Wednesday, March 31

Apron and Placemats

Remember a while ago I posted about my apron and mentioned that I'd made another as a gift? I'm pretty sure they've reached Portland by now, so here are the pictures!

I used the scraps from the apron as well as a little solid brown from the stash to make two placemats, too. It was my first try at making a scrappy binding. I love how it turned out, although next time I think I'll try joining the binding strips at a 45 degree angle like you do for same fabric binding. These 90 degree joints were pretty bulky for the hand sewing.

Happy Belated Birthday, Mrs. Harding!

They Said It!

Happy Wednesday! It seems the girls are full of cute things to say lately...here are two of my recent favorites:

From Kelsey as we're headed into town

Me: Look how the snow is melting today!
K: Yeah, snow melts because it's frozen like ice cream
Me: Yes, they're both frozen
K: But ice cream doesn't fall from the sky
Me: Nope, but it sure would be fun if it did!


From Stacy this morning in the kitchen

S: See, I grew last night (stretching arms up over her head)
Me: Yes, you did! How about you stop growing and just stay little for me?
S: I can't! I like my 'begables' (vegetables)!


See! A mama can't help but smile!!

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In other news, the girls have a new toy:


It's not the best picture, but you get the idea! It's a floor length mirror and it's a hit for two reasons. 1) IT'S PINK! and 2) you can see yourself in it. For a few months now they've enjoyed watching and looking at themselves in the TV. When I saw this hot pink one at Wally World on Monday I knew it had to be ours...they love it!

OK--that's it for now! The girls have been combing/styling my hair while I type this and I'm getting a headache! :-)

Monday, March 29

Lookie what I have...



It's my first jelly roll! I have a thing for reproduction prints and this jelly roll was on clearance at the quilting shop in Seward...now it's mine! Now...what to make???

In other news, Moo Grandma left for home today. We all had lots of fun during her visit, although I'm sure she'll be glad to sleep in a real bed again. Air mattresses are better than the floor, but it's still not your home bed.

Saturday, March 27

Seagulls in Seward

Hello from Seward, Alaska! Scott and I are enjoying a weekend getaway at the Hotel Seward this weekend. Seward is apparently home to a ginormous flock of seagulls that Scott and I watched while we ate our picnic sandwiches on the waterfront. There are pictures over on Fotki and here are some videos, too!



Friday, March 26

This Week's Recipe--Omelet Roll

I received the new Kraft Food and Family magazine on Tuesday, so we tried this one out on Wednesday morning! I love omelets, but am terrible at making them so this method immediately appealed to me.

The Recipe
There's a nice printable version over here on Kraft's website.

Picture from Kraft Foods.com

Andrea's Kitchen
I followed the directions for the eggs, but stirred in diced ham instead, then topped with cheddar during the last 2 minutes of cooking, as directed.

The Verdict
YUM! I was a little worried about how it would roll up, but it really is easy to get it off the sprayed parchment. Grandma Moo, Kelsey, and I all liked it. Stacy probably would have, but she was having a severe attack of "being two" at breakfast and refused to eat anything but Honey-Nut Cheerios! :-)

**update 6/5/10**
Use your blender to mix the eggs, milk, and flour. It's much easier on your arms and you don't end up with clumps of flour like you do if you try to hand mix it. It makes this quick recipe even quicker!

Wednesday, March 24

Catchin' Up

Sorry--I know the "catch up" and "ketchup" thing is an oldie, but I just couldn't help myself! We've been having some trouble with our internet lately. Seems to be working better now (yes, I'm knocking on wood as I type!).

Grandma Moo is visiting this week, so we've been busy! The girls have kept her involved in a steady stream of games including babies, dollhouse, blocks, and cooking. They've also made some really cute craft foam bunnies and are working on Easter cards.

Grandma and I have tackled these neat-o coffee filter roses from Martha Stewart and Mommy Makes Roses. We've learned a few things along the way--I'm painting some of them and then maybe I'll put up pictures of some of them...takes a little practice to get them looking real good.

We're hoping to head into Anchorage later this afternoon and play around a little bit. The girls *really* want to show Grandma around Bouncin' Bears!


