Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Together Tuesday: Flower painting

Summer is finally here in CT, and the warm weather beckons us outside. The kids have been loving checking out the different types of flowers we find everywhere - today it was yellow lilies (and why are they not daffodils? When do daffodils grow? Why don't lilies grow in April?), yesterday it was the mushrooms that sprung up with all the rain we have had lately (I know, they're not flowers, but the kids are VERY impressed with them still, especially Holden, who has an affinity for mushrooms, most likely because of his obsession with Super Mario Brothers), before we got all the rain it was the dandelions that were EVERYWHERE ... then there are the bleeding heart flowers at my parents' house, the roses ...

Today's Together Tuesday activity revolves around flowers. Go out and pick some flowers together. Bring along a field guide to help in identifying them. Bring them home - separate them into two piles and press one pile between pieces of wax paper in the middle of a heavy book (or between two smaller books). Use the other pile of flowers to make flower prints. spread a thin layer of paint on a dish and dip the flower into the paint. Remove the flower and print it onto paper. Make single prints and frame them. Use a large sheet of paper and print multiple flowers and use markers or paints or crayons to add details to create a field of flowers mural. Print onto tissue paper and use as wrapping paper for a special gift. Fold cardstock to resemble a card and print a single flower on the front and use the card to send a special message to a friend or family member.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Archy and Milo and Hank - oh my!

A trio of obv AI2s featuring some kooky monsters - Archy, Milo & Hank

Princess Blanket

I have been searching for princesses forEVER! I haven't been able to find any, let alone any that picky me will like. I had to finish a princess OBV blanket and finally found these ladies last week. I love them - they are too cute!


Monday, June 22, 2009

Happy Birthday!!

Not to me (I have 2 more weeks), but to Holden's Landing! I cannot believe it has been 5 years already - where did the time go?? These past 5 years have been such a whirlwind - and I am so grateful for all of it :) Fun, great customers, artisans and friends ... We are celebrating with a big stocking full of amazing collaborations with some of my favorite artisans, today at noon. Here is a sneak peek ...


mom2kbeth's 5th birthday C photosetmom2kbeth's 5th birthday C photoset



Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Strawberries! (Or - Together Tuesday)

Going to the orchard and we're gonna pick berries.
Going to the orchard and we're gonna pick berries.
We really love them and we're gonna pick berries.
Going to the orchard today.

That's what we were singing yesterday on the way to Lyman Orchards. Strawberry picking!! We picked 3 quarts of the biggest, reddest, ripest strawberries ever. Sooooo good!!

So your Together Tuesday activity is to go pick strawberries! You can even sing the song ;) Or make the strawberry cake we are planning on making the next time we are home (tomorrow night?) ...

Homemade Strawberry Cake (From A Dash of Sass)

Adapted from Paula Deen’s Hummingbird Cake

Nonstick vegetable spray
All-purpose flour, for pans
3 cups self-rising flour
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cup pureed strawberries, strained
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest
4 large eggs, beaten
red food coloring**


- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray and flour three 8-by-2-inch round cake pans, tapping out excess flour; set aside.
- Prepare the cake batter; in a large bowl, stir to combine self-rising flour, sugar, oil, pureed strawberries, vanilla, lemon zest, and eggs.
- Divide batter evenly between prepared pans, smoothing with an offset spatula. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until the tops spring back when gently pressed with your fingertips, 26 to 28 minutes.
- Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto wire rack. Re-invert cakes and let them cool completely, top sides up.
- Prepare the cream cheese frosting (recipe below); frost as desired and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Friday, June 12, 2009


(That's howling, just in case you cannot tell)

My latest project was an OBV blanket for a little boy's birthday this summer. Mom provided me with a picture of a wolf face, but it was only about 1/4 of a sheet of paper. We ended up having to enlarge it 800% to get the right size for the blanket. It is the largest and most complex applique design I have ever done. It is in 9 pieces. I absolutely love it, an I hope the little boy does as well!!

Close up of the face ...

Um, no honey, that wasn't the question ...

I get a kick out of reading Kenna's answers to her reading questions. Today she was reading about hamsters.

This was the question: In the wild, hamsters sleep during the day and gather food during the night. Pet hamsters tend to follow the same schedule. If someone is thinking of getting a hamster, why is it important to know this information?

Here is her answer, complete with her own brand of spelling: I do not have a hamster so I do not no abowt them but I do no one thing by lots ov food.

nice answer but that doesn't exactly answer the question ;)

In Memory of Persephone

On Thursday, June 4th, my dear friend Carmela (Clear Hills Honey Company) gave birth to her beautiful daughter Persephone. Persephone was born with no heartbeat and not breathing and could not be revived. Please join K&F today at noon in supporting Carmela and her family through this difficult time. All proceeds from today's special stocking, In Memory of Persephone, will be donated to Carmela and her family. Our thoughts are with you always, Carm and Persephone.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

We call him Scout ....

Well, my mother does. Holden, that is. He is the Chief Finder of Missing and Lost and Cool Items.

