Saturday, August 9, 2014

Guess What Is Evil-According To Anna

Happy weekend everyone! We are going to a family reunion tonight and I am taking a break from cooking to share this funny story with you.

A few weeks ago, Anna went to Sunday night service with my parents and the sermon was about idolatry. The Pastor said "We must flee from idolatry, we as a nation have turned to idolatry and it is evil." Mom said Anna made a face and got all huffy and ill about it and had a mean face on. My Mom and Dad were like "????" Now Anna doesn't have posters up in her room of Bieber or 1D so idolatry isn't really an issue. They were wondering what in the world she was getting all jumped up about.

FLEE! I say FLEE!
After church, Mom asked Anna what was wrong and she said "I can't believe the Pastor said the Dollar Tree was evil and we should turn away from it!" Mom said "He was talking about IDOLATRY, having idols, not the Dollar Tree!" Bahaha!

Moral of The Story: clean out your ears! At least Anna was paying attention!


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Latest Sewing Projects

Hi Readers! How's it going?

Speaking of going, that's about all we have been doing the last 2 weeks. Anna had drama camp 2 weeks ago, which was amazing, and the past week she had sewing camp in the morning and international cooking camp in the afternoon. Next up for this week is art camp for two afternoons then the next week is Recycling and Repurposing camp. Busy busy!

The theme of drama camp was "A Day in the Life of Drama". The instructors taught the kids how to audition, what stage directions mean, how to be a good audience member, and how to cooperate with the rest of the cast. During the audition workshop, all students had to introduce themselves and sing a song or dance. Now my child has about 800 songs on her iPod, she took chorus last year, and sings all the time. Did she sing a Broadway number like Defying Gravity or Hard Knock Life? NO! She gets up there and sings Happy Birthday! Goofball! She said sooooo many little girls sang "Let It Go" from Frozen. I bet!

This past week, sewing and cooking camp were in the same building where I work so that was convenient. In sewing class, they learned how to make a tissue holder and an apron. They cut fabric, wound their bobbin, threaded their machine, and learned what to do in case something goes wrong. I even learned something which was to gently let your presser foot down on the fabric and not flick the presser foot lever down hard. Ooops! The saying "you learn something new every day" is true!

Design From
Applique Market.com
Our latest sewing project here at home were these patch pocket t-shirts. When we were at the beach, we saw some at the Hallmark store at the mall for $26! I said, um no, I can do that for a heck of a lot cheaper. So when we got back home and $2 later, I had the bought the anchor design and merged in the letters from a monogram font I already had. Anna picked out the pocket fabric and thread for the design. These turned out great! Anna loves wearing them, which makes me happy she likes to wear something I made her. My department Director at work told me "It's not homemade, it's a 'custom piece'"! I like that.

I'm writing this while our supper is cooking (pizza) and the oven just dinged. I'll give a recap of cooking camp later this week and share a recipe of what Anna liked the best. Stay tuned!

Have a great week everyone!
XOXO,
Melissa

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Blueberry Buckle For The Win!

So on Sunday I made a blueberry buckle, which is like a one layer cake with a cinnamon sugar topping. It was as good as it sounds! I had just taken it out of the oven when my parents dropped off Kangaroo Girl from Youth Group. Great timing! We demolished half of the pan, it was SO GOOD.



The recipe is from Katie at Made To Be A Momma.com Following is the recipe, directly from her website:

For the Cake:
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup shortening
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups blueberries

Topping:
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, softened

Instructions:
1.Combine the sugar, shortening, egg, milk, flour, baking powder and salt.
2.Fold in the blueberries.
3.Pour the mixture in a greased 9 x 13 inch pan.
4. Combine the topping ingredients of sugar, flour, cinnamon and butter until crumbly.
5. Sprinkle the topping mixture on top of the cake.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Notes:
*If you use frozen berries your cake mixture will get quite cold and form into a large "ball" when transferring to a pan. Just use a spatula or your hand to push the cake mixture to fill the pan.
*We also found that the cake mixture fits into an 8 in. x 11 in. pan just fine as well. Makes the cake pieces thicker. Just adjust baking time if needed.
This one is going in my recipe box. The cinnamon sugar topping was so good! We ate it with ice cream.

