Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Whirlwind Holiday

It was a whirlwind. Been celebrating and eating and celebrating and eating and eating and eating for days and days. Once again, I left my camera in its bag most of the time. My big brother was home from up North. It was great having him here. But it has come to an end. The house is now de-christmased and calm is finally settling in.

This was the first year my little one actually understood what was going on. It made everything so much more magical. New. Exciting. All he really wanted was a peppermint lollipop. That's all. He got one. He's a happy camper.

These are my favorites words from this Christmas holiday:

Park: LOOK I GOT A NEW BOX!!!!!!!

Park: Jesus is coming to our house for his birthday party. Santa is invited too.

Park: I'm going to Alaska to look for bears. I have to be weally weally careful. I don't want them to bite my toes or butt.

My Mom: You have your work cut out for you.

Park: Wait wait....I have money!!!!!!! (Chasing the usher down the isle in the church to put his offering in the plate)

and the list could go on and on.........










Monday, December 22, 2008

Gratitude

I just want to take a minute to send a little thanks to all of you for supporting me this year. It has been such an amazing time and I've met soooooo many great babies, families, couples, etc that I can't begin to tell you what it has meant to me. This whole "photography" thing has been a pleasant surprise to me. I fell in love with something that I didn't know I could.... and to have others like it as well...that just icing on the cake!!! Thank you for the support, love, patience and everything you have done for me. Have a Merry Christmas! I'll check in before the new year, but I'm going to "vacation" from the blog for a few days. Keep warm! Eat these. Drink this.... and be merry!

I had a hard time picking my favorites......


Sticky Flakes

I'm about Christmas crafted out. I'm been going at warp speed and am nearing that "is Christmas here yet?" phase. These were the last on my list. Luckily they are so simple and you can do just about anything. The only materials you need is some fabric puff paint (99 cents for a little tube of it), some waxed paper and a cookie sheet. I found the idea here. The doors were frozen solid yesterday, and they ended up not wanting to stick too badly, so, I ended up moving my homemade window clings to the bathroom. I must say when I got up this morning and looked into the mirror, it made me smile. As the directions say, it's easier to use small compact designs because they were a little tricky to get off the wax paper. Patience is a must. But it was worth it. Since we're not looking at having too much of a white Christmas here on the prairie, I thought we at least needed these!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

You Cane Do It

Seriously... this one is really easy. All you need is an empty can, some candy cane sticks (or regular candy canes (whatever floats your boat!), and hot glue...and maybe a little twine, or string or whatever you want to embellish it with. I went outside and got some branches off a tree and stuck them in there with a couple flowers. And there you go... simple little gift to take to some one's house, just for the heck of it, to make them happy. Or you can keep it (whatever floats your boat!)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

These Two.....

These two little ones have a super special relationship. They are only 6 days apart, and they have been pretty attached to one another since birth. Because of schedules they don't get to see each other too very often, but during the holidays and birthday season (they are about to turn three) we mamas try really hard to get together a few times and make this time special for them. Of course we are walking zombies by the time they part because of all the excitement they have over each other and the activities.....plus they are just about to be three, and that is wearing all on it's own. They were almost 1 in the above picture.


This was today. And this is how they are. Screaming and laughing and playing and kissing and hugging and fighting and well... almost three.


JOY

I saw this long long ago and was reminded of it when I walked into one of my good friends house for a shindig and they had just applied a great new vinyl saying on their wall. So, I called up my printing store on Monday (yes they are my personal printing people... OK, well not really, but I can pretend) and said "hey, can I just have three letters made and can you do it in a jiffy?" and knowing me, I probably really did use the word "jiffy" because I'm dorky that way. So I picked them up today and I had picked up some little white plates at the dollar store (sometimes I like to take Park there because he won't break me and there are some really dumb, but interesting things there) earlier and I just stuck them on there. Super, fast, easy decoration or little gift. Of course it can be more complicated if you want, but I'm a little more on the simple side (no cracks).