Thursday, at the amusement park, he walked away with almost $2 in assorted change that he picked up around the park.

A couple of weeks ago, he found a missing puzzle piece that had been missing since Easter weekend. He found it in 0.4 seconds.

He can spot a grasshopper from half a mile away.

These are his precious finds from our last beach excursion:

Lots of shells ...

Beautiful coral ...

Cool crab claw ...

Egg case of a whelk ... (he found a whelk too but I didn't get a picture of it. And a slew of hermit crabs.)

Beach Babies

Every June, right around the full moon, we go to a nearby beach to see the horseshoe crabs mating. It is pretty amazing; the kids are thrilled by it every year.

Finding some horseshoe crabs ...

Holden finds one ...

Kenna is in love ...

Horseshoe crabs in the mud ...

Obligatory horseshoe crab mating shot ...

Together Tuesday

* Cattail painting
One your next trip to the pond, harvest a couple of cattails to bring home. Use them as large paint brushes to paint on a large paper outside using tempra paints of fingerpaints.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Together Tuesday

It is kind of a dreary day here in CT, and we are supposed to be going to the beach for a few hours with friends :( The forecast is for some rain showers, so hopefully we don't get too rained on! If it is dreary where you are as well, then it is the perfect day to make some cookies! We made the sugar cookies below yesterday, recipe courtesy of one of my favorite food blogs, My Kitchen Cafe. The kids made their sugar cookies plain, then frosted them with a simple confectioners sugar/water frosting and dipped them in lots and lots of sprinkles. They used animal shaped cookie cutters. I have half the dough still in the fridge and plan to make the actual chocolate toffee cookies later in the week for a barbecue on Saturday.

Chocolate Toffee Sugar Cookies
adapted from Our Best Bites

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

For decorating:
6 ounces semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup toffee bits (such as Heath brand)
4 ounces white chocolate

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in eggs and vanilla and mix.

In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt and whisk to combine. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until completely combined.

Shape the dough into 2 flat disks and wrap in saran wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill for 1-2 hours (any longer than that and your dough will be too stiff too handle - if that happens, let it rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes before rolling).

Take out the dough and roll 1/4-inch thick and cut into heart shapes. Place on parchment or silpat lined baking sheets, spacing the cookies about 1 inch apart and bake at 350 for about 10-11 minutes. The cookies should be very lightly browned around the edges so they aren't too soft and they don't fold and break when decorating with the chocolate and toffee. Remove to cool on a wire rack.

While the cookies are cooling, line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat liners. When the cookies are cool, melt the semisweet chocolate. Instead of dipping, I used a rubber spatula to "paint" the chocolate onto one-half of the cookie, coating the top and sides of the cookie. (I found that dipping made the chocolate glob in places and wasted too much by coating the bottom of the cookie.) Once covered in chocolate, place the cookie on the prepared baking sheet. Working with a few cookies at a time, sprinkle the wet chocolate with toffee pieces. Coat all the cookies with chocolate and toffee. Let dry completely (I popped mine in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to let the chocolate harden). When the chocolate is dry, melt the white chocolate and pour into a ziploc bag. Snip a small tip off one corner and lightly drizzle the cookies with white chocolate. Let the white chocolate harden (again, another trip to the refrigerator) and once the white chocolate has set up, the cookies can be removed from the tray (you may have to break of lingering pieces of white chocolate on the edges of the cookie).

Miss McKenna's cookies - she is turning into quite the baker ...

Master Holden's cookies - like I said last week, everything here is all about bugs. His cookies, while animal shaped liked Kenna's, have "Dirt" sprinkles on them ... crushed chocolate cookie sprinkles with little red and green candy ants ;)

While the kids were making those, I was busy making chocolate hazelnut turtle cookies. Yummm ..... The only thing I ate all day yesterday was chocolate cookie dough. I doubled the recipe and it made 3 dozen cookies. Would have probably made 4 dozen, had I not eaten all that batter ;) This recipe is also courtesy of My Kitchen Cafe blog.

Chocolate Turtle Cookies
adapted slightly from Cook's Country

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg, separated, plus 1 egg white
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans, chopped fine (I used hazelnuts because I love chocolate and hazelnut together)
14 soft caramel candies
3 tablespoons heavy cream

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat liners. Combine flour, cocoa, and salt in bowl. With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg yolk, milk, and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture until just combined. Refrigerate dough until firm, at least 1 hour.

Whisk egg white(s) in another bowl until frothy. Place pecans in another bowl. One at a time, roll dough into 1-inch balls, dip in egg whites, then roll in pecans. Place balls 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Using teaspoon measure, make indentation in center of each ball. Bake until set, 10 to12 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking.

Meanwhile, microwave caramels and cream in bowl, stirring occasionally, until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Once cookies are removed from oven, gently press existing indentations with teaspoon measure. Fill each with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon caramel mixture. Cool 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool completely.

* I went another route on the caramels and made seal salt caramel to use in the cookies instead. The saltiness of the caramel is perfect with the dark chocolate flavor of the cookies!