Friday, March 29, 2013

Painting With Kids

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Miss C. and I love to finger paint; and on days when I'm having a hard time occupying her we always paint. Cordelia is one of those kids that if you don't give her good things to do she finds trouble to get into. Painting keeps her amused for close to an hour, and then we always have to finish up with a bath- which is another solid half an hour of entertainment. Finger painting is also a plain old great sensory play- she gets to experiment with the feeling of the paint and explore how the colors mix. Often we will bring in other objects- like pipe cleaners, pom poms, small plastic toys, and different brushes , for her to use and explore with. 

Mostly finger painting starts off looking like the above picture. We learned early on that being just in a diaper helps cut down on the mommy clean up required. Normally we put out paints in cupcake liners, or on little plastic plates. We also exclusively use Crayola washable, non toxic paint- because I like the texture and quality, and because Cordelia is pretty good at not eating the paint but you can never be too careful. It's my goal to never have to use the number on my green Mr. Yuck magnet.  

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Then Miss. C will decided she needs more paint, and being a do-it-yourselfer she likes to get it herself (which is fine, I like independence, it's a good trait to have)

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The cats like to keep an eye on us while we work. 

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And in the end I always have to turn around to get more paper/ water/ more paint/ paper towles e.t.c and this is always what we end up with- a monkey on the table covered in paint. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Skeletons and Stripes

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I really enjoy doing custom work, and this dress was super fun to work on. My friend Camila fell in love with this fabric and was just dying for a dress out of it. I was able to have almost complete (Cami asked for sleeves and a higher neckline)  creative freedom with the design which was even more fun.  The cute skeleton fabric is a medium weight cotton, and the stripe fabric is a jersey cotton knit. 

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Close up view of the pleated skirt. 

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The dress also features side pockets. 




Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The First Day of Spring

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sarah

Happy first day of spring. I hope it's warmer where you are. In the D.C area it was a tad on the chilly side and pretty windy- tomorrow we are even expecting snow flurries. Luckily, the sun came out and the sky was a beautiful bright blue instead of the called for rain. This meant that my best friend Sarah and I could  venture out for a picnic- even if we were bundled up in coats. 

 Every year on the first day of spring (well this is only the second year, but we are planning on this being an every year thing until we are little old ladies that live in a magical pink hotel) Sarah and I have an adventure. Last year we took Ms. C to see the cherry blossoms, you can see photos here and here if you are interested- this year we decided on a picnic, vintage shopping, and some good ol' time just sitting around and talking. 

Sarah and I never spend enough time together- we only live 30 minutes apart but we might as well live on opposite sides of the country with how little we see each other. I think that one of the only things I miss about college is how we always seemed to have time to sit and talk- we would talk for hours and hours, straight through classes sometime. I wish I had really understood that luxury then.  

As a mom I always feel guilty spending time away from Ms. C, especially when I do so voluntarily and for fun.  I know it's silly, there is nothing wrong with spending adult time with friends. In fact there would be something wrong with me if I spent ever waking moment hovering over Cordelia watching her every movement. Adult interaction, socialization, and alone time are healthy, much needed parts of life. Today I did better than normal, I didn't feel rushed to come back to my child's side, and I was able to relax and enjoy myself. . . Progress :)   

 Do any of you have a first day of spring tradition or did you do anything special this year?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

S'mores Cupcakes


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On Saturday we celebrated my Nephew, Charles, earning the rank of Eagle Scout. I am so proud of him, he worked so hard for this!  The whole thing made me kinda weepy too. It seems like just yesterday he was Cordelia sized- obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine, Blues Clues, and tie dyed shirts. Above are pictures of the ceremony, Cordelia eating some treats, Charles' award, his super cool kerchief holder (do those things have a name?), and the totally cool cake my sister made for the event. I did however forget my camera- so please forgive the cell phone pictures.

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 As I mentioned before, I made cupcakes for the event (He wanted a cake and cupcakes, and you only get your Eagle once so we let him have both). I asked Charles what kind of cupcakes he wanted and he almost instantly asked for S'mores cupcakes. I was a little caught off guard- S'mores really? S'mores are soo good on their own, why would you want to mess with that? He picked well because these turned out awesome! They were chocolate cake, with a Hershey bar center, graham cracker crust and topped with marshmallow frosting. 

My sister and I turned to Pinterest in search for inspiration for a recipe. We based what we did from Kevin & Amanda's recipe found here and from Jennifer Shea's recipe found here. Both are awesome recipes and you should totally check them out as well. 

Graham Cracker Crust

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
5 tbsp melted butter

Grind up the graham crackers in the food processor until they are pretty fine. Melt your butter in a microwave safe dish- or in a pot over the stove, which is what I do because it always seems easier for me. Add the cracker crumbs and the sugar and stir well. Place 1 tablespoon of mixture in the bottom of each cupcake liner and press down with the back of the spoon to flatten. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes. 

