Friday, March 25, 2011

Spring break

Spring break is almost over, only two more days, and I'm a little sad to see it go. I'm enjoying being lazy in the morning, not having to wake up and immediately get ready, pack lunches, and get the kids ready.

When the kids got out of school early last Thursday, I was trying to figure out what I would do with them all week. But as it turns out, it went very quickly and I feel like we were hardly home!

Meadowbrook Park

We hit the park first thing after lunch on Thursday. It was almost 70 degrees, but very windy. Several of the kids' friends from school also went to the park, where they spent over 2 hours chasing and running and playing. They were so tired they fell asleep on the way home - well, two of them did anyways.

Faye and Alex asleep after playing at the park

Friday morning we painted with watercolor paints and were just lazy around the house, then we made a trip to Toys R Us to pick up some play sand for the sandbox.

Faye painting with watercolors

Alex painting with watercolors - his favorite color is red

The kids found something they liked at the toy store...

What I want for my birthday...

Please Grandma!

They spent the rest of the day outside playing... which really wore somebody out!

sleeping on the floor under the table

Faye and I spent Saturday morning selling Girl Scout cookies. It was a little chilly, but at least it was sunny.

We met some friends at the park on Tuesday afternoon. It was a beautiful week for Spring Break! Also, Andy moved to a new office on Tuesday, so we went to see it Tuesday evening. Its not a huge office, but he has his first window EVER(technically he had a window in Minnesota, but he was in the sub-basement, so it didn't do him much good)!

Andy's new office

We went to Zorba's in Campustown for dinner that night, since it was Groovy Tuesday. It will be the last time we'll get to do that for awhile, as Wednesday morning Zorba's and several other businesses were involved in a major fire.

Wednesday I took the kids to Flanagan to see Oma, their Great Grandma. We had lunch and then went outside to play. She has this really large yard with lots of trees, so the kids kept busy picking up sticks. They had so much fun!





Faye sweeping the patio

When the kids were finally tired out, they got out their Game Boy's and showed them to Oma.
Drew showing Oma his Game Boy

I drove them over to Grandma and Grandpa's house Wednesday evening. Alex fell asleep on the way and slept until morning. He was one tired out little boy! They spent all day Thursday and Friday with Grandma and Grandpa, and had a great time!

We still have a few days left....not sure what our plans are, but we're doing something(just not early in the morning)!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Travel

For the past several months I've been working on a rather difficult, or at least time consuming project, but I've finally finished!

My weekend travel bag!


I used the Amy Butler Weekender Travel Bag pattern. The pattern was easy to follow, although quite difficult to sew. I used a very heavy home decorator cotton for the outside and the lining, and Peltex, or Timtex, which is a heavy stabilizer, almost like cardboard, on the inside. It was really difficult to sew through all those layers, but my machine made it, although several times I thought it might be the end of it. I went through several sewing needles, having two actually break while sewing, which has never happened to me before!

My cute model!
But where to put my nice clothes, when we go on vacation? In a matching garment bag! The pattern for the garment bag was found in Anna Maria Horners book, Seams to Me.


I'm ready to travel!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Catching up

I'm trying to catch up on all my sewing projects I've been working on the past few months. I have a tendency to start something, then become distracted and start something else. If I had a place to keep all my sewing it maybe wouldn't be so terrible, but for now I sew at our dining room table, and our kitchen counter is where I keep my unfinished projects. I figure it will motivate me to finish quicker, since I don't like anything on our counter, but it really hasn't been the case. I still have a project I'm working on, that is almost finished, that I started back in January. I can never seem to find time to actually finish it though.

I was able to finish Faye's pony cozy this week, but only because I sort of gave up on coming up with a really neat design, and just did something easy. She was happy to have it finished. Her My Little Ponies are ready to travel!


Here is what distracted me this week - sewing a cover for our filing cabinet, which now became our nightstand...


I made fabric covered buttons that attach to the front panel, so when we need to use the file cabinet you can easily open it.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Happy Vegan

My favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe - Happy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies!


It is not my recipe, Andy found it on vegweb.org not long after we became vegan. It quickly became a favorite recipe. I make it at least once a week, if not more, and everyone loves the cookies, even non-vegans. It can be easily changed to make cookies the way you like them. I prefer mine a little dryer and crumbly, but sometimes I make them chewy. I've made them so often over the years, I don't think I'll ever forget the recipe. Andy can't believe how quickly I can mix up a batch - I can have them mixed and on the pan ready to go into the oven long before our oven is pre-heated. Give them a try - they are delicious! No eggs in the house - not a problem with this recipe!

