28 February 2013


I for some reason, as a single person thought I would be exempt from kids that were picky about food. Perhaps I figured because I love all foods, that they would too? I don't know, maybe it was just that blind ignorance thing... you really don't know until your own kids are making you crazy about this or that. I do have picky eaters. And now, I wave it off like everyone does, right? Not necessarily. I'm sure some of how I approach things could be better. I've seen moms offer up foods in ice trays hoping that the little sections will entice them to miraculously enjoy carrots. I know my kids like finger "snack" foods so I think this has some validity.

So I tried it. I told them I was preparing a surprise lunch. I used our old Beaba Babycook freezer containers as the plate and the bright colors surely offered some pow and punch to that surprise. They were so excited! And they started in immediately. That's a plus right there. Most days it's tricky just getting them to the table. I also tried to load it with mostly fruits and veggies.

I know they like kidney beans = protein. I know they like frozen peas = veggie. They don't do well with carrots, but I cut them in chunks for something different. I cut up apples and bananas because I knew that was a favorite. And blueberries. The one bonus (for them) was the crackers. Of course, it was the first thing they ate. They don't get those very often. This was a semi success. I will try it again after some time. I won't do it a lot because it's still new and exciting. But they did go for at least one full baby carrot and half of the peas... that is HUGE right there.

If you have a Babycook and you happen to have these laying around, they make for a great starting point for an exciting surprise lunch. I think this kind of thing could even be good for snacks, and put healthier snacks in there. There's something pretty awesome about eating things in compartments.

24 February 2013


On my husband's most recent trip to New York, he came back with some goodies (stickers, matchbooks etc.) from a now favorite new-to-us restaurant, La Esquina. I thought I'd share, for those of you in NYC... if you haven't been there, it's supposed to be a fabulous source for Mexican food and worth checking out.

As I recall, after living there in the 90s, there was every kind of food you could imagine, from every country... and all so very good. It was hard to choose a favorite. But one I always felt that the city lacked was good Mexican food. So this apparently solves that problem. Now all I need to do is figure out a way to get back there to try it out!

I hear it's a bit tough to get into. Unless, like my husband, you happen to be with his boss who we affectionately refer to as "Obi Brent Kenobi" and you can just walk up and wave a hand and there you are. What a force.

21 February 2013


Winters around these parts are long and cold and tend to mean grass is a faint memory. I haven't seen grass since December. I'm really not kidding. I saw some yesterday and then it snowed last night again. By mid-February most people are playing out their previously planned vacations because we all know that it's just about enough!

We however, decided to put in a bathroom instead of going somewhere exciting so here we sit, trying not to spend money and well... getting sick over and over again. With one in preschool and the other in the beginnings of her getting-sick-years, sickness is recycled within our home endlessly. We don't get out much is the short story.

With all of this time at home, it is a challenge keeping television to a minimum. So we do a lot of crafting. I try to set up worthwhile crafting ideas to lessen the nonsense pieces of nothingness that end up in the trash after a few days. Those are ok too, because honestly, we can't keep everything they create.

Currently we're in party planning mode so I helped the kids make some party hats using paper, beads, and fabric. if you want to get serious about it, use a hot glue gun, otherwise Elmer's is fine, but I glob it on to make the beads stay which means it should dry overnight.

1. Make a cone with a thicker paper. I started with a 13"x19" sheet. Cut the bottom so that it's even and cut a 1/2" hole at the top to glue in a tassel.
2. Punch two small holes in the bottom at the half points.
3. Tie on an elastic after measuring roughly around their heads.
4. Make a top tassel with strips of several fabrics that the kids choose, add some ribbon and yarn, then tied string around it to make it a tassel. Secure it in the top of the cone with hot glue.
5. Have them choose their buttons and hot glue around the rim. If they want to do the gluing, use Elmer's and let it dry over night.

* They could draw on the paper first or use a patterned piece of paper. I just had white laying around.

14 February 2013


These are so easy, it's ridiculous. I had some sucker molds and sticks on hand so the only thing I needed to buy were the chocolate wafers. I buy them at a food supplier in town called Gygi's. One of the easiest places to lose your money fast.

