Archive for the 'In the Kitchen' Category

Popping In


Hello there! Just popping in here to say hello and let you know we just got back from an incredible trip to Bavaria with Papa’s family. I also wanted to mention that Kathie has an interview of me up today in her I Eat Local because I Can series. Don’t forget to check out my canning blog, putting by. It’s been pretty quiet over there too since we’ve been traveling but I expect the canning pot will be bubbling on the stove before we know it.

If You Build It…..

Over the weekend we had a little party because….

Tristan 6th Birthday

And Mr. Soon-to-be-Six decided this year he wanted to have a lego birthday party. So that photo was the front of the invitation with the party details on the back. I’ve been keeping a Pinterest board to keep track of all the great ideas for lego parties on the web. When the kids arrived we had them work on some lego coloring sheets and dot-to-dots I printed from the lego site. I had a few different ones so they could do more than one while the other guests arrived.


After everyone arrived we had lunch. Tristan requested mini hamburgers (sliders) and those tiny hot dogs wrapped in bread (pigs in a blanket). We also had pirate’s booty and mini cheese crackers. I used a plastic green tablecloth from the party store and a runner of bubble wrap painted green to look like lego baseplate. The only other decoration on the table was the giant lego minifigure head. I had been wanting to get one and amazingly I found one at Target the day before the party, on sale even. In the sweets department we had an awesome lego cake that Papa made by making a really big sheet cake and topping it with six cupcakes to look like a giant yellow lego. Candy legos from the store were in a lego pick-a-brick container and we also had lego chocolates we made in a silicone mold.


After lunch we split the kids among three tables and had them start building. I had purchased bags of bulk legos from the lego store. First we asked them to build a house and awarded prizes — series 5 minifigures — to the best house at each table. Then we asked them to build boats and did the same thing with the prizes. After that we had them each build an animal and they got to keep the animal they built.

Lego Cake

Then it was time for Happy Birthday and cake! After everyone finished their cake we let them go back to building until their parents arrived to pick them up. As his friends left Tristan gave each of them a favor that consisted of a small lego building set — that I also got on sale — sugar cookies I made to look like legos packaged in a cute lego box, and two chocolate minifigures that Papa made using silicone molds. I found a lego font to use for the tags.


An Apricot of a Weekend

Wall of Apricots

Happy Monday morning friends. I hope everyone had a lovely weekend. I spent a lot of mine putting by a bushel of apricots. There are a lot of apricots in a bushel, I never realized. Actually, this is the first year we’ve found apricots locally so I must admit I got a little overenthusiastic buying a whole bushel. Next year, a half bushel. It’s that time of year, when the canning pot is constantly bubbling, so if you can’t find me here you can always check over on my canning blog.

Canners Unite!

Blueberry Butter

Just popping in with a quick note to say hello to those of you who’ve dropped by via Canning Across America. Those lovely folks were kind enough to feature that picture of blueberry butter up there on their site this week. If you want to read more about what I’ve been canning recently, please visit my other blog, Putting By and thanks for visiting!

Looking Back

So 2009 is out the window and I am so glad. It was just a crummy year in the urchin household and from what I gather, a lot of other households too. So, rather than dwell on the yuck, let’s take a look at the good stuff I got accomplished while in the mire. First up, the knitting:

2010 :: In Knitting

To be honest, I’m not too pleased about the knitting. I intended to knit through EZ’s Knitter’s Almanac and did not get very far. In fact the February Baby Sweater is the only completed project from the book. I’m hoping to change that in 2010. I think there was a lot of starting in 2009, not so much finishing, I’m hoping to improve in 2010. Dare I say that going into 2011 I’d like to have no WIPs in my knitting basket?

2010 :: In Sewing Part 1

The sewing however, required two mosaics so that’s something. Katie alone got about a dozen new outfits made by her mama. That is something that makes me exceedingly happy. I also finished four quilts in 2009. I have a whole bunch of quilt tops ready too so just like the knitting, I need to finish what I start. This may be a theme. I made a lot more of the gifts the urchins give their friends so I would like to continue that trend in 2010. In fact, I’d like to try to get a stash together so I’m not always sewing at the last minute.

