Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Quick Update

Just a quick update...

Last week was full of events. We had the city inspector come in to check the plumbing. We failed. Yay. There's a problem with the bath tub. The solution involves a cresent wrench and possibily a blow torch. I plan on documenting this. So look forward to that in the future!

I also went to book club. It was fantastic. I love both the ladies in book club and the time spent with them. I just picked up next month's book club, The Art of Racing in the Rain and can't wait to begin reading it.

And we had A.'s school conference. School conferences now as the parent are terrifiying by the way. I just wanted his teachers to get to the point. I know he's a bright, caring boy. Though that is comforting and always makes me smile, I just wanted them to say it. And eventually they did. A. is a charming boy who is not making progress in his speech

The recommendation is for more intensive speech therapy starting in January when he turns 3. His education will then be taken over by the local public school system through the special education department. He will go half days, four days a week. His official diagnosis is apraxia of speech and is the reason being turned into the state for justification of special needs preschool. It is a diagnosis we had been waiting for. One that is not a suprise in the least. It is a diagnosis that means A.'s speech could still take years to correct but that in the end, no one really knows how long it could take.

But it will be okay. A. likes school. He is getting the help he needs and we are blessed to be in a community that offers such fantastic early intervention services. We even went and looked at back packs today. A. picked out a bee one from Skip Hop.

We plan on picking it up for him as one of his Hanukkah gifts. It will be a new adventure for all of us.

Monday, October 17, 2011

My $3 DIY Yarn Wrapped Letter

I'm not sure about you, but I have always had a soft spot for crafts. I use to spend my money on crafts magazine. Serouisly, what dork of an eight year old spends money on old lady craft magazines with felted snow men on the front. This dork.

So ever since the internet has spurred millions of bloggers to come up with craft DIY ideas, I have always kept an eye out for ideas I figured I might actually be able to do. Because you see, I love the idea of crafts, I'm just not very crafty due to lack of motivation. Oh yes, I'll pin lots of ideas. Crap, I even pin ideas of crafts to do for and with A. But I don't actually ever do any of them. So I decided enough was enough, I had to pick one idea.

So I decided to cover a medium sized "J" with yarn. This post by the way, is not a step-by-step one, maybe the original pin shows it, I was personally too lazy. Anyways, I picked up a medium sized craft letter for $2.49 and then used a small portion, maybe $0.30 worth of yarn covering it and $0.20 of ribbon.  But really, I don't even remember when I bought this ribbon and I don't exactly love the color but going out to buy new ribbon would have required me to wrangle A. into the car. Screw that. Then I hung it on our front porch.

Simple, yes? Kinda. I mean, wrapping yarn isn't hard. It just slips a lot so I ended up using clear scotch tape to help hold the yarn in place while I wrapped it, specially on the curves. The only other part that I hadn't originally thought about was that I had to map out how to cover the tops of the letters. I wrapped those first, then wrapped around the J. I was able to after doing the curves and securing them a bit better take all but one piece of tape off, the one on the outside of the curve of the bottom on the J. I'm sure if I could locate any of the four tubes of super glue I own, this would look less trashy, but for now, it's fine.

This tape issue combined with my cat who wouldn't stop messing with the yarn, she attempted to eat it three times, made for a simple craft. Overall, for around $3, I'm pleased with my craft. Would I make a whole word out of these? Uh, no. One letter is fine.

Then again, my in-laws said they liked it. So perhaps I could make some letters for them for the holidays for their house? Oh yeah, did I forget to mention that before? They bought their own house... two months ago. Opps. Yeah. And whether anyone believes me or not, I actually do miss them.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Apple Carrot Muffins

So the other day we went just a tad overboard in picking apples. How far overboard? Um, we are the proud owners of 21.6lbs of apples. In our defense, it doesn't even look like that much. Just two large bags of apples, jonagold and empire. We were too lazy to wander through the orcharid in search of the few remaining honey crisp.

With so many apples and A. having school on Tuesday I figured we should combine this and make a recipe that involved apples for his teachers who if they choose, can share with the kids (the kids already have set snacks, this would merely be extra). I had just pinned these carrot apple muffins orginally from Food Babbles and thought that with some small modifications and a topping, they would be perfect. The recipe even seemed simple enough A. could help. How did he help?

He ate the carrots I was trying to shred for the muffins. I even took a picture of him helping. See all that ranch? Yup, helping :)

Anyways, the modifications I made were to decrease the carrot and increase the apple. I opted to use butter because for once, I didn't have apple sauce in the house and going to the store would have required me to put a bra on and I simply wasn't motivated enough for that. I also used allspice instead of all the individual spices because I didn't have ground ginger in the house. Pumpkin pie spice would have worked nicely too but I stopped searching the cupboard when I found the allspice. I also added almond extract because my mom swears every baked good should have both vanilla and almond and I don't argue with my mom on baked goods, hers are wonderful! I also doubled the recipe because I probably will only make these muffins once, not due to flavor, but due to laziness so I wanted to maxamize my baking.

I then added a topping. Muffins are yummy by themselves, but with a topping they are even better. The crumb topping that I always use comes from Heavenly Homemakers and is wonderful. It adds a nice touch.

Overall the muffins came out very moist. But these took forever to make. Maybe it's because I was trying to make breakfast, eat and blog at the same time, but three hours later I had these muffins. Yay.

Apple Carrot Muffins
*makes 41 regular sized muffins. Yes, 41. I don't know who these people are that can make exact dozens of things, but I'm not one of them. No, I make odd numbers of things even using a cookie scoop to ensure all the muffins are the same size.

3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons all spice

2/3 cups honey
2 eggs
1 cup milk
2/3 cups melted butter (which is 11 tablespoons I discovered)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2 cups grated or finely sliced apples (I used 1 cup each of empire and jonagold)
1 cup shredded carrots

Crumb Topping (optional but yummy)
1/2 cup quick oats
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 cup melted butter

In a bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and allspice.

In a seperate bowl combine honey, eggs, milk, melted butter, vanilla and almond extract.

Combine flour mixture with honey mixture.

Add in apples and carrots. Mix well. Scoop into muffin tins.

If making topping, combine oats, sugar, flour, allspice and butter and mixture together with a fork. Add a spoonful to each muffin.

Bake at 400 degrees for 10-14 minutes. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Apple Picking and Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah started on Wednesday at sunset. I should have mentioned it earlier of course, but we didn't get around to celebrating it until last night with a nice relaxing shabbot dinner. Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish new year and is a time for deep personal reflection. Today though we continued our celebration by picking apples.

Why picking apples? Well apples and honey are traditional foods for Rosh Hashanah to remind us of starting the new year out on a sweet note. So we went to one of the local apple orcharids that offers a u-pick option.

It's also a great tie in for A. for school because they have been learning about apples. I'm hoping to find a receipe that is fairly healthy using all the apples we picked for a treat for his classmates.

He loved picking the apples right off the tree. It took a bit for him to get the idea but eventually he got the hang of pulling them off the tree.

Happy Rosh Hashanah!