Tuesday, December 29, 2009

SOCK MONKEY MANIA!


I think mania is an overstatement since I only actually made one...but I PLANNED to make more. This is my first real foray in the art of sewing, uh, actual things. I ordered the Original Rockford Red Heel socks from Joann.com, and the package comes with the pattern for the monkey. I have to say, it was pretty easy, even for a sewing spaz like me. I even learned a new hand sewing stitch, called Double Fold Hidden Secrets, or something equally strange. This little lady went to Lydia for Christmas. Violet might get one for her birthday, IF we decide to lift the lifetime ban on any new toys that placed on our house shortly after opening the 967th present this year.

And yes, the Sock Monkey is chilling in the Nativity Scene. She's down with the baby Jesus okay?

Have a Very Sanitary Christmas


This year I scrubbed my brain to come up with a gift for my co-workers (teammates? fellow teachers?), and I decided to roll with the times and get hip. Whats a hotter topic than Swine Flu, eh? It's everywhere you look- someone around you is telling you to wash your hands, cough into your elbow, NOT lick doorknobs. I thought since we all work with those sticky, walking germ sanctuaries called children I would make something useful- sanitizing spray. I did a little research about recipes and found pretty much all the variations were a combo of water, white vinegar, and essential oils with anti-bacterial properties. I went with Tea Tree oil, lemon grass, and a splash of lavender and mint. The smell was pretty, but also pretty potent. I attached an adorable picture of V, and wa-la- almost instant gifts for all my office-mates!

And a Germ free New Year!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Apple Orchards and Pumpkin Patches





The first two weekends in October have been filled with fall-themed escapades for Violet and Cousin Lydia. First, our annual trip to Minnesota Harvest (Called Sponsel's back when I was a kid) for apples and petting zoos! It was fun to hang out and eat apple pie, but it was soooo cold no one wanted to pick apples! We decided to hit up the petting zoo, only to find they had moved it from the picturesque barn to a dirty penned in slope- and they charge money for it now! Oh well, I guess the economy is equally as bad for miniature goats and llamas. Gotta pay for that hay somehow!

Last weekend was equally as frigid, but we braved an outing to Anoka County Farms to pick pumpkins. Although small, this place was really fun, and I can't wait to go back next year when the girls are a little older. They had free pumpkin bowling and a pumpkin painting area, as well as cute displays and halloween cartoons! The bonfires and the large indoor area helped with it being so cold!

On Sunday the girls braved the cold again and we planted dafodil bulbs (Violet and Mike's birth flower)- just in time too, cause on Monday it snowed!
We carved pumpkins that night and made roasted pumpkin seeds, then Violet took her little pumpkins to daycare to share with her friends! She loved to pick each one up and move them from room to room!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Update from the Farm....


Our world is so busy these days! Violet has started daycare, so that means I have also started back at work. Big sigh. The up side is that our daycare is so wonderful! Violet has made a lot of friends, and she comes home happy and TIRED! We picked this particular daycare for several reasons, but one important one was the art focus. Violet loves to paint! She is very serious and deliberate about her brushstrokes and colors, and she holds her brush so well!


Other developmental highlights include Violets crazy love of dancing and music. She hears music and she starts wiggling and clapping and bopping her head. She is also slowly starting to mimic our words- she can say “woof woof” when she sees a dog, and has a few made up words for her favorite things. Including her bottle- but sad news, the Dr said NO more bottle!


We have wrapped up summer with some great memories- Camping with Grandma and Grandpa Meyer and Aunt Shelia and the boys in Chamberlain, Cousin Lydia’s first birthday, and many adventures on our bikes and around town! The Mac-Meyers are now gearing up for the holiday season. First we have to decide on Halloween costumes for a party at daycare. Mike insists he will be going as his traditional Freddie Kruger and will not hear arguments against the appropriateness of this costume at a party for toddlers. After that we will be making presents again this year to follow our “Debt Free Christmas” custom. I’m thinking sock monkeys this year. Sock Monkeys, Everyone!

Friday, August 21, 2009

South Dakota is for Lovers



Here is the new face of tourism, folks!
This was taken over the fourth in Chamberlain, SD. Violet loves fiberglass sculptures even more than me!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Best Ch'kn nuggets not purchased in scary asian packaging. Warning! Do not judge tastiness on the poor quality pictures, truly.



Ever since the Wedge stopped carrying our favorite brand of fake chicken nuggets (I have no idea what they were called, since the package was not at all in English), I have tried to replicate a passable alternative at home. Disclaimer: I am not a good cook. I am a worse baker, but that's beside the point. My cooking style is called "Denial and Error". Deny that something is out of my league, make several serious errors in the process, but deny their eventual impact on the dish. End result: vaguely dissatisfying dishes that are occasional very tasty.
Anyway, I have tried several shake and bake style nuggets with both tofu and seitan- all turning out very bland and not at all crispy and delightful. Massive condiment dipping had to be used to cover up the "ehhh" factor. So, imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon the secret- right there on the box of corn meal! I followed the recipe with slight tweaking, and used some marinated chicken style seitan. Although the pictures don't show it (I am a worse photographer than a cook!) they turned out crispy, golden, and moist inside! Even the baby happily ate them up, giving only the broccoli to the dog!
Here is the recipe:
West Soy Chicken Style Seitan marinated for 30 mins in lemon juice, poultry seasonings, soy sauce, and salt and pepper.
Preheat oven to 400
Breading:
1/2 cup corn meal
1/4 cup flour (I used whole wheat)
2 tbl Parmesan cheese (use the vegan kind to make it, uh, vegan)
dash of garlic salt

Mix these dry ingredients together really well, then take your marinated setain but don't drain it! Take each piece and drip off the excess water, then place on a plate and spoon the dry mix over it on each side. Place breaded pieces on a broiler pan (the vented thingie). To make them really golden lovely, brush melted margarine on the tops. If you don't do this they still taste good, but turn out kind of pale. Bake for 25 mins. I served mine with steamed broccoli and sesame seeds and a honey mustard dipping sauce.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Lazy Urban Gardening


Have you ever in your life seen a more perfect head of Broccoli????

