Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thin Mint Brownies


Do you have left over Girl Scout cookies you need to get rid of??

Ha! Who am I kidding? Normal people don't store them away or buy the kinds they don't actually like that much. That's right, I said it, I don't like Thin Mints that much...I would eat them if I were forced to, but they are not my Girl Scout cookie of choice. I would much prefer a box of Tagalongs.

Anyway, I have this box of Thin Mints just taking up room in my cupboard and I wanted to use them for something yummy!  I decided to use them as the flour in my brownie recipe. I followed the Baker's One bowl brownie instruction but tweaked it a bit to use my Thin Mints. Here is how I did it:

4 ounces (squares) of unsweetened chocolate
1 1/2 stick butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 sleeve of Thin Mint cookies (I counted 17 cookies), crushed
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon mint extract

1. Melt unsweetened chocolate and butter in microwave (I had to do a double boiler on the stove, because I still don't have a microwave...long story for later).
2. Remove from heat or microwave and add two cups sugar.
3. Stir in the eggs, adding one at a time.
4. add crushed Thin Mints, flour, and extracts
5. Spread into foil lined 13 x 9" pan
6. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.

Enjoy with a glass of cold milk (or vanilla almond milk like I did)!

-Amanda

 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Craft Supply Storage...did I metion that it was free!

Something you should know about me, I have two addictions 1. Organizing, I love it!  Much to hubs dismay I can always find something to organize in our house so things are always moving and changing.



2. Is this Chai Tea mix.  I don't drink coffee or soda and I've always been an ice water girl who avoids caffeine.  That is, until I decided to try this tea and now I'm hooked.  I faithfully have a cup in the morning and usually a cup during HB's nap.  I wish I had thought up this craft earlier because I've already tossed a bunch into the recycle bin.


So, I didn't have anything specific in mind once I decided to save them but it hit me that I am in desperate need of organization on my craft room shelves and these were sitting empty on those same shelves waiting to be used.

Once I realized what purpose they could serve me I washed them out with a soapy sponge.  These are the same material as a pringles can so I think getting them to wet would ruin them.  I thought that I would be using scrapbook paper to cover them but look how pretty and shiny they are once the label is off.



Next step, labels!   Labels fall under the category of organizing and it makes me down right giddy to get to label something.  I already had some chalkboard vinyl that I got off of Pick Your Plum that was just sitting and waiting for the perfect project.  I used my silhouette to cut out a sheet of these oval labels and stuck them on. 

Please don't feel that you need a silhouette to do a project like this because I haven't had mine for very long and I traced and cut lots of projects like this by hand before I had one.



They are cute, but didn't look finished to me.  I took some nail heads that I bought at Lowe's, by the eye hooks, and used two sets of pliers to bend the nail part back and forth until it came off.



Hot glued those suckers on and called it good!


Now I need to buy some of those chalkboard markers I've read about.  Brighter colors and easier to write with.  I adore how this project turned out, it didn't cost me anything and gave me more excuses to drink my chai.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

About me: Sabrina

Where to begin? Like the short blurb on the About Us section...I am the youngest of us four girls. My husband, B, and I are coming up on our 5 years anniversary in May. So, I guess I’ll start with B and I:


We went to high-school together ,although we were not fond of each other in those days. I say he just knew he loved me from the second he saw me but he had to play it off as being mean. He would probably disagree with that statement though (but I know the truth!). After off and on contact and hanging out, we started dating in 2005 and got married in 2007. B and I are so different yet a lot alike. We are stubborn yet are very good at meeting in the middle. We seem to balance each other out. In 2008, he decided to do something he had been wanting to do for a while, join the Marine Corps. So...that’s where we are today. A Marine Corps family that has a love-hate relationship with it. Brett’s EAS (end of active service) is coming up so right now, it’s in God’s hands as to what our next step will be.


We are currently at the end of our second deployment to Afghanistan...I say we because anyone who has had a spouse deployed knows that is a team effort to get through these things. The first one was hard and seemed like it went on forever. This one is going by fast but by far harder than first deployment. This time, we have two little guys that are missing time with their daddy even though they don’t realize it yet.


About those little guys...Lil’ B and C are almost 11 months old and beyond the biggest blessing we could have ever asked for. After a couple years of trying on our own, 2 IUI’s and a round of IVF, we were thrilled to find out we were expecting twins. I won’t lie, I was scared to be having TWO boys but now, I wouldn’t have it any other way. They are complete opposites. They look nothing alike. They act nothing alike. They each have a little bit of B and I. Lil’ B looks exactly like his daddy. C is more of a mix, although I think he looks a like Kristy’s girls when they were younger with his bright blond hair. C has a lot of B’s personality traits whereas Lil’ B is more reserved and laid back.

Another thing about me, I moved to Arizona out of high school and went to Toni and Guy Hairdressing Academy. I worked at a salon and spa as a hairdresser in Alaska for a couple years then started working an admin job for the insurance. But right now, I am just enjoying being fortunate enough to stay home with the boys and watch them grow and learn new things. To me, this is the best job in the whole world and I wouldn’t trade it for anything!



That’s about it...I don’t have the most exciting life but I do have a great life and lots of great things to share!

-Sabrina

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Happy break up season from Alaska...

