Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Cinderella Pumpkin Carriage

Tomorrow is Halloween! Yesterday I came across a post from Marie at Help Them to Heaven about how her family celebrates Halloween. The post completely captures how I feel about the holiday now. I love Halloween, but I am not so crazy about all the spooky stuff that goes along with it. However I didn't always feel that way about Halloween. When I was younger I would participate in all the spooky stuff, and I really did enjoy it. Then I would have nightmares and not be able to sleep for weeks. The simple neighborhood haunted houses freaked me out that much. I have found that a less frightening Halloween works a little better for my sleep patterns.

This year we (as in I) decided to continue the non-spooky tradition and turn our pumpkin into Cinderella's carriage! I had a complete blast doing it.

We picked up the pumpkin at a big pumpkin patch. If you are wondering how excited a 3 year old girl will get in the midst of thousands of pumpkins... now you have a better idea.

Here is how I made the carriage:

  • 1 large pumpkin
  • 2 smaller pumpkins (for wheels)
  • Sharpe
  • a knife
  • Craft glue
  • glitter
  • floss or very thin string/thread
  • Tulle material
  • Twine
  • Push pins
  • 2 small horses (purchased from Dollar Tree)
  • Cinderella character (from an old McDonalds kids meal toy)
  • Draw out one large square and 2 window looking shapes on each side on front of pumpkin

  • Draw out 2 thin rectangles on top of one another, about an inch apart on the side of pumpkin (this will be used to tie twine to attach the horses)

  • Cut off top of pumpkin
  • Scoop out all the seeds
  • Carve out drawn shapes
  • Cut 2 smallish squares of tulle to fit inside the large square
  • Bunch each one together and tie it with the floss (your making curtains)
  • Uses the push pins to attach the curtains to the top of the inside of the square and the sides of it (warning: don't replace this step with hot glue: it doesn't stick to pumpkins!)
  • Cut one large string and thread it through the side rectangles then tie the ends around the 2 horses
  • Make swirling designs with glue and sprinkle the glitter on them
  • Put 3 push pins in the bottom of the large square cut out to prop up Cinderella
  • Add one smaller pumpkin to each side of the large pumpkin for the wheels
  • Now you have a Cinderella carriage!

Don't forget to cook your pumpkin seeds. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and bake for about 7 minutes. Sprinkle with salt!

I'm linking up with Works for Me Wednesdays today!

What do you find works best for you Halloween celebration? Do you like all the spooky stuff or do you skip Halloween all together?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Potato and Leek Soup

It officially dropped below 50 this weekend! So I made one of my favorite soups!

  • 5 large potatoes (red or russet), peeled and chopped into chunks
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 leeks chopped (don't use big bulbs at end)
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 can chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2/3 cup water
  • Extra water of boiling potatoes
  • Boil enough water in large pot to cover the potatoes
  • Add in potatoes and boil until they are cooked through
  • Drain potatoes,  and in a separate bowl, combine with milk, butter, salt and pepper and blend until smooth- mashed potato like consistency 
  • Meanwhile, add olive oil, garlic, and onions to pot and cook over medium heat until tender
  • Once tender add in water and the broth to the pot, cover and let simmer for a few minutes
  • Scoop all potatoes into the pot and stir to blend them with the other contents 
  • Cover and let simmer a few more minutes (if you like your soup thinner you may want to add more water)
  • Enjoy! 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Social Sunday Link-Up

Sunday Social
I decided to link up with Neely for Sunday Social!

1. What was your favorite halloween costume as a kid? My favorite halloween costume as a kid was a Dalmatian puppy. The costume was a full body suit. It covered my toes and my head. Of course it wasn't complete without a large bone that was as tall as me.

2. If you could go back and dress up as something what would it be? I think I would be Belle from Beauty and the Beast. I always loved that movie and the dress!

3. Favorite costume as an adult? My favorite costume is when I went as a present. I took an extremely large gift bag and cut out the bottom of it and tied it like a halter. Put on some leggings and a tank underneath. Then completed the outfit with a large present bow on the top of my head and some heels.

4. Favorite Halloween candy? Reese's Peanut Butter Cups! For sure!

5. Favorite Halloween memory? In high school I went to this scream world kind of thing where you walked through a haunted forest. Then these scary guys would jump out at you and chase you. I was getting chased and my shoe fell off. I was so terrified I just kept running even without it. Then the scary guy stopped running took off his mask and apologized and brought me my shoe. We all laughed so hard we cried afterwards.

