Category Archives: Handmade Projects

Vitamix Recipes

I was talking to my friend Yancey tonight and she was telling me how she was planning on gifting herself, this next birthday, with a new Vitamix. (Thanks for dinner, btw! I’ll post a picture of Quinby in the skirt you knit her asap!) This reminded me that another friend of mine, Heather, got a Vitmix awhile back and I had wanted to post some of my favorite recipes for the Vitamix and a few I’ve still yet to try.

Yummy (and healthy) fruit sorbets. There are a bunch of good recipes here. May have to use some of the raspberries we picked today for one of these tomorrow.

This iced lemonade recipe from cheekykitchen looks lovely. I can’t wait to try it, perhaps with my usual shot of Jack Daniels. ūüôā

Motivated Monday

You may have noticed I’ve been offline for a minute. Here are my goals for the week and if all goes as planned, you’ll hear about how I do toward the weekend. Wish me luck and let me know what you’re working on.

1. Draw and cut out pattern pieces for the Sencha blouse.

2. Have one “sit down and draw” session.

3. Try this yummy looking oatmeal peanut butter snack square I found here.

4. Make some almond milk.

5. Do this lower body exercise program at least 5 times.

Tuesday Thinking

Just some things I’ve got on my mind…

If it’s good enough for Julia Child...

This looks scrumptious. I think I actually like almond milk better than cow’s. Just saying…

Homemade pillow pets? PZ would like this I think…

Must Have Monday – Best Apps for Traveling with the Kiddos

Without these Apps, life would have been much much harder on the plane to and fro. My kids, 3 and 5, were thoroughly entertained for probably 4 or more hours on the plane and still wanted more the whole week we were away.

1. Callaway Digital Art’s¬†Sesame Street: The Monster at the End of this Book…Staring Grover!¬†– $3.99 (but I got it on sale) Q (my 3 yr old) especially liked this one.

2. Toca Boca’s¬†Hair Salon¬†– $1.99 was a HUGE hit with both girls.

3. Toca Boca’s¬†Toca Doctor¬†– $0.99 kept Q engaged for a long time.

4. Chillingo’s¬†Cut the Rope¬†– $0.99 this one we even played at the circus during the intermission with a boy in the front row.

5. Moonbot Studio’s¬†The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore¬†– $4.99 for the ipad only. This one was great. Technology is amazing!

I Heart NY

From Top of the Rock

On our last full day, Cory and I took the girls to Rockefeller Plaza. Cory and I had a good time, but the girls were tired and hungry. Did we still make them go to all three floors of observation decks? Yep!

looking up

central park

I have no idea what these lights were all about, between observation decks on second to top floor, but the girls were fascinated.

I was fascinated, too.

In Rockefeller Plaza

the famous rink

I love this statue in front of the rink

Cory took the girls into Legoland while I visited the museum store and scored a couple of souvenir books for the girls. While fairly impressed with the Lego creations when I went to retrieve my party from Legoland, I was not tempted to buy anything. It was CRAZY in there!

Rockefeller Plaza built out of Legos

Once we left the plaza, we had to get food fast. The girls opted for pizza since it was the only restaurant with  a bathroom we could find. Sadly, they had nothing without dairy so I had to go eat by my lonely next door at a sandwich shop. Mediocre food at best, in both places. We were supposed to meet my friend Hilary in Union Square for dinner, so we had some time to kill and decided to kill it in Chinatown.

Radio City Music Hall on our way to subway

Portlandia sign. The shows seemed kind of big there. Go Portland!

PZ posed with this weird menagerie that some panhandler had gotten together.

Walking between Little Italy and Chinatown we saw a LOT of Santas hanging around.

In Chinatown, we basically just got lost a few times, Q cried because of all the dead fish and frogs and things, the girls had ice cream which I had to make them throw away because it was too messy and Q fell asleep as we rushed back to the Canal Street subway (the grossest one we went down into. ever see Candyman? it was like that) so we could get to Union Square and back to the land of big sidewalks. Chinatown was NOT made for strollers!

We did visit a nice park in Chinatown though on Hester street. The girls especially liked the set of 9 chimes built into the sidewalk.

