Monday, April 30, 2012

day 324: popsicle stick bird feeders

happiness is a bird feeder made with a little peeps hands :)  she also took the photo ;)
day 324 and we are well and truly back into the swing of being at school.  today polly's art project came from pinterest!  she had to make a bird feeder out of popsicle sticks.  art is polly's favourite subject and i use pinterest ALL the time to find new and different creative projects for her to tackle.

today's project comes from tonya staab, who used the bird feeders as a craft at her x-treme craft party for 4 and 5 year olds ... brave woman!  it is pinned to my home school projects board on pinterest.  the party tonya hosted looked so amazing i also also pinned it to my party ideas board ... in my wildest dreams i would host such a party, but that's what pinterest is about, right? dreams and ideas to hope for in the future !?!?  any ho, even if you don't want to make a bird feeder, check out the post to see the party :)

for today's creation you will need 50 popsicle sticks, glue, and some twine.  we altered from the actual instructions and didn't use the tongue depressor sticks as i couldn't find any, instead using two popsicle sticks together.  you will also need something to feed the birds with once the project is finished :)  polly was very enthusiast as she took on this task, and as you will see in the photos the concentration levels were very high ... yes that tongue remained out during the entire project~!

what you need

look at the concentration ... ;)

that tongue hanging out is clearly important to the whole artist process :)

so she didn't have to thread the twine through i made sure it was put through and then the popsicle stick was glued on top to make it easier for her

pollyanna's goodies for the birds

filling the new bird feeder

big brother checking out the progress of the completed bird feeder, hung and ready for the native birds!

outcome:  she was one happy little lady with her bird feeder!  and so she should be, it is really neat and not too difficult a project to take on by herself.  pollyanna really appreciated being able to do it independently as she was really proud of the bird feeder she had "made my(her)self".  the birds i am sure will be gathering to give it a go too, especially with the fruit and nut mix polly put inside ... actually made me a little hungry ;)

my thanks to tonya staab for this wonderful craft that peeps can take on and do themselves.  i love it when polly takes on a project and shas such satisfaction at the end, knowing she was able to achieve it under her own steam :)  i shall definitely be back looking for more inspiration from tonya, who is clearly one very talented lady.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

day 323: orange and pecan loaf

the finished orange and pecan loaf :)
day 323 and we had an open home for selling our house today so i wanted nice smells wafting about the house as potential buyers wandered around :)  this pecan and orange loaf looked easy and scrummy and even semi healthy!

the recipe comes from recipes.com and is pinned to my recipe must do's board on pinterest.  i liked that this recipe used lots of whole foods and i replaced the white flour with whole wheat flour to make it even healthier.  as i wanted it fresh out of the oven for the open home, i also decided i wouldn't ice it either.  apart from those amendments i used the recipe as stated on the website.

in one bowl you mix these ingredients

in another bowl you mix these ingredients

then you mix these two bowls together

it then goes into the oven for 45 minutes

out comes a delicious loaf that's really good, so good you will have that second piece :)

outcome:  the smell was beautiful, full of warm orange baking filled the house.  when we returned after the open home, the taste did not disappoint either.  the loaf has a carrot cake texture to it but with oranges and pecans instead of carrots and walnuts!  you even feel healthy as you eat this loaf because it has that yummy wholesome taste about it ... ok i may be dreaming but as i start training on my quest to go from couch (or in my case bed) to 5km tomorrow, i decided i was happy with the second piece i had :)  yes, no wonder the weight i put on while cast thanks to my back is not tumbling off ... i may need to stop with the pinterest recipes until its gone.  don't think that would go down well with the rest of my house mates ;)


my thanks to recipes.com and it's contributors for providing me yet another wonderful recipe to feed my family and make them thankful i live with them!  have a great finish to your weekends everyone :)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

day 322: avocado, potato, and spinach salad

the avocado, potato, and spinach salad ... definitely making this again!
day 322 and i am making a salad tonight for dinner to go with some delicious fresh fish ... yummo!  i found this potato and avocado salad from two spoons, which looked scrumptious.  as i had all the ingredients it was a no brainer for today's creation!  this salad is also pinned to my salad bar board on pinterest.

