Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wordless Wednesday #15

"High Steppin' Kitty"

Monday, November 23, 2009

Garden Stragglers

Found a few stragglers in the garden this morning. Our carrots were slow growing, and we'd pretty much figured the garden was done before they really started shooting up. Then the deer and rabbits found the garden and ate most of the tops off the carrots, so we only got a few. This morning I stepped into the garden to see if I could spy anything of interest. Some of the carrot tops had sprouted again.

And I learned a couple more things about gardening-
1. It's really hard to pull carrots out of the ground without the benefit of their big bushy tops.
2. Your fingernails probably won't thank you for scrabbling them out of the dirt with your bare hands...But your kids might.

Monday, November 16, 2009

We have a winner!

Email me if you see this because there isn't an email address with your profile that I could see!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Just a note to say...

Tomorrow I'll announce the winner of my giveaway! Today was sort of busy and I didn't get a chance to pull a name, but the comments are closed as of early this morning.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

HBinFive: Pumpkin Pie Brioche

I'd been wanting to get the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day co-authored by Zoe Fran├žois and Jeff Hertzberg for a while. Then I noticed that a new book was coming also, Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Recently, I got a great deal on both of them from a book club I belong to. You know how sometimes you want something for a while and finally get around to getting it for yourself, and then it is sort of anti-climatic because you spent so long building it up and you're let down and wish you hadn't spent the money on it? Well, I certainly know that feeling, but I'm happy to say that wasn't the case at all with these books. I'm so happy with them! I look through them and want to try nearly every recipe. Then I came across a group called HBinFive that has been organized to cook its way through Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Every two weeks they are going to pick a recipe to try out, and everyone can share their yummy creations. So what else was there to do but join in? Although the group isn't officially starting baking until January, there are going to be recipes posted for November and December. I figured I'd give this a test run along with the others who are getting their feet wet early. As usual, I had an eager helper for my bread-making efforts. He liked the picture on the front of the "Healthy Breads" book because he saw that the lady on the front also has a "helper" but said, "It's not Finn."

The Pumpkin Pie Brioche recipe has been posted as a bonus recipe on the Big Black Dog blog (where the HBinFive group is originating from). This recipe had caught my eye in the book, and I was going to make it as one of my first recipes anyhow. So this worked out well for me. Unfortunately, Paul doesn't like pumpkin! So he'll have to suffer through this one, but I'm sure he'll be completely on board by the time we get around to the chocolate espresso whole wheat bread.

I was able to get some white wheat flour from Kroger's yesterday when we took a little shopping trip out of town--can't get it locally. I've been wanting to try this white wheat flour since I heard about it, but lack of local availability had hindered me. I was pleased to find Kroger had several brands to choose from and even has their own store label of it. That and some canned pumpkin were the only ingredients I didn't already have on hand.

Yesterday, my parents picked up some 6 quart covered tubs for me from Sam's Club that I can mix and store my dough in. They were a steal compared to what some of the baking supply sites charge. Amazon is offering a set of two for $16.95, but they are a pre-order, and the page says they may not ship for 7-10 weeks. I saw several posts on different boards from folks who said they found containers at Sam's Club. So I was more than happy when my parents picked these up for me at the incredible deal of 3 tubs with covers for $12! Now I just need a bigger fridge, so I can get multiple batches of dough going at the same time.

Before I could get my pumpkin pie brioche groove on, I had to bake the dough that I put in the fridge the other day--Soft whole wheat sandwich bread. The recipe makes enough dough for two loaves and considering the way my family can tear through a loaf of fresh bread, I just put them both in the oven today to free up the space in my fridge so I could get the other dough going. The only problem I'm having so far with the book is that you are supposed to wait until the bread has completely cooled before slicing--so not happening! I like that the wheat bread is made using honey instead of sugar, and it's got a lovely crust for cutting up for sandwiches. And the taste? Delicious! Tested and approved by each member of the quality control team family.

I haven't baked the pumpkin pie brioche dough yet, but I'm really looking forward to trying it. The dough is finishing its rise right now and then I will stick it in the fridge overnight and hopefully make a loaf tomorrow. The recipe is supposed to make two 2lb loaves.

Ps. Don't forget that my one year blogiversary giveaway ends tonight. Enter here if you haven't already!

