Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Broccoli Soup

My kids love broccoli and we've eaten it a lot lately, but I still had half of that huge bag from Costco and didn't want it to go I thought, Soup!  Growing up my dad made THE best cream of broccoli soup, ask anyone who knows him they will concur.  

This recipe is a combination of my dad's recipe and a recipe I found on Pinterest.
I still want to try to it with coconut milk but I didn't have any on had the other night.

We really try to teach and enforce manners at the dinner table but when they slurp the last bits of soup because it is THAT good, well, we let it slide.  As a mom who is trying to please everyone at the dinner table, this is a victory!!  I know you can relate. 

Here's the recipe:

Cream of Broccoli Soup

1 - 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
8 cups water 
4 Chicken Boullion cubes
5 cups broccoli, coarsely chopped
1 cup cream or half and half
Roux - 1/4 c butter, 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. curry
salt to taste
white pepper to taste

Saute onions and garlic in olive oil, add seasonings saute a little longer and then add broccoli, water, chicken flavoring cubes.  Bring to a boil and then let simmer 10 mins.  Take off heat and with an immersion blender, blend soup.  Put back on stove.  
Make roux in small saucepan with 1/4 c. butter and 1/4 c flour, mix together on med heat. Add to soup and mix with wire wisk until soup is thickened.  Add cream and serve.

Hope your family enjoys this as much as mine did!


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Handmade dolls

This line-up is pretty darn crafty and cute eh?  Well, you too can be crafty and cute.  These little dolls are some of my kids favorite toys and I've also made some for birthday presents for my older  nieces and nephew (I'm talking 8, 10, 12, 14 yrs old...per their request!!).  The great thing with these is you don't have to be a perfectionist or super crafty, I'm neither.  

These were the first handmade toys I tried and I got the pattern from here.  I used cheap gloves from Target, I think you can find them right now on clearance.  And then, embellish away!  Do you like the "Y" dog?  My husband brought home some navy blue gloves one day and hinted it would be cool to have a BYU dog for Noah.....I think he used the baby as a cover! bahaaa

These darling Black Apple dolls I made with some friends, I think they turned out so cute and my girls LOVE them as much as I do!  Click here for the know how.

These "not so pretty" dolls turned out pretty ugly but in a good way....honestly so cheap and easy.  Made these with another friend one day using felt we had on hand.  I'd love to make a larger one for my son.  We just found a picture of the dolls we wanted to make and made patterns of them by hand.  They aren't exact but who cares?  If you need a tutorial, go here for help.  I think this would be a fun project for kids.

Hope you get your craft on!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Little Dapper

You know how you like to play with dolls?  This is my doll.  I had so much fun dressing him yesterday for church.  Are you also a nerd like me?  Thought so.   Anyway, I bought Noah these white loafers and knew he needed plaid pants and a bow tie to boot!  My super talented friend Natalie made her little boy some plaid pants and told me she got the pattern from this website.  I made the legs taper just a bit so they didn't look like clown pants with the plaid fabric.  I tried really hard to match the pattern on the front....all I can say is I'm a novice and a little impatient!  

This is his classic "crusty" face, it makes me want to munch him even more!  Bow ties are in and they are pretty easy and super cheap to make.  You can find the tutorial here.    

Of course, the sissys couldn't resist a photo op.  I did not teach them to pose.  Nor do they want iCarly or Jessie.....I think it's funny that they have to pose.  I should take some notes from them!

Happy Monday!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

This Week's Favorites

You know how you buy or find something that you end up loving?  
Well, this week I have three:

1. SoBe lifewater Pacific Coconut drink....only 80 calories and no crazy sweeteners, just pure cane sugar and coconut water.  That combo to me is heavenly!  Chris and I went and saw 'This Means War' last night (a must see!) and afterwards we wanted a healthy treat and picked up one of these and now we are hooked!  We stocked up at Target today. 

2. Blue Hydrangea arrangement from Target.  My husband loves these and he has rubbed off on me because I just adore it in my kitchen, it makes me happy!  We have a hydrangea plant in our front yard and Chris works so hard each summer to make it blue by adding aluminium sulfate to the soil.  In Utah our dirt is too base, it needs to be more acidic.  

