Thursday, March 19, 2009

Lately overheard...

Hadleigh: "Mom, I want to drink hot chocolate and hot tea when its SO "brrrr rabbit" outside." (Hilary will appreciate that one!)

Nathanael: "I'm sure I could do that with a crane."
(This week, the electric company has been around our house and backyard burying cables, installing electric related stuff, etc. for the next phase development of our neighborhood. I hope they will remember to remove the 537 little white, orange, and red flags that they stuck all over our yard.)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


If you've ever had the Cheesecake Factory Avocado Eggrolls, I'm sure you'll agree...these are SO yummy.

Which is why I was quite excited to find this website today: The Secret Recipe Blog. They feature lots of recreated recipes for favorite selections from restaurants and brands that we know and P.F. Changs, Macaroni Grill, Baskin-Robbins, Panera Bread, etc. This is where I found the recipe for this new favorite of mine!

I haven't made these yet...(I'm trying to abide by the Weight Watchers point system...and I have a feeling that these would take up MOST of my points!) But once I've reached my goal, you can be sure I'll try this out!

"Copycat" Avocado Eggrolls
**For a low fat version, drizzle them with a little bit of olive oil and bake them in a 400 degree oven.

2-4 servings

Egg Rolls
1 large avocado, peeled, pitted, & diced
2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped red onions
1/2 teaspoon fresh cilantro, chopped
1 dash salt
4 egg roll wraps (can also use won ton wraps)
1 egg, beaten
Oil for deep-frying

Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
4 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon tamarind pulp
1/2 cup honey (I use slightly less)
1 pinch turmeric
1/2 cup chopped cashews
2/3 cup fresh cilantro
2 garlic cloves
2 green onions
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin

Dipping Sauce
1. Combine vinegars, honey, tamarind, and saffron in a microwave safe bowl. Stir until tamarind is dissolved completely.
2. Microwave for 1 minute.
3. Using a blender, Puree tamarind mixture, cashews, cilantro, garlic, onions, sugar, pepper, and cumin.
4. Pour mixture into a bowl and stir in oil.5. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Egg Rolls
1. Stir together avocado, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, and salt.
2. Distribute filling evenly on the center of each egg roll wrapper.
3. Fold one corner up, 1/4 of the way over the filling.
4. Brush the remaining corners and edges with beaten egg, roll up the left and right side, then fold top corner over all and press to seal.
5. Repeat with the remaining wrappers.
6. Deep-fry the egg rolls in 375 degree oil for 3-4 minutes, or until browned.
7. Drain on paper towels.
8. Slice egg rolls diagonally in half and serve with the prepared dipping sauce.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Creative Days

This morning we awoke (late...everyone slept in until 8:15!!!) to a wonderfully gray day...and I was thrilled with a short thunderstorm right before lunchtime.

Nathanael informed me that "I like rain, not storms." Usually, I agree if a storm looks tornado-ish outside, but Brent assured me this morning it wouldn't be bad...although currently there is a tornado watch for a few neighboring counties...but not ours yet.

But rainy, cloudy days make me feel creative! Before Christmas, I had two fun projects on my list that stayed there for quite a while: a storage solution to house my ever-growing collection of acrylic stamps and a lesson plan book. I thought I'd share those with you today!

I really love acrylic stamps (being able to see your stamp placement makes stamping so much easier for me!) and due to Studio Calico, my collection gets larger every month! For a long time, I just had my collection in a basket, but in the past few months, I discovered Tina and Nicole's approach to storing their stamps--an acrylic album. (Can't find the link for Nicole's...but it's there somewhere!)

To make the album, I used a pair of Zutter's Bind It All 8"x 8" clear acrylic covers, several packages of Grafix Clear Craft Plastic (8"x 8"), 2 inch binder rings, and some blue cardstock.

I stamped "stamps" on the acrylic cover and then stamped a damask pattern onto the front and back pieces of blue cardstock. Very simple and classic.

Inside, I alternated the craft plastic pages with blue cardstock and then mounted the stamps to the underside of each plastic page, which enables you to see the actual image. The paper in between helps to see the clear stamps, as well as preventing the stamps to stick to the next plastic page.
The 8x8 inch sheets allow plenty of room for stamps, including entire alphabet sets.

I took a hint from Nicole and made a pocket in the back to collect all the black "images" that come with the stamps--this way, I can position each image on the page to make sure it looks right before committing to the stamp. (I got all my materials at Hobby Lobby and recently bought another package of plastic sheets...just to be prepared!)

Ever since I started thinking and planning for beginning to homeschool, I've thought about a lesson plan book. I looked at so many options but couldn't find anything that fit my needs. So I decided to make my own...a little bit of an upfront investment, but I can use this for many years to come, saving the yearly expense of buying a new book each year.

I was really excited to use my D. Reeves Design House acrylic album. (Diane is a good friend of mine from college and I bought the large style file specifically for this project.) To decorate it, I cut two sheets of patterned paper to fit the file folder style of the album. I picked papers that I love and don't think I'll tire of quickly! Then I attached some embellishments and chipboard letter stickers to the cover and voila:

Probably my favorite feature is the little reminder card on the bottom of the back cover:

Inside, I printed pages on white cardstock (because I'm picky about my pens and I don't like for ink to show through on the reverse drove me crazy with my lesson plans back when I taught high school!)
It's kinda hard to read, but there are the five days of the week across the top and the sixth square says "For next week". (Last semester, I realized that I desperately needed a place to jot down things that needed to be done or bought ahead of time.) For this year, our categories are Math, Phonics, Bible, and Other Activities.
I like having the freedom to change it up...depending on how many subjects we have in future years, as well as how many children are being homeschooled...I'm sure this book will see many adjustments in the coming years!

Friday, March 06, 2009


...cuts her own layers...the layer you see above is several months old (it began bang-length) and the next layer thankfully pulls back into her ponytail. But it hits about bob-length. The scissors have returned to an out-of-reach spot. really enjoying her little sister. She loves to push her around while all tucked in. And she's having fun dressing up her little sis...Madeleine is a good sport...and loves the attention from "Ha-lee".
...every time she comes out of her room during her afternoon quiet time, she asks me to close her door. This is what I see EVERY time:

followed by a "door kiss" and then a huge smile, on both our faces!
She brings such is so fun to watch her personality continue to develop..she is taking in and learning so much. Five is a fun age to be!

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