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Monday, December 12, 2011

Letter I wrote for Izak's therapists: Footprints that Last a lifetime...

I was asked what was wrote on the letter I wrote for Izak's therapists, I am including this with a gift basket of goodies including: Ginger Bread Hot Cocoa mix, buckeyes, Mini Chocolate Peanut-butter crisps, Coconut Bon-bons, Chocolate covered pretzels, spoon, and giant marshmallows. On the opposite side I printed a vintage looking card and hand cut it with a condensed thank you. Will add the web address to the free printables: Here is the letter I wrote last night:

People come and go in your life, some walk with you for a time, but the pace they set it too fast and they leave footprints in the sand that are gone with the next wave.

Others come and they set the pace so slow you fall behind and aren't able to progress at the rate in life u need to so you can grow and flourish.  The footprints they leave are so far behind they are forgotten with the next sunrise.

Then there are those who come into your life for a season, that walk with you, encourage you to take steps even when the might be uncomfortable for a time.  They are wise and know these steps will result in growth and development. They cheer you on from the sidelines and are excited as you are as you reach each milestone even when that might be a half step in the right direction. Their footprints in the sand leave an indelible mark that cannot be erased and leave us a path to follow that leads us in the right direction.

These people are the unsung hero's in our lives, the ones that might cry with us as we struggle to achieve our goals and might even shed a tear when we reach them in exuberant celebration....

Thank you for investing in Izak's life and being the ones that leave footprints in our lives that will last a lifetime!

Christmas preperations, Bread and Soap Making...Oh MY!

Soap brewing on the stove top

3 Ingredients used to make soap

Made my first batch of homemade liquid laundry soap today, I grated a bar of Yardley's Lavender soap I got 2 pkg for $3.00 and had $0.50 off doubled coupon up to $0.99 so basically $0.99 each, used 1 C each Borax and Washing soda each for $2.50 per large box (don't have box handy do give oz) No each batch I made will do 64 loads so about 45 days of laundry and out of my boxes of Borax and Washing soda I will get about 576 loads if I exclusively use them only for laundry soap, now depending on the soap deal I get I think I can estimate safely that I will spend about $6-$10 (depending on usage of essential oils will affect my price) and be able to wash  nearly 600 loads! I will be adding essential oils bc I LOVE fragrance- but we will see what my budget allows. There is a link added to check out this recipe for yourself, it gets alot of action, ppl really seem to like it, I will give it a chance...

I was told that a lady uses this recipe to wash her welder hubby's clothes and 2 kids, and with an addition of "oxyclean" she get her clothes very clean. I just washed my sons clothes I had forgotten about that had dried in urine, I could still faintly smell it so I rewashed it- I added 20 drop of lavender to gallon container but didn't wait until it was room temp, so I will add some more along with Patchouli, Sandalwood, Litsea Cubis and Cedarwood E.O. I used warm water so I don't know if that was I smelled the faint trace or if this isn't going to work for us- I have other options I can try. I might add more Washing soda or baking soda, perhaps ammonia-will have to research what ammonia does to the our health and environment, in the past I added 3/4 C ammonia to the really dirty, greasy clothes, like Jim's work clothes or the urine soaked bed linens and clothes.

If not this recipe doesn't work for us I bought Sal-Suds from Dr. Bronner it is looking like my "fail-safe" or "Go-To" all purpose cleaner. I am finding the recipe I used for doing dishes didn't quite work as I wanted, I could still feel some grease on dishes and didn't try clear. I think the hard water and minerals in our water make it difficult to use some of those natural cleaners. I used a small "squirt" in my dish water and I had some REALLY greasy pans I used it on, it was squeaky clean and no residue feeling after it dried plus they looked gr8, no spots! I have a recipe that uses 1/4 vinegar,  1 Qt water, 2 T castile soap (will use Sal Suds), and some essential oils-will do tea tree for anti-bacterial effect. I will see how this works, the last batch I made I used borax, washing soda, vinegar and the little bit of Dawn I had left in the bottle, this has not worked well. SO I will try the a fore mentioned recipe and see how that works.

Artisan Bread mix b4 yeast has rose
So far it is looking like my cleaning supplies are going to be Vinegar, Tea Tree essential Oil, Baking and Washing Sodas, Borax, Sal Suds, Peroxide, and Witch Hazel.  For everything from Dishes, to floors, counter tops, windows and mirrors, laundry, toilets, appliances, and everything in between. I am not sure I can totally do without soft scrub with bleach or plain bleach and I don't really have a good hand washing soap that is good for the whole family, that is gentle enough for the kids and strong enough for Jim. SO other than liquid hand soap, and perhaps soft scrub with bleach we will be a "Green" and Frugal cleaning family-yay!!
Bread dough & book

I was so excited when I heard about this book Artisan Bread in 5 minutes, from a fellow blogger, so I immediately went to Amazon and bought it. I have read the book front to cover several times now and feel pretty confindant I can do this, so I bit the bullet and made a batch earlier tonight. What is the worst that can happen, it doesn't work out, then I will buy a loaf from the store and try again. I really want to make my best effort to eat as fresh and whole foods as possible, this allows me to do that, bread has so many perservatives in it when u buy commerically made, it is funny to me that the less the ingredients the more u pay! Like "natural" peanutbutter, it is so expensive and has only 1 or 2 ingredients...all u really need is peanuts, that should be all that is listed roasted peanuts, but they add oil, why I don't know I am not sure if it helps make it smoother or preserves it better, but if I had a really strong commerial food processor I could grind that up fresh too...
Dough after is has risen

