Friday, July 31, 2009

Propulsion and projects

Matt really propelled Jasper up into the air today but boy does he love that. Getting the kids to giggle is a specialty of Matt's. Of course Mika had a turn too, but I didn't get as good of a photo. The sun was coming down so this one isn't the best either but it was too cute to pass up posting.

I had to get some photos tonight since Jasper is wearing one of my latest project, his shorts that I finished up on Wednesday. I used the robot fabric left over from Linkons' quilt and the rest is from a mens XLT button-up shirt I got at Goodwill for $3.50. I knew I could find something to use for a pair of shorts there and found the perfect shirt to transform into great looking shorts for Jasper. The pattern is from Oliver + S, it's the Sandbox Pants, but I just shortened them. I'm glad I started with cheap fabric since so much of the pattern was new to me. I did my first button holes and pockets, 4 of them! There was lots of topstitching too which was difficult to line up perfectly with all the fabric underneath, but I think I did pretty good for my first pair. Oh, and Mika is wearing the Pink Fig Girly Skirt I made for her for Christmas. So nice that they like the stuff I make for them. Makes me one happy mom.Jasper has a birthday coming up and tons of books in his room so we gave him an early birthday present today of this...I saw the photos and a tutorial on a blog. The girl who came up with the great idea actually won a $250 gift certificate to Esty for it from Apartment Therapy. It's genius—works perfectly and is much more cost effective that other book storage ideas that we had looked at but were unwilling to pay for. It was super easy as well, now I just need to make a second one as you can see the extra books sitting below. Maybe Christmas. It's just some fabric on a double curtain rod. All I had to do was, cut it out, stitch it together and make the casings for the rods.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cookies—Week 3

Banana Walnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies

These were a big hit with everyone in the house and the next door neighbors who the kids were playing with at the time of them coming out of the oven. Of course I brought a plate over and Mika was so happy that she could share them with all the girls next door. She also beamed as the oldest girl who is about 7 said, "wow, these are the best cookies I've ever had, you're really lucky that your mom makes such great cookies!" Mika's reply was, "I know". I consider it a big success since Mika (and Matt for that matter) doesn't typically like nuts (or bones as Matt in his youth called them) in their cookies. I did chop the nuts rather small though just for them. You can find the recipe on Martha's site here. I even took a photo of the cookies this time instead of the book.

Coconut Swirl Brownie recipe

Friday, July 24, 2009

So much cuter!

Isabel is so adorable, anything would look great on her—but I just love this photo Katie took of her sweet daughter! Doesn't she look so happy?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Just Ducky!

On the request of my good friend Katie, I made her daughter this cute little outfit. Hopefully all her little friends will want some too! Fabric is by Lizzy House skirt pattern from Pink Fig, like the ones I made for Mika, who was a tiny disappointed this one wasn't for her. Her dress fabric should be here soon, she'll just have to wait till the end of August for me to make it. Too many other projects ahead of it. (Stuff for Jasper's birthday). I'm excited to see little Isabel in the outfit, maybe Katie will send a pic!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Martha Stewart's Cookies Every Week

Two weeks ago I decided that instead of buying prepackaged cookies, I'd make a new cookie/bar recipe each week. Hey, I don't have enough projects right? I do love to bake and I love a good cookie or bar so this benefits me as well as the family. Better to be putting good homemade sugary goodness in our bodies rather than the processed stuff I figure. Sounds good anyway. I plan to have all of these come out of the "Martha Stewart's Cookies" cookbook. I made some for the holidays and they were all good. On to the reviews!

Week 1 (last week)—Butterscotch Cashew Blondies
How much did the kids like them? Lots, both gobbled them up.
How did I like them? Thought they could have had more butterscotch chips and more toffee chips (husband agreed). They were good but not as good as Oatmeal Scotchies. It was nice to have the salty cashews in them though. I'd make again but add more chips and I'd live on the edge and not do the foil lined pan. This bugs me. Seems like a waste, next recipe calls for the same thing and they came off of the foil without a problem. Creating more trash isn't a 'good thing' if you ask me. Tune in week 3 to see if the foil lining is truly needed.

Week 2—Coconut Swirl Brownies
How much did the kids like them? Jasper likes them lots. Mika will eat a very small one. They are too rich for her.
How did I like them? I loved these. Super rich, dark and chocolatey. Maybe not quite as good as the Cooks Illustrated brownie, but good in a different way with the addition of the coconut. I love coconut though. It is swirled throughout in a sweetened condensed milk batter. Yum. These were better once cooled. Again, foil lining seems wastful.

