My life in Portland as a homemaker. I am a grateful and blessed to be the mother of two sons with another baby due in July. I love old houses, old stuff, reviving Catholic feast days, tea, and Mah Jongg.
I've been trying to use up all the leftover dill I had from Epiphany. I tried out this recipe for a dill sauce with salmon fillet. I've never really thought that salmon needed much tarting up; why would I add lemon pepper to it? But this whole recipe was yummy!
This year I used this recipe for the Rosca de Reyes. I wanted one that does not call for powdered milk, because I never have that. In addition to the candies cherries, I used some left over Christmas colored frosting that we used for decorating the St. Nicholas Day cookies and a cookie decorating playdate with some of Jr.'s classmates.
Last night we had our Back to School Dinner Party. This year I finally had a chance to make alphabet soup. I originally got the idea here. I used the chicken noodle soup from the BH&G cookbook as a guide. I substituted fresh carrots, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes for frozen and canned. I also added WAY too much pasta. I have never used alphabet pasta before so I wasn't sure how much they would puff up. They puff up! I should have only used half a bag. As a result I added another 32oz box of chicken stock. Even with that little snafu, it was very tasty and I would certainly make it again.
I also finally had a chance to make the twinkie school buses for dessert. It took a while to get the right proportions of powdered sugar and cream to make the icing thick enough to not run, but after that they were very simple to assemble. I also put the stop sign on the wrong side of the bus I think. This was the first twinkie either of the boys had ever had. It took me right back to memories of Hot Dog lunch after a Jog-A-Thon!
I used my kindergarten lunch box to decorate the table along with some antique Hull's Complete Arithmetic text books c. 1895. I wasn't expecting the apples to be more than decorative, but each of the boys decided they needed to have an apple with dinner too.
To get the boys in the mood for school I read aloud from Little Wolf Goes to School by Mary Packard, The Bear Who Shared by Catherine Rayner, and The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt which is a family favorite.
Today is Jr.'s first day of 1st grade and next week Deuce starts Preschool three mornings a week. I can't believe how much my sons are growing up! I'm excited to see how proficient at reading Jr becomes this year as well as all the other things he learns. And I hope that Deuce has lots of Big Boy fun. he will continue to meet with his speech pathologist, but now it will be in a school setting.
We are big fans of They Might Be Giants in this household. Our love began with Here Come the ABCs and grew with the123s and the Science. The Seven song was such a big hit in our house that Jr. decided a couple of years ago that he wanted it to be the theme of his 7th birthday party. #7 shaped puppets? It sounded perfect to me and I was happy to make it happen (as well as a little surprised that he never changed his mind to Star Wars or Angry Birds as a party theme instead.)
Obviously this isn't a theme that has lots of ready made party supplies already out there so I had to get crafty. I used the AR Delaney font to get the perfect round 80s look bubble 7. Then I blew it up several times on the copier to get the sizes I would need for the invitations, puppets, and goody bags. I bought a ream of neon colored card stock and went to town cutting out 7s. I used blank, blue note cards from Target for the invitations. I used medium size 7s with small googly eyes. All invitation wording was printed on copy paper and pasted to the other side of the card.
I used the largest 7s for the puppets. My original plan was to have the children make the entire puppets during the party, but it has worked so well having the rocket ships pre-assembled for Deuce's party that I decided to glue on the large googly eyes on in advance. I thought a herd of 7s would look supper cute so I taped two pieces of of styrofoam to a piece of cardboard and wrapped them with paper to make a display board. (How convenient that we had a bag of styrofoam in the basement waiting to be recycled!) Here they are at the craft table. We also had the portable DVD player set up so the children could watch the music video for inspiration.
The smallest size 7 was used on the goody bags. I was tired of buying googly eyes at this point so I dumped out the hole punch and glued on white paper eyes and used a sharpie for the pupils. Simple. I debated whether or not to have the 7s 'talk' on the bag; in the end I decided they should talk, and they said, 'Thank you for filling up my house."
