Wednesday, September 28, 2011

In my hands and on my stove

Small things that are making me smile:

Starting my very first crewel-work project, while catching up on the season premier of Grey's Anatomy.

Making bread and vegetable barley soup for dinner.

Wearing my hair up in clips, because it's just long enough to finally do that again!!
2011-09-28_10-47-05_187-2 - Josh,Vignette,Cornered1

Everyone who has joined me over at Google+!!!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Giving in to the call of the Sweet Tooth

This past week, I felt like making some super ridic. dessert, and when I saw these Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Dough with Toasted Marshmallow Frosting Cupcakes by Joy the Baker, I knew that I had found my answer.

So first this happened.


Then Daisy got off the school bus, so there was suddenly a whole lot of finger-lickin' help.


I carved little scoops out of the top of each cupcake, and Daisy ate each little scoop.  Then she helped me to position the peanut-butter chocolate-chip cookie-dough balls on top of the cupcakes, and I piped marshmallow/Italian Meringue frosting over the whole shebang.


Yes, I just said "shebang".  Learn to deal.


Once we were done frosting, there was still quite a bit of the stuff left in the bowl, so someone had to take care of it.  Thankfully the boys got home from school at approximately this point, so they were able to help with the frosting consumption.  And yes, it did end up in Daisy's hair, and on Max's neck, earlobes and eyebrows -- why do you ask?


While my helpers licked the bowl clean, I ran the frosted cupcakes under the broiler to give it the look of a toasted marshmallow.


So unnecessary, SO GOOD.

Hello tower of deliciousness.  Yes, I will eat SEVERAL OF YOU.  THANK YOU FOR EXISTING.



Saturday, September 24, 2011

Springtime in Autumn

After two weeks of being away (Army related reasons), Greg is back home!  The children and I are so incredibly glad to have him back.  While he was away stitched away during stolen moments on "Spring Sampler" by Aimee Ray (available for free download at Lark Crafts here), and yesterday I finally finished it.

doodle embroidery

I'll probably stretch this over a canvas, but for now, I just have it out on my coffee table so that I can admire it through the day.  Yay for a finished project!!

Unrelated, but I'm newly in love with Google+.  It's like Facebook and Twitter had a baby that combines the best traits of both!  Check out my profile and "follow" me to see what I'm up to throughout the day (P.S. I'm a much better at "Google+" than I am at Twitter...)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sock revival

I've recently been ripping out stagnated projects to start ones I actually care about.  A pair of Broadripples was among the casualties.  They were turning out beautifully, but, well... they were just too tight around my ankles.   And there was no help for it...even though I'd already gotten to the heels.  RIP.  Two nights ago I cast on with the same yarn (Jojoland Melody -- gorgeous!), and have been enjoying the mindless knitting of simple, plain socks.  Perfect.  I've also been steadily stitching away at my latest embroidery project (design by Aimee Ray).  I'm so smitten with all of the various colors and textures possible with such humble materials.


Monday, September 12, 2011

A place for the headbands and hairbows

This morning, I brought Billy to his 2nd day of "school".  He attends a mothers-day-out program once a week, and is incredibly proud that he has his Very Own School.

Here they are, all four with their backpacks:
First day of school for Billy

(Someone always must be crying in these pictures, yes?  The real question is, how can a person insist on being in the "center" of a four-person picture?  Thoughts to ponder.)

With the entire morning to myself, I decided to make some sense of all of mine and Daisy's hair accessories.

First, I took an empty rolled oats cylinder and some fabric.
Preparing to make the headband organizer

Then, using spray adhesive and hot glue, I did this.
Headband organizer/holder

Next, I tied a wide ribbon to a D-ring and hung it from the bathroom wall.
My hairbow organizer-ribbon

I have a lot of hairbows, and I am not ashamed.

Daisy, on the other hand, is all about the headbands.
Daisy's headband holder

For her, the most important step in getting dressed in the morning is to choose The Perfect Headband.  Which generally means the pink rose one. Obviously.

She also has a number of hairbows, so I made her a ribbon organizer as well.
Daisy's hairbow organizer-ribbon and headband holder

Now to make a headband holder for myself!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

With Thanks

There is terrible, historical flooding happening right now in and around my hometown (although thankfully both mine and Greg's families live on high ground and are safe with their homes unharmed  in the midst of it all).  At the same time, there are terrible wildfires raging nearby here in Texas.  If only we could give them some of our dry, and they could pass along their glut of rainwater to our parched Texas landscape.  Our firefighter neighbor has been deployed to the fires, and we pray for success in his mission and his safe return.

In this moment, we are focusing on the beauty of a house safe from fire and flood.  Thankful, and knowing that what we have is simply a gift, not because we deserve it.  It's amazing how much more beautiful everything looks through the lens of thankfulness.

Bike riding
Bike riding at the school playground

Bike riding at the school playground

Billy riding on the back of my bike

A family soccer game (also known as: how many balls can we have in play at once?)
Playing soccer at the field behind our school

Knitting a scarf and ripping it back out
Clapotis...just before it was ripped out

Garlic Sherry Burgers with Roquefort cheese, shallots, watercress and Bread & Butter Pickles (from the latest issue of Rachel Ray Everyday)
Garlic Sherry Burger with Roquefort cheese and Bread & Butter Pickles

(As a little side-note so that everyone can laugh at me...this is the first time I've ever made burgers.  No exaggeration.)

