Monday, May 31, 2010

What We Ate

Thought about not posting...but I'm kind of on a roll with this, and I like to have a written record for when people say "but what do you EAT?"  You'd be surprised how many people ask me that, and it kind of makes me giggle.


Monday: Grilled cheese sandwiches.  You can tell this is going to be a fancy week.
Tuesday:  A quick-ish lentil dish.  I won't bother with a recipe, because it lacked depth, and it made Ernie cry.  No joke, I've never seen her break into tears after closing her mouth around a spoon.  When I try it again with a few different flavors, I'll post a recipe.
Wednesday:  Beef-Vegetable-Barley soup from the freezer.  Yay for eating down the stash!
Thursday:  Joy School graduation!  Hotdogs, chips, fruit, and potato salad for everyone!
Friday: Spaghetti with a quick chunky sauce- sauteed ground beef, onions, and celery, and our last jar of purchased spaghetti sauce.  (Note to my summer garden: I'm counting on you to produce tomatoes.  The end.)
Saturday:  BBQ at Grandma and Grandpa's- it's not every day hubby's grandpa turns 80!  Steaks, hot dogs, salads- very good.
Sunday:  Another big family meal at Grandma and Grandpa's, because 2 sets of aunts/uncles/cousins are in town for the weekend.  Lots of ham, and leftover salads.

OK, so obviously dinner time was kind of a bust this week.  BUT, we had house guests for the weekend (yay!!) and we had some pretty great breakfasts so maybe that could compensate?

***On a side note, both my husband and I were sick the first half of Sunday, although no one else was.  My husband thinks it might be all the meat we ate- hot dogs on Thursday, meat sauce on Friday, steaks on Saturday.  We ate more meat in those three days than we normally eat in a month, I think.  I don't know, because it isn't uncommon for me to be sick quite often.  But my Dad often says that animal fats upset his stomach, so maybe??***

Saturday: Marion Cunningham's overnight yeasted waffles.  Great freaking crispy goodness.  Thank you Molly for pointing out the way. Make them.  And cut the butter in half...or less.  I used half as what was called for, and they were amazing still.  (Aunt S said they were like scones, I'm assuming she meant fried bread, because otherwise she would have said scohns, right?)  So, yeah- these are like fried bread: crispy on the outside, steamed on the inside.  Slight bite from the yeast, and all the sweet comes from the syrup you pour on top (or lemon juice and powdered sugar in my case.)  ALSO, you mix them up the night before.  The only thing you have to do in the morning is whisk together 2 eggs and a bit of baking soda to stir into the mix before you cook them up.  Any morning that doesn't involve measuring cups is easier than a morning that DOES.  (And now I'm wondering how similar these are to sourdough waffles?)  Recipe here.  And all over the internet actually, these are getting to be quite famous.  (If you follow that link, there are two recipes.  I tried the "WIG" or Waffles of Insane Greatness.  They're good, and you wouldn't regret making them.  But if you have time and remember to get ready the night before...these are better.)

Sunday:  Early morning, with our guests scrambling for showers before their church meetings.  Followed Mary Ostyn's advice and made a big batch of oatmeal in the rice cooker- no stirring, no adjusting of temperature, no waiting for the water to boil, AND it keeps itself warm for stragglers.  Sold.  (Just follow the regular oats recipe- 1 cup water, 1/2 cup oats, pinch of salt, if you're making quick oats.  A friend said you can melt a bit of butter in there, saute your steel cut oats for a few minutes, then add the water and turn it on.  The rice cooker will turn off when the water is gone.)  And when you've made your oatmeal, please stir in peanut butter and brown sugar.  Your tummy will thank you.

Monday: Our guests left this day, and J's uncle had mentioned he'd had a soft spot for grits ever since his mission in the Southern states of the US.  Wish granted.  Plus biscuits, fried eggs, toast, juice, milk, and fried ham (from our Sunday dinner.)  Never let it be said that a guest left my kitchen hungry!

