Wednesday, November 2, 2011

City Mouse Big Cheese

We has a little tug of war this year with costumes. T was set out from the get go to be a ghost but Mommy had other plans. I had 1/2 started this mouse costume a while back and had planned to give it as a birthday present but never got it completed. The week before and the week of Halloween I was not feeling well (just found out I have bronchitis) and so I decided to revisit this little mouse and use stuff I had around the house to put together something simple for Theo. I whipped this up in two hazy congested miserable nights, but it was so worth it.

The mouse costume consisted of a tail and ears made from stretch velour and a grey tulle tutu. Theo's cheese head was a piece of latex foam that I cut with scissors and sprayed with yellow spray paint. We used an on hand onsie that I dyed and printed out an iron on decal that said aged one year (yes he just turned one the week before). We got to use the costume several times once for a party and then again at Halloween and my guess is that she will want to wear this a dozen or so times before we re purpose the parts for something else. Halloween was so magical this year. T had such a great time, we created a bunch of creepy crafts and she became completely obsessed with all things slightly spooky. Theo, well he wasn't so sure about it all and even though he looks miserable in the photo he warmed up to his costume and was our perfect stinky lil cheese. Oh and I went as a black cat...with a few grey whiskers.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Birthday Boy

Hard to believe that my little guy just turned one. Brings tears to my eyes just thinking about how quickly this past year has flown by. I'm reminiscing now about all the precious moments and sweet infant glances that I wish I could have bottled up to relive again and again. I'm always in such quandary about whether I should be capturing (i.e with a camera) or be mindfully living the moment. I go back and forth and most of the times I think I choose to just let the experience be what is it and then just lament later that I didn't get the shots. I guess I am sorting venting here because I really didn't get the best pictures of the big guys birthday. Lighting was bad, he had a big poop in his diaper that I didn't know about and it was the end of a very very busy day so I guess I should be glad I got what I did. It really was a special day. Dad played hookie, Theo's buddies at little gym all sang to him, we had lunch out after an outing at the toy store (where he scored big time) and finished it day off with a cake I made in the nick of time the night before. I have a funny story about this cake that I won't go into but Dad and I were in tears laughing at 1:30am and will never forget this ONE.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Macro Greenhouse

After 3 years the terrarium that Tess and I constructed in our earlier post had to be put to rest. The plants had gotten leggy and it was no longer the small sweet green world on my dinner table it was more like the big green monster. I transplanted all the plants outdoors into a bigger pot and since the container has just been sitting in the garage waiting for me to make another. I've been either too busy or lazy to clean it so I decided to use another vessel and make a smaller slightly less planty version of a terrarium. I had a some left over moss from an orchid repot and a great glass globe I had purchased at West Elm that had been calling out to be used. I went scouring my junk box for some cool things that might work together thinking I wanted to make something greeny and easy enough for Tess to help with. I chose some quartz crystals, miniature model figurines and a piece of pyrite that was collecting dust on Matt's shelf. The project took us about 15 minutes to put together but a good hour and a half to talk about all the items. Tess was completely fascinated by the figurines and played with them forever asking all kinds of bizzaro questions. She was also enamored by the pyrite and crystal shapes, we had a mini lesson in rock formations and even took a trip to the back yard to get additional rocks to examine. I love this age, even the smallest simplest little projects turn into opportunities for learning something new.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Vegetable Basics

Ha so much for more frequent postings. I actually had such good intentions, Tess and I have been working on a lot of great projects and I've even managed to capture some of them with the camera but... I had some computer problems. I guess you could call it user error. My computer just stopped recognizing my camera and download images. Immediately I went online lurking around tech sites to see if I could figure out what the problem. I tried like every thing. Nothing worked. Finally after a week I had to admit defeat and call Matt in to fix my buggy camera but moments before I was about give up I noticed that the camera wasn't even connected to the port. It was only half way plugged in but looked like it was connected. I felt like such a dunce...arghh and the time wasted troubleshooting. So again I am committing to more frequent posts... wonder what shenanigans will come up this time.

