Saturday, December 31, 2011

In The Kitchen - French Buttercream

A few years ago (in 2008 to be exact) I found a recipe for French Buttercream icing. But until Christmas this year, I never had a reason to make it. Little man is on a "special diet," which we all try to follow; so I couldn't use just any old can of frosting for Jesus' Birthday Cake. So, out comes my recipe...

Hang on a second... 

Let me dust it off...

Awwww, here we go....


10 egg whites
15 ounces sugar

2 1/2 lbs unsalted butter, at room temperature.

Whip egg whites slowly in mixer until foamy. Increase the mixer speed, and slowly begin adding the sugar, until it is completely incorporated. Increase the mixer speed even more, and whip until the mixture is shiny and stiff. 

Doesn't that look appetizing. 

Turn the mixer on medium, and begin adding the butter a little at a time. Once all the butter is in, turn the mixer on high and let it go. 

Almost done!

The buttercream will take about 10-15 minutes to form. You'll know it's done when you hear the motor of the mixer start to slow. 

Also, it will be smooth and consistent...not a lumpy mess like the above to pictures.

All done!

I know you are just dying to stick your finger in the bowl to taste it. 

It's yummy, but don't eat to much by itself; I definitely felt a little sick after licking the whip and spatula.

Let me warn you will have A LOT of icing. I probably could have just halved the recipe, because I really didn't need that much; but you can store it in an air tight container for 1 to 2 weeks. 

Now, on to coloring. 

Place some of the icing in a separate bowl. I only used it for writing on the cake, so I didn't use that much. 

We don't use store food coloring here at Country Farm Place because Little Man is very sensitive to artificial coloring. So, I thawed 14 frozen organic raspberries in a small bowl, and used the juice to dye the icing. 

I was going for red, but it came out as a rosy pink, which is fine too. 

I stored the colored icing in a plastic bag so I could pipe it on the cake. I'm not all fancy over here with piping bags and what not. 

The bag in the back is colored with blueberries and blackberries. You can't really tell by the picture, but it is a light purple color. 

By the way, that container is all the icing I had left, after I frosted my cake; and it is still sitting in my refrigerator. I guess I'll be make a few more cakes in the next week...

Thought I'd throw in the cake all done.

Not all that amazing looking, it's not like I'm vying for a chance to be the next Top Chef. But it tasted good, and to me, that is all that matters. 

If you wanted to know, I cheated, and used a Cherrybrook Kitchen yellow cake mix. It as an all natural baking mix; and peanut, egg, dairy, and nut free. Great for people with allergies! 

Let me know if you make it and how it turns out. 

Happy Baking!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Holly Jolly Christmas

We have had a wonderful Christmas here on Country Farm Place. 

Lots of food.

Cookies, yummmm.

Making ravioli for Christmas dinner.

Lots of family. 

Lots of fun.

We even got to Skype with Hubby on Christmas morning, so he could watch Little Man open presents. 

And we definitely could not forget the reason for the season....celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior. 

Happy Birthday Jesus!

{Side-note: look out for my post on that cake...homemade french buttercream frosting, and homemade food coloring}

No matter what holiday you celebrate, we hope you all have had a wonderful holiday season! And cheers to the coming New Year! 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I'm the King of the Castle...

Well, Little Man is really...and I guess he is more of the Prince. 

Anyway, if you recall back in September, Little Man got a Box Creations Pirate Ship for his birthday, and two weeks later it was demolished.

So, naturally my friend Auntie Manda, decided getting him another one would be the perfect gift. This time, a castle.

This one is from Discovery Kids.

So far, C hasn't tried to destroy this one. However, I'm not totally convinced it will last. His buddy, Brooke, hasn't been over yet to play with it, and I have my doubts that it will stand up to the two of them (based on prior experience).

The countdown is on....4 days down, 10 to go.

Thanks Auntie Manda! 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Furniture Makeover: Old Window into Jewelry Hanger

I picked up this very ugly old window at a yard sale about a month ago. There was about 10 different colors swirled all over it. Ugh...I like art, but this was definitely not my cup of tea. But of course, if it's old and not too pretty, I like it.

