Oct 31, 2010

Toy Story Halloween- abridged

I have tried since Friday to post about our long awaited, much labored Toy Story Halloween.
Alas life happens-

mom gets sick, barely makes it trick or treating
birthday party to plan/throw
blogger loading pictures wonky
laundry to fold/house to clean
absence of the perfect photo session picture

So Happy Halloween. Even with an absence of the perfect photo of Buzz, Woody, and Green Alien, my Little Men had a fabulous time...and yes Buzz was the hit of the evening. Thanks to our friends for letting us tag along.

Don't be surprised if you get a Halloween wrap up with more photos a little later...sorry but with all the hard work I did this year I want them to have their photo spotlight.

Hope you all have had great Halloweens!

Oct 28, 2010

Chipotle Chili with a Surprise

Halloween is almost here. Some of you may have already had Halloween parties, some of you may have them coming. Some of you may just be getting ready for actual Halloween. To me nothing says Halloween party or Halloween dinner like soup or chili. It is something that warms ya up and gets the kiddos all toasty and ready to go.

Tonight we go Trick or Treating...that's right. Our community always picks the Thursday before if Halloween falls on a weekend night. So tonight all my Little Men will get their costumes on and run the neighborhood in a frenzie loading up on the good stuff.

Buzz and Woody have already had their debuts at our church party, but alas I was one of the adults in charge so I got absolutely NO pictures. This is the best picture I have so far...but tonight the boys are going to be forced to do a photo session with their loving mother (yes they will love it can you sense my sarcasm).

So that means you get the complete photo run down of our families Toy Story Halloween tomorrow.

Yes, I bet you are excited.

Today, lets talk chili.

For our  church party we had a chili and chocolate cook off. Basically families could bring one or the other to be judged for prizes. As I was searching for recipes I came across this one from Best Bites...it was all in the title, I knew I had to make it.

Chipotle Chocolate Chili 
yes that is right, CHOCOLATE

1 lb ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5 oz cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 15 oz cans diced tomatoes
1 can beef broth
3 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (not the kind for chocolate milk)
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
chipotle sauce (from the can of chipotles)
1/2 oz unsweetened chocolate (1/2 of  1 oz baking square), shaved.
3-4 Tablespoons of red wine vinegar

sour cream
green onions

Heat some olive oil in a large soup pot over med heat. Saute onions, garlic, red pepper, and turkey until turkey is cooked through, pepper, cumin, chili powder, brown sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, tomatoes, beans, and beef broth. Add all of the sauce from the can of chipotles (here I dumped the can into a strainer that I had over my soup pot. ALSO...if you don't like a lot of heat I would only put in half of the sauce).

Heat to boiling and then reduce to a simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally until thickened. About 30-40 minutes. If you like more heat add some chopped chipotle peppers. Here add 3 tablespoons of vinegar and a small amount of the shaved unsweetened chocolate. Do it until taste. Too much chocolate will make it taste bitter. I did use about the whole 1/2 oz and I think it tasted great. Taste as you go to get your preference.

Serve with sour cream, cheese, green onions. Whatever you chili toppings you like, throw them on top.

Thanks Best Bites for this yummy recipe. GO over to their site they are having an amazing giveaway plus they are in a Better Homes and Gardens cook off and they need your VOTES.

Oct 26, 2010

Party Invite Tutorial

Arggg me Mateys!

Today I can be found over at Ladybug Blessings. Kristen asked me to participate in her Handmade pact and I decided to share this easy peasy idea for a fun and creative pirate party invite. I hope you enjoy this tutorial for your favorite scalawag.

Thanks Kristen for letting me join you today.

Oct 25, 2010

Abbiesolutely Pattern Giveaway

Right now it is looking like this outside...

Spoiler alert...

Soon it will turn into this...

Which for our family means the arrival of--

hot cocoa
poofy jackets
snuggly quilts
and this...

and to go with all these cozy activities you always need a good pair of socks/slippers. 

I can always find something fun and warm for my feet BUT it is really hard to find something for my Little Men. They don't do big clunky slippers and little boy socks are no fun.

