Monday, July 29, 2013

We've Been In The Kitchen

It's hot here.  And if you can't stand the hide inside and find stuff to do.  No really you do.  So a couple of weeks ago while brainstorming things to do I came across some kids cookbooks.  It sounded like a good idea.  I love that I can find a lot of variety on Amazon but waiting for everything to come in is torture.

They came in one by one.  As soon as we got our first one, we got to cooking!

 Clover picked the Soy Needles.

 From the Feed Our Small World Cookbook for Kids.
The recipes in this book are fairly simple.  Even though Clover is only five she could make several of the recipes.  They all have full color pictures.  I boiled the noodles and Clover mixed everything together.  She tried to chop the green onions with a butter knife but gave up because her "hand got tired".  She also measured all of the ingredients but insisted that she taste everything before it went into the bowl.  

This was our end result.  Even though she made it, she didn't like it.  I thought it was pretty tasty.  She got points for trying it at least.     

Then my Tiana book came in!  Now Princess and the Frog is one of my favorite Disney movies but I am not THAT  big of a fan where I would pay $80 bucks for a cookbook.  Luckily I found the only one listed for $6 and bought that one.  The corner was bent but that was the extent of the damage that was done to it so I thought it was a pretty good deal.   Clover went through the book and picked out a recipe.  She wanted to make "Dumbo".  Took me a minute to figure out that she wanted to make Gumbo.  But mostly because she wanted shrimp.  I made two versions of this because I don't do seafood.

Check it out I'm a drink!  Okay really it was the snake.

 I've never had gumbo before but with only five instructions I figured I could give it a try.

 Baking the rue instead of stove cooking it.  Clover measured and stirred the rue.  She also had to try each ingredient before she added them to the pan.  I popped it in the oven.  Took about thirty minutes to darken the rue.  But I was able to cook the base and chop veggies while this was in the oven.

 Clover chopped the sausage with her butter knife.  mmmmm.  Smells Yummy!

How Clover ate hers.  She's not one for mixed up stuff.  

It was pretty delicious.  We even had it the next day for lunch.  It made quite a lot.  We have a couple more books we are making our way through.  I bought one of the Rachael Ray for kids cookbooks and I wasn't impressed but maybe it is for older kids.  The first recipe is for bagel pizzas with ketchup and hotdogs.  Maybe our pallet is more refined than that.

And for some reason when we get in the kitchen we get this song stuck in our head.  Since her cookbooks are now on the shelf it's the first lyric she sings.  

Also here is the bonus episodes of Good Eats that involve cooking with kids.  My kid is a lot younger so she doesn't have her own knife yet but she does have her own measuring cups and a cutting board.  



Sunday, July 21, 2013

It's A Short Summer After All!

I have been conscious of time this Summer.  This is in fact, Clover's first Summer vacation.  The Summer to start all Summers.  The Summer before she starts Kindergarten.

We took a small break after our wonderful dance show and all of the sudden I have been stressing that we aren't doing enough stuff.  As it turns out we have.  Not to mention I have the pictures to prove it.  I can breathe a little bit better now.  The stress has started fade.
It hasn't been an in your face Summer but we have been pretty good at keeping up with the fun.  We've had some water fun, and some movie fun too, and a few days to just lounge around the house.

Clover got her very first smash book! Her Aunt sent it to her in the mail.  That was very exciting for her.  

So she has been smashing. 

 We made some fruit punch playdough and she made something that resembled Jabba the Hut.

 Princess game night.  So of course she was in her princess night gown.

 Who will win Pretty Pretty Princess?

 And the Princess version of Yahtzee Jr.

 Yeah, I lost that game too.  I made my comeback with Hi-ho-Cherrio!

So why the stress?  I know that parents have been sending their kids to school since way before my parents walked up hill in the snow both ways to get there.  I guess it dawned on me that soon we will have a schedule to stick to and things to get done.  The last five years we haven't had to worry about that and now in a few short weeks we will have to adapt.  And adapt we will.  I know that we wont stop having fun just because she starts school but I still want to make this Summer special.  

I think we are on the right path.  

What are you guys doing this Summer?   

Side Note:  I typed this whole thing up and didn't capitalize the word summer.  It looked funny so I looked it all up and found this from  So I went back and changed it all so now it looks right to me. 

