Monday, May 31, 2010

Patriotic Window Stars

Summer is almost here! That means it's the perfect time to get a Patriotic Stars craft kit to fancy up the place!

You can make them with the pretty red ribbons that I include and hang them inside or outside your house:

Or in a tree for a festive party decoration:

But if it starts to rain bring them inside for crying out loud!

Or you can skip the pretty ribbon and stick them to the window with the glue dots that I include:

They make cool suncatchers!

AND making the Patriotic Stars craft is also a great way to keep those trouble makin' kids busy for more than half a second.

Because you KNOW you're gonna need some quiet time. I'm not saying the craft is going to give you that quiet time, I'm just saying you're going to need it. Ha! I helped Ella make a star and she talked the entire time. Some days that girl talks from the second she wakes up in the morning until the moment she goes to sleep at night. So, it might not be quiet time, but it's still quality time with your kid. And we can all use more of that.

Ella has made these stars before, and she's also made a ton of the Leaf Suncatchers (which involve a very similar crafting process), so she is somewhat of a professional.

She cut:

(Aren't her little pink kid scissors so cute?)

She spread glue:

And she sprinkled the star confetti:

She made herself into a Star-Headed Sneetch:

(That part is totally optional.)

She arranged just so:

She found a heavy book to keep it all flat while the glue dried:

And she framed:

And she flattened:

And when it was all dry she loved her star:

But she refused to open her eyes for a picture.
"Ella, honey, open your eyes and smile at me."
"I AM!"

Whatever. Anyway, all the supplies are labeled and packaged:

In a cute biodegradable box ready to be opened and enjoyed:

Happy Crafting!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Greek Salad

This is simply the best Greek Salad I have ever had. It's Dave Lieberman's recipe, from the Food Network.

You know when you love a recipe so much, you can claim it as The One, and call it a day? I'm on a mission to find all The Ones - the best of each of my favorite things to eat. And I just don't think there is a better Greek Salad recipe out there.

Greek Salad? Check.

Greek Salad


For the chicken:

1 lemon, juiced

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

A couple good pinches salt

10 grinds black pepper

4 (6 to 7-ounce) boneless skinless chicken breasts

For the dressing:

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 lemon, juiced

2 cloves garlic, smashed with the side of your chef's knife

1 teaspoon dried oregano

3 pinches salt

10 to 15 grinds black pepper

For the salad:

2 to 3 hearts romaine lettuce

1 English cucumber, peeled, cut in 1/2 lengthwise, then cut into 1/2-inch chunks

3 vine-ripened tomatoes (about 3/4-pound), cored and cut into 1/2-inch chunks

1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced

1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese


To marinate the chicken: In a non-reactive dish, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper and mix together. Add the chicken breasts to the dish and rub both sides in the mixture. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.

To make the dressing: Combine all the ingredients in a resealable container and shake vigorously. Refrigerate until ready to serve, and then bring to room temperature before tossing salad.

Assemble the salad: cut off any dark tips and the bitter white bottoms from the romaine leaves. Cut the lettuce into 1-inch strips and place in a bowl that is large enough to hold all the salad ingredients comfortably. Scatter cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, olives, and feta over the top. You can prepare the salad up to a few hours in advance. Cover it with a moist paper towel and refrigerate until 30 minutes before serving.

To cook the chicken: Heat a nonstick skillet or grill pan over high heat. Add the chicken breasts and cook, turning once, until well browned, about 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Let the chicken rest on a cutting board for a few minutes before slicing it into thin strips.

Give the dressing a good shake and pour it into a nice little serving bowl, using the lid to strain out the garlic.

Toss salad just before serving and fan chicken out on top.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Blog Tutorials

I LOVE my new blog design! It's so clean and bright. I visit it every few hours just to gaze at the loveliness.

The best part is: I did it all by myself. I'm so proud.

Every time I mess with my blog's html code, and what I'm trying to accomplish actually works, I feel a little bit smarter than the moment before. Like, I fought my blog, and I won. Take that blog! I'm TOTALLY the boss of you!

A disclaimer: If you ever get stuck on any html nonsense, don't ask me to help you. Because I only have the tiniest clue of what I'm doing in code land. Which is why I rely on the tutorial fairy godmothers of the internet to tell me what to do.

