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Monday, December 27, 2010

Not Yet the New Year

I get this from my mom.
The moment Christmas is over, I want to clean away all the green and red and make the house look sparking. I want all excess clutter gone and this is the one time of the year that I like the minimalist style.
Kind of impossible with 2 semi-ill children and the husband home for 2 weeks.

I even put my Christmas Martha Stewart (that I JUST received) away until next year, because I don't want to even read about Christmas decor. CLEAN. BRIGHT. SIMPLE.

Does anyone else feel like that?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas to ALL!

Yesterday, we had an Open House, Chin-style. (For those of you who don't know, Chin is my maiden name.) Lots of snacks, pop in when you can, stay for a few minutes or for hours....
My parents do this every year, and I have to carry on the tradition.
And the kids have all been cooped up for days due to the cold weather. They made their own fun. This morning.And later this morning.
No fancy Christmas dinner here. We are having leftovers from yesterday, pizza, whatever we can find in the frig and are relaxing ALL DAY.

Best new Crock Pot Party Recipe:
Chicken Skewers for Kids
1. Take chicken breasts, cut into small strips.
2. Marinate in olive oil, salt and pepper.
3. Make sure to soak bamboo skewers for several hours. Skewer chicken.
4. Broil until done. (this takes minutes)
5. Put chicken broth in crock pot. (Homemade or non bullion is best)
6. Put broiled skewers in crock pot.
Chicken stays moist and warm for entire party!!

To serve on the side to make more exciting to parents:
Spicy Peanut Dip
2/3 C peanut butter
2/3 C salsa (don't use mild)
1/4 C lemon juice
salt to taste
Worcestershire sauce to taste --few splashes
Tabasco/Hot sauce to taste
Mix and heat.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cuz Baby It's Cold Outside

I let him make his own drum set. We used to do this when he was home all day as a toddler, and it is just as much fun when you are 5.
Wrapping, Crafting, School Concerting.... more to come when I get a moment.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Getting into the Spirit

Surprise New Bedding (for Tate)! A few Saturday nights ago, I locked myself in my craft room to make Christmas cards. I heard a little knock on the door, and well...I let a certain boy stay up past bedtime and we made this together instead. (foam wreath+wide ribbon+stars and glue dots+felt reindeer with adhesive on back)Feet are fun.
Got this idea from my friend, Ursula. I think she calls it Muffin Tin Mondays. This was a Thursday, and I wanted something easy for dinner. Just take muffin tins and fill with a (semi) balanced meal using the leftovers in your frig.
Cold weather calls for baking bread. While watching "From Paris With Love". Jonathan Rhys Meyers is so much better as King Henry than he is his character in this movie. J. Travolta--awesome. Cracked my butt up.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Moving Again--Minneapolis

Tate and our Christmas Tree. Yes, it is of the Charlie Brown Variety.
We just found out that we will be relocating to Minneapolis in July. I am soooo sad to have to leave Bath, UK but I am very happy for my husband who unexpectedly got his dream job.

Anyone know anything about the city? Any school recommendations? Any neighborhood recommendations?

I am stressing about this big change. I know it is a great city, but I want to find the right place for us. For the first time, I think I want to live in the 'burbs. I want other kids and moms to play with in my neighborhood and a school as lovely as Batheaston. The only thing that helps as I obsess over this is playing Mall World. On facebook. Because it is a stress reducer!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Holiday Season Part 1

I just read this:
Very entertaining, AND it got me in the mood to prepare for Christmas. I highly recommend finding fun Christmas books at boot/garage sales and used book stores and putting them away to pull out in November. It gets you in the mindset before everything starts in December!

A few other tips:
1. Many websites have fun Christmas puzzles that you can print out. I plan on printing out 25, one for each morning to have on hand for Tate while I drink that precious first cup of coffee.
2. Make a few desserty things and freeze them. (Chocolate chip cookie dough, apple bars, etc.) That way, when people pop over unexpectedly, you have a treat for them.
3. Preshop. Before the craziness, Soleil and I went into town just to look around. It gave me an idea of what I need to get and will save time later. In fact, I might just order the things I found online and save me the trip later.
4. Stay at home. If you have 10 events scheduled during the holidays, do 7 of them. You will be glad when you aren't all frazzled at the end.
5. Light a candle. The delightful scents can only help you relax during this busy time.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Felt in the Autumn

I kept my favorite Halloween pillow out until Thanksgiving.This hat used to be a sweater that Paul shrank. I added the bird with some felt and the pattern is from Amanda Soule's Handmade Home.We are listening to this. It started out slow, but Tate is really starting to enjoy the story when he gets home from school. (He is usually exhausted and loves to draw while listening.)I am no longer letting Paul dress the baby...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Returning from overseas

I will be back to properly post soon!
We just returned from the States and we are still jetlagged.
I am really looking forward to crafty endeavors in the next few weeks. Bring on the holiday season (if it means snuggling in at home...)

What fun things do you have planned between now and the New Year???

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

WIshful To Do List

I checked my blog posts...I didn't start this blog until Tate was almost 1. I have to remind myself of that when I am frustrated that I don't have time for ANYTHING. I guess it is ok that I just hold my babe. (She is happily playing for her 5 minute window...)

  • change blog design--looks too washed out
  • bake something apple-y
  • make hats and mittens from felted sweaters
  • make a christmas gift list
  • pack for upcoming US trip
  • clean (last on list for a reason.)
And.... my 5 minutes is up. Have a great day!

UPDATE: Made these amazing apple bars. You can freeze them and pull them out when you need them!
Made a hat from Soulemama's book using a sweater Paul shrank (is that a word??). Totally cute. I hand sewed a little felt bird to the front. Photo to come..

