Saturday, December 20, 2008

Gingerbread Man - A Case Study

Subject Matter: This study involves a common holiday treat known as the "Gingerbread Man", consisting of a cookie base with spices, rolled and cut into a shape with a basic definition of a head, arms, and legs.

Observation: When the gingerbread cookie was given over to the design team (Arthur), it was noticed that a very detail oriented design emerged on the said cookie. With the collaboration of Big Jamey, the cookie items were identified and labeled (see picture 1 - it can be clicked on to enlarge and see the labels). It remains unsure as to the benefit of the cookie to have a hula hoop, maracas, etc. However, a link was discovered that the more accessorized the cookie was with the chosen decorating material of Mini M&Ms, the chance of it being eaten quickly by two small children increased greatly.

Conclusion: The children at the Amboy house prefer gingerbread cookies with many accessories, and the above gingerbread boy who had the most out of all created, was the first to be chosen.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Catch me if you can, I'm the Gingerbread man!

We decided to make some gingerbread cookies yesterday. The boys helped make the dough and when the recipe said it had to be chilled, they wanted to chill it outside in the snow to see if it would work as well as the fridge. So, for the novelty of it we put the dough out the front door on my Japanese lantern to chill.
Coming back an hour and a half later to check on the dough, I found that it had disappeared under more snow that had fallen. (it snowed the entire day without stopping. James measured at dinner time 6 inches). I poked through the snow and found the dough very chilled.
Once the dough was cut into gingerbread boys, Arthur decorated the cookies.
Here are the finished cookies - one may have jumped off the cookie sheet and ran away, but we have plenty more left to eat.
Jamey did the official taste test and declared that they were fit for this little king.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Boys at play

What can be better than a pile of snow to play in? Maybe having school canceled?!!? The fellas are relishing their day and have been celebrating it in grand style.
They like to play on the trampoline in the snow. They take their dump truck and tractor to make snow roads, pile it up and other important maneuvers.

Here is Arthur holding what appears to be a large snowball. Who could he be thinking of walloping with his chunk of snow?
Jamey enjoying the sled run. He has been able to zoom down the hill and ended up against the garden fencing.
Is it a boy, or a snowman? Jamey looks half frozen coming in from the play. Although, he says he wants to celebrate the snow by rolling out in it all natural. Guess it is tradition now. He wished for pictures again that he will post on his blog. So, stay tuned to his blog for further snow pictures.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Happy Snow Day!

Pillowcases 101

We have snow today, and a lot of it. With the snow came a change of plans and a chance for me to catch up on some of my projects. And in the process, here is the pillowcase how-to that I talked about a while back. I really like this style of pillowcase-making as the border is completed on both sides very easily.
The first step is to cut and lay the border fabric of your pillowcase right side up. I like to use an 8 - 9 inch wide border piece.
Second, cut the fabric for your pillow case (I make mine two-thirds of a yard long) and lay it also right-side-up, directly on top of the border piece, lining up the edges so they are flush. If you have directional fabric as I do above, you will need to decide how you want it to go on the finished pillowcase. In the example above, the finished piece will have the border at the top (above the children's heads).
Once you have the fabrics lined up, take your body fabric and roll it up tight so you can wrap it with the border fabric like a burrito, making the edges flush. When you finish you will have the body fabric inside the border fabric. The edges of all three layers should then be pinned together flush, as this is where they will be sewn together. Border-body-border.
Here you pin the fabrics in place a run a 1/4 inch seam along the edge from selvage to selvage. You will be left with a tube of fabric.

You take this tube of fabric and start turning it right side out.
Once you have pulled the fabric out of the tube, you can see the border is complete for both sides (yay!!). Now just hem the sides and bottom (I use a french hem on sides, straight hem on bottom) and your pillow case is done.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A new game

Kids seems to always have the most fun with games they invent themselves. Mine are no exception.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Hollyhocks and Snapdragons - in December?

Two months ago, I went through my flower beds mulching, separating, and pruning to get everything ready for the winter's rest. Much to my surprise, I am finding the flowers are putting on a second show! I took these pictures just today (Dec 4th). I love my south facing wall.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Jamey's Early Birthday Dinner

We decided to celebrate Jamey's 8th birthday a little early since it falls midweek this year. Jamey wanted a winter themed birthday so the guests received party scarves, decorated snowflakes, had ice-cream cake and snow cones. It was a lot of fun, and I am amazed at how fast Jamey is growing up.

Jamey and Arthur looking very dapper in their new winter fashion.
Jamey had his friend Logan over to help celebrate the event. They are showing their masterpiece snowflakes. No two are alike!

My brothers Dave (left) and Ryan were home from college and helped us celebrate. They too, are sporting the new look in mens' fashion.

Jamey doesn't like cake, so we got him an ice cream cake from Baskin and Robbins. Here he is examining the visual quality of said cake before doing the all important taste test.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


This September I started upon a quest - to finish all unfinished projects. At first, I thought no problem, how many could I have? I began to go through and organize all my projects and found to my astonishment that they multiplied when I wasn't looking. How else could I explain finding so many, many great ideas popping out of my loft, my closet, under the bed, and outside in the shed. Wow! I was then overwhelmed by the sheer number of ideas that I had either outlined, jotted down, saved material for, or even began but never finished.

So, I have set myself a challenge - from September 2008 to September 2009 I will finish all of my unfinished objects (UFOs). And I am going to try to post as many finished projects here as I can to keep me motivated.

