October 29, 2011

A Pillow & Friend

I went to a wonderful birthday party today for a terrific 4 year old! This is the gift that I took.

By suggestion from my creative friend, Johanna, I sewed Charlie a pillow, complete with a bunny friend. She found these pillows on other blogs and thought the idea would be great! She was SO right! I fell in love with the idea right away!  

I free-handed a small bunny to fit inside the pocket, and then made him out of a donated bath robe. Incidentally, the bunny's whiskers glow in the dark.
And I even added a blanket pocket in the back. I mean what kid does not have a favorite plush toy AND blankie they carry around? I thought after making it, that this would be the perfect idea for kids to take to a sleep over...they have it all in one hand, and it's easy for little ones to carry.

And a carrying handle.  The striped fabric is from Ikea.  (I got this fabric from the children's textiles area, but I do not see it listed on their website at this time).

This is cute, 4 year old Charlie!
And a ton of my friends were there from church... , but here's a few I managed to take a picture of:
Nathan and I with my friend, Johanna.

My friend, Sidney, and her 7 month old son, Mauricio. I agree, "Aww" : )

Arren and Johanna
Joel, the proud Daddy of the birthday girl today.

And Leslie, the talented Mommy, helping her princess out with the gifts and the crowd of kids! They are expecting their 3rd child this next spring...how exciting!!!! And it's a girl!!!

Is this Charlie, or Rapunzel? I don't know either, but she's so super cute! I'd take her home any day!

I think she loved the pillow and her new bunny friend. She was all smiles! Happy Birthday, Charlie!!!

October 26, 2011

Art with Homemade Fingerpaints

For Art today, Lilly came over, instead of Henry. At my Mom's suggestion, we tried fingerpainting. I whipped up a batch of some homemade fingerpaint from HERE. I may have cooked it a bit long, but it was decent for the project.

Then I set up this area outside on my side patio. It was kind of windy, so I taped everything down.

And we first tried TOE-PAINTING! Oh, yes! Messy, but so awesome! And the little princess loved it!

The swirling toe designs were the best! The paint was a bit slippery, so my Mom held her up. Oh, those cute toes!

And after we cleaned up our toes, we tried fingerpainting with it too! What a fun time with my niece! I love you, Lilly! Come over soon and watch Barbie Swan Princess with me!

October 24, 2011

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds!

Yum. A taste of fall. Roasted Pumpkin Seeds! Soooo delicious!
First, cut the top off your pumpkin.

Pull the "lid" off.

I'm going to bake down this pumpkin, so I cut down both sides to make two halves. This way, cleaning the seeds out becomes easier. However, if your pumpkin is bound to be decorated or carved, omit this step.

Pull out the seeds with your hand. This gets messy! When Nathan gets older, I'll have him do it : )!

Separate out the sticky seeds, placing them into a bowl.

Give the seeds a bath with cold water.

After a few minutes swishing the seeds around, the orange pumpkin goo should just separate off the seeds.

Spread your seeds out on wax paper or parchment paper and allow to air dry for about 24 hours.

Set aside dry seeds in a bowl. My 2 large pumpkins yielded about 4 Cups of delicious seeds!

Grab your seasonings. In the past, I've always just coated my seeds with olive oil and sea salt and baked, but thanks to THIS recipe, I decided to upgrade them a bit. I used 3 T butter, 2 T olive oil, 2 tsp garlic salt, and 1 tsp seasoned salt.

I melted my butter, added the oil, and then spices. Stir well. Toss together with seeds, coating them well.

Lay seeds out in one layer on plain cookie sheet. I had so many seeds, it took me two batches to cook them all.
Bake at 300 degrees for about 30min. My oven likes to burn everything, so I had to bake mine at 225 degrees for about 20min. It doesn't really matter, except to watch them! They can overbake easily.

When they look this yummy, take them out of the oven.

And go ahead and eat them warm like I did! I couldn't wait!

And here's a sneak peak of what I did yesterday in Nathan's room...while holding him in my other arm. What do you think I'm about to do?

October 20, 2011

Art Class w/ the Boys: Session 2

So, did you guess right? What was that white mixture I made yesterday? It was food-grade paper mache'!
                         And that's what our art project was this week with my nephews.

The Setup:

bowl of newspaper strips. Check.

A bowl each of paper mache' for each kid. Check. GREAT recipe for it HERE.
A newspaper filled, plastic bag pumpkin for Ben to cover. Check.

And a white one for Peter to cover. Check.

Here was my sample to show them. It had only half-dried by class time.
And here are my adorable nephews up to their elbows in mache'. Actually, they were quite "clean" with it, but I had covered the table and the floor just in case. To encourage untimate creativity, I believe you need permission to make a mess : )!

I love this one! At my husband's suggestion, Ben and I also mache'd some balloons I had, in order to make some masks later on. After the mache' dries, you simply pop the balloon, and cut out your mask and paint. The more layers of mache' the sturdier it will be.
And here are how the boy's mache'd pumpkins turned out! Pretty good! Next time they will get to paint them!
And before you give me too much credit, this wonderful idea came from THIS great blog. The only modifications I made to her tutorial were I stuffed wads of newspaper into 2 plastic bags, and then rubber banded them. I also skipped the plastic wrap on the outside, and it still worked just fine.

                                  Great job, boys! I LOVE having you over for Art/Craft time!!!

October 18, 2011

Pumpkins and What Is That?

Love the fall time. This year I wanted to make sure I made the time to cook down a few pumpkins, in order to make fresh pumpkin treats this year! My husband says my pumpkin pie is awesome, but he thinks it's even better when made with the fresh stuff, rather than the canned variety. I will take his word for it, because I don't like pumpkin pie no matter how it's made : ). How ironic, right?

Anyways, if you have never attempted baking your own pumpkin, you'll find it quite easy. Just follow below.

Just a note to say...that about exactly 9 months ago, I did look as large as this pumpkin, and was ready to give birth! Hooray Nathan is on the outside and growing! That last pregnancy month was a killer! : )

Okay...So here it goes. Cut the top off your pumpkin. Cut down each side of the pumpkin, so that you have 2 halves. Does not need to be exact at all. Dig out the inside pulp with a metal spoon. Separate out all the seeds and put them in a water bath to remove the orange sticky mess (as pictured). Lay seeds out to dry on wax paper over night after being cleaned. (More on those this week when they are finished).

Then, place your pumpkin halves upside down (as pictured) on a baking sheet and place in oven. Add about 1/2 inch of water to your baking sheet. Tip: I put the sheet in the oven first, then pour the water in. Turn on oven to 250 degrees for between 1 1/2 - 2 hours. When the pumpkin skin looks kind of brown, you'll know it's done. Allow to cool.

With a metal spoon, scrape out inside of pumpkin, right up to the outer skin. It should just peel out very easily. You can bake right away with it, or do like I do and put it in 1 - 2 Cup amounts into Ziploc bags to freeze. Then you can have fresh pumpkin to cook with all year!

So, stay tuned this week, to finish your deliciously salted, oven baked, mouth watering pumpkin seeds!

And while the pumpkin was baking, I made this food-grade thickness to use in my art project with my nephews tomorrow. See our past Art Session on my sister's awesome blog HERE.  So, can you guess what craft we are doing tomorrow.....or better yet....what this white mixture is?

And while Mommy baked and stirred the white mixture in the kitchen, my little cute guy kept himself pretty occupied with this netted treat I gave him! : ) I love you, son! You are my little 'punkin'!