Friday, October 31, 2014

halloween '14

Happy Halloween, everyone! Also, happy finally-breaking-down-and-letting-our-toddler-try-candy day! We got to go trick-or-treating twice this year. First on Hanover's random trick-or-treat night which is always "the Tuesday before the Halloween parade which is the Thursday before Halloween" (seriously). And then we got dressed up again tonight to get our $3 burritos at Chipotle and to trick-or-treat with our Spring Grove friends.

So here we are! Another Hallead Family Group Costume. Here's hoping we can keep this going for years to come. ; )

 Little Red Riding Hood, Grandma, and the Big Bad Wolf in the woods

Not sure about Daddy Wolf

(Spinning) "I Wed Wiying Hood, Mommy!"

I had planned to make Jaina a simple Red Riding Hood outfit with a hoodie and a simple skirt, but when I saw this gorgeous outfit at TJMaxx with the crushed velour cape and cute little dirndl I just went for it. For me to make that would take hours and more money than the costume cost. So maybe next year she'll be Gretel and I can make Zach Hansel. ; ) And she is gonna have soooo much fun running around the house in that cape.

Now I could have very easily gotten ahold of a lovely full-length flannel nightgown from the thrift store for me to wear as the Grandma, but I refused to walk around like that. So I opted for a cardigan, a shawl, my great-grandmother's apron, and a simple mob cap that I threw together quickly the day of. Oh, and you simply must wear your glasses at the end of your nose. 

I made Zach the Martha Stewart Big Bad Wolf Hoodie Costume with a $2 hoodie from the thrift store. M-Stew of course has printable templates and easy to follow instructions, so it was a breeze. I also added the faux fur on the sleeves and the backs of the ears.

Check out Fred, Wilma, and Pebbles from last year!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

toddler sponge painting

I must confess that although I love making things, I almost never do craft activities with Jaina. I don't know why, really. I guess the mess turns me off, and the fact that, yeah, I kinda like things done a certain way... maybe... a little bit. Plus crafting is my "me time", and I consider it relaxing. Toddlers and paint brushes - not relaxing.

But today's all-day rain shower was the perfect chance for me to just get over it and make something with my daughter. And it was super fun.

Look at this kid. I told her to say cheese and she made this face. There's no sun, and the flash wasn't on.

We pulled an old tshirt from the donate pile for a smock, and I found some dot-shaped foam stamps I apparently had.

Then I had the brilliant beyond brilliant idea to stick plastic wrap to the table instead of using newspaper which slides around.

We painted a quick trunk with a brush, then I let her use the sponge to make the leaves on the tree.

 Look at those little hands!

She would look intently at the sponge, touch it, then ask for her fingers to be cleaned off. 
Stuff on her hands really bugs her right now. 

 Checking out her work.

Looks like there will be some more painting in our future. What are your favorite kid-friendly craft projects?

Thursday, July 31, 2014

roasted cauliflower with curry and walnuts

So I've been wanting to write about this little dish I made up for a while now, but I never remember to take pictures until after I'm done making it. Dinnertime with a toddler does not easily lend itself to artfully posing ingredients and plates of food. It's mostly full of conversations like these:

"I eat food?"
"Not yet. We're waiting for Daddy."
"Daddy comin'?"
"He'll be here soon."
"... Daddy come soon...Somefin to eat?"
"We have to wait until dinner's ready. See Mommy cooking? See the fire? It's so hot. I'm cooking dinner. It's almost ready."
"... (blink, blink)... Somefin to EAT?!"

Aaaaanyway, I took Jaina's nap time the other day to make some cauliflower, take some pictures, and try to figure out the amount of each ingredient that I used. I think that means I wrote a recipe. Enjoy!

 Cauliflower, walnuts, curry powder, and olive oil (salt & pepper not pictured)

Chop one head of cauliflower into florets and place in a glass or ceramic baking dish. You can combine all of the ingredients in a bowl first, then transfer to the dish, but I like to keep the dishes I have to wash to a minimum. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

Drizzle oil all over the cauliflower (I zig-zag about six times across, let's call it five tablespoons), and sprinkle with one heaping teaspoon of good curry powder. Add about 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts.

 Next, I get my hands in there and make sure every piece of cauliflower is coated in oil and curry. If you use a spoon to mix it up, the curry powder won't disperse evenly. Make sure the walnuts get tossed in the oil as well, so they don't burn. Add sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.

Bake for at least 20 minutes, stirring once during that time. Pierce with a fork after 20 minutes and see if the cauliflower is cooked to your liking. I like mine to still have some bite to it. 

My helper woke up from her nap just in time for an afternoon snack.

She wanted to wear her oven mitt too.

Mmmm, nothing says home to me like curry. I love that it's pretty much as easy as throwing a frozen pizza in the oven, and probably more satisfying. 

If I ever host Thanksgiving (which is unlikely, since I belong to a long line of Hostesses with a capital H - which is awesome), this is the kind of side dish I would serve. To be honest, though, I don't know if I've ever made this as an actual side dish. Usually I bust this out when I'm hungry at night and don't want to stuff my face with junk. It's an easy recipe to adapt to just a personal sized baker, like a brie dish. 

