March 30, 2011

Vanishing Oatmeal Cookies

Hello! Those who know me may find it hard to believe that I'm not a huge fan of oatmeal cookies. But since I'm such a wonderful, loving wife I decided to whip up a batch of my famous Vanishing Oatmeal Cookies for my husband, per his request. When I found the recipe last year I of course had to sample one (or two or three) just to make sure they were suitable for consumption. Hands down these are probably the best tasting oatmeal cookies I've ever had, even better than the Shaw's Supermarket oatmeal cookies (and those are pretty good). Sadly, I realized that "vanishing" is a bit misleading; I found that it refers to the amount of time they'll be left in the cookie jar, not your vanishing waistline! While I can't take credit for the recipe I will certainly pass it along!

Oatmeal Cookies
1/2 cup plus 6 tbsp butter, soften
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 salt
3 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup chocolate chips or raisins
  1. In large bowl, beat butter and sugars until creamy
  2. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well
  3. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well
  4. Add oats and chocolate chips or raisins; mix well
  5. Drop by tablespoonful onto greased cookie sheet
  6. Bake 8-10 minutes (I prefer 10) at 350, makes approx. 3 dozen

March 28, 2011

A Weekend at the Balsams

     At the beginning of March my husband and I were lucky enough to spend the weekend at The Balsams Grand Resort in Dixville Notch, NH. 
     The Balsams offers world class table d'hote dining combined with charming New England accommodations.  With over 8,000 acres of land and groomed trails and a private alpine ski area Aaron and I found plenty to keep us busy outdoors during the day.  But if the great outdoors isn't your thing then there's also a daily activity schedule created each morning that tells guests about specific activities and demonstrations going on around the resort.  And then there's always the spa if a massage or pedicure is more your thing!  At night the resort offered plenty of entertainment including a tavern with live music and dancing, guest performers and a private ghost tour (just for us!!).  I just can't say enough about this amazing resort; we were treated like royalty from the moment we stepped out of the car.  If you ever have the opportunity to visit the Balsams I highly recommend it - we're already planning a return trip next winter! 

On Saturday we went snowshoeing (doesn't the resort look like a castle?!)

Later that afternoon I watched one of the many talented pastry chefs give a demonstration on how to make a "Puzzle Cake"

Looks complicated but it's really easy to make!

After the demonstration we took a tour of the world famous, award winning kitchen (the chefs here are known for their amazing culinary creations)

I had a piece of "Puzzle Cake" for dessert, this was all that was left (that's my father's fork trying to get a bite!)

A romantic dinner for two on Sunday night.

Four-star dinning is part of your experience at the Balsams.  This is Sherm, just one of the three servers that took care of us at each meal.

March 24, 2011

A New Technique: Pressed Circles (or flowers, hearts, stars...)

     Hello!  Today's card was inspired by the faux pressed flower technique (here) shown over at SplitCoastStampers.  I have also seen other stampers use circles for this technique so I decided to give that a try.  The technique is super easy to do and gives any card unique look.  This can be done with any shape punch: hearts, stars, flowers, squares - you name it!
      The card itself was difficult to photograph and is a bit hard to see in the photo because I used a window sheet as the card base (lots of reflection from the flash).  The sentiment is stamped on the bottom of the inside panel.  I could have stamped it on the window sheet but I did not have brown StazOn ink.

Stamps: Bring on the Cake
Ink: Basic Brown
Paper: Window sheet, Very Vanilla, Always Artichoke, Really Rust, Chocolate Chip
Tools & Accessories: Circle punches, Lattice embossing folder, Big Shot

March 18, 2011

St. Patty's Day Surprise

     Hello!  One of my students surprised me with this adorable little pot o' gold on St. Patrick's Day - what a sweet treat!  Mrs. Hall is also an elementary teacher and spoils me with little gifts every now and again.  Earlier this year she sent in a pack of K-Cups (Keurig Coffee) in honor of our first full week of school without a snow day!  Thank you Mrs. Hall!

March 17, 2011

I {heart} Cupcakes

     Ok, ok.  I know you're probably sick of seeing my cupcake birthday cards and I promise this will be the last one... maybe!  I just love the Create A Cupcake stamp set and coordinating punch from Stampin' Up - I can't put it down!
     This card was CASE'd from the January Stampin' Success magazine that demonstrators receive for free each month.  This publication features product tips, project techniques and tons of inspiration.  It's just one of the many benefits of being a SU demo!

Stamps: Create A Cupcake
Ink: Pretty In Pink, Old Olive
Paper: Whisper White, Old Olive, Pretty In Pink DSP
Tools & Accessories: Build A Cupcake punch, grosgrain ribbon, Stampin' dimensionals

March 10, 2011

Cupcake CASE

 Hello!  Yes, it's another birthday card - but with good reason!  I found Kay Kalthoff's Cupcake Love card on SplitCoastStampers and just had to CASE it!  To make it more of my own I lightened the color and added a bit more sparkle to my frosting.

Stamps: Create a Cupcake
Ink: Basic Brown
Paper: Whisper White, Chocolate Chip, Pretty In Pink (DSP and card stock)
Tools & Accessories: Build a Cupcake and Scallop Trim border punches, Tombow Multipurpose glue, Dazzling Diamonds, pearls, dimensionals

     I think this is by far my most favorite stamp set or the year and I absolutely love the coordinating punch, it makes creating a super cute card even easier!  If you haven't seen the stamp set or punch yet check out page 22 of the Occasions Mini (here).  And now is the best time to purchase the set - it's Sale-A-Bration!  

March 3, 2011

Wish Big!

     Hello!  So far my New Year's resolution of sending birthday cards on time to everyone in my family hasn't been broken.  But we do have men in our family and as much as I love flowers and pearls I need to appeal to the masculine crowd.  In my Occasions Mini pre-order several months ago (one of the many perks of being a demo) I ordered the Bring On the Cake stamp set and First Edition Designer Series Paper and knew the image and paper would work perfectly together.
     The DSP is bit lighter than traditional DSP and reminds me of an old encyclopedia. While I've only used one sheet from the pack of 24 I think I may have to order another before April 30th - this will be a staple in my collection!    

Stamps: Bring On the Cake
Ink: StazOn black
Paper: Very Vanilla, First Edition DSP, Basic Black
Tools & Accessories: Grosgrain ribbon, circle brad (retired), dimensionals

March 2, 2011

Super Cute Project!

     I think the title of this post says it all!  Just click on the image to see the details.