Thursday, June 30, 2011

shaun the sheep

this morning, sam was very keen to watch the dvd of shaun the sheep that we (or more precisely, i) got from the library. so, later on when he wanted to investigate the cottonballs from the bathroom, i thought it would be more fun to make our own shaun.
i got out some construction paper and glue, and sam collected some of the cottonballs. a little less than 10 minutes later, sam was pleased to have his very own sheep. i think he was quite proud of his cottonball-gluing abilities, and i was quite proud of the fact that when i asked him to clean up the cottonballs, he not only put all the unusued ones back in the container, he even carried the container up to the bathroom and put it away.
i thought this might be a fun activity for other kids, so i made a pdf available for download here. enjoy!

(sam and shaun)

and for anyone who doesn't know about shaun the sheep, here's a little introductory video:

Saturday, June 25, 2011

summer roasted veg

so by now you probably know that i'm all about the roasted veg, right? this is my new variation on the theme—the summer roasted veg. and it's quite delicious, if i say so myself (which of course, i do).

the most important part of this recipe is the dressing. namely, the maple grove farms fat free balsamic vinaigrette. (if it's possible to love a brand of dressing, then i surely love maple grove farms' fat free dressings. they are pretty much the only dressings that i will eat. i'd rather have my salad with no dressing than not have one of these. in fact, before i discovered these, that's exactly what i had, naked salads.)

so, you cut up your vegetables (i like zucchini, summer squash, peppers, onion, tomatoes, and sometimes mushrooms) and put them in a bowl. drizzle with your dressing, kosher salt, some garlic powder, and some dried basil, then stir until everything is coated. (note: i go a little easier on the dressing than others probably would, so just use your best judgement and you'll be fine.) spread everything in a roasting pan lined with foil (hooray for foil!), and pop it into a 375 degree oven for 50–60 minutes.

i served mine over a bed of baby spinach (surprise!) and sprinkled with a handful of red kidney beans (rinsed and drained), and it was about as awesome as i could've imagined. of course, i actually think vegetables are dang tasty, so you gotta keep that in mind.

try it, you might just find that you'll like the taste of veggies too!

Friday, June 24, 2011

first ever giveaway

missy just finished up her first giveaway, and since i've been thinking about doing something like this for a long time (a very long time), here it is. finally.

plus, i've been making more of these pins than i'd ever manage to wear because, honestly, they're just FUN.

this pin is about an inch and a half in diameter. not too big, not too small, and is a light blue-lavender with soft sage leaves. it would look great pinned on a sun bonnet or cute cardigan.

so, to enter, just leave a comment below and tell me what your last favorite crafty project was (if you have one. and making delicious food counts. according to me, at least.) i'll be picking a random winner next friday (july 1st).

home-y, minty mint tea

when i was growing up, there was always a huge patch of mint threatening to take over half of mom's garden. i remember her fussing about it every once in a while (and she has since removed all or most of it), but i always thought that there could be things much worse taking over the backyard.
so, knowing full well what was in store for me, i planted my own mint in our backyard. and it is now threatening to take over. i, however, find this kind of home-y and familiar (funny how that stuff works). i mean, it's not like it's a batch of thistles, right?
i was working in the yard yesterday, trimming the shrubs and pulling weeds, when i thought "i really should make some mint tea. i haven't had mint tea in AGES." so i did. and it was delightful. and easy.

first, i picked some mint from my overflowing supply (see above).

then i washed it and trimmed off the leaves using my kitchen scissors.

i put my clean mint leaves in an old canning jar, filled the jar with water, and zapped it in the microwave for about two minutes. then i sealed it up so it could steep.

in the meantime, sam asked me to "picture him." here he is saying "cheese and fuzzy pickles!" i love him so.

and here is my lovely tea. i usually just use a strainer and dump it into my ugly 32oz plastic cup that i got at the hospital when sam was born, but for the sake of aesthetics, here it is in a pretty glass.
i'm kind of in love with the mint tea. it's more interesting than water, and there's no caffeine or anything so i can drink LOADS without guilt. plus, it makes my mouth minty fresh with every sip!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

better homes — whole wheat bread

i made this bread today because we were out of bread (again). it turned out pretty well (not as good as last time). i think i may have jumped the gun and didn't let it rise quite enough (i didn't fully read the instructions this time). sam, however, seems to be happy enough to eat a few slices of this slightly less-than-perfect loaf.

whole wheat bread (from the better homes cook book, handed down from auntie)—makes two loaves
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons shortning (i used a combination of smart balance and olive oil)
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 to 3 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  1. soften active dry yeast in 1/4 cup warm water. combine hot water, sugar, salt, and shortening; cool to lukewarm
  2. stir in whole wheat flour and 1 cup of the white flour; beat well
  3. stir in softened yeast and add enough of the rest of the white flour to make a moderately stiff dough. knead until soft and satiny (about 10–12 minutes)
  4. shape into a ball and put in lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface
  5. cover and let rise in warm place till double (about 90 minutes)
  6. punch down, cut in two portions and shape each into a smooth ball. cover and let rest 10 minutes
  7. shape in loaves and place in greased loaf pans. let rise about 75 minutes, until double
  8. bake in moderate oven (375 degrees) about 45 minutes. cover loosely with foil for last 20 minutes if loaves brown too quickly.
  9. brush with butter after removing from pans
  10. enjoy!

camping! — hocking hills

last weekend we went camping with my older brother and his family. they're experienced campers and were so organized (and also had great equipment), so it was really great for us (the semi-newbies) to tag along. angie organized the food and chris organized the hiking, and all we had to do was join in the fun. it was AWESEOME. plus, sam was overjoyed to get the chance to hang out with his cousin abby—as much as he enjoyed sleeping in the tent, eating marshmallows, throwing rocks in the water, and sitting in chris and angie's van, i think his favorite part was by FAR hanging out with cousins. (and by the way, i think he's adopted dylan, gavin's friend, as one of the cousins.)

we did get a bit of rain (basically anything that was in the tent was somewhere between damp and soaked), but i was feeling so relaxed and good when we got home that the fact that i had about four loads of laundry to do didn't bother me a smidge.

i definitely think that camping in a gang is absolutely the way to go, and now i can't wait to go camping again!

you're my peanut

one day a few weeks ago, and out of the blue, sam told me, "you're my ice cream cone!" so we went back and forth thinking of things like, "you're my pickle!" or "you're my cupcake!" apparently the game was over when sam said, "you're my peanut!" (i usually call him "peanut" when i'm talking to him). since then he tends to go straight to "you're my peanut!" but every once in a while i can get him to think of other things. it's a fun game.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

mamma needs a new haircut

so now that sam has been appropriately coiffed, i'm turning my mind to my own hair issues.
i've been pondering a cut for a while now, and after much consideration (and a little reading), i think i've come to accept that i want to hold on to my long hair for now. i mean, it's just so practical. i can throw it up in a ponytail in all of five seconds flat, and it doesn't require frequent trims to keep it in shape (which, let's face it, for someone who goes to get their hair cut every 24 months or so, trims every six to eight weeks ain't gonna happen). plus, i think my hair is one of my better attributes, so i might as well have plenty of it, eh?
so what i'm after is basically shaping up what i've got, long with bangs. maybe a little layering. but not lots. because that's where things went a little south last time.

(images via pinterest)


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