Imagine my delight when my friend Abbie from here...
Sent me a picture of her newest pattern creation-  
The Cozy Toesies and Comfort Wrap

The glorious part...these are not just simply socks and a scarf. Cozy Toesies are fleece slippers with an enclosure on the sole for an insert. The Comfort Wrap also has an insert and can be worn around the neck, over the shoulder, on the stomach or anywhere you need relief. 

Use them hot to warm up, stimulate circulation, relax muscles or relieve stress, tension or pain.

Use them cold to cool down or reduce minor swelling.

Simply genius. I can't wait to sew up 3 sets of the for my guys.

A cozy little place for there feet PLUS a warm wrap, which they will LOVE. I love that with this pattern I can pick the fabric for these cozy slip-ons...no more boring boy socks here!

I also LOVE that she is offering a free pattern to one of my readers! Woohoo we love a good GIVEAWAY.

How to enter her giveaway:

First entry: leave a comment here about what your favorite wintry activity is (yes you can say counting down the days until spring)
Second entry: become a follower here, or let me know you already are
Third entry: Stop by Abbiesolutely  let me know what else you like from her shop

Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry.

You have until Friday, October 29th 11:59pm est

Good luck!

Oct 22, 2010

Where There is Danger...

...there's a Space Ranger.

That is what my son's new Buzz Lightyear doll action figure says anyways...

The other day I found out just how true that is. So as most of you know, I am in the middle of making this costume...

While working on said Space Ranger costume, instead of being rescued from danger I was met with it!

Rotary cutter + impatience+not paying attention=

Enter irony...

These are the only band-aids I had downstairs.

Is it bad to wanna punch a toy in the face? I mean look at his smug little face.

Instead I just laughed and thought "You're mocking me, aren't you?" (come on guys, name the movie!)

Oct 21, 2010

Brown Sugar Spiced Pork Tenderloin

Oh yum. No I mean, YUM. I mean salivating, have seconds, wish it were lady-like to unbutton your pants and have thirds YUM.

My friend told me I had to make this recipe...lets just say I called her the next day and expressed my gratitude for leading me to the best pork recipe I have ever made. Just sayin'.

We served it with this potato recipe.

Brown Sugar Spiced Pork Tenderloin 
Adapted from My Kitchen Cafe

Rub Ingredients:
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pork tenderloin (approx 2 1/2 to 3 pounds) cut into quarters
2 tablespoons olive oil
Glaze ingredients:
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon hot  sauce ( I used franks)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, stir together salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and cinnamon, then coat the pork with the spice rub. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium high heat until the oil is hot and rippling. Brown the pork, turning, about 4 minutes total. If you have a skillet that can go straight into the oven you can leave the pork in the skillet; however, if you are like me and  don’t have an ovenproof skillet, transfer it to a foil-lined baking pan (like a 9X13-inch). 
Stir together the brown sugar, garlic, and hot sauce and pat on top of each tenderloin. Roast in the middle of the oven until a thermometer inserted diagonally in center of each tenderloin registers 140, about 25 minutes. Let pork stand in the skillet at room temperature for 10 minutes. The temperature will rise to about 155 while standing. Slice on the diagonal and serve, spooning the sauce from the skillet on top of the pork.
I would say, "I hope you enjoy this as much as I did" but I KNOW you will so...'nuff said.

Oct 19, 2010

Happy, Happy Birthday

This Little Man turned 4 today.

I went into his room this morning singing "Happy Birthday". Almost immediately he covered his ears with his hands. So I stopped. Then it seemed to click what I was singing and what it meant and he got an impish grin on his face and then nodded for me to continue. Man I love this kid.

Our Little Man:

loves running, running, running and more running
will go in and keep Littlest Man company in the morning or after his nap
loves, loves, loves his dad
is persistent
is always hungry
becoming more independent
has been counting down to his birthday for months
loves giving "running start" hugs
negotiates how many pictures he get drawn on his back before bedtime (we say "2", he says "no 5", we say "okay 3", he answers "how about 4")
loves trains
loves his brother, misses is older brother when he is at school
has the best grin EVER
always wants to say the prayer

Happy Birthday, we love you!