6. What is your favorite scary movie? I don't like scary movies! But my favorite Halloween movies are Hocus Pocus and Halloween Town! Who doesn't love those classics.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

One of the Lucky Ones

This week, I felt like the world was trying to get my attention. Most likely not true, perhaps a slightly self-centered thought. But never the less, it couldn't be denied.

The Dynamic Catholic sent me this "mustard seed" to my inbox this morning:

"If things are in a mess, accept that things are in a mess. Everything doesn't have to be worked out right now."

In my life nothing ever stands still. In the span of about 4 years, I have gotten married, had a child, graduated college, moved 3 times, started grad school, I am about to move again and embark on the new journey of working with patients. My life isn't a mess, but it isn't tidy either. It is busy and ever-changing.

The thing about it is, that I think know that this is typical of the 20's and possibly the 30's. All my friends are busy. Their lives are changing quickly. Starting new jobs, moving to new places, meeting new people. No one of them feels certain about their role in life, and just when they finally begin to feel settled, life brings on a new adventure. My life, with the addition of marriage and motherhood, is no different.

It keeps you on your toes, it's exciting, invigorating, and exhausting all at the same time. You are new at everything, always. You need to find people to help you learn how to get life running more smoothly, because you haven't been doing it on your own for that long. Asking for help or guidance is a humbling experience. You realize that you don't know all the answers, and wonder if you know any of them.

The way people scatter these days makes the task increasingly difficult. The people you have leaned on and got encouragement from prior to this are often are scattered around the globe. So you need to find new friends. You are forced to make your own way.

Anne from Modern Mrs. Darcy was kind enough to send her readers some of the notes from her talk at a blogging conference. She wrote about precisely this topic: Making the most of you 20's and 30's.

She talks about the messy and winding road that encompasses these 2 decades (mostly your 20's). She tells us (20-somethingers) we should explore relationships, our baggage and our faith. We should also be sure to find mentors. She doesn't fail to mention that we can impact the world in our own way. All of this uncertainty helps us to grow, even if sometimes we feel lost.

The funny thing is that for generations these years have been filled with uncertainty for everyone. Contrary to popular belief, this is not unique of modern culture. It is just a stage of life. If you don't go through it, you can't and won't grow.

When my dad was 23, he decided he didn't want to be an accountant anymore. He quit his job, and worked as a cook at a restaurant for minimum wage. My mom probably thought he was completely nuts, but married him anyway. There was no stability in that.

When my grandmother was 21 she got married to my grandfather. They had a baby within a year, and moved in with her parents to save money (Ah that sounds familiar). Now here's the curve ball to this story. My grandmother and her family were Polish, and my grandfather was German. Let me remind you that this occurred during a time when WWII was still pretty fresh in everyone's memory. I can only imagine what the tension in that living room was like.

I am one of the lucky ones because I am embarking on this journey now. A past of regret doesn't exist for me. Instead I am looking forward to a future full of possibilities, adventure and life. Although I feel excited about what is to come, I also feel grounded by the reality of bills and dinners on the table. I have been given this opportunity to grow now, and for that I am ever thankful. I am one of the lucky ones.

I am linking up with We are That Family and Gratituesday.

How are you making the most of your 20's and 30's? What have been your challenges and your exciting moments thus far? If you are past the 30-something years, looking back what did you do right through those years?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Banana Oat Chocolate Chip Bread

Here is my all time favorite bread recipe! I could probably eat this stuff everyday. It is the combination of a few recipes I have found.

Recipe (makes 1 loaf): 
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 stick of softened butter
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 3 bananas 
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Mix together sugar, eggs and butter
  • Mix in flour,bananas, baking powder, baking soda and salt until forms a batter 
  • Lastly fold in oats and chocolate chips
  • Grease 1 loaf pan
  • Bake in oven for 45-60 minutes
  • Take out when tooth pick comes out clean and edges are crusty 

Friday, October 19, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday (6)

Last weekend we house sat for my parents. My daughter found all my old American Girl dolls, furniture and clothes. I used to sit in my room for hours just playing with, acting out scenarios, changing their clothes and doing their hair. To my surprise she was equally delighted with them. We played American Girl dolls for well over 2 hours. I was in heaven. I got online to see if the store had changed any. Well now the dolls are over $100 per doll, but they have wheelchairs, hearing aids, dolls without hair and much more! I was so excited! About 7 years ago when I volunteered at a camp for children with cerebral palsy all the girls wanted wheelchairs for their American Girl dolls. They wanted their dolls to be just like them. Now girls like them can have that opportunity!

