Monday, January 21, 2013

Mandarin Mondays: Beware of Sink Into (The Chinglish files)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

DIY No Bake Chocolate Pot De Creme

This dessert is like eating truffles with a spoon. It is rich and chocolatey and amazing. I like this version because there is no baking or water baths to mess with.

Well unless you decide to share with your kids, then you will need a bath to clean them up, because they will lick the bowls clean, but their faces will be full of chocolate.

Homemade No Bake Chocolate Pot De Creme Recipe

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup cream
  • 8 ounces dark or semi-sweet chocolate chopped or use chocolate chips (use a chocolate you enjoy eating without any extra sweetener, because there is no sugar in this recipe)
  1. Place chopped chocolate in a heat safe mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. In a saucepan slowly heat milk and cream.
  3. In a small mixing bowl whisk egg yolks.
  4. When the milk and cream begins to bubble at the edges, slowly add half to the egg yolks while whisking steadily. This tempers the egg yolks and prevents them from turning into scrambled eggs. Then add the yolk mixture to the saucepan and heat slowly until it begins to bubble at the edges again and thickens.
  5. Remove from heat and pour over chopped chocolate (though a strainer if necessary to remove any chunks of egg).
  6. Allow to sit for a minute and melt chocolate and then stir until smooth.
  7. Pour into individual serving dishes (small bowls, ramekins, jars, espresso cups, etc.).
  8. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight to set.
  9. Serve topped with whipped cream if desired.

After eating, bathe small children.
Makes 6-8 small but decadent servings.

Monday, January 14, 2013

True Love Valentine's Day Free Printables

There are lots of cute Valentine's Day Printables out there, but I wanted something that focused only on the true definition of love. So in an effort to think on those things that are true and lovely, I made (with a lot of help from my husband, who actually knows something about vector graphics) these printables and want to share them with you. My valentine to you, a little early I know, but I wanted to make sure you could use these for a while if you wanted to.

Here are all of these images in pdf form that are set to print on standard letter size paper and should look good in an 8x10 frame. Or click on any image to be taken directly to that one file. If you want a different size you should be able to scale the image when printing the pdf.

These would all be cute framed, but I am also thinking about perhaps cutting apart a Love is... image or two and letting my boys glue the words onto other hearts or valentines. I am hopeful the Charity Chapter hearts will help us memorize this wonderful passage. Perhaps some of you creative people can think of other uses for these?



P.S. If anyone really wants the scalable vector graphics (svg) files to put into another file of your own let me know and I'll share those too.

Alexander at 3 Months

So Alexander is already a little more than 3 months old and growing fast, weighing in at 15 pounds and measuring 26 inches. I think he wants to keep up with his brothers and loves to watch them. He is growing more content to watch his brothers play from his happy seat in his basket (at least for short periods of time).

At few random things about Alexander at 3 months:
  • He is ticklish and can be quite giggly at times
  • He can hold himself quite steady now so he got to go on his first stroller ride (in the back of our double stroller with five point harness on)
  • He was not super impressed with the stroller yet
  • He is also not very impressed with any form of baby toy yet (but his brothers like his toys)
  • He favorite thing is to be held, almost all the time, and mostly by mom
  • He looks like a Puffalump in his yellow outfit that we use like a winter coat and so we get yelled at less here for not dressing him warmly enough (although even though this outfit was given to us by a Chinese friend and he has clothes on underneath, it is still not considered warm enough, because we are told that Chinese babies wear at least three of these puffy outfits here all winter inside and outside)
Wow mom, you made that for me?

Three brothers enjoying books

Alexander's first stroller ride

Thursday, January 10, 2013

DIY Strawberry Heart Muffins (great for Valentine's Day breakfast)

I made these muffins last year for Valentine's day and they turned out really delicious. I lightly adapted this recipe using my homemade strawberry sauce. Simple pureed strawberries would work as well or just use the original strawberry jam and milk. Anyway you make these they are sure to please your sweethearts.

Homemade Strawberry Sweetheart Muffins Recipe

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs 
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup homemade strawberry sauce or pureed strawberries (or substitute 1/2 cup milk plus 1/2 cup homemade or store bought strawberry jam)
  • Extra strawberry sauce or jam for decoration if desired
  1. In a mixing bowl first combine the dry ingredients.
  2. Next mix in the wet ingredients until just combined.
  3. Fill greased muffin cups. Spoon a small amount of strawberry sauce or jam on top or each muffin and drag a butter knife through to create a heart on top if desired. Here are pictures of this technique.
  4. Bake at 375 F for 18-22 minutes.
Makes approximately 18 regular sized muffins.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

DIY Strawberry Heart Brownie Cheesecake Bars (perfect for Valentine's Day)

I made this recipe last year for Valentine's Day when I wanted a dessert that combined chocolate, cheesecake, strawberries, and hearts! This recipe is quite similar to these tasty Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Brownies but makes a whole 9x13 pan and has a more brownie and less cheesecake ratio. You could also just use the swirling heart technique I show here to decorate other favorite cheesecake or bar recipes as well. If you used a package mix for the brownies and store bought strawberry sauce these would be quite quick to make.