Mallows

I just discovered this a few days ago, thanks to Kristen, and thought these would be absolutely amazing with hot chocolate, (of course it will come in second to whipped cream, which is my FAVORITE with hot chocolate) plus I just had to find out for myself whether or not it is actually possible to make homemade marshmallows. Lo and behold, it is!!!!!! The best thing about this little project was the pounding. My son and I happened to be at odds with each other the day we made them and I think it did an awful lot of good to be able to hammer some candy canes for as long as we wanted. Take out some penned up frustration on a plastic bag full of candy.

I was not able to cut these with cookie cutters as the recipe indicated, but it my first try. Maybe next time. You can find out how to make this concoction here. It was a great project. And to be honest, it's the first sweet thing I've made all season (well of course, the hot chocolate, but that's a drink and I don't count that!)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Abstruse Break

Today I took a small break from all the Christmas hullabaloo to actually photograph something. Up close and personal. I've been wanting to make a collage of iron things for a while, but alas, had time for only one good photo. The collage will have to wait...because when I got back into the car, in which my child and my dog were suppose to be patiently waiting (I was 5 feet from the car and out for less than 30 seconds) they had managed to crawl out of their seats and push every button in the vehicle. It was honking at me with the windshield wipers flailing to and fro and water squirting everywhere, lights blinking, radio blaring, both of them grinning ear to ear (I know dogs don't grin, but he was, I swear)......and this was just the beginning of the afternoon.


I do kinda like this. It would work I think. and I know it's a little askewed, but so am I..... so.....



Monday, December 15, 2008

House Party

We attended our first ever gingerbread house making party this past weekend. We walked in to a huge table FULL of candy and crackers and prebuilt houses. It was a child's fantasy. (the photo below only shows about 1/8 of what was there.) And I can just about bet that no kiddo there didn't have some sort of sugar rush/ crash that night. I know mine did. I thought this was a super clever idea. The kids LOVED it. Though, I do have to say trying to stick graham crackers to cardboard with honey, was kind of disastrous. Frosting sticks just a bit better. Live and learn.
(I apologize in advance for the not so great photos....not much I could do with artificial lighting... )






This was all that mine got accomplished before being distracted.....



And I know this sounds like a mom and kiddo kind of party, but the dad's came too. They played poker while we crafted!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Artichoke Dip

I made this for the first time last week for a bash at my house and had an overwhelming response to give the recipe up... so here it is, I made it again today and was able to get a photo before it was demolished (I confess I probably ate half of it this time)

This recipe came from a little recipe swap that went around the Internet a couple months ago and a lovely lady named Kit sent it to me. I have never met Kit, but this recipe will be made for years to come in my house. IT IS THAT GOOD!!!!

So without further adieu:

Cream Cheese Artichoke Dip
(Seriously, anything with cream cheese and artichokes in it....you can't go wrong)

2 pkgs. Cream cheese
1 c. sour cream
1 c. mayo
1 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
1 can artichoke hearts, chopped into 8ths
2 tbs. dill (more or less to taste) ( I used fresh dill both times I made this. I think it made it just fantastic)
½ tsp. garlic powder (or more to taste)

Mix all ingredients together in a 2 qt casserole dish and bake at 350 degs. for 20 mins. or until hot and bubbly. Serve warm with crackers, chips, etc. Enjoy! Kit

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Bare Minimum Lotion

So I tried something today that I've been wanting to try for a long time....and I LOVED it.


I made lotion. Mind you, it's probably the most simple recipe known to man kind and I sure didn't make it any harder.


I followed this recipe. Though, I didn't get the special olive oil. I used what was in my kitchen. (which I don't really know if that will have a longtime affect of its shelf life, but mine will be gone before I know anyway) I also used almond oil that I had left over from making lip balm instead of the coconut oil. And I scented it so I wouldn't smell like a salad (olive oil tends to do that). I scented it with pomegranate and vanilla essential oils....LOVE IT. But what I like most about it... I can pronounce the ingredients. There are no preservatives (which goes to tell, it probably needs to be used sooner rather than later.) Also, it makes your skin shiny, which in the summertime on tan legs.... it'll be awesome!!


