halloween

The wait is over! For Halloween this year we went as Newsies. If you haven’t seen this early 90s Disney musical classic starring a young Christian Bale, you haven’t truly lived! That may be a bit dramatic, but it did come out when I was 7, so it is rooted in the memory of some of my most dramatic times in life. (I totally had a crush on Brooklyn and swooned every time I saw him on screen.)

I know I said we were going to do something out of Harry Potter, but we had everything we needed for Newsies, so I adjusted my plan. On that note, we were going to dress Toby up as a mandrake root and be Hogwarts students taking care of him (wearing our earmuffs, of course). He is such a fantastic screamer that we thought baby mandrake root (and its ability to knock you out with its screams) was hilariously perfect.

Another thought: a teapot. This kid gets all worked up and then shouts. In fact, people have confused our teapot for Toby. Ha!

Great ideas, too few parties to see them all into fruition, but we loved our Newsie costumes. I am already gathering ideas for next year. (I love dressing up!) What fun, homemade Halloween costume ideas do you have for little kiddos or the whole family?

Here’s a picture of Toby with his BFF Henry and Miss Rachael and myself. Henry went as the E*trade baby and Rachael and her husband went as his geeky parents. Cute!

 

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pumpkins!

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So we took our little pumpkin to the pumpkin patch this weekend. All in all, not our best family outing due to how ridiculously overcrowded it was; however, we still enjoyed the sunshine, views of the Rockies, and company of each other. Toby was more interested in the hoards of people than the pumpkins, but I can’t say I blame him. There were some interesting people…

I’m going to go out on a limb and say Toby’s favorite part was sitting in the dirt, trying to eat dead leaves. If I had any doubts as to what the next 10 years are going to look like with our little man, he affirmed that it will be an adventure trying to encourage good things and discourage not so good things – like eating dirt, leaves, bugs, etc.

I mean, he’s already quite mobile and on his way to walking (at 7 months!), what was I really expecting?! Toby is going to give me a run for my money and I will enjoy (nearly) every second of it! :)

My favorite thing about this whole day… Toby’s hair basically matches his sweater or the pumpkins depending on the light! How cute is that!? Now on to his Halloween costume. I’m having trouble deciding which one to go with. We’ve thought of a few really good ones. Just when I’ve made up my mind, I change it again. You’ll have to stay tuned to find out what I eventually stick with – I will give a hint though, both can be found in Harry Potter, though one is a bit more fantastical than the other.

 

 

 

 

 

Soap Making

A friend of mine from Phoenix has recently adventured into making a number of household staples from scratch in an effort to reduce household costs. You can read about her adventures here. One of the things she has been raving about is homemade soap. I have been begging and begging for her recipe and she finally blogged it (here). I can’t tell you how excited I was to have it within reach… until I realized her process may not be the best for me to start with when I have baby around (it requires mixing chemicals and potential for burns, etc.). Not to be deterred from my soap making desires, I found some melt and pour recipes to get my feet wet and my appetite satisfied! After reading a number of different blogs, I made up my own recipes and I love the way they turned out!

Here’s what I used (all purchased from my local Hobby Lobby):

Soap Molds
Glycerin soap base (clear)
Goat’s milk soap base
Shea Butter soap base
Essential oils: vanilla, almond, lemon, & lilac
Soap dyes
Lavender and dried orange zest
(I already had on hand 1 cup of ground almonds and 1 T dried lemon zest)

You will need a microwave safe pyrex bowl, plastic spatula, measuring spoons, ladle, and about 10 minutes of time.

So worth it right!!

I made 4 different types of soap (two of the bars are divided into two types of soap).

Vanilla Almond Shea Butter Soap (2 bars):
6 oz glycerin base
2 oz shea butter base
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/2 T almond essential oil
1/2 t vanilla essential oil

Orange Vanilla Shea Butter (2 bars):
4 oz glycerin base
4 oz shea butter base
1/2 t vanilla essential oil
1 t orange rind
1/2 t orange dye
*would be great with 1 t of orange essential oil if you have it on hand!

Lemon Goat’s Milk (2 bars):
2 oz glycerin
6 oz goat’s milk base
1 T lemon rind
1/2 t lemon essential oil
1/8 t orange dye

Lilac with dried Lavender (2 bars):
8 oz glycerin
1 T dried lavender
1/2 t lilac essential oil (or lavender e.o. – I just don’t like lavender)
1 T purple dye

In all cases, melt soap base in pyrex bowl in microwave for 40 sec. Stir. Continue to microwave in 20 sec intervals until melted. Add essential oils and dyes. Stir. Add exfoliants. Spoon into soap molds with ladle. Allow to set for at least 2 hours. To layer soaps, do first layer, then put mold into freezer for 10 minutes before pouring next layer on top. Enjoy!!

 

 

Spaghetti Carbonara with Bacon, Zucchini, and Peas

 

The other night we had one of those “clean out the fridge” meals. You know, the ones where you need to get rid of produce before it goes bad so you think of something that will use up all your random bits of produce and hope it tastes good. Maybe you call it “everything but the kitchen sink,” but either way, you get the point.

We had at least 3 large zucchini, half an onion, a couple of decrepit tomatoes and a handful of frozen peas in our fridge as well as 4 pieces of week old bacon just waiting to go bad. So we threw it all together in a pasta and made a simple carbonara sauce to tie it all together. So easy! Seriously, I think the whole meal took 20 minutes.

RECIPE:

1 onion, diced
3 zucchini, halved and diced
2 tomatoes, diced
3 gloves garlic, minced
1 cup frozen peas
4 slices bacon (or let’s face it, as much bacon as you want!)
1/2 cup shredded parmesan (+ more for garnish)
2 eggs
1 lb pasta of your choice (we used spaghetti)
salt and pepper to taste
handful of freshly chopped basil for garnish

Cook bacon until crisp in large saute pan over medium high heat. Set bacon aside but retain pan. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan boil water and prepare pasta as instructed. Add onions and zucchini to bacon drippings in the saute pan and cook until onions are clear. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Lower heat to medium and add tomato. Season with salt and pepper. Check on pasta. About 1-2 minutes before pasta is done, add frozen peas. Retain 1 cup of pasta water in measuring cup and drain the rest of the pasta and peas and return to the pan.

For Sauce:

Gently beat 2 eggs together with parmesan until well blended. Slowly beat in 1/4 cup of reserved pasta water to mixture (stir quickly to avoid cooking the egg). Pour mixture over spaghetti and peas and toss with tongs for 2 minutes, add reserved water as needed for consistency. Add sauteed vegetables and crumbled bacon and toss. Check seasonings. Serve up pasta with grated parmesan and fresh basil!

 

 

Caramel Pecan Sticky Buns

I’ve been a wee bit obsessed with bread making the past month. One of the breakaway hits of this time has been caramel pecan sticky buns. You just have to look at them to understand why (though ignore the lime green glare, it’s what happens when you take pictures next to baby’s lime green bebe pod).

This recipe requires either challah or brioche dough from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. (I swear, I will end up convincing you to buy this book.) The main difference between the doughs are the amount of honey, eggs, and butter. Though both are excellent, I lean towards the brioche (by far the more caloric) due to the way the dough flakes and puffs.

Once again, I feel as though this recipe is not mine to share. Pick up the book to get it! You won’t regret it. Well, maybe your waistline will. Ha! (Got to love breastfeeding…)