Friday, November 25, 2011

Broadcast Bloggers Deal of the Day

Alright folks, Black Friday shopping is here!  If you're looking for some pretty little things, here are some great deals.  Some of these are even free shipping, but those offers end tonight!  (Full disclosure- I would receive a portion of any sales through these links.  Over and out.)

Baby Signs DVDs

Elle Decor Magazine

Owl Pocket Watch Necklace

Leopard Print Hard Case for IPhone

Subscription to American Girl Magazine

Eiffel Tower Pocket Watch Necklace

Pandora's Box Necklace

Freshwater Pearl Earrings

GameBoy Style IPhone 4 Case

Mini Car Charger Adaptor for IPhone 3G, 3GS, and 4G

White Silicone Band Watch

Saturday, November 19, 2011

November 19th

I don't expect great things today- it's nearly lunch time, I'm in bed with crunchy cereal, tissues, and marmalade toast, and I'm only getting up to feed the baby. I'll have to do something outside of this room eventually, but for now I'm playing nursemaid to myself, because I can!

Wonder Daddy is marching the kids through their chores today (mwah!!), and they'll spend the rest of the morning present shopping. I'm supposed to go Zumba this afternoon, and my friend's birthday party is downtown tonight. It's happening 8 pm till 2 am....just a titch past my bedtime, eh? We shall see, I'm thinking I'm not partying today!


Friday, November 18, 2011

November 18th: My Next Project


Meet Anna.  She came to visit me about a week ago, for a little photo shoot.

Anna lives in a hospital in the city- she's a big helper in the sibling classes, helping the kiddos get ready for their mom to have a baby.


Anna needs to clone herself, so she can ALSO be at the hospital clinic in our little town.  My friend teaches these sibling classes, and offered me the chance to make a Mama doll for them.  Since dolls are something I love to make, I have some extra help around the house right now, and the holidays are always a great time to take in a little extra cash job here and there...sure!  Everything will be pretty straight-forward- she's a four-foot rag doll, with pretty yarn hair and a pretty little face.  I get total license as to how she's made and what she looks like, since she'll never be in the same building as Anna!  Under the gown, she has a little rag doll body, but there's an upside down pocket on her tummy to tuck a little baby in.  Think kangaroo pouch, but facing down.

We went to the store tonight to get supplies- I have tracings from Anna, and everything I need to get started!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pocket Watch Necklace (Broadcast Bloggers Deal of the Day)

I adore this necklace so much, and for $9.99 with free shipping?  DO IT.  Details are below, but I think this would make a perfect gift for grandma, mother-in-law, friends, or anyone that likes vintage jewelry!  Any steam punk loving friends??  They need this too!

Deal can be purchased here.

Product Details:

Bronze color, retro style, round case
12 Arabic number hour markers
Precise quartz movement for accurate time keeping, one button for time setting
Normal water resistant, NOT for showering or swimming
Case back is engraved with flowers carvings
Watch cover is made of thick mineral crystal glass
Battery is loaded
Material: Alloy

Color: bronze color
Watch size: (D x T) 4.7 x 1.4cm
Screen: 36mm in diameter
Necklace length: 39cm

*Deal ends on Wednesday, 11/23/11 at 11:59pm MST (while supplies last)
*Orders open to US mailing addresses only
*Due to the holidays approaching please allow up to 3 weeks for delivery.

November 17th (Tomato Jam)

I'm sad I can't smell a darn thing today, because I've been told my kitchen smells AWESOME.

This tomato jam is simmering on the stove- lime juice, tomatoes, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and chili flakes?  For sure.

Clementines and limes are soaking for tomorrow's marmalade canning session.  Doesn't clementine and lime marmalade sound amazing?  I hope so- I'm making it up, and can't smell.  Hmm.

