Thursday, February 16, 2012

i [heart] my orchid

My husband surprised me this past weekend and bought me a digital single lens reflex camera (DSLR).  I own a film SLR but haven't used it in almost 5 years.  It became difficult to spend money on film developing when I could use our point and shoot digital camera without those same tremendous costs.  My film SLR has been collecting dust in the cabinet while I've gone on, pining for a DSLR.

I'm still amazed that I own such a camera, but, I figure I might as well get some photos taken before the dream fades away, right?  So, today while all the kids were upstairs for 20 minutes in their respective rooms, I grabbed the camera and my favorite flower for a little photo shoot.  My ode to the orchid. :)

 Aren't those zig zags crazy? I just love the interesting patterns that God creates in nature!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Cheesecake Tart

My sweet-tooth was at it again over the weekend and I concocted another dessert worth sharing.  Here's the recipe should you feel like trying it yourself.  It's basically just a shortened cheesecake.  The benefits?  Won't sit in your stomach like a full piece of cheesecake, but still as delicious and beautiful. :)

Cheesecake Tart:


1 1/4c. flour
1/4c. sugar
1/2c. cold butter
2 beaten egg yolks
1 TBS cold water

1) Stir together flour and sugar.  With a pastry blender, add cold butter until pieces are pea-sized.

2) In another bowl, mix egg yolks and water.  Gradually add egg mixture to flour mixture.

3) Gently knead the dough until a ball forms.  Then, cover the dough and refrigerate it for 30-60 minutes.

4) Roll out dough and carefully (without stretching) move pastry to tart pan.

Cheesecake Filling:

2 1/2 packages (20 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs

1) Mix cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended.

2) Add eggs, one at a time.  Mix until just blended.  Pour over tart pastry.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until center is almost set.  Cool.  Refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.

For a phenomenal look and taste, serve with strawberries and drizzle with chocolate raspberry sauce. (MMMMM!)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Thomas the Train Preschool Valentine's Box

My older son came home with a note from his teachers last week asking us to find a box for our child's Valentine's cards.  It was pretty ambiguous as to whether we were supposed to not only find the box but also DECORATE the box.... guess that part didn't matter?  I did think it mattered, since the difference between an ugly brown shoe box and a decorated brown shoe box is embarrassment worthy.  So, I walked into his preschool drop off yesterday fully intending to solve this dilemma. When I arrived, I saw the teacher showing the students a [fully decorated] box that another child had already completed and brought in.  Guess that answered that question.

Glad that I didn't send that brown box into school with my son.  This morning, I set him to work decorating.  But, as is the case with everything these days, he wanted the box to look like Thomas the Tank Engine.  This is always a frustrating situation, because he can't make Thomas himself.  Yet, nothing less than a recognizable copy of Thomas would suffice.  And so, despite what possible disappointment might come from his teachers (who presumably wanted the CHILD to do most of the work in this project), I set to work.  

To be honest, we don't even have construction paper in the house.  I dared not go to Walmart, though, the Saturday before the Super Bowl unless absolutely necessary.  So, the more expensive cardstock I had on hand for scrapbooking would do.  It made me cringe slightly to see it Elmers-glued onto a brown shoe box by a 4 year old who doesn't even realize what textured cardstock is....but, just add it to the long list of hardships parents endure on behalf of loving their kids....

As with any project like this, there were problems.  Nothing major, at least, nothing major to me.  My son was dead set on wheels that could move, and so we went through the time-consuming work of making axels, carving holes, and measuring the wheels space.  Of course, I'm not engineer, and so when we finally attached the wheels, I realized they were too high up on the box to actually be used correctly.  My son was not understanding.  Obviously, I needed to take it apart and make it right.  Um, no.  It took me over an hour just to make them the wrong way, I'm not about to spend that much time doing it over again, just for a preschool Valentine's box.  He was not happy.

He got over it, though, as the project took more shape and Thomas got his face.  It's amazing what putting a face on a train does for a boy...  Something I will never understand.  Oh, and the number one, of course.  That was a necessary finishing touch.  It's certainly not perfect (as I'm sure my son would explain to you all the flaws), but at least it's good enough.  I just hope it can keep its shape long enough to be used for its purpose--holding everyone's Valentine's card come February 14th.... Only time will tell!

 We cut out a hole to put the cards in!

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Boots....At Last!

I set out to start crocheting about a month ago.  In a short period of time, it took over my thoughts and free time.  Actually, it took over a lot of my not-so-free-time too.  The dishes, the laundry, the grocery shopping, and even the children, were at times ignored so that I could pursue the craft.  The past week and a half in particular was overrun with crocheting.  Working that needle in and out, and in and out, only to undo hours of work because I hadn't done things just right.  I wouldn't necessarily recommend doing a somewhat tricky project with no instructions after only learning the art recently, but this is a case of do-what-I-say-not-what-I-do.

I am happy to report that my crocheted boots are [mostly] finished.... at last!  I say mostly because it is my utmost desire to put a rubber sole on these so that I can wear them outside "around town."  Of course, the secrets of soling shoes seem to be well-guarded and thus I have had an extremely difficult time trying to figure out how to do such a thing, and in particular, where to procure the products.  But, as of about an hour ago, I think I have some promising leads in that area.  I hope they will be soled within the week.  In the meantime, I guess I will just have to sit and pine over my awesome boots.  I don't want to wear them, since I'd like to keep the crocheted soles as dirt-free as possible to prepare them for rubber soling.  Yet, after about 30 hours (!!!!) of work, I long to enjoy the fruits of my labor....

So, here are some glimpses of my effort.  And for those of you who don't do any needle crafts, please, please, don't think I have done anything amazing here.  If you want amazing, look here:  Now that is amazing work.  What I have done here is clumsily crochet my way through something that for experts, would probably have taken less than a day to complete.   I like to think that once I'm more proficient, it will take me 1/3 of the time.  We'll see.

Today I'll be spraying the boots with a couple coats of water repellent made especially for fabric, again, so that they will be fit for outdoor use.  Let's hope all goes well.  And after that, it will just be waiting until I can get my longed-for rubber soling sheets..... oh the anticipation is killing me!