Friday, April 12, 2013

baby gifts

[Image 4502 in which I perch precariously on the piano bench
in an attempt to get a good quilt photo.]

This week I had the enjoyable task
of making, packaging, and mailing baby gifts
to two different families of friends who are both
eagerly awaiting the arrival of Baby #3.

First I finished this scrappy flannel quilt
featuring all sorts of critters: frogs, bugs, and lizards.
(I already had the quilt top sewn together, so it was a quick finish.)

I also decided to embellish a coordinating pale green onesie
by using fabric paint to free-hand little bugs
that almost perfectly mimic the bugs in one of the prints in the quilt.
I'm pretty tickled with how it turned out.

The second gift began with a simple, two-sided flannel blanket
made with pretty pastel purple and green fabrics.

To round out the gift, I added a coordinating bib and hat
from my collections of already-made bibs and hats.

I love being able to celebrate new little arrivals!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

recipe reviews

It's been ages since I've done any recipe reviews!
I feel rusty.

The recipe: Lemon-Zucchini Loaf with Lemon Glaze. I saw this recipe on Pinterest and decided that it would be the perfect way to use some of the zucchini and lemons from our Bountiful Basket.
The mods: (Because I can never seem to just make the recipe likes it's written). I peeled my zucchini (I was making it for Little Man's preschool class and didn't want any of the kids to freak out about the green flecks in their "cupcakes."). I also used plain yogurt instead of buttermilk and tripled the recipe. (I had a lot of zucchini!)
My impression: I ate more than half a loaf all by myself. Do I need to say anymore? : )  You should try it. Really. However, I do recommend sticking to the loaf version instead of trying to make muffins. The bread was moist with a texture reminiscent of pound cake, while the muffins were just crumbly.

The recipe: Alfajores are apparently a South American treat. Having lived in Brazil, I'm pretty much crazy about anything that contains Sweetened Condensed Milk. (I love that intensely sweet, subtly complex, smooth flavor gliding over my tongue. Sometimes I just eat it with a spoon. True story.)
The mods: I used a can of Dulce de Leche that I bought at the store instead of making my own. Why complicate things? I also used brown sugar instead of the sanding sugar and halved the recipe.
My impression: Um. Wow. I'm definitely making these again. And I definitely need to do a better job sharing when I do. These are the most-nearly-perfect cookies I have tasted in a loooooong time.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

itty bitty fingerless gloves

After seeing how delighted Sweet Pea was
I decided to make a tiny pair for her.

I just sort of winged the pattern
using all of the fingerless-glove-making-knowledge
that I've gathered over the last few months.

Thankfully they fit her perfectly!

Definitely the cutest thing I've made in a long time.

The best part?
She loves wearing them
just as much as I like seeing her wear them.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

art journal

Here's some more art journal fun from a couple of weeks ago.
Inspired by this post, I decided to try making prints
using our styrofoam take out boxes.
A somewhat moody post
inspired by my recent contemplations on how life
is often a complexly beautiful mix
of joy and pain.
I used acrylic paint for the print
and my beloved gel pens to fill in some color.
(When making prints like this, you have to write backwards,
which is tricky. Especially when you're already dyslexic.) : )

This lighthearted number has hidden meaning.
The background includes one of my failed "joy and pain" prints.
True praise springs from both.
This piece is epicly mixed media (for me, at least):
I used acrylic paints, colored pencils, watercolors, and gel pens.

"The grass is always greener..."
Made with styrofoam stamps, watercolors, acrylic paints, and ink.
(I love the texture that the acrylic paints add.)

made with acrylic paints and styrofoam stamps.
(I got all of my letters the right way this time!)

Abstract styrofoam stamp by Brother
in "the color of peanut butter."
(I liked the his stamp so much that I added some more color
and used it for the background of my "Brown" page.
Recognize it?)

Little Man's styrofoam stamp: A Spider Web.

Little Man's "Circle Sun Colorful" made with gel pens.

Brother's abstract art also made with gel pens.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Monday menu

Woah. Writing one of these is like a blast from the past. It's been so long since I've done a structured menu plan. I think I mentioned already that I feel like I'm finally coming out of the pregnancy haze, and I think I may be getting into the rhythm of having four little ones.

Part of what threw me off in the first place was starting to get Bountiful Baskets. Now, Bountiful Baskets are fantastic; however, not knowing what vegetables I would have to work with until Saturday evening forced me to change which days I did my planning and shopping. Also, I've had to adjust to planning meals around the vegetables instead of around the meat or carbohydrate I was serving. It's been a very healthy change. But it's been just that: A Change. And since I'm a creature of habit (who was battling morning sickness at the time), I just gave up.

All of that rambling to say that I've changed my shopping day and my method of figuring what out to cook, and I'm ready to change my neglect of menu planning too. Without further ado, here's what I'm planning for this week.

M-stir fry over rice (I'll cook extra rice to be used through the rest of the week.)
T-Pasta with pesto and salad on the side
W-Chickpea casserole and leftover salad
Th-Vegetarian chili and hopefully fresh rolls
F-Ratatouille's Ratatouille (This is a new one for me.)
S-Black Bean and Brown Rice Cakes (another new one) and roasted veggies

What's cooking at your place this week? Do you have any ideas for using massive amounts of celery?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

three months

My Baby Boy is already three months old!

Right now he...

mama milk on demand

in his crib at night
only wakes up once or twice most nights
in his swing or crib for naps
for long stretches in the car when we go on trips
with his hands clasped together
or holding tightly to a blanket

snorts (a lot) and fusses when upset
"talks" in his crib for 15-20 minutes every morning before wanting to eat
grunts when trying to accomplish something new
sometimes hums along with the music

is trying to scoot during tummy time
(really, it's more like launching himself onto his nose--so frustrating)
tries to stand when I prop him in the corner of the couch
belly laughs when tickled or having his feet "clapped" together
has began awkwardly grasping objects he has focused on
(usually my face or the couch pillows)
sits in the Bumbo seat for a few minutes
has suddenly started drooling and spitting up a lot
makes eye contact, reaches up, and arches his back
when he wants to be picked up

being picked up
eye contact
being tickled
listening to music
bath time
studying objects with lots of light and dark contrast
being the center of attention

not being picked up when he wants to be
having a wet diaper or soggy clothes
being left in tummy time too long
not being able to stand up
falling off the couch due to trying to stand
Sweet Pea sitting on him
(Yes, both happened. Yes, I was mortified.
And yes, we all survived.)

Monday, April 1, 2013

new fingerless gloves

As of very recently, we have a yarn shop in town!
In a town of 5,000 or so, this is a big deal.
(We also have two grocery stores now.
Woohoo! Things are hoppin' around here!)
Anyway.  I digress.

It is so nice to be able to go to a physical store,
to feast my eyes and fingers on the pretty yarns' colors and textures
and to chat with the ladies who gather there to knit and socialize.
(They all seem to think that I'm a sweet, adorable young thing
and are all excited that I value things like knitting.)

Even though the prices were somewhat higher at our new yarn store
than they might be in a bigger city,
I picked up a skein of pretty variegated yarn
to feed my fingerless glove addiction.

This time I wanted a simple pattern
that would really showcase my pretty yarn,
so I chose the Good Time Fingerless Mitts pattern.
It was a good choice.
The pattern was well written,
and the proportions are just perfect for my hands.
I love my new fingerless gloves.

And Sweet Pea does too. : )