Yesterday I went through the salsa, so today I'm going through last year's marmalade- it seized up when I added some last minute sugar, but a big spoonful stirred into hot water?  Fantastic!  Cold and flu season is not for sissies...unfortunately, I'm a sissy :)

I still need to make a pie today- I invited a friend for dinner, and then had to bail at the last minute, something came up for tonight.  Did she want to have dinner with me after the kids go to bed?  Because I won't say no to eating a meal with an that won't pitch a fit over who gets the pink cup, or whether the sauce touched her noodles, and can I please cut everything??  She's bringing the salad, I'm making dinner...and there must be pie.  On girls night, there MUST be pie.  I think I'm going to give a pumpkin mousse pie a dry run- it's on the docket for Thanksgiving, but I've never made it before.  But, I haven't roasted my pumpkins yet.  So it will probably be apple cranberry...because I have 45 pounds of apples...

(Watch for another post today- I have a deal on a steam-punky pocket watch necklace that I LOVE.  Sigh.)

What I made today?  Tomato jam.  Lots of marmalade.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

November 16th

One of the perks of having Wonder Daddy at home this week is that when the kids take their naps, I can LEAVE.  Like, by myself.  It's kind of beautiful.

Yesterday I abandoned my cooling milk to the yogurt-making-ministrations of my husband and took a long walk. We had a surprise gorgeous day- not too cold, bright sun, and gorgeous leaves.  I walked past a chipper truck...and backed up to ask the man running it if he had any plans for those wood chips?  No?  Well then, here's my address!  3 hours later we had about 7 yards of (free) bark mulch in our driveway.  AWESOME SAUCE.

It was too late in the day to get a start on it, but this morning Wonder Daddy and I went at it, gonzo style.  Aunt LoLo invited my three kiddos to a playdate at the church.  I've been pregnant or holding a baby for so long, it was really nice to get out and use MY muscles in a yard project, instead of just directing traffic.  We made a good dent before I had to pick up the kids, and he finished up all but the very last bit by himself.  Wonder Daddy!!  Maybe 15 more wheelbarrow loads tomorrow, and we will be golden.  Love it.

In other news, I have a head cold.  I'm currently medicating it with Tylenol, and copious quantities of salsa.  I'll let you know how that works out!

Made today: New mulched pathways.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

November 15th


Life is about to get more interesting: My son has developed a super power.  He has super suction.

He can't crawl, and only waggles like a beetle if he falls over.  He can roll onto his belly, but then wails for rescue.  Yet, anything within three feet of him ends up in his lap!  His massive thighs splayed on the carpet, he uses them as ballast to bend and stretch, and then bounce back to an upright position with his prize in his grasp. (His sister really needs to learn to put away her school books, he's tried to destroy them three times today!)


Mimi's fancy hair-do last week- I was rather proud of myself for fitting every pink clip we own, onto her tiny head!

In other news, I have four loaves of bread cooling on the counter, half a gallon of milk cooling for yogurt, two kids in bed, and it's sunny outside.  The kitchen is clean, school is done for the day, and my husband is at home today.  We have friends coming for dinner tonight, and my friend is coming for a jewelry night on Thursday.  Friday I get to SEE MY HUSBAND for hours at a time, without the big kids...and life is just looking up.

So, I'm going to go ahead and make this my post for the day.  What have I made to be creative today?  Bread and yogurt.  And now I'll go enjoy it.



Monday, November 14, 2011

November 14th (Recipe: Browned Butter-Buttermilk Pie)

I'm back!  Honestly, I was kind of shattered, emotionally, after that reception.  Do you ever get that way after a big project finishes?

browned butter- buttermilk pie

Saturday was a driving day for me.  I can't remember the last time I drove that much in a day!

  • 8:30-10:00, receive produce at the co-op site, divide it into basket.  Go home and see my baby.
  • 10:30-11:30, take the girls to the library.  Go home and see my baby.
  • 1:00-2:00, use my two-day coupon at Michael's for loads more wire.  I cleaned them out, actually.  I took E with me.  Go home and see my baby.
The rest of the day was chores, and shooing Wonder Daddy out the door to his last dress rehearsal.  Oh yes, he's been a busy boy- rehearsals were once a week, and then twice a week, and this past week they had him Thursday, Friday, AND Saturday.  Plus a two-hour curtain call before the show on Sunday.

