Monday, December 30, 2013

Caprese Salad Snowmen

I was shocked -- SHOCKED I tell you -- to discover that someone on Pinterest had not yet already made these. I expect to become a Pinterest celebrity with this one.

I came across the idea while watching Curious George "A Very Monkey Christmas" ... Rowan wanted to watch it, I swear. The Man with The Yellow Hat loves these, apparently. The Italian chef makes them with Mozzarella and tomatoes. George tries to replicate them as a gift. In George's fashion, he fails and makes a big mess. Sorry, spoilers.

Anyway, these were so simple to make.

Cherry Tomatoes
Fresh Basil leaves
Fresh Mozzarella Cheese (either in balls or a solid block)
Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing


1. Cut bottom off cherry tomato. This allows the tomato to stand up alone, and create the hat for the snowman.

2. Insert toothpick into top of tomato.

3. Carve out a ball of mozzarella, if using a block. Shape into a sphere and place onto toothpick on top of tomato.

4. Fold Basil leave in half and place onto toothpick.

5. Make a smaller sphere of mozzarella for the head (I used pieces that broke off while shaping the body piece). Place on toothpick.

6. Place tomato "hat" on toothpick.

7.  Serve with Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing.

8. Create a Snowman Army that will defend you snack table (optional).


Monday, November 4, 2013

Christmas Brainstorming

So this year it's even more important that I make people Christmas gifts. We're moving, Chris is taking a pay cut, and I just quite my job. Oh and we have to sell our apartment, so every month we still own it and are paying rent somewhere else, we'll be taking a loss. So hand-made gifts it is. (Another plus, if I say "Hey I need ALL my yarn with me because I'm making all our christmas presents!" I won't have to pack it up and put it in storage. Win Win.)

Some ideas ...

I came across this pattern, and it was so easy and adorable:

I made myself some in about two evenings.

So easy and very customizable. My mom has already said she wants a pair. And I think I can play with the basic design and make some pretty funky variations ...

Shark Socks. cute gift idea for Josh/Wendy

"oh, I love your boots."

Dad has started fishing, and did you know that a Fisherman's Rib is a thing? It's really warm and thick. Thinking a hat, with some rustic, manly yarn, and maybe a funky decrease.

I found an almost done scarf in my stash that I think I can finish and give to Mom.

It's a really pretty Garden Lattice sort of pattern, and I had always intended to put little flowers on the ends and make it look like a garden.

Our Garden: 5

My Garden 008

summer vine

It was fun to pick it up again after several YEARS of hibernation and try to remember how to do the stitch! And since then I've been pinning some cute flower patterns, so I should able to do those pretty quickly.

This site has a couple different flower patterns.

As always, bags are a good option. I've had my eye on these for a while.

crochet bag

granny square bag

I've also had my eye on these. Crochet a lace patter, put fabric stiffener (or glue or sugar solution) and shape around a bowl.

lace bowl (stiffen with sugar water!)

crochet bowls

And for little people ... Mrs. Kinne, look away now.











My friend Emily had given Ro a bunch of knitted/felted play foods, and he LOVES them! I want to give something like that to a certain little girl whose mother is itching for some imaginative play.

crochet food

Where I shine

We've been living a lie for about a month now. Chris came home a few weeks ago and "popped the question" ... and since I had already agreed to marry him and love him forever and ever like years ago, he decided to mix it up: "What if we moved to Northampton?"

Back up a few more weeks. Chris likes to practice "real estate porn", where he looks at houses for sale in different neighborhoods and sees how big a house we could get for what we paid for our apartment. I find it really depressing ... did you know that for what we paid for a 2BR apartment in Queens, NY, we could have a private compound with a pool and servant quarters in Alvin, TX? For some reason he loves it.
Anyway, he was surfing around, getting turned on by square-footage, and proposed that someday we could move to the Northampton area. I went to school there, it's very green, there are woods nearby. "Sure," I said. "When the time comes I think that's a great option."
Chris went a step further and found an engineering firm that looked promising. "Someday", he said, "that's where I would like to end up. In a place like that."

Fast forward. Imagine some seedy, gross porn music. Picture Chris sitting in his office at work, glancing around to see if anyone is going to walk in on him. He opens up his real estate site, and finds Florence, MA, a little town just outside of NoHo. It has little houses, big back yards, and a diner. Chris starts to flush, he's getting a little too excited. He clicks over to, a local news and classifieds site, and searches his dream company. He almost calls out in ecstasy ... that company has just posted a job for his exact level, his exact job. ... what should he do?

