This past weekend was probably one of the most fun Easters I've celebrated in a long time. Why? Because that's what it felt like. A celebration! It started on Saturday. We decided to make it to church that day. And boy howdy, what an amazing experience it was! *Let me just clarify that I don't think I've ever actually said the phrase "boy howdy" out loud...sometimes my head words are different than my mouth words.* The husband and I left feeling so filled and moved and excited to be celebrating the most important event in the history of the planet!
So, then it was time for the Sunday festivities. Now, for a long time I haven't been one for using the Easter Bunny in our celebrations. I don't judge others that do, it's just something that we as a family have decided isn't important for us to include. We do love to have fun, though, and so we still hunt for eggs. In years past we've made 11 sheep eggs and one shepherd egg. The shepherd egg is in charge of finding all his lost sheep. This year, however, I had grand plans of coloring the eggs because that's fun, too. But sometimes? Plans fail. And so we just had boiled eggs for the kids to hunt and find. And then consume. It was simple, laid back and the kids still loved it.
And then? Instead of cooking up the traditional ham and fixin's, we headed out with some of our good friends to one of my favorite places in the Chicagoland area. Mistuwa! *cue heavenly music here*
Mmmm...Beef Curry Udon Noodles. YES! PLEASE!
Mama D had the Korean dinner. The presentation lacked nothing. Beautiful!
The husband and the boy had some after dinner drinks with the huge tapioca balls called Boba. They're like little gelatinous balls of fun for your mouth! Feel like so!
Viddy Cent and Mama D. Love that family! Viddy Cent had Matcha ice cream and Mama D had lychee and red bean. Yum!
The girl with her mango ice cream. It tasted exactly like a frozen mango on a cone. With a little frozen milk and sugar thrown in. So good.
Me? I had to have the red bean ice cream. You see, I'ma splain something to you, my dear friends. I love beans. In any shape or form...except maybe for butter beans. Those things scare me. But other than that I don't think I've met a bean that I immediately didn't drop on bended knee and propose to. I. Love. Beans. So yeah. I kinda enjoyed my ice cream.
It was so great to take our time and sit and chat and break bread and enjoy LIFE with one another. That's what Easter's all about, after all, isn't it? Jesus told us He came that we may have life and have it abundantly! *John 10:10* I love that! And that's what we try to celebrate every day as a family.
So after dinner we took some time to wander around the supermarket and pick up some goodies.
Those right there? Those are red bean cakes, or as I like to call them "Mine". They don't last very long in our house. As of the typing of this post, there are only two left. *ahem*
Another must do while at Mitsuwa, is the visiting of the Pastry House Hippo. That's where you'll find all kinds of super fresh and delicious pastries filled with custards, chocolate and yes, bean paste. Guess which ones I get? Okay, I usually get one filled with chocolate,too. My love for chocolate is equal to, if not even a bit greater than *shhhh...don't tell the beans* my love for beans. But, seriously? I ALWAYS forget to take a picture of the happy hippo treats, and they NEVER make it home. Generally, they are eaten in the car on the way back or immediately consumed upon arrival. Which is too bad, because some of them are really cute. So, you'll just have to make a trip yourself and taste the yumminess for yourself. You will not be sorry you did!
And that was our super laid back, super filling and super fun Easter as a family. What did you do?
Over the past several years, I have changed how my family and I eat dramatically. We eat as clean as possible, buy pretty much only organic produce and have now switched over to eating only grass fed beef and "fresh air" pork from local farmers via Wallace Farms. If they deliver in your area, I would HIGHLY recommend adding yourself to their email list. But when you have a sweet tooth as big as Australia, sometimes? You just want a brownie.
A couple of months ago I stumbled upon this recipe while in a desperate fit of chocolate deprival. It rocked my world view. So I thought I'd share it with you, my friends. You're welcome.
