Wishful Thinking

I love fall. Too bad the Northern California weather doesn’t seem to agree with me. Therefore, I will *make* it happen. Even if that means sweating to death in my jeans and adorable flannel shirt, drinking pumpkin lattes when it’s 85 degrees out and burning apple cinnamon candles in my home, despite the a/c running.

So far, none of this has worked. So last Sunday, I pulled out the big guns. It was time to make my momma’s Pumpkin Crunch Cake. Desperate times call for desperate measures, people.

This being the case, I attempted to recall the recipe as best as could, seeing as how my momsie was out of town at the time. Normally, I would just wait to get the correct recipe, but something had to be done about this nonexistent fall season.

I wracked my brain and came up with the main ingredients. Canned pumpkin, yellow cake mix, evaporated milk and BUTTER. Lots and lots of butter.

I also remembered that this was a kind of dump cake, meaning you just mix and bake. Butter and easy? Does it get more *awesome* than that?

So, armed with my foggy memory and cups of butter, I attempted the recipe. Thank heavens, it turned out. Almost as good as my momma’s. Almost.

Pumpkin Crunch Cake

by Sarah’s momma

15 oz. canned pumpkin

10 oz. can evaporated milk

1 c. packed brown sugar

3 eggs

1 t. pumpkin pie spice

1 box yellow cake mix

1 c. butter, melted

1/2 -1 c. chopped walnuts (I used toffee bits as the men folk in my home aren’t fond of walnuts)

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9×13 pan. Set aside.

Mix together pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs,  and pumpkin pie spice. Pour into greased pan.

Next, sprinkle yellow cake mix over pumpkin mixture. Drizzle melted butter over the yellow cake mix and sprinkle on the walnuts or toffee bits.

Bake @350 for 40-45 minutes.

Eat heartily and with lots of vanilla ice cream.

October 18, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . All About Me, Family, House and Home. 2 comments.

Curling up

There is an insane storm going on outside. Crazy rain, wind strong enough to blow our spa cover off, and *cold* temperatures that are making this California girl terribly unhappy. I know, I know. Those of you that don’t live in California are laughing at my weakness, but hey, 40 degrees is down right frigid to us. So go easy on me.

Weather like this makes me want to curl up in a ball on the couch with a good book. And I like to stay in that ball for the remainder of the day. So that’s what I plan on doing today. I’ve taken stock of the books I’m reading and thought I’d share them with you. It’s always cool to see what other people are reading and get some good ideas for the next rainy day read-in. I am a multi-book reader, by the way. I have to have at least 3 books going at once. It drives my husband crazy. So here they are:

 

 

1.  Emma by Jane Austen – I’ve read this so many times, and yet I’m reading it again. And I’ll read it again next year, and the year after that, and the year after that, and the year after that…

2.Henry and the Paper Route by Beverly Clearly – Okay, okay. This isn’t really my book, but I’m reading it with Max and we both are enjoying it *immensely.* If you have boys, or have been a boy, you will end up loving Henry.

3. O Pioneers! by Willa Cather – I bought this about a year ago, right after I read My Antonia. I do love the way she describes the characters in her books and how she’s not afraid to let them have flaws.

4. Abraham Lincoln by Carl Sanburg – Not for the faint of heart. This book is my attempt at continuing education, and while I’m learning *tons* I can only take it in small doses. So, with that being the case, I should finish it in the year 2025.

 

So, what are you reading? I’m always looking for new books to add to my ever growing ‘to read’ list. That’s the list that for every one book I read, I add six new ones. So, share your faves, peeps! And happy reading.

 

 

February 25, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . All About Me, Family, House and Home. 4 comments.

Home, Sweet Mess

I have become obsessed with home decorating blogs. There. I said it. I love perusing them, ohing and awing over the creativity and resourcefullness I see. But along with the inspiration comes conflict. I’m always envious of the pictures of nice, clean, organized rooms, with everything put in it’s place. I’m envious because that’s how I wish my house was. Not that my house is dirty or anything. I *am* after all, a self confessed neat freak. So while dirt isn’t an issue, clutter is. And for one reason only.