Milk Chocolate Apeels
Sucker Molds
Sucker Sticks
Squeeze Bottle
Cellophane Bags

1. Load the sucker molds with sucker sticks.
2. Melt the wafers on medium-low heat. Stirring occasionally.
3. No need to boil, they melt so smooth and yummy.
4. When the wafers are almost all melted, turn the heat off and stir until melted entirely.
5. Pour melted chocolate into a squeeze bottle (if you have one, this makes it easy and less messy when loading the sucker molds.)
6. Squeeze the chocolate over the tip of the stick first and into the whole of the mold.
7. Wiggle the tray gently and let the chocolate settle in.
8. Chill in the refrigerator for 10 minutes or so, not long, just until it hardens again.
9. Pop out the suckers one at a time, and place in the cellophane bags.
10. Tie off with ribbon.

It's a yummy and quick Valentine's treat. Also good for Easter or birthday parties. There are so many cute molds you just start thinking, what else can I make chocolate suckers for?!?

13 February 2013


Here's a peek at our Valentine's decorations.

Last year everything was pink and gold, which is a combination that I LOVE. But this year I'm liking the vintage silver pieces in the mix. The hanging hearts are felt and fabric stitched straight and hung from the ceiling. The flower vase was painted by my grandmother many years ago. The frames are all spray painted in various pinks. And the feather wreaths are made from styrofoam hearts and feathers, hot glued all around. I've made a couple of garlands this year and my kids and I covered their bedroom doors with hearts from various crafting moments and valentines sent from their friends.

11 February 2013


Good glory, what is it about putting Valentine's goodies together for my kids friends that makes me a bit crazy. Is it the constant pleading for the various pieces that go into each package? Is it the refusal to participate in a way that is actually helpful? Yes and yes.

So this year, sadly, it's been tough trying to teach my kids the reason why we give things to our friends and family. For those people that we love. It's been a challenge to explain that Valentine's are fun to GIVE. I'd love to be able to say my kids are perfect, sharing angels at all times but it's just not the case, darnit. After this day passes, we'll all forget and they'll have a lovely Valentine's Day and enjoy giving and getting but the process has been... well... a process.

Here's one of the crafts that we worked on in a good moment. I had a bunch of yarn scrap left over from making pom poms so I came up with something fun for the excess. We made Valentine's cards with pink paper, Elmer's glue and the yarn scraps. It's messy, but what isn't, right? After the glue was dry, I hairsprayed it to give it a little "hold".

08 February 2013


This is easy, but admittadly, it takes a ton of pink bottons, which can get spendy if you're collecting in a rush. I had collected over time plus I purchased some batches of pink buttons on etsy. So overall this wreath cost me about $25.

Styrofoam Heart
Pink fabric scraps cut into strips
Hot Glue Gun & Glue Sticks
Lots and lots of buttons - I used a variety of pinks
Ribbon for hanging - I used 1.5" silk

1. Cut a 2"-3" piece of wire and bend it in a "U" shape.
2. Poke the two ends of the wire into the back, top of the foam heart. Hot glue into place.
3. Cut long strips of fabric about 1"-2" wide. Use fabric that is the same color as your buttons. I used linen, because I happened to have some, but you could use anything, preferably solid. Felt would work great.
4. Wrap the foam heart. Start by hot gluing it into place next to the wire and wrap around the wire to further secure it.
5. When completely wrapped, start hot gluing buttons on. Start with the larger buttons, then medium sized and use the smaller ones to fill in empty spaces. Note that the larger buttons don't "wrap" around the roundness of the heart form and that's ok. If you'd like to be less random, look for a styrofoam heart that has flat surfaces.
6. Wrap a long ribbon around the top and complete with a knot about 7" from the top of the heart. This is used for hanging. The nail in the wall will be most likely be hidden by the ribbon.

07 February 2013


What a whirlwind that was! We had such a great time making our Valentine's garlands. Some very lovely ladies joined me and made these garlands their own whether by arranging the ingredients in a pattern or non-pattern, by squooshing everything tight or spacing them out, or by including a central large pompom or keeping them all uniform. They all did such great work. Hooray for Braintree for providing a grand place for us to be creative together! I'm honored to be a part of the fun. They have oodles of classes coming up. Check the Braintree site often and don't miss out.

Photos compliments of Braintree.

Do you want a freebie? Print this on 8.5"x11" sticker paper and punch cut each circle with a Fiskars scalloped squeeze punch.

03 February 2013


If you're signed up already, hooray for you! We're going to make super cute Valentine's Garlands. Details here.

Here's a peek.