I digress, I made the batch today, I hope I measured correctly I was horribly distracted by the crazy sounds coming from Izak's bedroom as daddy put him to bed, don't know why daddy's get kids all rilled up then expect them to just fall asleep peacefully after?? Anyways I was trying to not "micro-manage" and I might have miscounted Cups as I added the flour. They don't want u to use the larger 2 C measuring cups bc the flour will get distributed differenctly, so I only had 1/2 C measuring cup I could scrape with a knife (they don't want u to use ur hand and compress the flour too much), so hopefully I did that right. It is a wetter dough than I am used to seeing and working with, so it is hard to gauge the flour ratio correctly. The premise is a wetter dough baked on a hot stone with high heat and a broiler pan filled with 1 C hot water will create the harder, crispy, crackly crust breads with soft chewy insides we associate with European breads like Cibatta and so forth. I have heard more praise than not, so we will see if my hard earned $16 was worth it.

Ginger Bread Hot Cocoa Mix with Thank you Letters to Izak's therapists
I made Gingerbread Hot Cocoa mix for gifts, hand made tags complete with glitter, some free printables labels for the cleaners and Christmas gifts, Orange Cookies, and Cherry Crunch Cake yesterday so all I have to do is finish the Coconut Bon-bons, dip mini Peanut Butter Ritz, Giant Marshmallows, pretzels, spoons, candy canes and might make another batch of buckeyes if I have enough chocolate left only adding in 1& 1/2 C crushed pretzels and completely cover the ball and leave out some of powder sugar, I think that would be sooooo yummy!

Why Not Sew?: How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent

Monday, November 28, 2011

Whole Foods Eating and Natural/Green Living

So this is the start of week 2 of project get healthy at the Phillips household, there are have tears, tantrums, fits'o'plenty and we haven't even begun to talk about the kids' reactions yet!! Hubby has actually been a big support, with all the issues I have had since the birth of my sun he really wants to see me as healthy and active as I was when we met, heck I would too!!! Wouldn't we all want to be 20 again?? ON the for real though, I am feeling much better, haven't had a "flare-up" in a week that is pretty good considering I would be happy to go 3 days w/out all that drama of sulphur burps and the big "D", bloating, and extreme pain.

I was shopping for groceries and they had chicken on sale, now I haven't gone totally organic yet, would love to but prices here aren't that competitve in that market since there is only one natural foods/organic store in town. Hopefully they will bring in Trader Joes soon they have reasonable prices and Whole Foods and Earth Fare...that would be soo killer!!! Anyhooo I digresss, today I found b/s chicken breasts on sale for $1.49/LB pretty good since it's usually those GROSS IQFCB "Green Peak" that are all hormoned up and sterioded up and injected with broth to puff them up and help with the dryness of the meat. But once u thaw it out they are all jacked up looking and wabbly- eww! I promptly bought all they had in the case, 15Lbs worth much to the chagrin of post Black Friday shoppers I thought I was gonna get ganged up on for grabbing all the chix. But hey sorry, maybe I am totally rude as Jim would say, sorry man I gots to grab what deals I can. I did help some ppl find the extras in another section--they didn't even say thank you...dang I could have nabbed those too!!!

My goal was to cook some for chix kits like chix enchiladas, chix corn chowder, chix w/mushrooms and white sauce, and chix with wild rice and mushroom soup...then have some marinaded for Chinese foods, goulash, pastas, and so on.  But boy oh boy Izak was in a mood, I think Jim didn't really feed him that well, grrrr!!! Why is it when u think u have "free time" to do something like dishes, cooking, groceries bc hubby is "watching" them, u end up paying for it double later?? Izak didn't take a nap all day just was really cranky so I ended up being able to dice 5 lbs of chix w/no marinade. Just ready to sauted for whatever dish I make, then I crock pot cooked 8 bs and diced for above mentioned kits, then made "tenders" out the other 2 Lbs, Izak had it by that point. I was planning on using that portion to make stuffed shells with crimini mushroom, onion, garlic & spinach cooked in garlic roasted red pepper oil and make a parmesan sauce with a little chayene and smoked paprika. They shells wer 100% Whole wheat organic and I would going to stuff the shells with the chick mixture and some ricotta and ramono cheese..but I forgot the mushrooms and just used spinach and cottage cheese and tom sauce. Wasn't really good but were starved the kids were maniacs and Izak was crazy insane so he ate nearly 10 oz apple sauce with peas and cottage cheese. Well atleast he had veggie, dairy-some protein, and some fruit...

I did get to oven dry some grape tomatoes that were on thier last day, boy was that good! I poured olive oil over the toms and placed them in Izak's old food jars (Recycling!! how GREEN am I??). THis way I can used the toms and the olive oil for sauteing later yummy!! I think this week I will make some pizzas, I will use the fresh mozzerella I picked up along with the toms and some basil kinda and extra virgin olive oil, like a crapsie salad pizza? Maybe I will make a cauliflower crust?? That would killer with spinach and crimin's and carmelized onions and perhaps a yellow squash or zuch?? Yummy!! Good ideas here maybe I should make a menu?