BUT.  His show, He Is Jesus Christ (a cantata with soloists, choir, narration, and FULL orchestra written by Rob Gardner) was Sunday evening.  It was amazing.  Eight years of marriage, and I've never seen my husband perform.  Do you know any performing artists?  If you've never seen them on a stage, you've never seen them.  

My husband really, REALLY doesn't like to dance.  When he was in high school, his dad got an electric guitar for Christmas- Wonder Daddy took it to his basement bedroom, and didn't come out for weeks, except to eat.  He lived and breathed guitars when he was in high school.  While everyone else was building gun racks and boxes in wood shop, he built a new electric guitar.  When everyone else was dancing at the church dances, he put together a band and performed the music!  (Remember?  Loathes dancing?)  

Wonder Daddy sang the part of Pilate, the Roman governor who gave the Jewish citizens permission to crucify Jesus.  He made me bawl like a baby- luckily for me, a show about the Savior, in a church building, makes a lot of people bawl like a baby.  I didn't stand out too much :)  I was so very, very proud of him.  And so very tired from everything that's going on.  And so wrapped up in the message of the show.  And so happy for him to have this chance.  And so sad I wasn't on that stage.

That last part sounds ugly.  Yeah, I tried out.  Yeah, I didn't get one of the soloist parts.  (The ladies who DID get them were phenomenal!)  But.... you know, I feel the same way at most concerts.  Is that bad?  That I can be at a Johnny Lang, or a Trans-Siberian-Orchestra, or a Farm Aid concert...and think "Hey!  I wish I could be on that stage with them!"  I absolutely knew going in that I wouldn't have time to join the choir- they've been having nigh rehearsals since September, and that wasn't going to happen with a busy husband, and three small kids who need to get to bed on time.  I'm pretty sure, now, that I wouldn't have been able to do a solo part either without a looot of difficulty, and a lot of stress on my  kids.  I'll have time later.  I think.

browned butter- buttermilk pie 

Anywho.   I really came here today to talk about pie.  You need this pie, but if you eat this nothing else.  With three eggs, 2 egg yolks, and 3/4 of a stick of butter, there's no messing around here!  BUT (and this is a big but.  Ahem.) You need this pie.

 I cook a lot.  A lot, a lot.  And this is the best thing to come out of my kitchen in a long time!  Crispy pie crust.  Soft custard.  Nutmeg that floats to the top.  Add this to your Thanksgiving line up, folks.

(If you don't subscribe to Martha's "Everyday Food" magazine, PLEASE do.  It's that good.)

browned butter- buttermilk pie

Brown-Sugar buttermilk pie
from Everyday Food originally, in my own words

3 Tbsp flour
3 large egg eggs, plus two more large yolks, beaten
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
6 Tbsp unsalted butter

  1. Press your favorite single-crust pie crust into a glass pan, and bake at 425 for about 10 minutes.
  2. Put 6 tablespoons of butter in a small sauce pan on the stove, over medium heat, for 8-10 minutes and let it melt and cook.  It's going to froth up, and it's going to turn brown.  Swirl the pan occasionally, especially towards the end.  When the froth subsides, and it's nut-brown, it's done!
  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, eggs, and brown sugar until smooth.  Whisk in buttermilk, nutmeg, and cinnamon until combined.  This pie, with such small amounts of spices, is already heavily spiced.  I wouldn't recommend increasing them at all.
  4. When the butter is done, immediately whisk it into the buttermilk mixture.  It will foam up dramatically, be prepared!  Pour mixture into baked pie shell, and bake at 425 for 25-35 minutes, until the custard is set but still jiggly.  This will continue to cook a bit as it cools.
  5. Let cool completely, 2 hours, before serving.  Can be refrigerated up to 3 days.
(If you use this pie crust recipe, you won't be sorry!  It mixes together with a fork, IN THE PIE PLATE.  Then you just smash it out with your finger tips.  No rising, either, so it's perfect for this.  My  mom has always, as long as I've known her, left her pie crust behind when she eats pie.  It's just wasted calories, when she could be eating more filling! She ate this crust, and relished it :)  