It was super easy and I completely recommend it to anyone with a little spare time (can you all tell, I've had a day to play today!?)


*edited to say: The pomegranate/ vanilla "essential oil" is a synthetic fragrance...I think they had another use for the term "essential."

Lost Battle, lost hair....

I have an on-going battle with most family members about my kiddo's hair. My belief is that God gave him so much hair for a reason. That it should grow free and wild. I loose this battle a couple times a year. (Most of the time I win)

So, to celebrate his new hair and since I was just itching to shoot a human being, and since this human being is so irresistible..... we went downtown for a couple shots.



The Real Deal....and Cranberry Candles

So, I'm totally a blog stalker for this wonderful blog called Frenchy's finds. She had something like this posted a few days ago, and I thought it was a perfect alternative to tag.....with the photography and all. (she also has a AWESOME recipe for lotion which I tried and will post later!) I had few Cranberries left over from Thanksgiving and didn't want them to go to waste. I saw this idea in Real Simple this month and thought how perfect these would be for entertaining. Very simplistic, plus, I'm just the kind of person who likes to have candles going most of them time while I'm home. I'm also the kind of person who will drive clear across town to make sure they are blown out....I blame that on genetics....that and fear of fires.

See how they look so festive and bokehey?



Well...this...is actually what it looked like. Not that exciting or pretty. Just normal. It's all about perspective!

Quick Oriental Fix

Sometimes, after weeks of sugary sweets, hams, turkeys, and all the fixings....I crave something different. A change in pace. This time of year restaurants are slam packed, and I, a restaurant adverse person anyway (let's face it, two year olds don't make it easy for one to enjoy sitting in a public place for too very long) decided to make my own. (Of course this doesn't stop me from ordering take out every couple weeks from Twin Dragon).....

I have yet to master Chinese food at home, to my liking anyway. I'm always missing something. This time I think I got it. It was perfect. I loved it. Besides the noodles, it's a fairly healthy little meal. And, I get to eat it on my fancy blue willow dishes.....that I bought for $1 when I was 18 at a garage sale. Brand new. Oh, and the chop sticks are just for photographic purposes. I have yet, after years of of practice, to learn how to properly hold them. I normally ask for help in a group setting and then everyone will argue over the proper way to do it, which by the time they agree on the "right" way, I have already speared my sushi and gobbled it down without a care. Someday I will lean... it's a promise I made to myself. Much like learning how to whistle with my fingers.





Szechuan Noodle Toss

Ingredients:
I 8 ounce package thin spaghetti
2 large red peppers cut into thin strips
4 green onions cut into 1 inch pieces
1 clove garlic (I used three)
1/4 cup sesame oil (don't use olive, or other substitute, it will not taste the same)
1 10 ounce package of fresh trimmed spinach
2 cups cubed chicken
1 can water chestnuts
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 table spoons rice vinegar (don't substitute here either....it will not taste the same .)
1 1/12 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1 table spoon minced fresh ginger root

Cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain. Rinse with cold water and set aside.

Cook red pepper, green onions, and garlic in 2 table spoons of hot sesame oil. Stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Stir in spinach; cover and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes or until spinach wilts. Remove from heat and cool.


Spoon spinach mixture over pasta add chicken and water chestnuts.


Combine remaining 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, soy sauce and remaining ingredients; stir well;pour over pasta, tossing gently to coat.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Never Say Never

I swore I would never have another dog that I would make wear sweaters. Then my one time super duper super fluffy dog got shaved. (I just wrote super duper super......and I'm not changing it, because that's how I would say it out loud....) Against my will. Then my once super fluffy dog refused to go outside because it's too cold. So... on goes a sweater.

He looks suave doesn't he.?
And vicious... *snicker, snicker*. ..

