Thursday, July 30, 2009

Activities...

It's raining today.
So I thought I would share my list of found resources for keeping little ones busy.
*http://www.first-school.ws/
This first website has lots of craft ideas, activity pages and ideas on a wide range of topics. We have utilized the dinosaur activities so far.
*I love the blog Two Straight Lines, Courtney has some great kids crafts. Here is the link to her archive with of all of them. There are some great things to be gleaned from her that I will use for years to come.
*http://www.childrenandnature.org/
The Children and Nature Network is working on getting kids outside into nature. There are some nice resources there and information about finding or forming a club to do just that.
*http://www.parentsconnect.com/home/index.jhtml
This last website was suggested to me by the TV channel Noggin (our favorite choice for TV watching). There are some nice resources there as well.
*Books...you can never go wrong with books. Some of our favorites are:
Hondo and Fabian by Peter McCarty
Any books about fuzzy blue Grover
The Complete Adventures of Curious George by H. A. Rey
*A friend in my book club clued me in about our local park district. Hosted at a park each Wednesday the district provides a childrens show. It's only one hour in length, it's free, and it's different each week. This has been a fun activity for Elijah.
*The Library. We haven't gone yet this Summer, however, storytime happens each week and there are usually other activities as well.
So check these things out and check out your local park district and library.
Are there any other resources that you would like to share? Just leave a comment with a link.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Mmmmmmm...

I didn't get a chance to take more pictures of the house as I had hoped last night, so those will have to wait for another day. I did want to share a couple of recipes that are old standbys in my recipe box.
When David's Family were here a few weeks ago, one of the meals that we made was make your own pizza. I have a quick pizza a dough recipe that I used. I whipped up a batch and then broke it into little balls that were then flattened for each person to top. What I love about this particular dough resipe is that you don't have to let it rise if you don't want to. It also freezes really well for future use.

Pizza Dough
3 cups flour (I like to substitute one of the cups for whole wheat flour)
1 pkg active dry yeast
2 tbls oil
1 tsp salt
1 tbls sugar
1 cup water

Combine flour, salt, sugar, and yeast in a mixing bowl. Mix oil and warm water into the flour mixture until well combined and the dough is nice and elastic. (I love my Kitchen Aid mixture for this) Spread into pizza pan. Top as desired. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes
Note: I like to pre-bake the dough in the oven for about seven minutes before topping. This helps prevent an under cooked center. You will want to experiment with the time depending on your oven.

This next recipe is one that my Mom used when I was growing up. Honestly, she still uses it, it is not like she stopped when I became an adult. It is the best brownie recipe. They are chewy, yet fudgy and perfect for when I need a chocolate fix.

Easy Brownies
1 stick butter
2 tblp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup nuts (optional)

Melt butter in a medium sauce pan. Once the butter has melted turn off the stove. You will continue to add all of the ingredients to the sauce pan. Mix the sugar and vanilla into the butter mixture. Beat in the eggs one at a time until the batter is smooth and glossy. Add flour and nuts and mix until well incorporated. Grease a square baking dish. Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes. Don't over bake, these are meant to be chewy and fudgy.
Note: I like to sprinkle the top with milk chocolate chips just after removing from the oven and letting them sit for about 5 minutes. Once they have fully melted, I spread them across the top of the brownies with a butter knife. This makes an already great brownie, even better!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Decorating...