Should I capitalize the names of seasons, such as Spring and Summer?
The seasons of the year are not capitalized as a rule, except in some literature like in poetry when a season is personified. However, it is certainly ok to capitalize the names of the seasons, especially when doing so often makes it clearer that you are talking about a season. Spring is the first season of the year, astronomically from the vernal equinox to the summer solstice. In the US, it is generally thought of as March, April, and May. Spring's etymology is from Old English as 'the place of rising or issuing, esp. of a stream, river, etc.' The second season, Summer, is astronomically from the summer solstice to the autumnal equinox and the word's history goes back to Old Norse sumar, though the word has cognates outside Germanic languages. Autumn, the third season, is astronomically from the autumnal (descending) equinox to the winter solstice, popularly September, October, and November. Autumn derives from Latin autumnus. The term Fall is used in North America as the ordinary name for Autumn; in England it is rare except in literary use and some dialects. Winter, the fourth season, extends astronomically from the winter solstice to the vernal equinox and is considered to be December, January, and February. Winter's etymology goes back to Gothic wintrus.

Late Night Cooking With Juju

A long time ago I had a friend share a recipe and I was hooked.  It has become one of my comfort foods.  It's also wicked simple to make.  The other night I decided I wanted to make it for breakfast.  It was also about 11:30pm when I decided to whip this batch of French Toast Casserole up.  I don't have my own cooking show so here is the pictorial.

Slice your bread into cubes.  I usually use an 8x8 pan because there are only three of us.  I used a baguette.  It's nice and chewy and soaks up the custard well.   

 Add some cream cheese.

 Mmmmm Nutmeg.  Not that canned stuff!  Fresh is the best!  I don't think that Nutmeg is in the recipe but I add it to any cream base.  It makes it just that much yummier!  And coffee, it's so yummy in coffee.

 Custard!  I usually add a bit of maple syrup to the custard instead of sugar.

Make room in the fridge for a couple of hours.  It will be there waiting for you in the morning to pop in the oven.

 All browned up and delicious looking!

A little bit of real maple syrup and I was in heaven.  It was even pretty good the next day.  Now I am making myself hungry all over again.   

Knit One, Times A Thousand

In 2004, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands.  This time led to boredom.  Which then led to curiosity and then to research and then finally knitting.  If at that stage you could call it that.  In the beginning there was a pair of needles, a lot of yarn, and patience.  Lots and lots of patience.  I had started out watching a lot of D.I.Y. network.  I found myself glued to the tv watching Edith Eig on Knit One, Purl Two and Vickie Howell on Knitty Gritty.  During one of our trips to L.A. I took a detour and went way out of my way to visit Edith's shop, La Knitterie Parisienne.  It was a very cute shop.  Her husband helped check me out and guided me over to have my book signed.  Of course I clammed up like a lil kid and didn't say much.  I was too busy geeking out over having my book signed.  The ladies at the round table were a bit snobby though.  They didn't like the fact that Edith stopped to sign my book.  That kind of put a damper on things.  But I had new needles, yarn and a book to thumb through while on vacation.

I dabbled here and there and found online videos of the knit stitch and the purl.  I practiced those over and over and over again.  Really when you first start, just hold the needles and figure out how to get them comfortable in your hands.  It took me about a year before I figured out that my purl stitch was backwards.  I guess that's the downside to teaching yourself.  I didn't know anyone who could teach me and I didn't know that yarn stores have people built in to teach you.  I thought that since I lived in a smallish town that there wasn't any yarn stores nearby.  I now know that this is false and we have a couple in town.  It's one of those "If I knew then, what I know now" kind of situations.  I could have saved myself the heartache of the twisted stitch.  I also could have stopped myself from buying the chenille yarn (it worms y'all, don't buy it).      

In the beginning there was a lot of scarves.  A lot!  Pretty much everyone I have known has gotten a scarf.  I eventually worked my way up and found that I really love making baby blankies.        

 The first completed baby blanket.
"The Shelby"

 I got a little more daring with the borders.

Pattern and color

 Go Idaho!

My new favorite, the Mitered Square.

The mitered square has become my go to square.  Knitting a blanket row by row can seem tedious sometimes.  I know that when I sit down and knit I can kick out a square in an hour so I feel like I get more accomplished with my time when I can see my progress.  The latest one I completed was patchwork of blues.  I know I need to get better at taking pictures because I have made so many more than these I just get so excited to send them out that I forget to snap a picture.  I'm not sure what it is but the repetitive motion is really relaxing for me.  I admit that I do get carried away with purchasing yarn and I know that I need to start getting through the stash in the garage. 

Writing or knitting can sometimes be a tough choice.  I wonder which one will win out tonight?           

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


There isn't anywhere safe.  Clover can reach the top shelf of the fridge now so I can't hide anything up there anymore.  I'm starting to learn that if I don't use it right away, it wont be there when I go back to pull it out for dinner.  Last night I let her pick the one tomato that our plant produced.  Which was on the Beefsteak plant but was neither beefy or steaky.  By the time we got to the back door it was half gone.  I'm glad that she loves her fruits and veggies so much but right now she is sitting next to me eating raw green onions.   

