Archive for March, 2012

March 12, 2012

pink sauce

A homemade spicy tomato cream sauce to add to the weekly dinner repertoire…

Saute 2 minced garlic cloves1/8 teaspoon crushed pepper (or cayenne) in 2 tablespoons olive oil until soft & fragrant.

Add can of tomato sauce, simmer for 15 – 20 minutes.

Take off heat.  Add cream – approximately 2 tablespoons or to taste or color.

Add kosher salt to taste, toss with spaghetti & serve!

The sauce can be frozen, is delicious with shrimp or chicken, great served with Italian salad, broccoli & crusty bread…& red wine…

“I am not a glutton – I am an explorer of food.”  ~ Erma Bombeck

March 9, 2012

glue wars

The good news & the bad news:  Beacon’s Fabri-Tac Permanent Adhesive is SO STICKY.

Craft lesson of the day:  When using both iron-on adhesive & glue…apply the iron-on first!!

  1. go 1980’s & pick a vintage text with iron-on letters
  2. glue on shiny ric-rac
  3. need more directions or examples?  click on the java hugger tag below

Can you guess what happens if a person glues first?…  One or both of the following:  the glue goes back to liquid state & seeps through everywhere, &/or the glue disengages entirely leaving dried glue excrement on project.

No worries!  She turned out super cute.

“The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four Americans is suffering from some form of mental illness.  Think of your three best friends.  If they’re okay, then it’s you.”  ~ Rita Mae Brown

March 8, 2012

risk vs. reward

As we learn more about the human brain & its development, we can apply more effective parenting & teaching strategies to help kids mature.  Inspiration & information for today’s blog comes from:  National Geographic’s October 2011 article Beautiful Brains by David Dobbs.  Another fabulous, entertaining article full of relevant & eloquently written discoveries.

Starting with points we know & have now been proven via MRI science & studies.  Adolescence can be:

  • emotional, trying
  • a risk taking era
  • a time when social interactions greatly influence motivation & behavior
  • full of inconsistent behavior

From age 12 thru 25, “….brains undergo a massive reorganization…”  “…as we move through adolescence, the brain undergoes extensive remodeling, resembling a network & wiring upgrade.”  The brain “upgrade” directly impacts performance, behaviors, etc..  Plus, positive or negative (stress, fatigue) variables add another layer to behaviors & decisions.  Other points to keep in mind:

  • teens tend to have a high regard for reward gleaned from taking a risk even though they may realize the consequences on a cognitive level (ie. they’re not stupid)
  • risk taking with success contributes to being able to adapt
  • the brain matures from back to front

Basic Parts of Brain

Switching gears…consider the following important fact:

“The United States spends about a billion dollars a year on programs to counsel adolescents on violence, gangs, suicide, sex, substance abuse, & other potential pitfalls. Few of them work.”

HUH.  Are you surprised?  What has the greatest impact on kids?  PARENTING!

  • share the brain development process with kids
  • guide children, do not helicopter parent
  • connect with kids & encourage independence
  • have patience!!
  • let kids fail..it is the best way to learn & the perfect lab to exercise  adaptation skills
  • remember that building social relationships is key to their success now & in the future

“Heredity is what sets the parents of a teenager wondering about each other.”  ~Laurence J. Peter

March 7, 2012

cathedral quilt

Classified as a “patchwork” quilt meaning little pieces of fabric sewn together to create a large design.  Although the cathedral quilt looks amazingly complicated, it is a fairly simple process albeit time-consuming…

The doll quilt shown above requires a little less time commitment but remains satisfying upon completion.

Cathedral Windows is a block type pattern using reverse appliqué & large amounts of folded muslin.  The quilt features modular blocks of an interlocking circular design that frame small squares or diamonds of colorful light-weight cotton.  For great directions with pictures click here & here.

The concept can be used for pillows, table runners or decorative bedding as well.  A nice use for any scrap fabrics or dream up an original colorful design.

“It took me years and years of trial efforts to work out that there is absolutely no knitting triumph I can achieve that my husband will think is worth being woken up for.”  ~Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit’s End:  Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much

March 6, 2012

sweet novel

The perfect book to enhance spring break relaxation…Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

  Garden Spells

An enchanting story about a family whose gifts are magical, where broken connections are mended, & where the home & garden create charming environments with tons of personality.

Underlying themes also include:

  • sibling relationships & love
  • family history & memories
  • foods & flowers evoking feelings, memories, ambiance
  • sisters helping each other expose & explore unique gifts
  • sisters encouraging each other to take risks to reach life’s potential

A delightful read!

March 5, 2012

kale chips

No joke!  Hubbie & I, plus one kiddo ate an entire bunch of KALE!

Cut leaves off stems, tear into chip size bites, wash, dry with paper towels or use salad spinner.

Heat oven to 350 degrees, spread kale onto baking sheet (parchment paper optional).

Spray or drizzle (douse?) with olive oil.  Sprinkle kosher salt all over leaves.  Bake for 10-15 minutes, until edges are a tad brown.

A good for you $2 appetizer!  Thanks for the recipe, Susan!!  Click here for more kale recipes.

Hillbilly Warning:  kale bits tent to lodge in teeth…seek mirror or trusted friend after eating!

 

March 2, 2012

lucky hugger

March calls for a green themed coffee cozy!

(find the lucky hugger in my Etsy Shop)

Iron-on letters are super easy & up the cute-factor.  Materials:  light grey felt, fat spring green ric-rac, green & grey embroidery thread, green batik fabric, rhinestone letters (bingo queen left-overs)

Directions:

  1. cut felt to cozy size (use cardboard sleeve as pattern)
  2. use iron-on adhesive to attach ric-rac, add decorative straight stitch
  3. iron-on rhinestone letters following package directions – cozy above reads “lucky me”
  4. cut liner fabric using felt as pattern (check orientation!) 3/8 inch wider on top & bottom
  5. fold & press top & bottom edges, attach felt to liner using iron-on adhesive
  6. blanket stitch bottom edge green, top grey
  7. pin to cup size & secure with blanket & straight stitches

May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light,

May good luck pursue you each morning and night.

~Irish Blessing

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