3. Acrylic Make-up Organizer.  My sister Diana gave this to me because she got a  new one. I used to have my make-up in a bag on my always looked so messy.  I love how this fits in my drawer so nicely and keeps my make-up so clean and organized.  You can find these all over the place.  

We'd love to hear about the products you love as of late!


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Painted Tables

Four years ago we inherited these table and chairs from my in-laws.  They used to be honey. blah!  I knew I wanted to paint the chairs white and I wasn't quite sure what color to paint the table.  I chose a darker blue than my walls, but not much darker.  We painted it and put it in the room and it was horrible because there was no contrast!  Chris, my husband, said "let's paint it gray".  I totally questioned him but then agreed thinking it could be cool but if I hate it, I'll repaint it again.  Don't you think we he chose well?  

I love how neutral the gray is and how well it goes in my blue house.  I love light, fresh colors and it's perfect!  

My kitchen table is also painted and this one came from our local second hand store Deseret Industries three years ago.  I got the table and all six chairs for $64!!!  Did you know you can haggle?  When my BIL delivered them my husband might have sworn at "what the H Mel!"  They used to be old, smelly, stained walnut!  Ewww.  I told him to trust me.  

I love the camel back arch shape at top and the cane backs!  It's what I always wanted but thought I'd have to spend $3000.  With new foam and fabric total cost is $125! Woot. woot.  
I scotchguarded the seats because I wanted designer fabric.  I used a remnant piece of Ralph Lauren black and white herringbone from a design job a few years back.  Then on the side chairs I found some damask at JoAnn's on sale.  

The smaller scale is perfect for my small nook area and I love the black and white with my white kitchen.  My husband completely trusts me now! 

Do you have a painted table you just love?  Please share pictures.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tea Party Birthday

This is my beautiful Alex at age 3.  I threw her a darling tea party for her birthday three years ago and with her being my oldest, this was my first kid party and of course, I probably had more fun than the anyone else nerdy like that?

 I have a few neighbors that also have kids Pottery Barn and DownEast tables and chairs.  We borrow each other's for our kids birthday parties.  I think it's much more quaint and kid friendly when they are all gathered around the small tables.

I made tea hats for each of the little girls, I found these at Target in the $1 section during the Easter season and then hot glued pieces of boa feathers around the brim.  Can you say inexpensive??  I was just at Target today and they just put out all their Easter stuff yesterday!  I was there picking up some little white gloves for my mother/daughter tea party next month.  

 I served little pb&j tea sandwiches, and grilled cheese tea size sandwiches along with fruit and cookies.

Pink lemonade served in these cool plastic tea cups from Zurcher's (in the wedding aisle.)

One of my first simple but still festive and cute!

I tried to talk my girls into having a tea party birthday party this spring for their 4th and 6th birthday's but they declined me!  Instead, we are doing Mermaid and Pink Poodle.  Should be fun!


Best Ever Banana Cake

My sisters and I threw our dad a surprise birthday party when he turned 70 last month.  I was in charge of the cakes and figured I wanted to serve something yummy over something beautiful!  I think everyone ate seconds. Actually, I KNOW everyone ate seconds.  It is just SO moist and sweet.  I'm drooling now.   Anyway,  I've had numerous people ask for the recipe and  I can't really take credit for this, I got it from my dear friend whom I often share recipes with.

Best Banana Cake Ever. (really, truly!)

1/2 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
3 bananas (mashed)
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt 


Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Grease a jelly roll pan or other cake pan you desire.   In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients:  Flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  In a large bowl cream together butter, sugar, eggs, sour cream and vanilla.  Then add mashed bananas.  When all wet ingredients  are combined add in dry mixture.  Pour and spread into pan.

Bake at 300 degrees.  Jelly roll bake time is 30-35 min.  Adjust time for other pans.

Frost cake when it is cool.


6 oz cream cheese
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup soft butter
3 cups powdered sugar

XO, Tami

Friday, February 17, 2012

Valentine's recap

This is my Valentine.  He's pretty cute, eh?  This picture was taken by my 5 yr old who has a broken arm and then I went and ruined it edited it and well, not our best pic!  

