January 31, 2011

Did you sneak in some "me" time?

I managed to squeeze in a few minutes at my favorite antique/thrift store on Saturday before my nephew's birthday party. I spent a less than $5 and found a few fun goodies...ribbon, rick rack, a half apron (I think I've started a new collection with half aprons) and a handful of plastic cookie cutters.

The rabbit cookie cutter will be used later this week when Josie and I make more sugar cookies to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit.

Happy Monday!
I hope you squeezed in some "me" time this weekend.

January 30, 2011

A special military birthday

On Saturday, our nephew turned nine and we celebrated with a military-themed birthday. If you are a new follower, our family loves to host special birthday parties. Over the last year, we've had a Paris-themed birthday, a rainbow-themed birthday and a Harry Potter birthday.

This party was especially wonderful because we were also able to honor my father's time spent serving as a medic in the Vietnam war.

Carson's gift was wrapped in camouflage paper and medical gauge.

My mother's birthday cake and table top decorations were very fitting for the occasion.

Games included target practice, granade launching and a medic station.

Everyone earned special badges upon completion of the games.

The most exciting part of the day, was when my father presented each of his grandsons with shadow boxes filled with parts of his military uniform.

Thank you for serving, Dad.

Happy Birthday, Carson!

We love you very much.
Happy 9th!

January 28, 2011

Hello Weekend!

There's laundry to catch up on, more snow to dig out from, a special birthday party to attend, play practice to chauffeur Emma back and forth from, and Chinese New Year party favors to create for Josie's preschool. But I'm also hoping to sneak in some "me" time in my craft room this weekend.

I hope that whatever you plan to do this weekend, includes doing something special for yourself.


January 27, 2011

Pretend & Real Chinese Foods

I've had a thing for felt food ever since I made these cupcakes.

Then, Let's go fly a kite posted Chinese foods made of felt here and I immediately fell in love and knew I needed to make some for Josie's cooking adventures.

She also posted a dramatic play area featured in her sister's preschool to honor Chinese New Year here. I especially loved how they used yarn and Chinese take-out containers with chopsticks in their preschool cooking area, so of course I had to make some for Josie too.

PS. You can get take-out style containers at the Dollar Tree right now and I printed off the Chinese take-out graphic online and glued it to the box. In case you are wondering, felt is roughly .29 cents per square at Michael's (regular price). I used hot glue instead of thread & needle to construct my foods.

Let's go fly a kite has quickly become one of my favorite blogs. She has so many inspirational crafting ideas.

When you are ready for some real Chinese food, here are a few of our favorite dishes/recipes at our house: egg drop soup, steamed dumplings and lettuce wraps.



4 cups chicken broth, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh scallions
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 eggs
1 egg yolk


1. Reserve 3/4 cup of chicken broth, and pour the rest into a large saucepan. Stir the salt and chives into the saucepan, and bring to a rolling boil. In a cup or small bowl, stir together the remaining broth and cornstarch until smooth. Set aside.
2. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and egg yolk together using a fork. Drizzle egg a little at a time from the fork into the boiling broth mixture. Egg should cook immediately. Once the eggs have been dropped, stir in the cornstarch mixture gradually until the soup is the desired consistency.


During the Chinese New Year this month, families in China will feast on jiaozi, yummy meat-filled dumplings.

3 stalks Chinese cabbage
2 scallions
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 lb. lean ground pork
1 10-oz. package prepared
dumpling wrappers

Finely chop the Chinese cabbage and scallions and put them in a mixing bowl. Add the soy sauce, salt, cornstarch, and pork. Mix well with a spoon.

Place 1 teaspoon of filling on each wrapper. Fold the wrappers into half circles. Moisten the inside edges with water, and press them together to seal.

We use a steamer that I purchased at World Market, but you can also use a large pot. In a large pot, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Drop in the dumplings and cover. When the water resumes boiling, add 1 cup of cold water. Repeat this step twice. When the water boils for the third time, the dumplings will be done. Serve with 1/4 cup soy sauce mixed with 2 tablespoons white vinegar. Makes 4 dozen dumplings.


Lettuce leaves, washed and separated
2 scallions chopped
broccoli coleslaw mix (I saute my coleslaw mix in a skillet for just a few minutes with a splash of white wine vinegar)
Chicken cooked and shredded
Almonds (toasted) or chopped cashews

Lay out a lettuce leaf and spoon a heaping teaspoon of the shredded chicken and broccoli coleslaw mixture into the middle. The lettuce wraps are designed to be eaten "taco-style," with the lettuce/chicken mixture folded into a package. Continue with the remainder of the chicken and lettuce leaves. Serve with toasted almonds and peanut sauce.

Peanut Sauce
1/4 cup peanut butter
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
3 Tablespoons sesame oil
2 Tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons lemon juice

In a medium bowl, whisk together peanut butter, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey and lemon juice. Use the peanut butter sauce for dipping. You can also pour the peanut sauce over the mixture before you put into the lettuce wraps.

Happy Cooking!
Happy Crafting!

January 26, 2011

A guest post by Penny…

It’s me, Penny. Privately my mom calls me chunky kitty. I thought it would be a good idea to write about my favorite moment of the day.

Oh sure..I love it when my bleary-eyed Mom pours my food into my food bowl at 5:50am...

...or when Emma comes home from school and lets me sleep under the coffee table while she does homework...

...or sneaking in a nap on top of the dryer while Mom does laundry...

...or tolerating Josie when she attempts to “love” me, but this is the big one...

...nothing is better than curling up with my Dad after a long day.

Thanks for letting me guest post today. As you can see, this blogging thing has worn me out.

January 25, 2011

Parasol Chandelier

Last week when I went to my favorite antique store, I saw this parasol hanging from the ceiling and decided that I needed to recreate this in my craft room.

When we traveled to China, we brought home several colorful parasols. They've been used as party decorations, but they've been folded up and stored away for several months. On Saturday, I went on a hunt for some ceiling hooks in our infamous "junk" container.

With a bit of beaded fringe from Hobby Lobby and some hot glue, I transformed my parasol from this...

...into this...

I liked it so much, I fringed another one.

As much as a white parasol would look lovely in my shabby bedroom, my colorful parasols bring a bit of spring into my craft room. Right now, I'll take ANY hint of spring while it looks like this outside.

Happy Crafting!

January 24, 2011

Valentine Goodies Winner!

Drum roll please.....Emma has selected Lea from (Number 6 and no more counting!) for my valentine goodies give-away.

Congratulations, Lea!

Please send me an email with your postal address so that I can get your goodies into the mail.
I'm sure I'll come up with other give-aways in the future. Easter is another favorite holiday (heck every holiday is a favorite at our house). I'm sure my special thrift/antique store (along with my craft room) will be filled with fun items to share with my blogging friends!


Flashback Cooking...

Back in 1975, my sister and I received this playstove for Christmas. It was handmade by my grandfather and mother.

Don't you just love that retro Christmas wrapping paper?

This special stove is now taking up residence at my house and Josie has been busy cooking up a storm.

I just love seeing her playing with it.
My sister and I had some great memories with that stove.
Happy Monday!

Don't forget, tonight's Valentine give-away is scheduled for 8pm.