Now, if this were a movie, or last season of "The Office", he would have kept it a secret and gone to interview for the job without telling me. But instead he came home early and asked me what I thought about it. After a minute or two of freaking out, I was actually on board. It was technically part of The Plan, it just jumped up the queue a little.

This was Oct 7. We updated Chris's resume and then spend a week in an anxious tizzy. They called, they loved him, they wanted to set up an interview. On Oct 16 he drove up and interviewed. There was a part of me that hoped he'd come back and report that while they loved him (of course), he didn't like them/the office/the management/whatever, so nothing would have to change. But no, he loved them. It's exactly where he wants to be. We spent another week or so living in two adjacent universes -- one where we would be moving soon, very soon maybe; and one where nothing was going to change. Those two things don't go very well together, especially when you (ehem, me) are a planner by trade.

On Tuesday the 22nd, they called and offered him the job. He took the obligatory day or two to discuss it and tell his own bosses, and accepted. His start date is Dec 2. Friday Oct 25, it was official. We were leaving.

It had been an emotionally exhausting few weeks. That night Chris plopped down in his big chair and said, "I am so tired. I could just go to bed right now and sleep for days!"

"NO!!!" I shouted. "This is where the fun part starts!!!!"

... because now I can start organizing, color-coding, packing, and throwing things out.

This part is where I shine!

... to be continued.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Big news!!!

No, I'm not pregnant ... why doesn't everyone keep asking me that?

We're MOVING!!! Like for real moving. Away away. The husband got a new job and we're packing up and moving back to Massachusetts. I quit my job.

holy hell, I quit my job. WHO DOES THAT?!?!?!

I'm gonna do the mom thing until we're settled, then I'll pick up my Childbirth Ed stuff where I've left off (which is almost done! More on that bit of craftiness later). I have some freelance stuff in the works too.

But for the first few months or so, I'm going to be Rowan's Momma, LLC. Full time, no benefits (except hugs, I guess). But guess what you guys, Pinterest is just bursting with all those awesome moms and all the adorable educational shit they do with their kids all day. I could BE one of those moms! Also, I'm always complaining that the SAHMs have all the cool activities to themselves, like Toddler Yoga that's only allowed at 11am on Tuesdays when the rest of us are working. I'm about to infiltrate that secret society of daytime parenting ... I'll report back if I discover anything unsavory.

So yes, stay tuned for:
1) posts about moving and how I'm awesome at it.
2) posts about figuring out crafty things to do with my kid for 8 hours a day.
3) posts about knitting Christmas gifts for everyone because we can't afford to buy Christmas gifts this year because I just quit my job ... seriously, who does that?

Or no posts at all because I'll be taking care of that kid all day. He's kind of a handful. Though my first plan of attack is to set him up with a day planner. We'll make sure to schedule "blogging" in there. Also naps. For me.

Saturday, October 19, 2013


We're actually having a Halloween party this year! Ro has a few little friends (more like I have a few mom friends who have kids Ro's age), and some people from the neighborhood are going to come over. We'll have some snacks, some games for the kiddos, and maybe some liquor for the adults.

Now, we're trying to do this on a budget. (Chris has this whole "If we want to retire when we're 40 you can't buy coffee" sort of mentality right now.) So, to Pinterest it is (I needed a reason?). Also, some of the mommas are a little crunchy, so I'm looking for non-candy things to serve.

First Things First, Costumes:

Ro has been "Roar!"-ing for a few weeks now, so I decided he would enjoy being a monster for Halloween. (At first we had an idea to all be "60's Horror Movie Characters", because he looks like a child from Village of the Damned. I could be Rosemary's Baby, and just wear a nightgown and carry around my weird knitted Childbirth Ed doll, and Chris could be the guy from the Shining. But then I realized that Ro is old enough to 1) know what Halloween is, sort of, and 2) know what things are scary. So I didn't want things to be too scary, and also that I he wouldn't understand the irony of his costume. So Monster/Dinosaur it is.)

Plus this costume idea is relatively free.

DIY Halloween Costume : DIY Dinosaur Costume DIY Halloween

1 Sweatshirt (which he needed anyway)
3 Sponges (which we had under the sink)
Additional spots/teeth made of felt (which I had leftover from R's car mat)

And the best part, the sponges are glued to a string that I just pinned to the sweatshirt, so as of November 1, it magically becomes a sweatshirt again (though I may leave the felt teeth).


Still working on mine. Is "Monster Wrangler" a thing?


For munching and mingling ...

