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I wanted a cork board for displaying V’s and T’s art, somewhere in the kitchen. The only spot it really could go would be next to the hutch by the small kitchen nook table.
I found a style of cork board that I liked but I knew I would have to change the color to match the hutch. Not a problem since we still have half a paint can of the stuff. I did some sanding and painted it in one afternoon while T was sleeping.
I don’t particularly like the look of cork. I knew I wanted to cover it with something and thought about using some kind of material, but I didn’t want anything too busy. I eventually went with burlap in a nice cream color.
How did I get the burlap on there? I wanted to remove the frame and staple the burlap on to the cork board but the frame wouldn’t come off. So plan B was using a butter knife to wedge the burlap under the frame. I glued on the material first and then did the wedging. That was the hardest part.
Now I just have to think about changing out those ugly blinds and I’ll be done in this corner of the house.
They are very unique keys. They are also hard to find. I don’t know the story of Helason keys and locks, and even if they are still being manufactured, but I do know they have an Austrian patent (it says so right on the key. You can’t miss it).
I never get eBay notifications of one listed on auction, but then one day I did. And it was for three keys. Wow! There were already a few bids on them but we were at $5. I had no idea how much they’d go for but I was willing to pay a little bit.
I won them at a little above $8, and with shipping from Canada it came to about $13. So worth it.
They arrived in their natural state of tarnished brass. Many would say I should leave them as is, keep them authentic. I say shine ‘em up, baby. I want them to sparkle. So I polished them with a concoction made up of vinegar, baking soda, and salt. Aren’t they beautiful?
They’ll tarnish again over time anyway. What am I going to do with them? I don’t know. I’ll do something with them, but right now I don’t care. They’re in my possession and that’s all that matters.
Since the relatives have been quite generous with gift giving for V and T, I decided that I wanted to make something small for them as well. On the day of Mikulaš here in Slovakia, V and T got a ton of chocolate and gifts. In addition to V giving everyone the trees we made, we gave them some ornaments also.
I found the idea on the internet (of course) of taking an ordinary cookie cutter and making it into an ornament by putting a wrapping paper-lined backing on the cutter and then hanging it with a string.
The ornaments needed to be in beautiful boxes and I had the idea to use larger-sized kitchen match boxes for holding two ornaments, and got a hold of some jewelry boxes for a single ornament that I wrapped in Christmas paper and silver ribbon.
I had extra silver snowflakes from my cut up garland so I used those as decorating the tops of the boxes. All in all they came out very nice.
Actually, I think I liked the boxes more than the ornaments.
On the way to and from school we listen to the radio in the car. We listen to top 40 radio stations and V is definitely familiar with a lot of contemporary songs. Her favorite artist is Adele and loves every song she’s heard so far by Adele.
From time to time we watch videos on Youtube, mostly the Piano Guys, some Slovak folk dance or classic dances by Debbie Renolds or Gene Kelly. This time I decided to show her the video “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele so that she could see what Adele looks like.
Here’s part of our conversation:
V: She’s sad. Why is she sad?
Me: Well, she liked this guy and he didn’t like her back, so she’s a little sad about it.
V: Oh. Well, she should take a nap.
Me: She should?
V: Yeah. When she takes a nap, maybe she’ll feel better after she wakes up.
Me: Yes, you are absolutely right.
So there you have it. Sage advice from a 3-year-old. When you’re sad or not feeling your usual chipper self, take a nap and you’ll probably feel better when you wake up.
Today the family and I went to Goat Hill Farm outside of Los Gatos, off of Highway 17. They were having a small antique festival. I picked up a few antique charms I want to use for a little craft project. I wasn’t going to get anything but then I saw a groschen coin as a charm and knew I had to have it for a piece of wall art I’m making with a Vienna theme.
Best of all, they had a guest speaker who is an amazing lady and a huge inspiration to me. Cathe Holden has been combining antiques and vintage ephemera with crafting for many years and she came to show us a few of her items as well as talk about how she uses vintage finds to make things. Check out her website and you will be amazed at the work she does and the amazing amount of materials she shares with everyone.
Next Saturday I’m off to Petaluma for the Art Is You workshop. Incidentally, Cathe will be teaching a class there too. I’m not attending that one because it’s on Friday and IM is working, but I will be taking a class that demonstrates collaging and how to use bees wax as a glaze.
I can’t wait!
I’ve tried, I really have. I’ve tried to keep V’s interests in princesses to a minimum. We’ve got book and read stories of Cinderella and other princesses but I’ve stayed away from buying her princess dresses — until now. Here’s what happened.
We moved to a new house and the previous owners have a little girl. Their mail has been forwarded except for the magazines and catalogs (I guess the post office doesn’t forward those) so we get a steady supply of kid-centric catalogs like Pottery Barn Kids, One Step Ahead, Highlights, etc. We also got a catalog with nothing but Halloween costumes. V was flipping through that one and discovered the page with all the Disney princess costumes in it. Oh man!
Cinderella, and Aurora, and Belle, and Rapunzel. And the matching shoes! Well, as you can imagine that catalog has been stuck to her hand like glue. She wants one so badly. What am I to?! Check out the situation on eBay, that what.
Ok, so it seems that if I give in, I wouldn’t have to pay $50 for a costume with matching shoes. On eBay I found lots of princess costumes being sold. I could theoretically find one, gently used of course, and pay all together about $25. I think I could do that.
