Tuesday, June 26

Happy Bird-day!

For our 11 year old grand daughter's birthday cake nothing was more appropriate than this bird nest cake topper. 

 Eva became a bird watcher when she sprained her ankle during her Christmas holiday visit.  She couldn't romp around with the cousins, so she parked herself in front of Grandpa's bird viewing window and fell in love with her feathered friends.  All she wanted for this birthday was feeders and bird baths.

This nest was made from stick pretzels coated in melted chocolate chips (1 cup + 1 T. of vegetable oil).  Pretzels were placed on a circle of waxed paper and shaped into a nest.  The nest was hardened in the freezer while the two layer cake was assembled and frosted.  Then I peeled the waxed paper away, placed on top of cake and inserted a ceramic bird from the dollar store! 

 Eva was very surprised and pleased! 

New Chair-Old Chair

A couple years ago, I covered a chair I bought at a local furniture outlet.  I've liked it, but never loved it-- not in a committed relationship kind of way (see photo below).

So, when this gray and white zig-zag fabric came along, I snatched it up and gave my sewing chair a face lift-- a chair lift, so to speak! (ha!)
  I really like the way the gray goes with the yellow better than the old print.

 Maybe a new look for my little sewing chair will inspire some actual sewing around here!

Friday, June 22

Adventures in Dallas- 2012

The kids and I grabbed a couple of friends and headed down to Dallas for a mini-vacation.
First stop was Legoland in Grapevine and it was awesome!

 The kids had so much fun.  Definitely their favorite place of the whole trip.  There were rides and 4D movies, tons of big Lego displays and a Lego Store.

 Lucy has been doing lots of jobs around the house to earn extra money and saving up for the American Girl Store.  She had herself a mini-shopping spree and got Felicity's hair done at the salon.  
Sadly, no pictures.

We explored the historical downtown area.
 Looking for their names...
Our hotel was really... terrible.
Thanks, Priceline.
But, the location was fantastic.  We were downtown, right next to a little park and spitting distance from the JFK Memorial.  I'd never been there before.  It was very neat to see where such a nation changing event happened.

This is the school book depository where Lee Harvey Oswald waited for Kennedy's car to pass.
 A white X in the road marks where Kennedy was shot.

 Later, we hit up a splash park.  The weather was perfect.

Other stops included In and Out Burger, Ikea, H & M, Central Market Grocery store, Super Target, Costco, and City Craft.  Sometimes, it felt like we were wrangling a three-ring circus, but for the most part, the kids were troopers.

On the drive home, coming through a very rural stretch, Henry started to frantically yell, "I have to go number 3!".  I said, "What is number 3, Henry?", trying to determine if we could just pull over or if he'd could wait for a rest stop.  All he could do was squirm and shout, "I have to go number 3! NUMBER 3!!", while holding up three fingers.  When he really started panicking, I pulled off on a deserted side road and told him to get his shoes on.  But, he was already out the door shouting, "No time!".  It was a good thing I pulled over when I did, because number 3 does not wait for a rest stop or shoes. 

We made it home; safe, sound, happy,tired and with out any number 3 on our clothes.  That's what I call a successful vacation.

Tuesday, June 12

Make-Ahead Breakfast: Steel Cut Oats

Hello, neglected blog.  
Here's a little ramble, so you know you've been on my mind.
I'm not a big breakfast eater.  I generally eat whatever is in the house that does not need any preparation... like cookies or candy or ice cream.  Or, I don't eat breakfast at all. 
I know this is not "healthy" and that breakfast is the "most important meal of the day".
Recently, I started to exercise irregularly and I find that on the days I do exercise, I want to eat healthier. 
Go figure.

Sam's Club had this delicious steel cut oatmeal in their freezer section that I discovered about the time I started irregularly exercising and I really loved it.  It was easy to make and felt healthier than cupcakes.  Steel cut oats aren't as mushy as regular oat meal, of which I'm not a huge fan, but they take a long time to cook from scratch.  
 Then, Sam's discontinued carrying it.  
Darn you Sam W.
So, I decided to try my hand at making my own steel cut oats and freezing them in portioned baggies.

Here's my recipe:

Freezer Steal Cut Oats
Make a very large batch of steel cut oats, following the manufacturer's directions.  (Since steel cut oats take 30-40 minutes to cook, I made a batch using 2 cups of oats and 8 cups of water, which yielded 9 portions.)

Let oats cool in pan for 15 minutes.

Scoop 1 cup portions of oats into Ziplock sandwich bags
Sprinkle 1-2 tsp brown sugar (according to taste)
Drop in a sliced strawberry (you could add raisins, craisins, blueberries, maple syrup or whatever you like on your oatmeal)

Cool completely.  Seal baggy and freeze.
When ready to eat, pop the frozen oatmeal out of the baggy and into a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave for 2- 3 minutes or until hot.  Stir and eat!