Sunday, May 31, 2009

Lou is two!

Lou is two!

We don't have any family in the area and will be traveling to see them in July, and since there will be more parties then... we decided not to do the big birthday party thing. We just celebrated with the four of us and a few friends who were able to meet us for some various opportunities to celebrate.

The cake- I scoured the Internet for easy but super cute pirate cakes. I was in luck, I found this great cake, in fact entire pirate themed birthday at Piece of Cake. We may have to revisit the pirate theme when we have a big friends party again. Nothing says homemade like a tilted pirate ship!

Here's the crushed jolly rancher 'water' before melting:

Here's the construction of the cake.... hmmmm, I don't think I'll be getting hired at the bakery any time soon:
Good thing there are sails. They are my favorite part and I think the saving grace for this cake. At least Lou and Bee know it's a boat.

While making the cake, I remarked about how it sure looked homemade, Bee asked what that meant. I explained that some people make their cake and some buy it at the store. She said, "that's silly, why would you buy a cake when you can make it." That's my girl.

The thank yous- I saw these cute note cards from my new blog friend over at 4 crazy kings and thought something along those lines would be cute for Lou's thank you cards this year. I always make them for the kids rather than buying, because I'm cheap like that-I mean, because I'm crafty like that. I'll have to dig them out for the other years and post those too. I toyed around with the cutout being a few different things, but decided on just the number two. We even were able to use up some leftover artwork from our dinosaur track painting.

They are pretty self explanatory, expect that I decided to trace the shape (yellow #2) backwards on the inside of the card to avoid any stray pencil marks on the font. Then I cut it out.

Party hat- I made this felt hat up after Lou went to bed. I wanted a really pirate-ish font for the back, but couldn't really find what I was looking for. However, the paint on the felt came out kind of rough and does look a little pirate like. The front is stitched on white felt, the back is painted.


Breakfast pancakes:

Opening presents:

After church we headed to Chuck E Cheese. Lou really wanted to go. I have some feeling about Chuck E Cheese, however, the kids LOVE it. We also had about 70 tokens left over from a trip we made there at Christmas time and Lou got a birthday card from them with a coupon for 20 more free tokens. We even had the exact amount for a pizza package meal thing left over in the grocery envelope and that never happens. Seemed like fate. The kids got drinks from the fountain, a treat for us all! This is the first time we let them have whatever they wanted to drink- they both picked hi-c. Lou kept saying "so good!" and cheering. I had a root beer, and enjoyed it a lot too, I cheered a little too.

After rests (that did not include any actual sleeping), we played with some of the new toys outside then had cake.

Bedtime came early. Three of us had belly aches and went to bed early. Good times.

lovely garage sales

I really love going to garage sales! The kids seem to enjoy it as well. I'm always on the lookout for sewing supplies, vintage fabric, art stuff for the kids, kids clothes,and cool stuff that I didn't know we needed but for 25 cents is a super deal. The kids and I make it out about twice a month. This area is great, because of the warm weather and heavy population, there are garage sales everywhere, every weekend. We have a little three mile square that we drive around and always find more than we can go to.

Today we found less goodies than normal, I bought an unopened kids art kit for $1.50 and a used one once acrylic art set with nice brushes and a pallet (I thought it was watercolor) for the same price. I also found three sealed boxes of 50 clear page protectors for $1 a box. These were on my shopping shopping list anyway, so I was pretty excited. We almost ended up with a little fish tank, but since the tarantula incident of 2003, I must run all new pets by my hubby first. This was reiterated by the snake incident of 2004. ooops.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

the famers market in our kitchen- waffles

Because I like to cook, but also because I'm cheap, I'm always trying to replicate at home yummy things we have when we are out. The kids and I fell in love with the kettle corn and the farmers market and figured out how to make it ourselves. We also fell in love with the Belgian waffles at the market. I instantly started researching and testing recipes to find one closest to the market man's. I learned that great waffles come from a yeast recipe rather than a batter. I also learned that there are a number of different styles of waffles and the one our guy serves are called 'Belgian pearl waffles' because of the pearl sugar that they are rolled in before cooking. If you don't want to make these yourself, the waffle man at out market ships out special orders nation wide. Here's his website. They are delicious. Ours are close, but not quiet as good as his. Here's our best try:

Farmers Market Waffles- Belgian Pearl
2 ¼ t yeast (1 pkg)
½ warm water
1 ½ t sugar
3 eggs
¼ t salt
1 c butter- melted
3 c flour
Knead, rise 1 hr, divide into 14 pieces
1 c pearl sugar (or crushed sugar cubes)
roll in pearl sugar,knead each ball slightly, rise 15 min
Cook for 2-4 minutes in waffle maker

A few notes about the pearl sugar, flours choices, and waffle maker mixed in with the pictures...

