Sunday, December 30, 2007

Pumpkin streusel muffins with orange glaze

Early February, we went to a Home & Garden Show at the Idaho Center, where Amanda planted a single pumpkin seed in a styrofoam cup and brought it home. That seed nearly took over our pathetic summer vegetable garden and produced some humongous pumpkins. We had all kinds of pumpkin delicacies until we couldn't take it anymore. So we made pumpkin puree and froze it. A lot of it.

Fast forward almost 11 months: we made pumpkin streusel muffins today. Yum. I always cut down on the sugar, and replace a third of the white flour with wheat, and I usually get great tasting, more nutrient dense results. This time, I tripled the recipe and it didn't come out sweet enough. Soooooo, I drizzled an orange glaze over the muffins to compensate. Thankfully, that was a good save.

We shared with various neighbors.

Incidentally, pumpkin is very high in beta-carotene and potassium, not to mention a good source of magnesium and iron.


The recipe:

Pumpkin streusel muffins with orange glaze

1/4 c margarine or butter, softened
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c packed brown sugar
2/3 c cooked pumpkin or canned pumpkin
1/2 c buttermilk
2 eggs
2 tblsp molasses
1 tsp orange zest
2 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt

streusel topping
1/3 c flour
3 tblsp brown sugar
2 tblsp cold margarine or butter

orange glaze
3/4 c powdered sugar
1-1/2 tblsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp orange zest

1. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and sugars.
2. Add the next 5 ingredients; stir to mix well.
3. Mix together the dry ingredients; gradually add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and stir until just combined.
4. Fill greased or paper lined muffin cups 2/3 full with batter.
5. For streusel topping: mix together the flour and brown sugar; cut in the margarine with a pastry blender (or two knives) until it resembles coarse meal.
6. Sprinkle evenly over each muffin batter.
7. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until tests done.
8. To prepare glaze, combine powdered sugar, lemon juice and orange zest in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Use a fork to drizzle glaze over cooled muffins.

Makes 12 muffins.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas Tree of Cupcakes

On a quiet evening in mid-December, Amanda and I felt inspired to make something. Poking around the pantry and fridge produced some Cool-Whip, cake mix, and gel coloring. So we made a Christmas Tree of Cupcakes. We used some Ziploc freezer bags to mix the coloring into the Cool Whip, and then we snipped off a corner so Amanda could put the pink ornaments on the cupcakes.

This can be easily adapted to any occasion: daisy, sun, heart for Valentine's Day, etc.

(click on photos for larger images)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas was a snowy blast!

Due to a certain ten-month-old that doesn't travel well, we stayed home and had a quiet Christmas. It began with a frenzied set of feet scurrying down our stairs - sign for Mommy to get up - leading to a very contented little Panda (Amanda's nickname) sitting buried in her gifts. Our family members were quite generous in giving to our girls. { Thank you! }

We intended to drive to Idaho City for some snowy fun, but didn't make it half way before we saw a slew of cars parked near a pretty good sized hill. Everyone donned a sled/toboggan of some sort to challenge gravity, and one family even brought a truck liner to use! Hmmm. We were quite ill-prepared to be playing in snow - only Amanda had on gloves, so almost instantly my hands turned beet red. Ron managed to fish out old work gloves to wear, hah! Can you believe that a family decided to GIVE us one of their sliders? They just said, "Merry Christmas," and handed it to us. I love Idaho and its people. We didn't stay long, but we had so much fun. The best part is that it's so close to us - a mere 30 minute trip.

Look how happy Amanda looks -

(click photo for larger image)

We had a lovely prime rib dinner, then headed out to see Christmas lights - a Lee Family tradition.

A near perfect Christmas. Having our out-of-town family with us would have been perfection. Perhaps next time.