you need lemon, mustard, baby spinach, potatoes, avocado, and some good oil olive for this salad.  you cube the potatoes and cook until soft. while the potatoes are doing their thing in the pot, you mix together the dressing.  once the dressing is made you chop in the avocado and spinach.  then finally adding in the warm potatoes.  the nice thing about adding in the potatoes warm is they soak up the dressing :)

mixing the dressing, i would use this dressing on plenty of other salads as well, it's really lovely mix with the dijon, lemon, and oil olive.

look at those potatoes soaking up all that goodness!

it went really well with the fish!

outcome: we had it warm and it was really good, everyone bar the peeps who don't like avocado went back for seconds.  it is definitely a salad i would always serve warm instead of cold because all the dressing ends up being absorbed into the potatoes making it so delicious in every bite.  absolutely doing this recipe again!

my thanks to two spoons for the recipe, doubled it is perfect for a family of five/six as a side salad and totally worth making ... it's recipes like this that make me grateful the peeps aren't currently into eating avocados!

Friday, April 27, 2012

day 321: 'admit one' ticket frame

the photo is terrible, it looks WAY better in person!
day 321 and who else has a stack of tickets and memorabilia subs that you don't know what to do with but don't want to get rid of either?

the GROWING pile of ticket memorabilia 

i can see you all nodding ;) and i have found the perfect idea on pinterest on how to deal with that mounting pile.  this 'admit one' frame by kirsten johnson solves the problem perfectly.  the tickets are condensed in one place, are on "show" so are a constant source of happy memories and it saves them for future generations to laugh at ... what could be better!  kirsten johnson made this and pinned it to her DIY board and i am so pleased she did because now i can solve my ticket storage problem.

For this project you need a shadow or box frame, some patterned paper, alphabet stickers, and that daunting pile of ticket subs.

the bits you need to complete this project

cover the backboard with your patterned paper 

use the alpha's for the admit one box "title"

i didn't put a slot in the top just chucked them in the frame, front side down.  i figured it doesn't take a lot to open the back of this frame so i could put them easily without a top drop slot.

the finished ticket box :)  sorry about the flash it's late :(

outcome: well i like, the peeps are already laughing at their ma and pa, steve said it was one of his favourite pinterest ideas ... so it's a pass with flying colours :)  as an organisation freak, this ticks so many boxes and gives me such a warm fuzzy feeling for the organisational bliss alone.

my sincere thanks to kirsten johnson for making my day today.  it was a long day dealing with all sorts of things and this project was the highlight :)  my thanks also to mishry for the craft products i used on this project, they are amazing and i WILL definitely be back for more :)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

day 320: altered letters

the finished altered tintin letters, ben LOVES these :)
day 320 and it's a short post today :)  HOCKEY TOOK OVER!  it's 7.30pm and i have just started on my pinterest creation.  on my general crafts board was a "pimped" letter using the page of a story. the idea comes from notbyamber and is listed on the made it australian handmade market.  such a cool site and i love her letters which are alpha based in terms of their picture book pages.

this had me thinking ... ben has a double up of one of his tintin books, he also has a couple of d├ęcor letters (his initials) in his room that were just asking to be altered ... letters + tintin book = a happy mummy as she can pimp his letters to add to his tintin/travel themed room!  music was literally singing in my head as i thought about this idea becoming reality :)

below is a pictorial illustration of the process i used to make ben's new tintin letters:

firstly place the letter on the book page so you make the most of the pictures underneath, then trace around the letter

then cut out the letter with scissors and/or a stanley knife

ink around the edges so you don't have that sharp, homemade cut look and also really important if you are using dark letters like i have.  this is so the edges blend in and you have a more finished, seamless look to your letter.