Friday, March 19

This Week's Recipe--Flour Tortillas

The Recipe
Sometimes you just get lucky, and I sure did with this recipe courtesy of the Homesick Texan! Usually I have to try several different recipes to find my "go to" one, but this time I hit upon a great one my first time out. I browsed lots of tortilla recipes and some of them used up to 1/4 cup of shortening to make 8-10 tortillas. Since I wasn't at all concerned with the tortillas being authentic, I was excited when this recipe only used a few teaspoons of oil

Texas Flour Tortillas
(adapted from The Border Cookbook by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison)
Ingredients
Two cups of all-purpose flour (can make them whole wheat by substituting one cup of whole-wheat flour for white flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of vegetable oil
3/4 cups of warm milk

Method
Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and oil.
Slowly add the warm milk.
Stir until a loose, sticky ball is formed.
Knead for two minutes on a floured surface. Dough should be firm and soft.
Place dough in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap for 20 minutes.
After the dough has rested, break off eight sections, roll them into balls in your hands, place on a plate (make sure they aren’t touching) and then cover balls with damp cloth or plastic wrap for 10 minutes. (It’s very important to let the dough rest, otherwise it will be like elastic and won’t roll out to a proper thickness and shape.)
After dough has rested, one at a time place a dough ball on a floured surface, pat it out into a four-inch circle, and then roll with a rolling pin from the center until it’s thin and about eight inches in diameter. (If you roll out pie crusts you’ll have no problem with this.) Don’t over work the dough, or it’ll be stiff. Keep rolled-out tortillas covered until ready to cook.
In a dry iron skillet or comal heated on high, cook the tortilla about thirty seconds on each side. It should start to puff a bit when it’s done.
Keep cooked tortillas covered wrapped in a napkin until ready to eat.
Can be reheated in a dry iron skillet, over your gas-burner flame or in the oven wrapped in foil.
While you probably won’t have any leftovers, you can store in the fridge tightly wrapped in foil or plastic for a day or so.
Makes eight tortillas.

Andrea's Kitchen & Verdict
I followed this recipe as it is written, and let me tell you these tortillas are YUMMY! I found it impossible to make them round, but for most things it really doesn't matter. They're delicious hot out of the pan (especially with butter and cinnamon sugar...almost like and elephant ear!) and also yummy a few hours later. I've never had any to store longer than that!

Wednesday, March 17

Riding a Sno-Cat

What fun! This morning the girls and I took the 7am tunnel to Girdwood. We had signed up through the Four Valleys Community School to take a sno-cat ride at the Alyeska resort. I didn't tell the girls about the outing until they got up this morning--didn't want to have to explain the whole deal if the weather didn't cooperate. Not to worry, the weather was PERFECT! We had gorgeous views and the girls had a blast.

There are lots of pictures over on Fotki, including one that shows the route we followed. We got to go twice because we were there long before the other families showed up. The girls were very excited by the whole thing and after watching people go up the chairlift and seeing the ski rental shop they have been skiing around the living room on blocks all afternoon.

The stars must have been in perfect alignment for the day, because they let me stop several times to take pictures. I took advantage of the weather to take these two panoramic shots.

This one of Portage Lake (click on it to see it larger):


And this one at a viewpoint between here and Girdwood (click on it to see it larger):


I am still in awe each time I look at them!

Aprons

With any luck, the girls and I are in Girdwood this morning riding a sno-cat. Stay tuned for hopefully wonderful stories and pictures of that adventure! In the meantime...

Ahhhhh...I love aprons! I don't know if it's the not-so-suppressed 1950's housewife in me or what, but aprons just make me smile!

While visiting Washington at Christmastime, I bought this book. I made one for a gift right after we got home. I found some fabric I liked for one for myself, and finished it up this weekend. I love it! Without a dress form or someone to take my picture, I didn't get the best shot of it, but here it is. If you look at the book, I made the one in the center of the cover.

I've also made one for a gift. I'll show you pics of it in a week or two, after the recipient (a loyal reader, I'm sure! :-) ) gets it. No fun to find out about your gifts online, now is it? Especially since I whipped up something TOP SECRET out of the scraps!

Tuesday, March 16

Bouncin' Bears...and Girls!

We made a run to Anchorage last weekend for a few groceries and some "fresh air". Sometimes you just have to get out of town! We made another stop at our new favorite Anchorage destination, Bouncin' Bears. Nothing wears a kid out like 1+ hours of constant bouncing! Here are some videos of the fun...

On the "pillow":



Coming down the slide with Mom and a random girl who just climbed on my lap:



Fun times!