Having this challenge in mind, and needing some thing relatively quick that I could get done in time for the holidays, I decided to check out my fabric stash - which is legendary in these here parts. The results - 11 sets of Christmas Pillowcases made and ready to go. Yay! I have some more to make, and I thought I'd document the how-to steps in another post for anyone wanting to whip up some. So stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Arhtur's Noodle Sauce Burger Yum

Arthur decided to have a try at cooking a good meal from what was on hand and creating a new dish "not on a recipe". He grabbed spaghetti sauce, spices, Worcester sauce, and "burger" from the freezer. He then chopped, diced and mixed it all together and when warm, he had us pour it over rice and add some sweet chili sauce and saltine crackers to the top. Here he is enjoying the yummy meal he created.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bazaar Treasures

I love homemade items, and I love bazaars. This year I am trying to make gifts or buy handmade gifts from bazaars for Christmas. I really like the idea of giving items that you can't buy in a store. So in order to meet this goal, I have been forcing myself to go to bazaars and buying all sorts of goodies. It is in the name of Christmas after all, and what I won't do for family. ;) Here are some amazing finds that I have recently acquired. Just act surprised if you happen to open a box and see these, or something like these in it.

This dish towel with the coffee fabric is great, and it is inspiring me to make some for myself and others. Of course I had to pick it up to use as a "pattern".
This purse for a little girl is so sweet and cheerful. I don't know enough to say if it was knitted or crocheted but again, I'd love to learn how to make one of these. Now, I'm pondering what to fill it with. A baby doll? Hair do-dads? Hmmm....
Okay, this family of rabbits is the cream of the crop. They are handmade and the clothes are adorable. I fell in love at first sight. I appreciate all the work that was lovingly put into these toys and am grateful for the chance to purchase them for some special little someone.
Now while I was raised not to gloat, I am going to be bad and gloat a little bit. It is too much to resist. Not only did I find items that I adore, I "ahem" got them at prices that I love. Again, all who know me also know that I love bargains and getting these at bargain prices was icing on the cake. Here comes the gloating - I spent a total of $6.25 for all the above items. Yes, you read right. Now, I'm afraid my smugness will know no bounds.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Babies in Need

This fall Janice Anderson, Joyce Miller, and myself have been spending Monday mornings making blankets for the Babies in Need program. This is a fantastic program spearheaded by Kitty Ash and supports needy newborns and their families in SW Washington. They serve on average 20-25 families a month providing car seats, layettes, and older sibling care packages in any combination depending on the need. In the layette you will find diapers, wipes, clothing for boys or girls, hats, booties, a toy and blankets.

We had such a fun time making blankets and got to experiment with baby quilts, and no sew fleece blankets. We were able to give 33 warm blankets this Monday to the program.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Butternut Squash Soup

Jamey and I spent this last weekend home sick. After canceling all plans, the two of us snuggled on the couch sharing the tissue box, watching movies, and generally commiserating about our failed immune systems and maybe, just a tiny bit, feeling sorry for ourselves.

And then Grandma Jill whisked over Sunday morning and proceeded to make us Tom Douglas' Butternut Squash Soup for lunch. It was creamy, smooth, and wonderful! If you haven't had this yet and you live up north, a visit to Etta's should be on top of your list. If you live down south, you should invite Grandma Jill over to try her most excellent cooking.

You don't like Butternut Squash?!?! A trip to a Tom Douglas restaurant or a visit from Jill should still be on the top of your list - as it cures all ailments, including the common cold.

Thanks so much for the get well lunch Grandma!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Jamey Supreme

Jamey has been a bit put off lately with our dinner choices. Hence he got the notion that he could and should make a dinner more appealing than Alice Waters' acorn squash pasta with fried sage leaves or Fannie's red bean chili over rice as examples of choice James and I have been so wrongly making. So, with the announcement of "Mom, I'm making dinner tonight - come help me", he pulled a chair over to the pantry and began assembly the ingredients for his meal. He used canned red beans, pinto beans, tomato paste, garlic, oregano, thyme, onion powder and other spices that I can't remember and mixed it all up in a pot. Once warmed, and served, it was agreed by all to be tasty and Jamey dubbed it "Jamey Supreme".

After enjoying our dinner, the little king didn't seem as pleased as I expected with the positive results of his efforts. When questioned he said that he wished he wrote down how he made it so he could have it exactly the same again. So, it looks like there will be more experimenting in the kitchen to duplicate the perfect recipe.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Sweater for Jamey

Here is Jamey showing off the sweater I made him. I'm still slightly amazed that I actually knitted this, and actually completed it to boot! I started on the sweater a year ago and decided to make it a bit on the big side so he could wear it longer. Well, he has grown since then so I feel very lucky that it fits him just right. Whew! He is tickled with it and is wearing it to school today.

Arthur was quick to remind me that I have wool socks to make for him. So enough basking in the triumph of a completed project and time to get cracking on another. I will show pictures when I complete the socks (maybe by next year?).

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

New Pajamas

Grandma Theresa sent Jamey and Arthur new pajamas in the mail. They were very excited to open the package and delighted with their new clothes. They immediately shucked off the school outfits and donned on the new, soft pj's. Arthur and Jamey both concur that they are cozy warm and super super soft. The crowd gives them a "10"! Here they are modeling the latest in couture evening wear. Thanks Grandma!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tire Swing

Three little boys, a sunny day, and a tire swing. Enough said.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween Fun

This Halloween we had a dragon and Darth Vader in our house. We started the day with a school party and a costume parade, proceeded to the grange Halloween Carnival, and then ended it with James taking the boys trunk-or-treating with some friends. The boys came home happy and excited on a level only a good party with friends and plenty of sugar can give. The week before Halloween they got to go to another grange Halloween Carnival at Barbarton. Here are some pics from that event as I was too busy having fun with them on the actual night to even think of stopping for photos.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


The boys were so excited to carve the pumpkins we got. Here is Jamey with his pumpkin.

Arthur is happy that his pumpkin is ready to be carved.

The final products!!!