Thursday, December 30, 2010

computer keyboard cake

I've decided to just use my daughters' names instead of initials, because I was looking over some old posts and the initials seemed slightly confusing to me and I obviously know who it's referring to.  I don't suppose it really provides extra security to my family anyway.  So, I'll just put a little faith in blogland, and hereafter refer to them as Camille, Sylvia, and Ayla (although Sylvia often insists her real name is Sweetpea).

Anyway, the girls wanted to make and decorate another cake with fondant.  Some of the last ones went stale and had to be tossed, so we thought we'd make one for Papa to bring to the office.  Since he's a software developer, the girls wanted to make a computer keyboard cake.  Sylvia mixed and frosted the marble cake, Camille made the fondant, and after we draped the whole thing in gray fondant, we all made little squares of black fondant to be the keys.  Camille used a bottle of white icing to draw out the numbers and letters.

I think they'll like it.  Must go clean up the mess....  ;-)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

quinoa salad recipe (of sorts)

This is going to be very loosey-goosey as far as recipes go, because that's how I make it.  It's especially good as a summertime pot-luck food, but I have had a big craving for it lately.  
Put 2 c. quinoa and 4 c. water in a covered pot and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer until water is absorbed (similar to cooking rice).
When the quinoa has cooled, add in 1-2 c. cooked corn, 1-2 c. beans (I usually use black beans), some chopped tomatoes, bell peppers, and a large handful of chopped cilantro (I also like scallions or chives, but I leave them out for the sake of the girls).
In a separate container (I use a glass 2-c. measuring cup), mix the juice of 2-3 lemons, plenty of raw minced garlic, a couple Tbsp. of ground cumin seed, and salt to taste.  Then fill with olive oil until you have about a cup of dressing.  This dressing should taste pretty strong, as the quinoa soaks up a lot of flavor. 
Pour dressing over salad and mix thoroughly.  I find that it tastes the best after it has sat in the refrigerator for a day and the flavors have all mingled.  Enjoy!
This is a version of this recipe using red quinoa and kidney beans.

Imaginative play

My kids are thrilled with their new Christmas toys, games, books, and craft kits, but somehow the things that seem to capture their imagination the most are things that are not meant for play.  Old make-up and Halloween face paint have been primary inspiration for creative play around here lately.  At homeschool open-gym today there were push cars, and balls, and pop-up tunnels, and things to hop on, but the objects that saw the most play were the plastic garbage bins that housed the balls and toys.  They were emptied and turned upside down as a hiding place or a "trap".  They were rolled in and sat on and pushed around.  I'm quite confident that my girls could make up (and have done so) amazing games with sticks and stones.  That's not to say that the other things that are intended for children's play are not useful, they are, but often in surprising and creative ways.

Lately, Mermaid Olympians are just the thing to be, apparently.  Lots of mermaid contests going on around here.  Or, while we were at the grocery co-op, the girls were being salad ingredients and I was the bowl.  So, their names became Lettuce and Carrot and Baby Tomato, and any question or suggestion had to be addressed as such.  Or, I'm told to be an evil witch who won't let C free, but is friendly toward S, so that she may rescue her sister while my back is turned chopping veggies.  These examples are just from the last couple of hours.  Their imaginations fly all over the place, and it is never dull around here.

Monday, December 27, 2010

home again, home again, jiggety jog

We are back from our family Christmas trip to Minnesota, laden with presents and full up with good food and family time.  Parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, ... a whirl-wind of unwrapping and well-wishing and squeals of delight (and some of the other kind of squeals too, inevitably).  I'm in a bit of a post-Christmas daze (maybe from playing the new Christmas Wii ;-) , but I'll share a few pictures.

cousins, at Grandma's house, Christmas Eve

I think G likes it 
Christmas morn, at Gigi's house

sharing a licorice string

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy Solstice to All

a day of light and dark...

and friends, food, gifts, laughter, hugs, cocoa, sledding, fire, drumming, snow, and magic

the lighting of the fire
the view from up on the sledding hill
May the light and peace of this season be with you all.

flower barrettes

finished stocking stuffers
-knit/crocheted from the book, 100 Flowers to Knit & Crochet:  A Collection of Beautiful Blooms for Embellishing Garments, Accessories, and More


Monday, December 20, 2010

not too many loose ends

 The knit bumpy balls are finished!  One is stuffed with wool and jingle bells, the other with wool, patchouli leaves and dried lavender flowers.  The store-bought presents are all wrapped in cloth bags, and I only have some loose ends to weave in (flower barrettes), and some photo albums to put together (it's tradition now, every year the grandparents receive a small photo album of their grandchildren, from throughout the year).  I daresay, I might not be scrabbling at the last minute.  That's so unlike me!

Now I might have time to go caroling tonight, a solstice bonfire tomorrow night, (if it's not too terribly cold), and then tra-la-la to Minnesota for five days of family, feasting, and Christmas fun! 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

star lanterns

 C and S had a very painty day recently.  They started with wet-on-wet watercolor...
 Then tried wet-on-dry...

Then, when C became frustrated with the "softness" and unpredictability of watercolor, we brought out the tempra paint.  She finally painted a house the way she wanted it.  S was busy mixing colors most of the time.
We took two of the wet-on-wet paintings and turned them into star lanterns, thanks to this lovely tutorial.

 There has been a lot of making going on around here.  Since I let myself off the hook for hand-made gifts last week, I have found more time (and inspiration) for a few little doings.  Also, C has been helping me sew cloth gift bags to wrap the store-bought presents in :-)
Happy making to all of you crafty elves out there!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holiday Express

 Every year the girls get all dressed up in their holiday finest for pictures at Olbrich Botanical Gardens during their "Holiday Express".  My camera is a bit persnickety, which made it challenging to get good pictures of all three girls, but we had a lot of fun trying.

Both of these dresses
used to be mine when I was little.

Afterwards, we took a stroll around the conservatory, where S was fascinated with the magnifying glass.
Then, a quick change into snowpants and sledding was right across the street.

After some hot cocoa, the elves got busy fluffing and stuffing wool for a knit toy for my new nephew. (The adoption has been finalized!  Yay, I can't wait to meet him!!)
Here's some pictures from the past three years at Olbrich's train show.

P.S.  Since we're members of Olbrich, we went back (this time with Papa) to enjoy the sights and get more pictures of A, while she's not crawling away, or attempting to eat poinsettias YIKES   ;-)  Here they are...