Sparky's burger "face"
Sparky's "burger face"

Preparing to use my Le Creuset to make slow oven-roasted Spicy Shredded Pork (which Greg then deemed to be "among the top 5 things Faith has ever made for dinner").  Thank you Pioneer Woman for a crazy simple recipe with delicious results.
Preparing to make pulled pork in my Le Creuset

Giant chocolate chip cookies
Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies make the day suddenly better

For these simple joys and comforts...for the roof over our heads...for our family...for the brave men and woman in our community (and the community back in NY and PA) who are fighting the flood and fire and sacrificing their own comfort to save the lives of others: we are filled with appreciation and gratitude.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

In the cool of the day

Today, in the sudden cool turn the weather has taken, we are....

Building fairy houses at the park:
Building fairy houses with Billy
70 degrees out, and we need long jeans on to stay warm!

Building fairy houses with Billy

Building fairy houses with Billy

Collecting things in back pockets:
Billy stashing beads in his back pocket

Eating our morning snack and embroidering on a picnic table:
Billy having a snack at the playground

Spinning some Seawool:
Spinning Seawool Fiber by Creatively Dyed Yarn
By Creatively Dyed Yarn, colorway: SRLE3

It's the 2nd day in a row that we've had a break at last from over 70 days of 3-digit heat, and it feels like a priceless gift!

Monday, September 05, 2011

Well. That was exhausting.

For the past few days, it seems that I have been living in my kitchen.

I've been craving salty snacks, so instead of indulging in potato chips/pretzels/popcorn/SaltySnacksInMyFaceRightNow (which leave me feeling sick and tired), I decided on Thursday to make some healthier options to have on hand instead.  (Before anyone jumps to any sort of conclusion: it is no longer medically possible for me to have children, so NO, I am not pregnant!)  :-)

First, zucchini chips:
Zucchini Chips (pre baking)
I used my Mandoline Slicer to cut the zucchini nearly transparently thin, then tossed them in the lightest coating of extra virgin olive oil, and laid them out in rows.

After baking for about an hour at 300 degrees, they were shrunken and crisp (perhaps a tiny bit TOO crisp!)
Zucchini Chips

Zucchini Chips
With the 2nd batch of zucchini chips, I kept an eye on the time and at 45 minutes, they were a perfect pale gold, resulting in chips that were still perfectly crisp, but had a little more delicate flavor instead of the deeply toasty taste of the others.  My children aren't sure about these, but Greg and I like them a lot.  I lightly salted them after they came out of the oven (I have read that salting them before baking would lead to gummy "steamed" vegetables rather than the shatteringly crisp texture I was looking for).

Next time I am going to try baking them at 200 degrees instead.  I'm guessing it'll be more of a dehydrated chip rather than toasted, so more of the raw nutrients will be preserved.

Once the Zucchini Chips were done, I made some Crispy Kale Chips:
Crispy Kale Chips
I tossed these with a bit of extra virgin olive oil, then baked them at 200 degrees for at least a half-hour...but at this point I don't remember exactly how long (sorry, it's been a long weekend!).  With these, I don't like the bitter flavor the leaves get when they are toasted brown, so I was very careful to take them out when they were still dark green.  As with the zucchini, I did not salt the kale until after it was out of the oven to prevent steaming.  Perfectly crisp and delicious!  (You can flavor these any way you wish after baking, but this time I just went with simple sea salt.)

When I was done with all of that Good For You business, I made a birthday snack to take to school on Friday for Sparky's "school birthday" (he turned 8 on Saturday):
Birthday cookies for Sparky's "School Birthday Treat" at recess
These Thumbprint Cookies have become our traditional "School Birthday Treat" for our family.  The other children in the boys classes are never too sure about these, but Sparky and Max love them, so there we are.  The recipe is, of course, from my favorite go-to baking book: Baking: From My Home to Yours

On Friday afternoon, I prepared Joy the Bakers Salt and Vinegar Potato Salad (so yummy!) as well as White Bean Hummus (with scallions and parsley added in for extra flavor -- my new favorite recipe!), and lemon cupcakes (from my fav. baking book of course) with stabilized whipped cream frosting -- all for Sparky's birthday party on Saturday morning.
Sparky's birthday cupcakes

After the children were in bed that night, I quickly threw together this little reversible super-hero cape for Sparky's birthday gift:
Sparky's birthday Superhero Cape
(His birthday was pirate themed -- thus the eye-patch and bandanna)

Sparky's birthday Superhero Cape

(A huge thanks to Greg, who made the party SUPERFUN with a Pirates' Booty Treasure Hunt through the woods and a Pirates' Grog -- created after the fashion of Army Grog, except sans alcohol -- along with decorating the playground as a pirates ship and being the energizing force behind the festivities, and grill-master of the sausages.)

On Saturday, once we got home from the birthday party, I scrubbed and vacuumed the house, and then made a tiramisu to go with a lasagna I had put together (and frozen) earlier in the week to deliver to a friend who has just had a baby.  And yes, I made some tiramisu for myself as well.  You're welcome.  

Last night we had dinner company....and today, I am not cooking at all.  I think that's the smartest idea I've had all week.  ;-)


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