Friday, December 21, 2007

To family and friends - a Christmas letter

It is a great pleasure to have such quality people in our lives. We have much to be thankful for this past year because of you - I hope we will strive to keep in touch and, please, update us often. I will start. :)

Amanda is 4-1/2 years old and leading as full a life as a child this age should without being overworked. ;) She does gymnastics twice a week and has piano lessons every other week. She's already playing Christmas songs for us! Amanda takes a lot of pride in taking care of her younger sister, and spends much time hugging, kissing, and squeezing her! She is still extremely shy when it comes to performing and has just started coming out of her shell when participating in the children's program church events (see the layout I did of one of the performances here, at the bottom.) She is a crafting fiend!!! Definitely a girl after my own heart. In fact, she made me a bouquet of paper flowers, so we made a decoupaged vase for it. I'm thrilled to share with her a love of handmade things. I'm not sure how much Daddy likes our snippets of paper and other crafty paraphernalia about the home.... Her current favorites are Angelina Ballerina, My Little Pony, Hello Kitty, Cyberchase, Super Why!, to name some. She can be found at any given time dripping with Princessy items, head to toe. Her Daddy records her shows on Windows Media Center, and she fast forwards the commercials. Geeky AND crafty. I love this girl. She always has a zest for life that invigorates us.

Abigail is 10 months old, yet she thinks she's older. She likes to help sister with her art projects by tearing them apart, and she insists on eating the food we're eating. She especially enjoys stir-fry and rice. Whadda little Ron. Abigail adds a lot of joyful baby squeals to the Lee cacophony/symphony. She's now starting to stand on her own a little at a time, but can be found tearing through the house on all fours. If you're not vigilant, she'll be eating a white cap off of a door stopper - and fishing them out of her mouth is a hazardous activity, because she can potentially sever your finger off with her ten teeth. She loves to read her books - especially Baby Beluga and Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. While she's only been with us for ten months, it is hard to imagine life without her.

Ron is on his fourth year at Mercy Medical Center in the IS Department, as a doctor of computers, if you will. He had the opportunity to represent Mercy on a billboard! Seeing your husband on a billboard is amusing....

Ron has gotten back into tennis, and is playing in a league, Boise Team Tennis. When Ron gets into something, boy is he dedicated. Not only does he play, he reads tennis message boards and reviews on rackets, fine tunes the weight of his racket, and strings his own rackets. He and Amanda frequently go on Daddy-daughter dates, usually swimming or to the park.

I (Heather) am up to my ears in all things kid, and I do it happily and willingly. We spend a lot of time at the Rec Center. We practically live there, in fact. Sometimes we go twice a day. It's really helped me get back into shape after having Abigail, and gives me a little alone time while the girls go to the Play Center when I work out. I absolutely love my instructors and the ladies I work out with. My newest hobby/obsession is playing with Photoshop to make digital scrapbook layouts. This is my contribution to the collective family geekiness. On my free time, I do contract work for Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children as a mentor and lead assessor for six counties in Idaho. I also have conducted trainings. At church, I teach a delightful group of preschoolers (including my Amanda) and lead the music for the Sunday School. I love to bake all kinds of goodies with my girls; our kitchen always seems to be abuzz with some concoction. :) In September, the girls and I participated in the St. Luke's Women's Fitness Celebration 5k along with 12,500 other women. Amanda wasn't too thrilled with the distance at one point, but once we crossed the finish line and sampled the breakfast they provided, she said she wanted to do it again next year. This is going to be a family tradition. (Abby lost her socks early on in the race, so I had to hold them to keep them toasty!)

2007 was definitely a year of hellos and one significant farewell. Abigail's birth was the greatest highlight, punctuated by my brother Josh's marriage to his lovely wife Betty in May, the birth of our nephew Elias Gabriel in August, and a great visit with Josh and Betty in November. We said good bye to my Aunt Kim in August - we miss her dearly. I am so glad that she and my Uncle Kim were able to visit in April, as we got to spend some time with them and even have photos of them with my children.

I am deeply grateful to God for His provisions and blessings. May you be close to your loved ones this Christmas and throughout the new year.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

12/16 Digi Challenge

For today's tutorial, I am taking us to the Photoshop Creative Elements website. This website is heavily tutorial laden, so you might not be able to tear yourself away from it, beware! The specific ones we'll be looking at involve a photo treatment, called a cutout effect, and the part-two of the tutorial, using the cutout effect.