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Chicken Pie!

The weather is cooler, and I am craving warm and cozy foods. I made a chicken pie and froze it for later in the week. Here is how you make it. I apologize, I can't remember the exact amounts.

1. Chop chicken breasts into small pieces and salt and pepper the pieces.
2. Chop veggies into small pieces.
3. Melt a knob of butter, add onions and saute until clear. Add rest of veg, and cook for a few minutes. Then add chicken, and a little thyme and salt and pepper.
4. Once chicken is browned, add some flour and cook for a minute.
5. Add 2/3 C of milk and chicken broth (about 1.5 cups) and boil until thickened. Make sure chicken is cooked all the way through.
6. Add to premade pie crust. Poke a few holes in the top to vent. Cook at 400 degrees F until browned.
7. Eat and Enjoy!

** We had a good portion of extra filling after making the pie and added it to some cooked macaroni. It was really good as well.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fun Halloween Stuff

Click on the banner/button and it will take you to her site:

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cleaning La Casa

Have you read this book?? It is amazing. I am halfway through, and I can barely set it down. It tells about life as a black maid in Mississippi in 1962. 1962!! That wasn't that long ago, but as I read it, I kept thinking, "surely this is a lot longer ago" due to the way the maids were treated. It isn't a downer book, though... it is just a really good tale from 3 of the characters' perspectives.

It was actually motivating, as I read about how the chores were organized each day. It made me want to scrub my house clean! I might actually consider organizing the tasks each day as the maids did in the book.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Because I was tired of giving the boy ABCs and 123s

With a 3 month old in the house, meals are sometimes not healthy around here. I hate that. Wayyyy too many times, I heard myself ask my husband to heat up some Chef Boy-ar-dee ABCs and 123s for Tate. And then Paul would heat up frozen corn to go with it. And maybe a PBJ.

To remedy this horrible eating pattern, I decided to take most of my Sunday and make some nutritious meals that I can freeze and heat up easily through out the week. I also prepped my veggies, so that they are easier to combine. Sometimes, if the carrots are cut up, I am more apt to use them...

So I made:

Mom's Beefaroni: pasta, groundbeef, italian spices, petite diced tomatoes, pureed tomatoes, shredded cheddar.

Meatballs: 1lb ground beef, 3/4 C breadcrumbs, 2 TBS parmesan, s&p, oregano, basil, 1 beaten egg. Bake them on a cookie sheet at 350 F for 15 min and they will be 3/4 cooked. Finish off in spaghetti sauce. Alternatively, cook them a little longer in the oven until fully cooked, then freeze them individually on a cookie sheet and transfer to a freezer bag. You can pull out a few and microwave for little ones. I use them for meatball sandwiches as well.

Apple Cake: will post recipe later. Got this one from a fellow blogger and have to ask permission first! (IT WAS SOOO GOOD!)

Roasted Beets: These are for my beet, avocado, feta, pepperoncini, italian dressing salad that I plan on having today.

Pot Roast Prep: defrosted meat for crock pot today. I add onion soup mix, whole mushrooms and water and leave on low for the entire day.

Any great freezable ideas that you might have?

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

How Tos...from other people and The Quilt

I finally finished the quilt. Yep, I owe you the last step in the tutorial, which is binding off the edges. IT WAS SO HARD TO FIGURE OUT!! (But then again, it was pretty easy to execute.)
I owe a big thanks to the bloggers at DIY Dish, who simplified the process while being adorable at the same time.
After I was done, I thought I would try a tutorial that I saw on Angry Chicken. Ok, now I am obsessed with making reusable snack bags. It was soooo easy. Amy of Angry Chicken uses cotton, so that she can throw them in the washer, but I think I am going to try oil cloth later. In any case, CUTE.And here is Soleil, age 3 months. She is so snuggly!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Apple Blackberry Jelly Tutorial

Ok, so I have had a hard time posting on Mondays. LIFE IS BUSY right now! Ms. Sunshine has decided to sleep only in my arms and I have been really really trying to change that.

Anyway, I have been able to make jelly from the apples from our tree and blackberries that we picked while Paul has been home.

Here is a step by step tutorial:
1. Boil equal parts of blackberries and baking apples just covered with water. (I used about 5 cups of each). Keep the cores and skins on the apples--they have lots of necessary pectin for the jelly to set.
2. Once all of the fruit has cooked down to mush, line a colander with cheesecloth over a bowl and dump mix in to drain juice. Don't smoosh down--it will make the jelly cloudy.
Here is the juice. (I let it drain overnight.)
3. Use a big pot. Add the juice and sugar. Most recipes call for the same amount of juice as sugar, but I used 5 cups of juice and 3.5 cups of sugar and it turned out great.

4. Boil until the mix resembles maple syrup, about 220 degrees F, or passes the plate test (put a little of the mix on a cold plate and see if it sets up after a few seconds.)
4. Boil jars to sterilize for 10 min. Use tongs to extract from water.

5. Fill with jelly--it will be liquid-y. Tighten lids and put in a big pot of water and boil for 10 minutes to sterilize.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Texture Craft

On rainy days, we always try to find a craft that is new and different. We found this one on a website that I can't remember right now..
  • Cut up pieces of felt, fabric, sandpaper, textured paper, velvet, anything with texture. It is amazing what you can find in your house once you start looking.
  • Put the little pieces in bowls, give your child a glue stick and some paper, and let them create.
  • For smaller children, Make buildings, and cut out squares of the textured papers and have each building's "windows" have a different texture. Have them feel each one afterwards.