2 cups flour*
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar(we use raw or turbinado sugar)
1/2 cup oil, we like canola
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup water**
choc. chips(I use Ghiradelli semi-sweet)

Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Mix in the chocolate chips, however many you like, but if you get too many, the dough won't stick together well ( I know)! In a smaller bowl, mix the sugar with the oil until well mixed, then add the vanilla and the water and mix well. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry until just mixed.

Drop by the spoonful onto cookie sheets. This should make 24 cookies, or 12 per cookie sheet. Bake for 5 minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees and move the top cookie sheet to the bottom and the bottom to the top so they cook evenly. (Don't actually flip the cookies themselves, just the pans in the oven). Bake another 5 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. I now have air-bake cookie sheets, so I've had to increase the baking time to 14 minutes total, rather than 10 minutes.

*I rarely use all white flour for the cookies. You can really experiment with the type of flour you use to make the cookies the way you like them. We prefer ours with a little whole wheat flour, so I usually use 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and 1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour. When we have ground flax, I will put in 1/4 cup flax, 1/4 cup whole wheat flour, and 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour.

**To make the cookies chewier, you can increase the amount of water. I've found that by adding 2 Tbsp. or so, it makes them much chewier. Also, if you use any amount of whole wheat flour or flax, you'll need to increase the amount of water or they'll be too dry. I don't have exact measurements for the amount of water I use, since I make them so often I don't need to measure anymore.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Paper Egg Diorama and new PJ's

I wanted to find an Easter egg project for the kids since we don't do the traditional Easter egg dyeing. Honestly I think that dyed eggs look so pretty, but to a vegan they are just so wrong. So wrong! I haven't bought or used eggs in almost 7 years now, and I don't think I ever will again. Its just creepy to me, and there isn't a thing I miss about eggs. But I still want my kids to have some holiday traditions, something they can look forward to doing each year.

I like the Family Fun website, and I usually find some great craft projects for the kids, so every holiday I check it out. I found these awesome Paper Egg Diorama's!

Faye's egg

My egg

Even the boys got involved in this project, although they haven't finished their eggs yet. They spent one night playing Wii while Faye and I worked on our eggs, so we finished a day ahead of them. I have to say it was one of the most fun projects I've made in awhile. Its probably not something you'd want to do with really young kids, as it requires a little bit of skill and quite a lot of time.


Crazy boys

Here's Faye working on her egg earlier this week. Notice her new pj's I made! They are Kimono style pj's, a pattern from Oliver and S. They have ridiculously cute patterns for kids, and I'd heard so many good things about this particular pattern I had to get it.

Faye making her paper egg

It took me awhile to finish Drew's pajamas as we had a busy couple of weeks, but finally his are finished! I made size 6 and they are a little big, but he'll grow into them.


Drew calls them his ninja pjs. How cute are they?!


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Girl Scouts

I sewed Faye's very 1st Girl Scout patch on her Daisy tunic this morning. She was really excited when she received her first patch at her meeting, for selling Girl Scout cookies. She even told me, "I'm going to be in Girl Scouts as long as I can!"



We set out to deliver the Girl Scout cookies today after school, and I'm just a little bit glad that we didn't sell too many cookies, as we have to turn in the money in less than a week. We still have a few boxes to give to family members, but otherwise we've delivered all the cookies to her friends and classmates around town. Faye thought it was fun delivering cookies. I prefer eating them. So far we've(by that I mean me)finished off two boxes and have opened two more.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Goggles


It's swim lesson time again!  I thought maybe Drew would enjoy swim lessons more with goggles.  He really hates putting his face in the water and getting water in his eyes.  Faye on the other hand will jump right in, not bothered at all by the water.  She loves it!

The first day of wearing goggles went really good for Faye. She spent most of the time under the water looking around. Drew put his face in a few times, but didn't act too excited.  After class I asked him about the goggles, and he said he had water in them the whole time.  Their class is 45 minutes long and he didn't tell me or his teacher!  Only Drew!  So the second class we tightened up the goggles, and I told him to please tell me or his teacher if there was any water in his goggles.  He went under the water several times on his own, even went diving for rings under the water.