Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Allison: Second Annual Girls' Weekend

Hello again!  Sara's recent post motivated me to finally post again.  I know how busy Sara is with prepping for a big move, so if she can find time, so can I.  This post will be dedicated to the "Sisters" part of "Five Crafty Sisters".  I promise to address the "Crafty" part next time.  :)

We, the Platt sisters, just had our 2nd annual Girls' Weekend, this last month.  Most of us (all the contributors of this blog) met in Utah and spent 3 days and 2 nights chatting, eating and spending time together.  It was so much fun, and made me even more homesick for family.

This year, our mother was able to join us, and brought our father as a travel buddy.  Our first night all together, we had a family barbecue and enjoyed time visiting with lots of nieces, nephews, in-laws and siblings.

The Girls
Mama Platt, Micky (SIL), Allison, Shauna (& baby), Lisa, Sara

Who's that girl ruining all the photos?!  :)

Sorry, Shaun... I love this picture!  

"Salt and Pepper"

The Boys
Briant (brother), Papa Platt, Dave (BIL), Rich (BIL)

It was fun to see everyone and to be reminded of what an amazingly fun family I have.  It also made me even more excited for our family reunion this Summer!

The rest of the weekend was spent talking some more, eating and eating and eating.  We even got to throw an almost surprise baby shower for Shauna.  She finally figured out something was happening as we tried to shop for baby clothes while she was with us.  We weren't very subtle.  :)

Quality cell phone picture.  Probably should have had her sit
on the opposite side of the table.  Oops!

As we ate some delicious breakfast food, we talked about the future of this blog, and how much we've enjoyed contributing.  As life gets busy, babies are born and technology doesn't always cooperate, we might not be as consistent as we once were, but we're trying.  :)

I LOVED spending time with my sisters and appreciate our individual personalities and points of view. I'm committing now to post more regularly.  We'll see if it happens.  Have a great week!


Monday, May 27, 2013

End of the Year Teacher Gift

Hello blogging world!  Oh, how I've missed you!  

This past week, my little girl graduated from Pre-K (AND had her cast taken off, AND had her first loose tooth...big week for us!). 

I have to admit, tears were shed.  I wasn't quite prepared to experience the flood of emotions that I did as I watched Penelope give her sweet teacher, Ms. Amanda, a hug for the last time and then to see the tears in Ms. Amanda's eyes....very touching!  Penelope had the most amazing teacher and I was so thankful that she was Penelope's first school experience.  

Both Penelope and I have been thinking for along time about what we should do as a thank you for all the hard work Ms. Amanda put in this past year.  We finally came to the following project.  I am all about a heart-felt, homemade project to show someone how much you appreciate them.  We actually went out and bought her a really cute coffee mug (she's an avid tea drinker) but I really felt that there was no heart in it so it is still sitting on my piano instead.

All of the materials needed for this project were in my craft supplies.  For Christmas, I made my hubby a magnetic Scrabble game so everything was left over from that project.  If you don't have these items just laying around, check your local Goodwill of DI game section to see if they have any Scrabble games.  I know you can also buy some letter tiles at craft stores - I just like the real Scrabble tiles.  The rolled magnet strip was purchased at Joann's.  My kids love to make magnets so we ALWAYS have this at my house.

To assemble the magnetic letter tiles, simply cut a piece of magnet to fit the back of the letter tile and glue it on with the hot glue gun.  The magnetic strip will have some adhesive on it but I have learned from previous experience that it needs a little extra glue to stay long term.  

For my "cookie jar", I found a cool old jar in my collection and then found a metal lid that fit the top.  Penelope painted the lid Ms. Amanda's favorite color.  Then we stuck the letters to the lid, filled the jar with cookies and this is what you end up with...

Here is a picture without the magnets on top.

We paired this gift with a homemade card from Penelope to Ms. Amanda.

As for the cookies, this is my new favorite cookie recipe - peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies.  I have NEVER liked peanut butter cookies until I found this recipe from my favorite cookbook, The Grand Central Baking Book.  Now, MY peanut butter cookies are my favorite cookies.  I altered this recipe and added milk chocolate chips and it is even better!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

* 3 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking soda
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup butter, at room temperature
* 1 cup granulated sugar, plus extra for rolling the cookies
* 1 cup packed brown sugar, light or dark
* 1 cup peanut butter, at room temperature
* 2 eggs, at room temperature
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 1 bag (or approximately two cups) milk chocolate chips

1.  Preheat the oven to 350*.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  Put one cup of sugar into a medium bowl for rolling the cookies.
2.  Using a mixer with a paddle, beat the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar on medium speed for 4 minutes, or until mixture is lighter in color and fluffy.  Add the peanut butter and cream for another minute.  Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl several times during this process.
3.  While the mixer is running, crack the eggs into a cup and add the vanilla.  Do this to ensure you don't get egg shells into your dough.  Reduce the speed to low, then slowly pour in the eggs, letting them fall in one at a time and incorporating the first egg completely before adding the next.  Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl once during the process.
4.  Measure the flour, baking soda, and salt into a bowl and whisk to combine.  If flour or baking soda is clumpy, sift the dry mixture.
5.  Gradually add the dry ingredients (in two or three additions) with the mixer on low speed.  Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.  With the mixer on low, add the chocolate chips.
6.  I like to use a tablespoon scooper for my cookies so they are all about the same size.  Scoop out your dough, using your hands, roll the dough into a ball then roll the ball in the sugar, coating completely.  Place on the cookie sheet.
7.  When your sheet is full of cookie balls, lightly dust your fork with sugar or flour before pressing  to make a crisscross pattern and then press the cookies into 1/2-inch-thick disks.
8.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the edges are LIGHTLY brown.  I discovered the reason I don't normally like peanut butter cookies is because most people cook them until they are crispy.  I don't like that. I like a soft cookie.  If you want it more crispy, cook longer; otherwise, allow the cookies to rest on the sheet for three or four minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool (although I ALWAYS have to have at least one hot, right-off-the-cookie-sheet, gooey cookie).


Stay tuned the next several months for some big projects I will be working on in our new house we move into this week.  They include reclaimed barn wood flooring and a new kitchen!  I can't wait to show you!

Sara Jane