Friday, November 09, 2012

All Hallows Eve

Our family doesn't really celebrate Halloween -- Greg is completely opposed to it, but I say "yay!!  An excuse to wear costumes!! Not like we need one, but it's fun!!"  So our compromise is to just celebrate....costume day-ish.  And get lots of candy at a local Fall Festival.

In the morning, the children participated in the Halloween/Scare Away Drugs parade at their school:

Halloween/Scare Away Drugs School Parade
Harry Potter

Halloween/Scare Away Drugs School Parade
A Ninja

Halloween/Scare Away Drugs School Parade
A Princess Barbie Cowgirl Cat (obviously) (haha, oh my!)

Kitty (Halloween)
Billy had been a Ninja too, but decided that his "costume" (bandana) was just way too hot.

After the parade, I painted my friend Jenny's face before she left for work.

Jenny's Fire Angel Eyes

Jenny's Fire Angel Eyes

So much fun!  We decided that we should do this more often.

Since I was already painted up as a pink kitty, we decided to go do a little shopping before work.

Pink Kitty

We like to dress in costume and go out together anyway, so this wasn't really all that different for us...but people finally thought it was normal.  Since it was Halloween.  We decided not to correct anyone ("OH! Yeah, this is just the way we are.")  :-)

Later that night, we met up with my best friend Angela and her little girl, and exhausted the children at the Fall Festival.
Kitty Cat BFF's

Halloween Fall Festival

Halloween Fall Festival
A Ninja transforming into a Power Ranger

Halloween Fall Festival
TWO face painters for the Princess Barbie Cowgirl Cat!

Sugar High at the Halloween Fall Festival

Halloween Fall Festival

Halloween Fall Festival


But even more exciting....GREG IS COMING HOME TONIGHT!!  These weekend visits are a beautiful thing.   Just a little over a month until he lives with us "for real" again....

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

The Perpetual Countdown

Lately, my entire life has become a countdown.  As we draw closer to the end of Greg's year of school in Kansas City, I find myself caring less and less about anything else at all, and my entire being is leaning forward, waiting with bated breath, willing time to tick by just a little faster.... distracting myself with friends, movies, tv shows, children's playdates, parties -- but in the end, all I want is Greg: home with me, right now.

Here's some pics from the last time he was here for the weekend (Roller Derby + East Side King food truck with friends):

Yay Roller Derby!!

Our men at Roller Derby

Out with Greg and friends at Roller Derby

at Roller Derby with Angela & Josh
Our BFF's, Josh and Angela

We threw a big party with friends to smoke meat, drink beer, and make a huge batch of Poutine (gravy fries with cheese curds -- devilish and delicious):

Making Poutine and smoking meat
Greg, Glenn, Josh

Making Poutine and smoking meat

Making Poutine and smoking meat
Drying the soaked potatoes on the tailgate of Glenn's truck before putting them in the deep fryer

Making Poutine and smoking meat

In two days, we get to see Greg again!!  And the countdown continues....

Saturday, October 06, 2012


I've been a bit spare with the blogging lately, but I've been posting to Instagram/flashbangfibers (often linking through Twitter/@flashbangfibers).  I've been having fun sharing little moments and playing around with double proccessing photos/mix-and-match with filters using Little Photo, Retro Camera, Vignette and Instagram (I've got a Droid Bionic).  For those of you who haven't been following along, here's a little catch up...

Getting ready for school

Weekend crafting with the children

The Garbage Men's biggest fan
Cheering for the garbage men

Birthday Cake Protein Shake
Birthday Cake flavored protein shake (not very good, but pretty to look at!)

The Oil Cleansing Method face wash experiment
The Oil Cleansing Method face wash experiment -- I used a ratio of 2-1 (olive oil to castor oil), with 3 drops of Tea Tree oil.  Next batch I'm going to try a 3-1 ratio, with 6 drops of Tea Tree -- more moisturizing, more blemish zapping power.

Pesto and Rosemary-Olive Oil Flatbread
Pesto and Rosemary-Olive Oil with Smoked Sea Salt flatbread -- I'm avoiding wheat for the most part these days, but I made this for an event and it was FAB.  I miss bread...but my body is way happier without it.  ~sigh~

Pumpkin Coconut Smoothie
Pumpkin Coconut Spice Smoothie: 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, 1/4 cup canned coconut milk, 1/4 cup almond milk, 3 tablespoons maple syrup, pinches of cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  Blend with ice and adjust sweetness to taste.  LOVE IT, and it totally kills my pumpkin-spice-frozen-custard cravings.  Score!