In the mean time I wanted to post some images from a cookbook I've been using all week. It's called Vegetable Basics - 84 Recipes Illustrated by Jody Vassalo. The recipes indeed are pretty basic but what I love is the design and layout of the pages. This is by far the easiest to follow visual cookbook that I have ever used. You barely need read the instructions to be able to follow along...exact what I need since most of my cooking is done darting into the other room checking on a toddler or trying to juggle dinner with a baby in arms or clinging to my left leg. If you are in the need of a basic veg cookbook that will inspire you to make great simple tasty food this is a good one to check out.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Super Natural Millet Muffins

Okay this is officially the first of my attempts at more frequent posts. I'm hoping to get at least a few posts a week up and capturing more of the everyday. Just quick little snippets of the simple things that keep me busy, thinking and constantly on the move. I've been working on clearing out most of the processed foods from our families pantry and getting rid of boxed anything. I recently purchased the cookbook Super Natural Everyday and love the recipes, they are high on flavor yet easy, healthy and uncomplicated. We have an almost impossibly small kitchen so keeping anything but the essentials for cooking on hand just isn't practical and Heidi Swanson's recipes make the most out of ingredients that I usually have on hand. Here is my go at her Millet Muffins the recipe can be found on her amazing site. Here is the link to the muffins and five others from her beautiful cookbook.

I switched it up a bit and used 1/2 unbleached flour and 1/2 whole wheat pastry flour because that's what I had on hand. I ended up having to put the batter in the refrigerator and run and pick T up from school so they set up some before I spooned them into the muffin tins. They came out having a very scone like texture which look very different from the photos of Heidis in the book but the flavor was amazing. And I loved the denseness of the muffins. She compares the muffins to cornbread muffins but they are so much better.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Things have been hectic to say the least since we got back from vacation. Every year we can justify taking the extended time away from work because we bring the company laptop along and do a bit of work between walks on the beach and playing in the pool. This year the laptop decided it was in need some vacation time as well and stopped working the first day there - not so good for the 4 big projects Dad was juggling but left us without excuses to just enjoy our time together. This year like every year we were looking forward to recharging and reconnecting with family. Matt and his family have been coming to the island for more than 35 years and for me to be apart of that legacy with our family is truly special. This was T' third year coming and T-o's first and the third year that my cousin brought her sweet family of 4 - it was a magical week of friends, family and good times. The best moment of the trip was this late day walk with Matt & the kiddos. The beach there is always pretty deserted this time of year so it felt like we had the ocean all to ourselves. Knee deep in shells the lowtide beach was covered in stuff to explore and the seagulls were chasing sandpipers for small crabs and little coquina. We walked up the beach watching for the sunset and trying to stretch out the last day. I got a few good pictures of Dad with TnT that really capture our slow sweet simple time of Sanibel.


Posting a bit late but wanted to make sure I captured Tess' 3rd birthday. We celebrated her special day in Sanibel with her extended family while at our yearly family reunion. We we under the gun this year with several big book projects and a whole bunch of small client stuff so getting everyone packed and party ready was a bit of a challenge. Next year we plan to do a "best buddy" party at home so she can celebrate with her friends but I think she enjoyed her family birthday just fine. We picked up the ingredients for a simple ice cream cake the night before at the local island grocer and to make it easy on everyone we opted to order in pizza. We lucked out and got a great island breeze and enjoyed the day reuniting with family and meeting a Great Aunt & Uncle for the first time. It was a Happy Day…my girls growing up - said with a big frog in my throat.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

First Day

Here's my little girl going off to her first day at school. I had fretted over this moment for the past two weeks, afraid I would breakdown and cry. I imagined myself pulling over afterwards sobbing into my steering wheel while seasoned moms honked for me to move on. The truth was she didn't shed a tear and barely looked back as she walked away from me to meet her new awaiting classmates. As for Mom, there was no crying I was too filled with pride at my brave little girl to do anything but smile and watch her bounce off. This week we are only going partial days to get used to all the newness, develop positive routines and get acquainted with the whole school thing.

It seemed I barely had time to get home, drink a cup of coffee down and it was time to go get her. When I got to school I queued up with the other cars and waited my turn to pick up my pumpkin. Her new teacher walked her out to the car and helped her buckle up. As she was seeing to Tess's car seat straps the teacher said to me, "You have one sweet sweet little girl here". I smiled ear to ear so glad she made a positive impression but even more glad that she was back with me safe & sound.