Edited to add:
I got up before everyone else today to make a loaf of the pumpkin pie brioche. I didn't have any raw sugar like it called for as a topping, so I just used sugar and some pumpkin pie spice and sprinkled it liberally over the top of the bread. It smelled delicious as it was baking. As usual, I couldn't wait for it to cool and had to cut myself off a slice while it was toasty warm and slap some butter on it. Yummy! The sugar and spice topping made a crunchy sweet crust on the top of the bread that is my favorite part. Would anyone miss the top if I just cut it off to eat first? As several others had mentioned the pumpkin flavor not coming through very strongly, I talked Paul into trying it. He said it was good tasting, but I think the thought of eating pumpkin still bothered him because he didn't tuck into it like he would have another loaf of bread.

And because I got a lot of comments about the containers I got from Sam's Club, here's a better picture of the container showing the dough right before it went into the fridge. Don't count on the employees at Sam's to know what you are looking for because my parents asked about them and couldn't get any help. Eventually they located them in the restaurant supplies area. Made by Rubbermaid in three sizes--the six quart size happens to be the medium size. There are markings on the side showing the quarts.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday #14

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I'm not hedging around anymore

So here's the promised little cutie. She told me she wants to live with you. I think she's scared of the grabby little hands that tried to claim her as their own when she made her debut from my sewing room. I followed the tutorial at matsutake to make this. I thought she needed ears when she was done so she had something to wear her bow on. Do hedgehogs have ears? I have to admit that she's probably going to be the only one of her kind that issues from my sewing room. The tutorial was great, but I'm not a fan of hand sewing. My fingertips are still sensitive from the amount of sewing required to get her ruffles attached to her little hedgie body. I won a giveaway a few months back from Bit of Whimsy Dolls for a set of fat quarters. So I finally cut into those for the fabric, and I think she's the prettiest little pastel hedgehog I've ever met. Like I already mentioned, she's a bit shy and might not be the best playmate for young children. But I think you'll find her quiet and very easy to take care of. She even comes with her own nibbles. A pair of sweet strawberries made from a tutorial found over here at Embroideroo. (If you visit her blog, be sure to check out the pictures of the birds she feeds. She has parrots come to her bird feeders. I'm so jealous! But she's also never seen a humming bird in person, so I do have that. But I really want wild parrots...*sigh*)

So there you have it. That's my one year blogiversary gift I'm offering to one lucky reader. Because I've been so tardy in posting pictures, I've decided to extend the deadline for entering by just a couple days. So I'll leave it open until Saturday evening on the 14th. Enter by commenting on my previous post. It's not a big thing, but I hope she will bring a little bright spot to whomever gets to claim her just like your comments bring a bright spot to my day!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

You don't want to miss this. Seriously...

Wow! Bet you can't guess what today is--

It's my first year anniversary of starting my blog. It feels a bit like cheating since I'm just getting back from my extended Summer break, but one year ago today, I published my first blog post. It was a beautiful fall day and I'd taken the kids to the park in town to take advantage of the day. Unfortunately, looks like the weather isn't going to cooperate for a repeat of that since the high here is supposed to be 52 F.

I always marvel at how fast children grow. It's hard to believe how they change in a year. Just look at that round little face on Holly! I had her in the front packer still. And Ivy has changed so much in the last year. She's nearly as tall as me now. It's like it just happened overnight because in a very short time period it seems everyone has commented on it. Not just people who haven't seen her in a while, but family friends who see her at least weekly if not more. Finn seems the least changed of the three. Of course he's grown, too and is a source of endless entertainment with the things he says. Holly keeps right up with Finn. I know that if he is doing something, she will be right behind him--good or bad. Grandma found this out the other day when they were visiting. She had given them cookies and later Finn had more cookies. She questioned how he had gotten them, and he admitted to dragging a chair to the counter. Sure enough, next thing you know, Holly is climbing up onto the chair as well. Obviously, she is not quite as coordinated at the stunts as he is, but she isn't about to let anything that trivial slow her down.

Here's some pictures of Finn from today when he walked with me up to feed the pigs. He has that watermelon candle in his treehouse, and I wanted a picture of him "eating" it, but instead I got a shot of him spitting seeds. Pretty cute, I thought. I was hoping for pictures of the other two also, but Holly was asleep when I got back to the house and Ivy wasn't interested.

