July 28, 2010

Prototyping Again

New cardboard things are afoot here! If only I had a production line of more than one - then I think these announcements wouldn't be quite so far apart. But still - soon, the frabjous day when the Little Tollbooth will join the ranks of the forty-two roads cardboard toys currently out there being enjoyed.

Behold, the prototype!



I wish I'd had the forethought to take pictures of each of the permutations and incarnations that led to this final tiny thing - four hours of cutting out! It would have made a great stop-motion animation movie. If I knew how to put together that sort of thing, that is.

Oh, and - a Photoshopped architect-y rendering, because I couldn't resist:

July 26, 2010

Fairy Princess Knight and Her Sparkle Horse

It's medieval month at the Philadelphia Art Museum's children's program, which of course equals awesomeness. What's cooler than knights and castles and armor and swords? Pretty much nothing. (Oh, and if you haven't checked out all the family stuff they've got going on Sundays, you're totally missing out. Go. Seriously.) Lara made some amazing stuff there this weekend, we worked on it more at home yesterday, and today we learned about the wonders of Photoshop.

Awesome shield and sword + crown and fairy wings = Fairy Princess Knight

fighting face

Fairy Princess Knight + the sparkle horse named Sparkles = Mounted Journey

lara knight & sparkle horse

Mounted Journey + Awesome castle = A Quest to Search for Vanilla Ice Cream for the King of the Castle and Also to Find the Treasure

lara princess knight

Awesome castle - Fairy Princess Knight = A Need for the Army of Royal Protectors

lara army

July 23, 2010

Book Club Eats

Book club was at our house last night. One of the amazing things about moving out of the apartment is that now we can actually have people over. Before? One kid in bedroom one, another in bedroom two, and the two of us trapped in the living room in the middle trying as hard as possible to make no noise. Not really conducive to dinner partying. But now - an upstairs! A downstairs! Dedicated rooms for sleeping! Other, completely unrelated rooms for eating! Amazing.

And of course, part of the excitement is the novelty. Honestly, even mowing the grass - twice so far in my life! - is a whole new kind of fun. (No, seriously, we argued over who got to do it the second time. A detente was reached when we decided to take turns.) So, yes, novelty - and perhaps one too many episodes of "Top Chef" and all the talk of plating and layering flavors. Which is not at all to say that I do that, or am good at it - but, you know, it's there, in the back of my mind as I set up the food.

So yes: last night's food. Here is some of it:

prosciutto cups w balsamic nectarines & blueberries

Prosciutto cups with balsamic nectarines and blueberries. A big hit, will definitely make again. (Put squares of prosciutto into muffin baking tray cups, bake at 375 for 13-15 minutes, immediate take out and drain on paper towels. Chop up peaches or nectarines, add raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries, and toss with balsamic vinegar. Right before serving, scoop fruit into prosciutto cups.)

cucumbers w/ goat cheese & w/ hummus & tomatoes

Cucumber slices two ways: 1) with hummus, purslane leaves, and heirloom grape tomatoes; and 2) with goat cheese spread and spinach leaves. Always yummy. (The goat cheese spread is killer: three parts goat cheese, one part whipped cream cheese, 1-2 tablespoons of milk, give or take to make a spreadable consistency. Add pressed garlic and tons of dill.)

sangria

And to drink - a wine punch. I'd call it sangria, but apparently real sangria has cognac in it. But this was delicious: two bottles of white zinfandel, 5 tablespoons of sugar, and diced peaches, nectarines, plums, grapes, and blueberries. I'm betting any kind of fruit combo will work. The key is just to mix it and let it stand in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours.

We also had some waffle crackers with Nutella and peach sauce for dessert and some fried eggplant with pita chips and hummus. Yummy all around.

July 20, 2010

Little Kitchen Update: A Better Shelf

Hey everyone - guess what? Years of rigorous product testing have demonstrated that the Little Kitchen's upper shelf has a tendency to sag. But have no fear! We (ahem... I) here at forty-two roads have just developed a quick fix for this problem:



The fix is free for those who have already bought a set of Little Kitchen instructions. To get it, you can either email me, or download it from the link on the right. For everyone else, this better, stronger shelf has been integrated into the 2nd edition of the instruction booklet!

July 16, 2010

Breakfast of Champions

And by champions I am of course referring to those of us who have napping babies.

dessert - peach honey sauce

Homemade passion fruit/earl grey iced tea with a mint twist, multigrain toast with Nutella and honey peach sauce. Mmmmm...

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Iced tea is super easy! Boil 10 cups of water, then steep 4-5 teabags for 10 minutes (I used 3 passion fruit to 1 earl grey. Take out the teabags, and add honey to taste. Then pour mixture over 5-6 cups of ice cubes and refrigerate.

The peach sauce is from Martha, but substituting honey for maple syrup. I bet it would taste good the other way too. Next time I will probably halve the butter, though.

July 15, 2010

Then and Now

Then... Lara at 14 months:



Now... Jakey at almost 14 months:



We call this "upside down baby" - and now, just like his big sister before him, Jakey can do this semi-yogarific pose on demand.

Our happy little guy!

July 13, 2010

Two New Skirts

That post title is pretty WYSIWYG. I wish I had some curve ball to throw your way here - "You were expecting clothing! But instead I bring you... um... steaks!" - but, today we are literal.

Up first: a linen number with pockets! Which I didn't make, since they were already on the giant man pants that were reconned. But still, yay, pockets!

skirt - brown linen from misha's pants

And then: a lovely silk number that was both too big and had a huge rip. Ah, but as we all know, multiplying two negatives makes a positive, and so I hid the sewn-up rip inside one of the several ensmallening darts.

skirt - brown silk with blue flowers from nancy

(That's right, Blogger.com Spell Check, "ensmallening" is now a word. Because I said so, that's why.)

July 2, 2010

Lara's artwork

Hi everyone.
Anna's been super busy with a variety of projects, both craft-centric (and interesting) and real-life required/revenue generating (less interesting).
However, Lara's picking up the creative slack - witness her deciding to recreate one of her favorite pages from her new favorite book, The Adventures of Isabel.

Lara sat down, copied the picture using marker and crayon, and then got frustrated because she didn't know how to color her picture black, like the book. So I daddy-style photographed it, and ran upstairs with her, and introduced her to the magic of Adobe Photoshop. Daddy-style, again; if Anna had been photoshopping Lara's picture, it would be much more uniform... but I had to whip this up while a very-cranky-should-already-be-in-bed-4-year-old waited... so here's what Lara came up with (for a picture of Isabel, in bed, being set upon by a bad dream):


(marker, crayon, and a touch of Adobe's "paintbucket." Lara signed it 21st century style, and credited me as her assistant. She's the best. I love the giant Isabel hair/wings, and the huge nostrils. Lara said the nostrils are how the dream-monster breathes fire. Did I mention she's the best?)

Exploring

In...



... and out.



Also, just after this, there was an incident involving every rainbow ice cream sprinkle we own and the floor, but in my horror I didn't capture it on camera. I also made some yummy food, but that didn't get photographed either because - well, again, sprinkles, floor, horror.