Now we only have to decide what to make for next week. I'm craving lemon... but I'm probably in the minority.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Starting a new quilt

I'm finally working on a quilt for us! It's been in the project list for awhile now and I just needed to order the fabric. Once it finally came, I was so excited and it was so beautiful, it was hard to cut, but of course I did. After getting all my pieces cut, I commandeered the living room (photographed) to see exactly how I was going to lay it out. Being a woman, I changed my mind from a hour-glass quilt to a pinwheel quilt at the last minute and was rearranging the triangles till 11 p.m. and then had to map it all out on my chart and pin them all together and label them. The next morning I started sewing. Never having sewed "prairie points" before I checked online real quick and gave it a shot. My results were not stunning. Luckily for me the women at the local quilt shop here are very helpful and sweet. She explained in great detail how to sew it and then pull a tiny bit out on the back once you've sewn it all to make it all lay flat. Yay! Success! Here is my first successful block--the other one is ok and will still be used in the quilt, it just isn't perfect. Two down, 22 to go.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Robot Pillow

I'm waiting for my fabric to arrive to start sewing our quilt and a skirt for a friends daughter, but I needed to sew. So I had a pillow form and some scraps laying around and decided to make a pillow for Jasper. Of course I had to meet my nemesis again, the zipper. Thanks to googlereader, I follow many blogs and I remembered that House on Hill Road had a tutorial for such a thing. Checking my bookmarks, I quickly found it and got to work. Jasper and I are quite pleased with the results. Check it out, the zipper is hidden, yippee, success. Maybe my unnatural fears of the zipper will subside soon.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Bikes n' Kites

We spent the little bit of time that it wasn't raining in the last couple days taking a quick bike ride and flying our surviving free kite from the 4th of July activities. We got a nice video clip from the camera and some cute photos, and now we are down to zero kites. Clearly we live in the prairie with lots of wind and need a real kite! As Matt says, make lemonade out of lemons (the wind). Plus as you can see by the photos the kids really love(d) the kite.

Oh, Mika is wearing a new skirt and shirt set that I made her. This is the second skirt with the Pink Fig, Girly Skirt pattern. Although she likes it, she said, "mommy, it would be better if was a dress". Dress to come soon.

4th of July

Marshall puts out a pretty good day of activities we found out. They have an annual Festival of Kites and they give out 500 free kites! We went to the park, got our two kites and started flying. Ironically it was about the least windy day for months. We ALWAYS have wind. Fast forward 20 minutes to kites in the air and gusts of wind and large rain clouds coming in. Gusting wind = unruly kites ours tangled and Jaspers broke. Amazingly he was ok with it, but when the rain came down and he realized we were headed for the car and NOT the metal playground in the thunderstorm with lightening he was MAD. Matt wrestled him in the car seat--really it should be an olympic sport, Jasper is strong. We've both done it several times. Screaming child in tow, we decided to go have dinner out at a local pub that serves sandwhiches and pizza. They also have NTN and pool tables. Once we got there, we gave him the choice--calm down and go have dinner here or go home. He chose dinner here. Mainly he just didn't want to go home. 45 minute melt averted. Once inside Mika requested the NTN, we put some quarters in the back pool table and peace resumed. Ahh. After dinner we took an hour break at home and the skies had cleared and we went back to the park for a great firework show. Mika decided that fireworks are her most favorite thing in the world. "More that popovers and everything". It was a late night and we paid for it the next day with the beast in Mika. Jasper was fine. Kids! Oh, I have to include this funny photo we got at the "pub"--we took it since it was so unlike us, we don't have any toy "gunners" as the kids call them at home.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Catching Tadpoles

The kids had a wonderful day at Camden State Park about a week ago. We had planned to go and the day was sunny in the morning, however the news had thunderstorm warnings out for the day. I decided to go anyway since I knew they'd be disappointed if we didn't. Packed up the lunch, the sand toys, the swimsuits and off we went. It was well worth it, the weather was perfect—warm and a bit windy, which kept the bugs away. They played in the sand and then discovered the tadpoles and went wading in the ultra cold spring-fed waters. Before long they pleaded for their swimsuits. Watching the sky I obliged and told them that if it started to rain we'd have to head home. With the giant shovel and the buckets they skillfully caught lots of tadpoles, dumping them back in when they'd get about 5 in the bucket. Working the water and the sand castle kept them busy and satisfied. I gave them the 5 minute warning and then we got dressed headed back to the car when we felt the first few drops of rain. Our picnic would have to be inside. They were ok with that. Safely back home we had our picnic lunch, a bath and snuggled in since the thunder had started and was very LOUD!