Thats right folks, I grew this with my own two hands and total lack of attentiveness. Being an exceptionally lazy, and sometimes very poor (re:unskilled), Urban Gardener, I was pleasantly surprised by this years efforts. Despite the usual early warning signs (seeds started indoors failed to, well, start, and the late planting date of June 12) my foray into the hitherto unknown world of raised bed gardens has been a success. I think the key is the raised beds, as it seriously cuts down on weeding. Hooray! Now, who wants zucchini?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Debbie Bliss Knit Experiments



I got the Debbie Bliss pattern book "Baby Knits for Beginners" at Half Price books, and I thought I would try my hand at my first sweater- baby sized of course. I had already made a really cute hat from the book and a pair of legwarmers (of my own creation) out of some leftover yarn I had thrifted, so I thought a sweater would be cute. I started knitting, only to find, whoops- not enough yarn. So, I made a Franken-sweater with one sleeve and the back side pink, and the other side and sleeve yellow. The best part is, the yarns are not the same texture or weight at all, so it really is a Frankie. Despite this, though, think it turned out quite adorable. Now if only Violet would keep the legwarmers on!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Diaper Cakes!




Here are two of the lovely diaper cakes I have made! They are a really fun project, and I would love to do more.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

First BIRTHDAY!

paper crowns
boxes to crawl in and out of
things to bang
cake to squish





Monday, March 30, 2009

Rainbow Cake for a first birthday!





I made a rainbow cake for V's b-day. I made it from a box mix, split it into 4 and dyed each with food color. I "blopped" each color on top of each other (not mixed!), then baked. After it cooled I cut the two cakes into a crayon shape and frosted it purple with her name on it where "Crayola" would be. It turned out only so-so. I could have done better....there is always the 2nd birthday!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Walking? Not really, but cute.

video

First Birthday Wish List!



image from backtobasics.com
We here at the Mac-Meyer farm can NOT believe it has almost been a year since Little V came into our world! We will be having three (yes three) lovely birthday parties, one for just us on her actual birthday, one the following saturday for my side of the family, and one over spring break in South Dakota with Mike's side! Woah.

First I want to say that family and love are all Mike and I want for V's first birthday, but I know people are going to want to buy gifts. Buying for other peoples babies can be tricky, and since our family goes with the less is more mentality, and because I am so freakishly picky, I thought I would compile a list of gifts that would be loved and cherished by V!

Top Ten Green, Organic, Non-Violent and educational toys and gifts:
1. Wooden toys like stakers, puzzles, shape sorting cubes, walkers
2. Cloth dolls, like "Groovy Girls"- Vie LOVES these.
3. Robeez shoes size 12-24 months
4. Savings Bonds for college or life experiences
5. books of all shapes and sizes!!!
6. Sock Monkeys (kind of a theme for our family)
7. Girl Clothes size 18-24 months- separates only- nothing with snaps at the crotch, like body suits or onesies. We really like dresses with leggings
8. Swimming Lessons from the YWCA
9. Music lessons
10. A wooden potty chair.

we like the webistes : www.backtobasicstoys.com, www.peapods.com, and www.geniusbabies.com,

please no plastic or battery operated toys!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Interesting Finger Food Recipes


Another Saturday was spent in the Kitchen making baby food! This time I was experimenting with finger foods, and I came up with this crazy rice ball thing. I cooked some rice, put it in the food processor, added some tahini and some sprouts and whirred it up! It came out as a paste that I formed into small balls. They were pretty tasty fresh, and the baby loved them! I froze a tray, and put the rest in the fridge. The ones from the fridge re-warmed nicely when put in the microwave for about 15 seconds. Easy-peasy.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Green on a budget.

A long time ago some douche bag politician said that America is the only country whose poor people were fat. I don't remember who said it, or in what context but this has stuck in my brain. Well of course they are fat! Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and quality meats are freakin' expensive! You know whats not expensive? The McDonalds dollar menus. And the Wendy's dollar menu, and the Arby's 5 for 5, and KFC....need I go on? Take a trip to the grocery store and compare- what's going to feed a family for less? Canned food, boxed food, stuff with lots of crap and not alot of substance.

So whats a person to do?

I start by doing an exauhsting and neverending tour de grocery shopping. If I make it sound terrible, it's because it kinda is... however the family just can not afford convience anymore. What ever, here is what I do...
1. Shop the warehouse stores first. I go to Costco for staples, and the occasional organic surprise: Boca Burgers, organic frozen vegtables, free range organic eggs, organic bread and peanut butter. If I have some one to share it with, I'll buy the organic fresh produce- otherwise it's a waste.
2. Clip coupons: No every Sunday is a winner, but I'll get some pretty sweet deals every now and then.
3. Shop the generic brands- Both Cub and Rainbow have their own Organic lines, and truly the deals are good, and the taste is good. How can you lose?
4. Make frequent visits to the outlet, closeout, and overstock stores, like Big Lots. Sometimes you find things you need and actually use! Once I found Tom's of Maine toothpaste for $2.00 a tube (reg. 4.99 and up)- I now have enough toothpaste to last until next year. That same trip I also spied a ton of 7th Generation products for half their retail price. I also found West Soy plain soymilk at the Dollar Tree, and it wasn't even expired!;)

Your not going to cut your grocery bills in half or anything, but comparison shopping is really the only way to save.