Wednesday, January 17, 2018

"donut" try to eat these

when i'm getting ready to sew up something, i always end up using whatever happens to be on the table to weigh down my pattern pieces.  most of the time the edges of my patterns are held down by things like my phone, jarred candles, the hub's coffee mug from that morning, a pair of scissors.  it's kind of funny, and not uncommon amongst other people who sew on the regular.

but then i saw someone post the cutest set of clay pattern weights shaped like donuts.  she'd bought them from etsy from a lady in the UK for $30 plus shipping, and i thought they were super cute.  when i looked at her business page though, she wasn't taking any new orders and so i set the idea aside.

someone else last week posted that they'd made their own using polymer clay.  i'd seen my friend winnie posting pictures of polymer clay projects she'd done that were incredibly cute, and so i got the bug to head to michaels and grab some clay for myself.  of course.  and i found some washers to bury in the clay to give it some weight at the local hardware store, and so i brought all the goodies home and sat down to get started.


first, i rolled a ball of clay and flattened it to make the first half of the donut.  i placed a washer on top and then topped it with another ball of clay and kneaded and rolled it and poked a hole in the middle until it was in the shape i wanted.


after i had six of them done, i got started on the "toppings."  the frosting was just a little ball of colored clay flattened out and spread on top of the donut.  working with the clay reminded me a lot of decorating cakes with fondant.  rolling out some more clay and cutting it up and snaking it on top of some of the donuts was really fun, and when i was done they looked like this:


they baked in an oven at a low temperature for an hour and then they were good to go.  and while they baked, i was perusing my feed again and found that someone had done oreos using a mold to replicate the design on top of the cookie.  huh.  another trip to michaels yielded this stuff:


you take equal parts of this stuff, knead it together and then place your item in it to get the indentation of the pattern.  following the youtube tutorial i'd found, i had scraped the cream out of an oreo and frozen it for awhile to get it nice and firm.




25 minutes later, i popped the cookie out and had this:


after proudly posting my fun donuts on a facebook sewing group page, i had someone ask me if i could make some for them.  the hustle is neverending, people.  but it gave me an excuse to go back to the store armed with a 60% off coupon and snag this:


because i'm a dork, i labeled them all so i would know what their codes and names were in case i wanted to buy more of a particular color.


this time, the bean got in on the action and decided to make a donut of her own, topped with "fruit loops."



her project was so detailed that it took her the same amount of time to finish hers that it did for me to do all of mine:


and since i had some extra time, i decided to try out that oreo mold.  it's not perfect, but it looks pretty good.


i used some liquid clay to "glue" the filling to the two cookies, which had a washer buried in it and made it look like a double stuf cookie instead.


the lady had asked for pastel colors, so here's what they ended up looking like:


and the bean's fruit loop donut is super cute too.  she's super proud of her handiwork.


hmmm...what shall we make next??

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

namaste, suckas!

for our girl scout meeting last week, we found a local yoga instructor who was available to teach the girls a class on a rather last-minute basis.  i provided her with the requirements for the "staying fit" badge, and she said she'd be able to work with them to hit all of the points.  sweet.  and she even had a venue for us to use - a place with the most fantastic name ever:  feeling groovy wellness & cafe.  it looked just like you'd imagine a place called "feeling groovy" to look:



the girls hung out in the little waiting area/shop until everyone arrived and it was time for class.



the yoga room was super cute, spacious and perfect for an hour or so of calm relaxation and poses.



my co-leader and i mostly left the girls to enjoy the class without us hovering over them while we sat in the cafe and enjoyed some drinks and snacks.  i peeked a couple of times and they seemed to be doing just fine.




as we sat and enjoyed some time to chat and get caught up with each other, the owner of the cafe joined us.  she was really friendly and happy to answer all of our questions about the other services they provide:


and we learned all about some cannabis-based products that they sell.  these have all of the medicinal benefits of cannabis without actually "getting high," which is how i suppose they're able to get away with selling them here.  i don't actually know how all those laws work, but whatever.


and you can order a shot of "CBD" to be added to your drinks, which is apparently a natural painkiller that works really well.  she offered to put a drop on our finger to sample so we could see what it tasted like, and it was very...earthy?  a little nutty?  haha, how appropriate.

at the end of the class the girls rolled up their mats and put away their props and then held hands while in tree pose for our group photo:


the bean and one of the other girls actually enjoyed the class so much that they went back the next morning to take another, this time a family class incorporating yoga and a little art.  i'm kind of excited to see that she really liked it, and she's asked to go back again on a regular basis.  we've got some cheer-related commitments over the next three weeks, but when those are all done i'm definitely planning to take her again as long as they have the class.

so awesome.