I had worked it out with Dad that he would work from home and watch baby brother so that after pick up I could take Tess for a special Mommy & big girl cupcake. I was barely able to contain myself I wanted to know EVERYTHING about her day. Over the cupcake I tried to pull out as much info about what she did in her new environment. I guess I had thought I was going to get this great download but she was much more interested in having a conversation with her cupcake icing than me. Oh well. I guess that's how it's going to be from now on - Moms on a need to know basis.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Noodle Necklace

Today as I was cooking up T a big freezable batch of homemade spagettio's I starting wondering if she would be to young for some good old noodle jewelry making. I took a handful of the noodles I was using and got out some watered down paints and set her up for some pasta painting. She had such a great time. She put all the noodles on a metal skewer which was a great exercise for her fine motor skills and used a small paintbrush to color the noodles. After drying she applied glitter glue to some and she finished off the project by stringing them on some pink nylon cord. She was so proud of her necklace and I was so impressed that she tackled this project all by herself and the result was just adorable.

Noodle Necklace Materials:
Pasta Noodles
Water based paints
Glitter Glue
Nylon Thread

Homemade Spagetti O's
1 can tomato sauce
1 cup pasta rings
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cut fine diced or pureed carrots
1/2 can drained and finely chopped garbanzo beans
1/4 tsp garlic powder
dash salt
1/4 cup milk
1/4 grated cheese

In a sauce pan combine tomato sauce, veggie broth, carrot puree, salt, garlic powder stir until combined and hot. Add cooked pasta, beans, milk and cheese cook until heated through. Can increase recipe to make big freezer batches holds up and is good in freezer for 2 months.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Boy Toy

I'm trying to get a few more Theo posts up - but that little guy is hard to get a picture of. He's a fast one and always on the move, moreover any time he sees the camera or any other electronic device he beelines right for it. Anyway I managed to capture him with his newest little softie friend. It's really the first dolly I've made for him but I promise that he won't go without for much longer. Tess starts school and he is just starting to nap for longer stretches. When school starts you can bet I will have that sewing machine out and working double time. Here's a quick little guy I made for Theo. I used the pattern from the book "Softies Only a Mother Could Love". I modified the design to include an all felt face with machine sew details and a second side. The original is a single sided cosmonaut and I thought how lonely to be a space man without a buddy. So on the second side I added a one eyed spotted alien and now the two are best friends.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Daily Lessons

T starts montessori school in the fall and in preparation we have been working on making sure she is confident in some basic early education skills. I let her go at her own pace, never push her and try to wrap the lessons around fun activities so that she continues to develop a lifelong love of learning. Lately we have been working on drawing her letters. This exercise is a fun way to for her to practice her writing and work on her fine motor skills. I draw the original letters and she has to erase them with the brush and water.

She knows how to spell and write her own name and she wants me to write all of her friends names so she can trace those as well. It is so amazing to be able to watch as her language skills progress to the next level. Honestly, I am a bit conflicted over the fact that once she starts school someone else will be directing her and teaching my little monkey things. I cherish watching her learn and how she looks at me while we are doing her lessons as if I am the smartest Mom on earth. I love how when Dad gets home she recounts our lessons to him almost verbatim using the same words with the same inflections she learned from me. I already know when the first day of school rolls around there will be plenty of tears, not hers but mine. I already know that I will hold them back and wait until my car pulls around the bend before I lose it so I don't tarnish her moment. We only have four more weeks to spend in this pre-school - pre-school bubble I am going to cherish every one.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Morning Art

I was just complaining to my inner self about how I should be a better journal-er. So many thoughts get only half processed these days because either I don't seem to have the brain cells to fully process or because some barely missed catastrophe with one of the kiddos truncates my thoughts. I need a small journal in every room to capture micro ideas so that I don't loose them to the frequent chaos of motherhood. I do get a few pockets of wonderful quiet time and those are like gold - one the best chucks of still bliss is morning craft time. Tess is very self directed these days and will tell me she wants to do some crafting and I set up her station which consists of the supplies of the day in her craft tray (aka big baking pan) and she is content for a hour or so to create away. I have been so surprised at what she comes up with just a little guidance. I usually wander away to do some laundry, check my mail or just unscramble and when I come back she has beautiful art and the best explanations. Here are a few of her projects.

