Saturday, January 25, 2014

Kitty Cat Birthday

I love birthdays!  Actually I love planning them.  I wouldn't say that I am a great birthday planner by any means, but I do have lots of fun doing it! 

This year Sparkle turned the big 4.  She has been saying for months that she wanted a Kitty cake, so kitties were the theme this year, and I think it all turned out pretty cute.

Since her birthday fell on a Saturday this year, her preschool class celebrated yesterday.  She got to be the special helper, got a crown and a balloon.  She felt so honored.

She took these butterfly treats for her class.  I found the idea on Pinterest.  Most pinners who did this used a zip-lock baggie filled with treats, which I liked because you could put healthier things in them like grapes, pretzels, popcorn etc... Since  her school requires commercially prepared and packaged treats, I found these little bags of Jelly Belly beans and they worked just fine.  You could also use bags of M&M's or Skittles.
 Today was her party.  We haven't gotten into kid parties yet where we invite all her little friends, I don't think I am up for that just yet, maybe in a few years.  We had grandparents over for light refreshments, cake and ice cream.  
I found the cake on Pinterest also.  I loved it, but I had difficulty with the ears. I carved them from a second cake I had made and I found them impossible to frost!  I used a box carrot cake and it would have been easier with a cake that was more dense.  What I did was leave it out over night so it was a bit more crusty, it was still difficult to frost, but worked.

I love pinterest.  I found most of my ideas there and then added my own touches to them.
I loved the idea of Kitty Cat balloons, here's how ours turned out.

I just cut out the eyes, nose and ears from construction and regular paper.  I used an Elmer's craft glue that said it would work on rubber and all sorts of other materials.  I drew the mouth on because that seemed to be the easiest option, except for black cats which I cut out of pink paper and glued on.  Then I got those balloon holders which you can put on sticks.  Zurcher's was out of balloon sticks so I used dowels instead.

We also hung up signs around the room

It was a fun, festive party, but the best part was spending time together with family!

Thor really liked playing with her toaster!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Mornings and Muesli

I am most definitely a morning person. Now I'm not talking a 4 am morning person, more like 6am.  The last few years I have been really inconsistent in going to bed and getting up early.  Iron Man is more of a night owl and mid morning riser and I have gotten into that habit as well.  It is so easy to unwind with hulu at night and then sleep in,  but waking up after the kids are already up gets my day off to a bad start and I feel like I am continually just trying to catch up. 

The last two weeks I have been getting up at 6 am and I have been loving it!  I love having those 2 hours, when it's dark and quiet, all to myself.  I find that I do my most productive thinking during that time.  When I make that time productive it's amazing how much more I get done during the day. It's also nice to take time to actually get ready, do more than just comb through my hair, and even apply a little make up.

Another thing that has made my morning time more enjoyable is having breakfast already made.  I have discovered this amazing breakfast cereal that I prepare the night before.  Muesli, according to Wikipedia,  is "a popular breakfast meal based on uncooked rolled oats and other products based on grain, fresh or dried fruits, nuts, and mixed with milk, soy milk, yogurt or/and fruit juice. It was developed around 1900 by Swiss physician Maximilian Bircher-Benner for patients in his hospital. It is available in a packaged dry form, ready made, or it can be made fresh. "  I recall having the dried cereal called Mueslix or something to that effect earlier, but I was unaware of a better way of preparing it yourself.

 I came across a recipe for Muesli in one of the Happy Herbivore cookbooks by Lindsay S. Nixon.  I don't recall the exact amounts of ingredients she used, but I came up with a variation of my own.  It is now my favorite breakfast food, and I love waking up knowing I have an incredibly tasty breakfast waiting for me.  Might I add that my kids, ages 2 and 4, devour the stuff and request it all the time.

Here is the way I make it.

             1 cup rolled oats
             2 cups Almond Milk (you can use regular milk, soy, whatever)
              - combine these two ingredients in a medium bowl
             Next add 1/2 teaspoon (or more to your liking) of cinnamon and mix in well.

Now you can either put it in the refrigerator overnight and add fresh fruits in the morning (I've used bananas, and pears, but I'm sure would be good with apples, blueberries, whatever you have on hand), but my personal favorite way to prepare it is to add dried fruit now and let them soak with the oats overnight.  A good handful of raisins, cranberries, and chopped apricot (again feel free to use whatever you want).  Adding these now allows them to plump up and makes them sooooo tasty!  I have heard that you should soak your oats before eating them to get the most nutritional benefits from them, and this is such a great way to do that!  Here's to mornings and healthy eating.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Sewing.....Cute Scripture Tote Bag!

This is my very sweet yet strong willed daughter Sparkle. Sparkle was her nickname from the womb.  I was teaching a kindergarten class one day and they had asked me if I had a name for my baby girl yet.  They had plenty of suggestions for me.  One little girl said that I should name her either Sparkle or Glitter.  Sparkle kind of stuck and (as a nickname) I think it is fitting for her even now.  Anyway back to the topic at hand.  Sparkle went to Primary for the first time last Sunday! 
She has advanced from the Nursery into Sunbeams.  Sunbeams is a Sunday School class for 3-4 year olds in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Anyway, one of the goals in Primary this year is to try to remember to bring scriptures every week.  When that was announced Sparkle looked over at me (I am in Primary as the chorister) with a concerned look on her face as if to say  'but I don't have scriptures.'  I told her not to worry we could take care of that.  We have the option of getting scriptures from the church library that she can borrow, or I actually have just a simple copy of the Book of Mormon she could take.  I mean she's only 3, well almost 4, and it's not like she is going to be reading them.  Though I do think it is a good idea to get kids in the habit of taking their scriptures to class with them, whether they can read or not.

Since I have been wanting another sewing project to work on, early one morning I had the bright idea to sew her a little bag that she could take to church and carry her Book of Mormon in.  And since her birthday is coming up in a few weeks I thought it would be a good idea for a gift for her.  I was browsing online and found an excellent tutorial on making a scripture tote.  This tutorial, found here

has easy to follow, step-by-step instructions with pictures.  The author indicated that this project could be done in an afternoon even with kids demanding attention.  I think I could have done it had I not made a few mistakes.  My first mistake was in cutting.  I had a fabric pattern that when I cut the dimensions I needed, I realized that my pattern would end up the wrong way, so I had to go back and buy more fabric.  My second mistake was after I had nearly completed the project.  The bag was done, I just needed to do the final stitch around the top.  Before doing that, she recommended ironing the edge.  Not only did I iron the edge, I ironed the nylon handle and melted it.

Arrrrrggggg......I was done, and now it's ruined.  It was terrible.  But when I came to my senses I realized it was just a matter of seam ripping, putting on another handle and sewing back up.  I finally finished this afternoon.  I am really pleased with how it turned out.  Here is the finished product.  I may make a few more for me now!