Homemade Strawberry Heart Brownie Cheesecake Bars Recipe (and simple swirling sweetheart decoration technique)

Drop spoonfuls of strawberry sauce on top of cheesecake
  • 9x13 pan of your favorite fudge brownies prepared with optional 1 cup chocolate chips (use a package mix or this easy recipe for better than boxed brownies)
  • 2 (8oz) packages cream cheese, softened (or even homemade yogurt "cream" cheese works great)
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Strawberry sauce or pureed strawberry jam for decoration (you could use store bought strawberry sauce or jam to save time and I bet this recipe would be great with raspberry as well)
Drag a butter knife through the middle of the circles
  1. Bake brownies according to box directions or prepare homemade brownies 9adding an optional 1 cup chocolate chips) in a 9x13 pan.
  2. Mix cream cheese, milk, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until creamy and smooth. Pour cheesecake mixture on top of baked brownies.
  3. Now comes the fun part of decorating with swirly hearts that is so easy. Simply drop spoonfuls of sauce onto the top of the cheesecake mixture and then drag a butter knife down the center of the circles. With the 9x13 pan I made a grid and swirled the hearts in two different directions. But you could make each one swirl in a different direction or in a circle around a circular cake, however you like!
  4. Bake at 350F for 25-35 minutes until firm in the center (watch these carefully though as all oven are different and you don't want the top overly brown. Chill for at least 2 hours or overnight, and serve. 
Makes one thick 9x13 pan of bars.

Close up of heart swirls before baking

Mmm chocolate, cheesecake, strawberries and hearts!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Mandarin Mondays: Firefighting 4 Abilities (The Chinglish Files)

Unique Handcrafted Gift for Wedding Attendants: Ring Bearer or Flower Girl Bear

We wanted to give a unique but inexpensive gift to our flower girls and ring bearer to thank them for being in our wedding. I came up with the idea to make clothes for stuffed animals that looked like their outfits for our wedding. I found ten inch teddy bears really inexpensively and then sewed the little outfits myself out of scraps.

The fabric and patterns you choose would of course depend on the style of clothing your flower girl or ring bearer is wearing. But that is one of the great things about this gift idea, it is so easily customizable to your own wedding. You could even make miniature versions of the ring pillow and bouquets/baskets that the children were to carry if you wanted.

I know at least the flower girls really liked this gift and played with them a lot. And this was one of the most just plain fun projects to make for the wedding.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

DIY Manly Ring Bearer Pillow: Handcrafted Ring Pillow in the Style of the Groomsmen Suits

It has been quite a while since I've done a wedding related post, but I thought today I'd try to share about another thing we did in our wedding that was rather unique. When looking at ideas for ring pillows, I kept thinking how girly they all looked for a boy to carry. So I designed my own "manly" version keeping it in the style of the clothes the groomsmen were to wear.

The main part of the pillow is black. I actually made it out of the scraps from hemming the new suit we bought for my husband, but any sturdy black fabric would do. I then made a white band of fabric to go around the square black pillow. I used scraps of white satin from sewing my dress, but plain white cotton would also work. I sewed the white band onto the pillow at the edges, so the ring bearer could slip his hand under the back of the band to hold it easily. I also sewed on a small white button to make the white more resemble a shirt. Lastly, I created a silver satin tie like those the groomsmen would wear and sewed it on top with a silver ribbon to hold the rings. Of course you can easily customize this idea to match any style of groomsmen clothing for your own wedding. I am sure a traditional tux ring pillow would be really cute as well, no matter what the groomsmen were wearing.

I was quite happy with how the ring pillow turned out, and our ring bearer looked very handsome (although he would have been handsome no matter what the ring pillow looked like).

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Top 12 Posts of 2012

Defrosting the Freezer and a Snowball Fight in July

As we move forward into 2013 here are the 12 most viewed posts in 2012.

  1. Dinosaur Themed Preschool Craft Idea: Archeological Painting
  2. Dinosaur Themed Preschool Craft Idea: Popsicle Stick Dino Skeleton 
  3. Train Themed Preschool Activity: Numbers or Ten Commandment Train 
  4. DIY 2 Ingredient Crock Pot Strawberry Jam  
  5. Preschool Dinosaur Free Printables 
  6. Dinosaur Themed Preschool Craft Idea: Dinosaur Fossils 
  7. DIY Hash Browns 
  8. Dinosaur Themed Preschool Craft Idea: Dinosaur Reconstruction 
  9. DIY Mei Tai Baby Carrier
  10. Vanilla Frozen Yogurt: Making Frozen Yogurt Without an Ice Cream Machine 
  11. Dinosaur Themed Preschool Craft Idea: Shape-a-saurus  
  12. DIY Corn Syrup 
Clearly a lot of people find this site through searching for dinosaur preschool activities. :)

And since a lot of these posts weren't from 2012 here are a few of my favorites that I posted in 2012.
Dragon Boat Festival


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