In the song the 7s repeatedly shout, "We want cake! Where's our cake?" and they devour a cake in the video. Naturally I had to decorate this birthday cake just like the music video. I had bought a box of red and blue velvet cake mix around 4th of July and used cream cheese frosting. I added a blue food coloring to it to make the piping around the top and bottom. I used a store bought gel icing for the swags and it ran . Boo! Otherwise I think it turned out cute.
#7 puppet photobomb
Shock and awe that the candle wouldn't stay lit.
In keeping with the 7 theme we had 7 layer dip and a 7 fruit salad.
And then we served 7-up in little cans to the children and 7&7 to the adults. Because what children's party would be complete without a bar? Good thing I have some vintage bottle crates for all my glass bottle display needs.
I couldn't think of any 7 theme activities so we rented a bounce house in which the boys could jump. The rental was for 4 hours, after the party was over we made our boys jump in it until it was time to bring it down. We wanted to get all our money's worth out of it! It was so much fun to jump in! It was huge though, I don't know whether we'll have space for one in the future if we do all the landscaping we have planned for the yard.
Little Miss decorating her 7 puppet.
The important thing is that the birthday boy had a great time and enjoyed playing with his friends!
I'm starting to think ahead to planning Little Miss's first birthday party. I did a baseball theme for both of the boys. I like the theme so much I did it for Our Little Helper's 2nd birthday too, but that was before I started the blog. I decided to add them now. (Baby Boy's birthday is here.)
For his first birthday I just made white cupcakes decorated like baseballs, super easy. The second time around I decided to challenge myself by making another cake decorated like a catcher's mitt. It was chocolate cake with a chocolate frosting. I think I used a frosting recipe from the Tasha Tudor cookbook. I did a few sketches on paper to come up with the pattern for the 'stitching.' I used a tube of black store bought icing.
And I used my Baseball plated from Fishes Eddy.
I reused the birthday banner and left over baseball party hats, plates, napkins, and filled in with plain ones.
I also bought a bunch of pinwheels in red and blue. I used these to line the walkway as well as used some for party favors. They looked so cute spinning in the breeze.
A bucket of colored sunflowers by the front door.
We did this as a very low key barbeque, and from the looks of this table I suspect that some of our family must have brought side dishes to share. I don't think I was expecting that, but who are we to turn away food?
A short post for Shrove Tuesday, I made crepes for dinner, both savory and sweet. I used both versions of this recipe. It takes me a few crepes before I get the pan temperature and my flipping technique just right. The savory crepes were brie, procuitto, and arugula. For the sweet crepes I did both nutella with banana, and lemon curd sprinkled with powdered sugar. I forgot to add the powdered sugar dusting for the first round of dessert crepes. I was in a hurry trying to get everything served up before Mr. W and I went off to the tiki bar to meet my friends for drinks. I'm only giving up alcohol this year since I'm nursing. I'll add in going to stations of the cross once a week and praying the rosary daily.
This our first St. Lucy Day with Little Miss. In the future I hope to dress her up in the white nightgown, red sash, and illuminated crown. But for now I have my Star Boys to help me serve breakfast in bed. This year the celebration fell on the same day we are hosting a third birthday party. I took a few short cuts, like no pretty greenery or linens to decorate our breakfast tray. Our tray is beginning to get crammed with coffee, tea, and hot chocolates. If only I could find the box that has all our other serving trays!
I found this little St. Lucia doll in a catalog and just had to have it. I think she complements our breakfast tray nicely.
Another short cut this year was not making luscatore from scratch. I had purchased these caramel rolls as part of a fundraiser for my mom's school district and decided they would be an easy baked good to prepare. Hopefully I'll have more time to make luscatore next year.
The breakfast tray in bed with 3 children is always a bit precarious. We definitely end up with crumbs afterwards.
I read aloud from A Surprise for Kirsten about celebrating St. Lucia Day in Sweden. This year the children actually paid some attention to the story.
Baby Boy strips down to his birthday suit at nearly every opportunity and this was no different. He especially enjoyed the hot chocolate.