Bean collage and magazine paper collage.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cave Girl

The costume theme this week was time travel. If you know my husband you would assume that we would be making a techie costume for Tess since Dad is a big sci-fi nerd. Momma was super tired this week and baby Theo teething again so I opted for a quick & easy pre-historic getup. We watched a few clips from the Flintstones to get her excited and she quickly picked up the all important cave girl mantra, Yabba Dabba do. The only fabric we purchased was a 1/4 yard of the animal print the rest was left over from other projects so the total cost on the costume was less than six dollars. Cheap, quick and priceless. If you follow our costume adventures you might be wondering what happened to "princess" week. Well we ended up skipping that week because we were headed to Galveston for some family fun time at the beach. Whew escaped the princess theme...for now.

1 yard Utrasuede
1/4 furry animal print fabric
various wood beads for necklace

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Rogue Pirate

Here's the next installment of the summer of costumes. Just now posting this project from two weeks back.Tomorrow is castles, prince & princess day and I've yet to start sewing or have any clue of what I will throw together. I think I am procrastinating on this one because I have always sworn to try and steer T away from the whole "princess" thing and encourage her to indulge in more "girl" esteem rewarding role play. But I am finding that this issue is alot like me trying to steer her away from junk food, sugar and bad nutritional influences I can't help to to feel like... the girl needs an occasional brownie and just maybe an occasional princess.

All princess talk aside, here is T as my rogue...not so rogue pirate. She really loved this one and has worn it several times since I made it. We have a hand me down ship play set in the backyard which is perfect for her to act our her pirate daydreams. I even managed to drag Dad into this one - I had him stencil the skull and cross bones on to the vest. So pleased that this was my first attempt at a pair of pants, simple yes they were but I felt a huge sense of accomplishment at tackling something that I had a bit of new sewist fear of. No patterns just used a old pair of pants and an old vest as a go by. Again, not a lot of finishing on this costume. The pant bottoms and felt on the jacket left rough making for a quick 2.5 hour total project. I had all the material except the red striped fabric for the hat on hand so it was almost entirely made up of scraps.

Still missing some pirate accompaniments, I still need to make up a treasure map,some kind of soft sword for swashbuckling(very important according to T)and decorate a paper towel tube for locating other pirate ships in the distance.

1.5 yards cotton for pants
1 yard of felt for vest
black bias tape
black felt & elastic for eye patch

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Stingray Play

Oceans, sharks, whales and mermaids was the theme of the week at gym. I debated creating a mermaid costume but after some consideration decided that we would try a hand at making a stringray. Tess has a great little book called Max the Minnow and one of the characters is a jazzy stingray. We both always have such fun reading that book and she laughs at all the illustrated sealife.

I looked online for some ideas on a ray costume but didn't find much so I was on my own to try and figure out how to create it. We bought a pink leotard, a box of brown Rit dye and two yards of fabric for the construction. I used knit jersey and poly satin for the rays wings and achieved the spotted effect by dying the fabric brown and then painting bleach onto the dyed bodysuit and splattering it on to the wings. I wish I had taken a little more time and care with the construction, I admit I was a bit sloppy and "make do" with the garment but I was working on it during kiddo naps the day before her class. We have a water theme party coming up in a few months and we will pull this out again, maybe I will sew on some sequins and embellish this little ray.

1 Box brown Rit dye
1 yard cotton knit fabric
1 yard poly satin

First Cake

Been racking my brain thinking about options for Tess upcoming birthday. We usually spend & celebrate the summer date away. We will be out of town again this year but daddy is requesting that we do a small playdate party at home for her close buddies. I'm a little concerned about having two parties... are we setting ourselves up for trouble next year when her birthday rolls around again. I can already hear it... Tess gets TWO parties. What ever we do I will have to try and top the cupcakes from last year and the octopus cake from her first birthday... I take it as a personal challenge. I wanted to post the cake from her big 1 because that's were the "topping" the cake challenge began. Matt and I had NEVER made cake from scratch before but we have watched plenty of food network cake shows and were thinking, "we could try that". We had a few obstacles to overcome, we had to cook the cake in the vacation kitchen and had to track down quality fondant on a small limited provisions island all the while dealing with an active 1 year old- thank god for grandparents.

