Saturday, January 23, 2010

My renovated scrap corner (+ kids reading room)

We finally moved the queen size bed from our 'multi-purpose room' (which serves as a guestroom, my craft room, the kids reading room, summer changing room for swimming, diaper changing room for our guets). We got an Expedit shelf (+table) from IKEA and a couple of 'Billies' and turned the room into our official family craft room + kids' reading room.

Rub-ons, stickers and clear stamps are stored in folders. I bought some of the storage sheets from Ebay where you can store 4-6 stamps on a page. For the Studio G dollar stamp sets, I used the baseball card holders. The file folders are those made to house 8.5 x 11 sheets. In one drawer, I stored all my Making Memories paints, the other - all my bling. I have to store my inks in another drawer and the acrylic blocks and additional wood stamps in the other. Most of my embellishments are categorized and placed in boxes. Ribbons are in glass or plastic jars, a few are in storage boxes as well.

We left the Crop in Style cubs and the overhead shelf (also from IKEA) at their original spot, added a small corner table and a couple of beanbags as the reading corner. We moved the original bookshelves to the other side of the room and placed the new shelves next to them. We then moved all the kids' books and crafts into these shelves. Because the Expedit shelf won't house the vertical Cropper Hopper 12x12 paper holders, I have to use the bottom bookshelves for my 12x12 papers.

The walls are not done yet.... I think we'll post some of the kids' drawings on the wall.. and maybe add a few more wall decors...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What did we do during Christmas?

We kickstart the holidays with baking brownies. We made enough cookies and brownies for all the teachers and packaged them nicely in Martha Stewart boxes that were on sale.

After that, it was all a blur. What did we do during the holidays? Let's see, we cooked, ate, went up North to enjoy the snow twice, took the Polar Express, saw a couple of movies, went to a few parties and we made these ....

Friday, January 15, 2010

Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake

I made this cheesecake for our Thanksgiving party... I know.. it's been MONTHS... I finally got a chance to write down the recipe, and maybe post some Christmas baking pics sometime soon! :)

I found two recipes originally. One for a chocolate pumpkin cheesecake and the other one for a mocha chocolate pumpkin cheesecake. Since we have many young guests, I cut down on the coffee and also simplified the procedures a little.

3 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 cups finely crushed chocolate graham crackeres
3 - 8 oz packages of Neufchatel or cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar; 1/4 cup light brown sugar
5 large eggs
2 cups cooked pumpkin puree or 1 can (16 oz) solid pack pumpkin
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup semi sweet chocolate morsels
4 tablespoons hot strong coffee

Cheesecake crust
1. Heat oven to 350F. Melt 3 tbs of butter; combine with crushed graham crackers and strong coffee. Press into bottom and partially up the sides of a 9 inch springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Sprinkle half cup of chocolate morsels on pie crust.

2. Use an electric beater at medium speed, cream Neufchatel or cream cheese for 3 - 4 minutes. Beat in sugar gradually, continuing for 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in pumpkin and vanilla.

3. Warm rest of the chocolate morsels in warm water bath until melted. Spoon in 1/2 cup of the pumpkin mixture and mix well.

4. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the crust. Spoon in chocolate pumpkin mixture over top and swirl to make pattern. Save some mixture for mending cracks later on.

5. Bake for 60 - 65 minutes or until the rim is set and the center is slightly unset (after cooling down the center will firm up). Remove from oven and cool in pan. Remove the ring from the springform pan before the cake cools down).

6. Use the chocolate pumpkin mixture to mend any surface cracks if necessary.

Our family loves mango. So I've substituted pumpkin puree with mango puree. I will experiment with other fruit to see which ones taste good. The mango cheesecake was a big hit too: