Feed The Birds – Kid Friendly Bird Feeders

This past week has been very interesting, with literally one strange catastrophe after another for our family.  But we’ve made it through (!!!!)… and have persevered to Easter weekend (somewhat) unscathed.  I’m so glad we’ll be able to celebrate Purim tonight and Easter.  I love Purim… and how wonderful is it that Queen Esther’s faithfulness in spite of her fear and intimidation will be celebrated the same weekend as the Hope of Easter!

Holy Holidays are so special to our family.  I wish you the best this weekend as well, whether you celebrate them or not.

 

If you’re looking for a fun and sweet project to do with your kids to celebrate Spring, making bird feeders is a fun option – and there are a variety of ways depending on what you have around your house to use or what you save.

We listened to this Mary Poppins song, and sang along with it, replayed it.  Corny, yes, but really touching at the same time.  Apparently this song was Walt Disney’s favorite song, he’d have the man who composed it, play it for him on Friday evenings when no one was there in the office.  The man kept playing it even after Disney passed away.

My older son LOVED it, and the baby liked it too 😉

 

123412371238124312501251

The were easy to place over thin branches or on the fence posts with a simple rubber band.  In hindsight, pinecones would have been perfect for this because you can easily tie a string around their stem or even the end part of their body, and hang them so that they dangle down!

But these worked just as well, and the birds were happy, so all was well!

1252

One of our beautiful resident doves.  My grandfather loves hearing doves whenever I go to see him and we take him outside.  His health and alzheimer’s is continuing to decline, but even on his “bad” days, taking him outside and letting him feel the warm from the sun and hear the birds cooing, changes his entire mood.

Birds and nature are just beautiful.

1253

So it took a day or so for our birds to find the feeders, but eventually, even our resident red bird couple found it together.  They are so sweet to watch, always with each other, wherever he is, she is not too far.  And the male sings so beautifully, you can actually sing back to them, and they just might answer you back!

We were ELATED to see them eating off of the feeders…

1286

Where she feeds him some of the birdseed.  Seriously… they are so romantic!

1283.JPG

1290.JPG

 

And these pictures below were taken probably around 20-25 years ago, by my father… who also was a bird lover, and an amateur photographer 😉

I miss him taking pictures.  He was so good.

1130

 

1132

 

1131

Advertisements

Halloween Cookie Cakes

halloweencookiecakeh

This month we’ve made a couple of cookie cakes – one just the size of a personal pizza, and then one really large one (the size of a pizza pan) for a party.  These taste amazing, from a homemade chocolate chip cookie dough recipe from GOOP.  It’s truly easy to do – easier than making cookies even because it takes less time!  And yet it tastes richer than the commercial cookie cakes they overprice.

Enjoy!

Tate’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

Read original issue here

ingredients

makes about 40 cookies

  • 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) lightly salted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (Nestlé can’t really be beat)

preparation

1. Preheat the oven to 350º.

2. Whisk the flour, soda and salt together in a bowl.

3. In another large bowl, mix the butter with a wooden spoon to lighten it a bit and then mix in the sugars.

4. Add the water, vanilla and eggs to the butter mixture.

5. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined and then fold in the chocolate chips.

6. Spread all of the batter evenly across a foiled, greased pizza pan.  It should be about 1/4″ think.

7. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the center is firm and the whole cookie is browned.

8. Let the cake sit in the pizza pan to cool, and leave it in the pan for easy transfer (cookies break).

 Recipe adapted from Tate’s Bake Shop.

Our pictures of this baking pleasure!  My son loves this first pic… says it reminds him of how good it tastes 😉

halloweencookiecakea

It takes only a few minutes to whip up the batter (the only thing that takes awhile is waiting for the butter to soften to Room Temp – but that can be sped up with the microwave).  You can also use any kind of chip… peanut butter, white chocolate (which is divine!), M&M’s work well, or caramel chips.  Doing it homemade gives you endless options to make this your own special cake.

halloweencookiecakeb

If you’re worried about decorating it, don’t worry – with the variety of icing tips out there, you will be able to make a pretty design.  Start with the edges… this is just a simple “star” tip (a classic one at the store) and you just get used to pressing only for a second and out will come this little design.

halloweencookiecakee

 

halloweencookiecakec

For me, I’ve practiced the ghost busters logo, but it’s also easy to write on cake, outlining the letters with another (skinnier tipped) color.  Sprinkles add a great dimension as well, and your kids will love putting them on!

halloweencookiecaked

And the end result!

halloweencookiecakef

 

 

 

 

Passionate or Obsessive?

I have a tendency to be obsessive… not exactly in an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder-kind of way, but definitely a little obsessive about tasks & projects I’m interested in, or that I’m in the throes of completing.  Most people call it being passionate, and I’m not sure if maybe they aren’t the same thing?

I’ve always been this mixture of passion & obsession… even when I was a little girl 🙂  It’s led me to find joy and positivity in even the most mundane tasks that need to get done.

So why does obsession automatically sound like a negative?  Well, to start with, it’s aligned with mania, compulsion, infatuation, addiction, fetish, and an “over-ruling passion,” in the dictionary.  It takes passion to a whole new (and not so desirable) level.

But there is more than just this negative side to obsession, in every kind of art, there has to be a kind of obsession that produces some of the most beautiful pieces of work from a person’s soul.  The right amount of obsession coupled with passion can definitely be a good thing 😉

Color is my day-long obsession, joy and torment.

Claude Monet

 

I marvel at the resilience of the Jewish people. Their best characteristic is their desire to remember. No other people has such an obsession with memory.

Elie Wiesel

I’ve been called many names like perfectionist, difficult and obsessive. I think it takes obsession, takes searching for the details for any artist to be good.

Without obsession, life is nothing.

 

What moves those of genius, what inspires their work is not new ideas, but their obsession with the idea that what has already been said is still not enough.

Eugene Delacroix

Inspiration

5 Beautiful Ideas:

1)  A beautiful Blue Blossom Turban Headband (Anthropologie.com)

anthropologie headband

 2) This Losin Sugar & Creamer (Anthropologie.com)

anthropologie

3) Using mirrors as mock windows to reflect more light into a room (Elledecoration.co.za)

elle mirrors

4) Embellishing simple things like these Damselfly Hair Clips (Anthropologie.com)

anthropologie damslefly combs

5) Great quotes from start up online businesses about making a small business actually work in the longrun (GOOP.com)

 “Solving problems. Start with solving a problem instead of having a technology and then searching for problems it might solve. When you create a problem driven business your roadmap dictates itself.” Instagram

Building only what you need to prove that you can succeedCreate the minimum you can in order to test the hypothesis of whether your business will succeed or not. Polish, and bells & whistles are great, but if you focus on answering whether your fundamental assumptions are correct, you’ll be much better off in the long run.” Instagram

Failure is part of the process – In many ways, you should fail your way to success.

Nobody gets it right the first time, so fail quickly and fail often and learn from each of the steps in order to create a winning strategy.” Instagram

Do what you love. If you enjoy what you’re doing, it won’t feel like work and you are inherently more likely to do well.” Zagat

Don’t quit your day (or night) job. Having a steady income is helpful so you’re not totally dependent on the new project.” Zagat

Real commitment, and patience. I think specifically with internet companies and the dramatic highs and lows we’ve seen in the industry over the last decade, we (myself, our two founders, and our creative director) were sort of conditioned to expect extreme success or failure really quickly. In fact, our success has been about the long-haul, staying focused and committed over time, and keeping each other motivated as a result.” Refinery 29

Be bold. I know this might sound cliché, but the internet is like an instant global broadcasting mechanism for everything you do. Everyone’s watching (or seems to be) 24/7, so that occasionally made me and our other core team members hesitant about moving too quickly on a hire, a project, or producing content that was maybe too risqué. We learned however, and fast, that it’s those big pushes and occasional leaps of faith that really propelled the company forward and got us noticed amid all the competition. Plus, it’s absolutely energizing. You definitely want to contemplate growth and change seriously, but it’s also important not to get stuck in the “what ifs” and circumstances you likely never have control over.” Refinery 29

A Man’s Fantasy

“Men often fantasize about a home life free of stress and worry.  After work each day, his wife greets him lovingly at the door and his well-behaved children are also glad to see him.  He enters the comfort of a well-maintained home as his wife urges him to relax before taking part in dinner, the aroma of which he can already smell wafting through the air.