I am getting the 5 Min artistian bread book 2morrw in mail and my 6 qt pail to store it, yay! Apparently u make this master dough and just mix it, leave in fridge all week and pull out what u need let rise and do some things to make it like what u want, then u have fresh bread in no time w.out all that mess. I could make pizza crust with it, chibatta style, perhaps???

I had some lemons on their last day too, so I zested them and froze it for later dishes, and took the 1C of juice and made a simple syrup with it for lemonade. I don't have room for the whole pitcher in fridge so I can add to glass as needed this way. That will be nice l8r in week.

I got the busy bag swap bags started, needed ink in the worst way, spent 30 for both ughhh!! They can't refill these kinds, bummer, so we had to bite the bullet. So I got them printed out and now I am trying to figure out how I can use contact paper to help these last, don't want to laminate bc of the expense, will have to see how that works out!

I of course ran out dish soap so I thought, well lets try DIY natural dish soap. IT can't be worse than the dish soap Jim bought I have been suffering through using! I still feel the grease after I wash them several times!! It is the reg Dawn which not to be confused with the ultra concentrate w/bleach kind, I am trying to be as non-chemical as I can on what I wash with, wear body products wise, cook and with and this just seems a natural progression. We will see how well this does, hope I don't see white filmy spots once they are dried! Worse case this experiment fails, then I go back to using Dawn to wash dishes with. I did learn last year about how clean it gets ur house so I I could use that for my multiprpose cleaner too..

Well it is like 1:30 and Jim is back to work and I will be the one up at the 5:30 am scream-feast, so I will sign off!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Izak's Elmo 1st Birthday Party

Close up of the cup cone, toppers, and carrier.

Boutique Bow I made with ribbons I got for a steal. All the girls got them in a favor bucket along w/a crayon roll, crayons, elmo coloring book, and small Elmo board book.

Elmo choclate covered Oreo cookies, square cake wrapped with a ribbon and Elmo Cake Topper I made with "Emlo's Party".Cup Cake Cones topped with Elmo Toppers.  I made a cup cake cone carrier by wrapping a Cherio box with Elmo coloring w/crayons wrapping paper I got for $1, I then hot glued a ribbon around the box and glued crayons around the box.

Fruit Skewers with Elmo sign, waving Elmo and Dorthy.

Birthday boy with Aunt Lori

A poster I made of Izak's first year, turned out really cute!

I was going to use the crayons to line the walk way to Elmo air walker but wasn't able to. IT was so windy we had to tape Elmo up so he wouldn't blow away.

Made the Crayons from the Pin the Crayon on Elmo's hand game and made 11" crayons. I used blue paper and colored the "crayon" part with red marker and used red glitter glue over the top of it.

U can barely see, but the banner in the background is the Birthday Banner from Elmo's Party. It was really cute!

Elmo, Dorthy, and Crayons I made for the center pieces,

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Project Princess Party COMPLETED!

The girls and Izak had a blast, and we all loved watching them giggle, play, dance and run in circles as every 3 yr old loves. The 15 & 18 month olds had a gr8 time trying to catch up and play with the older girls.  We had an ice breaker for the girls as they arrived, little wooden princess dolls they colored as we allowed time for all the guests to arrive. We had an open "grazing" that allowed the kids and parents time to have some snacks as the party went along.

The centerpieces, didn't really get a good shot of them but they were so cute!

Dessert Bar w/ red velvet cake pops, marshmallow wands, peanut butter pretzels bites, white chocolate vanilla oreo truffles, and of course the piece de` resistance` the Castle cake w/Disney Princesses.

Food Table

"Belle's Farmer Market Tray"- Cut at 5" customized from 3 dolls to make dress likeness to Beauty & the Beast

"Under the Sea Jelly Delights"-Peanut Butter, Cream Cheese , & grape Jelly Sandwiches sprinkled with lilac sanding sugar

Tiana's Froggy Fruit Kababs- Yes her one eye is missing, we lost it in transit, LOL! The pic doesn't show the highlights I added with bronze glitter glue or that I added chalk to make her mocha skin, it was my fav doll to do!

Bibbity Bobbity Boo Cheese Ball- I made Cinderella's hair, I don't think I would line it in black again, and yes her slipper is missing, I used that for one of the games, called "Pass the glass slipper"

I added different icons for Princess Party Cartridge, 2 castles, ring, unicorn, & frog. Used lettuce as base to hold skewers-I won't make this the night b4 again, wasn't as firm as I would have liked  and the fruit didn't as fresh as I wanted it to  look.

Customizes Water Bottles, hand cut labels, lilac part at 1 3/4", pink part 1 1/2" used Princess party Cartridge and used the Crikits pen in black and filled in with glitter glue. I used 2" clear Scott's Packaging tape to seal. I don't think this would hold up in iced cooler or bucket, I just kept refrigerated.

Another close up center pieces, I intended on using tulle and tying it at base of lowest balloon and tying other end at base of balloon weight, but I forgot. This doesn't show the tags I made for each balloon along with lots of curling ribbon. But still was cute!