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Fetish

I have a little fetish. Besides the clothes. Besides the shoes...... Scarves. Can't get enough. I'm completely addicted. There isn't a group to join to get over it, otherwise I would attend weekly meetings. So.... I decided to make a few. As gifts. One for me, one for the recipient. One for me.......

I love colorful ones. It kind of makes me forget the reason that I have to wear them, to keep from being frost bitten this time of year.

And since I'm really bad at actually following a crochet pattern, much like reading music (I spent a whole year playing bass guitar without actually knowing how to read the bass clef), or coloring in the lines, I made my own up. I'm a master improviser. And like the scarves themselves, I get addicted to crocheting. There probably needs to be a group for that as well.

So, if you're kind of a crocheter like me... try it. They don't take long.


Pattern:
Make a chain that is an even number of lengths long.

Row 1: skip one, dc and then sc on top of that. repeat in every other chain. When you get to the end sc twice and then turn.

Row 2: dc in third chain and then sc on top of that. repeat in every other stitch. until the end. sc twice. turn.

Repeat row 2 until you have the desired length.

Felted Stockings

These little booties are made from recycled sweaters. Not hard to do at all, just a little time consuming from beginning to end. I took it in steps. This little process has been made trendy by Betz White, who has made a small fortune with her little cupcakes. I'm not a huge fan of cupcakes themselves, but I like the idea of recycling old things to make new ones.

I went to Goodwill (I always like to support them as I worked in the accounting department of one as my first job out of college. I was able to see firsthand all the great things the Goodwill Industry did for the community, it was huge!) and found pure sweaters. By that I mean, 100% wool, cashmere, angora, etc. Wool by far is the easiest to deal with. I washed the sweaters until they wouldn't stretch anymore in hot/ cold rinse with a little soap and fabric softener (they shrunk to the size of infant clothing.) and viola...felted wool. It basically means that when you cut it, there is absolutely no raveling.

I made a pattern and used all the old buttons from the sweaters for decorations. A couple hours later...I had a set of adorable little felted wool stockings.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Stick Flakes

So what would one do with a plate full of little twigs?


Why, make snowflakes of course! (Isn't that the most obvious answer?!) I'm all about bringing nature in, and this was a great way to do it! All it takes is a little twine, some hot glue and great stick gathering skills, and there you go, some perfect little primitive snow flakes!




Saturday, December 6, 2008

Abstract Ornaments

I don't know if you noticed, but I love to let my kiddo just go wild with paint sometimes. I like to test his skills to see how creative he can be......I love how little ones have such imaginations and how they convey their ideas to others. This week, we decorated glass ornaments. I picked up some plain frosted glass ornaments from Hobby Lobby as well as ceramic paint, opened em' up and let him go wild. when he was done, they weren't as shiny as I wanted them to be, so I went to the craft closet and found some glitter paint and smathered (did I just make that word up?) over the top of his creation. I LOVE how they turned out. By the way, if you hit the sales there, you can do these things pretty inexpensively....we did 12 ornaments for less than $5.









Thursday, December 4, 2008

Gone Inside

When I look outside and see trees like this... trees holding snow in their branches, like I would in the palm of my hand, I go inside and close the door.

I wrap up in a blanket. Grab a book. Turn the fire on (because I'm cursed with a non-wood burning fireplace) Curl up in a chair. Book in one hand, hot chocolate in the other. Read.
For exactly thirty seconds.

Because I have a two year old.
And sometimes, 30 seconds, is enough.


And in case you are looking to make your own hot chocolate, here is the recipe I use. I have been making this recipe since I was in 5th grade. A teacher of my dad's gave it to him a gift with recipe attached (the one in the picture) , which I took with me when I left home. I never buy store bought hot chocolate.....
Also, I mix mine with milk, not water.



Happy sipping!

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Last

It's not everyday that I get to be driven through a ground blizzard for twenty miles , end up in the middle of the prairie in someone's brand new home with nothing inside but drywall, dust, and nothing......my dream place to take pictures. It was the perfect way to end the season.
These two babies will be getting new places to sleep very soon....what a wonderful Christmas present!!!!