Thursday, October 27, 2011

Halloween Preview

And now, after HOURS upon HOURS of work, I would like to present to you a finished Rapunzel costume! Mistress is thrilled with it, and even though there were times that I had wished that I had gone into the Disney Store and plunked down my credit card, I am happy with the end result and Mistress is very excited to wear a special costume. Here are a few things that I learned along the way...

1. I now know why my mother cursed every time she had to sew on satin when I was a kid. That stuff is SLIPPERY!

2. You do not make a princess dress to save money or time. You make a princess dress because your daughter will love that Mommy took the time to do something special for her. Seriously, I probably would have saved about $10 to go to the Disney Store and buy a finished dress.

3. It is not a good idea to wait until the last minute on these things, otherwise you will end up lacing the bodice in the parking lot of the preschool.

4. Three year olds are easily swayed. If, for example, you don't have time to finish the long yellow yarn braid to go with the costume because the stupid pattern company was WAY off on their measurements and the first attempt was a miserable failure, your daughter will happily go off as "post haircut" Rapunzel for her preschool party. Those of you who have seen the movie know what I mean.

5. Every minute of work on the costume was worth it when your daughter walks around proudly proclaiming "My mommy made me this dress!" to anyone who will listen.

Check out the ribbon detail! SEVEN strips of ribbon on each sleeve, and I can't even tell you how many yards of the lace stuff. I do love the way the ribbon turned out though!
This was obviously post preschool party as the wrinkles will attest. When you are lacing the bodice in the parking lot, you do not have time for pictures before school. I see an iron and a little spot cleaning in my future before Halloween night!
Happy Halloween! Check back later to see the other finished costumes!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Where Have I Been?

In my sewing room, spending HOURS on this Rapunzel costume for Mistress. This thing has taken up a ridiculous amount of my time these days, and the time that hasn't been taken up with Rapunzel has been spent on housework and homework, volunteering and a whole mess of mending. I do promise that I will get back to bloggable crafting eventually, I also promise to share the finished Halloween costumes next week, after finishing this one AND a storm trooper. Or it could be a clone trooper, I can't keep them straight. They both wear white helmets. Can I give a shout out to my Buggy who decided to be Darth Vader after we found the costume at a yard sale? He's currently my favorite child...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sunday Dinner...Kid Style!

I know I know, it's Tuesday. Read my blog long enough and you'll find that I'm not always the most punctual person in the world, and sometimes there are more important things that come up in life, like a picnic at the park on a sunny afternoon with Mistress. But I digress...
DH has been away for the last five days, so I have obtained a whole new level of respect for single parents. I have also been trying out some new kid friendly recipes to keep the Monsters fed around here. Ya'll know that I LOVE Pinterest. Well I decided that I should probably do more than just pin the recipes and crafts, so I'm working my way through my boards. My goal is to try ALL of the recipes I have pinned (while limiting myself to one or two sweets a week so as not to become a very unhealthy individual) and do more cooking and crafting and less pinning. Oh who am I kidding, I'll continue to pin...

First off, Corn Dog Muffins. Rave reviews, the kids loved them, they re-heated well, and when paired with a glass of milk and some fresh grapes made for a fantastic Saturday dinner!
Second, Crispy Coconut Chicken Fingers. These had mixed reviews, Mistress tolerated them (although keep in mind that she's not really a meat kiddo...) Buggy wolfed them down, and the Professor methodically picked off all the breading and ate the chicken. From what I have been told the Y chromosome does tend to predisposition the male species to not like coconut, so that may have been my problem. I loved them though, so we'll chalk these into the 'keep' category, although for the boys in the family I may do two breadings and leave the coconut off half of them in the future.
Finally, Apple, Ham, and Cheese Dinner Cups. Mistress, Buggy, and I all LOVED these, they really were tasty and filling. Perfect for a light but satisfying dinner. I struck out with The Professor, he did not appreciate them as well as the others did. I will say though that he ate the entire thing without gagging to get his dessert so they couldn't have been that bad.
All in all, it was a good weekend for new recipes and we survived without Mr Southern Stitcher. I have put him on notice though that tomorrow is "me" time. :)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Cilantro Lime Garlic Chicken Tacos

Recently I've been participating in a local produce co-op service. It's a great way to get a ton of local fruits and veggies for a terrific price, and I'm finding that the items in the bag are nearly always things that we will eat and use, and if not it's a good way to try new things! Anyway, this past week I picked up my bag and got a huge bunch of fresh cilantro, a large baggie of garlic (and it was peeled!) and a half dozen limes. Immediately my mind went to Mexican cuisine, and so I just decided to throw a bunch of stuff together and see what happened. I combined three cloves of garlic, the equivalent of about 2 cups of cilantro leaves, the juice of one lime, and about 1/2 c. of canola oil. (Alas, I was out of olive...) I pureed them all together to make a thin pesto-ish type of stuff.
Poured the entire cup of it over some frozen chicken breasts in my slow cooker and let it cook for about 5 hours on high,
Then shredded it up and added fresh lettuce, tomatoes and onion (also from my produce bag,) a sprinkling of shredded cheddar and a smattering of sour cream in a soft shell taco and made up an amazing fresh dinner that ALL THREE of my kiddos ate with gusto. Looking forward to seeing what I get in my next bag!
(Oh, and with three of the other limes I made these for happy hour on Friday. Very light and refreshing!)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Purplicious Baby Shower

Purple is not a color I have much experience with. Every woman on my mom's side of the family hates the color, and therefore I never gave it much thought growing up. As luck would have it, Mistress LOVES purple and has picked it as her favorite, and I have begun to realize that I actually like it as well. (Sorry Mom!) So when a friend and I decided to throw a shower for a neighbor having a little girl, we decided to branch out past the traditional color for girl baby showers and go with a purple theme!