Monday, March 15

My To-Do List

A few weeks ago I stumbled upon Google Reader. It was the end of my life as I knew it! Since I started this blog, I've had a list of a few blogs on the sidebar that I read regularly...OK, daily! Anyway...I started following them in Google Reader because I can check them all in one place now. The bad news is that Google looks at what I like by looking at my subscriptions, and then suggests more blogs. Aaaaak! I've quickly gone from reading 4 or 5 bloggers to now at least double that. Most of them are sewing blogs, so now I am making a 'To-Do' list of all the cute ideas I want to make. Maybe putting it here in writing will help me actually do some! Or if you're the crafting sort maybe you'll make some...

1. Some sort of table playhouse. Kind of like this one or this one or any of these! I have a king sized purplish flat sheet I have in mind for this project...so something girly/princessy perhaps?

2. An ABC book (or two...I have two intended recipients for this one!) sort of like this one.

3. I've got to try making some dolly PJs using this method!

4. And something for me...I love this little needle book!

5. I've got to come up with a project that uses this stenciling method--it looks really neat!

Of course, I have a few other things up my sleeve! I can't say any more without giving away my future gift ideas, though! :-)

Friday, March 12

This Week's Recipe--Play Dough

This is an awesome recipe that I inherited from my mom. I just finished making a batch of this at Stacy's request. Since Christmas we'd been playing with the store-bought stuff, but it's all dry and icky, so she's been asking for some of the "kind you make and keep in the fridgerator". Since I know there are some other mamas out there reading, I thought I'd share this recipe, even though it's not new! In my experience it seems to last longer than store-bought. The recipe calls for a measured amount of food coloring, but I just squeeze some drops in and stir--if I want it more vibrant I just add more. Tonight's batch was pink, in honor of the girls' recent infatuation with Fancy Nancy and Pinkalicious!

The Recipe
1 c. white flour
1/4 c. salt
2T cream of tartar
1 c. water
1 T vegetable oil
2 t food coloring

Mix dry ingredients in a medium pot. Add wet ingredients. Stir over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. When mixture forms a ball turn it onto a floured surface and knead.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Parting Thoughts
Enjoy with your kiddos! I also have a fun peanut butter play dough recipe that I remember having occasionally as a kid. Part play dough, part snack!

Has anyone out there made the Kool Aid playdough? I remember hearing great things about it when I was teaching, but I've never tried it myself...

Wednesday, March 10

'Sweet Nothings' Project


Last night I finished up the handwork on this "Sweet Nothings" project from Darlene Zimmerman who designs 30's reproduction fabrics for Kaufman Fabrics. I love reproduction prints from that era and have wanted to do something with them for a long time. I finally settled on this a little before Christmas and ordered the kit. I have never ordered a quilt kit before, but it worked out well! I wish mine had come with the yellow for sashing like the sample on her web page, but oh well! I also skipped the scalloped edge. She had designed it as a table runner, but I wanted to use it for a wall hanging in my kitchen and I wasn't sure how the scallops would hang.

This is also the first project that I tried my hand at free-motion quilting on. I took a class a few weeks ago and fell in love. My skills are so-so at best, but thankfully you can't see that in a picture or when it's hanging on the wall!

Surviving

What a gorgeous day! We survived the blizzards of Friday and Monday and came out with an absolutely wonderful day today. COLD, but beautiful. There are many, many pictures of our snow over on Fotki, check 'em out if you haven't already!

We've been very busy playing with our friend Porter this week. His mom's working this week, so he's been spending lots of time here at our place. It seems that a 4 year old, an almost 3 year old, and an 18 month old are the perfect recipe for exhaustion by the end of the day, both for them and for me!

I'll leave you with a few YouTube moments. The first is from our singing time at the Girdwood library last weekend. Scott loved the Alaskan verse for "She'll be comin' around the mountain" that went like this "And we'll all go halibut fishin' when she comes,"!


The second is of the girls jumping in the super-deep snow today!

Sunday, March 7

UFOs in Whittier!!

There will always be some UFOs at our house (UnFinished Objects), but two of those projects got wrapped up this weekend!

Both of them are small quilts destined for Lullaby Quilts and ultimately babes at St. Vincent's NICU. Kelsey received a quilt during her stay there, and since then I've attempted to make one for them each year around her birthday. Except I've done a terrible job! The first year I was hugely pregnant and chasing a toddler, so the next year I made two for them. The next year I was working, so this year I again made two.

