Sunday, December 21, 2014

Easy and Delicious Lemon Bars

Tonight the RV park we are currently living in is having a potluck Christmas Dinner!  The management is providing the turkey ('cause who can roast a turkey in an RV??), the stuffing and the gravy.  We RVers will provide the rest.  There are about 10 rigs of various sizes and styles in the park here at the moment. There are also a few cabins which people stay full-time in, so we should be a nice sized group tonight!
When I went to sign up for my share, most of the usual Christmas dinner side dishes were already covered. But, a green salad was still available, so I put our name down for that, and a dessert. You can never have enough desserts!
I decided to make one of my personal favourites -Lemon Bars!  At this time of year we eat so many goodies, lots of them chocolate or tarts.  I thought this nice zesty bar might be a bit of a change from the usual Christmas cookies!
Baking in the RV has been bit of a challenge so far.  The oven is propane heated and the element is on the bottom of the oven only.  Things have to be watched carefully so they don't burn on the bottom.  I had read on several RV sites that using a pizza stone under the oven rack helps to disburse the heat more evenly. Trying to find one that would fit into the tiny 15" x 13" oven was another issue.  I had found some on Amazon, both round and rectangular, but the price tag was pretty steep for something I am sure is going to break at some point if I forget to remove it from the oven before we hitch up the trailer to move.  I have a large one at home at the Little Shack, but like I said...large.  I was telling my Mom about it and she said she had one that might work. Low and behold it did!! It is a rectangular one that fits into the oven perfectly! Today is my first try at using it!
So far, it's working beautifully! The bars took a few minutes longer than the recipe suggests, but they aren't burning!

I doubled the recipe and used a cookie tray, which is a smaller size than what most people probably have due to it needing to fit into my tiny oven.  I even needed to use a pair of pliers to bend up the handle end on the 2 trays I bought so they would fit into the oven! Worked great though!

Here's the recipe...

(click here for a printable version)

This recipe makes 16 -1 x 1 inch bars.

Grease and line with parchment paper, a 9 X 9 inch cake pan. The parchment paper will allow you to lift the whole thing out of the pan to cut it into squares easily.

Preheat your oven to 350F.
In a medium sized bowl mix~
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup melted unsalted  butter

Use a fork to create a crumbly dough.
Press the dough into the lined pan, covering the bottom.  Bake for 10 minutes. The edges will begin to brown a bit.

While the crust is baking, using the same bowl (no need to wash) mix these ingredients~
2 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 Tbsp. flour

Whisk together well.  When the crust is done, pour this over the crust and put back into the oven for 20-25 minutes.  The lemon mixture will become firm when it is done.

Let it cool for at least 30 minutes before you remove it from the pan. Lift it out of the pan using the edges of the parchment paper and place on a cutting board. Allow it to cool completely and then cut into bars (1 x 1 inch for 16 servings). Sprinkle a little icing sugar over the bars after you set them on a serving plate for the finishing touch!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

I'm The Featured Blogger!! #SoMe2

I was so excited to be chosen as the Featured Blogger for the #SoMe2 Party!!  I hope you'll come and join in. There are so many wonderful bloggers joining up, with so many great ideas to share! Meeting new people via blogs is such a great way to gather ideas, share ideas and grow ideas!
Come join the Social Media Link Party!!

Welcome to #SoMe2 - Week #64!!

SOcial MEdia is all about ENGAGEMENT, and we want to do more than find new followers, we want to grow our engagement! At the #SoMe2 parties, we will link up a different Social Media platform and blog post from that platform each week.
This week we are growing and engaging with Facebook!!

For Facebook, the more we like and comment on each other's posts, the more engaged we become - and that makes the SOcial MEdia "algorithms" happy! So link up, and start commenting!!

It's time for the #SoMe2 #Facebook Party! Join us, link up your blog's Facebook page, a blog post you've posted on Facebook, and enter to win a featured blogger spot! #socialmedia #network #linkparty

The more you put in to this SOcial MEdia link party, the more you will get out!
Don't link and run - like, comment, share - and tell your friends!

#SoMe2 is a SOcial MEdia link party where we link up 2 items every
Tuesday @ 7:00pm EST

It's time for the #SoMe2 #Facebook Party! Join us, link up your blog's Facebook page, a blog post you've posted on Facebook, and enter to win a featured blogger spot! #socialmedia #network #linkparty Image Map

We're pleased to introduce our #SoMe2 featured blogger of the week...