Each guest got little hand made tags with their names and likeness, The tag is from School cartrige cut at 7" and dolls were cut at 5" I used glitter glue to accent.

3-D Castel made @ 8"- with 8 1/2" X 11" paper, I just turned it to portrait for most cuts and some I had to cut twice to get all pieces to fit, I didn't have any 12X12"paper that was the color I was wanting and this size was free, so I wanted to use it!, I added silver glitter glue to edges and little icons from another cricut cartridge to hide the darkening that happened when I smudged glue. This paper was not forgiving. The box was baby diaper box I painted and decoupaged with sky and grass, the outside was red and gold leave painted. The kids loved it!

Kissi's throne chair, I used charomose silk I got for a steal and a pink table tunner that was embellished with glitter along with organza ribbon I got for pennies at fabric store. I wrapped the rocking chair in batting & placed the silk over it using a saftey pin in back and hand sewing in place in front. This way I can re-use the material If I eve get it back from Kissi, LOL, and my son can use the chair with out feeling weird.

All the princesses after they got "princess-ifed"!

The party princess enjoying her food!

"Princess" Kissi embracing her cousin, a good time had by all!! :-)
I used my ciricut and Princess Party cartridge like a mad lady. I used the tags & tied them onto the balloons with curling ribbon, they didn't translate as well as I envisioned, they were tied on with the image facing backwards so I didn't get a good pic of it. I still think it is a cute idea, I would just tie them on myself and make sure the colors match better. The other components of the centerpieces were really cute, I used empty, clear mini paint buckets and filled them silver balloon weights covered with petal pink tissue paper and wrapped the buckets with a white feather boa. I forgot to add the pink tulle to cover the ribbon and act as a topiary apparently I needed 3 hours instead of 2 hours for set up-still looked cute i just wish I had of remembered all I had planned on doing.

The paper dolls were cut at 5"I used for the table decor, I used the clear slipper wedding favors I got at Dollar General and used them to hold up the name plate for dishes. I used glitter glue to dot the edges of the tags, I just thought it needed a little bling, plus Kissi loves her glitter! Yes I know Tiana lost her eye and Cinderella lost her slipper (again, LOL!) I must have lost in transit. I made "Tiana's Froggy Fruit Kabobs" the night before with very ripe fruit, not a good thing, it was ok, but a little soggy, won't do it again. Still was quite tasty the pineapple really sweetened it up, just would not do this the night before. I made just a simple meat and cheese plate and named it I made a Belle likeness paper doll along with "Belle's Farmer's Market Tray",  Cinderella had whipped triple berry cream cheese we called, "Bippity-Boppity-Boo Cheese Ball",  and made an Ariel doll along side of Peanut butter, jelly and cream cheese sandwiches shaped with heart cookie cutters and sprinkled with purple sanding sugar (kissi's fav snack), and named it, "Under the Sea Jelly Deights".

The dessert bar, was really cute, I made a banner from the letters on the Princess Party Cartridge and used glitter glue on tops of crowns attached letters with ribbon and twine but they got all tangled & we didn't have time to untangle it to use-ughh! It would have been so cute, I just had more ideas that needed only my attention and were kinda tedious so more ideas than time allowed for. But it still was cute, I used a large feather boa I got for less than $5 to line edge of table, and used a shimmery fabric I got for $2 I placed under the raised cake layer and tied with a sheet fabric ribbon. I placed the red velvet cake pops in small glasses filled w.purple grass and marshmallow wands I placed in a med vase. I used tags from Princess Cartridge to label the delicacies but I didn't get pics of it, my mom did If I can figure out how to get them from fb I will add them l8r. I also made pretzel peanut butter bites, white chocolate vanilla Oreo truffles, and placed pink wafer cookies on the tiered stand.

The games we played were pin the crown on the princess, pass the glass slipper, princess parade and princess dance party. We did them at break neck speed, the kids' attention span at that age is like 3 secs on sugar it is less than 2. They did seem to like the games and free play we allowed. I started with the  pin the crown, then did pass the slipper as each guess had the slipper we had their parents get into their bags and help them get "princessified" with feather boa, crown, wand, and tutu. We then led them on a parade to the tune of "Part of your world" from The Little Mermaid", following with a dance party with the girls dancing to Kissi's fav songs I complied from I-tunes and cd's we have.

Now I am planning Izak's 1 year birthday party in June at a park. I have the shelter reserved and his invites are half made. We are going to do an "Elmo" theme I have tons of ideas that include using my cricut and "Elmo's Party", plus I saw quite a bit at Dollar Tree I will collect as I go along.  I can't wait to get going on his party. Each party I just get better and better, I just love lavishing all this attention on my babies!!! :-)

Friday, April 29, 2011

Night b4 the big event

The cake turned out so much better than my first attempt, wow, amazing how much help doing a trial run will help u with little tips and hints. What I learned.

Make sure u use enough eggs, turn down temp to 325 if u I am using a dark metal pan and add on 3-5 mins, freeze cake b4 u ice it-helps with the crumbling, use some support if u r doing any kind of cake sculpturing, shiny metal pans cook cakes better, use a thin layer of crumb frosting to get smoother frosting, and the squeeze can frosting tips are pretty cool.

