Saturday, February 28, 2009

Butterflies at Frederick Meijer Gardens

I love going to see the butterfly exhibit at Frederick Meijer Gardens. It's just what you need in the middle of winter. A nice, tropical feeling, full of gorgeous color, sunshine, and butterflies! Enjoy these shots:

Look at that foliage!
Look closely, there are 6
Love those colors
As if it posed for the shot
Soaking in the sun's warmth
Beautiful orchids
Long wings
Sweet girls!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Butterfly Week

This week we were doing butterflies, since tomorrow we are going to Frederick Meijer Gardens to see the butterflies in the huge greenhouse area they have. It's a great time and we go every year. So, in the spirit of that, this week we focused on butterfly-sy things. 

First, it was a simple snack:
Butterfly snacks (with flowers)

Then we made shrinky things-like Shrinky-Dinks, but inspired by Poopscape Projects at, I used #6 plastic (the kind berries come in or, in my case, the top covers to Qdoba take out containers. If you look hard at the "A", you can see "#6"). We did color them with colored pencils, so after drawing the shapes with Sharpie, and cutting out the shapes, I scuffed the plastic up with sand paper. Then we colored away! Baked at 220* F for a while with not much action, so I bumped it up to 245* F. Worked great! Oh, the green underneath is a cheap-o silicon baking mat. Works great!
Look! They're shrinking!
All shrunk up!
That was a lot of fun. I loved Shrinky Dinks as a kid, still do! We turned ours into necklaces on fish line, so the butterflies just float there. So cool!

Then we made some stained glass butterflies with construction paper and tissue paper. These make even the grey sky look cheery! But it's great with the sun, naturally. 

[Hmm, insert photo here. I know I took one--where is it? I'm totally going to dust the camera for fingerprints....]

Finally, today, while we didn't make anything having to do with butterflies, we went outside and ran around, chased our shadows, and played "Follow the Leader" and yes, we pretended we were butterflies. :)

We did make these though:
Peanut butter cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies that are pretty darn yummy. "Big Grandma's Best Peanut Butter Cookies". Bet you wish these were scratch-n-sniff. Or taste! Better yet!

Oh! And, that package from yesterday's post was not my super secret swap package, but rather one of the Stitch-It! Podcast Midwest Charity blankets! Phew! I was glad to figure that out and that I could open it. :)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Look What I Did Today...

Something made me reorganize the closet. It may have been the fact that I couldn't walk in the walk-in. Ahhh, feels great!

My Stuff:
My stuff

More of My Stuff:
More of my stuff

His stuff (and some of mine :)

His stuff (and a little more of mine :)
His stuff (and some of mine :)
Everything got refolded, except for the towels up there, and the carpet got vacuumed and the baseboards too. I pulled some things out for the garage sale that is forever-away and this even lead to me cleaning out one drawer and under the bathroom sink, and some things that were in our closet could be moved there. Yay me!

Then, I found this on my front porch:
Today's deliveries
The front box is my order from Knit Picks, but see that package in the back? Mystery package. I'm in a swap called "Say Goodbye To Winter" with the High Fiber Diet Podcast Listeners, and we are supposed to wait until March 21 to open our packages. We don't know who they are from either. So I get this today. Is this my package that I can't open yet? Or can I rip in and see what it is? I just don't know...So I have to search around and see what's what. Updates to come, for sure!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Challenge, the Catch-Up

Well, homegrownrose has thrown out a challenge to blog everyday from now to the end of March. It's been a while since I've posted, so I suppose I was just saving it up, right? Here's the Valentine's Day post I never put up, but wanted to share. First, I received roses, which were beautiful and still hanging on, looking darn good! Alas, no photo. I made pink heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast that morning and for dinner we had a pork tenderloin with a cherry-dijon sauce, red tablecloth scattered with plastic hearts as a table confetti, and we each had one with our own initial. For dessert, it was chocolate fondue with pound cake, strawberries, apples and marshmallows. Tasty! The girls and I prepared the decorations:

Glitter glue!
More glue!
These became Valentine's Day Banners, which were proudly hung and danced about with.
Peanut's Valentine's banner
Goosie's Valentine's Banner
And finally, we had our Valentine's Day Dragon! The girls colored wooden hearts and then decided on this configuration. I initially thought "wreath", but out of the creative minds of babes...
Valentine's Dragon2
Valentine's Dragon
What?!! You didn't have a dragon?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Oh this blogging thing...

Obviously there will be no schedule for this! I can't say there is much to report about all the time, it's just not all that interesting! And I'm often too tired to get too creative. In addition, the weather here for the last few days was wonderful and we were outside riding bikes and taking walks and the like. Today, it's at least 20 degrees cooler however, super windy and I'm feeling it in my bones!

