super hero stay at home mom.

Day time will be for making lunches, changing dirty bums, and walking to school, and taking the babies to play dates, and reading, and changing dirty bums and snuggling, and changing dirty bums and making lunch and going to the park and changing dirty bums, and going grocery shopping, and nap time and making dinner and picking the boy up from school and changing dirty bums, and doing homework together and serving and cleaning up dinner and changing dirty bums and essentially wearing my super hero cape all day and then hiding in the lower level and doing hair and making someone look and feel like the best them.

Ssssssooooooouuuuunnnnnndddddds amazing.:)
But in order to get there I had to deal with this junk corner...

So I got to work with the newest baby strapped to my chest.
We started by removing the baseboards and pulling up the new-ish carpet.
Then I got to work armed with these two weapons...

I wanted to tackle this ugliness.
In most cases I'm not too picky with how a ceiling looks but this particular ceiling defined the room. The ceilings are high and there were constantly little cob webs that clung on for dear life!
Not a good look when you have your face to the ceiling when you are enjoying a lovely hair wash by yours truly.
Some of you may have discouraged me noticed on facebook that I spent an entire night feverishly scraping the two- inch- thick- stalagmite-type- plaster- ceiling. 
Worst idea ever.
See, I can admit when I am wrong..
Mark this day down in your calendars friends.
 Despite my husbands scoffing, I finished in 6 hours!
Then, sadly I was immobile for a day.

This little man cheered me on.

Pearl earings and safety glasses, a new Fall trend...
 This door to our laundry room had to be moved to accommodate the sink we need to install.
We my husband sealed it up with some drywall, and made a new entrance to our laundry room outside of the new lower level.
While I spent a day washing down the walls from the wet ceiling plaster that migrated on to them.
Then I got to work making the space feel even brighter.
White walls!
Be still my beating heart!
I am in love with light walls!


What a difference paint makes! I feel like this room is a blank slate now and that is so exciting!

We have been working a lot on this little space. I will be posting updates as we cross off projects from our lists!
I would love to know what you think!
Presently, we are in the midst of designing and building a hide out-play house for a kid friendly business! I have been wishing I was five again just to play in it!!!
Will post pictures soon.
Thanks for checking out our newest overhaul!!