The thing is, I already have a Halloween costume for V. Two years ago when she was 1, I found the cutest astronaut costume at Costco. And IM who is not a big fan of spending money on frivolous stuff like Halloween loved that “cosmonaut” costume, as he calls it. I haven’t taken a picture of it, but I found one of someone else’s kid in that costume. Pretty cool, I say.
Well, it’s looking like Cinderella or Aurora will be front and center this Halloween. Maybe T can be the Astronaut in 2 more years.
The concept of pop tarts is a nice one. It’s a crust on the outside with a sweet filling, most often a fruit filling, inside. In reality, store bought pop tarts are usually too sweet, bland (aside from the sugar), contain almost no real fruit, and have little to no protein.
My mom never bought pop tarts for us when I was little, thank goodness, but the idea is something that has appealed to me, both as a kid and as an adult.
Over the last two years or so, I’ve been looking for a good recipe for making home-made pop tarts. I’ve been searching for and trying different recipes I’ve found online but have been only disappointed. I tried this recipe but the butter content was too high and when I ate one I got a stomach ache — something that rarely happens. In the comment reviews I read for that recipe someone suggested halving the butter and adding a flax seed-water mix. I liked the idea of adding flax seed. And why not add some wheat germ too.
If I could make a pop tart I’d want it to be healthful, filling, non greasy, and just sweet enough without being sugary. I’d want the crust to be more of a pastry-bread consistency rather than a greasy pie crust.
So I’ve decided to put together my own recipe based on my experiences with cookies, breads, and cake recipes, and what I think would taste good as a pop-tart. A couple of weeks ago I took four recipes — two for pop tarts I found online, one for a sweet bread, and one for a cookie dough — printed them out and got to work creating the best combination. Since I wanted the highest protein content possible, I went with whole-wheat flour, flax seed, and wheat germ. I added some sugar to the dough to make it slightly sweet but stayed away from butter and instead went with a small amount of canola oil.
After I created the crust, I thought about fillings. I wanted to try mixed berries, apples with honey and crushed walnuts, and a Nutella-banana combination.
I thought about brushing on an egg wash on top and then sprinkling a bit of cinnamon-sugar, but I decided that since these are meant to be held in a hand (by little kids who may or may not be eating one in the car on the way to school), I wanted them dry and not dropping sprinkles all over the place.
I made the dough, rolled it out and filled them. After they baked I noticed they were very large so made a note for the next time to make them smaller. The taste? Delicious. The crust portion was made using mainly a sweet bread recipe. I used yeast so the crust puffed slightly.
The family tried all three fillings and the absolute hands-down winner was the Nutella-banana.
I think I’ve succeeded in making something that is filling and nutritious enough that you wont feel guilty by eating one. And taking one in the car works pretty well, for mom or child.
Another day I made them again and tried nectarines with walnuts and honey as a filling.
The plan is to make enough to be able to keep some in the freezer and warm them up as needed. I have frozen pancakes, frozen waffles, why not frozen pop tarts?
The recipe will follow.
Yesterday V asked me if she could eat sprinkles. I told her no, sprinkles were for decorating cakes or cupcakes, so she asked me if we could make cupcakes.
Sigh. I’ve been trying really hard to watch what I eat to lose my pregnancy weight, but what can you do when your kid wants to make cupcakes with you? And not just any cupcakes, but ones that can hold sprinkles, which must mean chocolate frosting on the top.
So I went online and found a recipe for cocoa bran muffins that looked very good. These were nice because the recipe called for bran, wheat germ, and whole wheat flour, and then honey for the sweetener. It also called for a small spoon of raspberry jam in the middle of the muffin. I thought that was a nice touch.
V and I made the “cup cakes”, I frosted them, and then she put on the sprinkles. They came out really well! The muffin part is not sweet at all and so the bit of raspberry really adds something. And these definitely needed the chocolate frosting.
And I’ve figured out the frosting part so that it’s super easy. One heaping tablespoon powdered sugar, one heaping tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, and a bit of milk to mix it all. That’s it. It was just enough to spread over my 12 muffins.
While the kids slept this morning I had these for breakfast (at 8:30am T just fell asleep for his first AM nap, and V was sleeping in). I had no guilt about eating two of these. They’re not overly sweet, stuffed full of bran, and lightly covered with chocolate frosting and sprinkles. Yum!
Chocolate bran muffins
- 1/3 cup plain yogurt
- 1 cup milk
- 1 eggs, beaten
- 2/3 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups natural bran (oat bran or wheat bran)
- 1/2 cup wheat germ
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1/3 cup raspberry preserves, divided
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and grease muffin tins.
- In a large bowl, mix the yogurt with the milk. Mix in the beaten egg, honey and vanilla.
- Add the bran and wheat germ, mix and let stand for several minutes to absorb the liquids.
- Into another bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. Stir together well.
- Add to the wet mixture and stir only until combined.
- Drop mixture into muffin tins until 1/3 full.
- Add 1 heaping teaspoon raspberry preserves to the middle of each muffin tin.
- Top with remaining muffin batter until each tin is 3/4 full.
- Place the muffin tins on a baking sheet and bake 15-20 minutes, until muffins have a firm feel and slightly springs back when lightly touched.
- Let cool 5 minutes in the tins, then turn out and let cool completely on a wire rack.