Saturday morning was busy, and this is the second weekend in a row I missed the farmer's market.  If the kids and I can snag the car, we'll try and hit another local market- there's one almost every day of the week within half an hour of here now.  If we don't...well, there are onions, carrots, celery, avocados, strawberries, burger patties, potato salad, mozz cheese, blue cheese, sour cream, and lettuce....all screaming to be used up.  It all sounds a bit heavy, but with all the rain we've been having, heavy is pretty good right now.  We can make it another week without greens.  In fact, I'm sure the kids don't mind at all.  (My mind is drawing a farmers markets around here ever sell anything BUT greens and onions?  I mean, besides the $5/lb tomatoes that I can't afford.  Because a $10 tomato is not going to grace my table, sorry farmer with a fancy greenhouse that sells tomatoes in April.)

Sunday, May 30, 2010


OK, so this might veer a leetle into whinging, but bear with me.  There are some pretty photos to tide you over

I am just itching for the sun to come back, BECAUSE:

If the sun comes back, the concrete man can pour our driveway, our porch, our front patio, our pathway, AND our back patio.  (Read this as: my yard won't be a mud pit anymore.)

If the sun comes back, and the concrete man pours all those things, we can get our hands dirty putting in good dirt and garden boxes and planting the 30 unclaimed tomatoes, plus an odd assortment of basil, melons, and unidentified squash. (If anyone wants a tomato start, please please raise your know, if you're local and know where I live.)

If the sun comes back we can go here.

One misty, moisty morning
When cloudy was the weather
I chanced to meet an old man,
Clothed all in leather.

Clothed all in leather,
With a cap under his chin,
Saying "How do you do?"
And how do you do?
And how do you do?" again.


The most darling kitchen I've ever seen.  I can't wait to make waffles there.  Or toast.  Or cocoa.

I'm willing to guess there are games, toys, and great books stashed in here.


You know why??  Because Grandmas and Grandpas are awesome like that, and we can't wait to go visit my parents at their new retreat!  It's a tiny little cabin, on a rocky little beach, on a tiny little island no one has ever heard of.  Perfection.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

And Sometimes there's Chocolate

So, a few weeks ago I got to be spreadsheet jockey for Miss Rae's fabulous "Spring Top Week."  Basically I set up some spreadsheets...then got to boss around some of the coolest seamstresses in blog land for WEEKS.  I won't drop names, but seriously- it was a hoot.  So, I got to make spreadsheets (spreadsheets run my LIFE), I got to e-mail out orders like "Your spreadsheet is updated with a new batch to judge" because I'm bossy like that, AND I got to see behind the scenes of a much-anticipated sewing event.

All that AND a box of chocolate.

No.  Seriously, Rae sent chocolates from one of her Tops Week sponsors, Z. Cioccolati.

Fudge from Rae (Made by Rae)

Oh flippin wow guys, seriously good stuff.

Fudge from Rae (Made by Rae)

And really....what DO tiny baby cherubs think about?  Could it be sweets?
Fudge from Rae (Made by Rae)

She said I didn't have to share with the kids (and in their current moods, I shudder to think of these guys hopped up on fudge) but my husband was quick to point out that HE wasn't excluded from sharing!  Good thing, because he's been a big help !  *grin*

***Quick story: We have no front porch right now.  We have no driveway.  Our front door is currently about 5 feet off the ground.  So I'm sitting on the couch, and I see a Fed Ex truck stop.  The driver looks at our house...checks his order...looks at our house...checks his husband is just chuckling.  Luckily I took action and opened the front door to wave to him!  Because if I hadn't....I might never have gotten this fudge.  And that would have been tragic.  The end.***

Fudge from Rae (Made by Rae)
Cookies and Cream White Fudge.  Yes, that's an Oreo cookie.

Monday, May 24, 2010

What We Ate

Quick run down of the eats around here.  Living proof that leftovers, pantry staples, and $20 worth of farmer's market veggies can go a long, delicious way.  Oh, and some blue cheese.