next glue the book page to the letter, i used mod podge because it dries without bubbling and is also a clear glue when dry :)

then let dry and you are good to say this altered project is done!


outcome: AWESOME and, given that i started these half an hour ago, not too labour intensive either.  BEN loves them and they have added a real personality to his room with the rest of the travel and tintin bits hanging around in their ... plus the lego!

my thanks to notbyamber for this fantastic idea.  if you don't need personalised letters for a particular theme, you can buy your own letters from notbyamber that are brilliantly monogrammed with book pages using the actual letter as the basis of the book page added .. very cool!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

day 319: ANZAC cake

this cake is divine, the coconut is so delicious with the golden syrup mixture :)
day 319 and it is the day we remember our fallen and those that have served our country ... lest we forget.  i found this ANZAC cake on pinterest a couple of weeks ago and figured it would be perfect to make for ANZAC day.  the recipe comes from cooking for the gang and is pinned to my lest we forget board.

no help from the peeps today, i was no my own but i am sure they will turn up with the smell of baked goods wafting from the house.  the recipe is really straightforward and requires pretty basic ingredients, although i did have to wait for the chookies to lay an egg as i only had one in the pantry ... that took awhile, after being inundated with eggs over the last several months we are now a bit lean in this area thanks to winter getting closer.

it smelt SO good it was hard to wait for it to cool before icing :)

the iced cake ... 

this was steve's first piece of THREE he had tonight ... honestly

outcome:  i think this cake could fast become an ANZAC day tradition :)  it was beautiful, my only worry is only having in once a year!

my thanks to cooking for the gang for this great recipe. love the idea behind her blog for using it as a "family cookbook" for when her children have moved away from home and want to know how to make food they had from their childhood.  such a great legacy to leave :)


lest we forget

They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning
we will REMEMBER them.

to all those that have fought, lost love ones, or who are continuing to serve under their countries flag, i honor you and the sacrifice you have made and/or are continuing to make.
lest we forget.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

day 318: whole wheat blueberry muffins

a healthy snack option everyone will enjoy :)
day 318 and we are into food again today.  that could be because in a tizz i through out all the processed food the other day and we have nothing in the cupboards ready-made anymore.  that means i have whining every time the peeps are hungry because they can't find their go-to snack foods anymore :o/  time to fix the problem and fill some tins with some healthy foods they (and i) can eat.

these whole wheat blueberry muffins from skinny taste look ideal as the recipe uses mostly unprocessed ingredients.  i am not changing our complete diet ... don't get me wrong, i still believe in chocolate, lollies, and all things salty, especially chips but i would like to make my use of these things less frequent :)  the recipe is also pinned to my weight watchers recipes happy days board.

once again, the peeps volunteered to help, ben lasted five minutes before finding one of his books on the table and reading that instead.  polly stuck with me and completed the healthy baking assignment.

this photo says it all really :)

we didn't change anything in this recipe, i was too scared to as my knowledge is shamefully woeful when it comes to baking in a healthy manner.  i also put the recipe into the weight watchers recipe builder and discovered each muffin is worth 4 points+, just in case anyone but me needed to know.  the recipe is totally peep friendly for baking, so you can stand back and watch while they take on this task themselves .,., love recipes they can do on their own :)

the ingredients ... see, i am TRYING to be more healthy :)

my helper folding (ok tossing is more accurate) the mix

the ready to eat healthy whole wheat blueberry muffins .. yum!

outcome:  really good, i felt healthier eating one for afternoon tea, ok i added some low fat marg to the top of it, but old habits die hard.  they were actually much nicer than i anticipated and the peeps loved them.  totally adding these to my weekly baking for the peeps and i as a snack food.  still not as healthy as we could go but definitely better than what we have been doing.  and i imagine if i made them on a sunday and froze them and took out a couple each morning they would be perfect quick snacking during the week ... that's IF i remember to take them out of the freezer ;)

my thanks to skinny taste for this recipe.  totally going back to pin some other healthy baking recipes to add to my healthy, unprocessed snack foods choices!

