Saturday, June 13, 2009

Summer Break Has Begun

Posts have been few and far between around here! I just can't seem to keep up with all that is going on in my life. I'm going to officially announce a blogging break. Don't worry, it isn't permanent, Denny has been working on a new design for this space and my silence hasn't been about lack of stuff to talk about, just lack of time to sit in front of a computer.

Summer break has begun and I am looking forward to spending time with both the kids. We've got some things planned, but I'm also looking forward to having some lazy days. And I'm totally going to take a bit of time to clean and organize the clutter that has accumulated around here!

Don't be sad, I'll be back soon!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Loving The Fresh Vegetables

Look what made an appearance on Saturday! There were only 3 flats and they were gone in seconds. I ate one and it was heaven.

My new favorite breakfast is a bagel with cream cheese, cucumber and some freshly ground black pepper.

We grilled fennel with new potatoes and fresh garlic.

Here is Tom Denison, the farmer I work for, putting some ice on the vegetables. We have had beautiful weather and the ice helps keep them from wilting.

These are salad turnips. They are delicious raw or sautéed with butter. They make a short appearance, so you should snatch them up if you see them!

And this was our market dinner Saturday evening. Grilled salmon, new potatoes, red onion, fennel, carrots and fresh garlic. We like to use our old cookie trays for grilling fish and vegetables, then you don't loose anything down the grates. The potatoes, carrots and garlic were tossed lightly with olive oil, fresh thyme, salt and pepper and placed on the grill first. The onions and fennel were added after the potatoes started to soften.

We covered the salmon with sliced red onions, salt and pepper and placed it on the grill for 10-15 minutes. The broccoli salad was the only thing not from the market, but I was craving it and found this great recipe that I had to try.

I'm away from the market this weekend because we are heading out for a school camping trip. Should be lots of fun. I'm in charge of Sunday brunch (for 200)! I'm using Diane's delicious strata recipe that was in her Christmas zine. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Market Day 1

Oh so delicious.

Carrots and sweet onions.

Leeks, new potatoes, green garlic, and fennel.

Lovely radishes.

Cabbage raab, oh yeah.

New potatoes.

I'm so glad that Farmer's Market Season is here!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Fairy Festival

My pretty fairy. She is wearing the fairy dress I made from Wee Wonderfuls. The crown was part of the festival activities.

Wand making was very fun.

I wore wings too. We must have dropped beads under the table.

Wren was not going to have fun, he has entered the "this is girl stuff" phase. :(

But I made him a wand and he had a hard time staying grumpy.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I've been on a computer hiatus lately, no posts, no facebook and I'm totally over due answering emails. I don't know what my deal is! But I must tell you, the bunny pattern is almost done. I just need to get together with my computer guy (Denny) and get the instructions onto the PDF.

Also, The Market is starting May 9th!!!! That means market pictures. Oh, I'm so excited. I'm told there will be carrots and strawberries along with the usual early spring produce on the first day. Hurray! I can almost taste them just thinking about it.

Market picture from last spring.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter (make something cool when I can)

It was Saturday, I hadn't done A THING for Easter. It is hard to be motivated when you have been invited to three Easter celebrations and there is going to be candy and egg hunting at each one. But I decided I needed to do something, I wanted to do something. I preceded to brainstorm, rabbit silhouette, felted sweaters, images from a Google search. Result: Easter bunnies for the kids.

Denny said he will take my pattern and turn it into a pdf so I can post it here. Maybe in time for next Easter.

Happy Easter kids getting revved up for the hunt, decked out in scarves I made them with that dreamy-soft-bumpy-baby blanket material (don't know what it's called) and scraps of fabric. Something I did on a whim and just love how they turned out.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Just Too Busy

Seriously Folks, I'm just too busy for my own good. I really don't know how people with kids are supposed to get anything done. I'm never home anymore and never seem to have the time or energy to have some me time! I actually have tons of things I want to write about, just can't get it done. I'm trying to be a part of Dabbled's Make Something Cool Every Day challenge. At this point, just posting here will be challenging enough!

So here are some teaser pics just to let you know that I'm still alive and kicking and "doing".

Velvet Chocolate Sauce.

Trying to take a picture of the dress I made.

