Sunday, July 1, 2012

Three Pie Weekend

A friend of mine in New Jersey posted pictures of an amazing looking cherry pie that she had made last weekend. Ever since, it was all I could think about. Saturday morning, I got up and got cooking. My first cherry pie turned out pretty awesome. I used a recipe I found on Epicurious... what made it special was the vanilla extract mixed in with the cherries. Yum! We'll definitely make it again.

Sunday morning, our awesome neighbors knocked on the door and handed me a 6 pound bag of plums from their tree. What else could I do but make more pies? I doubled the recipe and brought one to our next door neighbors as a thank you for the half cord of wood they gave us last weekend.

Our neighborhood might not be the wildest, have the best parties, or have tons of kids running around, but people on our court sure know how to help each other and show small kindnesses that really make it feel like home.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Play Dough Recipe & Memorial Day

It sure has been a long time. What can I say, but we've been really busy. we've been in the house for a year and are still painting. Yup, our big plans for Memorial Day: Painting the living room, dining room and second floor hallway. I'm looking forward to the finish product. Benjamin Moore Philadelphia Cream from wood ceiling to floor. Hope it turns out! My next project will be to dye the slipcover on the couch as a temporary fix until I can make a new slipcover.

Bean is about to graduate from preschool. We've had all the transition meetings with her teachers and she's pretty dang excited - although I'm sure going to miss those wonderful teachers she's been with the past two years. I have great confidence in the Kindergarten teacher and really like her, but no one can hold a candle to Miss Eileen, Miss Kristine and Miss Erin - who have brought our Bean so far.
OK - now for something fun. I made play dough and loaded it up with glitter. Bright green and sparkly. And Minty - I added extract. Yay, sensory integration!
I have a love-hate relationship with play dough. My kids
love it. I mean, they really love it. When they play with it, I get an hour or so to make dinner, fold laundry, or clean the kitchen. Why I hate it: my kids refuse to clean it up. Gotta take the good with the bad, right?

With that said, we go through a lot in our house; it is incredibly easy to make and inexpensive, especially considering the yield.

The Recipe

4 c. flour
4 c. water
1 c. salt
2 Tbsp + 2 tea cream of tartar
4 Tbsp vegetable oil
Food coloring (I used a whole dropper bottle – use what you
want for the color you want!)

2 Tbsp peppermint extract (other extracts and essential oils
work well, too! Play around with amounts to get the smell you want)

1 tube craft glitter

Put the first 5 ingredients into a pan and mix well with a whisk until smooth.

 Add food coloring as necessary to reach desired hue. With large batches like this it can take a lot for a deeper or more vibrant color.

Add essential oils, spices or extracts to attain desired scent. Mix well.

Put pot over medium heat and stir with a sturdy spoon. You don’t want to use a whisk for this.

The play dough will start clumping and get very stiff. Keep going, and going, and going until the concoction is no longer sticky or viscous.

Turn out hot play dough onto a counter and knead. IT WILL BE HOT! Please use your judgment and don’t burn yourself.

When smooth, form into a ball and knead in the glitter in 2-3 portions.

When cool, store in air tight container or bag. Our play dough usually lasts about 2 months. If it starts looking dry, spray a little water in the bag, let it sit, then knead.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Long Day, Pink Tomatoes and the Kindle Cozy

Why is it that the first official day of summer for the Bean had to start prior to 6:00 am? Most Thursdays I am force to cajoling, bribing and finally dragging her out of bed for school and today she bound into my room just as Daddy closed the front door to go to work at 5:45. Sigh, I guess that's the joy of  children, right?

At least our day started nicely with pink heirloom tomatoes from the garden with breakfast!

For a day that I thought we had nothing planned, it ended up exhausting, partly because I had forgotten about her intake interview at the regional center. Oh, and swim lessons! Our journey to the regional center started especially early as we had to stop by the pediatrician's office to pick up a letter stating that the Bean was in need of speech therapy - which the DR had forgotten to do. Luck was with us as her regular Dr was in the office and took the time to have a 10 minute conversation with me while having one of the women at the desk write up the letter. I love the kids' Dr - seriously!

Back on the road, we made it to the regional center's office right on schedule and proceeded to wait for 20 minutes... during which time good behavior descended to poor. The second we set foot in the interview room, the poor behavior went further south to absolutely abysmal. But if anything is going to help us get services, it's a really bad day, right? So now we're back waiting for the next step. It has taken us since December to get the initial interview and it's now an additional 120 days before they have to complete the evaluation. Here's to help for the Bean in 2012 - at least we hope!

Oh, and because of poor behavior, the interview took forever and we missed swim lessons.

To finish up the Kaffe Fassette Kindle Cozy - here are some pix of M's finished cozy - which her oldest (and the Bean's BFF) has claimed as her own! You can make your own using the free Ravelry pattern courtesy of designer Amanda Pacheco!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Been Awhile

We're settled - once again. We've finally moved out of corporate limbo and into a little house on a hill. Boxes are all unpacked and everything is put away. I"ve finally had a chance to get my sewing machine and knitting needles out without feeling guilty...  Now that the Bean is out of summer school, I hope to build some "craft" time every day.

