Archive for March, 2011
I was contacted by Costume Supercenter to do a review of one of their costumes. I was really excited about this because my kids love to not only play dress up but they are also very excited each year about Halloween. As soon as Halloween ends they are already planning what they want to be next year!
My daughter and I looked over the many girls dress up costumes available on the Costume SuperCenter website and were amazed at just how many choices were available! They not only have the Halloween costumes that you would expect but even St. Patrick’s Day costumes, Easter costumes and Biblical costumes for kids that would be perfect for that nativity play when you have to have a shepherd costume or else!
Alex and I talked for a while about the Historical costumes — I thought the Colonial Girl costume was really cute. But Alex has had her heart set on being a Native American Indian since last October so we looked over the selection of Indian costumes that Costume SuperCenter offers.
Alex fell in love with the Indian Girl costume because she liked the colors of the dress and the fact that it came with a matching headband. I wasn’t sure how it would look on her but we agreed that it certainly looked cute in the photo on the Costume SuperCenter site.
The costume arrived promptly and was carefully packaged. As soon as I opened it up Alex rushed to try it on. The dress was of a much better quality then I would have expected — the material, a faux suede, is very soft and Alex appreciated the fact that it wasn’t itchy like some of her dress up outfits and costumes have been in the past. The headband slips on easily and the included feather makes for a very sweet Indian princess. There is also a tie that goes around the waist and hangs down to finish off the look. The costume is very easy to get on and off and fits Alex quite well.
Alex loved the costume! She tested it thoroughly by running through the house and up and down the stairs pretending to be an Indian princess — the dress is sturdy enough that it should hold up well to being used for dress up until she can use it for Halloween later this year. She also plans to use it for the costume contest at the stable where she rides — we’re going to add some war paint for both her and her horse, along with some extra feathers and a bow and arrow and she’ll be ready to impress the judges!
Here are a couple photos of my Indian princess — doesn’t she look cute all dressed up:
Thank you to Costume Supercenter for the neat dress up/Halloween costume, Alex is looking forward to using it for dress up as well as for her Halloween costume this year — it’s just perfect!
Giblet had his surgery (neutering) the end of the last week which did not make for a happy kitten. He was so happy to be back home and with his buddy, Joel Gray, who very patiently let Giblet snuggle in for some much needed recovery time.
It’s always better to recover with a buddy who doesn’t mind if you use him as a big fuzzy pillow!
The kids and I wanted to make Irish Brown Bread this year. Since Grandma and Grandpa were coming down on Sunday for a traditional Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner we decided to make the bread to go with the dinner. (Alex is wearing blue so we can include this for Blue Monday — isn’t that thoughtful of her to plan ahead for me!)
I can remember my Grandmother talking about the Brown Bread that her mother (my Great-Grandmother Annie Finnegan) used to make based on a recipe she brought with her from Ireland. Unfortunately, the recipe was lost through the years, so I had to find one that sounded similar enough to the family stories. I decided on one that I found at FamilyFun.com because it had the whole wheat flour, oats and buttermilk that seemed to figure prominently in the family version.
* 2-1/4 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
* 2-1/4 Cups All-Purpose Flour
* 1-1/2 Cups Oats (I used the quick cooking oats)
* 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
* 1 Teaspoon Salt
* 1 Tablespoon Sugar
* 2-1/2 Cups Buttermilk
Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
Combine everything, except the buttermilk, in a large bowl and stir the ingredients with your hands. The kids thought it was really neat to get to stir with their hands — Alex said it felt so silky smooth!
Alex read each step of the recipe and we talked about the various measurements, the differences between whole wheat flour and white flour, why buttermilk tastes “funny” and the importance of baking soda.
Mac had a hard time mixing gently but we managed to keep most of the oats and flour contained!
Make a well in the mixture and pour in 1-1/2 Cups of the buttermilk. Alex knew what a well was and she took care of this part of the process for us.
Continue mixing with your hands, adding the remaining cup of buttermilk as you combine the ingredients. The resulting dough will be wet and very sticky. It was *very* sticky and the kids had a great time gushing the ingredients together!
Dust your hands with flour, shape the dough into a ball, and place it on a floured cookie sheet. It was hard to make a nicely shaped ball since the dough was so sticky to work with, even with floured hands, but the kids decided it was close enough.
With a knife, score a deep X in the top of the ball, widening it with the sides of the blade as you cut.
Bake until golden brown, about 50 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
Our bread certainly wouldn’t win any beauty contests but it tasted wonderful!
We served it with the Corned Beef and Cabbage (made in the crock pot which turns out so well!) and everyone enjoyed it. Alex ate several pieces and said that she thought Annie would be pleased that we made something so traditional in her honor. We will definitely be doing this again next year, if not before since it was a lot of fun baking together!
- Easy Irish Soda Bread recipe for St. Patrick’s Day (chicagonow.com)
- Darina’s Brown Bread for Beginners (icanhascook.wordpress.com)
- A Wee Bit O’ Irish Comfort (shaughey04.wordpress.com)
Sorry to have been quiet for a few days, I haven’t been feeling well at all.
Anyway, back to more interesting things! Tomorrow, March 12th, is Plant a Flower Day. This is a good time to start planning which seeds you want to get started indoors, as Spring is just around the corner (hopefully!).
The National Wildlife Federation has a great article about creating your own seed pots out of newspaper which is a great way to not only recycle but the kids involved in starting a garden. And Planet Green.com has a fun article that not only covers the recycling of newspaper for making seed pots but also egg shells and toilet paper rolls. We always have a lot of toilet paper roll hanging around waiting for projects so that would be a great option for the kids and I!
