27 February 2011

Weekend Book Review - The Prince and the Pauper

Wow. This has been a busy, busy week. I can't believe it's the weekend already.
Every weekend, I review a book I like. Today, I was wondering what books you like. Pretty please, leave a comment and let me know your favorites. I'd love to know.

A Prince and a Pauper change places and high adventure ensues.  The story is fit neatly into the true life of Edward VI (the only son of Henry VIII) and it is a lot of fun. Mark Twain's usual satire is kept mild in this story, but there is plenty of instruction about how rulers should behave. Ultimately, this is a moral tale of thoughtful and merciful leadership. A very American theme and well told.

23 February 2011


Last week I posted about my recipe binder - under construction. I mentioned that I wanted to make this magnetic recipe holder.
It turns out that a clever friend who reads my blog was looking for just the right birthday present for me. Here is what she made - complete with magnets and a recipe:

It's all hung up and ready to go. Now I just need to do my meal planning for the week. Just one more thing I didn't get done yesterday...
Thanks KW!

22 February 2011

Happy Birthday President Washington!

"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in the courts of justice?"
Farewell Address (1796)

20 February 2011

Weekend Book Review - The Elegance of the Hedgehog

The story is told through two voices, Renee, the concierge of the apartment building, and Paloma, a 12 year old girl who lives in the apartment. The story rarely leaves the apartment building. Both main characters are philosophers, not by occupation, but by personality. Renee is hiding her true self from the others living in the apartment. She is well-read and intelligent, but fears that if they know that, her position will be jeopardized. Paloma is extremely gifted, but wishes to hide this fact from her family. She fears that her life will no longer belong to her if they realize just how bright she is. Both characters are hiding, and as a result, not truly living.
As the story develops, both Renee and Paloma learn to live. Renee by learning to be herself and open herself to love and friendship, Paloma by choosing to help heal the hurts she sees around her.This is a book to savor and enjoy.

19 February 2011

Recipe Binder

Where do I keep my massive collection of recipes I want to try?

And every time I want to make something, I have to page through a giant stack of recipes.

For a really long time I have meant to create a binder where I would put nice copies of recipes we like and will use again (See this post).

Thanks to this week's recipe binder challenge, I have made some excellent progress. I have a ways to go, but at least it's begun.

Here's a great idea I saw on Crafts & Sutch.
I am thinking of making something like this. I love the idea of hanging it in the cupboard next to the cooking area and keeping my recipes clean!

Aren't her rosette magnets cute? Check out her great post on how she made this and how she's using it.

17 February 2011

Chicken Satay


5-6 chicken breasts, cut into strips

1/2 cup  black bean sauce
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup honey

Mix marinade ingredients with chicken in a glass or ceramic bowl. Marinate at least 30 minutes. Soak bamboo skewers in water to prevent burning. Heat broiler to high. Thread chicken on to skewers and cook under pre-heated broiler for 8-10 minutes, or until cooked through, turning and basting occasionally with marinade. I sometimes just saute in a pan too. Serves 6 

Serve with rice and edamame or a vegetable.

I love this recipe, my very picky 6 year old, who thinks pasta with Parmesan cheese is a food group, actually likes this chicken.

16 February 2011

Knitting Updates and some other stuff

I've been working on a particular UFO. Remember this post about UFO's and this sweater that I started for my FIL 10 (or more) years ago?

Well, I got stuck on the left front, and I wasn't really experienced enough to figure out where I went wrong. I set it aside, then we moved, then, well, you know.
Picking it up again last month, I decided that I should start the right front and work my way up to where I got stuck on the left, that way I might be able to retrace my stitches and figure it out. It's funny - I have 10 years more knitting experience, and this pattern has been giving me fits. I have restarted twice, then got to the cable section, then had to pull that out and restart it twice. Finally, I have moved past the cables and I'm on to just main body rib for awhile. It's going a bit more smoothly, and I'm feeling like there's a chance the FIL might actually get this sweater for Christmas this year. 

I also started a set of matching leg/arm warmers for my daughter. Spring soccer is looming, and you know it's not really warm a lot during spring soccer.

And here's the next thing to go on the needles - can you guess what it will be? Hint: I am going way out on a limb spending hours making this because the small fashion diva is alive and well in my daughter and you never know what will make the grade.

For my Etsy shop, I have a couple of new nightgowns and a new line of pantaloons. I am slowly getting samples made up. Here is a photo of some nightgowns I've been working on. They are similar to the ones already in my shop, but I've lengthened the sleeve and deepened the ruffle a bit.

Mostly I think this post is to reassure myself that in spite of recent major changes to my schedule and life (now home schooling my 6th grader), I can still accomplish things. I can!

15 February 2011

Meet Me On Monday!

Click on the link above to join in! It's lots of fun.

Did you get any Valentine's Gifts?

Books! My favorite! I have also seen some crafty activity in my 6 yr old daughter's room, but I'm not allowed to look.

What is your favorite topping on something toasted?