Oct 18, 2010

2:30 AM

It is 2:30 in the A.M....


I am NOT:

in my bed
rocking a baby
going pee...although give me a couple minutes

No, it is 2:30 in the A.M....



"poofing" these things

crossing one more thing of my 10-mile-long list
staring at the clothes that need to be put away
stressing about my Little Men's Costumes
worried that Middle Little Man's actual bday is going to get forgotten in my CRAZY week

It is now 2:48 in the A.M.


I am going to bed...

Oct 15, 2010

Sophisticated Instead of Spooky:Halloween Tutorial

So you say you still don't have a Halloween wreath on your door? Hey me neither until just a couple of days ago. I decided last minute...while walking through the fabric store for more costume fabric...that I wanted to make a wreath. There was a catch though, it couldn't cost a lot since I have spent way too much on costumes AND it couldn't take a lot of time because of previously mentioned costumes.

Did I mention I also wanted something a little more sophisticated instead of spooky? No pressure, right?

Well, with minimal cost or effort I whipped up three of these classy (if I do say so myself) babies.

You will need:

straw wreaths
black spray paint ( I used about 1 and 1/2 cans for three)
orange print fabric

How to:

1. Take hay wreaths, I recommend not unwrapping them in your house. They are messy boogers.

2. Lightly coat one side of all the wreaths. Repeat until desired coverage. Then flip them over and repeat on the other side. Let them dry for a day.

This is a picture of my first couple coats. My overall coverage was MUCH darker than this. 

3. Cut 3" strips of orange fabric the length that you need. I didn't even sew the one for my door. I just looped it around the wreath and then knotted the top. You might need to sew across the top if you are placing somewhere with out a wreath hanger.

4. Hang it on your door, windows or walls.

What  lovely way to say "Boo!"

Oct 14, 2010

Pumpkin Patch Cookies

Hey, have I said how much I HEART fall??? Oh I have, oops! Well I do! Todays recipes comes from inspiration of a field trip I took with my Oldest Little Man. 

Yesterday we went to the pumpkin patch with his first grade class. Yes I was a chaperon. Yes I rode the bus with all the kiddos. Yes I even got to enforce rules, such as "don't say buttlicker", "quit wrestling in the seat", "quit throwing rocks", "don't scream, it is just a mosquito eater...not a kid eater (I wish)".

Overall we had a GREAT time. AND I was reminded of one very important thing...

My kid is pretty amazingly wonderful.

So in celebration of the fact that my kid is awesome and that pumpkins are awesome, here is a recipe for some AWESOME (too much awesome???) Pumpkin Patch Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Pumpkin Patch Cookies 
courtesy of Food Network

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups MILK CHOCOLATE chips (in other words NOT semi-sweet)

Heat oven to 350. Spray cookie sheets with nonstick spray.

Using a mixer, beat the butter till smooth. Add in the sugars and mix until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs. Then mix in vanilla and pumpkin. In a separate bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients, except chips. Slowly beat in the mixture, about a third at a time...you don't want a big flour poof, your kids might, but you don't! Stir in the chips.

The dough will be a soft dough, similar to a drop cookie dough. Drop on your cookie sheets by heaping teaspoonfuls. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, until they are browned around the edges. Let them rest for a couple minutes and then remove them to a cooling rack.

Now pack some in a container, throw it in your day bag and head to a pumpkin patch...your cookies will feel right at home and not at all resentful that you are about to devour them.

Oct 13, 2010

Ahoy! All Pirate Party Planners...

Arrr...me mateys, I am in need of yer assistance...well actually it is me almost 4-year-old scalawag that is in need of yer assistance...

Okay so you get me...I mean my drift. I am pretty sure that I can't keep typing with one eye closed...cause that is how your face automatically goes when ye are talkin' pirate...

My Middle Little Man has a birthday coming up...normally I am WAY more planned by now. I mean stuff is all purchased, lists have been made categorically with the headings of FOOD/DECOR/GAMES/CAKE/TAKE HOME....etc. I have scoured the internet for all kinds of ideas. By this point I pretty much already know what I am doing.