Chocolate Cake

1 box devil's food cake mix
1 small package Jello instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla 

Hersey's dark chocolate bars

Mix together everything (except the Hersey's bars). This batter will be really thick, and you want it that way. Add 1 heaping tablespoon of batter to each cupcake liner. Add 1 rectangle of chocolate to each and press down to flatten it a little. Add another heaping tablespoon of batter on top. Bake at 350 for 18-22 minutes. 

Marshmallow Frosting

Let me preface this by saying that I'm not big on icing, if you are double this. 

8 tsp Meringue powder
8 Tbs water (Meringue powder and water can be substituted with 4 egg whites)
1 cup of sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Place the meringue powder, water, sugar, and cream of tarter in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer. Set over a saucepan of simmering water. Whisk until sugar is dissolved and mixture is warm- about 3 or 4 minutes. 

Switch over to your electric mixer and beat- starting at a low speed, gradually increasing to high, until stiff, shiny peaks form. Remember, stiffer is prettier when it comes to icing these. Add your vanilla, and mix until combined. Use immediately. Transfer to piping bag with the decorating tip of your choice- I went with a larger round tip, nothing too fancy, and pipe desired amounts onto cooled cupcakes. Using a small torch, a butane lighter, or if you don't have either- your oven broiler, to brown and harden the icing. 

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The above image I posted on my Instagram while I was baking- if you don't follow me on Instagram already you should totally look me up! 
Instagram 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Hump Day Happiness

I can't believe it's Wednesday already! I feel like this week is going super fast. It's been a pretty good week so far in this household- low stress and lots of family time. I feel like today's post is more of a "Hump Day Happiness" post than a "Getting Over the Hump" post because I am just in a much better mood today. We were supposed to get hit by a huge snowstorm that turned mostly into rain, which was a bummer. However,  I still got a half day from work, so hopefully, I will be able to finish up some sewing today! How is your week so far? What are you loving this week?

These videos are the best on youtube- my cats behave exactly like this so I can always relate. 

This blogpost over at WOWbodyNOW really helped re-motivate me. I've been slacking when it comes to exercising and eating right- I just kinda lost focus and reading this seems to have helped focus me again.

You don’t have to get a job that makes others feel comfortable about what they perceive as your success. You don’t have to explain what you plan to do with your life. You don’t have to justify your education by demonstrating its financial rewards. You don’t have to maintain an impeccable credit score. Anyone who expects you to do any of those things has no sense of history or economics or science or the arts. -- You have to pay your electric bill. You have to be kind. You have to give it all you got. You have to find people who love you truly and love them back with the same truth. But that’s all.” -Cheryl Strayed

 Kaelah Bee (one of my favorite bloggers) posted the above quote in her Things I Love Thursday Post. It's always kinda awkward to me when people ask me what I'm doing with my life. Part of me always wants to be able to say that I'm doing something totally amazing, that makes tons of money- something that the person I'm talking to really thinks of as successful. As if the true measure of success is the size of your paycheck.  I think we have to really evaluate what success is, is success having a big paycheck but hating your job? Or is success being able to say with confidence that you are a good mom- even if you can't afford everything you might want. 

Timeless Treasures Nautical Ocean Floor Turquoise
Urban Zoologie Ladybugs RedNicole's Prints Shark! BlueDon't Be Crabby Fish Nautical
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I spent several hours the other day combing fabric websites looking for novelty prints- I want to buy everything! Cordelia is really into fish and bugs right now- so I specifically looking for fish and bugs. I have to  do some solid planning before I buy (I have way too much fabric) but I am looking forward to some new projects. 


Lastly, I recently bought the Macklemore album on itunes, and I have pretty much been listening to this song on repeat.  


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Giant Pink Ball

I love kids, or at least I love mine I don't really have any experience with any other kid besides my own. One of the most fascinating things about my kid is that despite all of the crazy cool complicated toys she is happiest in the yard with her giant pink ball. Best $3 we have ever spent. This first set of photos is from Friday. 

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On Sunday we were back out in the yard- this time bundled up for the intense cold. 

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We brought a friend- we call him Mr. Fox (I know, creative right?). It's a lot of fun now that Cordelia gives kisses to everyone and everything that holds still. She kisses stuffed animals, people, cats, everything. It makes me so happy when I get kisses without being asked for them, and she always seems to know when I am feeling down because that's when I get the most of them. 

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Playing "catch"

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And She fell and got dirt on her hands so. . .
  
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I guess that's what Daddy's pants are for. 

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P.S. I love this man and his big red beard. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

A Walk in the Park


Today's post is going to be a short one because I still have about 50 more cupcakes to bake and all 100 of them to decorate (What did I get myself into? I really must like my nephew. . .) On Valentines day Cordelia and I went to Brookside Gardens  with my sister. If you live in the area I totally recommend visiting Brookside, its just so beautiful. I love visiting the greenhouses during the winter, it brightens me up to see flowers blooming. Cordelia thought it was a lot of fun to get out and run around. She stopped to smell just about every plant we passed and developed a passion for ducks after sitting and watching them float on the pond. 

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When ever we asked Cordelia to "spin" she would say no, or tell us that she didn't know how to- BUT if we ask her to "twirl" she does it right away. Funny girl, right? I'm so happy it's finally March! Have a great weekend everyone!