Saturday, March 28, 2009

Big Ol' Pumpkin Grin


Here is the moment I've been waiting for! Arthur lost his second front tooth and now has that great Jack-o-lantern grin that I love seeing on kids so much.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Invention Convention



This year at Green Mountain School, they decided to hold an invention convention instead of the science fair. There were so many great inventions that the kids came up with. I loved looking at them all. Jamey and Arthur also came up with inventions. Jamey made "Deer Be Gone" which is a concoction of smelly and peppery ingredients to be sprayed for keeping deer away. Arthur's was a chain holding post so you could put beads on the chain without getting them on the wrong side of the chain. Here they are holding their prizes from the convention. They are very proud of the creations they made and are excited to use them at home.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Work and Rest

After doing a bit of this...
We had a bit of that...


James and I decided that we wanted to clear the area outside our kitchen side of the house. The trees were getting taller every year and it started to feel a bit crowded. We had planted 178 Douglas Firs a bit more than a year ago on other areas of our property, which helped ease the guilt of cutting these ones down.

We are planning of leveling this area for a shed, my greenhouse, and some more garden beds. So, while James chopped down the trees, I chipped the branches. Now the work didn't seem very labor intensive, but by the end of the day we were both sore and whooped. Which made it the perfect day to try out another recipe from the drink book that I had checked out from the library. We decided on a hot buttered rum.

I must have been more tired than I thought, because even though the recipe was right in front of me and I am pretty sure I read it as I went, I completely deviated. I left out the brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, etc. The only things I got right were the rum and ice-cream, which is okay since they were the most important parts of the drink! After trying the altered recipe, we both decided that it was still delicious. So, I'm sharing my "after a day chipping in the rain" recipe:

Ingredients: This is for one drink
1 oz rum (coconut is nice)
1 cup vanilla ice-cream
1 small dollop butter
3/4 cup boiling water
Ground nutmeg

Directions
1) Pour 3/4 boiling water over the rum, ice-cream, and butter and stir until smooth.
2) Microwave to desired heat (ours cooled off a bit too much for our liking after the above step).
3) Grind some fresh nutmeg on top
4) enjoy

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Chicks and Eggs

While at the dentist this week, I was flipping through magazines when the cover of April's Good Housekeeping caught my eye. It showed eggs filled with cute little plants. I got so excited about seeing those sweet plants in colorful eggs that I shamelessly ran to the store to buy eggs and then Poteet's Nursery for plants to try my hand at this. Here they are!!!!



In the process of creating my little potted plants, I got overzealous and broke an egg while trying to stuff it. To fill in the hole left in my carton, my little chick statue came to the rescue. He looked so cute in the egg tray that other chicks had to be added. The results - an intense shock of cutification every time I look at it.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Spring 3


I got these cute little chicks at the Pomeroy House in Yacolt WA last year. I like them gracing our dining table as a bit of indoor spring decoration. Near the end of April, I will be getting 12 real chicks! I am on pins and needles waiting for them.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Bookmarks



I am addicted to beading. Necklaces, bracelets, and earring weren't enough. Now, I'm doing bookmarks!! I got these great bookmarks at the beach beadshop and finally had some time to work on them. I'm tickled pink with how they turned out. I have a third one yet to do in copper, but as I don't have any copper chain, I am holding off on it for now. Sounds like another trip to the beach to me!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Quilts for Injured Soilders

Recently the quilting group finished lap quilts and brought them to the VA hospital for the injured soldiers. It was fun making them, and very rewarding giving them.

We are now starting a new quilt to raffle which will help us raise more money to make and give more quilts away. I will show a picture of it when we complete it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Two More Pieces

We went to Long Beach, WA this past weekend, which is always a wonderful time. I love going to the beach and was very excited to be there. It rained pretty much the entire time, and that gave me the perfect excuse to go to one of my favorite stores - The Bead Shop. My cousin Mary, gave me the pattern for the bracelet below, as well as the gorgeous purple pearls. I was tickled to find the corresponding crystal beads and seed beads that I needed to complete the bracelet at the shop, and promptly went to work on it over the weekend. Here are the results:



The above necklace and earrings were inspired by a leftover mix of beads that I had used in other projects. I wanted to make something green with St. Patty's Day in mind and this is what I came up with.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Blood Orange Marmalade with Vanilla

I really enjoy marmalade and wanted to share my love of it with the kids, but was a bit daunted at how to get it across without it being too bitter. So, I tinkered with my traditional marmalade recipe a bit to see if I could make it more palatable for the little taste buds in the house.