And here's our piggies, finally. I have to say they aren't my favorite animal on the farm. They are so big and act starved to death every time you feed them. We put them way up the hill since so many people said things about how bad they would smell. So they see you coming with food from way off and start squealing (screaming, really) their heads off. They pulled the trough off the side of their little barn and have rooted the dirt over in front of the gate so much now that I can't even get in the pen. We were hoping to get them taken care of next week, but nobody told me that you have to schedule time with your butcher months in advance! Seriously--they are booked through January 7th as of yesterday. Wow--I really don't want another two months of slogging food up the hill. Plus we only planned to have them through the warmer months, so don't have a plan in place for dealing with frozen water. My dad found out a few more names of butchering shops yesterday, so I'm going to give those a try.

Now if you've hung around to get to the end of the post, I have a little something for you to watch for. After Holly went to bed last night, I went to the sewing room hoping to get together a little gift to celebrate my one year blogiversary. I had hoped to whip it together last night and get pictures, but let's say it proved to be a little more involved that I thought, and Holly wound up waking up around eleven, and I needed to get her settled back down. You know how it goes. So it didn't get finished last night. I'm hoping I will be able to get to it sometime today. So there could be pictures later today. I won't give anything away right now, but I like the way it's turning out, and I hope you will too! So just comment on this post, and I'll randomly pick from all the comments. I tried to think of something interesting to comment about, but I'm going to leave that totally up to you. Tell me what you're looking forward to this weekend. Tell me something that made you happy this week. Tell me about something you are making or have made recently. Just say "hi" and let me know you were here. Not too difficult-just make sure I can contact you from your comment or profile or something. I have a feeling not too many people are hanging around anymore, but I could be totally wrong. That ought to make your chances at winning that much better, though. But if you're inclined to send your friends here, please do. I'll let you have another entry if you feel like blogging about this and sending a few folks this way. In fact, if someone mentions that they came via your blog, I'll include an extra entry for you and for that person so be sure to mention that to your readers if you are inclined to blog about it. And I'll throw in extra entries for my blog followers. Just leave an extra comment for each way you enter.

So let's just tally up the ways you can get entries:
  1. Obligatory comment
  2. Blog about this giveaway
  3. Mention or be mentioned the blog post that sent you here
  4. Be a follower of Petalz and Finz
I think the extra entries are probably serious overkill given the amount of actual entrants that I expect will participate, but I happen to love a few extra entries myself on giveaways, and I figured you might as well. Woohoo! It's my first giveaway. Too bad I can't show you what it is yet, but keep your eyes peeled. I think I will close entries a week from today. So that's next Thursday, but I'm actually going to call it at midnight EST Wednesday, November 11th, so I can announce the winner next Thursday. Updated 11/10: Since I've just gotten to posting pictures of the prize, I'm going to extend the time for entries by a couple more days. So the new end date will be this Saturday, Nov. 14. Thanks for playing and reading!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wordless Wednesday #13

"Lil' Sleepyhead"

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Thomas Outfit

Sometimes, I feel bad for not sewing more for Finn. But girls' clothes just tend to be much cuter, and there are more patterns and ideas out there for girls' stuff. So the girls tend to make out better than he does. Browsing the other day, I found a link to this tutorial from the Smiley Pomegranate blog for treasure pocket pants that are just adorable for boys or girls. Put that together with a vest pattern that was free in last month's YouCanMakeThis newsletter and you've got a really cute boy outfit. Yay!

Of course, that doesn't stop your little girl from screaming until she gets to wear the Thomas pants that her brother shows next to no interest in... Why do I bother?

About This Blogger

I am a thirty-something mother of two girls and a boy ranging from preschool to middle school. My husband and I keep working and reworking on our goal of raising our family healthier. Our house is a constant work under construction--adding on and remodeling. We're happy to have bought our property a few years ago, but as any homeowners know, owning a home just adds to your list of projects and chores because there's always improvements to be made and maintenance to be done. On our burgeoning homestead, we have chickens, guineas, a few goats, and our most recent additions-rabbits.
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About This Blog

I picked the name Petalz and Finz a couple years ago when I decided to try Etsy out. I wanted to custom make some baby related items and have things for girls and boys. I felt the name incorporated both my kids (at the time) into it--petalz for Ivy and finz for Finn.

I haven't had time to do much of anything with my Etsy for a while, but it's still my in my long term goals. In the mean time, I'm having fun with this blog thing. I've found some creative inspiration through my own posting, but also through many other wonderful blogs out there.
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