Monday, September 27, 2010

Some Bunny's Birthday

Birthday outfit made with disco dot and flora.
I am happy to report that Little Girl's first birthday party was great! The weather was hot but Kevin put up some tents and we busted out the slip and slide and the beer flowed freely. Pretty much everyone brought some food which was so kind and my fear of running out of food was quickly put to rest. The gnocchi I spent the last three weeks preparing didn't fare so well and when cooked up quickly turned to a big blob. One trip to the grocery store for some noodles and all was well again.
Bunny cake with cupcakes and tissue paper flowers.
My camera was acting wonky so I had to bump the saturation to show the detail. Not a bad look but I was disappointed I couldn't just hand my camera off to some one to take pictures without getting a completely over exposed shot. Good news is that I was able to get it working right after everyone went home.
Tissue paper pom poms.
Flower pinata that was inspired by Inchmark. Note to self: Mod Podge makes pinatas nearly indestructible. I did add pull strings but apparently I made them too secure and the hinge didn't open up exactly as planned. Eventually we got it open with some old fashion ripping and tearing.
Flower pinata

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Luna Luna Ba Luna

I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love.  For me they are the role model for being alive.  ~Gilda Radner

Today we lost Luna. We already miss her exuberance, unconditional love, extreme patience and gentleness with the kids, and her obsessive ball fetching. 

Good bye Red Dog Red Dog. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pumpkin Butter and Tomato Jam

My garden this year was so bad. Between my lack luster attempts at watering, the chickens helping themselves to whatever they wanted and tomato plants that grew huge and never produced fruit, we gave up and planted some sod. I felt so defeated but my spirits were lifted today when we spent the morning at the Miller Family Farm. Thanks to them I can pretend my garden was a success.

This place is great! For $10 we got to pick 6 bags of vegetables. They had beets, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, chilies, carrots, cabbage, pumpkins, eggplants, and beans. The kids did great even in the heat. I spent all afternoon and evening prepping and trying out new recipes.

Tomato Jam and Pumpkin Butter
I made some Pumpkin Butter using the recipe I found on the blog One Perfect Bite.

Pumpkin Butter
1 (28-oz.) can pumpkin puree - I used pie pumpkins and made my own. Pretty easy and three small pumpkins made enough puree that I could double the recipe.
3/4 cup apple juice
2 teaspoons ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon mace - didn't have but I did add some allspice cause that sounded like it would go with pumpkin
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar

1) Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring often, for 30 minutes, or until mixture thickens. I cook mine until a spoon pulled through middle of mixture leaves a trail that does not close in upon itself. If you plan to use immediately, let cool to room temperature. Pack into storage containers and refrigerate for up to a month. Pumpkin butter can also be frozen for up to 6 months. Yield: 3 cups.

The next thing I made was Tomato Jam which I found on Food In Jars. I know it sounds odd but it turned out pretty wonderful. Not something to eat with peanut butter but it would be good on a sandwich or some cheese.  Next time I make it I will leave out the cloves and add more red pepper flakes.

Tomato Jam Recipe
makes 4 1/2 to 5 pints
5 pounds tomatoes, finely chopped
3 1/2 cups sugar
8 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon red chili flakes
Combine all ingredients in a large, non-reactive pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce temperature to a simmer. Stirring regularly, simmer the jam until it reduces to a sticky, jammy mess. This will take between 1 and 1 1/2 hours, depending on how high you keep your heat.

You can can this or freeze. I opted for the freeze method because I was tired.

I still have tomatoes in the oven drying out but I need some sleep and think I will set my oven to turn off in two hours.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Babies Don't Keep

Yeah - that is a whole roll of toilet paper!
"Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth
empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
hang out the washing and butter the bread,
sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I've grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew
and out in the yard there's a hullabaloo
but I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren't her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
for children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep."
by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Bunting, Flags, Pennants - Whatever They Are Called

Fabric Bunting - or Flag or Pennant
Little Girl's birthday party is two weeks away and I have the one of the main decorating elements finished. My goal is to create things that we could reuse in the kids' room which definitely needs some girly touches.

Right now if you search Google for Bunting Tutorial you will get close to 100,000 results. These things can be super simple to make or as elaborate as you want to go. I decided to go on the easy side of the scale but hope I still achieved the wow-factor with the stenciled name across the front.

I cut triangles out of 1/4 yard of three different fabrics (odd numbers are nice in design). Pinking shears made the edges both fun and functional and (hopefully) now they won't fray as they hang on the wall.

I used freezer paper to make stencils and then outlined the painted letters with a Sharpie. There are also a million tutorials on how to make the stencils with freezer paper (FYI - freezer paper and wax paper are NOT the same, I learned that that hard way). Super simple, and can be accomplished during naptime.

After stencils were complete I slid some rick rack and the flag into some premade double-fold bias tape. Straight stitch down and call it a day. I think to finish the ends I am going to add some pink and orange ribbons or maybe some yarn pom-poms.

I am also going to make one for Older Brother and hopefully it will help pull the room together without being completely gender neutral or random - which for the record it is right now.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Gnocchi With Tomato and Bacon

Another winner from Everyday Foods - Gnocchi With Tomato and Bacon.
We enjoyed this dish so much that Kevin suggested we serve this at Little Girl's first birthday party.

  • 5 Slices of bacon
  • 3 Tomatoes (or more) cored and diced
  • 2 (or more) garlic cloves
  • Red-pepper flakes
  • Ground pepper and salt
  • Gnocchis
  • Parmesan cheese
Gnocchi With Tomato and Bacon
Cook bacon until crispy. Drain fat from pan and add tomatoes, garlic and spices. Cook down for about 6 minutes. Add parmesan cheese to finish it off. Yum, yum, yum!

If you have never made gnocchi don't be scared but maybe look for a tutorial on YouTube such as this one. If you aren't ready to take the gnocchi plunge, the sauce would be excellent on any pasta.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Party Planning

Do you feel that? It is a case of the crazies sneaking up on me. With 25 days until Little Girl's first birthday party my mind is tripping over itself with ideas. You may not know this but I have been in bit of a craft explosion and this party is apparently fuel on that fire. Combine the craftiness, my time spent as an event planner and the genes I inherited from my mother and we are ready to plan a party.

THANK GOODNESS for craft days with friends because I am already planning to farm out some of my decorating ideas on them. Of course I will provide the supplies and liquor but they will provide the slave labor that gets it all done.

So what do you have planned you ask? I don't want to ruin the surprise, but I can tell you that there is fabric, tissue paper, balloons, ribbon, toys from Oriental Trading Company and a rabbit involved.

I know Little Girl will only remember this day through photographs and video and she will probably think I was nuts and/or she will know how much she is loved and how great this last year has been with her in the family.

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