The results? It is very nice. It doesn't have a high degree of bitterness, the vanilla adds a nice touch, and it pairs very well with cream cheese. It is a bit too sweet for me (next time, I'd cut back on the sugar) but all in all I'm pleased with my experiment. And best of all - they eat it! Of course I called it "orange jam" instead of marmalade as their previous experience with the stuff left a bitter (yeah - pun intended!) taste in their mouth.

My next batch will be lime marmalade, which is my absolute favorite. Yum yum.




Recipe: makes approximately 7 eight ounce jars.

Ingredients:
8 Blood oranges
2 lemons
5-6 cups sugar (depending on taste)
1 vanilla bean
1 quart water

Directions:
1) Wash all citrus and using a micro zester, zest the skins into a pot. Make sure that no white from the peel is taken off when zesting.
2) Peel all citrus and remove as much white membrane as you can. Then quarter, slice, and seed the citrus and add it to the pot.
3) Slice open the vanilla bean and scrape all the seeds into the pot.
4) Add the sugar and water to the pot and stir well.
5) Over medium heat, stir the marmalade occasionally and bring it to a boil.
6) Once boiling, continue stirring often enough that the bottom doesn't burn until it thickens in the pot (for me on my electric range, it took 45 minutes).
7) Pour into sterile jars and either can, freeze, or refrigerate.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Arthur's Front Tooth



Arthur lost one of his front teeth and is quite pleased. The tooth fairy left him a dollar and he is pretty sure he will get another dollar this coming week as the other top front tooth is about to fall out. I can't wait for the full gap tooth grin to appear!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Battle Grounds



In Battle Ground, there is a great coffee shop called Battle Grounds (clever, I think). It is in a converted old home and they serve delicious coffee, and food in a warm cozy environment. The coffee that they sell is Stumptown Coffee and it does not have the bitterness of Starbucks. Usually I am a tea drinker, but for this coffee, I'll make an exception any day of the week. In fact, it is getting close to converting me. Must .... resist....the dark side.

The family went down and we had coffee, cocoa with homemade whipped cream, and goodies. It was great.

If you can, this is a must on a visit to Battle Ground WA.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Jamey and Five Super Balls

Remember when you were little and how the allure of super balls was irresistible? The way they bounce so high and so long with just a drop from your hand held me enthralled.

Well, recently Jamey and Arthur got not one, but five super balls in a package and it was gratifying to see in an age of computers and video games the magic was still there.

Jamey was particularly fascinated with watching them bounce. In fact watching the action was so satisfying that he never thought to try and catch them. He would drop them, and watch them bounce until they finally stopped, gather them all up and drop them again.

Here are some pictures that I took trying to capture the moment.



Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hanging Sachets

My friend Bianca gave me a sachet decorated with raffia and buttons. It was so cute that I have been wanting to try my own hand at fixing up a sachet. I'm sure you are just as excited to make one as I was, so here is how to do it.

I started with a scented sachet, ribbon, wire, buttons, scissors, a wire cutter and a pencils. Now, I bought my sachets in packets of three at Jo-Ann and the staples made perfect holes to put the wire through. For single packets, a small hole made with a tapestry needle would work very well.
So, I snipped off 3- 4 inch pieces of wire and threaded them through the two holes on each end so that the ends came through to the front. I then slipped a button onto the wires and gave the wires a twist to hold the button in place (below pic - right side). Then I took a pencil and wrapped the wire around the pencil to give it a nice spiral effect(below pic - left side).
Once that was complete, I threaded the ribbon through the wire bars on the back side.
Finally, I tied a bow, trimmed the ribbon and hung it up. Now I have a hanging sachet that took just minutes to complete. That's it! That easy and that fast.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Chocolate Martinis

This past weekend while we were in Battle Ground, the family went to the library, primarily spurred on by Jamey being most desirous to check out a palm reading book (which I was positive they would not have, but much to my surprise and his delight they did). While there I checked out a book on mixed beverages by Christopher O'Hara. In the book, was a recipe for chocolate martinis which intrigued me. So on Sunday while at my Mom's we mixed these up.

There were a few minor changes to the recipe - we used regular vodka instead of vanilla infused, regular creme de cacao instead of white, and finally a Lindt truffle on the bottom in lieu of a Hershey Kiss.

We were skeptical about rimming the glass with unsweetened cocoa powder, but decided to try it and see what we thought. They were delicious! James enjoyed the smoothness and Mom was surprised how well the cocoa powder and the drink went together. We enjoyed them so much that having a second one was a must. So, this time I mixed them (Mom had mixed the first batch), and they were awful. I got something wrong but I still don't know what. We threw them down the sink and Mom proceeded to make the second batch for the second time. Again, they were perfect as could be. She does have the right touch, and I think I'll be going to her house the next time I want one of these.

