Sunday, April 29, 2012

Spring is at Our Door

This is our front door.
 How do you like our dried flower wreath?  People have asked me if I made it, but I got it at Home Goods.

I thought it would look nice.  Springy.  People do that, have spring wreaths on their doors.  I was making an effort.  And that's the last time I'll do that.  Does it...remind you of anything?

It reminded someone.  Turns out a sparrow decided to come make a nest between the wreath and our door.  Apparently she didn't mind the disturbance of our comings and goings, and apparently we didn't notice anything going on until one day she flew away as we opened the door, and we saw this:

And then we saw this:

Five little birds's eggs on our front door!  It's what one might call...a situation.
 It's a little freaky to have a sparrow fly off the door every time we open from inside or approach from outside.  Especially once when I came home late at night and woke her up.  Neither of us relished the encounter.

So today Ed put on his gardening gloves and moved the wreath to the closest non-door hook location.

We hope this is OK with Mrs. Sparrow and that she won't abandon the nest.  We couldn't really go on the way things were, especially with the prospect of live chicks in the nest.  In the wreath.  On our door.

So while folks and neighbors pass by our house and wonder why there's a wreath on our light, they will undoubtedly assume we are setting the latest trends in curb appeal, perhaps even rushing home to follow suit.  Only you, and I, and our little sparrow family, will know the truth. 
It's because spring was a little too close for comfort.  It was literally knocking at our door.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

EBX Round-Up

 Alright.  For all you lurkers, who have waffled for years whether to join the Easter basket exchange, or for those that meant to but didn't, or even for those who did, here's a look at all the fun, love, and happiness it brought.

Easter morning, 2012.  Twenty-three women, mostly strangers to each other, sliced, ripped and tore into Easter care packages made just for them.  Customized to interests, tastes, allergies, location, and lifestyle, each basket brought giggles, smiles, and, in some cases, squeals to its recipient.  Which was exactly what it was supposed to do.  Here are just a few pictures of the happy faces and decadent fillings this year's Easter basket exchange brought, interspersed with quotes some of the women emailed me.

Michelle in Virginia
It was a fabulous basket.

Thank you for letting me participate in your Easter basket exchange, it made the day really special.  Heidi sent a perfectly lovely basket from Michigan, full of things that corresponded to my answers to your questionnaire. and including some wonderful chocolate, much in the shape of bunnies almost too cute to bite.  (Almost.)  
She must be an artist, it was like Ireland:  a hundred shades of green!
Cathy in Arizona
Kari, you have an amazing friend! This box is so perfect-- she shops so well for teachers-- cute hand sanitizer and pens, paper-- and have me tantalizing chocolate loves and a book to boot!
And I do believe that these Cake Bites are from the "Sweet Tooth Fairy Shop," which I happened to discover my last year at BYU and I know that these bites were featured on the Rachel Ray show.
Wow! What a perfect package to come home to! Sending her a thank-you is going to be superlative.
Celeste in Virginia

Tona in Massachusetts

All my favorite jellybeans and a wasabi ginger sesame dark choc bar (!!). Please note that my new nail polish is the EXACT shade of the blouse I wore on Sunday!! Cool gourmet salt and bath goodies, too. And car fresheners, yay!

Brooklyn in Utah
Thanks again!  I will definitely be doing this again next year!

Felicia in Virginia
Thanks for asking me to be apart of the Easter basket exchange!  I had a great time picking out things to send and was so excited to get my box in the mail.

Heidi in Michigan
Thanks again for organizing the EBX! I love participating every year.

Cherry in New York
I have to tell you I am glad I joined EBX this year, you assigned me to a very caring and charitable stranger! I love the basket she prepared and the letter she wrote.  I was so touched!

Jenny in South Carolina
Colleen in Virginia
This was so much fun!

Mia in Tennessee
I do love surprises and I loved this one. 

Katy in Maryland
Barbara in Georgia
The basket was AWESOME. I loved it. And I loved all the little notes and the nice card. You were so thoughtful in thinking about my life and what I need (or want!) right now.

Melanie in Oklahoma

Sydney in West Virginia 
Love my basket!

Emily in New York
Katy sent me this awesome basket with a plethora of awesome chocolate and a sweet charm for a necklace and even a reusable shopping bag for a basket.  It was great to participate again--thanks for organizing it!

Vanessa in Virginia
What fun the Easter basket exchange was!   I am in for next year.

