Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Doily Dress Invitations

Hello again! This time I finally have more of a crafty project rather than a foodie one.  

I am now a leader in the Young Women program in our church ward and was put in charge of doing up the invitations for this year's New Beginnings night. It's basically just to welcome any new Young Women who are moving up that year, for those of you not of my faith who may have no idea what I'm talking about. Anyway...

I wanted something feminine - but also simple and not too extravagant and time-consuming since I was leaving for Chloe's surgery and didn't have tons of time the week before.

I decided on these pretty paper doilie dresses. They were not too complicated, but looked fancier than they really are because the doilies are lacy. I also love that I could do all different colors without adding lots of work.

You just need some circular paper doilies (mine were 10 inches), cardstock in various colors (12 inch square works well), and ribbons and small beads that co-ordinate with the cardstock colors.

Take one doilie and fold one side over - not in half... Maybe a third? Turn it so the fold is at the top (longer side underneath).

Take one corner and fold it over so it doesn't quite line up with the other corner, making sure the folded edge stays lined up.

Then you'll need to make a template for the bodice. If you wanted it to be a sleeveless dress you can simple cut a heart and cut off a bit from the sides. I added cap sleeves to mine.

Trace that onto another doilie. I used the center, non-lacy part. Fold the corner of the skirt part down a bit  so the resulting edge is the width of the waist of your "bodice" piece. You can trim the folded over corner off.

Glue the two pieces together how you want them. Then glue the whole dress to your desired cardstock. Make sure you glue ALL of it well. You might have to use some glue to tack down the top layers of the skirt down.

Then cut carefully all around the edge of the dress. Use some ribbon to embellish the waistline. Using some white or tacky glue, glue some beads onto the front of the bodice.

Then you can type up and print (or free-hand) the info you need, cut it out (maybe with scrapbook edging scissors?) and glue it to the back. Voila!

Aren't they dainty and darling?

Foodie Friday - Corn chip salad

I recently tasted a corn chip salad that I thought all of you might love to try. We had a potluck and also a picnic/BBQ for church and a friend of mine brought the same salad to both events. And, would you believe it, it was the hit of the party -BOTH PARTIES. It went like hot cakes and everyone (including myself) raved about it for days.

My husband told me I NEEDED to get that recipe ASAP. I was a little shocked at how SIMPLE it was. Only FOUR ingredients! And so fast to assemble.

All you need is one bag of corn chips (Frito or Old Dutch work great), Catalina dressing, 1/2 a red onion (chopped), and 1/2 a green/red pepper (chopped). Throw the pepper, onion and corn chips in a bowl, add dressing to your taste and mix. Easy peasy, mountain breezy! Trust me, your taste buds will thank me.

It is great to take to a picnic and tastes great with BBQ. But if you are going to do that just bring the ingredients (pre-chopped) and combine them when you are ready to eat so it doesn't get soggy. The leftovers might get soggy too - but we wouldn't know because there are NEVER any leftovers to test that theory! Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Strawberry Limeade Concentrate

 I found this Strawberry Limeade Concentrate recipe from Simple Bites via Pinterest and had to give it a try -after all, I had some strawberries from the garden that were getting a little too ripe.  It's pretty tasty.  I would tweak the recipe a bit -just that I would either add more cubes to the same amount of water, or just add less water than the recipe calls for.  It wasn't strong enough in my books.  But once I added more concentrate, I liked the results.  And it was super simple which is always a plus.  And for some reason I forgot to get a photo of the juice mixed up.  Darn!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Surgery updates

For those of you who are interested, here is some surgery updates for you.

Monday they took her in at 7:20am. She was so brave. Daddy took her in when they put her to sleep. I had a hard time waiting outside -I'm used to being the automatic go to for hospital stuff, but she is old enough to ask for someone and asked for daddy. I was a little hurt but not too much. She's a daddy's girl.

By 1:30pm surgery was done and she was in the PICU for us to see. I didn't put a picture up here of her with the breathing tube because it might be a bit scary if you're not used to it (or even if you are).

She would not settle for very long at a time. They tried turning up the sedation and morphine but she was unhappy and trying to pull at the breathing tube. Which scared the heck out of me. So instead of fighting her on it, they turned it down til she was trying to wake up a bit and then took the tube out at 6:30pm! What a super star! Usually it takes a day or so to extubate them. And even after that they didn't have to keep her on oxygen that long either.

She was just flying through this recovery. We were all amazed. Without past experiences with the girls' heart surgeries, it has always taken longer than we thought. They say 7-10 days in the hospital but we are always here longer. This time we will be out (almost) for sure tomorrow!

By Thursday she had all the chest tubes out, pacing wired out and all but one IV line out. She was sitting up to eat, walking to the bathroom and being great.

We probably would have been out of the hospital yesterday, but she had thrown up a few times and they wanted to make sure she was ok. We have been cleared now and we think it was probably the morphine that upset her stomach. They had been giving her zofran (like extra strength gravol) before the morphine, but had stopped that because they thought she was doing ok with it. She's been fine ever since.