I make cake pops, WOW, what a TEDIOUS procedure, ughhh!! I have learned some little diddies that will make it go faster next time, though this is a time consuming and messing little treat. It is very tasty, the jury is still out if I will attempt it again, But I do hate not conquering things, I like to make it as perfect as I can, then and only then do I feel comfortable with choosing not to do some project again. Not b.c I didn't get it perfect. What I learned about making cake pops:

Make sure u don't use too much icing, 10-12 oz of frosting with a 9X13 sheet cake is the perfect amount-too much icing will make it not set up as nicely, do let the cake cool b4 u add the frosting-it gets too sticky otherwise, place the bowl with the cake/icing mixture in fridge or freezer b4 shaping into balls, shape into balls-small portions at a time and leave rest in fridge, then allow to cool again b4 u insert the lollipop sticks. I used a toddler shoe box with holes poked into the lid to allow the pops to set up, in the future I think it will be easier to use flat styrofoam, dip the pops in batches, don't allow it to get to room temp, I did this over 2 say period, I made the pops one day and dipped them the next I would do like that again, that way I one day of dipping and one day of making so I don't get irritated.
Don't let chocolate get too hot or too cool, use a deep mug and slightly angle the pop upward and gently tap the sides while u twirl the stick. Make sure u spend more time shaping, b.c it is too hard to reshape the balls and if u didn't get them very smooth u can add sprinkles or drizzle other color of choco to hid imperfections. Allow the pops to harden in fridge or freezer then store in freezer bag up to a week.

I will post pics of all projects I did for princess party, I didn't do the tissue pom-poms, just ran out of time, I really think they would have added to the party, but I just ran out of time and patience. I hope I am able to translate in real life what I have seen in my head for the past few months and Kissi and her guests enjoy the food, games, music, decors, and favors!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

As the day QUICKLY approaches to the PRINCESS SOIREE!!

I was so exhausted from my first day of work, I finally am starting to feel like normal, good thing I am waiting 3 more weeks until I add on another day, might need the time to build up my stamina after soo many surgeries the past 10 months.

I made the marshmallow wands, they turned out cute- I placed marshmallows on 6" lollipop sticks and then half dipped marshmallows in pink chocolate and sprinkled the top in lg sugar crystals. I poked holes in the lid of some shoe boxes and placed the marshmallows in the holes to dry. I was able to re-purpose some shoe boxes and it worked fairly well, I think the stryofoam would have worked better, but since I am trying to this as cheap as possible, free works for me. Plus I will use this for the red velvet cake balls I am making this evening, hopefully that is not as hard as am thinking it will be.

I made buckeye pretzel candies, just buckeye filling sandwiched between 2 mini pretzels and then dipped the bottoms in white chocolate, I used the left over pink choco and drizzled the pink over the entire candy. I think it finishes it and gives it a "princessey" look. It tastes really good, sweet, salty crunchy, all the things I look for in snackies.

I also made Raspberry Ice Cheese ball-we r going to call it :"Cinderella's Shimmering Cheese Ball", got it firming up, I am going to brush on some purple luster dust, and roll into purple sanding sugar, then some sugar crystals. It is a super sweet slight sour mix that Kissi loves, I will serve it with teddy grahams and some animal crackers. I hope it sets up firm enough, I sometimes have trouble with those.

I decided to not try the tissue pom-poms, unless I get done on time.  The church day care had some on the ceiling, it looked so adorable, I hope they are still up I would love to use them, but I really don't feel like making them and then worrying they will get crumbled or torn as we pack up van. No more aggravating projects!!

I hope the castle cake tuns out better than my first attempt, I am going to try it again on Friday-if it doesn't set up right, I am going to get a plain 1/4 sheet cake at Wal-mart and place the 3-D castle on top. I hope this turns out b/c Kissi's heart is set on that cake and I am determined to make it work, I toyed with the idea of purchasing an iced 1/4 sheet cake with the icing on the side so I could make construct the cake and now it was baked right, since my oven over-bakes everything making cakes dry and crumbly. But I figure I could still mess that up and have to buy 2 cakes, so I will attempt this one more time if it doesn't go well then I won't be out an additional $15.

All I have left is, shopping for the perishables then making: the red velvet cake pops, castle cake, Oreo cream truffles, veggie dip, jelly cream sandwiches, hummus, then slicing the fruit and placing on skewers, chopping the cheese cubes for the veggie tray, peeling and slicing carrots. 

IF all goes well I might attempt the tissue pom-poms-we will see, I keep thinking I am forgetting some important detail, but with all the chaos with my dad's unexpected illness I have been scatter brained plus I didn't anticipate being so fatigued after working, then running out of baby food and then making homemade purees, just threw a wrench in my plans...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Kissi's Princess Party Preperations

I really don't know why I keep doing these ridiculous things and fussing over such small details that really are inconsequential but I am, God help me! So far I hand made Kissi's invites, I will post them soon, I cut the invites and the envelope on my cricut and wrote the invites out with the computer I had to figure out MAC rich text program to make a spreadsheet, but I did, then I used fancy cutting scissors and glued worded part inside. I embellished the front of the card with a crown that had a #3 cut out in the center. I used my Cricut like a mad woman, the invites also had a fancy cutting in the top portion that read, "PRINCESS PARTY"-really cute.