There are a few more things I'd like to do to my blog, but for now, I'm really happy with the changes I've made. And I'm so thankful for all the wonderful tutorials that helped me make my blog fancy. Thank you!!!

Here are the tutorials I used to spiffy up my blog:

Blog Banner Tutorial by Clover Lane

Add Post Dividers by Shabby Blogs

Email Gadget by Just Something I Made

Thank you, tutorial geniuses!

Do you have a great blog tutorial to share? Leave a comment so we can all bask in the glory of conquering our blogs!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Kickin It Dutch Style

For Mother's Day my family and I took a day trip to a historical little town called Pella. Every year they have a tulip festival, which we missed by one day, because seriously, who holds a festival on only Thursday, Friday, and Saturday? Lame. But I just really wanted to see the town, so I made my sweet family all go with me. Since it was Sunday, everything was closed, but we still had a wonderful time just wandering around this little Dutch village.

It's a bit of a drive from where we live, so as we got close, we stopped off to get some lunch. And since it was Mother's Day I decided to make our lunch extra special by spilling my freezing cold glass of iced tea all over my sweet little boy. Ugh. He was so wet and so cold and I felt so bad. Luckily, there was a Walmart in the same shopping center, so James ran over and bought sweetie pie a whole new outfit and saved the day. Disaster averted!

And then we were off!

Pella has the cutest street signs ever:

They also have the tallest working windmill in the United States.
Bam! Iowa continues to rock it again and again.

And some really cool fountains:

And tulips:

And a church:

And a little village:

And more tulips:

And a real cannon!

And more tulips:

And basement windows that I thought only existed on Lavern and Shirley:

And the Molengracht canal. They dye the water dark blue:

It's so beautiful it doesn't even seem real.

And more tulips:

And beautiful painted tile:

And did you know that Wyatt Earp's boyhood home is in Pella?

And then on our way out of town we came across the West Market Park, in the Dutch Market area:

So we HAD to stop and play. My kids had the best time at this park! It's all wood and metal and it is the coolest park I've ever been to. Seriously. We could have spent all day playing here.

And then we drove home and I got to open some wonderful Mother's Day gifts.

Peyton's card:

Ella's card (she drew Mom Mom (my mom) and me):

I love board games. Love them! My kids are just getting to the age where we can play the kind of games that don't drive me slowly insane by sucking out my will to live. (I'm looking at you Candy Land.)

So my husband let them each buy me a non-crazy-making family game for Mother's Day. Isn't that so sweet and thoughtful? Thanks, honey!

Peyton picked Sorry.
Ella picked Sorry Sliders. (Have you played this game? It's totally fun!)
James picked Operation.

The best part? James promises to play with us on our new Friday Game Night! Yay! He's always hated games, but he's making a serious effort for our kids' sake. Oh, the sacrifices!

Anyway, a few days before Mother's Day, Peyton had given me one of my gifts that he had made in kindergarten. This awesome banner, complete with flowers and bugs (it's a cricket and two ladybugs):

But he said he was saving the other gift for Mother's Day, because "It is very, very special, Mommy." He was so excited about this special gift. And James told me that he even hid it in a special secret hiding place in his room so that I wouldn't find it when I tucked him in at night. So sweet.

My special gift? A wonderful little box that Peyton had decorated. He said, "You don't even need to open it, Mommy! It's filled with hugs and kisses and lovin's. And you hold it to your heart so you can feel it." Oh my Lord. It cannot get any better than that.

Thank you, my sweet family. It was a beautiful day.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Butterfly Party Kit

I have made a lot of party kits since I opened my etsy store a couple years ago. But this Butterfly Party Kit has a special place in my heart. It's just so classic and simple and fun.

I also think it's great since the party-goers can really personalize their butterflies with color. I've done this craft with hundreds (really!) of kids and no two butterflies are ever exactly alike.

And on the grown-up side of things, it's so fun to watch little kids get excited as they experience the magic of color blending. My own kids have made these butterflies many, many times. They still get amazed when they dip their marker-scribbled coffee filters into the cup of water and watch as the colors blend before their very eyes.

On to the party kit! Here we go!

Individual party favor supply bags for each guest:

Packed in a cute reusable box:

With a birthday message that can be used as a table topper or birthday card:

All wrapped up with pretty coordinating ribbon for the birthday girl or boy to open before the party:

So fun!

It's party time made simpler!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...