Saturday, January 22, 2011

Pancakes for Breakfast

It's Saturday and the kids let us sleep in - they deserved a treat. I do try and make something yummy for breakfast on the weekends, just to break up the monotony of the cereal, yogurt, oatmeal that we eat regularly during the week. Today it was pancakes. Chocolate chip pancakes (you can guess who put in that request). It's OK though, these pancakes are actually pretty good for you - even with the chocolate chips!

The recipe is based on The Little Red House's recipe for Blueberry Pancakes. We have made them and they are yummy as well, but chocolate chips won out this morning. I dropped the cornmeal to 1/4 C and added 1/4 C oat flour (oatmeal ground in a coffee grinder does the trick) and also added 1 t. of vanilla. I only sprinkled about 5-6 chocolate chips per pancake, so it doesn't take many and no one complained. Of course they did ask for whipped cream, which I nixed. If you are looking for more wholesome, healthy recipes, be sure and check out The Little Red House - I've tried several of her recipes and they have all been yummy. Happy eats!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

What You See is Not What You Get

It was with great eagerness this year that I packed away the Christmas decorations. I don't know what it was about them, usually I'm sad to see them go, but this year they were closing in on me. Maybe it's that they're the same every year, maybe it's that they really clutter things up (not that we aren't typically covered in clutter anyway), who knows, but they were driving me nuts and New Years Day they were gone.

So, of course, the next day my five year old came to me and wanted to know when we'd be getting the "winter decorations" out. Apparently she loves a good decorating jaunt. "We're not" sounded a bit too grumpy of an answer, so I told her we didn't have any "winter decorations" per se. Smart cookie that she is, she proposed that we make some. So we did. Well, at least one.

I did some googling and flickring to see what I could see, and finally decided that we'd make a coffee filter wreath. This fit the bill because A. I liked the looks of it B. Little people could help and C. I had the materials on hand. They are simply, coffee filters (a bunch) - we used the basket shaped - I'm not sure if the conical ones would give the same effect, hot glue and a wreath form. If you don't have a wreath form, improvise - a wreath shape cut out of cardboard or foam core would work as well.

I watched this Martha Stewart video to get the gist of it, but rest assured there's not much to "get". Simply take two coffee filters, one on top of the other, fold them in half and then make sort of an ice cream cone shape out of the half circle. Fuss with it till you've got a shape you like, and open the layers up to make it fuller.

Fold the tip of the ice cream cone up, about 1/2" and flatten that out so you have a flat area to glue to your base. I glued a row opening outwards and then glued a second row opening towards the center of the wreath (tips pointing in the opposite direction of the first row). This made the wreath nice and full and sturdy.

And there you go, our winter decoration. I stuck the bow in (which could stand to be bigger) with a T-Pin and hung it with ribbon that's also secured with T-Pins. The beauty of that - come Valentine's Day, the ribbon can turn red or pink, come Easter it can turn spring green or light blue, come fall it could be black or orange. You get the idea.

Yes, the five year old did lose interested before it was all done and yes, she did break my glue gun while sitting right next to me (it wasn't on), but she's still happy with the results and so am I. Now I've got lots of other ideas on how to vary this - coloring the filters, glittering the filters, heart shaped forms, embellishing the wreaths, etc. Goodness knows, I need a few more craft ideas for my spare time!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Let it Snow!

This was the sky last night (Sunday) as we waited with great anticipation for the predicted snow storm that was to sweep through the South. I felt like a kid on Christmas Eve, I was so giddy. Twice this morning, as I drifted in and out of sleep, I dreamt that we actually didn't get a big snow fall, just a measly splatter of snow that was already melting. I was apologizing to the kids over and over (in the dream) while feeling disappointed myself.

I was however, not disappointed. We got a healthy 6.5 - 7" of beautiful, powdery snow overnight. Someone said it was snowing at the rate of 2" an hour at one point. I was asleep and cannot verify this fact, but can say that at 11:30 PM there were teeny, tiny, practically invisible flurries listlessly drifting down that made worried that mother nature wasn't going to come through for me. Clearly she kicked into high gear later on.