Monday was leftover redo night- rice and salmon from Sunday's dinner with my parents.  My sister walked me through the first part- the trick is to lightly cook a little garlic and ginger in hot oil before adding your veggies, meat, and rice (in order of longest cooking time to shortest.)  I threw in a fat bundle of pea vines for the veggie.

fried rice with salmon, asparagus, pea vines

Tuesday, I finally remembered to start dinner early enough to make Ernie's long requested and long awaited sushi.  (Spicy tuna salad, avocado, and steamed asparagus were the fillings tonight.)
sushi: avocado, spicy tuna with asparagus, spicy asparagus

Wednesday was hot and sour soup night.  (Chicken broth based, with bok choy and tofu- I changed the recipe up a bit.)  Wonder Daddy wasn't home.  One of those nights where I was left wondering "Why do I bother cooking?"  Then I ate my soup, and remembered: I really, really like good food.
My dinner:
Hot and Sour Soup

Mimi's Dinner:

Ernie's Dinner:
sushi bowl
Leftover sushi rice, ochazuke wakame furikake, and spicy tuna salad

Lots of bread this week.  Thursday I made a double batch of my cinnamon swirl bread- roll the bread dough out really flat, dump a bunch of brown sugar and cinnamon on, and roll up tight as you can.  This was  HUGE hit at the piano recital, especially with the dads.  At least, the dads were the only ones gutsy enough to run at me yelling "This is FANTASTIC!"  One was hungry enough to be giddy when I pointed to an entire extra loaf on the counter and told him to help himself when the plate was empty.  Awwww...I love feeding people :)

Tried out a new kind of swirled loaf, on a whim.  FLIPPIN' FANTASTIC.  Stupid delicious out of the oven, and still addicting even when it was cold.  Wheat dough + blue cheese + sliced almonds.  Just try it, you'll love it.

blue cheese-almond swirl wheat loaf

(The sun has officially left for the week- look how gray this picture is!!)

Friday was scrambled eggs with garlic chives, and stir-fried pea vines.  (I won't be getting pea vines again- no one else in this house would eat them.)  Girls wouldn't eat the eggs, and when I set leftovers out with out breakfast on Saturday, they got left on the counter for hours while I went to a baby shower.  Hmmm.... my kids don't like scrambled eggs anymore, and I think....everyone is getting tired of my huge batches of greens from the market.  Kale all winter, now bok choy, garlic chives, asparagus...I totally understand- they have a strong taste, they're (mostly) leaves (Ernie has never willingly eaten a leaf in her life), they're new....but I think I have to press on anyway.  If we're going to have produce in our diets, and there's a cheap/plentiful/local option...I'm going to take the local option.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Little Diaper Bag

005, originally uploaded by MyrniePhotos.
This has been wrapped, delivered, AND opened, so it's safe to blog about now! My friend is 5 weeks away from adding a baby GIRL to her houseful of 3 boys- an occasion like this surely called for a baby shower, and I was glad to be invited :) I know that Maggie is not a "girly girl." If there's any pink in her house, it's probably an old tube of Maybelline mascara that she forgets to wear. (Love you Maggie! I'll bet my tube is older!!) She spent her teen years with a softball bat in her hand, far as I can tell.

Anywhoo, I thought brown and blue might be a good color choice for her family- I was glad she agreed with me :)

I made this different than I normally do- rather than making the back of the bag longer, so it could fold over the top, I used my machine's automatic button-sewer feature to put a button on the front, then used the same stitch and foot to sew an elastic loop on the back. This will hold a packet of wipes and a few diapers- perfect for throwing in the bottom of her bag, so she can fish it out with one hand while the other is holding the baby! Also perfect to send with Dad when it's HIS turn to change th diaper- yay!! :)

Go check out my post!

My second MMB  (Mormon Mommy Blogs) post is live today- hooray! :)


Thursday, May 20, 2010

CSN Stores

I was excited when CSN contacted me about doing a review on my blog- ran over to check out their lighting section first, because we've been day dreaming about replacing the teeny chandelier in our foyer ever since we moved in.  But oh, they have kids' actually got a little distracted.  There are over 200 "CSN" stores!