Conversation at dinner is enjoyable and free of conflict.  Later the family goes out together for an early evening stroll, and he returns to put the children to bed with no hassle or fuss.  Then he and his wife relax and talk together, watch a little television, and go to bed to make love, all at a reasonable hour.”

I know what you’re thinking… yea, right!  In all the marriage advice and books I’ve ever read (and I worked in a bookstore the first year of our marriage, so I had total access to the entire marriage section… it was a bookworm’s dream job), I’ve always seen this repeated that it seems that most men truly desire a tranquil home.  Women do to, but somehow it seems to be less of a need for us.

Having a peaceful, calm, clean home is usually vital to a man’s happiness in marriage, but how most families are two-parent working homes, finding the time to create that kind of tranquil environment can be extremely difficult!

Here are some ideas I’ve found to be helpful to me personally:

  1. Divide up the household chores among the two of you where you each assume tasks that you’d actually enjoy doing.  A good rule of thumb is to pick the things that drive you crazy when they aren’t done – assume responsibility for those tasks yourself, things you don’t mind doing, or want done in a certain way.
  2. Enlist the help of your children when they are old enough and for age-appropriate tasks.
  3. Take time to fully organize sections of the house one-by-one if you haven’t already.  Organize into 3 piles: throw away, donate, keep.  The “keep” items need to be put into a place that will be their permanent home in the house – everything needs a place in order to keep the house tranquil and clean.
  4. Once organized, take time each day before dinner to do a quick 15 minute tidy-up.  This really works for us and my son even joins in putting away all the toys he got out that day, making his play room look well-kept and just as it did before the day started.
  5. Use just one day out of the week to do the sweeping/mopping & bathroom cleaning – blast some fun crazy music & use the list of divided chores helps you both to get through it faster and while having fun even!

Of course, it’s not always possible to keep to any rules of housekeeping… some weekends are busier than others, if your children are involved in sports or other activities, you might be away from home too often to keep the house up.  Go easy on yourself and make little changes at first, but don’t underestimate the peaceful beauty that is relaxing in your clean well-kept home 🙂  It is supposedly better for your emotional health, heart-rate, and overall sense of tranquility.

(quote from His Needs Her Needs by Dr. Willard F. Harley)

Super Bowl

Our sweet friends are having a huge Super Bowl party at their house today, the wife is 6 months pregnant and a friend of mine for a couple of years now – so I offered to help her clean her house yesterday.  In case you don’t know, when you are 6 months pregnant, you really don’t feel like cleaning anything, and she had the pressure of many many people coming over!  I remember how it was to be pregnant and feel yucky/awful, most of the time… and oh so tired!  I decided she shouldn’t have to do it alone.

I’m excited to say, I’m going to be making some theme related Super Bowl treats for the party later, definitely some cookies with white cream-cheese frosting and sprinkles the colors of the teams (Blue-Orange) & (Blue-Green).

Here are some pictures of ideas – have fun at the parties friends, I know we will ❤ !!!!

queso dip

Easy Cheesy Queso Dip

Ingredients 

1lb ground sausage 2 lbs Velveeta, roughly cubed 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese 1 can of Rotel Tortilla chip for serving
Recipe Source with Instructions
 

And to have a healthier option at the party, Fruit displays:

fruit

(image from Pinterest)
 

Cupcake Themes:

cupcakes

With adorable direction at Cupcakes & Cashmere