Thursday, September 17, 2015

Blueberry Zucchini Muffins

This recipe is a work in progress. Since I received the recipe from a neighbor with 3 eggs and 1 cup of oil, I've been trying different adaptations.

2 eggs
1 cup plain Greek yogurt (or 2TB yogurt and 1 ripe banana)
1-1.5 TB oil
2 tsp vanilla 
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 cups shredded zucchini

3 cups flour (1 cup wheat, 2 cups all purpose)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda (need more, heaping tsp? For 1 cup yogurt)
1-2tsp cinnamon
2 cups blueberries

Often I felt I needed to add 1/8 cup of milk or water to the batter at the end. 

Struessel on top of muffins for added texture and sweetness. A small mixture of butter/oil, brown sugar and oats. 

For loaves, she said 350 degrees for 50 minutes, yields 2 loaf pans

For muffins, I gave done 375 degrees for 18 minutes, yields 24 muffins

I don't have a picture because they all get eaten quickly. My son has enjoyed the denser adaptations with the one cup of yogurt. The banana variation was lighter and had a better muffin dome.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Kindergarten Rest Mat

For kindergarten, one item requested for school is a towel for rest time. I asked my daughter if she wanted to bring a towel or a blanket. She suggested a blanket with fabric of things she likes.  I loved the idea and started looking through my fabric stash.  I found quite a few, but also wanted to buy some new prints such as Barbie and more princess. Many of the prints have additional meaning or were used in other projects.

I started cutting the prints into strips of at least 5.5" long and 2-3" wide. Once assembled, I cut them down to 5". I thought of this design as wonky coins, but then made them into a rectangle not just stacked. I had turquoise for the background and borders. My goal was to make it the same size as a small beach towel. Once I put together the strips, I saw I had extra space at the top and bottom. My kids suggested making the top bigger and appliquéing Kessa's name at the top. 

I loved putting the prints together and working on this quilt. I haven't done much sewing lately and it was great to get into a new project. I decided to do wavy lines across the quilt and like the effect. I was careful to go around the princess' faces and other prints I fussy cut. 

For the binding, I used 2.5" strips for the binding and think I should experiment with 2.25" the next time I make a quilt. Part of the problem with this one was I was sewing on the binding with a sore wrist and didn't stay at 1/4" perfectly. My wrist started hurting during the quilting of the wavy lines. 

For the most part, this was a one day project. Those are my favorite kind of days. This day was unique in that I had plans for three parts of the day and everything was canceled. And somehow the kids didn't need me much either. I had done most of the cutting a different day and I finished up the binding the next morning.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Ice cream cake again

It was birthday time again and somehow my daughter isn't a fan of cake and requested an ice cream cake again.  We used vanilla and chocolate ice cream with a cookie and magic shell base and middle.  I decided to try chocolate whipped cream frosting and used 1/4 cup of cocoa.  Instead of decorating with whipped cream, I used buttercream and it went very well and was easier than the stabilized whipped cream I used last year.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Princess Birthday Party

My soon to be 5 year old wanted to have a birthday party with her friends. She was clued into this concept earlier this year with a swimming party and a bounce house party. Finally she decided she would like a dress-up princess party. Initially she wanted to dress up and swim, but I suggested she chose one or the other.

Fortunately, there are many princess party ideas out there and I could just pick and choose.

We started with some princess crafts.

We made beaded wands with pipe cleaners and straws and princess wooden clothes pin dolls.

My older daughter had been gifted this awesome priness cookie cutter set and I made up a large batch of playdough with glitter to use at the party. I had aprons available for the girls to keep their dresses clean. 

After crafts, my older daughter, dressed as Belle, led the children in some games. We had snowman cup knock down and a princess castle bean bag toss. After taking turns playing those games, we also played freeze dance to princess music.

While the kids were playing games with my daughter along with other parents, I cleaned up the crafts and set the table for tea. I have had a few tea parties with just my daughter and used the china cups. She loves it.  We had six children and Belle and I felt that would be manageable with the china. I also made tea sandwiches and consulted the moms first about kids' favorites. Along with the PBJ, ham, and turkey sandwiches, we had cut pineapple and hulled strawberries. 

Some finger sandwiches I had eaten at an event were chicken salad sandwiches. I tried to make something similar and had them available to the adults.  I used a deluxe chicken salad recipe I found which seemed to have the same ingredients. I mainly remember cut grapes with the chicken. It's a great combination. I spooned the mixture on cut baguette and held everything together with toothpicks. 

