Saturday, August 27, 2011


For the past 6 years Charlie has been an indoor cat (though he always thought otherwise).  Ever since I was pregnant with Jake, Charlie has been aggressive to me and recently he has started getting aggressive towards Jake.  Most of this aggression would come out when I was trying to leave the house and Charlie was trying to escape outside.  So to alleviate this problem we started letting him outside. 


I was always worried that he would just leave and not come back and so I was surprised that he didn’t really go anywhere.  He would disappear for a couple minutes but then show back up next to me. 


He enjoys sitting on the deck, smelling the flowers and chasing birds that he will never actually catch.  He is declawed in the front so I still worry he will get into trouble, but so far so good.


I let him out last night while we went for drinks over by the neighbors (yes, Jamie finally met them!) and Charlie seemed to have disappeared.  I kept calling for him and even tried scooping his food into his bowl, but he was either too far away or wasn’t interested.  Well, at 5:30 AM, heard him meowing outside our bedroom window so I let him back in.  I think he’s exhausted from his overnight adventures because he hasn’t gotten off the couch yet!


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Homemade Soft Pretzels

I recently made homemade soft pretzels.  I found the recipe at the King Arthur Flour website, but I’ll post it here as well.  The website has directions on a food processor method as well as a bread machine method but all I had were my two hands and a fork, so here’s the manual method:

Yield: 8 pretzels

2 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons regular instant yeast
1 cup warm water

1/2 cup warm water
2 tablespoons baking soda
coarse, kosher or pretzel salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Place all of the dough ingredients into a bowl, and beat till well-combined. Knead the dough, by hand or machine, for about 5 minutes, till it's soft, smooth, and quite slack. Flour the dough and place it in a bag, and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 500°F. Prepare two baking sheets by spraying them with vegetable oil spray, or lining them with parchment paper. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into eight equal pieces. Allow the pieces to rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes. While the dough is resting, combine the 1/2 cup warm water and the baking soda, and place it in a shallow bowl. Make sure the baking soda is thoroughly dissolved.

Roll each piece of dough into a long, thin rope, and twist each rope into a pretzel. Dip each pretzel in the baking soda wash (this will give the pretzels a nice, golden-brown color), and place them on the baking sheets. Sprinkle them lightly with coarse, kosher, or pretzel salt. Allow them to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes.


Bake the pretzels for 8 to 9 minutes, or until they're golden brown.


Remove the pretzels from the oven, and brush them thoroughly with the melted butter. Keep brushing the butter on until you've used it all up; it may seem like a lot, but that's what gives these pretzels their ethereal taste. Eat the pretzels warm, or reheat them in an oven or microwave.


I doubled the recipe and used a stick of melted butter to brush on all 16 of them. These were amazing and they got rave reviews.  They really weren’t too hard to make, but they will take a few hours with all the rising time needed.  Jamie keeps asking me when I will make them again.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Walking for Children's Hospital

This year Jake and I will be participating in the Briggs & Al's Run & Walk for Children's Hospital on Saturday, September 17th.  I added a widget to the right side banner if anyone would like to make a quick and easy donation.  We are hoping for good weather again this year.  Here's a picture of Jake & Jenna's first kiss at last year's walk.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Garden Update

The first weekend in June I planted a vegetable garden.  It’s been about 11 weeks and it’s gotten quite big overgrown.  This may be due to the lawn service that spread fertilizer which found it’s way into the garden. 

The garden was doing well until July when there were a few too many hot days and not enough watering.  The peas all died and the beans don’t seem to be doing well, or the pepper plants or the broccoli.  However, we have gotten a lot of cucumbers these past few weeks and those plants seem to be taking over most of one garden.  In the other garden the tomato plants are taking over.



Jake’s been helping with the garden with watering and picking the veggies.  Unfortunately, the watering either drowns the plants or misses them all together and he doesn’t understand that we want red tomatoes, not green ones.  But I’m glad he wants to help.



Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Diaper clutch changing pad

The last DIY baby item I decided to make is a diaper clutch changing pad.  This was also found at Toad’s Treasures and the tutorial is available there.  I don’t have a step-by-step on how I made this one, just pictures of the finished product, but this one was the easiest of all three to make.  So, here you go…




I was originally planning on using the brown fleece material for the inside, but in the remnants collections I found this super soft blue and decided to go with it.  I guess I’m hoping she has a boy! 


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Owl Beanie

owl beanieWhen I was on the Toad’s Treasures website I browsed through the other free patterns and I found this cute owl beanie hat and thought it would be so cute to add to the stuffed owl. 



I bought some warm brown fleece and used the fabric from the stuffed owl to make this beanie hat.  Again, the tutorial is at Toad’s Treasures.  Here’s how mine went…

Main hat:








Sew it all together!


This time I ironed on the brown eyes to the white circles, then sewed the eyes onto the face with a straight stitch.  Forget the zigzag, I just can’t do it. 

The pattern is for a 22” head (Jake size), so I used the hospital cap that Jake had to size it down for the baby gift.  And, since I had so much fabric, I decided to make one for Jake too!


I haven’t decided if I’m going to fray the bottom.  I will probably leave that up to the Mom to be.  Here’s a blurry picture of Jake wearing his beanie (he doesn’t understand the concept of sitting still).

001 - Copy

What do you think, should I fray the bottom???

Friday, August 5, 2011

Hoo Hoo!

A co-worker is having a baby and she is decorating the nursery in an owl theme.  So cute!  I wanted to get her something for the nursery to add to my gift so I went to Etsy where crafty people sell their crafty things.  I searched owl and found some cute stuffed owls, but I wasn’t quite ready to spend $22 on it.  I also thought I could make one if I could find a pattern, since I’m not that creative. 

owl2I googled free owl pattern and found the most wonderful website, Toad’s Treasures, I love the name!  And lo and behold there was a free owl pattern and it was so cute!  Since I’m not that creative, and my co-worker doesn’t know if she is having a boy or girl I decided to try and find similar fabric.

I got started that night by cutting out the fabric and the next night I made my own owl.  Here’s how it went, but if you want a good tutorial, visit Toad’s Treasures.

Eyes and nose:

It’s starting to look like an owl now!  The tutorial says to do a zigzag stitch around the eyes, but my sewing machine and I have a love hate relationship and after two attempts that was just not happening.  I was expecting that, so I bought some iron on transfers that work perfect for a project like this.  So I ironed on the eyes and nose, then sewed on the rest, filled it with poly fill and he’s done!


Except there was something not quite right and it was bugging me to no end.  His nose was hard to see and his eyes look like eggs, sunny-side up.  Since I used iron transfers I couldn’t just remove them, so I decided to iron over them. 


Oh yeah, that’s better!  Stay tuned for two more projects that were inspired by the owl…