The author of the tutorial provides these photos to illustrate the techniques:

We'll be going from a raw image such as this

to this in the first tutorial,

then she shows us what to do with the cutout, like this

and this

Have fun! Hope this isn't too hard... you KNOW it's my job to stretch us so that we'll "boldly go where no man has gone before." (I live with a Trekkie husband, so I'm a closet Trekkie myself, although I enjoy Next Generation more than the original)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

12/12 Digi challenge

Today's fun involves Jessica Sprague's Photoshop Friday 2006 Issue #9, blending modes. You will have lots of flexibility here, so go buck wild!

I am admittedly running amok, trying to wrap things up on Christmas gifts and festivities (pun intended, heh heh heh), so I don't have an example for this one or the last challenge yet. But some of you are really cranking these LOs out! So, for you select folks, here is another challenge - a nice Christmas tree template freebie from Traci Reed's Hawt Mama Team Blog to gussy up!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Christmas decor

This is the Lee Family, snowpeople version. Amanda was so excited to create them.

This is the 3D snowflake I made thanks to the great tutorial! It fills in the window on our half wall nicely and adds the right amount of Christmas whimsy:

The tree:

Saturday, December 8, 2007

12/9/07 Digi Challenge

It's a three-parter!

  1. Create your own torn paper-
  2. Realistic stick pin placement (thanks, Stephanie!)- does anyone have a link for a freebie stick pin?
  3. Use at least FIVE photos in your LO!

So if you decide to do all three parts, you will have torn paper, a stick pin or two holding several photos or paper, and five or more photos - a very element-dense LO! Otherwise, do whichever part that appeals to you.

Happy scrapping! I'll post the example soon -

Friday, December 7, 2007

Some of the little Christmas projects keeping me busy

I love to make things. Ron says that when I go shopping, he hears me say, "I can make that" and "oh, that shouldn't be too hard" way too much.

So that you too can be like me and utter such nonsense, I'll share some project ideas.

table runner - simple and elegant
paper ornaments - clean, graphic lines

paper bows
If you leave Leah your email address, she'll even send you the tutorial
3-D snowflakes - mine gently rotates throughout the day!
Then, there's always the uber hobby - digi! Another LO:
My DD#1 Amanda is like the WB Frog - she is such a ham at home, but when an audience is watching, show's over before it even begins. Many of the parents comment with concern, but I love her for it!
Christmas kit - Kimi's Creations (yeah!)
Alpha - monika 69
Font - Pea lacy chunky
Brushstroke – Eli Burford at

Voila - the Christmas card!

I won't be unveiling the final product until I've mailed it out to the world. But, it's d.o.n.e!!!!!!!

Now, onto other Christmas projects....

Update: Mailed out - here is our family card in all its glory. :)

Paper - Michelle Coleman, Vintage Dreams Retro Kit, LDD
Frames - Katie Pertiet, Designer Digitals
Poinsettias - Jen Wilson Designs' The Merry Days of Christmas 10th Decorations
Holly sprig - Natali Design's Needful Christmas Freebie
Ornament - Elker_W BNF
Fonts - Mutlu and karabinE. (

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

2001 was a banner year....

Ron and I went on a cross-country trip shortly after we were married, and for four-and-a-half months, we went skipping here and there. During our third week of skipping around, we plunked down in a town in Wisconsin, Janesville. It's one of those wholesome, GOOD places. Just my type of place to have your family thrive.

I still feel the fire in my soul when I recall those times on the road. Just the two of us.

My latest LO, aptly named "Janesville".

grunge frame - Jessica Sprague
brush - Miriam Attias,
fonts - Artistamp Medium, Geosans Light
based on Jessica Sprague's Photoshop Friday 2007 #4

Monday, December 3, 2007

I *super puffy glittery heart* my girls

Do you know what the best part of scrapbooking is? It freezes a singular moment in time, so that I can really appreciate the otherwise forgotten. And, it makes me fall in love with my family that much more. It's like putting a magnifying glass to my Amanda. I get to really see how lovable she is.