My kids are eager, anxious, impatient (or maybe just kids) - call it what you will, but while most people were still in their pajamas enjoying the view from inside, we were already outside. Thankfully we are blessed to have neighbors with children very similar in age who joined us not too long after we set out to explore our street.

We spent several hours outside today, and appreciated that our neighbors shared their sleds with us. We are also lucky enough to live at the top of a steep road - the few cars that did brave the road this morning established excellent grooves for the sleds to travel in. Some serious sledding was done!

For some of us, a sled wasn't even necessary, it was just fun to roll around and become caked in snow (she does have multiple layers on), eat snow, sit in snow and just revel in the wonderful miracle that is snow!

We took indoor breaks to warm up with hot chocolate and cookies in the afternoon and shared a big pot of chili together this evening. What more could a person ask for on such a magical day? If anything was left undone today, we've got another snow day tomorrow to cross it off the to do list!

Until then, I think I know some little girls that are going to sleep very soundly tonight!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Christmas Wrap Up

So, organization is not one of my strong skills. Getting really excited about doing stuff, doing it right away and making a royal mess while at it is pretty much the way I operate. So perhaps it would have been better to share what I was working on for under the Christmas tree before I wrapped up 2010, but at the time, I was more excited about reflecting on the past year. Now that Christmas is all packed away in the attic, I can think about it a bit more fondly now.

I wasn't sure I was going to have much in the handmade area to give for Christmas this year, but after Thanksgiving I lit a fire and got going. Both the girls got to open pajamas on Christmas Eve. Last year I cut both of theirs too long, so this year I cut Rachel's too short. I tacked this red plaid onto the bottom and really like what it added to the pants. Finally a mistake that turned out for the best!

Inspired by so many cute bunting items that I've come across lately, I whipped up several sets of note cards with buntings across them. I tacked the tiny triangles down with a dab of glue stick, which held them perfectly while I stitched across them. When I got to the other side, I turned the card around and stitched back, going down both sides of the triangles to fully attach them. I was really pleased with how these turned out and intend to make more, and I'm also thinking maybe some tote bags with buntings across them.

The muff was in response to a good friend seeing the one I'd made for another friend back in May. When she saw it, she excitedly declared "Oh, I want one in animal print!". Imagine my happiness when that little bit of filed away information was still available for retrieval from my brain come December! I waffled on what kind of animal print to use, but think this leopard with the brown velvet does the trick. The instructions come from the Fall 2009 issue of Stitch magazine. I did not however, give her my hat and gloves....I'm not that nice.

And while I shared the first of these bags that I made, I am happy to tell you that I was able to make ten in all, including one of my very own. Once I got going, I was a factory with these (which led to a really messy work area, but hey, I got results!). I'm so happy when I stumble upon something nice that I can make several of to give as gifts to friends and family. This year my mom, sister, aunt and sisters-in-law all got one, as well as Brownie troop leaders, friends and a few others! If you didn't get one from me for Christmas, expect one for your birthday ; )

And speaking of handmade, a friend posted this post on facebook today.....

A Handmade 2011: I promise to send something handmade to the first 5 people who leave a comment. They must in turn post this and send something they made to the first 5 people who comment on their status. The rules are that it must be handmade by you and it must be sent to your 5 people sometime in 2011. Let's all work towards a more handmade life!

What fun! I signed up under her and have five people signed up under me. Why don't you start a post too and see how much handmade goodness and appreciation we can spread this year?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy New Year

I hope you've had a wonderful holiday season. The girls go back to school tomorrow, so I guess it's time to finally accept that they holidays are over, the new year is here and it's time to stop wearing pajamas all day when you don't have to leave the house.

This past year I did my first 365 photo project, taking a photo (or more) a day for the year, and keeping them together in a flickr set. At times it seemed like drudgery to have to find something to photograph and some are pretty boring, but looking back at the whole year now, I'm glad I have a little glimpse of each day. Some were big days - most were not. A picture of each makes them all seem special. I've seen several other blogs sharing a photo from each month in the past few days and thought it would be a good way to kick off my new year, reflecting on the one that has just passed.













It's hard to believe that the year has passed so quickly, especially when I can still clearly recall some of those January days! Now it's time to start taking note of 2011 though - I hope it will be another year full of good times and memories.