Friday, June 27, 2008

Austin Weekend, Kiddie Style

Saturday 6/28: Build a mini baseball game at Lowes - Free

Saturday & Sunday 6/28-29: Luling Watermelon Thump - $3. Kids under 11 free!

There are so many other fun things happening this weekend!

My kid is so smart!

Ok. I know I'm biased :) But my kid just blows me away!!!

Yesterday he was playing with the homemade caterpillars in the post below. He was having lots of fun making them go "Boing! Boing!" And then he turned one over and said, "egg mommy." It just blew me away that he made that connection between the caterpillars and the egg carton when we have never played with egg cartons before.

Another thing that surprised me is his understanding of the concept zero. I asked him, "do you want Mommy to brush your teeth for 5 seconds, or 10 seconds?" He replied, "zero seconds, Mommy!" I couldn't help getting excited about that one!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Free Toys - Egg Carton Caterpillars

Weapon X turns 2 soon and we're throwing a fun party at his grandma's house. I was talking with a friend about it today and he was wondering how many toys we had already bought him.

Uuuuuummmm... none! And I'll tell you why! We really can't fit a mountain of new toys in our 860 sqft condo! Plus, we get him new toys all year round. He went on to joke that X is pretty spoiled (yep!), but I forgot to mention that most of the toys he gets from us are used or homemade.

That's where these lovlies come in! Tonight I took a few cardboard egg cartons (insert save the earth plug here) and made some fugly caterpillars for X. It was fun for me, and I did it while Moss was putting X down to sleep (after I cooked dinner and put away all the dishes...whew!).

First I cut a cardboard egg carton into 2 pieces.

Then I dipped them in a pitcher full of water. I added food coloring to the water, thinking the cardboard would absorb the color, but it didn't. So, just soak the carboard in regular, old water.

I put parchment paper on the counter, and some paper towels on top of that. Then laid out the caterpillars and put a drop of food coloring on top of 1 hump. I spread it around immediately with a pastry brush. A paint brush would have been nice, but I didn't have a small one around, so I improvised! The green caterpillar took many drops per hump, but the blue went a lot further.

Then I painted eyes and decorations on each caterpillar and left them to dry. You can add pipe cleaners for tentacles, but I left them off for safety reasons... and I didn't have any ;)
I did this after X went to sleep because he is in the, "NO Mommy! MY DO IT!" stage, and it is best to do activities with him that are good for complete involvement.
Happy crafting!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Designing a Wall Box

Yesterday at 5pm I decided I was finally going to make that shelf that I always knew I wanted to be above the black cabinet in my kitchen. Weapon X had been a sick crankypants all weekend long, so I think I really needed an outlet.

In anycase, sometime after 5pm I left for Lowes. I had my dimensions planned out, so I had them cut my pieces. It was ready to hang at midnight, but I decided to give the paint a little more time to dry. Now it is hung in my kitchen, and I have to wonder why I didn't do it sooner.

It is 36" wide, 13.5" tall, and 16" deep. It is the perfect palce to display/store my stemware and wine bottles... away from grubby little toddler hands! When I planned the size and placement, I made sure I had room to store my sewing machine and beloved stand mixer underneath for easy access!

What I learned from this process is that when you want to finish a piece fast, having Lowes cut your pieces is great. You just have to deal with the inaccuracies in the cuts and move forward. It kept me from being a perfectionist! Also, I went on Sunday evening, so there wasn't a line of people behind me giving me dirty looks for making so many cuts :) I definitely would not try this on a Saturday morning!

Cost = $43. And I have some paint left over for another project!

I will post a tutorial another day.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Instead of a specialty non-slip pastry pad

Instead of buying a specialty non-slip baking liner, $20, to roll out your pastries (I use mine for pizza dough)
consider buying a roll of non-adhesive, reusable shelf liner for $6. From this slip-resistant, 5 foot roll, I cut 3 mats that I can use for rolling out pastries or playdough.

I do not assume this material is food or oven-safe, but it will keep my parchment paper from sliding around when I roll out pastries!

The label even says it is washable!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Texas Music - Sarah Sharp

Today I heard a really great artist on the University of Texas radio station, KUT, (that's 90.5 in Austin). Sarah Sharp has some great lyrics and her voice is genuine. I heard her sing live, in-studio, and I was really intrigued. You can get a pre-release of her latest album on iTunes.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Austin Weekend, Kiddie Style

When it comes to weekend activities, we always aim for free.

We comb the events pages for things like bell choir and music shows so Logan will have unique experiences without the price tag that comes along with the children's museum.

This weekend, we will probably hit some of the following free shows:

Every Sunday Ruta Maya from 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM
Laura Freeman with special guest Heather Jarry

Laura Freeman sings about colors, the environment and being outside with songs that involve children’s imaginations!

Thanks to Mr Johnny's for some great ideas.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Tools In My Kitchen - KitchenAid Stand Mixer

My KitchenAid stand mixer is certainly a luxury. I can never imagine dropping $300 on a brand new one, but it really is my favorite kitchen tool. Luckily for me, I received this beauty as a gift!

I can make whipped cream incredibly fast. I can make cookies without breaking my arm. I whip out the dough hook without hesitation to make a batch of pizza dough. I admit it. Having this fabulous machine makes me fearless in the kitchen!

I was also gifted the attachments above. This is, by far, the best value for attachments. Some other attachment options are a meat grinder, or a pasta roller.

With this set, I can grate cheese, or any vegetable for that matter, so quick that I have no excuses to buy the pre-grated stuff.

I use the slicers to slice sweet potatoes extra thin. I toss them in olive oil and salt. Then I throw them on a baking sheet to make sweet potato chips that even my 2 year old won't deny.

This is what the attachment looks like when it is all hooked up.
If you love to cook, the KitchenAid stand mixer will only make you love it more.