The center pieces I made are so cute I got for a steal, they are clear paint buckets (I have a feeling they will be used for many parties!), that will contain pink tissue paper enwrapping a silver balloon weight that has metallic tissue paper and sparklers. The base of the paint can will have white feather boa wrapped around it and a glass slipper hidden somewhere in the center piece. Each center piece will have one accent balloon (adults tables will have pink metallic stars Food table will have "Happy Birthday Disney Princesses" & gift table will have HUGE birthday cake) one pink, one lilac, and one white balloon. I made tags with princess icons and punched a hole in them they will attach to each balloon with a cascade of curly ribbon tumbling down about 2-3". The balloon bundles will be held tightly in a Diamond effect  making a sort of topiary with pink tulle stretching from the lowest balloon to the balloon weight about 6". I made name tags w/the girls names, so each attender gets a balloon bundle to take home (minus the paint bans!) The tables will have purple organza ribbon & pink tulle bows on each end and each chair (maybe) will have the same bows on the backs.

For the food table I made little paper dolls to resemble the Disney princesses; Belle, Ariel, Tiana, and Cinderella. I will place them on the food table beside the dishes that co-ordinate such as, Tiana's Froggy Fruit Kabobs, Bipity-Bopity-Boo Cheese Ball, Belle's Farmer's Market Tray, Under the Sea Jelly delights. The cheese ball is a really pretty Raspberry Ice Cheese ball that has white Sugar Crystal topping, I might throw in some pink sparkling crystals too. The Jelly Delights, are going to be grape jelly and strawberry cream-cheese sandwiches cut out with a "star" cookie cutter and sprinkled with purple crystal shimmer sugar, the fruit kabobs are going to be cut up strawberries, grapes (white & red), and cut up oranges all brushed with purple luster dust to make them "shimmery". They will placed in silver container with 'Karisa' in crown font with ice blue ribbon.

The name plates were cut with a beautiful tag and will attached to a pop-up place card with shimmery glitter dots accenting it. The table will be pink with "Happy Birthday" in crown fronts gracing the front of table, held together with sheer organza ribbon and twine-real shabby-chic style. This table will have 2 sets of center pieces each with a "Happy Birthday" princess balloons and I think I will make tissue paper pom-poms out of white glittery paper and hang from the area around the food and drink area and the area that well have a "princess ball dance party". IF I can get them too look right as well as this neat idea I saw for a castle container for chips-I will see if Jim can wrap it better than I can-if not I will just use Grandma Mowrer's  white mixing bowl, our lg square white bowl or crystal lg bowl. 

The drink area will have a punch bowl filled with pink lemon-aid and an ice ring with fruit frozen inside, coffee, and water bottles with customized labels I hand made with the word" Princess" on it with pink shimmery balloons I made the lettering with cricut pens and drew them in with markers and glitter glue, I hand cut each label-that when quick once I figured out how to use my slide cutter. They look cute and cost me literally pennies! I will use the counter area for the drinks to prevent over indepdant toddlers from spilling and use pink table cloth to princess it up along with princess cups I bought 24/$1 and princess plates 14/$1, napkins 48/$2 and the plates will be reg white as will the forks and coffee cups-no use spending all that money for a few plates when I get good plates for less and get mor of them!

Kids will have their size table with enter piece in smaller scale and they will also have a "craft table" for an ice breaker princess color wooden board and possibly color pages-we see how the time goes and kid's patience goes. Each chair will get the tulle-organza bow and I made the favor bag tags that resemble each princess in attendance-the girls will get a tutu, a crown, a safe wand (star foam, wooden dowel, and ribbons), a wand for home (that is pointy and a little sharp-not going to have any girl poking anyone at the party!), feather boa, and princess coloring book and princess crayons- got all of this for under $5/bag total-I think that is pretty good and not filled with sugary treats and chocking hazards!

We will have games, where a real life princess will lead! Like pin the crown on the princess, pass the glass slipper, princess parade, and princess ball dance party. First we will play pin the crown and then pass the glass slipper- we will play "glass slipper" (The glass slippers are 3" little wedding favor high heels-really cute 6/$1) like hot potato only each person who gets caught with the slipper when the music stops will get to be "princessifed"-I don't know how this will go, I think this will be a fast game so I don't loose the girls. After each winner has been princessified we will have a "princess parade", followed by a princess ball dance party. We will play Kissi's fav princess songs sprinkled in with songs that are just fun to dance to like The Chippettes and Laurie Berkner Band. I might get this bubble machine and add more fun to the party. I think if the girls r having so much fun I might let this go on and make the gift time quick. This is hard on the other girls, but I still want the gift givers to have the joy of watching Kissi open her gifts. Plus what kid doesn't want to open gifts?