Doesn't this chandelier look like the one in Beauty and the Beast?  (I think we had an identical one when I was growing up- I LOVED that chandelier!)
Maxim Lighting - 7105PB - Early American Twenty Light Chandelier
Kenroy Home - 44305BS-LAVA - Medici 5 Light Chandelier with Lava Modelli

I love how different this one looks- kind of like a bird cage!

Kichler - 40001OLZ - Renwick Five Light Large Chandelier with Downlight in Oiled Bronze

OK, because I can't keep out of the toy sections, check these out!

Love this- it's like a perpetual puzzle!
Guidecraft Flower Match Garden Patch

These are just classic.  (And at $8, pretty well-priced too.)
Guidecraft Stack 'N Sort Barrels

What would you DO with this?  Or rather, what WOULDN'T you do with a Bilbo?
Bilibo Play Shell in Orange

OK, I think Mimi would flip over these blocks.
edushape Giant 32-Piece Toy Block Set

THIS.  Just look at this.  Pop one in, another ball pops could go for hours.  Literally, I think Ernie would pound these balls for hours.
Plan Toys Preschool Miracle Pounding

So tell me... what would YOU order to do a review on?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

What We Ate

So, my meal planning has gone by the way side.  But hey- let me show you what we ate this week?  It's better this way, right?  No maybe's...lots of pictures.... yeah, way better.

Sunday (Mother's Day)  I requested a shrimp boil, thinking it would be an easy Sunday dinner for Dad to cook. Dad?  I'm sorry you spent roughly 23 hours driving around town to different grocery stores, looking for obscure ingredients (like huge tins of Old Bay), and chatting up Costco shoppers trying to discover the perfect sausage.  It tasted really, really good- I think all shrimp boils should have jumbo prawns, Walla Walla sweet onions, chicken-apple sausage, and red potatoes.  Nom NOM.

Monday- Leftovers from Sunday.  Umm...I forgot to take a picture, until the end.  Will this do?
shrimp boil remains

Tuesday- Had leftover pinto beans from my parent's church party, so I kind of did a riff on this recipe, virado a paulista.  Her recipe calls for black beans, kale, cracklings, pork chops, sausage, and a fried egg.  So, pinto beans, potatoes, onions, prawns, sausage, and kale is pretty close, right?  This was pretty good!  Definitely recommend it.

Wednesday- Adapted this recipe to what we had- brought a huge pot of water to a boil and threw in a bundle of asparagus for a few minutes.  Pulled them out and started throwing in handfuls/chunks of butternut squash gnocchi I had stashed in the freezer.  (The gnocchi might have been this recipe.)   Browned a bit of butter in a sauce pan, then threw in olive oil, lemon juice, leeks sliced thin, and a bit of white balsamic vinegar.  The sauce went over the plate of asparagus, and the gnocchi.  OH BOY, amazing.  I love hot vinaigrette, so this was superb.  (If you like german potato salad, try this.)

butternut gnocchi and asparagus with brown butter and leek hot vinaigrette

Thursday- Daddy was out, it was leftover night.  I chose gnocchi, kids chose bread and cheese.  Different strokes for different folks.

Friday- The end of the leftovers.  Finally.

Saturday- It was a long day, the kids deserved pancakes.  I felt all "pioneer"- our water main was shut off, so I used "emergency storage" water.  We were out of milk, so I used powdered.  I even made a quadruple batch of mix, so we have our own "pancake mix" in the cupboard.  Booyah.

There you have it.  The easiest week of cooking EVER.  I cooked a batch of kale.....and boiled some stuff...and made a sauce.  And pancakes.

Oh, and snickerdoodle bars.  Not quite a success, they were awfully crunchy.  But when you don't have 45 minutes to roll cookie dough into balls, and watch a toddler and a preschooler finagle their way through dunking the balls in cinnamon-sugar...well, a 9x13 pyrex is your best friend.  Kids still loved them, anyways.  I used my regular snickerdoodle recipe, smashed it into a pan, and sprinkled liberally with cinnamon and sugar.
snickerdoodle bars

I made it to the farmer's market today, and came home with asparagus, garlic chives, bok choy, and 2 fat bundles of pea vines.  I have firm tofu, leeks, sweet onions, red potatoes, blue cheese, and a bit of sour cream that needs using up.  Why does that last list sound to patriotic?  red potatoes....white cheese....hmm.