Since there was about 20 coats of paint on this thing, I started by using a spray can of paint stripper. I did this about 3 times over each section (top, left side, right side). The instructions said to leave it on about 5 to 10 minutes, but I think I ended up leaving the stripper on about 20 minutes each time. 

After getting most of the paint of, I used course, paint stripping sand paper to try to remove the last of the paint. You can see how well that turned out.  I could have just stopped at this point. I actually like this old, worn look; but it wouldn't really fit in with our master bedroom makeover. 

And so I continued...with a coat of primer.

Then a couple coats of Olympic Paint. 

I used one of the sample colors we were thinking about for the walls of our bedroom. It was a reject for the wall, but a perfect complimentary color for my jewelry 

I sanded it a bit, to get the shabby chic look that I so love. 

Then added the mirror and ten wire cup hooks...and I was done!

I haven't hung it up yet, because I haven't painted our bedroom yet. With Hubby gone, it is hard to find time to get everything done. But hopefully by next week I will have that complete too!
Most of the supplies that I used.

Once I got past the stripping part, it was super easy to finish! 

So happy this is finally done! One less project to think about!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

OMG I'm DYING Over Everything!

I was so lucky to spend some quality time with a few amazing women yesterday - my Aunts, Nini and S, and my little cousin, Coco. I just LOVE having family in town! We took a spontaneous trip down to a couple of my favorite little shoppes in South Tampa....Summer House Marketplace and Forty Three Oh 3 Decor Boutique.

I was pretty much in love with, ummmm, EVERYTHING in both stores. Hubby is lucky I didn't make any purchases. I would have bought the whole store....both of them.

Love this table made out of an old door. Thinking how amazing it would look in my dining room.

Inspo for a mirror Nini and I want to jazz up for her step-daughter. 

I am totally loving old scales right now; and I would love it if I could find one at a yard sale. All the ones in the boutique were at least $70...way more than Hubby would I want to spend. 

I've been looking for a replacement tray since mine broke (when Hubby stepped on it)

Desk for when I start home schooling Little Man.

A few signs to add to my wall.

OMG I want an old wheel to do this. 

Nini and I are loving the ladders. They would be great on our pool decks to hang towels and other wet items. 

So it looks like I have a lot of work ahead of me trying to find these things at reasonable prices to fix up myself! 

What have you been inspired by lately?

Complimentary Pei Wei Entree

Hurry on over to and earn a Buy One Get One Free Entree coupon!

It's super easy to do, sign in or create an account to get your passport. Use the Passport Guide to get hints on where to find the stamp. The stamp will be under one of the ingredients in one of the countries' marketplace. When you find the stamp, a yellow ribbon will appear on your passport. Click the passport to earn your stamp. Your coupon will arrive via email within one business day. 

This offer is only available until December 27th!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

Hubby won't be with us for Christmas (darn Army), and has been asking for pictures of our tree (since he doesn't have one wherever he is) for awhile now. Keep in mind, we've had our tree since the day after Thanksgiving.

Well, I think I have kept him waiting a sufficient amount of time, and now that there are finally presents underneath it, I can finally show him. 

We don't have a topper, if you hadn't already noticed. We just have a little angel ornament that sits at the top. I've been looking for a pretty Angel topper for a few years now, but have yet to find one that I really like. Recently, I've been trying to figure out how to create a nice looking one myself. Obviously, I have not been successful in coming up with ideas. But hopefully by next year we'll have a beautiful homemade Angel for our tree. 

Every year we get a new "special" family ornament. We haven't gotten one yet for this year. I've been debating on purchasing one, or making a memory ornament. Or maybe Hubby will buy us one from wherever he is in now...hint hint.

Look at how far Little Man's tree has come since December 1stAll Most of the ornaments have come from his advent calendar...only 4 more left woo hoo! 

The tree has kind of become the catch all for random ornaments we make during play-dates and what not. Or, if you notice the little baseball hanging at the bottom, that is a key chain that came from a birthday party goody bag. 