This week I wrote a post about balancing family life and working, or in my case school.

Speaking of school, I am in the home stretch now! I go out to a school district for a week, next week. Then there is just a little over a month left of class!!!

We made animals out of outdoor supplies! We got the idea from Ever Never Again. My daughter was thrilled with finding all the supplies, and then got a little glue crazy.
A lion: I gave her a lot of guidance

This next one I gave her a little less guidance (if you were wondering, it's a zebra)

This one is a kitty. She proudly stated that she included a bottom in her creation.

This weekend my husband and I have talked about doing something fun, because the weather is supposed to be beautiful! I am thinking maybe we'll go find a pumpkin patch and get pumpkins for Halloween.

For my daughter's birthday 2 weeks ago she got the game HiHo Cherrio. We have played it a minimum of 3 times per day, everyday! Ha, glad the present was a hit!

Now that I am on my seventh quick takes, I'll say goodbye. Here are my silliest ways to say goodbye!

Head back over to Jen for more quick takes!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Silliest Way to Say Goodbye

My daughter came home from school with all these hilarious new ways to say goodbye. Then my husband and I made up some of our own.
Bye bye, butterfly
In a while, crocodile
See you soon, you baboon
Give a hug, ladybug
Blow a kiss, jellyfish
Out the door, dinosaur
Send some love, dove
Do a jig, pig
Go for a jog, dog

Then last night, as I was saying goodnight, my daughter made up one of her own:

Rub my belly, cupcake
Photo Credits: http://monarch-butterfly.info/,http://theinternetbox.wikia.com/wiki/File:Crocodile_hunter_9.jpg, http://oldstersview.wordpress.com/2007/09/25/baboon-gang-terrorizes-south-african-town-local-news-story-wcau-philadelphia/,http://www.pestcontrol-knoxville.com/pest-control/other-pests/lady-bug.html, http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/01/0119_060119_jellyfish.html, http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/dinosaur/2009/05/all-aboard-the-dinosaur-train/, http://www.whitewingsnydovereleases.com,http://nickstraffictricks.com/3300_free-one-way-dofollow-backlinks/ /http://www.foodnetwork.com/shows/cupcake-wars-on-set-cupcakes/pictures/index.html

Monday, October 15, 2012

What's a Mama to Do?

I had planned to write about the Year of Faith today. But, my life is crazy and I am in the middle of midterms. So that post is still in progress. Instead I have decided to write about the balance of work (aka grad school) and being a mom. I have yet to find that balance.

Today I picked my daughter up from extended day at school and she was doing wonderful. She was practicing her paper cutting skills, while I was in the kitchen cooking dinner. We were chatting about our days, waiting for my husband to get home from work. I was simply in motherhood bliss.

I don't even remember what was said, but she burst into tears. Calmly, I asked my daughter what was wrong. She told me, "You picked me up too late. I was at school a long time". "I don't want to be at school that long, it makes me tired. And I am ready for it to be Saturday so we can play more".

My heart broke. I told her I was so sorry that she was tired, and that I knew it was hard to be at school so late. She didn't understand. Then I told her that I also had to go to school. But I knew that wasn't true.

I didn't HAVE to go to school. I CHOSE to go to school. I did what I thought was best for my family in the long run. And I still maintain that I think I made the right choice for my family. I think this is the same choice a lot of women make. Many women choose to go to work part or full time. While some of these women really need the positions for their families to survive, that isn't true for all of them.

Since beginning this process, I have had the same plan. I want to just make it through school, then as soon as I get out, I want to work part time. As soon as we have more children, I want to work even less.

My thought behind it was that it will give us a little extra money. When I did stay home with her, I occasionally felt a little cooped up in the house (although that didn't happen that often). But the most important reason I chose to go to OT school was because I felt like I wanted to help people. Although I know and believe that my primary focus should and will be my family, I wanted to reach out to others in a unique way. A way that I believe is truly powerful.