The little guy has started caring about clothing A LOT, and now gives me his unfiltered opinion every morning.  He makes me laugh so hard -- his comments on this particular outfit: "Um, Mommy, next time when you get dressed, can you please put on something that looks good?!"

Daisy is learning to read!

Audio books area a lifesaver when I'm housecleaning.  And did you know that you can "return" a book to Audible now for a new credit if you didn't like it?  I recently returned two that I was less than pleased with, and got two more I loved instead!

White Bean Fennel Soup with buttered crusty French bread
A chilly, rainy day dinner of White Bean Fennel Soup with buttered crusty French bread...because sometimes, I just need BREAD BREAD BREAD!

Soaking nuts and seeds to dehydrate.  (See reasons for this here.)

Honey Spice face masks for a cozy night in watching New Girl and eating hot soup in our pajamas.

Coffee date and consignment shopping with a girlfriend

....and literally trying on about half of the store.

Greg came home last night for a 10-day visit, and we're so glad to be able to spend some time together this week!!  Fun pics soon of a night full of Roller Derby and food trucks.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


So kind of a while ago, I promised that we would talk about sauerkraut.  Then I got distracted, blogged about some other things, then had a long blogging silence.  But I never forgot!  Last week, I made a new batch of sauerkraut, so I figured that now was as good a time as any to talk about it FOR REAL this time.

I am fascinated by fermentation and culturing.  I have, at different times, cultivated cycles of kombucha tea, water kefer, and yogurt, and I love being able to have live, active probiotics in my diet.  It's good for the digestion and yeast balances in the body, as well as countless other health benefits.  When I first read about making raw, fermented sauerkraut in Ani's Raw Food Essentials by Ani Phyo, I knew that I had to try it.

First I shredded one rather large head of cabbage very thinly and evenly with my mandoline slicer (saving the very outer leaves to use as the "covers" for fermenting).  Then I massaged a tablespoon of sea salt into the cabbage until it started to look a little bit "cooked" or pickled, and it became a bit wet.  Next, I mixed in a tablespoon of white Miso paste, because introducing a live, active culture to the kraut helps speed the fermentation process, and I get a little impatient (this step is not strictly necessary -- the cabbage has enough natural cultures on it to ferment itself with no help, but I just wanted results more quickly.  I've also used a big splash of kombucha, and another time I used some water kefir).  I packed the cabbage tightly into three mason jars, tucked them in firmly with pieces of the outer cabbage leaves, and topped them up a bit with salt water to cover (1 tablespoon of salt to 1 cup water).

Making fermented sauerkraut

I weighed down the kraut with smaller mason jars half-filled with water and placed them into a large casserole dish (to catch any drips in case of bubble-over later on), and covered with a kitchen towel.

Making fermented sauerkraut

Finally, I tucked the whole thing into a dark corner of my pantry and let it do it's thing.  I checked on it occasionally to make sure that it didn't need to be fed any more salt water, and also checked for mold or white scum, but this batch was super well-behaved and needed no extra attention.  Today when I tasted it, it was done!!  Perfectly tangy and delicious, and perfectly healthy.  Love it!  (You can let it go for much longer, but it's all according to your taste preference and if you innoculated it with extra fermenting power, like miso paste, etc. -- this one tasted exactly right to me at 6 days.)

Sandwiched between "pumpernickel rye" raw flatbread (recipe also in Ani's Raw Food Essentials by Ani Phyo) along with thick tomato slices, ripe avocado and crispy eggplant bacon, I had a satisfyingly thick Raw Reuben Sandwich.

Raw Reuben Sandwich

I'm not giving up real Reuben sandwiches forever, but I'm so excited to know that I can create an acceptable substitute that makes me feel great afterwards, instead of feeling like I need a serious nap.  Raw foods are just fabulous like that.

Here's a blog post with a few more step-by-step photos if you need to see the whole process before you take the plunge into kraut making.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sunflower Seed-Pine Nut Basil Pesto

Last week, my neighbor, Fireman Josh, gave me the gift of the basil that had grown into a shrubbery in his garden.  The 5 grocery-bags-full that I harvested took me 3 days to power through, and I actually ended up giving some of the basil away to two different friends....and still managed to make 26 batches of pesto.  (!!!!)

Fresh basil from my neighbor's garden

Some of the batches I've given away to friends, and the rest is now in my freezer.  I don't imagine that I will have the need to make pesto again for at least another year.  I froze most of it in double batches in sandwich-sized Ziploc bags, but I also utilized my 3 ice cube trays to make some cubes of pesto for simple single-servings.