I am a mother.

 

Sarah Dawson Photography

 

Who would have thought that these three angelic creatures would wreak havoc on the home? Don’t believe me? I have proof. I walked through my home this morning, shooting pictures of all the chaos that lay in the wake of these three and as painful as this is, I’ve decided to swallow my pride and share them with you. Here goes:

Kitchen Playmobil explosion

 

Close up of the carnage

 

Monster Truck Madness

 

Sling shot. Notice the fingerprints on the table? *Sigh*.

 

More kitchen mayhem

 

The mess even found it's way into my private sanctuary.

 

I share these pics with you in hopes that I will give some of you peace through your clutter. I have spent years trying to follow the hurricane around cleaning up the destruction left in it’s wake. But to no avail. I’ve made my peace with the clutter and now have employed a way that keeps everyone happy. Baskets. The best invention. Ever.

 

 

February 4, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , . All About Me, Family, Hands Full Creations, House and Home. 3 comments.

Beds, Bathrooms and other Inspirations

I am fighting this crazy desire to buy paint and wallpaper this morning. It’s a feeling I fight often enough these days, especially since the house I’m living in at the moment has bare, taupe colored walls, just screaming to be updated. No offense to those who like taupe.

Beds for Boys

The room I’m dying to get to these days is my boys’ room. Those of you who know me might be scratching your heads, seeing as how I’ve already painted and designed in there. But, the whole bedding situation has never satisfied me. You see, I have 3 boys. 3 boys who love to be in the same room. 3 boys who love to chat at night when they’re going to sleep, who love to listen to stories on cd together and wake up together. So, even though we now have room for them to have their own rooms, they opted not to separate. You can imagine how this did my momma’s heart good. Anyway, how to manage three twin sized beds in one room is now my dilemma. I have been racking my brain on how to place the beds, on what kind of beds, etc… After 3 months of brainstorming, nothing.

Until last night, when I was perusing flickr. There I was, flickring here and there around my favorite groups of photos and I saw it. The most brilliant idea ever, and it came from bumpercrop.wordpress.com. This chick is a genius. Click on the blog and see for yourself.

So now here I am, totally on fire to hang 3 beds from the wall. Crazy, yes. But I’ve already convinced my poor, long suffering husband of the idea, as well as building me the bed platforms. Thanks, bumpercrop. You are amazing.

Bathroom Idea

The boys have a bathroom in their room. Yes, that is *awesome*. A whole bathroom that they can use as the ‘boy’ bathroom. I’m in heaven. But, it’s a white hole. Nothing but white as far as the eye can see. So, what to do with it?

I’ve fallen head over heels in love with subway tile. It’s very strange to see that in type, but there it is. And yes, those are white too, but, just stick with me. Here’s what I’m thinking. Dark grout. It makes the white tiles stand out fantasticly. Is that even a word? My spell check says no. Anyway, here’s a visual:

 

And then there’s color. I was thinking black/white/lime green. Something like this:

 

or this:

 

Thoughts? Ideas? Too much? Let me know.

 

Other Inspirations

I bet you all thought I forgot about Color Thursday in my excitement over hanging beds and subway tile. While those are quite distracting, nothing tears my thoughts away from awesome color schemes. Today, for your viewing pleasure, we have:

Plum and Gray

Flower Brooch

 

Chunky Reversible Cowl

Plum Rose Pillow

 

Plum Pudding Sterling Silver Necklace

 

Grey Dresser

 

Purple Romance

 

Bee-u-tee-ful, If I say so myself. A bit of a wintery feel, soft yet elegant. And ever so pretty. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

November 4, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . All About Me, Family, Hands Full Creations, House and Home. 3 comments.

One man’s trash

It’s official. I’m obsessed with Craigslist. Every morning finds me with a fresh brewed cup of joe, searching my greater Sacramento area for super deals and awesome finds. I’ve searched for things from rugs and drapes to plantation blinds and vintage french doors. I’ve even taken to looking for an old travel trailer to restore, but that’s a different story entirely. Anyway, recently, after searching and searching for weeks, I finally scored. Two Ikea couches for less than the price of one brand new one. Yes! Just thinking about it makes me smile all over again. In fact, I’m so proud of my little deal that I’m going to share them with you.

