Archive for June, 2009

Summer “Go-To” Gifts

My kids are invited to many summer birthday parties. I am a big fan of personal, hand-made items. Each season, calls for something fresh and new. Something that is as much fun to make as it is to receive. This season, for girls, it’s beach towels.

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Inspired by a tutorial from Anna Maria Horner. I made one towel using her easy-to-follow directions and then modified the pattern to make it even more easy and brainless so I can whip these out in no time. This seems to be the perfect gift for the newly nines since they love going to the pool in packs and carrying one’s own stuff is very cool.

And for the upcoming first graders, nothing beats a number shirt. This has been a birthday stand-by of mine for years.

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With name embroidered on back for the first day of school — so the teacher can learn your name quickly.

Now if only I could come up with an easy and acceptable gift to make for 11 and 12 year old boys. I am open to any and all suggestions.

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More Little Dudes

I finished knitting the rest of Harry Potter’s companions.

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Now there are Ginny, Ron, Harry (minus his glasses which were immediately lost), and Hermione.

Ron and Hermione went to live with two of Mojo’s friends. They are busy writing back and forth to each other in character (Mojo is Ginny). I guess that makes me Mrs. Weasley which makes sense.

My home is very much like The Burrow — messy, chaotic, and patched together in places. Alas, we don’t have the magic. What I wouldn’t give to be able to wave a wand and have cleaning happen. Like today, when I had the kids clean their room. I’m sure they’d compare me more to Aunt Petunia or Voldemort than Mrs. Weasley. But, hey, I guess being a witch was just being in character.

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Bubbling Bubba

Meet my latest kitchen experiment — sourdough starter which I have affectionately named Bubba.

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I made Bubba from scratch out of two simple ingredients — water and flour. I feed Bubba everyday. I sniff and examine him to determine whether he’s thriving or dwindling. I read about how to make him more hearty and hale. In a way, it’s like raising a child or at least like developing a long-term relationship. And it’s a relationship with give and take. In return for my care, Bubba has given me sourdough biscuits and sourdough flapjacks. I’m going to put him to work on some bread this afternoon.

I’m hoping this is a relationship that last and yields many delicious results. I hope he doesn’t turn sour and get all stinky. If that happens, we’ll have to break up and he’ll be so outta here. In the meantime, I’m enthralled with my Bubba.

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To The Races!

Last weekend we took the kids to the horse races.

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It was fun to look at the horses and jockeys and see if we could pick the winners.

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We sometimes won.

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But, mostly, we lost. We didn’t make big bets, only a few $2 ones. After a couple races we decided to just bet among ourselves. We bet for things like the winner gets breakfast in bed or an extra 15 minutes of Lego Star Wars. That was lots of fun.

We were all amused by the names of some of the entrants, too. One horse was named Psycho Path. He threw his jockey at the gate and dashed for the barn just seconds before the race began. We decided he was aptly named. My kids kept hoping another horse would come along with a name like “Big Million Winner” but we had no such luck.

In the end we came home $6 poorer but a grand time was had by all.

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Jump!

How to use up all that energy?

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Ready, set, jump!

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And jump, and jump, and jump until your little legs just can’t do it any more.

Bedtime, now! Someone will sleep well tonight!

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Goose Egg Quiche

I’m on a roll with trying new and strange foods. I saw goose eggs for sale over the weekend. They were kind of pricey at $3.50 for one but I just HAD to have one. It was so big — here’s a photo next to a normal chicken egg.

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I debated whether to fry it or scramble it or bake it in a cake. In the end, I decided on quiche. First, I carefully made holes in each end of the egg and blew the egg out. Why? To keep the shell intact, of course! It will go in the science cabinet next to the ostrich and emu egg. See, there’s more to my madness than just cooking.

I measured the egg (more science!) — it was almost 2/3 cup. A egg from one of our hens is just shy of 1/4 cup. The yolk was bright orange — even more so than our free-range eggs. To make the quiche, I added 3 of our eggs to the scrambled goose egg.

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They were all mixed together with some milk and salt & pepper and poured into a pie crust covered with swiss cheese, sausage, garlic scapes and garden-fresh kale. After baking for 40 minutes, we have delicious goose egg quiche!

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I can hardly wait for dinner.

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Adventures in Eating

Guess what we had for dinner a few days ago. Tongue.
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Looks gross, eh? I saw it at a local farmers market — organic, grass fed beef tongue. I have always been curious about this cut — knowing that tongue was considered a delicacy at one time. I wondered whether it really was tasty. I felt brave and renegade-like buying something so hideous with the intent to cook and eat it. My kids almost retched when I showed them what was for dinner. I cooked it in a crock pot all afternoon with some peppercorns, parsley and a sliced onion. After skinning it, it looked much more appetizing. Underneath the disgusting, hairy-looking skin is, well, muscle which is pure meat. I sliced it and tossed it in a skillet with some sauteed onion and taco seasoning.

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We ate it rolled in homemade corn tortillas. Delicious! The kids even rated “tongue tacos” as a 9.5 on the yummy-food grading system we have (10 is best!). It didn’t hurt that they had faux-margaritas with their tacos.

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Hey, I am not above bribery to get them to try new foods. This time, it worked.

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