At The Republic waiting for Hilary and family

We finally made it to Union Square and met my friend Hilary, her boyfriend Campbell, and their adorable daughter Ada for dinner at The Republic. The food was so so, but the reunion was great!

The next day we went to Marcus Garvey park in Harlem and then were off, back to the airport and home again to Portland! So glad to be back, even with this crazy downpour, but I DO Heart NY!

From Top of the Rock

Another NYC Post

Although both Hubs and PZ had to navigate their way through a stomach bug during our trip, we were still able to have lots of fun! Hubs and I took the girls to see Mary Poppins at The New Amsterdam Theater. It was fantastic! We all loved it! If I lived in New York, I’d see every broadway show. The sets, the music, the acting – it was all¬†phenomenal.

The next day Hubs and Andy finally had to go to work. Cory, the girls, and I went to moomah in Tribeca on the recommendation of my friend, and local New Yorker, Hilary. Thanks Hilary! It was so yummy! There were lots of fun toys and art stuff to keep the girls  entertained and the on the walls a crafting gallery that I found a complete delight. The whole affair made me a little homesick and now I wish owner Tracy Stewart would open a place here. Definitely the most Portland place we visited while in New York.

Q is pouring "smoothies" for us and making the blender noise. Note the way she's talking out the side of her mouth.

Across the isle from our table were these awesome dioramas.

This place was great for me with their green smoothies and dairy free options. The girls loved their blueberry smoothies and hummus plate, too. If you are in the Tribeca area with young kids I would highly recommend moomah. Q loved that everything in the bathroom was just her size AND mermaid themed. And PZ went bonkers for the projection room in the back. They pretend to swim for about 20 minutes.

the art above and behind Q

"swimming" in the projection room

After we ate, the helpful guy behind the counter told us about a great playground just a few blocks away. A few blocks meant a 20 minute walk, (thank goodness we brought the umbrella stroller to NYC or my back would have broken!), but we found a very clean, almost empty park. While it obviously had a water feature for the summer, there were a lot of nice features for the winter, too. Both girls liked the “train” the most.

"All aboard!"

there was also a "boat" in their toddler section

We ended up taking a cab to Chelsea Market once we were done playing. While Cory and Q shopped for some organic groceries for our Harlem home, PZ and I just had to check out One Lucky Duck and get some green juice, organic lemonade and a few smoothies for the road. Yep. We were pretty smoothied out by nightfall, but MAN they were delicious.

American Museum of Natural History – NYC 3

After the circus, and a quick, yummy bite at Lansky’s, our family and our friends Cory and Andy made the trek to the American Museum of Natural History. It was a busy Saturday afternoon, but while crowded and slightly confusing to navigate, the museum was full of wonder for grown ups and kids alike.

We started on the top floor, hoping to see the big Tyrannosaurs Rex like in the movie, Night at the Museum. No luck though.  A lot of the exhibits were closed because of some shindig they were setting up for. Maybe it was one? Who knows. We still had fun with the rest of the prehistorics.

Hubs said I looked like a true New Yorker. ūüôā

4th floor dinosaurs

PZ by the anteater

This was PZ's favorite!

The second and third floors are a bit of a jumble in my mind. ¬†Lots of cool stuff. Lots of animals and artifacts. Lots of information that PZ wanted read to her. I think she must have inherited this trait from my Dad. That man never met a plaque he wouldn’t read.

PZ was spooked by the animals. She thought they were going to come alive and "GET" her.

Put a bird on it!

Shaman tools - dig the bear claw!

These little "re-enactments" totally got the girls thinking.

These masks in the Asian section really caught my eye.

Q liked the little baby doll in the Asian Peoples section.

Hubs rocking out!

These dioramas are awesome!

Can you see the little flying carpet on the right, in the middle? So funny!

The girls thought this one was really cool. They pretended to be on a boat for a good 15 minutes.

The first floor was probably our whole crews’ favorite. Cory loved the¬†geodes and the girls ran around like crazy¬†¬†in that room. Hubs said the room was straight out of a Bond flick. We also got to go through the Native Peoples of the Pacific Northwest which made us all proud and slightly homesick. They’ve got a HUGE canoe! And my personal favorite was the last exhibit we visited.