Here is what I know at this point...My Little Pirate found this material and LOVED it, so the whole party is going be based around this fabric...

pretty cute, huh? Yes I am going to make a pirate hat, and YES there will be eye patches.

Yeah, well that is where what "I know" ends.

Don't get me wrong, I have some ideas, but they all seem to be getting mingled up with Toy Story stuff. I start picturing a possible game to play and then I see Woody walking the plank with a peg leg. I start mentally sketching out a cake and then all I can see is Buzz steering a huge pirate ship made out of cake. Obviously I have problems.

SO all my crafty blogging friends here is where you all help me...

I would LOVE to see/hear about any pirate ideas you have heard about and/or done. DON'T be shy. I need all the ideas I can get..especially for activities. I mean 6-7 four-year-olds...I am gonna need some activities. So spill it. I know you got ideas, I mean if you don't do it for me...

Do it for him...

My banana eating Little Pirate. Bananas are good for pirates, right? Oh wait that is oranges, for the scurvy and all...oh well I bet pirates need their potassium too.

Oct 11, 2010

To Infinity---and Beyond!

Yes the journey to a completed Buzz Lightyear costume has begun. This post should have been titled, "To Crazy and Beyond!"...but seriously don't you LOVE it. I mean L.O.V.E. it.  You should see it on my Oldest Little Man..well you will have to wait...but seriously LOVE it.

The glove sleeves came from my noggin but the hood came from a McCall's costume pattern...which I am too lazy to run downstairs for at the moment, so I let you know in the next Buzz post...yes there probably will be another one, sorry folks!

To top off the sheer delightfulness of the gloves...well are the gloves that go into the sleeves. They are simple dollar bin white stretch gloves...

that with the help of some freezer paper...

and some purple spray paint...

look EXACTLY like Mr. Lightyear's digits. So easy to do.

While these purple tipped fingers are one of my favorite things, my FAVORITE part of these gloves is this---

My Little Buzz can check gamma ray levels and communicate with Star Command in his very own quest to secure the galaxy's safety.

Parties I am joining--

Sunday Scoop: I Heart Naptime
Halloween Week: Made By Heidi
Just Something I Whipped Up: The Girl Creative
All About You Monday: Texas Monkey
Take a Look Tuesdays: Sugar Bee Craft Edition
Get Your Craft On: Todays Creative Blog
Sew Cute Tuesdays: Creative Itch
What Are Little Boys Made of: 733

Oct 10, 2010

Our Week in a Nutshell: Enjoying the Weather

This week there was some fabulous weather. Glorious and fall-y. Some days warm yet crisp and sunny. Some days overcast crispy and cozy. I heart fall, I mean I really heart it!

This week  we:

went to the zoo
enjoyed warm soccer practice and games
went on a bike ride down a tree lined path
stayed in our cozy clothes and watched movies
opened the windows and listened to the rain

Yes, yes I really heart fall.

Here are a few pictures of the zoo...

Littlest Little Man giving hugs to a polar bear baby 

Little Man teeter-tottering with a little boy he snagged 

best buds sliding together 

Proof that I also was enjoying the cool weather--

I had stayed bundled up all day...yes probably sewing and then realized I needed to pick oldest little man up from school. So yes I just threw on a pair of shoes and was seen in public like this. I pretty much rocked that BYU sweatshirt-brown sweatpants-argyle knee socks-dressy flat combo.

Yes I am sure the other mothers were jealous of my style.

Looking forward to another glorious fall week, and hoping to--

snuggle some more
eat soup
go to a pumpkin patch
more bike riding
going on a fall hike
making caramel apples
making apple butter and apple cider

What is your favorite fall activity??

Oct 8, 2010

Toy Story Halloween: Woody's Belt

One step closer!! Woohoo...or should is say "YEE HAW!"

I looked at picture after picture of Woody. I wanted this belt to be all about the fun details and I wanted it to look just like his actual belt..

I think I got it close. I am so excited...hehehe.