And here's me, with my "SPRING BLING"-themed package (notice my rings and earrings, all part of the BLING.)
And since I can, here are some more detailed pics of my Easter basket contents.  Truly astounding and fabulous!

What is Speculoos, you ask?  She put a note about it saying she has no idea, but she bought it on a trip to New York and thought I would know what to do with it.  Then, at the next Dessert Club meeting, someone showed up with a Speculoos crust cheesecake!  It's a caramelized gingergread cookie spread, in the same family as peanut butter and Nutella. Belgian. Amazing.

And two homemade CD's - I had mentioned how badly I need new music - one is a mix of music that makes her happy, and one is Adele - I must be the only person on earth who still didn't have her CD.

I love getting music in my Easter basket - I request a homemade mix almost every year and usually get it.  I love hearing what other people like.

I also love every freaking thing I got in my package this year.  Those bar towels are awesome.  I got called "bling-y" at church at least three times, sporting my new rings, earrings and Vera Wang spring flips, a compliment I badly needed after a long drab winter.  I am carefully pacing (= hoarding) my chocolate, and some fancy sandals was JUST what the Easter bunny ordered.  I did think it was strange to get a text asking my shoe size, but I didn't question.  You don't question the EBX.  You just surrender to it.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Egg Salad

Hi.  Are you, like us, swimming in hard-boiled eggs and everyone's a bit sick of them?  We're using up all but two for dinner tonight, in open-faced egg salad sandwiches that will also showcase as much leftover Easter ham as possible.  This is a recipe I made once years ago, loved, then lost.  I hunted down and ordered a back issue of Everyday Food just so I could make it again.  Love it.  Enjoy.

Open-Faced Egg Salad Sandwiches
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp white wine vinegar
8 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and roughly chopped
1 celery stalk, minced
1/4 small red onion, minced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
8 slices Italian bread, toasted
Green leaf lettuce, for serving
8 slices cooked bacon, optional, for serving

In a medium bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, mustard and vinegar until smooth.  Add eggs, celery, and onion; season with salt and pepper, and mix to combine.  To serve, top toasts with lettuce, bacon and egg salad.  Serves 4

Recipe from Everyday Food, March 2008

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Art Tuesday: Easter Garland

 Art Tuesdays kind of fell apart after the holidays, but we've still done some projects here and there.  Spring break was the perfect time to try out some ideas I've been saving up, including this paint chip Easter egg garland from Modern Parents, Messy Kids.  Except their messy kids must be older, or less messy, than mine because that is some smooth cutting at their house. 
 I loved this project because it was:

1 - Not really that messy
2 - Collaborative; ALL THREE girls could do something
3 - Quick

4 - FREE (thank you, Home Depot)

It appealed to each girl in a different way, which is just the best kind of activity.  Ginger has been really working on scissor skills this year, and cutting eggs was just challenging enough without being frustrating.  Hazel is a smooth cutter, and also enjoyed putting the cut-out eggs in numerical order, and helping string them.  Poppy loved all the colored cards, and holding scissors for probably the first time.

 And me?  I liked making a pretty, homemade, seasonal decoration with my girls that I will have no qualms throwing out because we can - and will - just make it again next year.  Or sooner than that - no one ever said egg was the only shape you could do this with.

Paint Chip Easter Garland
What you need:
  • An Easter egg cookie cutter or other template
  • Sharpie or pencil
  • Scissors
  • A stack of paint chips (about 3-4 per rainbow color)
  • Twine
 We got our paint chips at Home Depot because the Behr ones are nice and wide.  But once we started cutting, I realized something I hadn't noticed at the store (might have had something to do with being in Home Depot with three kids.)  Some of the cards (the medium and dark ones) have FOUR colors; some (the light ones) have THREE.  Most of ours had four - oh, well - but I think the three-ones are better because then you only have one white line going across your egg instead of two.  But it doesn't matter that much.
 What to do:
Trace the egg on the back of the paint chips, making sure it's not where the words are.  I also numbered them before handing them off to the girls for cutting because that makes it easier to put them back in order than eyeballing it. 
 Cut out all the eggs.  Punch two holes in the narrow end of each egg - I had a small heart-shaped hole punch in the Crazy Box - I think a small punch is better than a regular three-hole punch.
 Thread twine or yarn through the holes - I used my baker's twine; MPMK used waxed cotton but I'm not sure what that is - maybe dental floss?  That would work.

Hang it up to show the world!

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