(Market breakdown:
asparagus @ $2/lb.....$7
garlic chives.....$1
bok choy @ $2/bundle....$4
pea vines @ $2/bundle....$4
Total: $16)

Nikujaga is sounding really good for this week, with the potatoes and onions.  Sauteed greens are definitely on the top of the list.  Eggs with garlic chives, and maybe scramble in the sour cream before I cook.  Marinated tofu is sounding good, too.  I'll let you know what we come up with.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A New Wonder

We received some unexpected news this week- Wonder Daddy was let go (OK, fired) effective immediately.  (Hi, peeps from Wonder Daddy's old company!  We'll miss you, I know you're out there! :)  Thought I'd make a 'grateful' list.  Seems like one is overdue, don't you think?  Consider this as me, reminding myself, that what will come will come- there's no sense in worrying about it, because worry never changed anything.  We'll do every day as best we can, same as we always have, and try our hardest to prepare for what might come.  Same as we always have.  

Hopefully I'll take my own EXCELLENT advice! *grin*

1)  The sun is shining.  Boy howdy, the SUN.IS.SHINING.  After a dark winter, it's hard to top the joy of sunshine.

2)  Over the years I've had the chance to learn lots and lots and lots of skills.  (No, not nun-chuck skills, unfortunately.  Sorry, Wonder Daddy's side of the family!)  I've learned enough that my family can be largely self-sustaining, as far as goods and services are involved.  (We're going to play a game this summer, I told Ernie today: for the summer, we're going to see how often we can do something ourselves, instead of paying someone else to do it, or buying it.  For a girl who daily requests restaurant meals...hopefully this will cool the requests.  Nana and Grandpa J, she wants to know if you'll play with us when you come?  I responded that you were REALLY good at this game!)

From I Wonder Woman

3)  I have a exceptionally healthy family.  Other than a few sniffles, my family made it through cold and flu season unscathed.  This is remarkable considering....

4) My piano studio is the largest it's ever been, in 12 years of teaching.  I have 14 kids coming through each week, which means that, aside from the joy of teaching kids....

5) We will have a steady (albeit smaller) income while Wonder Daddy focuses full-time on building his new tax/business consulting practice.  

6)  I have two amazing, gorgeous, loving, brilliant (of course) daughters.

7)  I have a brilliant, hard-working, gorgeous husband.  'Nuff said.  The man completes me, it's true.

8)  Summer is coming, with garden produce, lower household bills, outdoor games, beach's going to be great!  And CHEAP!  (Before anybody asks- grow potatoes in garbage cans.  Good stuff.)

From I Wonder Woman

9)  OK, this one is silly, but my parents just found a darling vacation-getaway beach cottage on a tiny 9-mile-circumference island in the San Jauns.  I'm kind of sort of really jazzed to go visit them there!!

10)  Even though it's just a fledgling business, my husband DOES have work to do.  Even if that work consists right now mainly of finding MORE work, hey- tasks are tasks!  Idle hands are the devil's workshop, right?  (And...oh, perhaps we could find some tasks to do around the house, eh honey?)

So.  What are you grateful for on this Spring day?


Monday, May 10, 2010

Kids Made This: Fingerprint Pendants

I found a neat-o tutorial on Crafty Crow, just in time for Mother's Day last week- little balls of sculpting clay are rolled flat then imprinted with your darlings' fingerprints. Poke holes in the top, bake, and there you have it! She strung hers on bits of fancy silk cord, but I tried my hand at the popular "dog tags with a pretty bead" style that's making the rounds right now. (See Vintage Pearl for some great examples.)