Here are a couple of things that I have done recently that I am pretty happy with. David painted the kitchen Jet stream by Sherwin Williams. The above is an idea I saw awhile ago, I'm not sure where, but I really liked it. The idea is that the tray can hold your recipes up and out of the way while you cook or bake. Thus saving you the inevitable spills and gooies that can end up on them. The original idea was a vintage black/floral metal tray that was hung up above the stove and since I did not have one of those I went with what I had...a lady finger pan. I used a large plate hanger and then a few magnet clips from IKEA and done. I really like using it and not having to keep moving my recipe around while and I work in the kitchen.
These are my newly moved and reorganized bookshelves. David painted the living room Bagel by Sherwin Williams. I decided to do something a little different and organize all of the books by color. I have brown, green, red, black, white, and orange/pink categories. I am really happy with how they turned out and how they work with the rest of the room. I will try to post a better shot tomorrow and of the rest of the room as well. We got a new couch and two leather chairs last month...the living room is finally looking and feeling like we are grown-ups.
I enjoy decorating and wished that I had more time to hit garage sales and estate sales for more gems. I gravitate towards a more vintage style, but I also like touches of modern. I just like everything to be comfortable too. I keep full size pillows and a basket of blankets tucked behind one of the leather chairs so we are able to get comfortable while watching a movie, playing scrabble, or whatever. What are the special touches that make your home comfortable?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Blah...

Update: I was able to get myself motivated a bit more this afternoon. I finished sewing a second top and I got all of the beds made. I hope no one thinks that I am dictating that everyone should always make their beds everyday. I just happen to feel a calmness with the beds made. I get anxious when I see all the rumbled sheets and blankets and it's an instant accomplishment. But, if you don't mind an unmade bed, then more power to you...you gotta do what works for you!

Do you ever have those days where you can't seem to do anything? I have been struggling with the blahs lately. So dishes sit by the sink longer than they should and beds go unmade, sometimes all day. *gasp* I tell myself that this is my job and if I was to receive a performance review in, say six months, what would it be? I know that this is just a mid-Summer funk...but, I don't like it. Today has been better:
I have washed sheets
swept the floor
done some sewing
played with the babies
On Sunday, David, the kids and I went for a drive. I loved it. David took me to a store that he had heard about that he thought I might enjoy. He's thoughtful like that. We drove through the countryside looking at cornfields, checking out small towns, enjoying being together...I adore days like that.
Now if I could just get my act together today I would feel a hec of a lot better.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Summer Sewing...

There has been a little bit of sewing going on around here. Summer needs to be filled with cool cotton pants and shorts that can go from indoor lounge wear to...er, outdoor lounge wear. The cropped pants that I am sporting above I actually made a few years ago, but thanks to breastfeeding and exercising, they fit again (only 8 pounds left, 8!). I'm going to make more if I can locate the pattern. Please note the baby toes up there too...
Shorts have been made for Elijah too. While enduring a trip to JoAnn's he set his sights on some Cars fabric (have a mentioned how much he loves that movie?) as well as fabric with firetrucks on it. I knew right then and there I had to sew him a couple pairs of shorts.

I used a Simplicity pajama pants pattern. I just folded up the pant leg pieces to the length that I wanted and cut. Elastic waist, simple hem and done! I did have to rip out the hem of one leg on the Cars pair, it somehow ended up longer then the other leg (how I do these things, I measured, I swear!). Elijah wore the Firetruck pair on the Fourth of July. You can't get more America then that, red, white, blue, and firetrucks...throw in an apple pie and I'm not sure I could handle it! I hope you all had a nice holiday.

I wanted to say thank you to those that gave me ideas with regards to activities to do with my little boy. I have found a few other resources and ideas myself as well. I have hopes to compile a nice little list to share...we all need fresh ideas sometimes, yes? I also have a couple of recipes to share as well as pictures of all of the exciting things going on at our house, David has been painting and I have been decorating! More to come in the next few days...so swing back by.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Somebody in our house is crawling as of Sunday. No matter how much I tried to tell her that it was no big deal to wait a year or two, she didn't listen...so now we're on high alert. She gets into everything she can. And she is a screamer when she is pulled away from somthing wonderful like the Wii or a potted plant. We have some doozies of tantrums ahead of us (yay). Oh well, she is completely adorable moving along, head down, knees scooting, drool dripping...adorable.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Gosh, I love this picture of my little Morsel. I'm not sure how I caught this shot, but I adore it. I just want to shower those chubby cheeks with kisses...constantly.
It was blisteringly hot last week and now it is incredibly chilly...55 today? No wonder my tomatoes are refusing to grow. Who can deal with these ups and downs? I am in long sleeves and snugly socks today. I think I shall go bake something...