Here's Bee stirring up the eggs

Lou adds the flour- I used a mix of flours, like I normally do in baking (wheat germ, whole grain flour, spelt flour, flax seed meal, and unbleached white flour). We are used to this, but they are SOOO tasty when you use all white flour without my health whole grain stuff mixed in!

sometimes we make a bit of a mess...

Here you can see the risen dough next to the pearl sugar. You can use this pearl sugar from IKEA. I haven't found it at any local grocery stores. OR you can use crushed sugar cubes. This is the first time I have used the actual pearl sugar and think that when I have used up the pearls, I'll go back to sugar cubes. The pearls did not melt in the waffle maker like the cubes do. I also don't like how they keep their shape, it makes it look like the waffles have kosher salt all over them. Also, sugar cues are cheaper.

Here we are rolling the dough balls in the sugar, kneading them a bit to mix some of the sugar in, and letting them rise shortly again.

I do not have a fancy waffle maker, I think it was less than $20 from the kitchen store at the mall. They had a very nice model for over $100! I think I did just fine for less than $20 except that my trays don't come out for washing. You really don't have to cook for long.

Friday, May 29, 2009

fancy fancy

Bee and I had another girly day. Our local bookstore had a Fancy Nancy party for little ladies in out community. It was exquisite (that's a fancy word for great). About 35 ecstatic little girls showed up, most dressed up Fancy Nancy style (ecstatic is a fancy word for excited). I was the only mama dressed up and Bee was the only one with Posh Puppy with her, but we are just fancy like that. The girls played a fancy bingo game, went on a scavenger hunt for different colored rose petals, listened to a Fancy Nancy story, and had muffins for snacks. They made a few crafts- decorated paper plate flowers, decorated paper bows, and decorated paper sacks with stickers, crepe paper, and ribbons. Bee and I even made a new friend who we plan to get together with to have some fancy summer play dates.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

end of the rainbow

I went to this new-to-me fabric shop in Dunedin, called Rainbows End. Ahhhhhhh..... that's the sound the heavenly angels made when the kids and I walked in. There were rows and rows of fabric as far as the end could see. Next to the rows, they had additional baskets of fabric bolts. Here is a picture from their website.

They had designer fabric I've only seen online, high end stuff, affordable stuff, just everything I could have been looking for. They had a little toy area for the kids so I could be free to browse at my leisure. When I thought I had explored the whole store, I discovered an opening in the wall that led to an entire additional section of the store as big as the first, full of more fabric! It was overwhelming, but in a really good, you're in fabric heaven kind of way. I could have bought a hundred different cuts, but settled on three, two prints and one boring solid.

I have already made Bee a top with two of the pieces, and don't have a plan yet for the pink flowered. I apparently am not very good at matching up prints, I want to be, I just couldn't settle on cooridnating prints. They even have fabrics grouped together, I just could not commit. I will need to take someone with me next time who is good with print matching.

***As a side note, while searching online for a link to the shop, I found this picture of an actual end of a rainbow.... that can't be real, right?

edited to add: A quick google search and a stop at wikipedia has taught me this.... I thought it was something like that.

"The Irish leprechaun's secret hiding place for his pot of gold is usually said to be at the end of the rainbow. This place is impossible to reach, because the rainbow is an optical effect which depends on the location of the viewer. When walking towards the end of a rainbow, it will move further away."