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Wedding Reception

SO, I catered my first wedding reception tonight- I was in charge of planning and buying the food, and getting it all set up.  The wonderful bride found volunteers to run the kitchen during the reception, and more to do the chopping before hand for the cheese and produce, and she came herself the night before to set up the buffet to look all pretty and fancy.  I just had to fill in the platters, make sure everyone knew where stuff was, and that was it!  Since there were so many hands, I had time to do a few extra things, like sugared cranberries and oven-dried tomatoes.  (My wonderful sister baked the bread for us, 8 loaves!  My brain goes haywire if I try and do more than 4 loaves at a time.)


Sugared cranberries- cranberries soaked in a hot simple syrup, drained, and tossed with sugar.
sugared cranberries

sugared cranberries


Funny story about brie.  The bride apparently REALLY loves brie, and wanted it at the reception.  I couldn't figure out how to have volunteers toting hot brie from the oven all night, with a reception held IN the kitchen.  The bride actually had no idea that brie should be served warm.  So, we scrapped the brie idea, but I needed a few more pounds of cheese when I was a the store and grabbed just one brie.  We'd serve it room-temperature, there would just be one, the bride would be happy, no biggie.  So almost everything was set up tonight, and a girl walks in with SIX brie cheeses, and maybe seven loaves of bread.  (I had 8 loaves of french bread already.)  I guess the bride REALLY wanted brie, she called this girl in at the last minute!  We had a lot of brie.  (And yes- that girl stayed all night, toting brie cheese from the oven to the buffet.)

Oven dried tomatoes.

oven-dried tomatoes

So, I found a case of tomatoes for $13.  My oven was running from Saturday to Friday morning, drying sheet after sheet.  Did you know that a case of tomatoes, once dried, fills half a gallon-sized bag?  True story.

Swiss cheese

Butter and Olive Oil whip, for the french bread

butter-olive oil whip

(Sorry, that pictures blurry!)

Vegetable tray- broccoli, carrots, baby bell peppers, sliced zucchini, and white button mushrooms.  That tray was ENORMOUS.  Like, over two feet long.  Very, very cool.

vegetable tray

Orange slices with pomegranate seeds, drizzled with cranberry syrup

citrus with pomegranate and cranberry syrup

Cheddar, pepperjack, and dill havarti cheese

cheddar, pepperjack, and dill havarti

The set up.  Those ladies did a great job making this look nice, and the home was gorgeous!

(Please note the CLEAR PLASTIC PLATES.  Having those was SO important to the bride, we had to order them from Amazon and pay $20 shipping!  The look beautiful on the buffet.)

Hot cocoa bar
hot cocoa bar

We had milk chocolate and french vanilla Stephen's cocoa, plus hazelnut creamer, half and half, whipped cream, crushed starlight mints, andes mints, chocolate sauce, pumpkin spice syrup, and vanilla syrup.  This was a big hit tonight!

Simple lemon water.  This monster held about 4 gallons- I wish I had cupboard space to store something like this, it makes parties so much easier!   (This belonged to the hostess.)

We had a "little" pantry to work in.
prep area

I was pretty nervous when I found out that the buffet would be in the kitchen- all the prep work and supplies needed to refresh trays, etc. are NOT pretty and are NOT calm.  This little room was off to the side and worked really well.

Which is good, because I brought a lot of food!
prep area

Oh, and I didn't take pictures of the meatballs- just simple meatballs in marina sauce, easy as pie.

I am so glad this day is over!