Have a great day readers and thanks for reading!
XOXO,
Melissa

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Cucumber and Tomato Salad

Tim has done an amazing job with our small raised garden. Our tomatoes and peppers went gangbusters this year. Last year, not so much due to tons of rain, everything was washed out. This year, everyone else's garden has busted out all over with produce and our neighbor left us a bag of tomatoes and cucumbers on our porch. What to do with all this bounty?

What my kitchen counter looks like!
Photo by Lynn Ketchum via the
Oregon State Univ. Extension Website
I don't can fresh foods so we have to eat it up somehow. I stumbled across a recipe for cucumber and tomato salad. I can put this together and have it chilling in the fridge while I make the rest of dinner.

Basically, you dice up as much peeled cucumber and tomatoes as you want and combine in a bowl. Pour some Italian dressing over it and refrigerate while you finish making supper. It goes well by itself or you can eat it with saltines or like a pico de gallo with pita chips. It is not as labor intensive as making bowls of salads and it comes together quick and keeps for a few days in the fridge.


Photo by Karry Hosford from the
My Recipes.com Website
 Not my photo, plus I don't add red onions (I don't do onions, ick). You'll find I will rarely add an original photo since it takes so long for me to upload it and get it how I want it on the blog. Much easier to grab a photo already on the web and it looks better too!

We have a ton of blueberries to use up and I'm going to make a blueberry buckle today. I'll post that recipe if it turns out. It seems easy enough.

I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday! Thanks for reading!

XOXO,
Melissa

Starting Over with Blogging

Greetings readers! Life got crazy and recently I read through this blog. I loved looking back and seeing what we did when the kids were younger, it was like a life snapshot. I haven't blogged since May, 2013 and I feel like I missed out on documenting our lives with a visual diary. So therefore, I'm back!

I hope to get back in the swing of things and post about our daily life so Kangaroo Girl and Monkey Boy can look back and see what we did. Isn't technology great? I wish I could look back on my life when I was a kid and see photos and read my mom's take on events and daily happenings.

So without further ado, let's catch up, shall we? The saying "The more things change, the more they stay the same" rings true. I'm still sewing, still love my Lilly clothes and am always hunting for a bargain. Still love coffee and sweets and baking. Monkey Boy is still monkeyish and Kangaroo Girl thinks she is a teenager. Tim still puts up with all our shenanigans!

But what has changed is I'm more streamlined in my life. I work full time in a different job (promotion, woot!) which some days has been quite the challenge as I had to learn a new set of skills with a higher degree of accuracy and accountability. It has been draining but a great learning experience and it has taught me so much in dealing with change and more responsibility. I'd come home from work and immediately shift into Home Mode with all the usual cooking dinner, laundry, help with homework, keep Monkey Boy settled, lay out clothes for the next day, figure out the next day's dinner, plan lunch errands, etc. etc. Blogging took a back seat. So did intensive meal planning, putting together perfect outfits for work, book club, reading magazines, and tv watching. I was WORN SLAP OUT by the time bedtime came around.

After the dust would settle and if I had any energy left, I would wind down at night and read blogs on the iPad. But what I noticed was more and more people left blogging for Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Now I love me some Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest (I'm not on Twitter) but I missed reading everyone's blogs. Kangaroo Girl would say to me "Mom, you haven't blogged in XX months!" then I saw her looking at this blog page yesterday, seeing if it was updated. I decided to start up the ol' blog again since I don't want her and Monkey Boy to miss out on remembering what was going on in our everyday life.

 I always liked this blog since you can't pigeonhole it as a shopping blog with affiliate links, a blog about our struggles with autism, raising an almost teenager, a travel blog, a recipe blog, or a random thoughts blog with snippets about my day, kind of like Twitter in blog form. It is what it is! You won't see shopping links, requests to follow me on Instagram/Pinterest/Twitter/Facebook (I'm pretty boring and read other people's posts more than I post), or one kind of topic. It is multi-faceted, just like me!

Old friends, thanks for sticking with me and a big welcome to any new readers!