In the Bay Area for Samchon (Korean for maternal uncle) and Auntie Betty’s wedding - May 2007
based on Jessica Sprague's Photoshop Friday 2006, issue 9
paper: emerritt-bluestripes (LLD Color Matters), pam lefors designs misty morning
sprinkles: FR_Berlingo_Elements Pack 2 (
fonts: AquilineTwo, karabinE.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

The first day of December

It is strange to post on the blog without the responsibility of keeping our challenges going. At first, I thought it might be pointless. But then I am reminded by the blog title to declare all that is good in my life.

So I want to share a photo I took this morning of the winter wonderland that met me:
Everywhere I looked was a world crystallized. My Amanda turned to my husband and said, "I wish it could be winter all the time." For a gal like me who's spent the majority of life without experiencing snow, I absolutely agree with Amanda.

The other day I made a banner for my friend's Etsy website. Simple but cheery:
Check out her handmade goods at - she's got some great stocking stuffers at great prices.

My latest layout to share:
paper - Lori Barnhurst of Little Dreamer Designs for the Color Matters Collaboration (with fresco filter and "hard light")
fonts - Old Typewriter, Artistamp Medium
based on Jessica Sprague's Photoshop Friday 2006 #5
"Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens." -Carl Jung
There are times that I as a stay-at-home mother wonder if I am just spinning mywheels... I wake up, round up you and your sister, run around a bit, come back home,eat, sleep, do it over again. That’s when you and your sister remind me in your gentle way: my calling is to be your mother, unabashedly, wholeheartedly. I look into your face full of contemplation, witness your growth, revel in your joy, and resolve not just to dream, but to awaken. Thank you for teaching me, Amanda. My heart sings with gratitude for you, your sister, and Daddy. My cup indeed runneth over.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Join us at the new Yahoo Group

This group is branching out a bit - join us at to continue the challenges. From now on, you'll be able to post your own LOs, make comments on anything you'd like, etc. Many thanks to Nicky (senovia).

{Update: This Yahoo!Group is no longer active - have moved onto a different forum! Thanks for hangning out - it was fun!}

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ann's (pinewoodtoo) LO for practice - the digi fiend!!!!

Paper - Amy Teets' Modernn Twist
Word art and elements - Amy Teets' He said She said kit

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Angela's (angela2932) LO for the 11/25 challenge

Papers, stamps, frames - Jen Wilson Designs' Affirm ReJenErate Kit
Template - Kissed Studio
Font - Vivaldi, Impact

Heather's LO for the 11/25 challenge

I took a photo of my DD#2 (moments after birth) that was not the best quality and desaturated it with the rest of the page for a vintage look. Can you tell I'm not a huge fan of pink?

Paper - Pam LeForsDesigns' Morning Mist Kit
Frame - Aja Abney's My Wish For You Kit
Ribbon - MyAngel236
Font - AquilineTwo,

Monday, November 26, 2007

Ann's (pinewoodtoo) LO for the 11/25 challenge

Paper and ribbon (twine) - doro_One Moment in Time
Journal block - JWilson_Journaling Pieces
Alpha - Kpertiet_acrylic
Flourish - JWilson
Frame - Vera Lim Design All Framed Up
Stitches - BBoone_In Stitches 2
Font: Impact

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Angela (angela2932) brings you another challenge - 11/28/07

Angela writes:

"Hello everyone!

I think Heather's doing a wonderful job of challenging us to keep adding to our skills! Here's my challenge for 11/28. It's a 3-parter, and feel free to just do whatever parts you want. I'm posting my layout so you can see an example of the part 1 and part 2. The first is the most difficult:

1. Here's a link to a Jessica Photoshop Friday. It creates a hand-tinted look to a photo, and is Photoshop Friday #5 ('06; #5).
(In a search on Jessica's site, some of the posts refer to a "dreamify" action, which I suspect we might get in the 2nd class.)

I had some trouble following it, only because the labels to my layers, and the order, were different than Jessica's, but it all seemed to work the same. My "layer 1 copy" was called "Background". "Layer 1 copy 2" was called Background copy 1, etc. Just make sure your "color photo,soft light blend" is on top, with the "desaturated copies" underneath, whatever they are called. The very bottom layer (mine is the background) is the original colored photo, and I click off the "eye" so it is not visible.