Now she is off all her meds except Tylenol and a baby aspirin a day to prevent the conduit they put in from clotting.

Go, Chloe, go! You are an amazing example to me of strength and resilience. I cannot believe your strength and how your remain so happy through out this. Love you do much!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Foodie Friday -Apple Crisp

Here's a little taste of what else has been going on in my kitchen lately.  A good friend has had the same problem with her apple trees that I have had with my zucchini plants -an over abundance of fruit.  Hence this next culinary adventure -apple crisp.  Ok, so it's not really much of an "adventure" since I've made apple crisp loads of times before (it being one of my all time favorite desserts).  But humor me, ok?  Actually, one thing you may not know about me is that me and apple crisp go way back.  Practically every year in my childhood I asked for apple crisp for dessert on my birthday.  Now that's loyalty right there.

 It also gave me an excuse to get out this nifty gadget we inherited from Paul's aunt.  It cores, peels and slices the apples all at the same time!  All you do is stick the apple on those spiky things and turn the crank.  Awesome!

 Two essentials you will need for any good apple crisp are brown sugar and cinnamon -and LOTS of them!

 I sliced enough apples to fill a 9x13 inch baking pan.  In between every couple of layers, I sprinkled brown sugar and cinnamon.

Then make your topping and sprinkle it evenly on top. 

 Bake and enjoy!  Nothing better than warm apple crisp with vanilla icecream.  But I also enjoy mine as breakfast (*GASP!*).  Yes, I pour milk over it in a bowl and eat it for breakfast ... not the best example of healthy eating for my kids to model, but nobody's perfect. 

 Apple Crisp Topping:

1 c flour
1 c oats (quick oats)
1c + a little Brown sugar
1 c (2 sticks) margarine

Mix dry ingredients.  Cut in margarine.  Mix with your fingers until crumbs are the size of peas.  Sprinkle over your apples in a 9x13 inch pan.

Bake uncovered at 375 F for 50-55 minutes (or until apples are tender and crisp is lightly browned). 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Dinosaur Party -Pinata

 Ok, so I am kind of  REALLY delayed in posting this birthday pinata I made for Carter's party (which was in July), but I had kind of forgotten about it after I did that LONG post on the T-Rex cake. 

Anyway, my boy wanted to have a DINOSAUR birthday party so I made this Shonisaurus pinata.  For those of you who don't know what a Shonisaurus is, it's an ocean dwelling reptile that lived in the time of the dinosaurs.... don't worry, I wouldn't know either if I didn't have a future paleontologist on my hands.  Haha. 

I used a balloon for the basic form.  I started by doing a bunch of layers of papier mache on the balloon. Then used crushed newspapers and LOTS of masking tape to construct the tail and snout.  I attached these to the balloon shaped body with masking tape.  Then attached some string to make a handle.  Finally, after more layers of papier mache, I painted it and added the fins using lightweight cardboard (cereal boxes).  Carter loved it.  I doubt anyone else knew what it was -they probably figured I didn't know what color dolphins are supposed to be.  LOL.  But they had fun beating it to death (yes, morbid, I know...)

Oh, and I almost forgot the most important step -cut an opening and STUFF it to the gunnels with candy and tiny toys (dinosaurs),  Hope you like it as much as I liked making it!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Edmonton So Far

We have been keeping busy, my little Curly Top and I.  After her Pre-Kindergarten orientation, we flew out to Edmonton.  Here we are on her very first airplane ride (or rather, the very first one she can remember).  She was THRILLED to be on that plane, let me tell you.  She was giddy and giggly and didn't want to get off when we landed.  She was practically dancing in her seat from the moment we sat down til about half way through the flight.

Then we checked in at the Ronald McDonald House ("the Donald House" as Chloe calls it).

We love it here!  We visited with family (my cousin and his family) and then went back to the House to rest up.  We had to be at the Hospital at 7am!! Yikes!  So here is Chloe -bleary eyed and bored and hungry.  Wednesday was spent mostly at the hospital for the Pre-Admission Clinic (PAC).  This involves all kinds of tests (chest x-ray, ECG, echo, blood work) and consults (social worker, surgeon, fellow/resident, anesthetist, physio therapy, etc).  Here is early in the morning....

And here she is after opening the little gift Nanny sent her to open at the hospital!  She loved this crown and insisted on wearing it even for her chest x-ray.  The nurses adored her and she was thrilled every time they called her Princess Chloe.  Actually, when she had her echo done they let her pick a movie to watch.  She picked Little Mermaid and told everyone she WAS Ariel.  She even got a "friend" Jelly fish beanie baby during her ECG so that kind of added to the Princess Ariel thing going on.  Haha.  Too funny.

The next day was her MRI and 3D echo.  Unfortunately, she had to fast for that one because she had to be sedated for it.  She was fasting from midnight (although, what 3 year old is up at midnight to eat one last time?!).  It was scheduled for 9am, but something came up and they had to do an NICU baby first.... so finally at noon she got in.  Meanwhile, she hadn't eaten since 7pm the night before and she was MISERABLY hungry and TIRED... and therefore CRANKY!! They kept saying we should go on a walk, but every where we could walk there were people eating (or food smells from the cafeteria).  Here is my not so happy princess refusing to even look at me because everytime she asked me for food I had to tell her "after your test".  Poor thing.  She was a trooper though.  She was really brave when they put the IV in. 