We have a Valentine's Day tradition that we started 3 years ago.  It's our Surf and Turf dinner, busting out the crystal and linens.  I love showing my kids the finer things in life!
And of course we always do chocolate fondue but I decided to prevent the mess and pre-dip the strawberries, plus they look so purdy that way!

There are always the special  When they get older I see giving jewelry, perfume or wallets.  My sweet boy LOVES balls and 'ball' is one of two words that he says.  The other word is Dadda. (wah wahhhh!)  
I love celebrating with my children and I feel it creates special memories for them. 

xo Melanie

A new tradition

I started collecting tea cups 4 years ago knowing that one day I would have a tea party.  I have a wee obsession with them and love to find them when I'm out shopping and i have had many given to me as gifts!   I'm quite fond of my collection. Well, I decided that "one day" was here!
 I hosted the tea party at 10 so we could do a simple brunch and because 16 out of the 23 children between the 7 of us were at school.  We wanted to enjoy ourselves as much as possible!

 This is my current favorite tea cup.  Isn't it gorgi?  It's looks a little art decoish to me.

 Speaking of gorgi?  What do you think of this silver tea set from Milan Italy?  Yes folks, ITLY!  My in-laws picked it up on a trip to Italy three years ago.  I think I'm on the short list to inherit it one day.  (fingers crossed.)

 I made this delicious lemon blueberry cake from Pinterest.  It was divine.  Really.  Best bundt cake ever!

 I also served orange scones with orange glaze.  It's a really easy recipe, you can make them up quick and can change the flavor to lemon or to whatever you want!  This recipe comes from one of my BFF's and when I serve them or take them places, everyone raves about them! 

I had such an enjoyable time with some of my dear friends and decided I am going to host a monthly tea party.  Next month's guest list:  My 3 friends and their 5 year olds plus me and my 5 yr old Alexandra.   A mom and daughter tea teach some etiquette and drink some yummy herbal tea!  Hats will probably be required.

Swedish Scones Recipe:

2 C. Flour
1/4 C. Sugar
1/8 tsp. Salt
1 Tbsp. Baking Powder
1 1/4 C. Heavy Whipping Cream (you can also use whipping cream or half and half)

Add in any fresh, frozen or dried fruit.  Add extracts to enhance flavor and rinds.  For the orange scones I used the rind of one orange, the juice and about a tsp. of orange extract.  My favorite combos are craisins with orange and blueberries with lemon.

With a spoon, mix all the ingredients until wet.  Form into ball. Press into circle on floured counter about 3/4" thick.  Cut into 8 pie shapes (or make two smaller circles for 16 smaller scones.)  Spread butter on the tops and sprinkle with course sugar like Sugar in the Raw.  Bake at 350 degrees until tops are firm around 13 minutes.

Glaze Recipe:

1 C. Powdered Sugar
1 Tbsp. Fresh Lemon or Orange Juice
1/2 tsp. Lemon or Orange Extract
1 Tbsp. Melted Butter
2 Tbsp. Heavy Whipping Cream

Whisk until smooth. Drizzle over warm scones.  

Enjoy! xo Melanie

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I am a jam snob.

Did you know that you can make homemade jam with frozen fruit??  I did not.  And I'm so thrilled about it because we were on our last jar of jam from last summer and I was getting nervous!  

I pulled the strawberries out of the freezer this morning and let them thaw in a bowl and by 4pm they were ready to be turned into delicious homemade jam!

If you've never made jam before it is SO EASY!  Just buy some freezer jam packets at the store in the baking isle and follow the directions on the package.  It's that easy folks.  Seriously.  And when you have made jam you may get the canning bug and try something else like salsa or peaches! 


Friday, February 10, 2012


I L.O.V.E garlands and any excuse I have to make a new one, is good enough for me! I used my favorite Cricut cartridge Storybook to cut every layer of this garland , except for the paper hearts. I think it looks like a stamp on a love letter. 

Here's my Valentine's mantle with Bucky, I couldn't take him down since I just got him for Christmas.  He'spretty versatile, don't you think?!