Some of the vegetable seeds that can be started indoors right now include:
* Broccoli (my daughter’s favorite veggie!)
* Tomatoes (my personal favorite, last year we even tried some Pink Lady that tasted really good)
* Cucumbers (which my grandmother loved to pickle every year)
* Pumpkins (never too early to start planning for Halloween!)
A couple tips that we learned last year about starting seeds:
* Be very generous with the soil you put in the seed pot (to the point that it is overflowing) but only put a small amount of soil covering the seed. And make sure you read the seed packet instructions since some seeds do not need (or like) to be covered at all!
* You need to keep the seeds where they will stay warm and where there is bright light — fluorescent is even better for germination.
* Use warm water for watering the first few days and then slightly above room temp after that. Seeds like to be pampered a bit
* Once the seeds have grown enough to have a couple sets of leaves and the danger of frost has passed they can be transplanted outside to enjoy the wonderful spring air!
The Old Farmers Almanac site has more information including a link to a chart showing the Best Planting Dates for seeds based on frost dates and the moon.
While the kids are waiting for their seeds to sprout let them decorate plant markers for when the seedlings are transplanted outside and spend some time talking about where the seeds come from before they end up so neatly packaged on a store shelf! We are going to try and save seeds this year to use next year so the kids can see, more directly, the relationship between the food they eat and the cycle that produces that food. We also grow parsley for the guinea pigs and catnip for the furballs so the kids can enjoy sharing their gardening with the “whole” family and not just the two-legged members!
And while you are thinking about all the great ways to use those fresh veggies you are going to grow this year, check out this great Tomato and Mozzarella Salad with a Twist over at Frugal Wannabe Cooks. This looks so good and there are few things I love more then the combination of fresh tomatoes and mozzarella!
So what kinds of things are planning to grow in your garden this year? Flowers? Veggies? A bit of both?
- Vegetable Seeds: When to Plant and How (plantrant.wordpress.com)
- 10 weeks from planting day! (1veggieatatime.wordpress.com)
- Start Seeds Now for Spring Planting (prnewswire.com)
- Maria Rodale: It’s Time to Start Thinking About Gardening Again! (huffingtonpost.com)
- planting (thisoldfarmhouse.wordpress.com)
- Starting heirloom seeds indoors (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
Well, it is when you’re eight and your love is a horse named Josh:
Love is simple when your eight and all you want to do is spend hours grooming and riding and giving lots of hugs to your favorite horse. It’s a shame that grown ups can make it so much more complicated — maybe we should all go hug a horse for a while!
Happy Friday Everyone!!!
Last night the kids and I went up to their school for a Literacy Night in celebration of Dr. Suess’s birthday. It was a lot of fun. There were six “bedtime stories” to listen to and then everyone had milk and cookies in the cafeteria.
We only had time to listen to three of the stories but Alex and Mac enjoyed each one.
The last story we listened to was Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss. Alex was familiar with this one but Mac said he had never heard it before. It was very funny as well as poignant in several spots — Horton is such a loyal, devoted elephant!
We didn’t have time to get to the rooms for Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner (a book we read this past winter and the kids really enjoyed), Charlie the Caterpillar by Dom Deluise, and The Bears in the Bed and the Great Big Storm by Paul Bright.
But we had a wonderful time celebrating books and reading and Dr. Suess!
If you have kids, what is one of your kids favorite childrens books? Which one is your favorite from when you were a kid or more recently?
- Happy Birthday Dr. Suess! (thecsmproject.wordpress.com)
- Dr. Seuss Day (sirjohn331.wordpress.com)
- Happy Birthday Dr. Suess! Read Across America (dsgnmomonline.wordpress.com)
- Happy 107th Birthday Dr. Seuss? (freetech4teachers.com)
- Read Across America (thehappyhousewife.com)
- “Celebrate Dr. Seuss and Read Across America” and related posts (blogs.babble.com)
Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!
It’s still early, I know, and Spring is still several weeks away — at least officially. But as I wander through my garden I see green and it makes me feel so good — those little shoots of green. The daffodils and tulips are just poking through, getting ready to make their spring debut. We even have some lovely crocus coming up — delicate little yellow and white flowers with dainty green leaves.
I love this time of year when the plants and flowers are preparing to make their first appearances — you can almost feel the sense of anticipation, of potential, that the long wait for winter to end is almost here. Every morning there are a few more signs of spring — a few more green sprouts, a bit of color (the windflowers are usually next right after the crocus), a splash of sunlight edging the garden walls.
Spring is waiting, holding its breath, just there out of reach, tantalizing in its possibilities.
As Helen Hayes put it so well — “All through the long winter, I dream of my garden. On the first day of spring, I dig my fingers deep into the soft earth. I can feel its energy, and my spirits soar.”
I can see green and my spirits are ready to soar!
- Signs of spring (doggonedmysteries.wordpress.com)
- 12 places to see beautiful spring blooms (cnn.com)
- It might as well be spring (bookmouse.wordpress.com)
- Soon .. Soon Spring will Arrive! (therunninggarlic.wordpress.com)
- March Forward (jonandphyllis.wordpress.com)
- They’re Coming!!! (daveloveless.wordpress.com)
- Tulips On My Mind (urbangardengoddess.wordpress.com)
- Ready for Spring (twicecookedhalfbaked.wordpress.com)