Cake for the school auction.

A bowl of dirt?

Sunday walk.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Ta Da!

*The quilts sold for nearly $400 a piece!

I've heard that photographing quilts can be a challenge and I must agree. I had good lighting, so the colors turned out lovely, but it is hard figuring out how to lay them.

These quilts are really all about the children's art work. I love the imagination.

Now they are headed to the school auction that takes place on Saturday. I'm actually nervous about watching them get auctioned off. I hope they are a hit!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Dropping By... say that the quilts are done! I'm going take pictures tomorrow and write up all the details of how I took the children's art work and turned it into a quilt. I'm extremely anxious to get working on something new. I've been mulling Easter ideas around in my head and need to figure out what I can actually finish by Easter.

I'm crossing my fingers for enough sun tomorrow for a successful photo shoot!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Kids Say The Darndest Things

While driving in the car...

Violet: "Are superheros real?"
Me: "Not really."
Violet: "Oh, hmmm. Yeah they are, some are real and some are not real. I think I just saw a superhero flying in the sky!!"
Me: "Really?"
Violet: "I think so."

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Homemade Goodness

Graham crackers and milk where one of my favorite snacks as a child. I could eat a whole package myself. Dunking until it was just right, still with a bit of crispness, not too soggy.

My kids haven't really experienced the goodness of graham crackers and milk because most brands are full of hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup and bleached flour. I have found a couple of brands that have a good ingredients list, but are totally lacking in flavor.

Why couldn't I make some? So my quest began. I found a recipe in my stash of cookbooks, but the attempt failed miserably. I couldn't be satisfied until I had successfully completed my mission. I scoured the Internet, I found recipes and compared them to the first. Finally I found one I felt looked worthy.

It was my first time visiting Baking Bites.

The graham crackers worked perfectly and tasted better than I'd hoped, with a hint of molasses, honey and cinnamon. And it couldn't be easier, just throw all the ingredients into a food processor. I've since made them many times, sometimes using cookie cutters for fun shapes, but usually I just cut them straight with a pizza cutter and snap them apart when cool. Just like when I was a kid.

*Please follow the link for the recipe, the only thing I did different was to use white whole wheat flour for the total amount of flour instead of a mix of AP and whole wheat.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


The kindergarten quilts are coming along. The artwork has been printed onto the fabric and the fabric is cut and ready for sewing.

There has been a lot of work getting to this point, there were 48 images to scan, material to prep and then cut. Then came the printing, washing and more cutting. It is very exciting laying them out and getting to see the work coming together. The auction is in about 4 weeks, must get sewing!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Tomato Orange Soup, or I Love Power Tools

I had this soup at a school pot luck dinner and LOVED it. I'm told it is a recipe from a deli in town that is known for delicious food.

The key is to use quality ingredients. Violet helped me squeeze the orange juice and I used tomatoes I brought home and froze from the farmer's market.

After it has all cooked, it needs to be blended. You can do this in a conventional blender, but that involves ladling hot soup into it. Also, I've heard you must be extra careful when removing the lid or else you can end up with hot soup on your ceiling. Here is where I get out the power tool, the immersion blender. You can just stick it right in the pot and blend it smooth. I could have used a smaller pot because I had to tip the soup to one side to cover the top of the blender so it wouldn't spray. Still, much less work than the on the counter version.

Elephant's Tomato Orange Soup
1/4 cup unsalted butter
28 oz unsalted diced tomatoes with juice
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup fresh orange juice

In a saucepan melt butter, add onion and sauté until translucent. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, baking soda and thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Purée in a blender and return to sauce pan. OR use an immersion blender and keep it right there in the pan! Stir in orange juice and cream. Simmer and serve.

We ate it with grilled cheese and bacon sandwiches. YUMMY!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Itchin' To Sew

But just look at the condition my sewing table is in! As soon as I get this cleaned up, I'm sewing this cute grab bag. Also, I just received the new rolled hem foot plate that I ordered for my serger and I would love to do some experiments. Maybe I'll have time this weekend?!?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Pop Out Valentines

Tomorrow the kids are passing out Valentine's at school. I really wanted to come up with something that would be fun for my kids to make and fun for the kids in class to receive.