The first is one I (hiding face now!) started before either of the girls were born! I love its bright colors and it's the first and only project I've done with prairie points.


The second is one I started sometime after Stacy was born. Its made of scraps from another project I made for a friend's baby.


I also finished up piecing a wall hanging for my kitchen this weekend. I'm still hand sewing the binding, so stay tuned for pictures of it when it's finished!

Friday, March 5

This Week's Recipe--Brown Sugar-Glazed Carrots

The Recipe
This recipe is from my trusty Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. Carrots are a vegetable that I have tried *forever* to get my kids to eat. They're cheap and readily available here in the produce wasteland of Alaska, so I'd love for them to become a more regular part of our diet. Both girls like carrot sticks, but cooked carrots have not gone over well so far. Enter the butter! And the sugar!

Ingredients
  • 1 pound peeled baby carrots or medium carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

Directions

1. In a medium saucepan cook carrots, covered, in a small amount of boiling salted water for 8 to 10 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain; remove carrots from pan.

2. In the same saucepan combine butter, brown sugar, and salt. Cook and stir over medium heat until combined. Add carrots. Cook and stir about 2 minutes or until glazed.

Andrea's Kitchen
I've made these several times now because (drumroll please!) the girls LOVE them! They even ask for seconds! Now how much is a pound of carrots? I haven't a clue--I just peel and cut into carrot sticks a generous helping for each of us and go from there. I have also found that doubling the glaze is a better ratio for my kids. There's a puddle of it in the bottom of the serving bowl, but they seem to like them better with a bit more sweetness added.

So glaze away, dear reader! And be sure to leave a comment to let me know how your gang likes 'em!

Thursday, March 4

Is there anything better?

Than being able to fix something when our children ask us to? As moms we do it all day long--we dress the doll, snap the child's pants, tape the puzzle box back together, etc. But once in awhile they come up with a request that tugs at the heartstrings. And once in a greater while we can actually fix it.

Today my girls approached me with a stuffed goose, 'Gooze'. Gooze was mine when I was a kid, made for me by my Aunt Ann. I remember packing him around and my mom tells me that she's restuffed him a time or two for me. Well, twenty-some years later, Gooze's neck was pretty floppy again. Kelsey announced that this made him sad, and asked me very sweetly if we could fix him up. Of course I grabbed the stuffing, a needle and thread and did my first goose-surgery.

Here's Gooze now:
Clearly he's quite huggable!

Wednesday, March 3

Cute Things They Say

Background: Stacy whacks her head on the wall and surprisingly, doesn’t cry!

Me: What happened?

Stacy: Well, I was walking with my eyes closed, so I couldn’t see where I was going!


And another, from her sister...


Background: Getting ready to exercise

Kelsey: Do princesses exercise?

Me: Yes, of course!

Kelsey: What about when they get all sweaty?

Me: Well, they wait until they cool off and then put their fancy dresses back on.

Kelsey: Oh. So they go to the ball AFTER they exercise.

Me: I think so, yes!

Monday, March 1

Flexibility...

Flexibility is key to a life with two preschoolers! We headed into Anchorage for a weekend getaway this past weekend. We had planned to take in some of the Fur Rendezvous but soon realized that thanks to arriving during the parade, traffic was a disaster. After driving over an hour to get into town the girls were none to keen on spending another 45 minutes plodding through downtown Anchorage traffic, so we decided to scrap Fur Rondy and head for Bouncin' Bears instead. I was a little disappointed in not getting to see the snow sculptures and dog sleds, but the girls didn't seem to mind at all! It's nearly impossible to get good pictures in a room filled with various inflatable bouncing toys, but Scott did get a pretty good video!

After Bouncin' Bears we had lunch and then headed over to the hotel for naps. Next up on the girls' agenda was the pool. We invited some friends of ours over for a splash in the pool, so we were 3 adults and 4 kids in the pool...needless to say, nobody took pictures! :-) After a dinner of pizza with Girl Scout cookies for dessert the girls crashed out.

Sunday morning we enjoyed the hotel's breakfast, then we did some shopping and more swimming. We worked *very hard* to keep the girls awake on the way home so they could get longer naps at home in bed.

We wrapped up our weekend with dinner back in Whittier with a group of our friends. Overall it was a fun and very busy weekend!