I couldn't remember what the instructions said when I was at the craft store, so I got Fimo clay- it's a little stiffer, but has nicer colors.  Sculpey would have been easier on the kids' fingers, because it's a tad softer.  The prints themselves might have shown up a bit better, too.  I still like these a lot, though...and maybe it's safer to not send exact replicas of my kids' fingerprints out into the world?  Can't help it- I'm paranoid, it's true.

I kept the orange one for myself- the gold bead set went to Nana, the red bead (the last one above) went to Grandma S (my mom.)  Happily, they were well received- my mom put hers on straight away and said it was like continuing the legacy!  For as long I can remember, she's worn a bracelet set and a necklace that Aunt LoLo and I made in school about 20 years ago now.  Hmm...I didn't see them yesterday, perhaps she's decided we're finally old enough that she can stop wearing our grade school art?  Or maybe they simply composted away in her jewelry box, they were made of white bread and glue smashed together into clay, with tempura paint for color...oh well, she has a shiny new Mother's Day necklace now, and a little birdy told me that Aunt LoLo sent a pretty spiffy gift too!  Mwahaha- our mother will be wearing our handmade creations every Mother's Day for the rest of her life.  And I think she likes it that way *grin*   You have to know this about my mom- she ADORES children's art.  She still has projects, like dolls and weavings, on the wall that my college-graduate brother made in grade school.  She'll keep a drawing on the fridge until the color has completely faded away.

Now, the only problem with this gift is that Ernie is convinced that SHE made it, and wants to know what I gave my mom for Mother's Day?

Hope everyone had a great Mother's Day!
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Friday, May 7, 2010

Thursday, May 6, 2010

This Week's Meals

Totally missed the boat on Meal Planning Monday- I forgot to ever plan anything!

But, we've had some good (and bad) stuff this week.  Here it is!

Our treat for the week was snickerdoodles.  I love snickerdoodles.  (I see I haven't posted our recipe- I'll try and fix that soon.  They're awesome.)

Made bread to replace Tuesdays doughy batch.  Forgot the oven was at 400 for the snickerdoodles- they're a bit dark!  Still haven't re-found my baking mojo.

Monday's dinner was eaten at the Costco food court, until Mimi spilled her lemonade, my purse fell off my lap into the puddle when I stood up, and I yelled ENOUGH! and shoved everyone's food into my (soggy) purse.  We bought 4 pounds of strawberries, along with flour, sugar, rice, bullion, milk, butter, pajamas, brown sugar, and powdered sugar.  We ate about half of the strawberries when we got home, along with the remainders of everyone's hot dogs.  It was an interesting night.

Tuesday was peanut butter and bread, with a little tuna salad thrown in for the lucky (quick) ones.  Remember, that was a rough day too.

Wednesday was a lot better.  Fresh biscuits, pan grilled asparagus from the market, and scrambled duck eggs with garlic chives.  Yum.
asparagus, biscuit, scrambled egg

After dinner, my brother-in-law, parents, and 2 siblings came over for strawberry shortcake, with the rest of the biscuits, and fresh whipped cream.  It was very, very good, but no pictures.  Sad. just lunch.  But it's in a muffin tin!  Why is it in a muffin tin, Mom?  Are we pretending the muffin tin is a plate?  My daughter is so literal sometimes- whimsy is lost on her :)
muffin tin lunch

Mmmm....THIS is good stuff.  The last bits of my yogurt are always soupy- the longer yogurt sits, the more it separates.  (Ok, that link takes you to how I used to make yogurt.  It's changed and I need to update!  Way easier now.)  I try and pour off the whey, for Mimi's sake, as we go along but at the end of the batch it's nothing but soup.  I threw it in a colander lined with a paper towel and let it strain for an hour or two, then twisted up the towel and squeezed out as much liquid as I could.  I ended up with something similar to cream cheese- slightly sweet, vanilla, a little tangy.  Good stuff!
vanilla yogurt cheese

