Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Letter To My Daughter On Her Birthday

Happy second birthday Little Girl!

You are my child of extremes, my saint and my sinner. Strong willed is and understatement!

You love your brother and want to do everything he does at the exact moment he is doing it. At the same time you don't let him push you around and that will serve you well in life.

Your favorite foods are pizza, fresh pick raspberries and waffles. You also love to steal sips of my coffee even though you have no need for caffeine. Your favorite book is the baby body part book. You love your cowboy boots.

I don't think you feel fear when it comes to testing your body's and gravity's limits. You love to jump off just about anything whether we are ready to catch you or not.

We are told how beautiful you are almost every time we go out, but you refuse to let me take a picture of you smiling- or your face for that matter. You are beautiful even when you are pouting.

You love your baby dolls, but not one in particular, and get excited when you see horses, dogs, cats, and big trucks. You love having your toe nails painted and desperately want to wear earrings. You have been banned from using crayons, pens, pencils and markers unless you are under direct supervision because you love to decorate any flat surface that isn't paper.

You are my spitfire, hellion and stick tight. I cant imagine our lives without you. We love you so much!!

Happy birthday little bean.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bubble Party

This past Saturday we celebrated my daughter's second birthday with a bubble party. I made two homemade bubble solution recipes, giant bubble blowers, a human bubble and bought a ton of bubble blowers from the dollar store.

Here is the bubble skirt I made using the new Children at Play fabric from Michael Miller. So easy to make! I will try and post what I did to make it later this week, but trust me it was really easy!

Love the cowgirl boots!

We also tried our hand at bubble painting. I read that you just take water soluble paint, add baby shampoo and water, but I think my version had a tad too much water. The kids had fun blowing bubbles into the solution and then you put a piece of paper on top and the bubbles pop on top. Going to try this one again on a rainy day - less messy than finger painting.

Here is a small portion of the bubble paraphernalia. Thanks Dollar General for having all your summer stuff 50% off.

I also tried cake pops - don't try and make these with small kids. The mixing part was good for them to help but the melted candy part... not so good. I did use peanut butter instead of frosting to hold them together and that was yummy!

This is the tutu I made her. I would post a tutorial but I think there are about tthree million out there on the interwebs, so go find one of those. They are really easy and the only thing I did slightly different was not sew the elastic together but opted to add a satin tie on the ends of the elastic.

This was my view of the present opening chaos.
I love her expression in this picture. Grandma got her a real pretty that she will get to enjoy when she is older and has outgrown (or broken) all her toys.

There isn't a picture of it but we also fried whole chickens (no, not my pet chickens) as the food. We could fit two into the turkey fryer and they took about 20 minutes to cook. They were sooooo good. So good in fact that the crowd may not have noticed that chicken and cake was all we made to eat.

Here is a link to the one of the bubble solutions we tried and how to make those big bubble blowers.

We also tried this and it worked but eventually the pool got dumped because it turned into a swimming pool and apparently a pool filled with soap and young children doesn't mix too well (especially in the eye area). Also want to try this again. I am bummed that I didn't get to take the kids pictures inside a bubble.

Here is the other bubble solution/giant bubble blower tutorial I referenced. This solution didn't work as well for me, maybe because the cornstarch didn't dissolve.

I think the bubble party was a hit, especially with the birthday girl. This may also be the only party where the kids left cleaner than when they arrived, or maybe just ready to be cleaned since they were completely covered in a thin layer of soap.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

My Monochromatic Flock

We got two new Silver Laced Polish hens (hopefully hens)! All our chickens are some variation of black and white. Not something I planned but they do look pretty all together.

The two new ones are still teenagers and going through their awkward stage. 

We named one Stewart, after one of my favorite Polish ladies, Martha Stewart. I couldn't go with Martha because that is my grandma's name and she might not take too kindly to that.

The other one is named Bock as in the sound a chicken makes - bock bock bock

They are insane looking and we already love them!

Crock Pot Italian Beef

Looking for a quick and amazing meal to serve at your next family reunion or birthday party. MAKE THIS. It is soooo good, I can't even begin to tell you how good it is. My friend Jayna gave me the recipe. Here is her email that she sent me while I was in NY on how to make it - word for word.

Cracks me up every time I read it.

**Please note that If I'm serving this for lunch, I start this about 8pm the night before).

-big piece of beef (rump roast or whatever)
-2 packets of dry Italian seasoning (the kind you use to make your own Italian dressing.
-1 jar of pepperoncini's.  You can use whole or cut.  If you use whole, you need to slice them yourself
-random dry Italian seasonings found in your cupboard (parsley, basil, etc)
-Salt and pepper

-sliced provolone


You'll need a crock pot.  Put the giant beef in the crock pot and fill with water leaving about 2 inches without water. It's okay if the water doesn't completely cover the beef.  It's important to note that I cook this with the fat on the beef.  Sarah, I can only imagine how grossed out you're going to be, but don't worry, you'll take off the fat later.  Turn crockpot on high.  Dump in peppers, juice, seeds and all. If you're slicing your own peppers, the juice inside the peppers is especially tasty.  You need to slice off the tops and discard.  Empty packets of Italian seasonings into water.  Put in some salt and pepper.  Look through your cabinet to see what other Italian seasonings you have.  NOT a bay leaf.  Not that its Italian, but you don't want that sh!t in there anyway. I suggest parsley, basil...things you would put on your pizza.

Bring up to temperature (you know...hella hot). Lid on.  Turn down to whatever temp is good on your crock pot for an overnight cooking.  When you wake up the next day, turn the beef over.  Cook for remaining time on medium or so with lid on.  About 2 hours prior to serving, you can pull the fat off the beef.  Do this before pulling apart the meat.  It should come off pretty easily in one or two pieces. I know, gross.  At this point you can take 2 forks and pull the beef apart in big chunks.  Right before serving, shred even more, right in the crock pot. In Chicago it's customary to dip the bun right into the juice, but're out East and I'm sure they're not cool with that.

Serve and enjoy!!
When I made it I didn't have to flip the meat and I missed the whole part about turning the temperature down and it still turned out great. 
Here is a printable version without Jayna's commentary. Now go and make this and your family will be very happy.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Our Potato Project - Part Three

While I was in NY our regular potato sprouted some roots and started to grow. I guess there goes our theory on conventional potatoes not growing. The only reason we got it to grow was because I was lazy and didn't throw it in the trash before we left.

Granted, I am not sure I want to eat a piece of food that took over a month to do what the organic sweet potato did in two weeks. Maybe it had to soak for over a month to get rid of the chemical on it (??).

Here is the proof for your viewing pleasure. The organic one is on the left. They have outgrown their water cups and we are going to head to the thrift store to get planters for them. I am hoping that is what I am supposed to do with them now!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

We Survived Camping.

Hope everyone enjoyed their holiday weekend. We braved a 6 hour car ride to do some back (and I mean BACK) country camping near Gunnison. It was so beautiful and so exhausting. Ever try sharing a sleeping bag with an almost two year old???

Can you see the elk?

mmmm Marshmallows 

This was right outside our tent!

My two little camping monsters.

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