Tuesday, November 24, 2009

From the mouths of babes...

Sometimes, as parents, we avoid telling our young children the truth. We don't explain things the way we should or don't show how we really feel simply because we think they are incapable of comprehending. But the fact is, they do feel...they do understand...and so much more than we give them credit for.

While having dinner last night, I overheard this conversation between my daughter and youngest son.

Missy: "If you had one wish, what would it be?"
Matthew: "I'll wish Mama's mom back."
Missy: "Why?"
Matthew: "Because that would make Mama happy."

How sensitive is my son to my feelings.  Oftentimes, I even think that, at his tender age of 8, he knows me even deeper than most people do.  I thanked him for what he wished for but quickly added that I did not desire for his Lola to come back.  If she does, I told him, she'd only get sick again and I do not want that.  She is much better off staying in heaven...

Mom and Matthew in 2005

Friday, November 20, 2009

Homemade Goodness!

The next time I pass by Krispy Kreme, I would surely have seconds thoughts about buying their (expensive) doughnuts for my family.  Today, I made a major breakthrough for myself...maybe a small one for some, but definitely, a big deal for me!

I cooked this wonderfully light and soft yeast doughnuts...a first for me but for sure, will be followed by batches and batches more.  My whole family loved them!

The doughnuts did not have holes as I do not have a proper cutter.  But who cares about the holes?  They're yummy in whatever shape.  Next time, I'll probably try them with chocolate icing and some nuts...

Want to have a go?  Here's the recipe.  Enjoy!

Yeast Doughnuts

3 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 cup sugar
1 sachet (8g) INSTANT dry yeast (about 2 1/4 tsp)**
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup warm milk
2 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Extra butter to grease bowl
Cooking oil for deep frying

Mix together flour, salt, nutmeg, sugar, and yeast.  Add egg, milk, butter, and vanilla. Mix until well-combined. Knead dough for about 8 to 10 minutes until it is soft and smooth.

Place dough in a large greased bowl. Turn dough to grease its entire surface. Cover bowl with cling wrap and stand in a warm place until dough is double in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

Punch down dough and turn out into a lightly floured board. Roll it out (with a rolling pin) until it is about 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut rounds using a doughnut cutter. Carefully transfer to greased baking sheets and let rise again until double in size, about an hour.

Deep fry doughnuts in hot oil until golden brown on both sides, then drain in paper towels. While warm, roll in white sugar or ice tops as desired.

**Take note: I used INSTANT dry yeast and therefore, mixed it directly with the other ingredients.  If using ACTIVE dry yeast, it would be necessary to dissolve it first in some of the warm milk along with a bit of sugar.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Of special occasions and wonderful things

The past few days have been pretty full that I've had no time to write something new here.  Last Friday (the 13th) was both my husband and niece's birthdays.  My niece loved the red velvet cupcakes I made for my mom's birthday that she requested if I could bake some (40 pieces in fact!) to share with her classmates and teachers.

I had enough leftover cream cheese frosting to use for another batch of cupcakes (this time, chocolate buttermilk) for my husband.

The following day, my husband and I reupholstered our dining chairs. The original fabric upholstery was so difficult to keep clean, what with four kids, that I had decided to change it to vinyl. This was supposed to be a task for my husband alone but after he did two chairs, Quality Control just had to step in (that would be me!). He gladly let me do it my way.  I am very pleased with the outcome...boring but more manageable anyhow. 

(Sorry...I forgot to take 'before' photos...)

The vinyl cost $14.95 AUD a meter.  We used up less than two meters for the six chairs. Not bad at all, don't you think?

On Sunday, we had 4 different families over to watch the Manny Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto boxing match on cable TV.  This is a really huge thing among Filipinos, you know.  I am not so used to having visitors around so it was kind of tiring but fun, nevertheless.  The win by the 'Pacman' was a great bonus to the fun indeed!

Yesterday, I accompanied my sister in law for a 2-hour drive to Robert Gordon Pottery. She had wanted some serving dishes custom-made.  What beautiful ceramics and dinnerware they had in there!  The long travel was well worth it.  I happily came home with a few items...factory seconds at great, low prices.

I had actually purchased a few more things (something to do with cupcakes...) but I will reserve showing those off for a future post.

Anyway, in between all these, I still managed to squeeze in some sewing.  We are experiencing an early summer here in Australia (seems like we skipped Spring altogether!) that I had promised my son I would make him his own water bottle carrier.  That way we could freeze his water and it would keep cold for school.

The long strap on this was salvaged from a worn-out mini messenger bag I had and the camo fabric is a remnant from a previous project.  Very manly, isn't it?

I have more projects (suitable for the hot weather) in my head but I really don't know when I would have the time to sit down and work on them. I don't even know if I would be able to achieve a handmade Christmas this year, just like in 2008.  Seems as though I am already running out of time.  Well, anyway, speaking of handmade Christmas, Handmade Holidays 2009 is already on at Sew, Mama, Sew! (in case you haven't heard by now). Just click on the button on the sidebar to view a range of awesome crafting. And also watch out for their Giveaway Day. I will definitely be joining in again! That will be on the 2nd of December.  Head on to the SMS blog for details.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

My First (and Second) Toy Society Drop!

This is long overdue.  I signed up with the Toy Society in April and have been postponing my toy drop since.  Well...at last, I decided that today was to be THE day.  I took out two of my handmade softies yesterday, printed out the tags and letters, and packed them in zip lock bags, ready to be taken into the streets to look for a new home.

I set out really early this morning just to make sure no one will be watching me while I make the drop.  First stop was at a kindergarten just a few kilometers away.  Luckily, the gates weren't locked even on a Sunday and I was able to slip in easily.  I am really excited about the kids' reaction once the school opens tomorrow!

Second drop was over at the public library.  The library opens at 2:00pm (I think) on Sundays so no one was on sight that early.  I put my package right at the entrance.

So...what did I learn from this fun adventure?  Just one basic thing really... It is great to give and receive something in return.  But the joy that comes with giving something for nothing is so much greater.  I truly believe the giver is blessed by the whole experience in the same way as (or even deeper than) the receiver.  I'd gladly do this again anytime.

Want to spread the love this Christmas?  Why not sign up for the 2009 Worldwide Christmas Toy Drop?

Update (9th of November):  Yay! My two toy drops are now posted in the Toy Society site.  See them here and here.