The vanilla yogurt cheese was especially good on french toast (when life gives you dark loaves and lots of eggs, make french toast!)  I smeared last summer's figs over the top and enjoyed this a lot.  So did Mimi, but she mostly licked off the yogurt cheese, shoved fistfuls of figs in her mouth, and then grinned happily.  It wasn't a pretty sight...but it was a beautiful thing.  You know?  (Figs are a family specialty- Grandma used to bring home pints of them from Alabama when she visited her sisters, and I tried a few recipes last summer with Mom's bumper crop of backyard figs.  This batch we're eating tonight turned out the best.)
french toast with yogurt cheese and figs

I still have some asparagus, leeks, and kale to work through from last Saturday's market.  I think the kale will become a smoothie for Saturday morning.  Bwahaha, the kids will never know!  Hubby is home late again Friday night (he was late on the french toast night, too.  No-Dad nights are breakfast nights!)  So I'm not sure what we'll have Friday night.  Might just go crazy and make pancakes.  Do you have any favorite ways to use asparagus?  I can't eat a whole bundle by myself!  (Umm...Dad, if you're reading this...I have some asparagus for you :)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Keeping Humble

So, some days I just have to laugh.

First I did this:

(The top popped off, the bottom stuck, and out came a "mini me" of my loaf, totally un-cooked.)

Then I did this:

Joy School was cancelled due to illness, I was days late sending out invoices, we ate bread and peanut butter for dinner, and the girls polished off the four pounds of strawberries we bought last night.  Wowzers.

Let's hear it for a NEW DAY tomorrow!

Update: I'm still laughing and shaking my head at my kitchen follies today, and wondering what in the world happened to the rest of my day, but Rachel at One Pretty Thing linked to my star tutorial today (yay!)  If you don't subscribe to her, head over to give her some comment love, and DO subscribe, she finds the most amazing projects to share!  My sis-in-law sent me the sweetest note out of the blue tonight, and Aunt LoLo cheered me up.  Life is wonderful :)

Monday, May 3, 2010

I Made This: Impromptu in C Major

I think desperate times are when you're looking for your lifeline, and good times are when you know where your lifeline is and are holding onto it as tight as you can.  Music has always been one of my constants.

Last week I started getting an itch in my fingers, and sat down at the piano to see what would happen.  At first, it wasn't much.  Maybe a measure or two, and I'd give up and walk away in disgust...then come back a little later and tentatively try again...and again...

It's still not much.  Not really.  But the feeling of creating music is so addicting.  It's never the same song twice, and I never know what's going to happen when I sit down- one note leads to the next, one chord bleeds to another, and suddenly it's happening.  

I've NEVER made music before.  I cheated in piano lessons- when the book gave me half a song, and I was supposed to write the other half....I'd just copy the first half, backwards.  Tricky, no?  As long as it ended with a V7 chord, followed by a was good.  I grew up listening to my mom sit down and play whatever flowed through her fingers, and I'm so grateful for that: to know that creating IS possible, it's not reserved for the elite and "other" people.  (And Mom?  I wish I could come sit in your primary, and listen to you play prelude every week!)  

A month or two ago I dreamed the first lines of a song- lyrics AND melody.  I've written it down, and tried SO hard to take it farther. Of course, with all that trying I failed miserably.  I'm hoping that someday I'll be able to go back to that song and learn where it leads.  It was so concrete in my dream, I keep looking around to see if it's something that already exists too.  I'll keep recording little snippets of my music, and perhaps something memorable will come out and need to be written down.  But for now, I'll just enjoy creating.

Whew.  That was all kind of heavy, wasn't it?  I was thinking hard about this stuff on my run tonight...I totally missed the turn for MY STREET.  Kind of embarrassing to turn around, you know?  One good thing about running at night is there aren't TOO many people to see me puffing around the neighborhood...and missing my streets...

Oh and...yes.  I taped this in a stolen moment while the girls were brushing their teeth.  And they finished, as you will plainly hear :)

Also, this is the first time, really anyone but my girls (and Wonder Daddy, just yesterday) has heard my music.   He heard me messing around and was surprised I'd managed to memorize a piece that he'd never heard before.  So I guess it SOUNDS like "real" music :D

Enjoy!  (Check out my "music" tab for other videos, if you're looking for more.)