 I grew up in the middle of avocado, orange and lemon orchards. We could walk out to the back patio in the morning and get a ripe avocado, walk over to the side yard for oranges, and there you have it. Fresh squeezed OJ with avocado on toast. Heavenly.

Do you pick out your outfit the night before?

 Nope. Never have. 

What food item do you absolutely despise?

Honestly, it's kind of hard to even look at this photo.

Righty or lefty?

13 February 2011

Weekend Book Review - Pigs to the Rescue

I don't review picture books very often, but this one is truly great. We checked it out at the library a week ago, and we have read it every night. It is charming every time, and the 4 year old belly laughs every time. Do read it.

11 February 2011


 I saw these in Country Living and thought they would be fun to make. All I needed was some color swatches (free) and stamps and ink - oh - and aerosol hair spray (do they even make that anymore?).

Here are ours - slightly less impressive - but we like them.

09 February 2011


We had a snowy Sunday and church was canceled, so we made more butterflies. If you want to make some and support a good cause, check out this link to The Butterfly Project.

08 February 2011

Meet Me On Monday!

Did you watch the Superbowl?

NO - I went to my room and watched Jane Eyre and worked on this sweater for my FIL

What is the last book that you read?

It was great! Now I am reading

 Which is absolutely hilarious

What is your favorite kind of cake?

 Raspberry -Lemon pudding cake - YUM! I really have a thing for lemons.

 Do you snore?

I don't know. I'm asleep. You'd have to ask my husband (who definitely snores).

Do you play an instrument?

YES! Piano. I also used to teach. I love the beginners.

06 February 2011

Weekend Book Review - Gilgamesh

"The Epic of Gilgamesh is, perhaps, the oldest written story on Earth. It comes to us from Ancient Sumeria, and was originally written on 12 clay tablets in cunieform script. It is about the adventures of the historical King of Uruk (somewhere between 2750 and 2500 BCE)."

If it sounds fun to read one of the oldest written stories on Earth to your children, Ludmilla Zeman's adaptation is the way to go. Although her interpretation would be considered somewhat "loose" in academic circles, it is perfect for kids. I recently read it to my 1st and 6th graders who both enjoyed it very much.

05 February 2011

Nothing Like the First Time

I know. You didn't think this post would be about Legos, did you. But it is. And I am going to just brag a little bit and say that this 4 year old boy knows his way around a Lego instruction book. This may have been the best part of my week. The hot chocolate on a stick was a very close second though.
The box in the background of pretty much all the photos - that's a story for another day. I am organizing the kids DVD's, but we could not wait another MINUTE to put this Lego set together.

04 February 2011

Ticket Chocolate - You've got to get some!

I have been following Giverslog for a long time and I love her gift ideas. What you really need to know is that she has a new venture going. It's called The Ticket Kitchen. I just got some of their hot chocolate on a stick, and I am in heaven.

HEAVEN, I tell you.

There are currently two flavors available, and I cannot help myself, I tried both. Actually, my husband is not a chocolate fan, so I had a friend over and we sampled together. We didn't mess around. We went with 1 part whole milk and 1 part half and half for the full creamy experience (I had some today with 2%, and it was good too - on the principle that you can't have hot cocoa with half and half just all the time).

The first flavor we tried is the Three-Chili Hot Chocolate. Rich dark chocolate creaminess with a kick. Not too hot at all, but warming and delicious. 

The second flavor is the French Dark. Rich, creamy, delicious. We stirred it in until we were happy, then we licked our sticks clean. 

I wouldn't dare say which is best. They are both perfect. If you're looking for a unique and wonderful gift for your Valentine, look no further. Go straight to The Ticket Kitchen and get some!

Note: I should add that I have not been given any incentive to review this product, nor will I receive payment for doing so. This is just me, raving about some great hot chocolate. xoxo

03 February 2011

Home Management Binder - Phase 1 and The Butterfly Project

Toni said: "My weekly challenges are created for you to keep on top of things & to prevent those pile-ups from happening in the first place. Today I will be challenging all of you to create a Home Management Binder.  I have been using one for about 2 years (and love it)... BUT created a new one just for this challenge.  "New" seems so refreshing. I suggest that if you have a binder, re-create a new one with us!"

I am willing to give this a whirl.  I have a notebook, dividers, pens, and I've printed the calendar form and a menu form. I've made a menu and shopping list for this week, and I am working on my budget spreadsheet. Don't know if I'll print that or not. I will, however, finish this by Friday.

In other news - my kids are now home for the second day in a row due to extremely cold (-20's) weather here. It's been the perfect time to work on a project that caught my eye a few weeks ago. While browsing around A Crafty Kind of Truffle, I came across something called The Butterfly Project. This amazing museum in Houston, TX is collecting 1.5 million butterflies for a display honoring the 1.5 million children killed in the Holocaust. Here's part one of our butterfly making activities. I thought we'd experiment with starch and fabric.

Hopefully tomorrow I will have some finished projects to show you!