The Dessert Bar, is going to feature dainty delights that princesses LOVE, such as White Chocolate Oreo cream Truffles drizzled in purple shimmery choco, Red Velvet Cake Pops which will be covered in Pink Shimmery Luster Dust Choco-very decadent,  Marshmallow Wand Pops- which will be covered in pink choco and dipped in white sugar crystals, strawberry yogurt covered raisins, pink wafer cookies, and the piece-de' resistance, will be the Enchanted Castle Cake up on the highest tier. This table will decorated in true princess fair! A pink table cloth will adorn the table with a shimmery pink fabric accented and tied with an organza ribbon in the front. The edges will have a feathery chandelle boa pink of course. The back drop with have 10 pink balloons all staggered in 2 heights with a "Little Princess" pic frame that will have a "Thank You for coming" saying or "Enjoy!" something like that.

I think I will have open "grazing time" for guests so that we keep the kids attention, I am not sure when to do the cake, I think I will do it b4 the games so the kids get the sugar rush outta their system, we will just see how that goes.

The gift table will have a "throne" beside it for Kissi to open her gifts (which is Jim's childhood rocker) embellished with purple Charmuse silk I got as remnant for .85 for 7/8 yard! and a pink satin with glitter swirls and organza ribbon plus tulle, very girly  !! I will place the decorated easel with the "princess Karisa" sign in case anyone gets confused LOL! behind the "throne". On the Table on a pedestal will be this 3-D pink and purple castle I made, I made a back drop with sky and grass, don't know if I will use it yet as I think it might detract-but it might help keep it safe at the same time? Jim remembered this picture of the Phillips' Family coat of arms from the medieval time period we got back in the 90's at a festival so I matted it and framed it, it will grace her gift table- I can't wait for the Phillips family to see that, it is really neat!

This whole party will cost me somewhere between $150-$175, I think it is pretty good considering all the decorations I and fancy stuff I got..I will post pics when I can and the grand total. Now I have to get on Izak's Elmo Party in July!! :-)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Italian Preztel Braided Rods

I just adapted a recipe for hot buttered pretzels for a spaghetti and meatballs supper, the dough tastes gr8, I hope the finished products tastes even better! I am writing it down so I know what I did, then I can tweak it later if needed:

  • 2 pkg yeast
  • 1t sugar
  • 1 1/4 C Warm Water
  • 5 C flour
  • 1/4 C Sugar
  • 1 T Canola Oil
  • 2 t Salt
  • 2/3 C of Parmesan & Romano Cheese
  • 2 T Italian Dried Herbs
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2t Dried Minced Onions
  • 4 Grinds of Black Pepper
Brine Solution:
  • 1/2 Baking Soda
  • 4 C HOT water
  • Kosher Salt
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • EVOO
  • Parmesan Cheese

  1. Mix Yeast and 1 1/4 C warm water in small bowl w/1/2 sugar and place in a warm spot while mixing other ingredients. Meanwhile in bread maker place rest of ingredients up to "brine solution".  Make well in center of flour and pour yeast in. Select "dough only" setting and forget about it for about a 1&1/2 hours. 
  2. Turn dough out onto to floured surface and divide dough into 12 or 14 equal sections.  Take each section and divide again to make 2 pieces and roll into each piece into "snakes". I do this instead of making 24 or 28 pieces, b/c it makes it easier for me to make them even. Take the 2 pieces and "rope braid" them by twisting each piece around each other and "pinch" the ends. Place each piece onto a greased baking sheet. Continue with the rest of the dough.
  3. Place Braided Rods into cold oven with only light on if u have a gas oven and cover with clean, damp, tea towel to let rise another 20 min. If u don't have gas oven place somewhere warm and draft free.
  4. After the rods have risen for 20 min, make ur "brine solution" with 1/2C Baking Soda and 4 C HOT water. Dip the rods into the solution and sprinkle with Kosher Salt. Bake in a 450 degree oven for 8 min or until golden brown.
  5. While dough is baking take 2 gloves garlic and saute in EVOO until golden brown. Discard garlic and keep oil to brush the rods with when done baking and finish with a dusting of grated Parmesan-Romano cheeses.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Awesome afternoon!

What a FUN morning we had @ the Perry Branch Stark Park and Library! We started off our morning with "the Little Explorers" where we learned about snakes and colored a paper, made a craft "snake"out of beads, even got to pet to snakes, one was rough scaled and the other was smooth. Both were a pretty pink brown colored. Kissi just LOVED it. They do these FREE little classes in the LL in the Science Room and they give u these little laminated cards on rings with each months lesson so u can review key points with ur kids, really neat. They do these classes once a month and offer 2 time options and repeat the class 2 weeks later. Did I mention it was free? We sat next to a brother & sister who r home schooled, what a gr8 opportunity for homeschoolers to learn some biology. We used it as an opportunity to review the letter "S" as well as the biology aspect, it held Kissi's attention and even Izak co-operated.

Then after the class ended we took a walk outside on the trail called Stark Parks Exploration Gateway, listened to different bird calls and we now know the "call" a Cardinal & Canadian goose makes. Kissi loved it so much she imitated it the whole time we walked, LOL! We smelled the awful  scent of "skunk cabbage" that is an early spring wetland flower that releases this, well yucky skunky-cabbagey smell, aptly named of course!  But still an opportunity to teach Kissi about plant life, these little guys will even melt snow and ice to start blooming. We both agree it is through it stinky smell, the snow melts from gagging on it, LOL! Izak fell asleep as we chatted about the birds, insects, and plant life we saw as spring is upon us.