Sue has shared this with us:
Hi! I’m Sue from the Little Shack on the Hill!  Wife, mom to 5, Nana Sue to 3 (with #4 on the way!) and now living full time in our RV. The Little Shack is still our home base, but retirement has taken us on a new path.  Come visit me and join in the fun of cooking, crafting and trying to fit it all into a small space!

Thanks, Sue!!

Would you like to be a #SoMe2 featured blogger?
Everyone who enters the Rafflecopter below each week will have a chance to win a spot as our featured blogger. We will feature your blog, and links to your social media. Your links will be inserted into the Rafflecopter for that week - gaining you more followers.

So be sure to enter to win the weekly featured blogger spot! 

Note: Please be sure to fill out the Rafflecopter form accurately. Entries are verified.

The rules are simple!
  1. Please follow your hostesses and featured blogger.
  2. Please add the #SoMe2 button (found at the bottom of the post) to your sidebar or link page.
  3. Tweet about the party! More partiers = More followers! All you have to do is click the "tweet" button!  
  4. Use our hashtag #SoMe2 when tagging or posting so we can find each other!
You will automatically be entered into our email reminder list by entering a link. You may remove yourself from the list by using the un-subscribe option.

   It's time for the #SoMe2 #Facebook Party! Join us, link up your blog's Facebook page, a blog post you've posted on Facebook, and enter to win a featured blogger spot! #socialmedia #network #linkparty

1) Link up your main Facebook Page.
2) Follow your HOSTESSES and FEATURED BLOGGER (first 6 links).
3) Follow 2 people before your link, if you already follow them, find 2 new people to follow.

 It's time for the #SoMe2 #Facebook Party! Join us, link up your blog's Facebook page, a blog post you've posted on Facebook, and enter to win a featured blogger spot! #socialmedia #network #linkparty

1) Link up 1 recent Facebook post -
(Go to your Facebook page, click on the time stamp right below your page name on the individual post, copy the URL, and paste that URL into link party.)
2) Share, like and comment on your HOSTESSES and FEATURED BLOGGER'S links (first 6 links).  
3) Share, like and comment on the 2 links in front of yours. That way everyone gets some Facebook love! One of hostesses will make sure the last two links get comments.

Thanks for joining our SOcial MEdia link party!
See you next week – same time, same place!
DeDe,  Kim,  Sarah V.,  Sarah C.,  & Susan

It's time for the #SoMe2 #LinkParty! Join usand enter to win a featured blogger spot! #socialmedia #network
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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Personalized Printables - A Fun and Easy Gift to Make!

free printable, Santa Claus printable, Santa printable

This year for Christmas my family challenged each other to give homemade gifts as much as possible. Some of us have more time to do the creating and others needed quick diy gift ideas.  I'm excited to see what everyone has come up with. I myself am knitting surprises for my 2 older daughters, crocheting for my 6 year old granddaughter, and if I have time, I'm hoping to do some 'gifts in a jar' types as well.  I enjoyed making the Winter Printable and Nativity Printable earlier this fall and had the idea to do personalized ones for my grandkids.  PicMonkey makes this so fun and really a snap to do.

I started by going to my PicMonkey account. I purchased the Royale membership, but you can also use it for free. Royale membership means you get access to all of the tools, rather than just some. But even the free version is great! Right now they are having a promotion where you get a 30 day free trial of the Royale tools. So, even if you choose not to get the full version, you can use the 30 day trial to make these printables!

So, back to the 'how to'! 
Once I opened PicMonkey, I chose to use the 'Design' mode.

This will take you to the design screen where you will be able to choose all the things you want to add to your creation! I chose to make my design 8 x 10 as it prints out nicely on an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper. After choosing your size, click on the APPLY button to save it. 

Now you have a couple of options. You can choose to just start adding text, or you can choose a background for your printable. One thing to remember is that if you are going to print it on your own printer, you may want to save ink and just print on coloured paper. If you take it to Staples or some such place to have it printed (cheap and great quality) then it really doesn't matter how much colour you add. I started to add text to my page and then added a background later. You can also choose to make the background transparent so you can print it on coloured paper.
Here are the various options highlighted for you.