Brownies So Good They'll Melt Your Face Clean Off (that's the working title)
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C) and grease a 9x9 pan. (I use organic virgin coconut oil to grease it because a) it's good for you b) it smells YUM c) I can and d) it smells YUM! Also? As a bonus, you can just rub the rest into your hands as a moisturizer! )
2. In a medium bowl mix together the melted butter, sugar and vanilla. Beat in the eggs. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in another bowl. Gradually stir the flour mixture in the egg mixture. At this point you can add nuts if you so desire. I have never liked nuts in my brownies. I like my brownies to be nothing but pure unadulterated pieces of gooey chocolaty heaven. But I won't judge you if you like to add walnuts. I'll still love you. I just won't eat your brownies.
3. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until brownie begins to pull away from the edges of the pan. Let cool on a wire rack before cutting into squares.
I love love LOVE this recipe! It comes together so quickly, which is always good when you have those gotta-have-chocolate-in-my-mouth-NOW moments. And I don't feel so bad about having it as a treat every day of the week now and then because I know everything that's in it.
So give it a try! And then invite me over to share in your efforts!
So I have been loving all the embroidery hoop art frolicking around the webosphere lately. It made me want to try my hand at it. Odd Dotty style.
I wanted to make a 3-D effect, like a dolly that's coming out of the fabric, so I stuffed the head. Also, this is my first attempt at scripting in embroidery. It's a simple backstitch.
And then I wanted to make something to herald the arrival of spring.
I searched for quotes about spring, and this one by Emma Racine DeFleur stuck out to me. Also, I discovered stem stitch for the lettering. I lurrrv it!
I'm also very pleased with how the happy springtime love couple came out!
It makes me happy to look at, and with the typical Chicago-land "spring" we're having I need all the happy I can get!
And talking of happy, I discovered that the sound of the needle pushing through the taut fabric with the muted hiss of the thread that follows makes my soul sing a little. There's something quite therapeutic about it. I hope to have much more embroidery experiences in my future!
Bananagrams! Do doo da-do. BANANAGRAMS! Do dooo da-do-do da-do-do da-do-do-da-do-do-do-da-do.
Am I the only one that has this run through their head whenever they say, think or see the word Bananagrams?
It fits so perfectly into the song! Try it! It's too fun! Almost as fun as actually playing the game itself! Have you played it, yet? Have you even heard of Bananagrams? If not, check it out. Our whole family loves playing it!
So much so, that we thought it would be a grand idea to host a "First Annual"...you know, coz every time you do something for the first time it's the 'first annual', right?...Bananagrams Tournament. Which we did. We even had a trophy for the Tourney Champ!
I thought it would be nice to have some themed decor for the event. I do loves me a good theme party. We invited a few friends that shared our love for the game and welcomed them with a front door wreath;
See? The 'Welcome' banner is made to resemble the tiles of the game. The colors of the event? Yellow, green and brown naturally.
Once inside they were welcomed again with a little vignette showcasing the coveted trophy of the evening!
Okay, so the husband actually designed the graphics, coz he's pretty much full of the awesome. I knew what I wanted, but he knew how to make it happen. S'why I married him, yo.
Also? What's a party/tourney without some banners for decoration? Well, it's certainly not a party/tourney I'd want to be a part of! So, I made banners for the game words 'split', 'peel', 'dump' and 'bananas'. I really did make these...after the hubs taught me how.
Three guesses for where we hung the 'Dump' sign. HINT: We are nothing, if not classy!
For food we had lots of banana-fied treats. Those pictures came out too blurry, though. Sorry! But they were yummy! There was a banana split station, banana bread, banana cake and cookies made to look like Bananagrams tiles. For the non-sweet tooths, a friend was kind enough to bring her 'Bananaless Puke Dip'. I made signs for each station and put them in tiny frames I found at JoAnn for $1 each.
So, after everyone arrived and mingled a bit. Names were drawn and the games were afoot!
Those are my hurrrrsband's hands. I lurrrv them. I have a thing about hands. And I'm pretty sure he has the sexiest hands ever invented. The End.
All games were recorded on our dry erase board.
And, lo! But who should the reigning champ be?
That's right! Mine own flesh and blood! That's m'girl!! I'm so proud. She totally rocked that tourney like an old school jam! Also, she has started her own blog. Check it out!
