Posts tagged ‘Family’

June 7, 2011

Black Bean Blender Brownies

Today, we’re testing recipes for Colin’s upcoming birthday party. He’s craving brownies and I just had to try this recipe I found on the Whole Food’s website: Flourless Brownies. I’d seen recipes for black bean brownies and really wanted to try it out. Since Colin is looking for a fudgy rather than a cakey brownie, we made a test pan.

Organic black beans…

All the ingredients are to be mixed in a food processor, but alas my processor died awhile back and has not been replaced. I used the next best thing, my blender…

Super nutritious and taste rich eggs from Ravencroft Farm…

More blender magic…

Blender black bean brownies baked (say this several times fast)…

Cut and ready to try…

The result: A fantastically fudgy brownie enjoyed by all:)

Does not the ear test words as the tongue tastes food? Job 12:11

June 6, 2011

New Chicks, Pizza & Donut Chips

School is finally out for most of us (except for my high school sophomore) so this morning we went to Ravencroft Farm to see the new chicks. New chicks mean more delicious, organic eggs – I love new chicks!

So precious!

The huddled masses…

After a fun day in the sun, we had home-made pizzas for dinner:)

Do you remember life before Domino’s Pizza? One of my dearest friends when I was growing up, her parents’ owned and operated a pizzeria – the kind everyone flocked to after Friday night football games. They made incredible pizza, but the piece de resistance were their beloved donut chips – oh, my! These lovely little bits of fried pizza dough were tossed in sugar and served with a bowl of hot fudge for dipping. Dreamy!!

It’s a little scary how some of my best memories are tied to food – hmmmm…

Donut chips are simple to make. I simply doubled my pizza dough recipe so I had enough for pizzas and fried dough. Since I don’t have a frier, I heated canola oil in a pan.  Using my pizza cutter, I cut pieces of pizza dough – some much bigger than others. I plopped the dough in the hot oil and within seconds the dough puffed and danced. I sprinkled and tossed them with granulated sugar & delighted my sons with a nostalgic after-dinner treat.

Not exactly uniform…

Dancing dough…

A whole lotta lovin’!!

And some hot fudge to boot:)

I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body. 2 Peter 1:13

May 23, 2011

You’re Special Today – Part 1

I really, really love family celebrations!  My mother and sisters and I share this passion so our family events range from very large gatherings (family of 23) to over-the-top themed-parties complete with bouncy castles and fondue fountains.

So, for my immediate family, I like to keep it simple. A birthday box is filled with supplies including a birthday banner, birthday lights, birthday plate and candles which come out for each birthday.  The decorations adorn walls and table the night before (0r just before dawn) in preparation for our morning celebration.  Birthdays begin with a sleepily-sung birthday song, candles to blow out and the traditional cupcakes.  For dinner, the guest of honor chooses a special meal & cake (usually carrot cake or strawberry pound cake) served for them on our traditional “You Are Special Today” plate.

Of course, this is a rough draft and each birthday writes it’s own unique script…

Drake’s 16th

Some more of my birthday presents (aren’t the silicone teacups just plain fun?), slated to be transformed into birthday cupcakes for Drake….

Graeme, my baking companion, doing a little taste testing…

Red Velvet ala Sprinkles!!

Yummy cream cheese frosting…

You Are Special Today and every day in my heart!!

You have a special place in my heart. Philippians 4:17a

May 17, 2011

Spot fabric and a birthday

I’m feeling very nostalgic today – my Drake is 16 today! I’m pondering the precious memories of holding Drake & sitting for hours reading his little board books over and over and over and…  When he started speaking, he did so in sentences – “Read this.”  My precocious 9 month old would then grab his little book in his chunky little hands and put his little arms up.  I’d pick him up, plop him in my lap, snuggle close and begin.  Good Night Moon…  Spot… Goodnight Gorilla…  Hungry Caterpillar…  Winnie the Pooh...

I cherished those moments & this fabulous Spot fabric makes my heart full – just look at this monkey full of mischief and cuteness…  I’m not usually into commercialized fabrics, but this Spot fabric won my heart.

Almost too cute to cut into, but I’m excited to transform these fabrics into some more handmade cuteness:)

Happy Birthday to an amazing, talented, kind, wise, smart and incredibly fun son!!  I love you so much!

The Lord your God is with you.
   He is a hero who saves you.
      He happily rejoices over you,
         renews you with his love,
            and celebrates over you with shouts of joy.