After our snack, I asked the kids about the Cinderella story and when we got to the missing glass slipper, we brought the kids downstairs to find previously hiddle glass slippers. I added red tissue paper inside each 4" shoe to make it easier to find. 

Once all six slippers had been found, we came back up for Storytime. My daughter, dressed as Belle, read them the story, Do Princesses Wear Boots? 

Then we went back to the table for cupcakes and finished our party with the gifts. The kids were very attentive to the gift opening and eventually decided to have some playtime.  My daughter opened her new dolls as well and they had a nice time then

Finally it was time to go.  The party lasted about 3 hours and then they played for another thirty minutes or so if their moms had stayed. It was very helpful to have many of the moms stay. I had anticipated they would and knew I could have more complicated projects. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Barbie Sized Creations

Twas a very merry Barbie Christmas over here. My four year old enjoys playing with Barbie sized princesses and also Barbie. She received a Barbie camper, a Barbie sized house and a few new dolls. The house came furnished, but with only one bed. I could see this might be an issue. Also, sadly lacking any blankets.

My first creation was to cut some fleece as blankets. This took no time at all.  I cut fleece in a rectangle and a couple larger rectangles to be folded as sleeping bags or just larger blankets. 

I looked at Barbie beds other people had made and that is still on our list to do. Maybe even some bunks for the smaller Chelsea sized dolls. I did find these little cots.

I thought it was really quite ingenious. On a trip to JoAnns, I found a 10 pack of 12" 1/4" dowel for the frames and Popsicle sticks for the ends. Dipping into my fabric stash, I quickly put together the fabric parts of four cots and small matching pillows. It was nearly dinner time and I figured it would be easier to enlist my husband's help for the woodworking.

Together we spent about two hours, much long than I expected, finding the right bolts and nuts, drilling holes for aforementioned bolts, and drilling pilot holes. As we assembled the first cot with wood glue, it appeared quite wobbly. We decided to just add the Popsicle sticks to the ends of each dowel first and made sure it could lay flat.  After the glue dried, we inserted the bolts to complete the cots. 

I still think the cots are very cute and nice that they fold flat. But I think it's a bigger project than it seems and one wrong step or leaning breaks the Popsicle sticks. We have had two cots need repair already from misplaced body parts. Fortunately, they can be glued. New rule for the cots is that they can only be in or on the house, not on the floor.

 After receiving money for Christmas, my daughter bought herself a Ken doll. Apparently, Ken likes to take baths in the Barbie house and would really like a bathrobe. Sewing for Barbie and Ken is not really pleasant, but I also accept that these tiny things do not need to be perfect or have perfectly finished seams.

For the robe, I decided to forgo proper sleeve construction and simply traced around Ken's open armed body for a pattern.  There was a back piece and two front pieces.  After hemming up the sleeves, I sewed them up and considered being done.  But then I found some lycra binding intended for fleece (that matched!) and bound the whole robe.  Finally I sewed more binding together to make a tie and attached it along the whole back part of robe for security.  Due to it being out of thin fleece, it worked very well.

The Barbie camper included a swimming pool, yet no one had their swimsuits on.  I made a couple swim suits which didn't work very well.  The best one is a one piece I cut around a doll out of a four way stretch material.  No edges are finished and it is easy to get on and off.  Ken got a multipurpose gym shorts/swim suit by tracing his pants as a pattern.  That worked well.

Some of the smaller girls needed new dresses.  The lack of footwear for flatfooted Skipper and Stacy is disappointing for us too.  The dressing, undressing and hair styling is what my daughter enjoys.  It's hard to have many choices if they don't exist.  But two new dresses I could make.  The Skipper and Barbie dresses are very easy to make.  I had made Barbie dresses a few years ago and followed the same method.

 Finally, every evening the dolls need to sleep.  The house sometimes is a hotel and there's only so much space.  It's very sweet how my daughter gets them all into bed with their shoes under the beds or cots and tucks them in. Because of the camper idea too, I made sleeping bags.  I followed the basic instructions from here with my own dimensions.  My first bag was out of two layers of flannel and was rather bulkly.  Then I used one layer of flannel and one layer of quilting cotton.  I liked these the most.  I did tuck in some batting as a pillow, but the pillow got negative reviews from one daughter.  Finally I made two mini bags for the Chelsea sized dolls out of two layers of quilting cotton with no pillow.  They are all pretty cute and roll up nicely.