Thursday, March 31, 2011

better pb playdough

     I have made a most excellent discovery!  Now, I'm sure you could google around and see that a good many other people may have found this too, but let's not burst my bubble.  I needed a little bit of brilliance after that photo-less hat moment of mine.

     So what have I discovered?  Well, all the recipes I've read for peanut butter playdough have called for dry milk.  Some of us have been having issues with dairy around here lately, and we really needed some play dough.  There was not enough salt for our "best" kind (as Levi would say), but I really wanted to avoid that dairy in our second best kind.

     I decided, what the hey, we'll just toss in flour and see what happens.  It turned out awesome!  It was really pliable (unlike regular PBPD), it was still edible, and it kept fine in the fridge for a couple of days.  I don't know how long it would last, because by that point it was all eaten up.  So here's what I used:

Pliable Peanut Butter Play Dough (say that 5 times fast... ;-)
1.  Mix together:
~A generous squeeze of honey,
~A huge glop of peanut butter,
~A handful of flour.
2.  Keep mixing in flour, a handful at a time, until you have play-with-able dough.  Peanut Butter is oily, so sprinkle a bit of flour on the table the first time you use it.

     You can add pretzel sticks and make all kinds of things, eat it, or store in the fridge.  You can make a little or a lot, depending on how much PB and honey you start with!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

share and share alike

     Okay, I don't think I've ever done this, but this morning I am going to send you somewhere else!  If you have any interest in crafty tutorials or some yummy recipes, head over to  Dana Made It.   Be sure to click on her tutorials button.  She has her versions of several sewing projects I've done or already seen, but she has a really great and simple, straight-forward style in her tutorials, that I think is worth sharing!

     See you back here tomorrow for my Improved Peanut Butter Playdough recipe!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


     Being the brilliant woman I am, I planned not to share this post until I had given my brother his birthday hat.  I wrapped it, carried it down to Disney World, and gave it to him as an early present (today's his real birthday).  Brilliant me watched him open it and try it on, and was thrilled that it fit and that he actually liked it.  Brilliant me did all that and didn't think to take his picture which was sort-of the point with handing it to him, as opposed to putting it in the mail.

     So.  No picture of brother in the hat. 

     The awesome & free chart is from SewGeeky on  SewGeeky designed it for a baby sweater, and a few people had tried to put it on a hat.  I decided I wanted mine at a smaller guage, so the Mystery Science Theater guys could all sit on the same side of the hat.  That kind of thing is important to me, and I thought it would increase my chances of my brother actually wearing said hat.
       My notes are on Ravelry, in case you want one too...
      Happy birthday Kevin!  You really are brilliant, and I love you so much. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

lego occupation

       My table can now be classified as occupied territory.

     You see, when Eve was tiny, the Legos were on the floor. Then she started flipping over. The Legos moved up onto the white trunk. Then Eve started standing up. The Legos moved into the boys' room.

     This left my boys with a bit of a conundrum. They wanted to play with their Legos, but they didn't want to miss what was going on with Eve out in the rest of the house. So most of the time, they haul a bucket out here and take over the table with their battle zones.

     Like I said, occupied territory.

Friday, March 25, 2011

this week's moment

     Just one special moment to savor from the week...
   My preschooler, just being a preschooler...
(and no, I did not have my 3 year old washing my dishes. 
He was playing with the things from his toy kitchen, just so we're all clear on that!)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

playing chicken

     Today I would like to take a moment to explain a lovely bit of parenting that I have dubbed playing Baby Chicken. 

     This is a game that no matter how many babies you may have, you will never be able to win 100% of the time.  Heck, you'll be lucky if you can pull it off half the times a baby decides to play.

     Baby Chicken is where you put the baby down for bed, and baby decides baby doesn't want to sleep.  You spend a rediculous amount of mental energy trying to guess if baby is about to fall asleep, or way past sleeping.