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Hair Rollers and Glitter A.K.A. I'm a Dance Mom - Year 2

I would say "Yay! I survived!" but that might imply that it was difficult.  We seemed to find our groove this year, so it really wasn't that hard at all.  Sure I had to deal with some attitude this year.  And I admit that it was something I wasn't prepared for and I really didn't know how to handle it.  But in the end I just laughed it off because some people tend to take themselves too seriously.  By the end of the year I realized that their bad attitude really had nothing to do with me.

That is when I realized that I was too chill to be a Dance Mom.  Or at least the stereotypical Dance Mom that you think about when you hear the phrase Dance Mom.  I was just there to watch my baby girl dance and have fun while I was at it.

Two years ago when we started this journey it was a little crazier.  I had no idea what I was doing so I was totally out of my comfort zone.  Clover loves her dance class so much that I sucked it up.  Ah the things we do for our children.  That and the toe taps are still just as adorable.

Once again this year I found myself backstage.  I'm not sure if it was because Clover had asked me or if it was my insane want to be helpful.  Either way there I was for the second year in a row.  These kids made it so easy.  By the end of the week they knew the routine and we were at the door waiting before we were even called.  The stage director for that door looked at us surprised that we were lined up and ready to go.  I take like a tenth of the credit because it was all the kids.  We had a small hiccup when one of our poor darlings got sick 2/3rds of the way through the show.  She went home and rested and was much better the next day.   Minus the hiccup our night went pretty smoothly.

When I'm backstage with the group, all those years of child care training kick in.  I'm doing a head count every two and half minutes.  That fear of losing a kid keeps me on my toes most of the night.  Even though there were three of us backstage with the kids I was still counting heads.  Darn training!

I had an extra treat this year.  One of the families I had in my class many years ago had joined our dance studio so I got to watch the youngest of their family up on stage dancing her heart out.  I got to watch from the side of the stage but it was such a treat to see this little girl who was just a toddler many years ago up there on stage too.

The big show at the end of the year can get a little crazy but it's fun.  I love watching Clover put together everything she has learned throughout the season.  Not only does she get to put it all together but she gets to show it off.  For everyone in the audience to see because she is "on the big stage".  If she would have her way, she would want to hold classes on the stage because she loves it that much.

She loves all of it.  The costumes are now fair game so she wore one of them to the grocery store today.  Her flowers lasted until this week and then she picked all the petals off so she could save them.  Luckily Grandma made her a silk bouquet to insure that we didn't have a replay of last years flower meltdown.

I'm glad that she has found something that she enjoys so much.  I have come to accept the fact that I am a Dance Mom.  Maybe we can start working on redefining it or something.  I don't think I will be running out and buying myself a bumpit anytime soon.  

Block by Block

Everyone who knows me, knows that I love to throw a birthday party!  I spend a ton of time looking into ideas or craft projects or food.  Hubby's birthday was no different.  After spending a ton of time brainstorming we settled on a Minecraft themed party.  I mentioned I'm a nerd right?  Do you really need that disclaimer?  So, you know how much I love my themes right?

Here piggie!  I also decorated the glass in the house to look like the glass in the game.

The glass was done with white electrical tape.  All I had to do was snip it into squares.  The piggie was constructed out boxes and wrapped with pink wrapping paper.  It was fairly easy to construct since I had duct tape.  I also let Clover color her own boxes green and we made a creeper with them.  Speaking of creepers...   
I made para-chord bracelets for Survival mode. 

I made the dangles out of Shrinky Dink plastic.  

I don't have a jig rigged up for bracelets so the paperclip worked great. 

I've made para-chord bracelets before.  This time I was able to find most of the supplies that I needed at the local craft store which made things a lot easier.  I did order the green off of amazon.  I thought it fit with the theme.  I made several different kinds.  I used this tutorial for the hearts one. 

There were so many ideas that I bookmarked but I just wasn't able to squeeze into the time frame.  Also I do like to keep to a budget.  So I do have to pick and choose what I am doing.  The candy and the bracelets where a big hit!  

I also found a free printable site which helped with the budget.  Free decoration?  Yes please.  I also used Pixel Papercraft for the grass blocks.  I wish I had taken a picture of the food table.  

I also whipped up a wreath so it was the first thing that the guests saw when they walked in.  It's still on the door so maybe when I get around to taking it down I will put up how I made it.  This Summer has been crazy busy I haven't even gotten around to taking the tape off the glass.  No one seems to mind.  We also have to fix the screen door because it just isn't a party around here until someone walks into and destroys the sliding screen door!