Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Corn Harvest is a family event at our house. 
Everyone gets involved.

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Strictly Saturday: Chocolate Chip Paradise Pie

I am late!
I am late!
I'm a little behind on posting my Strictly Saturday's post but I did bake!
Chocolate Chip Paradise Pie is one of my favorites but not one I make often.  
Last night I baked my pastry and then sent out word to Caleb and Gaby to come eat it while it is warm. 
It did not take long before I heard them at the door.  

I made them wait as I prepared the plate, swirling the Cinnamon Butter on the plate,
setting the pastry on the plate, 
scooping out a scoop of ice cream, 
and adding the final touch...the drizzles. 
Add a few nuts on top of this would be pretty, too but I forgot.

Gaby thought it was restaurant quality dessert.....hum-m!  
Caleb licked his plate and asked for seconds.

The recipe says it serves 9.
In my opinion, it would serve about 12 women but 6 men so averaging maybe 9 is a good estimate.
It is made in a 9" by 9" pan.  

So here it is....this heavenly dessert!

Chocolate Chip Paradise Pie

Cookie Layer:
                1 cup flour
                1/2 teaspoon baking soda
`               1/4 teaspoon baking powder
                1/2 cup butter, softened
                1/3 cup granulated sugar
                1 egg
                1 Tablespoon milk
                1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
                1/2 cup shredded coconut

Crust Layer
6 Tablespoons butter, melted
                1/4 cup sugar
                1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs

                1 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used the mini chips, they covered more easily and evenly)
                1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Cinnamon butter
                1/2 cup butter, softened
                3 Tablespoons sugar
                1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
Vanilla Ice Cream
Chocolate Syrup
Caramel Syrup

Cookie Layer: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. 
Measure the flour into a medium size bowl; add the baking soda and baking powder.  Set aside.   
Using an electric mixer, blend sugar and butter until smooth; add in egg, milk and vanilla.  Slowly add flour mixture to sugar mixture.   Blend until smooth.  Add coconut.  Set aside.

Crust Layer: Melt butter in microwave in a small bowl.  While butter is melting crush graham crackers into fine crumbs.  Mix together butter, graham cracker crumbs and sugar.  Pat into the bottom of a 9” x 9” pan. 

Pour chocolate chips evenly over crust.

Carefully spoon cookie mixture over chocolate chips. 
Sprinkle chopped walnuts over cookie mixture, carefully pressing them into the dough. 

Bake in preheated oven for 35 -45 minutes or until the edges turn a golden color. Don't overbake.

Prepare Cinnamon butter by blending all ingredients together.  Refrigerate until time to serve.

Serving Preparation:
Swirl a dab of cinnamon butter onto a heated plate  running the spoon through the butter to spread it across the plate or use an unheated plate and place in microwave for 30 seconds to melt the butter.

Plate a slice of pie on prepared plate.
Add a scoop of ice cream on top of pie.
Drizzle first caramel syrup, finishing with Chocolate syrup,

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My Challenge: A Painting A Day

Challenge, Dare, Double-Dog Dare, Triple-Dog Dare
No matter how you say it, it is a call to bring on your A-game!

Challenge: a call to test your abilities in a demanding but stimulating undertaking.  
Within the challenge there exists an opportunity for development to a higher level than previously achieved.
My new Little Gems Collection (Not the complete set.)

My challenge to myself was done on the spur of the moment. 
I typed it out and hit publish! 
Public humiliation was both a threat and a great motivator!
I knew if I did it publicly I would work my hardest to complete the task.  

So here I am with 38 new pieces of artwork to add to my collection at the end of my 6 week/6 days a week challenge.  So where am I now with this and what did I learn?

The first week and this last week were my two most difficult weeks of the whole challenge.  The first week I had to work out my plan of action and learn my limitations.  This last week with school ending and the changes taking place in my home life there are demands put on my physical time both at school and  at home that have to take priority but all for good.  On days when it looked like I was not going to get my work done I mourned the loss of my creative time.  At school my students rose to their own challenges as well and I saw a marked improvement in their work as well.  They stopped by often to see what was on my table, often stood over me to watch me while I painted, asked questions but most importantly they  recognized the value I place on being creative.  Some of them followed my lead and started working smaller in order to complete a larger number of works in a shorter amount of time.  
So here it is my top ten list!

