Happy V-day 2016

 

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Cookies decorated by my almost-5-year-old daughter

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!  I don’t usually celebrate this holiday, but since this is coupled with President’s day as a 3-day week-end, as well as the weather being unbelievably frigid, I was looking for indoor activities that would keep two active young kids occupied and engaged.

My eldest daughter L.O.V.E.S. baking and decorating cookies.  Ever since she was almost 2, she’s been helping out with baking in the kitchen or helping to decorate cookies for this occasion or that occasion.  I have been a little bad about keeping up with baking lately so I figured I owed it to her to give her a decent baking and decorating session.  If the little one wanted to join, so much the better.

After my visit home last summer, I mentioned to my mom how I was envious of her great cookie-cutter collection.  She immediately told me that it was mine for the taking, which thrilled me to pieces!  She packed it all into a box and mailed it to me and it was better than Christmas when they arrived!  My eldest daughter was SO excited she immediately started making plans of all the different cookies she was going to make.  I think she was a bit disappointed when I packed them away and then forgot to make any cookies for the Christmas holidays.  Oops.  So this was my chance at redemption!

It’s so crazy to think that my daughter is almost 5 years old.  She can roll out dough, cut out cookies and ice them (kind of) and decorate them all by herself!  It’s amazing when I think back to the first time she decorated cookies and what a mess it was.  Not that this wasn’t a mess as well, but in a different way.  Maybe I’m lucky the youngest wasn’t interested in making or decorating cookies!

I used a simple sugar cookie recipe I found from Epicurious, which I have used in the past and it works beautifully as it issimple in method and number of ingredients.  I would highly recommend it as they are simple, yet tasty.  I would, however, note that you likely only need half of the icing recipe that goes with this as you will have too much left over.

May you be surrounded by love and happiness (and warmth) today.  Happy Valentines everyone!

Eraser Fun

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My eldest daughter really loves art projects.  Give her an art pad and some colored pencils or crayons and she will be entertained for a good hour or more by herself.  Since she tends to have such an affinity for drawing or art projects,  I am always looking for new ideas of things to do to keep her interested.

My cousins came for a visit over the summer and not only did they bring some awesome colored pencils,  paper pad and stickers, they also brought a really cool make your own eraser kit!  Within the compact plastic case, you saw pristine squares of soft colored rubber waiting to be molded into whatever your imagination and hands were capable of.  She was so excited when she got this gift that she proceeded to show it to me every day until I said we had time to do this project. I finally relented after a couple of days (so this post has been a long time coming!)

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The cool thing is this material is a lot like play-doh except once you are done,  you bake it in the oven and it will harden into an usable eraser. When I asked her what she wanted to make,  she immediately decided on a pink piggie.  Pink is one of her favorite colors right now so I’m hardly surprised she found a way to use the pink first.

I busted out a 1/2″ diameter wood dowel, some toothpicks, and a plastic for and knife to use as shaping tools for our projects.  I decided to make a purple dinosaur (not Barney)!  It was quite fun and as you worked longer with the original material, it became more pliable and moldable,  although it did get stickier as well.

I helped my daughter get the shape just right after her first go of it by herself. I showed her how to add a hole in the bottom so you could mount it on a pencil, how to attach limbs, etc.  It was very similar to working on a clay sculpture.  I think that the end results are super cute and my daughter had such a great time making these.  I can’t wait for round two!

Where the Heart is

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So I have to begin by apologizing for being so terrible about keeping up with my crafting.  I have not have a lot of free time lately, but I’m going to try and get back into it this year.  Part of the issue is that I haven’t had a lot of time to browse and get inspired to make something new.  However, when I see something that I want to try, it drives me to make time for it.  Case and point, I saw this really adorable hat from Portlano and I thought maybe I could try and modify it.

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Portlano Heart Hat

When I saw this, the wheels in my mind started turning and I thought I may be able to figure something out.  I had a perfect opportunity as well since one of my co-workers recently had a sweet little baby girl and we just survived Hurricane Jonas here on the east coast.  Done!

I still have winter white and lavendar yarn leftover from my previous knitting forays with fair isle hats so I just used the same yarn as it is relatively easy to work with, is very lightweight, and makes a very nice finished product.  I did a mash-up of patterns that I got from a great blog here, combining the heart pattern and the stripe pattern.  As always seeing the pattern unfold before my eyes as I’m knitting is always so much fun, especially since I seem to have a serious problem following patterns closely and tend to improvise.  Every project is a new challenge!  One thing I did grapple with was if I wanted to make heart pom-pom for the top, or to try and knit a heart like the original inspiration piece.  I finally opted on a plain pom-pom, but I think that in the future I may try to make an over-sized pom-pom pom.  We’ll see what happens!

I already had the pleasure of seeing my hat on the adorable new owner, which is always such a nice treat!  Welcome to the world sweet baby, and I hope that you are toasty warm with your new hat!