After the MRI, when she was starting to wake up, they asked if she wanted Mommy but she was still really out of it.  When they asked if she wanted a snack or juice she tried to sit up and reach for it.  she barely even opened her eyes, but she was starving.  She downed 2 juice boxes there.  And then 4 of these popsicles upstairs.  Plus crackers, cheese, a cookie, more juice, water, and pudding!  Haha.  She was pretty content.  And they had a treasure box up there so when she left she got to pick a toy.  She picked a unicorn.... that squeaks when you squeeze it.  I think the cab driver secretly wanted to wring her neck by the time he dropped us back at the Ronald McDonald House.  Oh, and some nice mom who was leaving the hospital with a bunch of helium balloons saw Chloe and offered her a bright pink one!  Needless to say, she was pretty happy.

Here we are back at the House.  They have this play house outside that Chloe is obsessed with.  It's like a real house, but in miniature form.  There is a kitchen, upstairs, mini couches, etc. 
And of course we have to get all the monkey bars and climbing in that we can before surgery happens and then it will be 6 weeks with none of that.  I imagine it will be hard to keep my little monkey from her favorite activities....
Today (Saturday) we got to go to a Hawaiian birthday party.  My cousin's little girl had her 8th birthday party and they invited Chloe. 

We had lots of fun.  Only one more day of play time and then the big day.  Wish us luck!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Foodie Friday - Cinnamon Burst Sour Cream Zucchini Bread

 I apologize for my lack of presence in the blogosphere this last while.  Ever since So You Think You're Crafty, I haven't seemed to be able to get back into the swing of things.  We had an AWESOME time on our trip to Drumheller and Calgary (other than me getting the 24 hour flu).  But I am sure glad to be home.  Chloe and I are now in Edmonton.  Surgery is in on Monday.  I feel like I'm on an emotional roller coaster.  Some days I'm really excited to get it over with and get her on the road to recovery.... other days I'm terrified.  I have visions of her (stubborn, independent, strong willed girl that she is -and love her for it) pulling out IV's by herself or breathing tubes.  She does not like to sit still or be told what to do.  I know we have family all praying for her and that it will be ok.  I'm sure the nurses at the children's hospital have seen it all before -I'm more worried about the mom (aka ME) who hasn't see it all before.

Ok, enough about me -on to Foodie Friday!

My garden has been THRIVING this year.  Well, most of it.  I've given up on my tomatoes... but the zucchini is producing like crazy.  This is what I have in my freezer:

 Enough grated zucchini to last me what seems like FOREVER.  So my wonderful mother has been emailing me link after link of zucchini recipes! LOL.  She bought some cinnamon chips from The Prepared Pantry that she hasn't used yet, so she let me use them to make this recipe for Cinnamon Burst Sour Cream Zucchini Bread from the Prepared Pantry site.

And it was DELICIOUS!  It was so incredibly moist, plus the cinnamon chips melted, leaving behind cinnamon swirls that seemed to have a bit of crystall-y stuff that gave it a bit of crunch -if that makes any sense.

The only problem was one of my loaves stuck on the bottom of the pan, so this is what I got.  Next time I'll use CAKE RELEASE (see THIS post) -it hasn't failed me yet.

Here is a shot of it when it's cut.  Doesn't it look delicious?  I'm so glad I can add that to my list of great foods to make with my never-ending zucchini supply. 

Have a great Friday.  I have some other posts I've been working on writing up -because I've still been baking/cooking and crafting, just have been a slacker when it comes to actually doing up the posts.  I hope to try to schedule those for while I'm gone.  Although, last time I tried the scheduling stuff, it never posted it when it was scheduled.  We'll give it another shot.

The recipe is included below.

Cinnamon Burst Sour Cream Zucchini Bread 

(source: The Prepared Pantry)

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups grated zucchini squash
1 1/2 cups cinnamon chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  Set aside.  In a smaller bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, and vanilla together.  Fold in the sour cream, oil, and zucchini.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.  Stir in the cinnamon chips.  Pour the batter into two well-greased (or greased and floured) loaf pans.  Bake for 55 to 65 minutes or until done.  Cool for ten minutes on a rack before removing the loaves from the pan.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Zucchini (or Fruit and Veggie) Muffins

And, yet again... another zucchini recipe.  But you'd never know it from the taste of them -these muffins taste.... well.... amazing!  And I know, I use that word too much sometimes, but it's true!  The ingredients list turned me off a bit, but I was adventurous and tried it anyway.  I wasn't disappointed in the least.  They are healthier muffins and my kids love them.  

 You can find the recipe HERE at Mo' Betta.  But just as a sneak peek -the ingredients include whole wheat flour, crushed pineapple, zucchini (duh!), applesauce, bananas, etc.  And NO eggs!  Weird, but tasty.  So jump on over there and check it out!