Nevertheless, the homestead continues. Last week I made my first loaves of Sourdough bread from my own starter. It tasted fantastic, at least to Derek and me. Too sour for the girls, I think. The picture of them do not do them justice, but the taste made up for how they looked. I used a whole wheat flour in the starter though, and it made for a very dense, somewhat chewy bread, I think. The crust was not so crusty, so I'll see if I can switch over to some white flour in the starter and see if that makes a difference. I just may make some sourdough pancakes for breakfast tomorrow as well. Sour dough loaves

I did get some knitted items finished, one thing was the baby booties for my neighbor's baby, whom we've yet to meet. Just can't schedule it right! But they turned out so cute! I love the set.
Hat and bootie set

And then it was my grandma's birthday and she wanted a coffee carafe cozy to help keep her coffee hotter, so I whipped up a plain little one with some measurements that my aunt had given me. I thought it was going on a different shaped one that I knew she had, but she bought a different one. That's ok though, this worked out fine and she was very pleased. Grandma's Coffee Carafe Cozy

We didn't get too crafty this past week either. We went to Hobby Lobby to choose some items for the dollhouse that my grandparents made for me when I was a little girl. :) Now, my girls get to play with it. That makes me very happy. While they did that, I went through every storage tote we have in the basement, condensed, sorted, organized and moved them all against one wall. I pulled out things for our garage sale that our neighborhood has in May. I found things we can use now. I made more room for the girls to play in that little room and so that Derek can once again, hopefully, start to finish off the basement. It will be so incredibly awesome when that is done-another bathroom, another family room, and eventually an office/bedroom. I hope he starts to feel motivated about that! I'm clearing out the "family room" area so that it's clear for him to start up again.

I cleaned the floors down there and later that night, the cat re-christened them. Dang cat. We moved the coffee table back to the living room since the girls are older now and can get themselves unstuck from under it. Now I just worry about them running into it and my little one coated it with something gooey this morning. I think she was milk painting. Thank you honey.

This morning we ran to the library, then Target for more pull-ups. She just won't decide to use the potty. She's completely capable. In fact, she stayed dry the whole time we were out. Let's hope she makes up her mind soon!

Other than that, I have 2 recipes for you. Old standby favorites. No pictures though, sorry!
This first one is from a grade-school friend's mom. Thanks Mrs. Kehoe, I use this one all the time:

Lemon Chicken

6 boneless chicken breast halves
3 Tbls. flour
1 Tbls. butter
1/4 c. teriyaki sauce
3 Tbls. lemon juice
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. sugar

(I cube the chicken up, often using less than 6 halves) Roll chicken in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Spray 10"skillet with cooking spray. Lightly brown chicken 5-7 minutes on each side. Remove. Stir in teriyaki, lemon juice, garlic and sugar. Add butter to melt, then add chicken back to sauce. Simmer 5 minutes (until tender), turning often. Serve over rice/noodles.

I have done this with soy sauce and brown sugar, have added ginger and green onions at the end as well. I like it with more sauce sometimes as well.

"Yellow" Cauliflower--ya know, because it's yellow...

1 head cauliflower
ground cumin
garam masala
olive oil

(optional: garlic powder, ground ginger, cinnamon)

Chop cauliflower into small florets. Put on cookie sheet or 13x9" pan in one layer. Drizzle with olive oil, just to coat. Sprinkle with seasonings to taste. (Go lightly with the turmeric! It adds a great flavor and color, but can be bitter). Adjust seasonings as needed.

Roast in oven at 425 degrees for about 25 minutes or until tender, stirring once.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Groundhog's Day

Happy Groundhog's day. Yes he saw his shadow. I think Punxsutawney Phil has glaucoma. But lately things in my life feel like the movie Groundhog's Day-its the same thing over and over and over. :) 

Well just what have I been doing? I don't know. It's all a blur. Lots of dishes...I think I need a little get away. Looking forward to the weekend because we're leaving the kiddos with grandma and grandpa and hitting a movie. I hope it's enough to recharge!

I've been doing stuff though, some knitting projects are getting done and I even did some spinning.
Close up handspun
That was rewarding! The hearts are for a gift for a woman and her kids, who needs a little boost, the yarn is for me. Finally going to make a hat/mitten/scarf combo for myself. That will be nice. Maybe when I finish them it will be summertime. :)  In addition to that, I finished the knitting on the booties I'd started forever ago. They are a super quick knit if you just sit and do them. And if you follow directions the right way and don't knit a Frankenbootie. 
Oops. She didn't mean 10 more rows, she meant 10 total. Oh, I see now, now that I finished the whole thing. Seriously, this looked ok while you were knitting it?!

We did this last week. Stuck in the snow!
Little Peanut there wasn't so happy though, she was "stuck" in the snow because it was so deep and she couldn't move. It was pretty funny, the poor thing. My brother-in-law and his girlfriend got us a Flip for Christmas and I recorded the outing. heheh

We also made these, paperbag puppet kits that Goosie got from Sally and Kirsten for her birthday. They were so cute, and Goosie even shared with Peanut, which I thought was rather sweet of her. Even mom got to play some. :)
Making puppets
Puppet bags

Today we made these:
Banana mmmmmuffins
They smelled heavenly and tasted so bad for you! mmmm But I did 1/2 wheat flour, 1/2 white flour, so that helped some. I only put a couple chocolate chips to entice Goosie to eat them.
MMM banana muffins
She's been anti-banana lately, but always wants to buy them. (She gets to choose the bunch.) The recipe is from CraftLit. You have to listen to the podcast to get the recipe right. :) She said so! 

We got hair cuts yesterday and the woman that cut mine cut it too short for "just a trim, I'm trying to grow it out." And she hurt my head so bad when she was combing me out and then put the product in my hair! It still hurts! But we do have a storm front coming in, bringing snow with it, so that's not helping. 

Other than that, pretty boring around here. See? Groundhog's Day. :)