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What is that?

yep, I let my kids play video games this afternoon, and got a super good laugh out of it. I am not a fan of video games per se (is that how you spell that?) and we don't have a video game system, but we do have this joy stick (is that how you spell that?) that has old Atari games in it. I got it one year for Christmas and it spends most of the time closed up in a cabinet. The kiddos and I were playing board games this afternoon and Bee wanted the 'adult' game cabinet (it's not as scandalous as it sounds, I just don't want anybody to eat my pieces for master detective clue and Lou is pretty sure the stones that go with my mancala game are candy- plus that is where I store the past 6 years worth of family fun magazines). I don't know who spotted it, but they were pretty sure that this game controller could and should plug in somewhere. They seemed confused by the graphics, and frankly they made me laugh too. There was one game with a little duck trying to cross the road and not get hit my a car, it took all three of us to figure out what the yellow thing was. It was the favorite game since if you were hit by the car you just bounced back and could keep going. Do you have a favorite video game? ...bonus points if you can name the game on screen in the first picture, it was my favorite when we had an Atari.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

free gift with your order

Free gift from my etsy shop if your order something in the next two weeks (through Tuesday, May 9th). Mention this coupon 'code' in the note to seller section: "Hocus Pocus." Bee came up with that one! Free gift is a lovely produce sack.

activity books

I saw this idea for little activity books over at 4 crazy kings and marked it for another day. I keep waiting for these ad booklets to come in the mail again, but last night I decided to just go ahead and make one on fresh paper. I actually ended up making 3! Bee is crazy for them now! Here are some pages from the activity book I sent her to bed with last night. We ended up with folding, finish the picture (flowers, princess, clown, house, bear, pumpkin, cake, balloons, tree, window), matching (socks and fish), mazes, and connect the dots (I tried some with letters and numbers but that just confused Bee).

Monday, May 25, 2009


I have a roaring lion at my house and it's all because of a new shirt. I mentioned that we went to IKEA recently. A new store just opened in our area and we made our maiden voyage. It was overwhelming to say the least. It was way too crowded but full of wonderful things I could have spent hours looking at. Next time I'll go back during the week and possibly without the kiddos. I did buy some fabric.

I used the bright flowers and dots on the left for a slouch bag, made a birthday gift out of the two center fabrics and a shirt for Lou out of the kid print on the right. I have several ideas for the kid print, but have only finished the lion shirt.

I used some iron on wonder under stuff on the lion area, cut out the lion, and ironed him onto Lou's paint stained shirt. Finally, I sewed on the machine a nice little outline. I added a few leaves to cover some additional paint. Lou had a super good time wearing it today and spent most of the day roaring! We had a rather messy dinner and I think we may need some additional cover up work if all the sauce doesn't wash out!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

go boy go

We have a new animal rescuer in our house. Lou's doll, Boy, apparently was in need of a backpack. Either that, or Lou was stalling bedtime. I was working on a Diego pack for an order and just made a tiny little version just the right size for Boy. He is currently carrying around a toy frog and a spool of thread. Going to make a zip line...? It's hard to say.

Boy came from etsy this past Christmas as a gift from my mom and has been a dear friend to Lou. The creator of Boy was Dragonfly's Hollow. She was so sweet to work with and really helped make Boy just how I wanted him. I just really love etsy, not just because I sell stuff there, but it makes really great handcrafted items available to everyone. I certainly wouldn't have found this super sweet mom of 6 (5 to 14 years old) in TN who makes such lovely natural toys without etsy.

cake in a cup

Hubby came home with an idea for dessert. He had gotten one of those email forwards which described how to make cake in a mug. Lou did not take a nap today, so he went to bed super early, like 5:45 early! Hubby, Bee and I were free to make some after dinner cake, in a mug, in the microwave.

5 minute cake in a mug

4 T flour
4 T sugar
3 T oil
3 T milk
3 T chocolate chips (optional)
Cocoa powder
1 t vanilla
Mix dry ingredients in mug. Add wet ingredients. 3 minutes in microwave.

Hubby stares down the cake as it overflows from the mug.

I insisted we put it on a plate in the microwave, I was not confident that it wouldn't overflow.

I dumped it out so it could cool better.

Not the prettiest, but it was decent. We ate it without complaining! I make a really good chocolate cake, but it doesn't get made in a mug and takes way more than five minutes. Poor Lou didn't get any cake, and doesn't even know we had this fun time baking.