This sounds complicated, but really isn't. In step 6 of Jessica's tutorial, just make sure your layers are in the same order as hers are, no matter what they're called.

2. Here's the 2nd part of the challenge, and is really just a cute thing I played with in PSE5. This builds on the challenge in which we created a scallop frame. (Teri's challenge, 11/21: I had so much fun with this, I just kept playing. Instead of using a hard, round brush, I loaded another brush, and this is what I'm challenging you to do. Pick any other brush, and then set everything up exactly the same way as you did before, except use another brush. I used a snowflake brush around the frame in my layout.

Then here's the fun thing I added. Go into "Artwork and Effects" section of your layers. In my PSE5, this is the second section down, under "Undo", above "Navigator". In "Artwork and Effects" make sure the little box on the left says "layer effects" in the drop-down menu. The little box on the right should have the "bevels" option selected in the drop down menu. Now you'll see several kinds of bevels available, like "simple outer" , "simple inner" "emboss", and "simple pillow." Pick "simple pillow" (who could resist a name like that?), click on it, and click on "apply" and POOF! You've pillow-ified whatever you wanted to change. I pillow-ified my snowflakes, but you can do this to text, or whatever you feel like playing with. (I haven't tried it on people, but I bet it's not good.)

(Besides, if we're going to have "dreamify", then we should also have "pillow-ify".)

3. And the third part is just a reminder of something that Jessica sent us during the Up and Running class. At one point she sent us her "" settings, or bookmarks. Here's one I want to remind you of, because I find it comes in handy when I'm wishing I could remember where to go to find something wonderful, like Jen Caputo's templates. (I could always google it, but this is a nice resource to have.) It's the list of designers and their sites: "

credits pending

Debbie's (Dschroeder) LO for the 11/21 challenge

Amy Teetes whitietighties Paper # 5
Anne Langpap 2 Peas NovFreebie 2005 Purple Floral Paper
Anne Langpap 2Peas NovFreebie 2005 Stripes Paper
Anne Langpap 2Peas NovFreebie 2005 Yellow Floral Paper
Sandie Krieger A Little Pizzaaz So Cute
Anne Langpap 2PeasFreebie June07 Purple Floral Rubon
Anne Langpap 2PeasFreebie Jun07 Spiral Flower Image
Anne Langpap 2PeasFreebie Jun07 Leafy Flower Image
Title Font: Michon Kessler's Vintage Vellum Alpha Monograms
Date Font: SacreBleu

Shari's (Shari Z) LO for the 11/25 challenge

Template - Hummie Template 5
Paper - Stone Accents Fall Mega Kit
Ribbons - Gold, Raspberry Road; rust, CanDesigns; beige, Digitreats; green, Marie Stone; striped, Dsmith
Accents - Janidee Designs
Word art - Brit-ish Designs

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Stephanie (scarson) has a challenge for you! 11/25 challenge

I'll let Stephanie direct this one. She wrote:

"Here is my challenge for Sunday. It was a little harder than I expected but I think that it has lots of potential for use in future layouts. I found it on Ikea Goddess' blog,

She explains how to wrap ribbon around an object. I think after working through it I should have wrapped the ribbon around the entire frame instead of just one side but...I'll have to do that with the next layout. :-)

My example:

Paper - Katie Pertiet's Drawn Harvest
Frame - Sueli Colbert's Moment Kit
Ribbons - Traci Sims's All Tied UP and Little Dreamer Designs
Font - The Maple Origins at
Leaf - Weeds & Wildflower's Playing with wire/autumn

On behalf of Stephanie, have a wonderful time learning. And be kind to yourself as you come face to face with your learning curve. I've learned to deal with mine which is oh-so-steep-and-vicious!!!


Fun Quiz! What Part of Thanksgiving Are You?

This is a fun little quiz I saw from the Sweet Shoppe Blog - have fun with it! Click on the blue link below.

My result:

You Are The Stuffing

You're complicated and complex, yet all your pieces fit together.
People miss you if you're gone - but they're not sure why.