Yes ma'am one step closer...YEE HAW!!!

Oct 7, 2010

Apple Frittery Goodness

You know last week how I said I was going to do one more apple dessert? Well here ya have it. YUM apple fritters. I came across this recipe a couple of weeks ago on The Pioneer Woman and stored it away for a glorious fall morning. We had one of those just this last Sunday. Cool, crisp plus it was a lazy morning...that all adds up to some fried apple goodness.

Her recipe has either a glazed or powdered sugar option, well shoot...let's do BOTH.

My little men by far enjoyed the glazed ones better. The apple fritter seemed to soak up the glaze, not to a sogginess level, but to a sweet mother there is a sugary goodness every where level.

So if you have some apples just sitting around and it is going crisp outside, whip up some of these. Suggestion though, if you are a smaller family like us...cut the recipe in half. There was no way we could eat all of these AND they don't keep well.

Apple Fritters


2 cups flour
1/2 cups sugar
3 T sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 eggs
3/4 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 T melted butter
2 whole granny smith apples, peeled and diced

powdered sugar (optional, for dusting)

1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cups milk

The glaze recipe is actually perfect for half a batch of fritters.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat eggs with a fork, then add milk, melted butter, and vanilla. Gently fold in the dry ingredients to the wet, mix until just combined (do not overmix). Fold in apples. Add enough apples to make a really chunky batter.

Heat a couple of inches of canola oil over medium heat. When it gets hot, drop a little bit of batter into the oil. If it sizzles and immediately floats to the top, the oil is ready. It it burns, turn oil down.

Drop teaspoons of batter into the oil, about six at a time. Make sure to flip them for even cooking. Cook them long enough that they are golden brown and that the batter is cooked through, this is about 2 minutes or so.

Remove and drain on a paper towel. Either dust generously with powdered sugar OR dip fritters in glaze...dip fritters while they are warm.

Serve immediately.

Your kids wouldn't mind if you threw in glass of chocolate milk.


Oct 5, 2010

Mr. Fishy Tutorial

Glub, Glub, Glub. Here comes Mr. Fishy. The best kind of fishy to have 'cause you don't have to feed him and he isn't slimy to snuggle with.

Mr. Fishy Tutorial 

You will need:

Fishy Pattern

2 colors of felt, 2 sheets of each
navy blue fabric or felt for eye
coordinating embroidery floss
coordinating thread

Cut felt into 1 1/2" strips. You will need 8 of one color and 10 of the other. Cut two circles for eyes.

Pin two different color strips together. Sew along edge with 1/4" seam allowance.

Pin next strip to, making sure to alternate colors. Always pin like sides together. Sew again with 1/4" seam allowance.

It should look like this--

Continue pinning and sewing every strip together until you have sewn TWO separate sheets of 4x5 strips. Looking like this--

Using the Mr. Fishy Pattern, cut out fishy shapes. I pinned the pattern to the two sheets (like sides facing) so that I could line up the stripes. Cute slowly and carefully.

Now you have two fishy shapes.

Face them the opposite direction of each other and "eyeball"  where to put the eyes...haha. Pin on and sew.

Choose a side any side...

With coordinating floss color, embroider on you little ones name or nick name.

I choose to sew along the tail...and NO judging the embroidery imperfections!

Pin Mr. Fishy together like sides facing. Sew around the edge with a 1/4" seam allowance, leaving a hole on the bottom to turn out.

Turn out and stuff with your fluff. Make sure he is good and full...this assures that you don't have to feed him. Hand sew the opening closed. PS I really could use some hand sewing lessons...any takers???

Give it a kiss and pass it on with joy and maybe a bib.

Hey all my blogging pals...I am entering this in a REALLY fun contest over at Sew Dang Cute. It is called Crafting with the Stars...haha GENIUS! There is no voting right now...whew! BUT the winners may come dependent on getting the most views on their icon...so go VIEW away!

Also linking to:

Take a Look Tuesdays: Sugarbee Craft Edition
Get your Craft on: Today's Creative
Sew Cute Tuesdays: Creative Itch


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