Hope everyone is enjoying the Christmas season!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Furniture Makeover: Bar Stools

It will come as no surprise when I tell you that I have had these barstools for going on 10 or 11 months now. Now that I have waited the allotted amount of time, I can finally start making them over. I would like to add though, that I did start working on these, about 6 months ago - I got one seat cushion re-covered, then kind of lost interest in the project. 

But now that it's almost Christmas, and all of my family (who have never seen our home) are coming into town, I figured I should get these eyesores finished. 

Hubby and I picked these up off of Craigslist for, I want to say, $15. I think we over paid, but I made up for it by saving on the rest of the materials.

I started out trying to sand them (by hand), and that got me no where. So, I grabbed the few cans of half empty spray paint primer in the garage, and got to work trying to cover up the old chipping black paint. It took almost four cans of primer to get two of the stools completely covered. For the last one, I used Krylon Dual Paint & Primer. I am now in LOVE with all paint/primer combinations. That saved me so much time (and money)! At this point, I was asking myself why it had taken me so long to get this done.

Next up, I had to tackle re-covering the last two seat cushions. As I started prying out the old staples, I remembered why I lost interest in this project 6 months ago. I pulled out 126 staples from each cushion - oh yes, I counted. Ridiculous!

After that torture was over, I got to to put on my new pretty fabric (that I picked up at the Ballard Designs Outlet for $4!!!)

The prettiness of the finished product, makes up for the hard labor I put into it. 

As you can see, there is one barstool half painted. I'll be putting the finishing touches on tomorrow (hopefully). I ran out of gray paint, and when I went back to the store to get more, I had to deal with a screaming, flailing, tantrumy (totally not a word) two year old. Needless to say, I walked out of the store with no paint in hand, and have not had a chance to return. 

However, the other two look awesome! And with my brother getting in town tonight, I should have a chance to sneak out to the store tomorrow to pick up one more can of paint to finish. Or I'll just send him to get it for me. Either way, it will NOT be another 6 months before this barstool is finished!

Kids and Crafts

Last week was a whirlwind for us! On top of activities every day, my good friend's daughters stayed with us for three days, while she and her new hubby were on their honeymoon. 

The oldest is a very crafty little girl, so I made sure to scour Pinterest in advance to make sure I had fun things for her to do. 

The last time we had a slumber party, we made these very basic, easy to sew tote bags; and she could not stop talking about the next bag we make. 

Well, you know how much I love to upcycle. So we started out by making these adorable t-shirt tote bags.  

Now we just needed things to go inside. We followed up the bags with our DIY Snowglobes - inspired by Martha Stewart, but of course ours are WAY better. 

They are super easy to make! All you need is a jar, glitter, mini figurines, epoxy (or any waterproof super glue will work, we used Loctite Stik N Seal), and glycerine (optional).

We used mason jars, but you could use any old jar laying around. If you're like me, and hang on to every empty spaghetti sauce jar, then I'm sure you have a few spares lying around. 

Glue the figurines to the inside of the lid, and let it COMPLETELY dry. We let ours dry overnight to be sure the figurines weren't going anywhere. 

Fill the jar almost to the top with water, and if using glycerine, and a few drops at this time. It is supposed to keep the glitter from falling to quickly, however, I didn't notice a difference in the ones we used glycerine in and the ones we didn't. 

Sprinkle in the glitter, and put the lid on. 

Okay, so some things that I discovered in this process: 

1) don't use figurines that have red felt on them - note how the water is a bit discolored in the jar that contains the penguin. 

2) pick figurines that have small bases, or use jars with larger lids - we weren't able to fit more than 2 figurines in a jar because the bases were so big. 

Lastly, since the jar with the moose in it is going to be a gift, I painted the lid with chalkboard paint, and wrote a little message on the bottom. I'd show you, but I don't want to give away who it is going to. Just trust me, it's cute. 

We also made one of my A-bottle-able Snow Men. So Little Girl's bag was nice a full when she went home on Saturday night. 

Check out the links and enjoy the crafts!!!