Monday, November 26, 2012

TAT: Hobbies

Once again, I'm linking up with Growing Up Geeky & Goin' Bananas! for the Toddle Along Tuesday. I'm pretty inconsistent about it, but I suppose that's life, right? I'm trying.

I have way too many hobbies. Seriously. Depending on my mood, I knit, sew, craft, write, photograph, paint, build, design, and more. I just love making things. From Pay It Forward gifts, to Holiday exchanges, to just random undertakings (or overtakings). Of course, sometimes, I get a bit carried away. Thankfully, Doug seemed to take most of it in stride.

Over the past year, I've knitted a blanket and a few scarves.

I've felt crafted bunches of bows & even bow-tie onesies. (Feel free to check out my tutorial here.)

And I've sewn. Lord, how I've sewn.From purses to pillows, luggage tags to little dresses and vests to hooded towels. I can't even begin to remember all the little things I've sewn this year. Keira's couch to say the least.

But I'll be honest, I lose interest. After I've made 4 dresses, I want to make something else. Anything else. That's when the paper crafts & random crafts come in. Like my fabric binder clips that sit on my desk at work.

I also love to refinish things. Like this car that was given to us by my sister. Keira loved it instantly. I prefer it painted. I just need to give the red another coat and finish off the tires.

My latest craziness ambition is on a grander scale. It started with our new headboard (another tutorial, if you're interested). I love it and I loved making it. It really gives me such a sense of fulfillment to make things.
I've got more projects planned for this winter and even the coming spring (too darn cold to be painting stuff during winter in New England) that I'm really excited to tackle. Some painting, some sewing, and I can't wait to get started.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thankful Thanksgiving

I'm sitting at my computer typing while I eat a slice of the pumpkin cake I made this morning, reflecting on this post. I have so many things to be thankful for: Doug & Keira, our families & friends, our health, our home, our jobs, and so much more. Speaking of which, I am fortunate to be employed at a company that goes an extra step for their employees. They gave each of us a turkey to show their appreciation for the work we do. Because of this, I decided I wanted to have our own Thanksgiving dinner at our house. It was pretty last minute so almost everyone we know already had plans, but my younger sister was happy to join us after she got off work.


This was my kitchen this morning. Squash, canned pumpkin, cool whip, pans all over the place. I tried to do as much prep work ahead of time as I could. Keira "helped".

I decided to attempt the Ultimate Crockpot Mashed Potatoes. Doug peeled and cut, then I tossed them in. I also decided to prep the remaining ingredients. It made it a lot easier when it came time to mash. No measuring, just dump it in and mix it up. They turned out really well. In fact, I really liked them. Tomorrow, we'll see how they reheat.

(also, dry erase will smudge off in handling)

The turkey was cooking, sides on the stovetop...

and Keira was playing with my phone. (Look, Mom! She's got socks and shoes still on!)

Before long, it was time to take the bird out of the oven. Look at how great it came out! Would you believe I've never cooked a turkey before? I even had turkey-panic last night, thinking about how I had no idea what I was doing.

Since it was just the three of us, we opted to just put everything out buffet-style.

 Sadly, Keira was having an off day. I gave her a little bit of everything, hoping she'd at least pick something to eat. My normally good-eater had little bit of cranberry sauce & a couple black olives. And a popsicle. Something tells me her teeth are bugging her again.

 Since most of my pans were being used, the cabinet was quite roomy and Keira decided to occupy herself by playing inside it.

For dessert, I made brownies and a luscious four-layer pumpkin cake. I've made it before and I love it. Especially the frosting.

 Want to know something else I'm thankful for? I'm going to bed with my kitchen looking like this. The dishes are all done & put away. The food is all in storage in the fridge. The counters have all been cleaned and the floor vacuumed.

Good night and Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Pajama Makeover

Keira recently discovered that she can get out of her clothes. Obviously, this has been causing me a bit of frustration. Mainly, because it's winter and oh, about 40 degrees outside. Second, because she isn't potty trained yet. Or maybe those are backwards. Whatever.

Keeping socks and shoes on her has ever been hopeless, but now pants practically need to be fastened with duct tape. For a while, I was able to keep her in her one-piece pajamas and not worry about it. Then she figured out the zipper. Feel free to sigh along with me. Some friends, who are already dealing with this,have been putting onesies over the pajamas. While onesies work great during the day for at least keeping her half dressed, I was reluctant to add extra layers to her while sleeping. Another Doug trait, she's a furnace when she sleeps. I'll admit, I'm jealous.

I remember having two-piece footed pajamas as a child and so began searching the internet. Nothing. Carter's was pretty much the only ones I found mention of even making them, but they haven't made any for a while. So I decided to make some myself.

I took one of her pajamas and cut it in half at the waist. I used a zig-zag stitch to close the zipper and added a small hem. I added four snaps, two in front and two in back. (yes, I know, it's crooked.)

There are big gaps, which can be made smaller by using more snaps, but I wanted to test this out before going 'whole hog'.

The verdict: She slept through the night. And the next night. And she can't get them off. Win!

November Showers

It's no secret that Keira loves water.

For awhile now, I've been using our handheld shower to wash her and get her used to showering. She still get to play in the tub on occasion, but she seems to actually prefer the shower now.

We were recently discussing it with some friends. At our next get together, they passed down the dolphin shower they had used with their daughter. How stinkin' cute is he?

He mounted right onto the diverter we use for the handheld with no problem and in about two minutes.

He's the perfect height and she loved it. I loved it as well because I didn't have to hold it the whole time.

My silly little fish.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Chocolate Covered Jello Shots

As my usual, I got an idea and what results looks less like a "train of thought" and more like a 15 car pile up on a freeway. With some livestock thrown in for good measure. Are you picturing cows? Chickens? Good, let's move on.

Chocolate covered Jello shots.

At some point or another in their lives, most people have had Jello shots. Some good, some horrible, but those bright colored little cups are usually a welcome addition to a party. While Jello has only produces a few extra flavors through the years, there's been a significant increase in flavored alcohol, allowing for a vast array of recipes.

Though I'm sure most of you already know, the classic, super-easy Jello shot is made by replacing the cup of cold water with vodka. However, a few minutes on the internet and you will be completely overloaded with possible recipes. From drink-inspired Cosmopolitans to holiday-themed Jellied Eyeballs to jalapeno-infused Fire Breathing Dragons, the list can seem is endless.

Don't ask how the idea popped into my head. It just did. So of course, I had to attempt it.

Step 1. Make chocolate shells

 Step 2. Distract offspring

 Step 3. Fill with Jello shot & place in fridge

I still had a good amount of Jello left. Several of the recipes I'd come across used coconut milk. Since I had some on had, I figured I'd give it a shot and see what happened.

The verdict: They were actually pretty easy to make, just a bit time consuming. The coconut milk taste was barely noticeable. However, the 99 Bananas liquor I used was definitely not a good idea. While it did heighten the flavor of the strawberry banana Jello, it was too strong for my tastes. (I don't like to actually taste the alcohol.)