Grave-yard 7-layer dip. Adorb.
Graveyard Dip

Sweet Chex Mix with Reese's Pieces. Crack.
Perfect for Fall: Crunchy Peanut Butter Chex mix (with Reese's pieces)...

Hot ...

Mummies in a Blanket
Mummy Dogs

Witch Fingers (mozzarella sticks with marinara sauce)

Macaroni Jack-o-Lantern. Carve a round loaf like a pumpkin!

To take home, Apple Leather (a.k.a. Healthy Fruit Roll-ups)
Apple Cinnamon Fruit Leather Recipe from


Apple Cider in the cast-iron "cauldron"
(Maybe a 'Witch's Brew' sign on it?)

(again, remember I'm on a budget)

I love these vintagey banners. Banners are so easy to make (just print, cut, tape over a string or piece of yarn, tack to wall. Boom. Decorated).
Very Vintage Halloween Banner 1 by Malia Karlinsky - Yesterday on Tuesday, via Flickr

Spider-Web made from Trash Bag. Genius.

Paper Bats

Treats (for Kids):

A cross between ...
Crafty Halloween Goody Bags

and ...
photo instructions for origami gift bag

and you get ...
(Revised pattern and printable here).

They're a little small, which is GREAT for the whole budget thing, because I can only fit a fit a few little treats. Maybe some candy corn and a pack of stickers.


Monster Bowling
Monster Bowling
(Ro got these for his birthday from Uncle Josh, and they've been put away for a few months so he'll be super excited to see them again)

Pumpkin Decorating
I'm thinking each kid gets a little gourd, and I'll give them crayons, markers, stickers. I figure they can't do too much damage.

Halloween color page, holiday coloring pages, color plate, coloring sheet,printable color picture
This site has all sorts of coloring pages for all different topics/holidays. I'll print out a few and let them go nuts.

I figure those, plus all of Ro's toys (which all the kids will love because they belong to someone else) will keep them entertained for 2 hours.

Origami Goody Bag

In searching for a pattern for a cute Halloween goody bag that did not include the directions, "Take a Paper Bag and ..." (because that involves purchasing paper bags, and not stealing copy paper from my office), I came across this page:

photo instructions for origami gift bag

Cute, but two issues: 1) the bag has the folds in the front, which makes drawing/printing a picture on it tricky, and 2) the page is in French. So I had to do a little playing.

In the end it's a really simple design, as long as you fold the paper in the right places FIRST. I've re-created the French directions below, but I also designed a cute printable template. This shows exactly where to fold the paper from the beginning (flat), so once you get all triangular and you know, folded, it's not so hard. It also shows you where to place your picture, if you want a picture.

Here we go:

1) Start with a sheet of 8.5X11" paper (paper with pictures shown below)


2) Fold the lower-right corner up to make a right-triangle. The top edges should be flush. Unfold.


3) Fold the upper-right corner up to make a right-triangle. Bottom edges should be flush. Unfold.


4) Fold the top edge down and the bottom edge up in thirds. Top end should be flush with seam of bottom fold. Unfold. (Later I will cause this crease the "1/3 crease")


5) Turn over and fold paper in half longways (hot-dog).


6) Pinch opposite diagonal folds and bring together. The intersection of the diagonal folds will become a point. Close into a triangle with folded rectangle on left side. (I know, that's the really tricky part. The pictures probably make more sense than my words.)


7) Fold Left flat along the "1/3 crease".


8) Fold right flap along the "1/3 crease".


9) Fold top point down. Unfold.


10) Turn over and repeat steps 7, 8, and 9. (Later I will call these the "1/3 folds".)


11) Fold bottom square up to crease. Unfold. Turn over and repeat.


12) Fold longways (hot-dog) to crease. Unfold. Turn over and repeat.


13) Cut along creases of bottom square.


14) Flatten top point into square, keeping "1/3 folds" together.


15) Fold the "bottom square" of each "1/3 fold" down into box.


16) Fold down flap of final "bottom square".


17) Fold the sides in, bringing the front and back top edges together.


18) Fold flap over.


19) Decorate and fill with goodies (optional, but recommended).


Here is a basic layout of where a picture would go.


Here are some digital layers. Print at 8.5x11" paper.

Fold Lines
Fold Lines

Layout for Image
Gift Bag Layout

GIft Bag Layout 2
I also have this as a MS Publisher File. If you've come across this and want to edit it yourself, lemme know and I can find a way to upload that as well.

Needs some Halloween gift bags?


pumpkin gift bag

Ghost Gift bag

Frankenstein gift bag

Witch Gift Bag