     For example:  You put baby down.  Baby is annoyed by your decision to put baby down.  Baby verbalizes this.  If your house is small, you know about it.  If your house is big, you have a baby monitor and you know about it. 

     You, as the wise and benevolent parent, glance at the clock.  Baby turns up the volume.  Your brain starts to race.  Has baby made a mess in their diaper?  That happened the other day, but then yesterday baby figured that out and made I-need-to-be-changed shrieks and fooled you (you lost that round, didn't you now?).  You stand there, telling yourself you will finish these dishes, and if baby is still upset, you will cave in and let baby win.  Your brain rattles through way too many things: is that chubby thigh stuck in the crib slats?  Did that favorite toy get chucked across the room?  On, and on, and on...

     One dish later, that kid curls up and goes to sleep.  Dang.  You won.  Finish the dishes and drop down in a chair, mentally wiped from Baby Chicken.  Makes you wish the little thing would just fall asleep in your arms, doesn't it?  But let's save that for the next round, shall we?

Disclaimer:  I haven't a heck of clue as to how
this would work with twins.  You can use your imagination on that one (I do.  It's rather entertaining)...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

a book to keep

     Levi was thrilled when I introduced the concept of lapbooking to him.  A lapbook is just a little book where you gather up facts and pictures about a single subject.  Like knights.

     "You mean we get to keep it?  We don't have to give it back to the library?!"

     Out loud I said: "Yup!"  Inside I thought: Oh dear, this kid is concerned about having to give back all these books about knights and castles...

     Here's our coat-of-arms: if you click on the picture, you can see it closer up and read what all the things mean, saving me the trouble of typing them in again (really, because that is just silly, right?)...

     This last part was too cool.  I asked him to draw a knight and he drew a squire helping the knight suit up, the horse in a stable eating hay, a guy in the dungeon with a guard watching him, the castle kitchen with all the "cookers" wearing chef's hats and busy prepping a big meal.  One was even in the garden, collecting food.

     It was a really fun project, and it's a neat way for Levi to review what he's learned about knights.  Google "lapbooks" if you're interested...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

first hike of the season

     Me and the boys took Eve to our bridge in the woods for lunch.  She had never been there, and the boys were excited to share it with her.  It's a 1.2 mile roundtrip hike, but the path is paved, so she cruised in style.  The boys gobbled up their lunches, we gave the fish a few nibbles to munch on for our entertainment, and Eve was mesmerized by the water rushing along. 

     It was wonderful...

Monday, March 21, 2011


     I am soooo happy with this little Darwinia dress I made for Eve.  The pattern is from an Australian designer, the yarn Nana sent was from Australia, and both were AWESOME!  It is cutest by itself, but works well for layers, and it's totally soft and I am thrilled with it.  Keep-it-for-my-grandkids thrilled... 

     I've given up asking her to slow down, in case you were wondering... 

Friday, March 18, 2011

this week's moment

This is my first baby to give any attention to the piano.  I missed it this time (film-wise), but she loves to raise both hands high above her head and then pound away like she's working on some concerto.

Have a great weekend everybody!  I'll have some finished projects to share next week :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

       Shall I continue our post-vacation, mini-tour? If you aren't family, you'll just have to bear with me as I catch all of them up. I promise not to share all two hundred and forty-some pictures (can we say shutter-diarrhea?) on this poor little blog, but to return, asap, to our regular nuttery.

     First stop: my view during a large portion of the trip.  For someone who had only been in a stroller three times in her existence, prior to our trip, Eve did a pretty good job dazzling us all with her uncanny ability to tell exactly who was at the helm.  Seriously.  You could push that stroller, and I could stand shoulder to shoulder with you, and she knew the difference, and made sure everybody else knew it too.  It was weird.  I mean, how does someone so tiny know the difference of voice projection, when you're talking a difference of mere inches? 

     Perhaps she'll be a linguist.  Or a violinist.  Anyways...