Zephaniah 3:17

March 29, 2011

Eureka Experience

Last year, I had a EUREKA experience about gift giving. For one thing, the gap between what I wanted to give and my budget widened last year when I made the leap from earning a paycheck to full-time homemaking. Additionally, I love unique, beautiful, handmade, quality, excellent and inspired creations. With many art, fashion, design, textile and decorating classes (and several degrees) under my belt, my taste runs toward the expensive, the artsy and the just plain different from every other Joe. Also, I was just plain tired of “Made in China,” big box retailers,  and the overly franchised everything – UGH!

Like I said, I had a moment.  It was one of those moments where you just want to pinch yourself really, really hard and ask “what is your problem?”  Why not make gifts? Okay, it’d been a few years since I’d sewn and I’m not feeling as artsy as I was say in college. But, it wouldn’t be “Made in China,” it would be unique, it would be personal, and it would be FUN!

And, then I got the brilliant idea of making things in fours.  With 8 nieces and 4 sons – easy math!  I’ve 4 nieces who are between the ages of 13 and 21, and 4 between ages 3 and 7.  This simple idea revolutionized my whole world and I was inspired (so much easier to do life when you’re inspired!).  Now instead of agonizing over what I’m going to get for so-and-so, I have a plan and I’m constantly finding tutorials, patterns and ideas for my next series of fours.

Last summer, I began my journey with four sundresses each with a matching doll dress for my younger nieces.  They were so cute I wanted to keep them all – my sons thought I was a little touched by that point. At that point, I realized my skill-level needs to dramatically increase to compete with the demands of my demanding & creative side….

Well before Thanksgiving, I’d my holiday gifts planned and I was so excited for the Season (a big coup for me). Christmas was probably the least stressful and more enjoyable I’ve had in years.  I’ll have to blog about Mermaid Land sometime in the future – it was grand!

I’ve started my next round of gifts for the older nieces and had earlier bookmarked a really fun pattern – here.  It’s a reversible purse so I needed fun fabrics….

The pattern was really easy to follow and I loved the results!

Please excuse the really old and ugly ironing board cover…  I’ve found some patterns to replace it, but that project is toward the bottom of the list right now:)

I’m really not sure 4 is enough….  I may have to make a few more for kicks!

How about you?  How are you breaking free today from the norm and finding freedom in the challenging and unchartered waters of your life?

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Galatians 5:1a

February 24, 2011

Baby Gift Set & Comfort Food

Still battling the flu here with lots of attention, love and comfort foods. Homemade chicken noodle soup (homemade egg noodles), chicken and dumplings, pannekokens, egg salad sandwiches and warm chocolate chip cookies – do you see a trend? Eggs, I find, are very comforting and healing.

My mother requested a pair of baby booties to give as a gift today.

I could not just stop there…

I just had to create a whole set!

So elated!

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 2 Corinthians 1:3&4

February 23, 2011

My week…

A major snow storm & the flu working it’s way through my family pretty much sums up my week so far.  A glimpse of what I’m attempting to work on now:

More BABY BOOTIE JOY:)

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. Psalm 139:14

February 17, 2011

Cake Stand

After so many close calls, my cake stand finally bit the dust today. Even yesterday, my tulip loving cats had attempted  to pull flowers out of the vase I’d placed on the stand.  Water and flowers and vase scattered, but the stand solidly and stoically stood firm.  Not today….  In my rush to get dishes put away and start lunch and finish school and get hockey jerseys dried (you get the picture), I dropped a jar of mayo from the cupboard and without even looking I knew my stand had met it’s demise.

The stand was a simple, clear glass, domed piece given to me by a dear friend as a wedding present. Since it also converted into a trifle bowl, it was incredibly useful and functional. I appreciate pieces like that! It proudly displayed and served many birthday cakes, freshly baked cookies, trifles, punch, scones and more.

“Thank you, dear cake stand. You served our family for well for many years (and thank you, Lisa, for the very considerate and lasting gift!)…”

Currently looking for some cake stand inspiration…

So pretty from Home Decorators, and the deep dome would probably even hide my beautiful Valentine tulips from my evil kitties…

Adore the simple and unique lines on this Michelangelo Masterpiece from Macy’s even though it lacks multifunction…

A grouping of smaller stands from Pottery Barn…. hmmmmm….

A little more ornate from Ebay….

Tried and true Anchor Hocking Cake Stand…  This is the one! It’s all versatility and function of my former stand, but with an even sleeker design – love!

And, the grand finale and a punch of color – how about this red number!