The first cake went into the garbage, burnt. My mother-in-law slipped my hubby a tranquilizer in his diet coke to calm him down and we had food coloring everywhere. Alas, the cake turned out great so proud of our first attempt and best of all Tess was just enchanted with her Octocake.We called her Toothy.

Cake specifics - we used an egg shaped mold, fonderific fondant and gel food coloring. For the cake we used Martha Stewarts recipe for yellow cake with buttercream icing. There was lemon curd between the layers and we topped it with crushed graham crackers to get that sandy look.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Standing Tall

Theo just rounded the corner on his 8th month. His little personality is really starting to shine through and boy do I love this little monkey. He is so fulled with wonder and amazement at his new world that he just couldn't wait to start pulling up, standing and creeping about the house. He has been crawling now for about two months and I think he just might walk early. I think the idea of keeping up with big sis is a big motivator. Along with being very physical he is also sweet & loving (minus the occasional bite), his favorite past time is playing the piano and squealing in delight.

I give a lot of thought as to what kind of boy Theo will be and what kind of things will he be interested in. Wondering if he's going to be sporty or brainy, into science or comics looking to Matt wondering if he will be just like dad. I'm not overly concerned about the specifics as long as he is happy - it's more of a fascination with how different he is from Tess and how wonderfully boylike he is.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Little Indian

Tess has been really crazy about dress up these days. Usually before when we leave the house to go anywhere she has to put on some kind of hat, grab a purse or bag, sunglasses and every piece of plastic jewelry she some of mine. We are deep into pretend play phase.

Last week they announced it was going to be Western Day in Tess' class and I asked her if she wanted to be a cowgirl or an Indian and she chose the later. I only had a few hours to whip this up so I was thankful the child chose the easier out of the two. I made my own pattern for this one by just laying out a dress she already had and tracing around it to get an approximate size. The beauty of this project and key to creating it quickly was the fabric, we used ultra suede so there was no hemming or binding involved. The last dress I made for Tess called for bias trim around the arms and neck and I am still traumatized by the memories of that sewing project. I tried to keep the costume unisex and big enough so that she could get a few years of play out of it and baby Theo would be able to wear it when he gets to be her age. Next week we are tackling a pirate costume which means learning to sew elastic pants. By summers end I am hoping T will have a whole closet full of mommy made pretend play clothes.

The project from start to finish took 1.5 hours and cost only $8.99 - we were able to use remnant ultra suede from the fabric store.

1 yard Ultra suede
.5 yard decorative ribbon trim
Elastic for the headband (I pulled the elastic out of my old maternity shorts)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

We headed off to Bastrop for Memorial Day Weekend. It was our first overnighters with the whole family and I wasn't so sure how baby Theo was going to manage the long drive and unfamiliar sleeping arrangements. We decided to head out on Thursday about the same time as his morning nap and we got 3/4 of way there before he woke up and demanded some out of the car time which was expected - we were all hungry for lunch. When we arrived Lost Pines we were all excited to go exploring and get in some lazy river time. Tess is at that age where she can appreciate all the outdoor activities and Theo is small enough to not really care so we were in vacation bliss the whole weekend. Tess loved interacting with the animals and our room overlooked pastures with longhorn cows, horses, alpacas and miniature donkeys. I was really surprised that some of the best times we had were right in our room we had small moments filled with kisses and cuddles. It amazes me to see how much Tess and Theo love each other, he adores her and she can always get him to smile. Tess takes such pride in being his big sister and always wants to be included in helping us out with the baby. Everything was just perfect we ended up extending our trip by another day and I am already pining to get back to those Pines.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Making the Cut

Anyone who has known Tess since she was a baby knows that the girl was born without a lick of hair on her head and didn't start getting peach fuzz on her noggin until practically her second birthday. At almost three she still doesn't have much. What she does have grows incredibly slow in the front and on the sides leaving the majority of her goldie locks growing in back - aka the toddler mullet. After debating for the last week if I should trim up her hair or let what precious little she has grow brazenly wild, I decided finally to get out the scissors and give her a respectable do. She was delighted to get her first haircut and sat without fuss while I chopped off the straggly strands to give her a pixie cut that perfectly suits her.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Chocolate Pretzels