If you want to print on coloured paper, then from the Canvas Colour tab, check the box by Transparent Canvas and then click 'apply'. The background will look checkered, but will be transparent to print.

To choose a background from PicMonkey, simply go through the various options and decide on one and then click 'apply'. I chose the crinkled paper background from the 'Textured' backgrounds tab. You can choose a colour or textures or add one from your own computer by clicking the 'add your own' button at the top of the tab menu.

Above you can see I have added several words around my central 'name' Santa Claus. I coloured only the central name here, but you can make the words all sorts of colours and sizes by using the various tools that will appear each time you add a new word. I find resizing the text box around the word I type in helps with moving words around later. This way the text boxes are not overlapping each other and the cursor doesn't get confused with what box you are trying to grab. Just click and slide the end of the text box in.

Play with fonts, sizes, colours, placement.  Try adding some 'stickers'. You can also add things from your own computer like fonts and pictures. It is such a fun program to play with! Spend time exploring the various tools and options. You can spin words around using the little circle appendage on the text box to make your words different angles and directions. Add words, move them!

 When you have your printable just how you like it, then click the 'save' button at the top of the screen.
Then, on the next page choose a name for the file and where you want to save it.

Awesome! You are done! Now you just have to print it out and frame it! 
These are so much fun to make! I have my grandkids all ready to print out and frame.  Feel free to print out this one and share it! But, don't let me have all the fun, create one yourself! I'd love to hear how it works out!

PS...this post contains affiliate links!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Homemade Skor Bars -Super Easy!

Many years ago, while having dinner at some friends, I was shown how to make these absolutely delicious and super easy treats!  They only require 4 ingredients and are very quick to make. Our hostess whipped them up after dinner for dessert.  Since then, my family has made them many, many times, and they are always a hit and disappear quickly.

Homemade score bars, easy bars, skor

All you need to make a batch of these is...

(printable recipe)

30 (+ or -) saltine crackers (salted)
1 cup of butter or margarine
1 cup of brown sugar
1 cup of chocolate chips

You will need a cookie sheet, 13 x 9 inch with sides, and a small pot.
Preheat your oven to 350F.
Grease the cookie sheet quite well ( I used cooking spray), or you can try lining it with parchment paper. Lay the crackers on the bottom of the cookie sheet in a single layer, edge to edge, so the whole bottom is covered. You can break the crackers in half to get the whole thing covered.

I tend to take shortcuts, so I added the butter and sugar to the pot at the same time and let it sit on low heat 'til the butter is softened and melting. If you prefer a more conventional method, let the butter melt first and then add the brown sugar.  Stir until it is all melted and mixed together.

Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heated and let boil for 2 minutes.

Pour the boiled mixture over the crackers. You will need to reposition the crackers and spread the mixture over the works.

 Make sure all of the crackers are covered. Put the pan into the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Get your chocolate chips ready!

As soon as you take the pan out of the oven, sprinkle the chocolate chips over top and wait while they get all melty.

You want to be able to spread the chocolate over top of the crackers. Using the back of a spoon works well for this. You can put the pan back into the oven to melt them more if needed, but I find the heat from the already hot crackers and sauce mixture is enough.

When the chocolate is all spread around, put the pan into the fridge or freezer.  This will firm everything up.  When it's all cooled down and hard, you can either break it into pieces or cut it up.  It keeps best in the fridge. I put mine in a cookie tin with waxed paper between layers and store it in the fridge, but it sometimes seems like a pointless exercise as it goes so quickly!
You can also try a couple of variations with this recipe. Chopped, salted peanuts sprinkled over the melted and still soft chocolate is delicious, as well as crushed candy canes. The candy canes add a festive Christmas look and flavour to them.

Skor Bars,homemade skor bars, easy bars

These make a wonderful hostess gift or something for the kids to give to their teachers. You  can package them in holiday cellophane bags tied with a ribbon.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Living in an RV

We've been living in our RV for couple for weeks now. And so far, we are really enjoying it. Ours is a 2008 Jayco Jayflight G2 31BHDS.

The BHDS is RV talk for Bunk House, Double Slide.  It has 2 bedrooms in it. One in the front, which is the 'master' and the other in the rear which has bunks that are in a slide out. When we were looking for our perfect RV we wanted Zac to have his own space. We didn't want to deal with a table that became a bed at night. He needed to have a room of his own.  This layout was ideal.


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