We rounded out our afternoon by going back inside and upstairs to the library and found this fun book, THE POPCORN DRAGON" a real cute book about a dragon who learns how to make and be a friend (I sound like reading rainbow, huh?") IT was so cute as I read this book to Kissi in their children's area she sat on a humongous stuffed dragon and she acted out what I read. She wanted to play with the other kids, but hung back b/c they were doing things I wouldn't let do, i.e run around and on the furniture. But soon those little kids joined us and were acting out the book too, kinda funny that book about making friends drew the kids like a magnet and Kissi had new friends to play with. 

They all looked at me and soon we had the whole areas attention as all the little ones sat the floor surrounding me as I read, I guess I have some acting/reading skillz after all. The little ones cracked me up the way the interacted with each other and me.  It was so darling the way Kissi acted like a little mother hen to the younger ones and then she directed the play, what an imagination. Kissi even used the big girl potty, that was amazing. When we came back she said, "OK, Kids, IIIIIIII'm Baaaaaccckkkk!" So funny, she NEVER saw that movie of course, but she did a perfect imitation, LOL!

Real nice time, there was the fit at the end, ughhh! Don't know how to stop her from doing it, but at least she is getting better at calming down sooner. This one little girl who was left was NOT interested in playing w/Kissi and just like I do was perplexed that this little one wasn't apart of her "fan wagon" and was determined to get her to "like" her and play with her.

Kissi tried and tried to get her to play with her, she sat by her quietly for awhile then  did everything but stand on her head to get her attention. That broke my heart, I hate seeing her deal with rejection so young, only Kissi didn't notice the girl wasn't interested, she saw this as her playing with her. I wish I had her view point. The longer I am a mommy the more I learn I want to see life through my kids' eyes. I wanted the other girl's mom to make her play with Kissi, but this one lesson that Kissi taught me, maybe some ppl need others to just sit by them quietly and allow them time to warm up to others? I quickly will "write" others off if I don't get the response I think I should, interesting day indeed!

Izak fell asleep even b4 I had his diaper changed & Kissi fell asleep as I read her the "Popcorn Dragon" book, that was nearly 4 hours ago, REALLY GOOD day!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Haunting Memories...

As I am trying to sleep I am plagued with memories of the month I was in the hospital after I gave birth to Izak. It is so ironic that the fears that have held me in limbo for many years were in fact made very real especially during the first 2 weeks in ICU. The feeling of suffocating was ever present, with the breathing tube u have this tube shoved down ur throat & u have this feeling that u want to swallow and u cant this tube thing is in ur way, u want to drink and r so thirsty but u can't. All I was allowed was to suck on this disgusting bitter tasting sponge textured stick. That made me think of sponges sitting out on a counter top that had just scrubbed dirty chicken juices off.

U can't speak & u have this feeling u can't get enough air into ur lungs b/c this tube is doing it for u-but u still want the action of breathing on ur own and it is not the same like when u r snorkeling and forget to breath out of the tube instead of ur nose. At least that was my impression of it, the left side of my lung had collapsed so I am not sure if that was the suffocating feeling but it was so awful when they would feed me, I would feel as though some one was holding a pillow over my face and the panic would set in and I would want to claw and scratch my way out of there. At one point they were weaning my off of the tube and those times were excruciating and caused me to want to pass out from the fear of being smothered.

This one night I was scheduled to have a MRI of my lungs and for whatever reason the order slipped by the nurse on my rotation. It was nearly midnight and one female nurse who I really liked and one male nurse Michael who I loved, made a mad dash to get me to the MRI test on time. My bed crashed  into every wall and they shoved my humongous bed threw the elevator barely fitting in an attempt to get me there on time, all finesse was out the window. Apparently my bed was very hard to maneuver and b/c of the late hour transportation was not called and these nurses were not used to moving the bed. Each jar and bump was so painful as my abdominal wound was still gaping open feeling like my intestines could spill out at any moment.

It was a wild ride and the whole time my bed which had special air movement to it to prevent bed sores and some other things I guess I needed was deflating and scaring the hell out of me as I pulled every muscle trying to stay upright. When unplugged it went flat as a board, I couldn't get air to my lungs and the feeling of a gorilla sitting on my chest was so terrifying as I couldn't sit up due to the football size gaping wound in my abdomen caused by the debrasion the surgeon had to do b/c of the septic poisoning of my skin (peritonitis) . It was a hellish ordeal, I couldn't  breath deep full refreshing breaths- I imagine this is what an asthma attack feels like. My lungs were on fire and hurt like I had swallowed ice, each breath was not refreshing and caused me to take another breath that brought on more fire and ice.

The fear of being suffocated was so real and there was no where I could go to get away from the feeling, not even sleep allowed me peace. The hallucinations were so real and so vile they very rarely offered me any reprieve from the torture the waking hours held for me. My only solace was when I opened my eyes and saw family members there. Their caring facings talking soothingly to me, singing to me, offering me words of comfort and ice cold hands on my feverish brow were moments I lived for. Hearing their voices and being able to communicate the songs I wanted to hear were treasured by me. I will never forget the loving patience they showed me and the strength I rec'd from their reassuring words.