It really was a good time. We hope to have a re-match sometime later this year. If you love to play Bananagrams, I would suggest having yourself a tournament. If anything, it gives you a chance to wear your cute yellow shoes!
And these three, in particular, are keeping my inspiration tank on full.
Inspired by this.
A lone earring that lost its mate several moves ago, yet I just couldn't let it go for some reason. Well, now I know why.
Color palette swatches for a very special project. Included is a red sequins bracelet from a set of bracelets that have long since lost their elasticity, and again for some reason I couldn't let go of them.
I love it when everything comes together to make complete sense.
Just a quick little pop in to say that I'm still here, and I still love you! For the past two weeks, I've been unable to access my sewing machine as we worked on turning our guest room into my own personal Sewing Dream Room Of Love And Inspiration And All Things That Inspire Me And Make Me Want To Be Creative And Fill My World With Art And Love. Or SDROLAIAATTIMAMMWTBCAFMWWAAL, for short. This was the sad state of things before.
Pretty boring and meh. But full of potential. Here it is in the during phase.
Isn't it much better already?! The colors make me happy as does the wall treatment! Am I the only one that kinda chooses paint colors based on their names? Lime Sorbet and Marshmallow White? Yes please!
The full after will come sometime in the new year, after our tax return. But it's done enough for me to move my stuff in and get me some sewing done before Christmas! Woot!
So the first thing I made in the new room? A Monkey!
Please ignore the little black things in the corners. Our stinkin' camera is falling apart, and the lens cap thingy won't fully recede when it's on. And it decided to stop taking good pictures. But I'm workin' with what I got here. The pattern for this adorable Monkey is from Crafting Legend Larissa of mmmcrafts.
I love this pattern! It's the perfect go-to gift for a baby shower, or birthday, or Christmas, or Tuesday!
I made this one for a co-worker of the husband's new baby. He chose the fabric and I love the vintage feel that it has.
Okay, that's it for my quick pop in! Thanks for stoppin' by, I may be on the down low for the rest of the week as I try to catch up on all the sewing I missed over the past two weeks and get all the handmade gifts I had planned to make made.
This past Saturday, my baby turned seven. Seven! I still can't believe it. And usually we like to throw a good theme party that's been planned out weeks in advance. This year, things got a little too crazy busy and themes were changing left and right, and then suddenly the big day was only a week away and nary a guest had been invited, or a streamer purchased! Bad parents!
The boy quickly decided on a Super Hero theme, and invitations were sent out via facebook. *sigh* I didn't even make cool invites this year. Still trying to let this all go. Thankfully everyone was able to make it on such short notice! And then life kept happening. And then it was Friday and STILL a streamer wasn't even purchased! So off to the stores to gather some supplies we went.
And POW! Some card-stock, a little (lot) cutting and a marker! We have instant decor!
Some more card-stock, cutting, marker and brown paper lunch bags and WHAM! We've got favor bags!
Even more card-stock, cutting, marker and skewers and SHAZAM! Instant cake topper! Is shazam a super hero word? Probably not, but you get the point.
I have a little confession. I've been wanting to make a cake banner like this ever since spying this one made by the ever talented Susie Harris. So even if we had planned this party for weeks, I may have made the cake exactly the same way. It was just a bonus that it came together super fast!
We topped everything off with streamers, but I forgot to get a picture of those. We used red, yellow and blue as I'm sure you could have guessed. The boy had a great time hanging and playing with his friends and debating which superhero would win in a fight. And even though he was feeling a little nervous about turning the big SE-VEN...he wasn't sure he was ready to let go of six, even after much assuring that he rocked six pretty hard...by the time the party was over, he was feeling pretty confident that Seven was, in fact, SUPER!
PS Our Advent Activity calendar is being re-evaluated. Hence, the lack of Advent updates. Sorry for the tease. But we are feeling a bit harried and are wanting to change things around a bit to really focus on what Advent means. And why we, as a family, celebrate Christmas.