Recipe to follow!
XOXO,
Melissa

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Why, Hello There!

I am totally embarrassed by my lack of blogging. Let's dust off the cobwebs shall we and catch up!

The biggest news is that my job went from part-time to full-time in January. Hello, good insurance benefits and retirement plan! Many, many thanks to my parents and in-laws who graciously (crazily?) agreed to watch Kangaroo Girl and Monkey Boy after school. I love working full-time and I can get so much done at work instead of having to leave projects unfinished when I worked part-time and left at 2 pm.  Granted, it was an adjustment on the home front with meal planning, laundry, cleaning, etc. but it all worked out and I'm in the swing of things with planning the next day's meals the day before and not at 2:45 pm the same day!

I'm still sewing and monogramming anything and everything. I love this quote by Reese Witherspoon:



So therefore I whipped up this zippered pouch made from some vintage Lilly fabric I upcycled from a skirt I found at Goodwill and I put my initial on it. So cute and it was easy! The pouch is from the wonderful blog So Sew Something .



I'm gearing up for the next round of beach bags to make. I picked up some fabulous purple fabric to use as a lining and I am hunting up the outside fabric and trim. I have lots of projects in mind and I hope to get some sewing done this weekend. It is supposed to be cloudy and rainy here, perfect for sewing!

Monkey Boy got an iPad for his birthday/Christmas and we are working with him on using it as a communication device. They really use the iPad at school and we are doing the same with him at home. The hardest part was to get him from being so "tap happy" and impulsively tapping the icons to choosing the icons to meaningfully communicate. We'll get there! The Autism Society of NC had an iPads and Autism seminar last weekend in Asheville but it was not a good weekend for us to go. I'm banking on them hosting a similar seminar in Charlotte or somewhere closer than Asheville.

Kangaroo Girl will be in middle school (!) next year. The 5th graders toured the middle school recently and she loved it! She is so excited about going to a new school. The big news is that band and chorus will now start in 6th grade instead of 7th and she chose chorus instead of band. She was the only one in her class that chose chorus! That surprised me and I'm glad she stuck to her decision to be in chorus though literally everyone else in her class chose band. We're also getting ready for her dance recital in one month, she is dancing a solo this year to "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack. Dance photos were last night and I can't wait to see her dance at the recital!

We made it  through another tax season, hooray! To celebrate, we let Anna pick out where she wanted to go on our first day trip the weekend after April 15th. She chose IKEA! Great choice Anna! They were having a free shredding event too so Tim had a box full of papers to shred and I cleaned out random paperwork at home to have shredded. IKEA was wonderful, as always, and we of course hit up multiple Goodwill stores. It was a great day all around and I'm excited to start taking day trips again now that Tim isn't chained to a computer, cranking out tax returns and extensions.

That's about the size of it! Writing this piece has made me think of other topics worth blogging about. Stay tuned for my indecisiveness about a duvet vs. comforter vs. quilt vs. throwing a blanket over the whole bed and being DONE with trying to redo the bedding ensemble. I tend to slightly overthink things.

Until next time,
Melissa

Friday, September 28, 2012

Food Friday: Quick Apple Crisp




Happy Friday everyone! As I mentioned in the last post, we went to our town's annual Apple Festival. Mom and I split a bag of apples and I made Quick Apple Crisp. It is a no-fail Pampered Chef recipe. If you don't have the stoneware Deep Dish Baker, you can certainly use a 9x13 Pyrex glass baker. Here's the recipe, courtesy of The Pampered Chef:

5 Granny Smith apples

1 package (9 ounces) yellow cake mix, I used Jiffy
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Vanilla ice cream or thawed, frozen whipped topping (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Peel, core and slice apples using Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer. Cut apples in half using Utility Knife. Place apples in Deep Dish Baker.


2. Combine cake mix, sugar, cinnamon, butter and nuts in Classic Batter Bowl. Mix until crumbly using Classic Scraper. Sprinkle mixture evenly over apples.

3. Bake 35-40 minutes or until apples are tender. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped topping, if desired.

SO GOOD and easy! Here it is fresh out of the oven:


Delish! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!
XOXO,
Melissa