A very crafty mommy friend of mine always has these addictive pretzel treats out when we come over. She swore they were easy to make and that her little monkey loves to help out making these sweet treats so I thought we would give them a go. She was right, easy, low mess and super fun for the kiddos. Only three ingredients you can't go wrong, we used matchstick pretzels, quick melt chocolate and course sanding sugar. The entire project minus the time spent eating and munching and laughing along the way only took about 10 minutes. First we laid the pretzels out on some wax paper(makes for easy clean up), microwaved the chocolate in a glass bowl for 60 seconds then put the chocolate into a squeezy bottle and drizzled over the pretzels. Finally Tess sprinkled the sugar over the tops and we let harden for about 30 minutes before eating. Tess is so excited to show Daddy that she made "prentzels" for him - what a treat.

Friday, May 13, 2011


The first few precious tomatoes of the season are ready for picking. About to undertake a big renovation/addition to our house this summer we planted very little this year. Since our backyard will be one big muddy construction site I debated if I should plant anything at all but decided that I couldn't miss an opportunity to teach T about growing from seed. We started the plantings indoors in February and Tess has patiently watched and watered her plants over the past few months with loving care. Elated at finally getting a chance to harvest some of her crops, she immediately picked the first tomato and went to bite right in and enjoy it straight from the vine. Also ready were sunflowers that had grown a few feet tall, which are now pride of place on our dinning room table. Construction is likely (hopefully, all fingers crossed) to begin next month and we might not get to harvest the rest of our crops but at least we got a few early tomatoes to get us in the summer mood. Fingers crossed the watermelons are ready before all the craziness starts.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Summer is a great time to refocus on fresh produce and clean up our diets. I have been working on trying to rid my cabinets & freezer of all processed foods slowly eating up any boxed pasta and couscous mixes so we could make the transition to a no processed foods house. For the most part we eat pretty good around here, I soak my own beans, grow some of our veg, buy grains in bulk but there are still some processed foods that I am dependent on. Mostly they are "processed lite" from Whole Foods and not so "bad" but still I am always trying to make our meals healthier and more nutritious. Right now reading a few good books on clean eating. Terry Walters Clean Foods is a great resource for stocking a "clean kitchen" and it has some simple great recipes.I am also reading Alicia Silverstones The Kind Diet and was surprised to find that it's pretty good and not at all "clueless". I have started to incorporate raw meals once a week into our diet and my favorite go to books for recipes of the raw kind are Matt Amsden's RAWvolution and Julianos RAW the UNcook book. Here are pics of some of our sprout crops the greens on bottom left are broccoli and on the top a mix of arugula, radish, alfalfa and on the right a yummy assortment of pea spouts.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Big 6

Happy 6 months little guy. The time has flown by and it seems like just a few weeks ago we were bringing home our tightly wrapped small precious (screaming) bundle. Although we can look back now and it all seems a quick blur the road to getting here was sometimes pretty rough. It took a few weeks to figure out that Theo had some major food intolerances and then it took some serious diet modifications to get him feeling better. I had to give up dairy, soy, wheat, eggs, and since I was already a vegetarian that left not a whole lot left to eat. Even taking vitamins or eating foods with any spices would upset his little belly - it was a boring few food months. Now he has outgrown all the sensitivities and I am back to eating my fair share of cookies, milkshakes and other non so good for you foods. Mommy & baby are happy, in fact the whole house is now full of laughter, love and all kinds of kiddo shenanigans. One little person, the whole universe.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Bug Bites

Made up a batch of Easter sugar cookies in bug shapes. Tess thinks it is hysterical to chomp the heads and wings off of the bugs and say gross as she reaches for more to eat. This was the first time I tried the royal icing with meringue power. Usually we use pasteurized eggs so that the frosting is safe to eat without the risk of salmonella but I always find that the eggs because of the heat treatment won't whip up. I have tried using cream of tarter as a stabilizer but it still leaves the icing runny and with set up issues. I have mixed feelings on the meringue powder I found that the icing was a bit to frothy and sticky and lacked some of the gloss of my usual recipe. Definitely not as tasty but it was very easy to work with and spread. I can tell I need a few more rounds to get the perfect "safe" icing. With the way Tess & Matt are hitting these tasty little bugs I am sure I will have plenty of opportunities to perfect this recipe.