I hope this inspires you to try something new with cauliflower! Let me know how it goes if you try it out. (Recipe below)

Roasted Cauliflower with Curry and Walnuts

1 head of cauliflower chopped into florets
1 tsp. of curry powder
4-6 T. of olive oil
1/4 c. chopped walnuts
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Add cauliflower, curry, oil, and walnuts to a 9x13 baking dish. Combine ingredients with tongs or hands, making sure to disperse curry powder. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Bake for 20 minutes or until fork tender, turning once.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

jaina's mary poppins birthday party

"In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.
You find the fun, and SNAP, the job's a game!"

The job truly was a game, throwing this Mary Poppins party for my little girl. She has fallen head over heals for "Poppy" over the past few months, and it was so fun to surprise her with all her favorite characters.

I can not believe she actually wore her whole outfit! That hat is an Easter hat from the Dollar Store that I spray painted black and added daises and cherries to, and the scarf is crocheted. I found the top, skirt, and shoes at the thrift store. The umbrella was from Amazon, and the "carpet bag" is actually one of my grandma's purses!

Somewhere just after "Super-" you realize this word is 34 letters long...
Also, we fit that hat stand in my Pontiac Grand Prix. ; )

I made these simple cupcake wrappers using this pattern. So easy, and it really finished them off. Never setting naked cupcakes out again!

 Notice the "tuppence", Jane and Michael's picture, and snowglobe I made with just a picture of St. Paul's Cathedral!

Babybel Cheese Umbrellas! These are becoming one of my favorites. You just pull the center tab off of the wax as normal and cut them in half. Then you cut bendy straws off right after the ridges, and stick them in the cheese. I make these the day ahead of time and just keep them sealed well in the fridge. 

If you ever need an old-fashioned medicine bottle, just pick up a teeny bottle of Jager. ; )

The Spoonful of Sugars were Pink Velvet cakeballs dipped in white chocolate. The secret is to dip the chilled cakeballs in a little bit of the melted chocolate and stick them to the spoons. Once that's hardened it's much easier to dip the whole spoon in the chocolate without the cakeball falling off.

These were actual mini caramel apples! I used a melon baller to scoop out the apples. After tossing them in lemon juice I squeezed each apple-ball multiple times with paper towels to make sure they were as dry as possible. Then I used Wilton's Salted Caramel Candy Melts (which must've been some sort of limited edition, cause I can't find them anywhere online) to dip them just like cakeballs. From the sound of the chatter on Pinterest, dipping them in traditional caramel doesn't work, so the candy melts were my solution. They turned out great!

The penguin waiter scene is one of Jaina's favorite parts, so I dressed up this little guy with some felt to serve the food. Also, over the penguin's shoulder you can just barely see the Mary Poppins outline I drew on the mirror with a whiteboard marker. "Cheeky." ; )

There's one key piece missing from the dessert table, and that's the awesome vintage wallpaper backdrop that I spent hours on. If I had known I wouldn't have my backdrop I would've used a lot more color in the linens. The wallpaper was mounted onto a three-paneled piece of cardboard, and the strong winds that day just turned it into a sail. It would've knocked the entire table over if I had left it. So that bummed me out for about two seconds, but I got over it. If anyone wants to rent a backdrop or photo booth for a Victorian tea party, let me know!

I'm pretty proud of this chalkboard. I have horrible handwriting and am not very good at drawing,
so this is a big win for me. And those are carnations like the one Mr. Banks and all the rest of the men at the bank wear in their lapels. (Extra points for anyone who can tell me the name of the bank in the movie without looking up the lyrics. I have listened to the soundtrack - quite literally - hundreds of times, and I still can not tell what they're saying.)

The Chimney Sweep Brushes were Rice Krispy Treats dipped in chocolate!

I thought it would be fun to have real roasted chestnuts at the party. Turns out no one else remembered Bert saying this line, not even Zach. I guess that's what happens when you've seen the movie 15 odd times.

That's what Jane, Michael, and Mary Poppins say after they each take their medicine.
The drinks were really limeade, pink lemonade, and iced tea. ; )

Lemonade is one of her favorite treats. Or, "Sowry!", as she calls it. (sour)

She looooves her Daddy.

The favors were mini chalkboards and chalk in "carpetbags" that I sewed up.
The line on the card is what Bert says before they jump in the chalk picture.

This horse has been at my grandma's house for ages.
It's gone through children, grandchildren, and now great-grandchildren!

Thank you so much to everyone who came and helped out! Jaina had a wonderful day. Especially once she kicked her shoes off and found some sticks. ; )

Two years old is gonna be a lot of fun!

Party Credits
Party Styling: Kara Hallead of Kara's Domestic Life
Photography: Faith Scheuerman
Costume: Vintage, Thrifted, Amazon, A.C. Moore, and Dollar Tree
Chocolate Coins, Silver Spoons: Party City
Paper Straws: Kikkerland
Mini Chalkboards: Hobby Lobby
Decor & Linens: Vintage