Monday, January 15, 2018

still a (instant) pothead

okay, so while i'm avoiding making actual new year's resolutions this year (because it just seems to always set me up for failure, and i don't like being a loser), there are a few things that i'd like to focus on this year.  one of them is doing more cooking at home and trying not to eat out so much during the week.

i haven't posted much about it lately, but the love for my instant pot still runs deep.  that thing still gets used pretty regularly, and my collection of saved recipes grows larger by the day.  and my finger may have slipped and ordered myself a nice upgraded second pot last week.  i cannot wait till it comes...it's the bigger version with a few more options available on it, like a "cake" button and the ability to make yogurt.  when i bought the first pot i hadn't really imagined that homemade yogurt would be something i'd want to do, but as time passes and i'm seeing more and more posts about how delicious and inexpensive it is, well...you know how i always suffer from FOMO.

i did manage to be fairly successful this past week with the cooking at home thing, though.  we busted out with a pan of lasagna that the hub had bought at a local italian restaurant on monday, so i guess that doesn't count since i didn't actually make it.  still, it was cheaper than eating out...that's good, right?

tuesday was a so CA-chilly, super rainy day.  the hub requested chili and cornbread, so i busted out a recipe i'd made once before that everyone seemed to like.  well, almost everyone - the bean doesn't like chili, so i got the chance to try my hand at a baked potato soup for her using some leftover potatoes i'd been trying to figure out how to get rid of.  it didn't photograph very well, but it was really tasty and she loved it.  the chili looked a little better, i suppose:


the next day, i decided to switch things up a little and bought some baby back ribs.  i'd been successful with these in the past, but hadn't made them in months.  i used a simple recipe and was able to smush two full racks of ribs in there to cook at once.  a quick brush of bbq sauce and a few minutes under a broiler to bake the sauce on (during which i also threw some asparagus in to roast), some quickie rice pilaf and dinner was served:


my family loves lemon chicken.  i haven't made it in quite awhile, and the recipe i usually use isn't one for the instant pot.  and i'd noticed that we finally have lemons on our tree in the backyard, so it was a good time to try a new recipe.  i liked that it incorporated some wilted baby spinach, which i knew the bean would balk at but threw it in anyway.  i served it over couscous and it was a big hit:


the bean loves those sous vide egg bites that they serve at starbucks.  i'd found a copycat recipe that i'd been eyeing for awhile and had even bought the silicone molds suggested to use with it, and so i finally bought the ingredients and gave it a whirl this weekend.  the molds are intended for homemade baby food:


but i realized that it was too big to fit in the inner liner, so i pulled out the kitchen scissors and trimmed off one of the rows.  once i confirmed that it was good to go, i started filling it with the bacon bits i'd just cooked up in the instant pot using the saute function.


the egg batter gets blended to make it smooth, and in the vitamin it was done within seconds.


it goes in the instant pot for 8 minutes at high pressure, and then the pressure is released naturally for another 10 minutes.  when i opened the pot and took the mold out, they looked like this:


i'd read lots of people complaining about the egg bites being hard to remove, sticking to the molds, what have you. but as i flipped it over onto a plate, they slid right out and here's what i had:


the bean and i cut into the first one, and it was super soft and fluffy and very much like the original ones at starbucks:


for a quickie dinner, i decided to make the bean some drumsticks using a recipe for honey garlic chicken.  i served it with some plain white rice and she gobbled it all up happily.  it's not very picturesque, but it was quite a hit.


i've got a bunch more recipes saved and honestly, i posted the links for the ones i used here because i want to be able to go back to them again and not do the whole trial-and-error thing.  heh.

oh, and when the new instant pot comes...it's gonna be playtime.  woohoo!