Before returning this book to the library, I think I will try a few more recipes out. It's rough, but someone has to do the research!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Spoiled Rotten

So, I am spoiled rotten - through and through. Today is my 35th birthday (gah - I am actually admitting to that?!) and we celebrated early as everyone is busy with school, work, work, and schoolwork today. So on Sunday, we went down to my mom's where she and James proceeded to cook a fabulous birthday dinner preceeded by chocolate martinis and followed by ice cream cake and presents.

I love gardening and I got lots of great garden items that I can't seem to keep my hands off of - bulbs, plants, tools, and planters - but the kicker, the real heart stopping kicker was when I found out that James and Mom went in together to get me a greenhouse!!! I'm getting heart palpitations just thinking of it! I'm having long bouts of daydreaming involving trays of sweet little seedlings all the way up to the sky, and a full bountiful garden where no deer would dream of lurking. Yes, this greenhouse does appear to be magic and will solve all past gardening woes in one fell swoop.

Now, all I have to do is wait 10-12 days for it to be shipped. I'm not exactly the most patient person (a big surprise to you all, right?) and waiting for the best present ever is hard, very very hard. I think I will go fondle my seed packets and do some more daydreaming to help past the time.



So worth waiting for!!! Yep, I can do this. I can wait, yep yep. One day at a time.

Thanks James and Mom - you guys are the best! And now, I am officially spoiled past redemption.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Fun with crayons

Jamey came up to me and asked if we could do a craft project together. This pretty much bowled me over as he usually shows little interest in art activities preferring imaginary play, and anything involving exploring, running, jumping, etc - with getting plenty sweaty and grubby as a side bonus, and if you touch something particularly slimy or gross in the process of play, why, that's the cherry there.

Seizing the moment and looking at what we had on hand we came up the time honored craft of melting crayons between wax paper. This was decided after a lengthy process of suggestions by the adviser and the veto of the little king, who denounced most suggestions as mundane and unfit. So, when all agreed that this project sounded intriguing, I got both fellas started before a change of heart could ensue.

Here, the boys are prepping the crayons by grating and chopping them into small bits.
Jamey is sprinkling the crayon mixture onto wax paper before putting another sheet of wax paper on top and using an iron on low heat to melt it all together.
Arthur is showing his creations. Arthur said that the one on the left is "a rainbow comet" and the one on the right is "a four eared Mickey Mouse face".
And here is Jamey with his masterpieces. The one on the left is "a falling piano" and the right one is "very fast waves".
At the end of the day, both boys enjoyed themselves very much making their creations. And King Jamey stated "This was great! Come up with another idea tomorrow Mom!"

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Overheard Conversation

Jamey: What if our parents were gone googolplex days before coming back and we were all alone to do whatever we wanted?

Arthur: I guess I would go to Elena's house to play.

Jamey: Elena lives a long ways away and you can't drive.

Arthur: I would walk to Elena's house.

Jamey: That is too far to walk.

Arthur: Well, then I would run.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Spring 2


Snowdrops and Crocuses are adding splashes of color to my garden beds.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Spring is coming!

This is my first Daffodil to bloom this year. It makes me smile every time I see it.
I bet these Johnny Jump Ups will be blooming by the end of the week.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Welcome, Mr. Who?

This weekend James and I decided to take off from any obligations, projects, etc. and just celebrate being done with the tile project. It has been a wonderful weekend full of beading, playing games, eating out and in general lounging about in full decadence.

One thing that I had my eye on for a while was a beta fish. I saw this great project where they put an aquatic plant in a beautiful bowl with marbles on the bottom and a beta fish. I wanted to emulate it, and when I brought it up yesterday my cousin Mary told me that a local store had them for sale. So today I picked up our latest house guest. And of course, he had to have pretty rocks on the bottom - I didn't care for the marbles - along with a water plant. I got a water plant and I do not know its' actual name, but there were examples at the store showing that when it blooms the flower looks like a lily. How exciting is that!!!

So, may I introduce to you the fish of many names. Here are the people and here are the corresponding names each wants to call the fish:
Jamey G: Dark Blue Fins of Happiness
Jamey E: Old Blue
Arthur: 20 Fins of Fighting
Heidi: Mr. Beta


Here is a close up.

I like his swishy tail.

This picture shows the plant that I put in the bowl. I can't wait for it to bloom.