New Look

I've been tinkering with the blog's layout, and even went bonkers and made a blog banner. I'm still astonished with all the work it takes to make a blog so cool and "bloggy". (Isn't that a great word? This is where A.P. English teachers from all walks of life scream in unison)

I don't know how to make it prettier beyond this, because I don't know anything about HTML. I'm sure my husband will love it if I spend extra hours pouring over the internet so that I can become an expert web designer. (Insert husband rolling his eyes right here)

So enjoy! And have a wonderful day. It is 10:45am, and 23 degrees Fahrenheit. Brrr.


Page 2 of Ann's Thanksgiving LOs

Papers - JTeague, It's All About Mom
Word art - BVA_turkeyday
Frames - Building blocks
Overlay - Sugarplum Paperie_dirty
Date -OnDesign

Does that triple frame look familiar, perhaps hearkening back to an assignment Jessica handed out? Hmmm. :)

Friday, November 23, 2007

It's a beauty! Ann's (pinewoodtoo) practice LO

papers and elements - ATeets, TSims, and KPertiet

Another great designer to add to my list!

I just love Jackie Eckles' items at Little Dreamer Designs! This one I'm eyeing for my next purchase:

By the way, could you tell me how to make really good dinner rolls? I just made some, and they're good, but not light and fluffy enough. Thanks in advance!

Keep the amazing work rolling in!!!!!

Jen's (abcmomof4) LO for the 11/21 challenge

Papers - Meredith Fenwick Calming
Alpha - From Up&Running Wk 2 Course Materials
Title font-2 Peas Rickety
Journaling font-CK Higgins Handprint
Flourish stamp - Jen Wilson Designs

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Angela's (angela2932) LO for the 11/21 challenge

Angela wrote:
Terri, this was a really cool photoshop friday! Thanks for pointing us in the direction of doing this one!

Paper - M Elgen Call of the Wild
Heart element - TiaBennett
Alpha - Black Chanceryas
Font - Dreams Come True, Doris Castle, Bead spray

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Kim's (Kimberly White) LO for the 11/21 challenge

Design - Jessica Sprague (followed photoshop friday #26 - scalloped edges tutorial)
Papers - Kellie Mize (Designer Digitals)
Journal Spot - Katie Pertiet (Designer Digitals)
Alpha - Jessica Sprague
Fonts - Chalk Board and American typewriter

Ann's (pinewoodtoo) LO for the 11/21 challenge

Paper - TBonne
Alpha and stitches - Katie Pertiet
Photo prong - Jen Wilson Designs
Journal Block - NRJ_SHMOOZY
Font - Quick Type II

Jen's (abcmomof4) LO for the 11/18 challenge

"It's hard to believe that Jack is six weeks old! He has grown so much! There have been moments where I'd wish that time could stand still so that I may enjoy him this way for just a little bit longer!"

Paper - Jen Wilson Designs' His Thursday Attire
Flourish - Jen Wilson Designs
Overlay - Kate Pertiet
Journal font - Garamond
Title font - 2 peas Barefoot Professor

Heather's LO for the 11/21 challenge

11.18.07. Uncle Josh let you buya lollipop at Market Limone, and boy, did you enjoy it. Unfortunately Mom and Dad did not because the sugar high was a doozy! We had to detox you for days! Next time, we’ll tell Uncle Josh to keep his generosity SUGAR FREE. What a wonderful weekend we spent with Auntie Betty and Uncle Josh!

Template - yin_template_12
Paper - Morning Mist Kit, Pam Lefors Design
Font - Old Typewriter
Scalloped photo frame based on Jessica Sprague's Photoshop Friday #26

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Terri (lucysmom) has a challenge for you! 11/21/07

Terri's taking us back into the coffers of Jessica's Photoshop Fridays - yeehaw! Here's the link for the tutorial:

She will be posting her LO soon. And how about yours? :)

Have lots of fun this Thanksgiving week - I for one am grateful for having crossed paths with you on my life's journey....


Angela's LO for the 11/18 challenge

Moriginals Template No 7
Papers - Amy Teets' Modern Twist
Fonts - Impact, Century Gothic, Kunstler script

Template Design | Elque 2007