     Don't you love our green shirts?  I can feel your envy from here...  I have to say they were awesome for spotting one another in the midst of everthing and everone.  I really did love mine, and the boys wear theirs as fast as I can wash them again.

     Our shirts all had something special on them, according to each person's interests.  See Levi's little Lego knight?  Micah had Mater, Pappy had a mountain bike (yes, my daddy is still flying through the woods on those things:), Paul had a handyman, Kevin had a four-wheeler, Nana had an owl, and Eve had a little doll.

     I will not tell you what I had.  You can leave your guesses in the comments (I think they're working again).  No fair guessing if you were actually there....

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

who we met...

      We also met some really sweet Japanese girls stationed in Epcot's Japan.  They were asking kids their names and writing them out in Japanese, which was really cool.  One of them wrote out Micah's name, but he didn't answer with a thank you, instead he announced:
      "That's not how you spell Micah."
      "Yes, yes," she answered, "That is it in Japanese."
      "No, no, no.  Here, I'll show you..."
     I kid you not.  He reached over and snatched that huge purple Sharpie up out of her hand, bit down on his lip and proceeded to write out that big M.  And then he eye-balled her to make sure she was watching.  And then he repeated that for each letter in his name, because apparently this poor, grown-up woman had had no one to teach her her letters yet. 
     And three or not, he was gonna be the one to do it.

Monday, March 14, 2011

we're back!

     We're back!  And worn out slap-silly!  The kids were amazing, the parks were wonderful, and our hotel was nice, clean, and beautiful.  We are all still recovering, and I'm trying to decide which handful of pictures to share on here! 

     Eve was clingy, but the boys were thrilled by that, as the baby has not quite grasped the pecking order around here yet.  Mama is often the top banana, unless we wander into Nana-Pappy-Kevin territory, at which time I go slamming to the bottom rung.  Eve doesn't quite get this, so the boys had Nana, Pappy and Uncle Kevin to themselves - which was pure bliss to them.

     Of course, every once in a while a little hand would slip into Mama's, or a little squeeze would find its way to me, or a sweet little, "I love you Mama, even at Disney World," would get whispered in my ear.

     I'll take it.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

cooking confessions

     While I am out of town, I thought I would leave you a little confession about my lack of pancake skills.  The boys in this house know that I don't do pancakes.    Wanna know why?

    A few years ago, I went to make some pancakes for my first born son.  I don't really care for them myself, so I hadn't made them in years, but I confidently pulled the box out of the cabinet and whipped up a batch.

    They don't look quite right, but what the hey!  On the griddle they go.  Hmmn...  These are not cooking. 

     Still not cooking. 

      Care-free, what the hey attitude quickly becomes what the heck? attitude.  Every bit of dough gets dumped into the bin. 

      Perhaps I have mixed it wrong?  Let's try again...  I start over, thinning the batter.  Onto the griddle.  What the heck?  Still no pancakes.  Batter in trash. 

     Try again, thicker batter, on the griddle, still no freakin' pancakes

     Let me see... looking back, I recall passing through confusion, anger, total bewilderment, tears and nearly two hours before I threw my hands up in the air and started eye-balling that cursed box of pancake mix.

     And what to my wondering eyes should appear?  A box that was expired by nearly a year.

     Daddy cooks all the pancakes now. 

Monday, March 7, 2011


While I'm gone on vacation, you can all mosey on over to Twine and Twig, my etsy buddy.  She is hosting a big give-away this week, with tons of small businesses and a bunch of cool prizes!  You could even win one of my dolls!

Shop note: any dolls ordered between now and Sunday will ship March 14th.

Friday, March 4, 2011


Morning!  Look!  I finally have a picture of my finished sweater!  Well, mostly finished.  I need to block it, but I wear it almost every day, and I don't want to get it wet and leave it sit until after the weather has turned.  I love, love, love it.

In other news: 

I will be missing this spot for an entire week, I think.  I do not have a fancy phone, though mine will take pictures.  Perhaps I can send you one or two.  Or commandeer my brother's phone... Or maybe you will just have to pine away, missing me and my needles and cereal castles.