Top Tens List of Things I Learned From my Challenge:
  1. After the first week painting became a habit. Habits, even good habits are missed if it does not happen.
  2. Working smaller and faster helped me to focus in on what is important and leave off the unnecessary.
  3. Photographing for the blog helped me to see where more contrast and brighter colors were needed.
  4. The timing does not have to be perfect nor do you have to be "in the mood.".  I can paint most anywhere; inside, outside, with people looking over my shoulder, with others talking to me, with the television on or off, music on or off, anywhere as long as I have enough space to put out my paint palette and my paper.
  5. Procrastination is a killer to creativity.  It is the big Satan of creativity.
  6. Plan to work!  Work your plan!  If you don't plan ahead, the work does not happen or it suffers.
  7. The approval or praise of others may boost my ego but is not a necessity to my achievements.
  8.  In like manner, the lack of praise or criticism can only sabotage my progress if I allow it to.
  9. If your work makes you happy, it does not feel like work.
  10. Creativity begets creativity. 
In summary:  I will not stop! I plan to work a little larger so faces are not just a little dot here and there so I may not have a painting a day but I will paint every day.

My 38th remains unpublished at this time.  It is in the center of the pile of paintings in the photo above.  It is a little larger and although I am now farther than the photo shows I wanted to give it a little more attention.  It will be published at completion.

Thank you to all of you for hanging in there with me and seeing me through to the end.
It was fun on my part, I think a growth experience. 
I challenge you to find your creative self!
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Monday, May 23, 2011

A Day of Celebration and Bonding

The weekend now past was as hectic as I expected.
It was exhilarating and exhausting!

We started the day with working on cake pops for our birthday celebration.  We made three different flavors; confetti, strawberry and chocolate.  We used vanilla candy melts and white chocolate and of course, chocolate for dipping.  The kids helped with sprinkles.

Then we had a pinata estrella.  The kids loved that.  Even after the pinata broke, they used the leftover pieces for a party hat!

Then the exhausting part started....the moving.  Moving continued long into the night, before they gave up from exhaustion, saving the rest for the next day. 

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Leann's Purse

My Mother's Day gift from my daughter, Leann, made me a purse.

I received a gift this past weekend. 
It is actually my Mother's day gift from my daughter, Leann.  
She made a purse for me, a very cute purse.  
It is nice size, not too large, not too small.  
And complete with a double sided pocket, stitched down the middle but zipped with one zipper.
The pleats reverse themselves from the top to the bottom, revealing contrasting fabrics. 

Thank you, Leann, I love it!
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Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Painting A Day: Topsail Island Beach

I believe I mentioned this is a hectic day with many activities going on. But when grilling the brisket meant I had to stand guard over it outside to make sure it did not go up in flames (this time) I moved my paints and painting outside and enjoyed the morning.  
The birds were singing and the sky was overcast slightly and for a little while I was misted with a very light mist of moisture from the sky.  We are in drought conditions here in my area so rain would be a blessing about now.  
In the time I was outside I finished up the little painting from Topsail Island.  The access across the sand dunes to the beach intrigued me the minute I saw it.  I took a number of photos of it.  I loved the rhythm the boards created in the boardwalk.  

Moved my painting outside.

Set up in line with the grill in my line of vision.
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Friday, May 20, 2011

Strictly Saturday: S'Mores Brownies

Busy Weekend coming up! 

Not only is the big move happening tomorrow but a birthday party! 

How fun!

While the big guys carry in the heavy furniture, the little ones are going to be dipping their cake pops and having fun outside.  (Be watching for pictures of the kids making their cake pops.)

This evening when I came in from school, I had on my mind all the things I need to be doing this weekend, so I started by whipping up some cakes to bake and shape for the cake pops for the party tomorrow.  By the time my cakes were cooled enough to shape into balls I also, had S 'mores Brownies baking in the oven for my Strictly Saturday's post.  

It is going to be a joyfully, rushed and hectic time in my household tomorrow!  I hope your weekend is a fun filled time with people you love.

I found this recipe on the Food Network website and revised it for myself so I did not have to run into town to buy anything else. 



S'more Brownies



  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons sugar


  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick)  butter 
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 4 ounces unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 4 large cold eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour


    • 4 cups large marshmallows

    Directions an 8 inch square baking dish with foil so the foil runs over the edges.  Spray or oil foil.

    Make graham cracker crust and press in bottom of pan.  Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes until browned.

    While crust if baking, mix up brownie.  Put butter, oil and cocoa in a glass bowl and place in microwave for 1 minute or until butter melts.  Stir until blended.  Add brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla.  Stir until blended.  Add eggs, one at a time and beat by beat until smooth.  Add flour and salt and beat until smooth.  

    Pour brownie batter over warm crust and place back in oven for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out nearly clean with just a few crumbs. 

    Place marshmallows on top of brownie and place until broiler about 6 inch under burner.  Watch carefully, and allow to heat until marshmallows start to brown (about 2 minutes).  

    Cool on rack.  

    Carefully remove S'mores Brownies from pan using the foil edges as flaps. Remove the foil.  Cut into squares. 

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