You Can Make This: Paper Star Tutorial

paper stars
I found an old stash of "star paper" a friend gave me....oh, a long time ago., we were in, like 7th grade, you know?


Anywho, on the off chance that someone out there didn't go through middle school making a bajillion of these out of the tear-off edges of the printer paper from the staff lounge, here's a tutorial!

You'll need a strip of paper- it needs to be perfectly straight on the sides.  Length isn't too critical- 8 to 12 inches is fine, but should be about a centimeter across.  The thicker it is, the longer your piece of paper will need to be.  (I wonder what this would look like made out of butcher paper?  Would it be stiff enough?  Moving on....)

On one end of the piece of paper, tie an overhand knot and careful scootch the knot together so that the paper just fits in the holes.
Like so.
paper stars

To take care of the short tail, either cut it, tear it, or fold it back.  I like to fold it back.
paper stars

Now take the long tail and start wrapping it firmly around the pentagon you've made, from one side to another, straight across.  Make sure the paper covers the edge it comes from, so your shape stays true.
paper stars

Keep wrapping and wrapping until you run out of paper.
paper stars

Tuck the end of your strip underneath the last complete pass of the paper.  If part stick out the other side, tear or cut it off.
paper stars

Now grab one corner and pinch to a point.
paper stars

Hold onto the point you just made with one hand, and with the other pinch the opposite side into a point.  Continue around, holding on with both hands to keep it symmetrical.

paper stars

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Cherry Pie, Gardens, and Lots and Lots of Shirts

First off, I promised you the cherry pie recipe- check it out here.

Second off, if you're looking for a current garden update/tell-all...check it out here.

(Why yes, I DID just get my act together and unload a card full of pictures onto my computer.  Why do you ask?)

I've been keeping busy with the fabulous Rae's "Spring Top Week" entry month...judging starts on Monday, of the top 50...tops *grin* as chosen by the panel of 10 judges.  The shirts were checked for complete information, entered into a spreadsheet.  Batch of 10 were sent out to TWO judges to be scored (that was my part.)  There were 368 shirts to judge this year (as contrasted to last year's 100).  Holy hippo, that's a lot of shirts.  A lot of amazing talent.  (And, frankly, a lot of the same poses.  There just aren't that many ways to show off a shirt in a photo, you know? :)  But you'll be happy to know that the judging pool is closed, all scores are in AND final, and the judges have even nominated their own special favorites for a "Judge's Favorite" award.  Good luck to all of you who entered the contest!!

While Ernie attended a long-awaited "Daddy Daughter Breakfast" with her preschool friends and the unrivaled-in-awesomeness Wonder Daddy, Mimi and I spent the morning cruising the farmers market, visiting the library, and cruising around town with our bad selves.  Of course, I mean that literally- the poor girl got a cold yesterday, and can hardly sleep.  She's a little punchy right now.  She spent a good chunk of a car ride today yelling "pew-pew-pew....DIE!  DIE!!  DIE!!!"  I swear I didn't teach her that.  I'm sincerely hoping it's just a random collection of noises.  Because, really??

We trawled the market, with her on my shoulders, and me passing a wad of cash to each vendor for them to pull out their share (while hanging onto just one of her ankles with my other hand.)  Want to see what we found?  (And yes.  That's the girls dancing together, while listening to Tickle Tune Typhoon, on a tape I listened to WHEN I WAS FOUR.  My life is all kinds of awesome.  And so is Tickle Tune Typhoon.  But really, I'm a little alarmed that there's a "concert calendar" on their site.)

Farmers Market Haul

If you want to follow along, that's:
Asparagus ($6, at $2.50 a pound)
Spinach ($3, $0.50 per bunch, it had hail damage.  It will still taste great!)
Garlic chives ($1, $0.50 each)
Red kale ($2 for a bunch)
Leeks ($3 a bunch)
Knit wash cloths ($2, at $0.50 cents each.  I KNOW!  I've been buying these for 3 summers now from a fellow that makes natural stone jewelry- his friend in Canada knits them and sends them down for him to sell.)