We'll see... 

Thursday, March 3, 2011


1.  So far, the babe: has been into the dog food bowl, stood up solo for 2 seconds (twice), and enjoys racing me to electrical cords.  She only has 2 teeth, but that is 2 too many for an electrical cord, judging by her performance on that apple she was shaving the other day.

2.  Apparently something "wonky" is refusing to let the comments show on this blog.  Levi likes to use that word.  Bet you can't figure where he learned it.

3.  I was deceived about not needing the metal needles after row 8.  Apparently they will be needed here and there, throughout the project.  This of course, was my own wishful thinking, as 3.25mm was sprinkled throughout the pattern in plain English, for all to see.

4.  The dog's water bowl has vanished.  Into thin air.  It has been 24 hours.  My husband (I want to call him the Gaffer, like Samwise Gamgee's dad, but he's not so sure about that.  Tell him it's cool) thinks that I have hidden it, to drive him crazy.  My theory is that the local mouse community thought it would make a perfect pool, and they got together and hauled it out of here while we were out of the house.
5.  I'm pretty annoyed by that comment thing not working.  Anybody know their way around Blogger well enough to fix it?  If you do, leave a comment... oh, ha, ha, ha...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

post 654, in which she rambles about knitting. again.

     Warning:  If you don't care two-pence about knitting, scroll down to the bottom of this post for a quick summary.

     Nana, being a grandmother, likes to buy dresses for her granddaughter, and she is cool about the fact that dresses sometimes start out in a big yellow ball.  Plus said ball of yarn, from Bendigo Woollen Mills, gives her daughter a whopping great ball of fun, so it's a win, win, win all around.

     I crossed my fingers for the size and cast on.  Now, if you are out there thinking of taking up knitting, perhaps in the odds of trying to understand why I post about it so "dad-gum" much, I have to throw in a word.  Don't look at the picture and think, oohh, I guess I better run down to the all-night-knitting store and get some metal double point needles.  See, the first time I went to knit something in the round, I went to the store and bought the only ones I saw, which were metal.

     I deplore metal needles.  They are for speed knitters.  That means they are slippery.  That means if you look up to see what's going on around you, stitches disappear.  This is not good for easily distracted people, such as myself.

     Why haven't I replaced them?  Well, I only use that size for certain things (they are only used on the top 8 rows of this dress, and then I can kiss them goodbye).  And while I dispise metal needles, even more is my loathing for the idea of buying another set of something I already have, if you know what I mean.

     This brings me to another thing I've realized lately.  People in the knit-world are crazy about circular needles.  Me?  Not so much.  I am one of those silly people still clinging to my wooden dbpns.  But I tried some Harmony needles, with their really flexy cables, and I can see why people like them.  I am also sitting on the floor with my 5 little sticks (that's 10 pointy ends, thank you), and my baby, who is speeding towards me with that look.  Can we say catastrophe, both in the baby and knitting departments?

     For the non-knitters out there, let me sum up this post for you:  Blah, blah, blah, knitting, blah, blah, blah, knit, knit, knit, blah, blah, blah.  Bubble-wrap.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

castle building...

    We're spending this school year studying the Medieval Ages through the early Renaissance.  We have this awesome pair of books:  The History of the World, Volume 2, by Susan Wise Bauer, and the companion Activity Book.  We've just begun to really get into castles and kingdoms and chivalry, knights and samurai.  To start we raided the library and came home with over twenty books that Levi has been pouring over.  And then we built our own castle.  Out of cocoa puffs. 

     The idea was in Bauer's Activity Book, and basically you just make rice krispy treats with a little more rock-ish looking cereal.  And then you smear your hands with butter and mold a castle.  I think that you could really ramp this up with older kids.  Dye coconut shavings green for grass and make a blue jello moat.  Really mold that castle shape.  Put little people into it.
     Either way, our cocoa castle is really, really, really, yummy.