After a visit from my good friend Sarah, I've got the creative bug again. The day she left, I made a patchwork pillow for Bean's reading tent. Using three different fabrics the Bean picked out, I cut a series of 3" wide strips and further cut them into a wide variety of lengths. I then pieced them together into 5 long patchwork strips which I sewed together to make "fabric." I finally stitched up three sides, stuck in a pillow form and viola! Happy Bean!

 After the pillow, I started work on a dress for the Bean using fabrics she picked out -( I've also learned that it is a big mistake to take the Bean fabric shopping, I spend way too much!)  I used a pre-gathered fabric and cut it to size, added straps and a skirt (we just love owls in this house!).... hemmed the bottom and insta dress! I think it took me a whole hour.

The other little project I just completed were two sets of 8 coasters - one set for us and one for my Mom... again a super easy project that took a short period of time. I'll leave you with a couple of pictures of the finished products. Hopefully, the kids will let me continue on this productive streak. Fingers crossed!

Moving, Kaffe Fassette and Kindle Cozies

So much has happened since we left our lake side home in PA. The Bear turned two, Bean learned how to write her name and has settled into an amazing preschool that is addressing many of her Asbergers and sensory related issues, we've sold the house by the lake and bought one here in suburbia.

And, the icing on the preverbial cake, we're moving into our new California-style stucco home on Wednesday!

As to projects, I haven't been up to much as our two months (at most) in temporary housing turned into 8 months and all my sewing/knitting gear is sitting in a storage unit in Hayward. But this time next week we'll be reunited!

I did splurge recently on some gorgeous Kaffe Fassette fabric to line the knit Kindle cozies I'm in the process of making. One of the (numerous) things I love about his fabric is the myrad variety of  colors it contains. As a result, I've made three cozies (my first one appropriated by the Bean for her flashlight), one for my friend M. and finally one for myself - all of which I'm lining with the fabric.

Yay for low-tech pouches for high-tech devices!

Monday, September 13, 2010

My Review of Laundry Detergent-Lavender

Originally submitted at

- Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Lavender Laundry Detergent liquid is one of our hardest working cleaners. Concentrated, safe and gentle on clothes - yet it really packs a punch when it comes to removing dirt and grime. Contains Anionic Surfactants from plant-derived sources, Cotton Extract, Borax, d...

Wouldn't recommend to my worst enemy!

By Busy Momma from Pleasanton, CA on 9/13/2010


1out of 5

Pros: Easy to Use

Cons: Doesn't clean well, Fades colors, Expensive, Weak Function, Hard on clothes

Best Uses: Keep In Laundry Room

Describe Yourself: Parent, Housekeeper, Homeowner

I was excited to *splurge* on this laundry detergent. I love the lavender scent and was hopeful that it would be gentle and effective as well as not irritate my child's sensitive skin.

Boy was I disappointed.

With my first load of laundry I was concerned that the scent would be too overpowering as the entire area ajacent to my laundry machines smelled like lavender. The opposite was true: oven mitts, dish rags, and bibs all came out of the laundry smelling like sour milk. The rest of my laundry had no scent at all or a slightly stale or sour smell. Not what I expected at all. (I also used the same scent dryer sheets).

Now, I'm very picky about how my laundry is done. I wash in cold water as it tends to be more gentle on clothes and turn my clothes inside out to prevent wear. Unfortunately, Mrs. Myers detergent ruined many clothes. My whites were dull and dingy looking - a brand new pair of black shorts came out looking like they've been worn daily for 2 years and were faded and gray after only one wash. I've had to relegate some of my daughter's "good" clothes to "play" as the detergent was so harsh on the fabric it basically ruined (fading and pilling) some items.

As to the detergent's ability to clean - well, I didn't have much luck there, either. I pre-treat my children's clothes when they get food, etc. on it. In doing so, in combination with using Mrs. Myers detergent, clothes came out of the wash stained and in some cases, still DIRTY!

No, I wouldn't recommend this to a friend or my worst enemy. Save yourself the cost of this very expensive and ineffective detergent - and the headache of soiled, smell laundry and possibly even the expense of having to replace your clothing.

The one upside is that it didn't irritate my son's skin!


Thursday, August 26, 2010

We made it

Yes. We're here in sunny California. Yes, it really is sunny. And windy... and we like it, a lot!

The Bean started school yesterday. She's been admitted to a special needs program that is amazing. She's going five days a week for 3 hours a day and is receiving services in class. I'm in heaven - and she is loving every minute of it!

Because of her new career as a student, my focus has shifted away from my knitting and sewing and has turned to feeding the monsters! Well, school and the amazing produce out here... A new friend of mine suggested that I look at Weelicious for creative and healthy ideas for the Bean's lunches. What a treasure that site is! I've been cooking meals and snacks from the site all week and we are in heaven - well, Dad and me, that is. The kids are on a hunger strike - I think due to the fact that I've decided that I no longer will feed them processed crap from a box - nor will I make 5 separate meals at a time! (really, I'm pretty ashamed of what I was feeding them especially considering I was so carefully making baby food and exposing them to amazing produce like fava beans, avocados and star fruit in the beginning!)

OK, back into the kitchen for me. I need to put away the "O" cookies and start on the home made fish sticks for dinner so I can be ready to head out for my meeting with the PMC.