2010 :: In Sewing Part 2

And then there’s the food. We ate mostly locally at almost every meal this summer and at many of our meals in the other seasons too. I canned so much — so so much — and looking at those jars makes me so happy. I remember one week in August where I canned something every day. We found a dehydrator on craigslist and expanded our repetoire to include dried food as well as canned and frozen. I canned jam and salsa, whole fruits and sauces, sweet and savory. We had to figure out a new system for storing it all. We’ll be eating well all winter I’m sure. In fact, on one of those stressful days before Christmas I realized I had gumbo in the freezer that I made back in the summer and it was so good.

2010 :: In Jars

But 2010, I have big plans for you. Plans that include expanding the garden and the pantry. Plans that include covering all the members of my house in their own quilt. But more on that later, for now I think I’ll just look at what was good in 2009.

Addicted to Aprons

Apron and Mitt for Mallory

It seems I’ve been on a bit of an apron bender. It started with making an apron and mitt set — fabrics are Alexander Henry sweet treats and petiti fours– for Tristan’s friend Mallory’s birthday to go with a baking set — I now buy the rolling pin etc. in a set from IKEA. Before her birthday we asked her what she wanted and she said cake! so a baking set seemed like a good idea. She made Tristan cookies to say thank you, aren’t four-year-olds so cute. He told Mallory that she’s a really good cooker.


Then I decided to make aprons for the urchins and their cousins for our annual family Christmas cookie bake-a-thon. Tristan picked out this Thomas the Train Christmas print sometime in the early Autumn. I’ll admit it was bribe to get him in and out of the fabric store with minimal fussing. I had no idea what I was going to do with it until I started making the aprons. So both boys got Thomas aprons using the same pattern as Mallory’s. For my nephew — who is only eighteen months — I sized it down a bit by reducing the length and the width but keeping the overall shape. For the girls I started with a top shape from a Simplicity pattern — 3949 — and then did my own thing for the waistband and skirt. The Simplicity pattern just had way too many pieces for me. I also changed the neck and waist ties to be more like the toddler apron with an elastic neck and velcro closure on the waist. I’m all about the urchins dressing themselves without frustration.

Aprons for Christmas Cookies

When Tristan’s best friend decided he wanted to have a chef party I knew he would be getting an apron and baking set too. I decided though that instead of an oven mitt Sam should get a chef hat. After a bit of figuring I made the chef’s hat with a coordinating stripe. The band is adjustable with velcro so it should fit a variety of head sizes. I think it made a pretty cute set.

Apron and Chef Hat for Sam

I think before the end of the holiday season I may just have another apron or two up my sleeve. We’ll see though, I still have a lot to do in the next 18 days.

CSA 2009 – Week 20

CSA 2009 - Week 20

Last week of the summer share. Now we’re onto four weeks of an autumn share before we’re done.

CSA Bag Contents: butternut squash, potatoes, garlic, peppers, Hakurei turnips, Choi Sum, rosemary, collard greens, eggplant, cherry tomato, broccoli

See what we got in CSA 2008 Week 20.

CSA 2009 – Week 19

CSA 2009 - Week 19

CSA Bag Contents: sweet potatoes, onions, peppers, celery, arugula, mizuna, green beans, kohlrabi, radishes, Juliet tomatoes, heirloom pie pumpkin, eggplant

See what we got in CSA 2008 Week 19.

CSA 2009 -Week 18

CSA 2009 - Week 18

CSA Bag Contents: acorn squash, potatoes, eggplant, chard, dill, onions, garlic, red peppers, beans, tomatoes, arugula

See what we got in CSA 2008 Week 18.

CSA 2009 – Week 17

CSA 2009 - Week 17

CSA Bag Contents: kale, radishes, butternut squash, summer squash, red pepper, basil, fancy french beans, roma tomatoes, striped german tomato

See what we got in CSA 2008 Week 17.

flickr photos

Mama Urchin. Get yours at

With Friends…