For the cookie recipe - see earlier post on Valentines Day cookies
For the icing recipe... stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Easter Dress

I have been wanting to try to sew one of those pillowcase style dresses for some time but just haven't gotten around to doing it. I've was actually worried that once I made one of these dresses I would get pillowcase dress crazy and then every photo of Tess from now until she went to college would be of her in one these. But with Easter right around the corner I thought it would be the perfect quick sew dress project. After searching for a tutorial I found one that looked pretty simple at Prudent Baby and thought I would give it a go. The dress is linen and cotton and even though it's not the most festive of dresses I am still referring to it as the Easter Dress. Last years Easter dress was black with small white dots so by my standards this ended up being practically a carnival of color. The whole dress from cutting fabric to completion look less than 2 hours and just as I feared I can't wait to make another one. They make the perfect summer dress and when the weather starts to turn you can layer t-shirts under them and wear them as tunics.

Bias Tape
Twill Tape for the tie

Friday, April 8, 2011

Health Nut Cookie

Chocolate cookies are a particular weakness of mine and my all time favorite recipe is from Tate's bake shop in the Hamptons. Goop posted the recipe awhile back and since then it is my go to recipe for the perfect chocolate chip cookies. Here is that link if you are in the mood for the best cc cookie I am always on the lookout for healthy alternatives to the foods I crave so when I saw the recipe for lentil cookies on the Cooking Channel's Spice Goddess I was intrigued and thought I would give them a try. I love the idea of a cookie that includes high protein,healthy fats and whole wheat. I modified the recipe a bit so that I could make them more of a breakfast cookie or healthy snack cookie. I'm calling my version a Health Nut Cookie. Here is the original recipe from the cooking channel For my modification I only used 1/4 cup of almonds and added 3/4 cup of walnuts (I'm a walnut fan). I also cut the sugar by 1/4. The final cookie was light and nutty - next time I might add a pinch of cardamon to give them a little more spice. You can't argue with a healthy cookie that actually tastes good.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Salt Painting

My new mission is to try to get more creative time in with T, she is like a sponge and wants to be trying her hand at new experiences everyday. Developmentally she seems to be transitioning from abstract doodles to more representational drawing so when I saw this cool craft over at Family Fun magazine I thought it would be a perfect fit. I was amazing at how she was grasping the concept of following the lines and enjoying a bit of structure, actually waiting and having fun at each step in the process. To do this project at home you need only a few things that you probably already have on hand. First step is to take some stiff card stock or you can reuse cut down cardboard boxes, we used watercolor paper that I cut in half. Next squeeze or draw out with regular Elmers/craft glue a design on the paper. Tess made her first ones pretty simple but once she saw that she only painted on glue she made the next ones more elaborate. After the design is done place the paper in a shallow pan and sprinkle with course salt until the paper is covered then shake off any excess. While the glue is still wet start dabbing wet watercolor paint onto the salted design trying not to drag the brush through the glue. Like magic the wet color spreads as the salt absorbs the paint. We tried regular Mortons table salt and course kosher salt and got better results the with latter. We also found that the more wet the paint the better the leaching of the color on to the design. Make sure to document the artwork because once it dries it tends to flake off and could make for messy storage.

Watercolor paper or Card Stock
Craft Glue
Course Salt
Shallow Pan

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Bath Towel

Long time no post. Sorry we have just been busy around here and finding time to craft is a luxury that mommy is going without these days. So here is a quick one I was able to pull off before the kiddos even woke up on Sunday am. T was in need of a new towel and when I looked online at the prices I was amazed at what companies charge for toddler towels - highway robbery if you ask me. After looking at some of her old baby towels it didn't seem like it would be all that difficult to sew one up, basically the towel construction is only three long seams plus a little extra work to add on some fun details. I purchased a 100% cotton standard bath towel for $3.99 and a hand towel for $1.99 from Target on sale. Sorry I didn't have time to completely document the process for a tutorial but here is a link to the basic sew online I promise this is a super easy project well worth the time and small investment. Since I've made another one in orange that was a little chicken as a gift for my nephew Zade and plan to make one for baby Theo. This just might be my go to gift project for all of T's friends.