Violet's very violet Valentine.

paper cups
colored card stock
googly eyes
glue stick
craft sticks

I bought colored paper cups and then made a template of a heart that fit inside that I used to trace onto colored card stock.

While I cut out the hearts, the kids had the job of signing their names on the cup and decorating them with stickers.

Then came the fun part, googly eyes and ric-rac. I glued the stick on to ensure that they were straight so that they would align well in the cup. I used an exacto knife to cut a line in the bottom of the cup. The cut needs to be right in the center and just the size of the stick so that the heart fits inside and the stick is snug.

Making 24 of these was a lot for the kids to do. Wren signed his own name on all the cups and did most of the stickers and faces. I printed out the word "from:" and glued it in front of his name. I hope the kids have fun with them tomorrow!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Magic Flashlights

Here is something to brighten your February. The song is 'Kids' by MGMT. I'm really loving it. My kids are really loving watching this video. Enjoy!

Magic Flashlights from Mike Benson on Vimeo.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Quilting and Knitting

I've been quite busy lately. My biggest project right now is organizing and designing the kindergarten class quilts. Yes, I have volunteered to head the project!

The kids have been studying water and ocean themes in class. I thought it would be a great idea to have each child create a painted sea creature that would be scanned and then printed onto fabric.

We did a test print from one of Wren's paintings he brought home from class. I am really pleased with how it turned out.

The process is quite simple. Cut an 8 1/2" X 11" piece of freezer paper, iron your fabric on and trim. Then you can send that right through your printer. I was surprised to find that HP has detailed instructions on how to do it. Now I get to print out about 50 of them! Wow, I've got a lot of work ahead of me. I'm trying not to worry about the fact that I've never made a quilt before! Luckily, there are many other parents who are helping and some of them have quilting experience.

The rest of my extra time has been put to use knitting socks. I finished Violet's and started on some for myself. I have been holding onto this yarn for years, it feels so good to finally knit with it. I really love how toe up socks knit up. Can't wait to slip my feet in!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Homemade Hot Cocoa: For REAL!

Look at that face, I think he likes it!

my preferred ingredients

I give you two recipes. First a Hot Cocoa mix recipe. One that I made with friends a couple of winters ago and gave as gifts. Originally from Sunset magazine. Go here and you will find many versions; Mexican, peppermint, mocha. Just note, there is a typo. Use 1 teaspoon salt, NOT 1 tablespoon! The second is a stove top recipe, you can also make it by the cup in the microwave for an instant fix.

Classic Cocoa Mix
1 cup powdered milk
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mini chips

Mix together in a container. Pour 1 cup boiling water in a cup, stir in 1/3 cup of cocoa mix. Et voilà! I like to pour in a bit of half and half to cool it and for a smidgen of creaminess. This makes a deliciously rich hot cocoa.

Stove Top Hot Cocoa
4 cups milk, any kind
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt

Place all ingredients into a pot. Turn on to medium heat, start stirring when milk warms up. The cocoa powder will not mix in until milk is warm. Don't boil! Makes 4 cups of hot cocoa just like your grandma used to make.

For 1 cup serving:
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
dash of salt

Place in a ceramic mug, microwave for 2 minutes. Stir and enjoy!

*An interesting fact about cocoa powder, it doesn't actually dissolve, it just suspends in the warm liquid. That is why you always find cocoa at the bottom of your cup!

Monday, January 26, 2009

How To: Fairy Warm Cocoa

Fairy Warm Cocoa Tutorial from Denny McEntire on Vimeo.

This is what happens when I leave Denny alone with the kids!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Perfect Shade Of Blue

The yarn: Cash Iroha Sage Blue, a silk, wool, cashmere blend. I fell in love with the color, the sheen, its soft feel.

The pattern: Swirls Cap by Sophia Kessinger, a free crochet pattern on Ravelry. The pattern is written well with plenty of pictures and step by step instructions. I needed to do some adjusting to fit my gauge and didn't have any trouble making it work.

I love detail on the hat, the puckered swirls, the belt across the brim.

And I love yarn. It has such a nice feel to it, the blend is a perfect mix of luxury and practicality. It is fun to splurge sometimes!