Speaking of huge, have you seen the whale they’ve got? They’ve got so much cool stuff in this museum it made me want to some sort of collection of my own.

Q's favorite rock was the Rose Quartz.

The girls inside a meteorite.

Jellyfish right when you come in the room.

This was my favorite part of the whole museum!

Deadliest Catch has nothing on this guy!


By the time we got out of there we were all exhausted. Thankfully there’s an exit right to the subway. It took us straight back to Harlem, a good meal, and a beautiful moon over the city.


In New York…

Well, the girls and I got back last night from our week long stay in NYC. So much fun! We stayed in east Harlem in a quiet neighborhood brownstone just a few blocks from Marcus Garvey park. (Great park!) We got into town around 1, and even though we were all fairly exhausted from the plane ride, my friends Cory, Andy, and I took the girls to the Central Park Zoo.

The beautiful entrance to the Children's zoo.

The turtle at the entrance to the petting zoo. Q's favorite!

We got there kind of late in the day so didn’t get to do much more than visit the children’s petting zoo, but we DID get to watch them feed the sea lions. Q ¬†managed to get a spot right up front so we got splashed a few times, but it was worth it!

Q waiting for them to feed the sea lions.

The sea lions were ready for food too!

Once the zoo closed, we wandered around a bit before heading back. We ran into some cool art and some very pretty ponies.

"The Tornado"

Cory holding PZ up to pet the carriage pony outside Central Park.

The girls fell asleep in the cab on the way back to Harlem and thus ended day 1… in New York! (Can you hear Alicia Keys singing? That song was in my head the whole trip.)

Sleepy heads.

Dairy Free Baking – Cookies!

As of the New Year, I am now completely dairy free. Whether it’s forever or just for the 6 weeks my doctor recommended we’ll just have to see. I’m choosing to see this as a culinary adventure instead of a sentence of deprivation and am actually pretty excited about the experiment. Anyone else out there trying out a new diet for the new year?

My first official vegan recipe is, of course, a cookie. Unhappy with the taste of vegan chocolate chip cookies that I’ve purchased or had at parties, I decided to try something a little different. I’m calling it my Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Banana Snickerdoodle Vegan Cookie Yum! It took a couple of tries, but I’m really happy with this final product. Tell me what you think!

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Banana Snickerdoodle Vegan Cookie Yum

1 1/3 cup of all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch of salt

1 stick of Earth Balance vegan butter

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup organic peanut butter (I used creamy)

1 large organic banana

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup rolled oats

3/4 cup semi sweet Ghiradelli chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees

In a medium size bowl, stir together your flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Melt your vegan butter. In a large bowl beat your melted vegan butter and the granulated sugar until frothy. Add the brown sugar and peanut butter until well blended. Peel and mush your banana. Stir the mushed banana and the vanilla into the sugar and vegan butter. Add the flour mixture just until incorporated. By hand, stir in the rolled oats and chocolate chips.

On an ungreased cookie sheet, scoop out 2 inch balls of dough evenly spaced about 3 inches apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the edges are turning brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before removing cookies from the sheet. Enjoy!

A Not Too Tough Cuff

On Saturday, after our New Year’s Eve brunch, I walked to get a chai latte to counteract all the mimosas. I forgot my mittens and so was forced to consider getting one of those paper cuffs to keep from burning my hands off. I opted not too. Those kinds of casual wastes just frustrate me. Instead I spent the walk home juggling my chai and coming up with a solution to my problem.

Before thinking too long and hard, I realized two things. One, it would be nice to have a chai cuff that was also a bracelet so I hopefully wouldn’t forget it as I had the mittens. And two, such a practical and creative idea had to have been done already. I took a spin around the web and found I was right!

I came across Trish’s tutorial on her blog, Genuine Mudpie. It was a really fast and easy project and super satisfying to not burn my hands when I pulled my chai out of the microwave this afternoon. ¬†While it is a complete coincidence that my cuff is basically the same colors as hers, they look great and just happened to be the best yarn and buttons for the project. I had to add an extra set of buttons to mine so I could have the longer length needed to use with a glass jar; my normal mug.

I really like these simple, quick to complete projects. I’m taking a trip soon and want to take some more easy, no hassle crafts to do while I’m traveling . Any suggestions?