First off, the wine charms. I made these using scrapbook paper, a little ribbon, and several oval shaped punches. After printing off different baby themed words in purple on white card stock, I added layers of light purple card stock and dark purple polka dotted paper, and finished the whole thing off with purple ribbon. We served a non-alcoholic purple punch (really good) in martini glasses rimmed with purple sugar. Everyone knew which glass was theirs!
The purple sugared martini glasses...
A closer look at the glass tags...
On the left, the purple punch. We put the canisters on white cake pedestals so that it was easier to get the glasses under the spouts. On the right, ice water. We thought it would be really cute to float purple grapes in the water for some extra color. Just so ya'll know, grapes sink. Live and learn...
For some simple decorations, we made some purple and white pom poms to hang from the chandelier and a purple bunting to hang across the tops of the windows. The bunting was really easy and SO cute! Seriously, 20 minutes worth of time and about $3 worth of fabric and ribbon. I'm sure there will be bunting in my house somewhere soon. I'm thinking over Mistress's windows...
A closer view of the bunting...
When it came to food, we kept it simple. A fruit tray, a veggie tray with red pepper hummus, purple and white yogurt covered pretzels, nuts, and a cheese a cracker tray. Because you HAVE to have sweet at a shower though, my partner in crime made these amazing lemon blueberry cupcakes with purple frosting. YUMMO! I have no photographic documentation, but we also used purple receiving blankets in lieu of table cloths and let the mommy to be take them home for use when baby gets here.
We didn't do any games, just enjoyed chatting with each other. We did do one fun thing for the mommy to be though, everyone wrote her a note on a diaper (using a purple marker, of course) so that when she has those late night changes she'll know that we're thinking about her. Now we're just looking forward to meeting little Miss B in a few weeks!

Green Gift Wrapping

Here's the thing about wrapping paper: it's not all that environmentally friendly and to me it just wastes money. You buy the paper, wrap the gift, and throw it away. Gift bags are a bit better since they can be reused, but they can only be reused for another gift. My mother has taken to giving gifts in pretty reusable shopping totes which is a fantastic idea. I have also seen cookbooks wrapped in dishtowels, a stack of towels wrapped in ribbons, and the ever popular gift basket. When it comes to babies I think it's fun to wrap in receiving blankets!

This weekend a friend and I threw a small baby shower for a neighbor who is having her first in a few weeks. We decided that since she had already had a couple of baby showers that we would just do a stock up baby "sprinkle" to get her going with a stash of diapers, wipes, and other baby items that disappear quickly with a newborn. I started with a package of size 1 diapers, a receiving blanket, and a diaper pin.
Open the blanket up and put the package of diapers in the center. Tuck the bottom up, bring the sides, in, and pull the top down like an envelope, pinning the flap so that it looks like an envelope.
And with just a few minutes and very little effort, you have a cute little gift that won't go to a landfill!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Stashbusting September Voting!

I am thrilled to be one of the 10 finalists for Stashbusting September! If you get a chance, head on over here and vote for your favorite. I'd love it if my Market Skirt was your favorite but no pressure, there are some amazingly adorable and creative projects featured and I'm honored just to be one of the featured projects!

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars (And other things I haven't blogged about in the last week...)

It's been an insane week. DH just got back last night from a four day business meeting, so I've been by myself with all three kiddos all week. I'm pretty used to going it alone since his work hours are so insane, but it doesn't exactly allow for extra crafting time! Just in this week alone we have had dance classes, tumbling classes, volunteering in classrooms, special school events, and curriculum nights. Whew! It all makes for one tired momma, but I did get a few new recipes tried out so I thought I'd share!

First off the AMAZING: Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars. I can't really say anything bad about these other than the fact that they took a little while to mix up. (It's really four recipes in one.) The kids all loved them, I loved them, and they will definitely go in my "make it again" file. I LOVE fall desserts! (Well, any dessert really. I'm not picky!)
And then the "I'm not sure about this one" recipe: Crockpot Hawaiian BBQ Chicken. It was okay. The adults of the house liked it well enough, but the kiddos weren't thrilled with the spice level. (The sauce was pretty spicy, much more so than I was expecting.) The Professor and Bug ate it, but only to get dessert. Mistress turned her nose after one bite and got Daddy to make her pasta instead. Normally what's on the table is what you get at our house, but it was pretty spicy for her three year old palate. All in all, I'm not sure this one will get made again, but if you like spicy it may be the dish for you!
This weekend officially begins one of my FAVORITE months! October is by far my favorite month of the year. Pre-holiday rush, cooler temperatures at night but still nice and warm during the day, the leaves will start to change here by the end of the month, Halloween and all the fun that goes with it, trick or treat, pumpkin patches, apple picking, mums...I LOVE OCTOBER!!! Hopefully we'll have a few great treats to share soon!