Warning: this post was written under a severe case of spring fever and contains massive amounts of sarcasm.
[spring fever: n. A feeling of restlessness, excitement, or laziness brought on by the coming of spring.]
Well, it's nearing the end of March. It's officially Spring! The home improvement stores are showing their yard work commercials and flower selections. People's tulips are starting to bloom, spring flowers are starting to show their buds. The sun is out, the days are getting longer. Temperatures are getting warmer....


Oh, wait! That would be everywhere else, but here in Alaska! Yesterday, on my way to work it was -2 degrees! That's right! You read that correctly, NEGATIVE two degrees! We have already had a winter of near record snowfalls (as I write this I think we have had 129" of snow in Anchorage this year) and record cold snaps (going weeks at a time with -20 degree temperatures). Am I the only one that is more than ready for some warm weather?


On the positive side, the temperatures are getting up to about 30ish during the day and there is enough warmth on the sun for these awesome (slightly dangerous) ice daggers to start forming on the sides of people roofs. BUT this is a sure sign the snow is starting to melt!


So, while you lower 48ers (yeah, that's what we call you) are prepping your yards for the summer, planning out your gardens and wearing those cute summer sandals already, try not to envy what we Alaskans call "break up season". I know it will be hard to do so, but please try.

:)

-Amanda


Friday, March 23, 2012

Let me introduce myself...I'm Jeannie, #2, Middle Child and a Brooks Girl


I am the second oldest of the four of us and am a very blessed woman.
This is an old picture of us but still one of my favorites.


 I am always amazed that I get to be married to my best friend.  Matt is someone who understands me completely and loves me for who I am, annoying faults and all, and I can honestly say I feel the same way about him.


One of the major hats I wear is mom, within that title, I am a bonus mom to a sweet and lovable ten year old beauty named Aubree


  and an adoptive mom to our adorable, funny, and full of life almost three year old son Hildon.


  I can’t tell you how amazing it has been to watch God put our family together, I feel like we are a puzzle that has been spread out but once together couldn’t be more perfect.  I get to be a stay at home mom and all that goes along with it.  I love, love, love all things crafty and am always adding new types of crafts to my repertoire.  I am excited to share some of my random projects and recipes with you, alongside my extremely talented and inspiring sisters.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

About me: Amanda style

Hi! Amanda here… If you read the ‘about us’ tab then you know I am the third of the four of us Brooks Girls.  I am the one still residing in Alaska, (unfortunately for my parents, I am also the one with no children).

I am married to my best friend, David, he couldn’t be more perfect for me. He is my biggest supporter in everything I attempt. He is my sense of logic when I am dreaming.  He literally calms me just by being here. I love him so much!


I am a trained Pastry Chef, but I work a day job in the energy industry in Alaska.  I still bake, just not for a living. I hope to share some tips and tricks to help you make bakery quality sweets for your own house. I find baking to be calming, especially decorating cakes or cookies.

I am on a mission to be a strong individual both physically and mentally.  I want to be fit and comfortable in my own skin. The older I get the more I realize being thin is very different than being fit. I have started working out regularly, weight training and running. I have been at it for almost three months and I feel so much better already!
I love to craft, decorate my house, organize, rearrange, I am sure I am much better at all of this stuff in my head, but oh well. I find pleasure creating pretty spaces and making our house a home. We are remodeling our second house. The first was a total overhaul. This one is mostly cosmetic updates, you'll see more on that later. :)

One more interesting tidbit about me, when I married David, I married into a big Cajun family. They are a close knit family that gets together often and enjoys some amazing Cajun meals. I really enjoy cooking, so I had to learn to cook some of Granny's meals. I will share my successes and failures as I expand my cooking knowledge.

I look forward to rambling about all of the above stuff and more with my sisters! 

-Amanda

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Lemons into Lemonade...or Something Like That

OK, I messed up.  I was watching a friends little guy for her and didnt' think anything of putting him in Bree's room for his nap.  It never occurred to me that A. she had scissors in her room or that B. this little guy would find them on her desk and use them to cut up her pillow cases instead of sleeping.  I was seriously shocked when we discovered the mutilated pillow cases. 


Luckily he made his cuts on the closed end of the pillow cases so I was able to use a lot of the fabric for this project.


Poor Bree just got his bedding set from her Grandparents.


Within minutes of finding the pillow cases in this condition I had a solution in my mind.  First step, buy new white pillow cases.
Disclaimer: I am self taught when it comes to sewing.  I am sure there are many, many better ways to do this project but this is what I came up with.


I used my rotary blade to cut the open end of the pillow cases off at the seam.


With the piece I was sewing on I gave it a 1/4" of excess fabric past the seam.


See where I'm going with this yet?



Turn the trim piece inside out and pin at the right sides of the trim and pillow case together.


Pretty easy and quick project.


Still matches the sheets, but you know I didnt' stop there.


I cut a piece of the old pillow cases out just big enough to fit two letter a's for her name (Bree is a nickname).

Ironed on some wonder under and traced my a's on backwards so that when I put them on the new pillow cases the a would face the right way.


Cut out your letters, still with me?


Remove the paper backing (I've totally forgotten this step before and its no fun) and iron to the center of your pillow cases.


I did a straight stitch around the a's to keep them secure and because I like how it looks.



Finished!


I love how they turned out!  And now I know to check Bree's room for scissors but will probably just put extra kiddo's in our room where I know there isn't anything they can get into...live and learn.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Welcome!!

Welcome to our new blog!! We are working on getting this up and rolling, in the mean time: follow us, visit our 'about us' page, bookmark us, or even email us!

We hope you are entertained and keep coming back!

 -the brooks girls