It's amazing though, that everyone at school seems to think that my life is completely balanced. They often are amazed that I cook for my family and that I spend as much time with them as I do. Ha! Maybe they haven't seen the 6 loads of laundry sitting in a pile at the bottom of my closet still waiting to be done ( I wish I was kidding). I'll bet that many women out there share my same or similar secrets.

 So many women have made this balance work for them in a variety of unique ways. Many of these women blog for a living, work 1-2 days a week, work from home or work nights. Then there are some women who work full time positions. I have often heard from some of these women that working gives them an outlet and makes them a more present mother when they are home. I however have determined that the opposite is true for me.

I think balance can be achieved. I want to be a stay at home mom MOST of the time, and work a little. Time will tell if this dream can be achieved.

Linking up Here!

What about you all? Do you work a little, full time, or stay home? I'd love to know what works (and what doesn't work) for you and your family!

Friday, October 5, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday (5)

I did my first guest post ever on marrying young and going to grad school! Head over to Catholic Newlywed to check it out!

It was my daughter's 3rd birthday last week. We had a great time opening presents, making and eating cake and we went to a football game. Which she actually loved, once she got the ear plugs in her ears :)
We looked at our first rental house on Monday. It was such a disappointment. I have heard horror stories about how difficult it is to look for a house to buy, but didn't imagine that renting a house was equally frustrating. I guess we are back to the drawing board. We have just over 2 months to find a new place!

So my OT class has a Facebook group and we often sharing inspiring things we find online with one another. A few days ago, a girl in my class sent us this link: A Love Story In 22 Pictures. It was so awesome I had to share it with all of you!
Photo Credit: Tim Dodd Photography
Have any of you seen the new show Revolution? What do you think? I am obsessed with it! There is some violence, but I am addicted to the story line. It is basically a "what if" kind of show. All the power goes out in the entire world, and there is no way to turn it back on. No internet, no phones, no nothing. Then US government goes under. It is the story of one particular group of people on a search for one of the character's brothers.
We have been cleaning a lot around here, because my in-laws are coming into town!

I can't think of anything else, so happy Friday!

Head back over to Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Butterfly Birthday

Sunday my little one turned 3 and we opted not to do a birthday party. Instead she got butterfly wings and I made a butterfly cake.

And of course we opened presents.

I used yellow boxed cake mix. I feel a little bit like a failure for doing so. Unfortunately there has been little success in our household in finding a good cake recipe from scratch. Oil, butter, shortening have all been tried. It always comes out too dense and bread like.

I did make the frosting. My mother-in-law sent me this recipe which she said was on the back of her cocoa container. So I feel like it is fair game to share it with you!

  • 3 C. powdered sugar
  • 2/3 C. baking cocoa
  • 1 stick butter
  • 5 to 6 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla

It turned out delicious! Then I made some marshmallow fondant. It was easy to work with, but I was not crazy about the taste. It did get the 3 year old stamp of approval though, in case you were wondering.

My goal was really to create a cake that turned out like this, but I think I am fairly happy with my first attempt at fondant.

Today I'm linking up with Creative Blogger's Party Hop and We Are That Family.

Have any of you had great success with a from scratch cake recipe that turns out nice and airy? If so, I'd love for you to share it with me!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Marrying Young: Grad School and Mommy Style

You can check out my first ever guest post for Mandi over at Catholic Newlywed! I am so excited to share it with all of you.  I wrote about my experience marrying young, having a child young and going to grad school. Here is a little excerpt: 

"The first few months were blissful, but challenging. There were small arguments about things like where the dishes should go after a meal. Then there was the fact that he liked olives on his pizza, and I think they are possibly the most disgusting food on the planet. "

If you are visiting my blog for the first time I am so glad your here! I encourage you to check out some of my favorite posts so far:  About Me,  Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, When To Buy Cheap, and When Not To, Sirach and Duties Towards God, and Wedding Rehearsal Ribbon Bouquet

I also love it if you would follow me!

Now I'm sending you back over to some of my favorite posts from Catholic Newlywed: Stay at Home vs. Working Mom, Mapping Your Love Story,  and Advice I Wish My Mom Gave Me Before I Got Married

Thanks for visiting!