But, you know...getting feedback is nice, too.  Someone said recently "No one cares how well you changed that diaper."  In the work force, and in public settings, there's always feed back.   You do a good job, people notice.  If you go the extra mile, people notice.  At home, with the kids??  No, not so much.  I would never trade what I do, but every once in a while it's so nice to put effort into something and listen to others admire it.  To dress up, and be told I look extra nice.  

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Getting Ready for Naps

Blurry, but that's life










post sister kiss

These monkeys.  Sigh.  Good thing they're so cute, right?  I dragged them all over creation today.

  • 8:00-10:30 "Please go get dressed so we can go."  Yeah, it took that long.  I finally went and put Cocoa in the car, and THAT convinced the girls to stop dancing around in their princess undies....
  • 10:30-12:30 Drive across town to the restaurant supply store, to get all the perishables for tomorrow's wedding reception.  I'm a nut job, I know, I know.  But...I kind of feel like I owe the universe at least one good wedding reception deal, after all the help we got with mine!  But yeah, mostly I'm a nut job.  (Wait till you see pictures of my NEXT project.)
  • 12:30-1:30 Drive across town to deliver everything that needs chopping, to the lady who organized volunteers to do the chopping.  And we chatted a little bit, because it turns out that she's the most darling, kind, wise, sane, calm lady I've met in a looong time.  I kind of wish we could be buds, but her youngest is my age, so maybe she'd feel a little weird about that?
  • Drive home for lunch- I forgot that I let the girls pick out a cookie each at the store, and they chose the 4-inch, pink frosted, sprinkle-bedecked behemoths of a sugar cookie.  (I think these are a regional thing.)  Mimi took her bread and cheese, tore it into confetti, and then piled it high on her plate- she made a PIE.  Good grief.
  • Put Cocoa down for his nap, send Mimi to use the toilet, and put the girls in bed.
  • The girls are still shrieking and playing around.  Tuck them in again.
  • Go back one more time....and drag Mimi to the shower.  Poopy Princess Panties.  Gah.
I spent the rest of nap time cleaning the kitchen, getting some spreadsheets up to date, and hiding downstairs with Cocoa and my phone, gabbing with my sister and waiting for the girls to wake up.  As soon as Mimi woke up, an hour after Ernie, we all piled into the car to meet up with their cousins for Ernie's first Tae Kwan Do lesson at the Y- they're really great about letting kids "audit" the class once or twice to see if they like it.  Ernie LOOVED it, but I didn't love the time (5-6 pm.)  Cocoa, Mimi, and I spent the class time running to the new Asian market in town, Jing Jing, to get sterno and pomegranates for tomorrow's reception, and stock up on things like spring roll wrappers, air-dried whole grain ramen, persimmons....and panda cookies.  What's a trip to the asian market without a package of panda cookies?  (They're hollow and crispy, with a frosting filling inside, and a picture of a panda printed on the outside.)

We were happy to find out that Wonder Daddy had some time in between work and rehearsals for an upcoming show tonight, and got to have dinner with us!

And my day.  What did I make?  Umm...a pile of stuff for the reception.  A pile of laundry that needs to be washed.  A new friend.  

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Art Every Day Month, Day #9

Cocoa helped me make a new pendant- think I know just the person to send this to!

gold nest with pink beads

It's copper wire, like the others, but colored a bright gold.  The stone beads are a pale, translucent pink.  From the recommendation of my sister, I'm toying with a new way of finishing the nests- I attach a jump ring straight to the nest, without fooling around with a wrapped loop.  I think I like it!

gold nest with pink beads

This nest felt trickier than others I've been making- I couldn't find the way the wire wanted to be until about half way through.  It's always so nice when it just *clicks,* I need to remember to slow down and pay attention, instead of getting frustrated it won't do what *I* want it to do!

gold nest with pink beads

I'll be ordering more supplies soon, and I'm toying with the idea of getting a different kind of metal wire.  But honestly, I'm a little scared- I've never worked with anything but this gauge of copper wire!  The shininess of sterling silver wire is kind of alluring, but I LOVE the colors of the copper!