 

The pic of the loveseat from the listing.

 

 

Loveseat

 

The pic of the loveseat in my room. I kept the red corduroy slipcover, seeing as how it looked good against the green walls. I gave it a good wash and voila!

 

 

The couch pic from the listing.

 

 

This is the pic of the sofa with the new slipcover. That, now that I think about it, was another great deal off of Ebay. A $100 savings! And while I love the gray, I think it needs something. Red toss pillows, perhaps?

 

 

 

And while this next find wasn’t a Craigslist goodie, I couldn’t help but show it off. It revealed it’s lovely self to my mom, sisters and I on one of our list trips to the local thrift store. And this find made all of those other dud trips worth while. Check out my amazing vintage mirror!

 

 

Care to guess what I paid? Hmmmm? I’ll show you.

 

 

Seriously, I almost fainted dead away. Thankfully, my sisters’ squeals helped me keep my wits about me long enough to snatch that baby up and pay for her. Sweet.

 

Please don’t think that since I found such a great bargain, I’m letting up on my daily Craigslist search. Far from it. I now have my eye on some great dining room chairs and some pretty awesome patio furniture. Yep. Obsession.

 

 

October 26, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , . All About Me, Hands Full Creations, House and Home, Remodel. 5 comments.

I declare it Fall.

And to prove it, I’m going to share my all time favorite fall time recipe, Dipped Gingersnaps. My addict/husband begs me to make them year round, but I simply can’t get myself to do it. After all, there’s nothing more autumn-like than ginger and cinnamon. I’m just not convinced that they’d be quite as fantastic if I whipped up a batch in July. Could be the control freak in me, not sure. Hubby/Addict has also made it quite clear that he thinks I’m nuts for sharing the recipe. He’d prefer I keep it under lock and key, surrounded by razor wire and lasers. Why, I’m not exactly sure. Something about not giving away a precious gem, but I can’t help but disagree. I feel recipes are meant to be shared amongst friends. And that’s what we are, yes? So, without further ado, my recipe.

 

Dipped Gingersnaps

 

4 cups flour

1 tablespoon ground ginger

2 teaspoons cinnamon

4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

2 cups sugar

1/2 cups molasses

2 eggs

2 packages vanilla chips

1/4 cup vegetable shortening

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.

In large mixing bowl, combine oil and sugar. Mix well. Add molasses and continue stirring. Add eggs one a time, mixing well after each addition.

Now add dry mixture in several small batches, mixing well after each addition. Dough will be fairly stiff.

Pour a bit of granulated sugar into a small bowl. Roll dough in to small balls, about 1 inch in size. Roll balls in sugar an place on ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. DO NOT OVERBAKE. Can’t stress this enough. They won’t be nearly as soft and yummy if you let them bake longer.

Once cookies have cooled you can start melting the chips for dipping. Be sure to spread some parchment paper or waxed paper on your counters before you start dipping. You’ll want a clean surface to lay your dipped cookies on.

Place vanilla chips and shortening in a medium sized bowl. In a small saucepan, add about 2 inches of water, and place over low heat. Place your medium sized bowl over water in saucepan, making sure bowl is big enough to sit on the saucepan. The steam from the boiling water will melt the vanilla chips nice and slow.

Stir chips and shortening until completely melted. Once melted, start dipping your cookies. Dip each cookie in melted chips, about half way, shaking off excess. Place on parchment or waxed paper. Let cool for a few hours until the coating has hardened. Enjoy!

Makes 4 dozen

The finished product

 

I was going to take pics of the whole baking process, but in typical Sarah fashion, I forgot. Oh well. This photo will motivate the most health conscience, fitness freak to whip up a batch of gingery goodness. So, enjoy and Happy Fall!

October 19, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . All About Me, Family, Hands Full Creations, House and Home. 2 comments.