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Ecclesiastes 3:111a

January 26, 2011

Handmade: Baby Gift

The birth of a new child is one of the most precious times in life.  The first few days are so fresh and surreal as time seems to stand still.  Then the frenzy begins…  The demands of a new baby and regular life are in daily, even moment to moment, conflict until a steady rhythm is finally achieved (although this is always a delicate balance often upset by growth spurts, tummy aches and teething). Those are beautiful days to be cherished and treasured.

For the new mom, it can be a veritable roller-coaster ride.  The elation of birth, the joy of family and friends, and the beauty beyond description of a newborn baby bring so much wealth to a mother’s soul.  Lack of sleep, recovery from birth and the awesome responsibility of a wee babe who needs her constant attention can weary even the most seasoned of mothers.

It’s a vital time for those who’ve gone before to band together provide their help and support, and to give back, in a way, to those who gave to them. In our congregation, we organize meals for these young families which are delivered warm each evening. New mothers are exceedingly blessed, lifted and loved through this practical service. The newest members of our congregation are watched and waited for, and upon hearing of their arrival the forces that be mobilize.

As life has it, these babies usually come during hectic times. Even though I’m usually juggling several things and putting out a few fires, I still love planning and preparing a meal so vivid are my memories of those days when we brought each of our 4 little ones home.  As a plan, I reminisce. I remember some of the best gifts I received during those days whether word or deed.  I remember the fuzzy, crazy days filled with newness and love. I remember the extreme lack of sleep and difficulties and struggles of nursing.

The last time I was called upon to deliver a meal, I wanted to add a little gift. I had some baby yarn and found this pattern on Lion Yarn’s website and I knit. Knitting a gift affords one a lot of time to prayerfully ponder the recipient which I did with each stitch. For me, there is a joy unspeakable in creating something uniquely special and personal. Since the baby girl had an older brother, I also created a busy gift for him which hopefully would bring him joy and be helpful for mom (I was completely enamoured with busy gifts for my older sons when the littler ones were born!).  I decided on a crayon roll similar to the one I made for my little guy inspired by this tutorial and this tutorial.

All projects are a learning experience.  As a whole, I loved how the sweater turned out, but would definitely change a few things next time I use the pattern. I would convert the pattern to circular needles so it would be a more seamless design.  What do you think?  What is your new baby tradition?  Do you have a go-to baby gift?

Oh, yes – I also made a pink gingham (it’s just a phase) bag for the gifts…

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13

January 18, 2011

Handmade

Handmade…  *Sigh* Just the word, brings a simple smile to my face and a warmness in my heart.  I’ve had a life-long infatuation with all things handmade.  I was blessed with a grandma and a nana who created beautiful handmade gifts for us children, especially for Christmas, and a mother who was always creating and coordinating gifts for baby showers and weddings.

My grandmother was a brilliant woman who knitted, crocheted, quilted and sewed.  Each year, we each received hand-knit, woolen slippers from her.  She quilted bed covers for my parents.  But, the best gift of all, she taught my sister and I to crochet at a young age.  If there was a crochet hook and yarn around, we could easily be occupied for hours creating and designing clothes for our barbies and dolls.  I inherited her travel sewing machine which served me well in making costumes and clothes for my sons.

My Nana is an artist.  Her handmade gifts tended to be hand-painted with delightful whimsy and pizzaz.  Each year, we received hand-painted ornaments each year a new theme and design.  Her gifts also were always wrapped in her signature, Christmas themed cloth bags.  Being the granddaughter of a tailor, my Nana could sew just about anything.  She created much of my mother’s clothes, and later created dresses for my sisters and me.  Even though she is very shaky now, she’s still crocheting gifts for charities, babies and friends.  Her greatest gift to me is she taught me to sew.

My mother is a brainy, Rennaissiance women who knits, sews, quilts, spins, crochets, needlepoints, and more.  If there’s a hand-craft, she’s done it (some she enjoys far better than others).  She’s always creating something whether it’s handknit socks for my dad, or a quilt for a new baby.  Her greatest gift to me is her example of giving something uniquely special and heart-felt.

I’ve a beautiful, handmade legacy which I hope continues into the next generations.  My hope is as I highlight my handmade creations that it’ll inspire and even spark a passion for all things handmade.  As I work to build my Etsy shop, I’d like also to feature some of the stunning work others artisans on Etsy have crafted.

These are a few of my favorite things (click images for link):

Are you feeling the LOVE?

She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.  Proverbs 21:24