22 batches of pesto (!!)

22 batches of pesto (!!)

To make it more affordable, I used half pine-nuts/pignolis, and half sunflower seeds.  I tried a batch made with cashews (which I really like in spinach or arugula pesto), but the flavor wasn't strong enough to balance the assertive basil.  Want to make some pesto too?  Here's my recipe, modified from the one that my mom always makes (feel free to substitute the greens and/or nuts or seeds -- pumpkin seed is good too!).

Pine-nut and Sunflower seed Basil Pesto

4 cups fresh basil (swirl and soak in a large bowl of cold water for about 5 minutes, then scoop the leaves out without disturbing the dirt and sediment that has sunk to the bottom)
2 cloves fresh garlic (slice off the root end, then whack the clove with the side of a butcher knife.  The papery skin will come right off.)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Fresh-squeezed juice and zest of half a lemon
1 large pinch of chicken bullion or chicken soup base (optional -- if you want this to be vegan, leave that out)
1 teaspoon of salt (or to taste)
freshly cracked black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons raw sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons pine nuts (also called pignoli nuts)
Freshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese to serve (do not add this to the sauce if you are going to freeze it)

Combine all except the nuts and seeds in a blender (if you have a high-powered blender like a vita-mix, this will result in an extremely smooth pesto), or a food processor (for a little bit of chunk -- this is what our family prefers).  Process until it is as smooth as you'd like, then add the nuts and seeds and pulse until they are slightly chopped and it is all combined.

Serve (with cheese, if desired) over 1 lb of pasta, or spoon it over fish, chicken, steaks.  A cool spoonful added at the last moment to a bowl of hot soup is delicious.  You can also use it as a sandwich spread.  I love to make zucchini pasta (with my vegetable spiralizer) and toss that with the pesto.  Nearly instant raw dinner, and so delicious!


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

red and grey daisy tote

Do you ever procrastinate on something for absolutely no reason at all?  Do you ever window-shop for things and then refuse to buy, because "I will make that for myself"....but then you never make it? Yeah, all of that pretty much sums up what I do.  My children have been the only ones at school with no mittens in the winter because "My mommy hasn't made them for me yet".  Lame.  And of course, I simply REFUSE to buy them.  I'm a case.  Whatevs.

About a year ago (or maybe longer?) I bought two colorways of some sturdy fabric at Ikea, planning on turning it into a small shoulder bag, and then reversing the color scheme and making a tote.  Well I made the bag, but then....kind of just never got around to the tote.  This week, it finally hit me that, while our family is fully past the Diaper Bag Stage, I still do end up always packing up a re-usable shopping bag to tote around lunchboxes, snacks, library books, water bottles, etc.  So I did a quick search through my crafty board on Pinterest, and used my Day Without Children yesterday to make this satisfyingly sturdy, perfectly-sized tote.

Pleated Tote Bag
For Pleat's Sake Tote

This morning when Billy and I went out to run our errands, I was delighted to find that everything we needed easily fit in my brand new bag, and I may or may not have walked around feeling extra smug about this fact.

Pleated Tote Bag

A few notes:  The pattern is For Pleat's Sake Tote, tutorial/pattern/DIY by U*Handbag.  I used a thick, sturdy twill for the outer shell, and a pure linen for the inner lining.  I do not think that linen should generally be used as a liner because of wrinkles and fraying, but the color was perfect, and I wasn't about to go out shopping when I have a giant fabric stash just sitting in my studio.  I reinforced all of the pieces (inner and outer) with medium-weight iron-on interfacing, which adds greatly to the durability factor overall, and lessens the wrinkling of the linen.  I did not use fusible fleece to reinforce the outer shell, although that may have given it a pleasantly plumper shape.  Maybe next time.  To finish the edges, I top-stitched everything all the way around for a more sturdy, professional feel.  The bow detail is fixed to an alligator clip so that I can wear it as a hairbow when I don't feel like adorning my bag with it.

Pleated Tote Bag


On either side of the liner, I added patch-pockets to help me organize, and also installed a magnetic snap to keep the bag closed when I am not over-stuffing it (i.e. almost never).

Pleated Tote Bag

I also sewed in a key-clip, because I seriously hate digging around for my keys (even in a small purse).

Pleated Tote Bag

Overall, I'm pretty in love with this bag.  Now I'm rummaging around in my stash to make one of these in sensible black.  Hmmm, I'd better start shopping for purse handles...

Pleated Tote Bag

Pleated Tote Bag


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...