Friday, January 12, 2018

transition to mallrats, stage 1

another one of our annual traditions that i love is getting together with my friends and their kids around new year's.  we've done this every year now for quite some time, and i hope we always find time for it.

this year we decided to take it back to california pizza kitchen, an old favorite - thanks to facebook memories, which pulled up an old photo of one of our first GTGs.  it was at the mall, which we all found to be incredibly busy - and i don't know why we were surprised, since it was at the tail end of christmas break and on a weekend to boot.  we were quoted almost two hours for a table, so the bean and i ran a couple of errands and then met up with the gang in front of the restaurant.

the kids are definitely growing up.  they asked to go as a group to walk through a few stores nearby, and it struck us all how big they've all gotten even in the last year.


when they'd done all they could in the radius we allowed them to explore, they joined us on the bench outside the restaurant and hung out until our table was ready. is that a bunch of surly tweens, or what?


but look at the difference between one of our first playdates, back in 2013:


and now.  they really do like each other, i promise.


when we were finally seated, the kids sat together on one end of the table, allowing us adults the chance to get comfy and caught up.  it's always fun when you add a sangria flight to the mix:


it's not even on the menu anymore, but my go-to at CPK will always be the BLT pizza.


when we were finally ready to leave, we got the kids to take a group picture of their ol' moms.


so much fun!  and we even managed to nail down a date to do a quickie vegas girls' getaway in a few months.  good times.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

more body talk

we spent the last weekday of the bean's christmas break heading out to the california science center with tickets to the body worlds exhibit courtesy of one of the hub's friends.  they were dated and timed, so although the old lady was really interested in seeing the exhibit, work kept her from coming along.  bummer.




i was a little apprehensive about this outing, knowing that the exhibit consists of real human bodies in all shapes and sizes, shown both in sickness and in health.  i get pretty squeamish about stuff like that, but i knew it would be fascinating and educational and so i just sucked it up and went with the flow.  if you're like me in any way, you may not want to look at the pictures i'll be sharing here.  there, you've been warned.


i was extra glad that we'd had a chance to discuss bodies and body parts and stuff like that beforehand, because the bean didn't flinch when we got inside and started checking things out.



along with full bodies, there were lots of display cases containing examples of different body parts.  as i'd figured, it was a good mix of interesting and squicky at the same time.




the bodies were placed in all sorts of different poses, and the ones with eyeballs were a little freaky.




when we reached the end of the room we received these tickets from a museum staffer so that we could go upstairs to continue our tour.



upstairs there was more of the same, just moving through the rest of the body that hadn't already been covered in the first room.




throughout the exhibit there were lots of placards like this that gave some basic facts about different diseases and disorders and issues.



this part led the bean to pull her daddy aside and ask him to cut down on the cigars (and to his credit, he has done exactly that, by a pretty big margin).



there was a pretty interesting photo exhibit of typical families in various countries around the world showing them with a month's worth (or it could have been a week, i really don't remember) of their groceries.  it was really interesting to see the differences.



this is the digestive tract.  when stretched out, it can reach up to 30 feet in length.  crazy, huh?


i was pretty confused by the 007 poster until the hub pointed out that the bodies sitting around the poker table were featured in a scene from one of the movies.



more bodies in different poses.



we reached the last section of the exhibit that was walled off from the general viewing area, and when we stepped inside the staffer explained why - the reproductive system was explained there, along with bodies shown having sex.  while this was after "the" talk i'd had with the bean, none of us were ready for it to be shown in graphic detail like that.  this elicited a snicker from all of us, though:


the last part was an interactive poster where guests were invited to share something that they wanted to accomplish before they die.  the bean went over and added "become a disney animator" while i stood back and smirked at a few of the other entries.  i think my favorite was a drawing of a potato.  so random.



 although we've seen it before, we headed over to see the space shuttle.  because we could.




hello kitty is errrrrywhere.


we went outside and looked at something we hadn't seen the last time - the gigantic fuel tank.



the bean wanted to check out a few of the other rooms, and we got to see the divers who went in to feed the fish.


we hightailed it outta there not too long afterwards, knowing we'd be dealing with a good amount of traffic on the way home on a friday afternoon.  on our way out we caught sight of the coliseum, where they were setting up for the rams football playoff game the next day.


and if i hadn't already known it before, now i'm completely certain that i'd never survive in any sort of medical-related career.  heh.
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