Monday, April 23, 2012

day 317: a twist to some ANZAC cookies

ANZAC cookies with a twist
day 317 and the peeps and i are making ANZAC cookies today.  each year around this time we make some to enjoy on ANZAC day.  these cookies have a long association with ANZAC day as wives and mothers sent them over in tins to their loved ones at war, why?  well they stored REALLY well so could make it over on the long sea journey and still be edible when they arrived, and they used cheap ingredients that were readily available during wartime, so they weren't a burden to make with regards to food stamps either :)

the other day i was searching all things ANZAC on pinterest and came across this variation to our beloved ANZAC cookies from the cupcake architect.  yum, ben and i were drooling at the thought of white chocolate drizzle over some ANZAC biscuits!  as it was our first day back at school after the easter holidays i decided the peeps might need some enticing to get through the day and doing some baking seemed like the right approach to take ;)

for this recipe these cookies also have dried cherries added to them, i didn't have any in the pantry but i did have some dried cranberries so we used those instead.  that was the only variation we made to this recipe, which is pinned to my lest we forget board on pinterest.

my pinterest helpers for the day ... look at the levels of concentration!

my happy stirrer

fresh out of the oven

adding the final touches ... polly is never far from helping in the kitchen, we lost ben to a book ;)

finally they were ready to eat, they smelt so good!

outcome: seriously good, in fact they were so good we had requests for a second batch on ANZAC day :)  we still have some left over but the troops seem to think by wednesday they will be all gone.   surprisingly its not the white chocolate on top everyone loved but the cranberries with the oats and golden syrup were divine.  this is definitely not a wartime only cookie with the cranberries and white chocolate, but as we are currently living in peace in nz, i am happy to push the boat out for the extra ingredients in this version!

as i once again have a very happy family thanks to another successful pinterest pinned recipe, i have to give many thanks to the cupcake architect for there brilliant twist on the traditional ANZAC cookie.  

Sunday, April 22, 2012

day 316: baked cheese balls

baked cheese balls ... or is that sliders ???
day 316 and these baked cheese balls looked like something my boys would love me forever for making so i figured they were worth a go today!  the recipe comes from abbylynn at never trust a skinny cook (such a cute blog name!) and is pinned to my recipes for the boys board on pinterest.

abbylynn has LOTS of useful suggestions to make sure the cheese doesn't melt in the oven while these little babies are baking.  the number one suggestion is fat free cheese, apparently we aren't healthy enough to have fat free cheese in nz (or at least i couldn't find any ANYWHERE) so i went with natural cheese sticks instead.  i did use the freezing before baking trick on my string cheese though because i wanted to make sure i didn't have cheese puddles at the end.

the actual recipe is really easy, you literally cube up the cheese strings, dunk in milk, roll in breadcrumbs, and put in the oven to bake ... so i had high hopes that these would be a winner with my boys ....

the ingredients

cut, dunk, and roll

into the oven they went ....

... five minutes later they were like this!

they were the perfect addition to our dinner :)


outcome: didn't matter about the freezing part, apparently you need fat free cheese to stop these babies from melting!   ok, remember when my oven and i had expanding biscuits on leap day, well the same happened to the cheese balls today ... so maybe it's me and my oven and not that actual recipe.   we renamed our baked cheese balls sliders instead, still tasted superb and they were ALL gone by the end of dinner this evening ... heehee, whether its a ball or a slider there is something about hot cheese that just works!

while we had a small pinterest disaster, in terms of the shape but not the taste, i am really pleased i made these for the family who still loved them with dinner tonight!  so my thanks goes to abbylynn from never trust a skinny cook who came up with this cool recipe and has better cheese choices than i do and also a better oven, apparently :)