Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bone Bread

I saw this idea in a Family Fun magazine.  It doesn't get much easier.  It would be cute for a Dinosaur themed party as well, and I was in the mood for dinosaurs after visiting Dinosaur Valley (which I posted about in my last post). 
I bought bread sticks in a can, cut the edge of each stick, and curled down the side. 
I sprayed the sticks down with spray butter, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese, and baked as direct. 

Dinosaur Valley

This past weekend I headed into the Texas Hill Country.  I passed a state park we used to frequent when I was younger, Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, Texas.  It is about 2 hours outside of Dallas, and down some really pretty two lane highways.  That's my favorite kind of drive.  It was a cloudy day, but I snapped a few pictures anyway.  The camping area wasn't as big as I remembered, but I do remember playing around in the dinosaur footprints when I was younger, and imagining them walking down this valley. 
There are four sites with footprints present (Actually, just three, the 4th has eroded since I was little, so I guess it goes without saying, this is a rare treat, getting rarer each year). 
 It's not as easy to traverse down to the river as I remember, despite the stairs, it's a little steep.  The mud didn't help. 
You can see some of the prints from above. 
I did get close to this set of prints. 
The largest prints were completely cover with the excess of rain we've been having over the last month, but there are several different dinosaur prints present, and there's nothing like standing in those footprints in the summer months.  You can also swim down the slowly moving river.  There is a place called 'Dinosaur World' outside the State Park Gates that was pretty crowded, and there is a Nuclear Power Plant you can tour.  I did this, but I don't remember it well, but I'm pretty sure this is where I gained my super powers.  I can't tell you want they are b/c I have to maintain my day to day identity, and if you knew....well, I'd never have time to save the world with all the autographs I'd be forced to sign.  (Christy's superpower-overexageration, dramatization, and an occasional dip in the world of procrastination.)  Glen Rose also has a small antiquing area, but I went through the town too late, which means I just have to add it to the list of places to stop next time around.  Life is so rough!  This afternoon....I'll post a Dinosaur World inspired treat.  Get your popcorn ready for that show...or not. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Little Fun with...Fruit Salad


There is a gal at church (Sandee) who brings this fruit salad to most of our parties, and it's where I head first in the food line. She was gracious enough to share her recipe with me. I love it, and it's so easy to make.
Mix 1 container of light cool whip, one 3.4 oz package of fat free/sugar free instant vanilla pudding. Add 1 6 oz can of chunked pineapple with the juice, 1 10 oz jar of maraschino cherries, drained, 1 c. mini marshmallows, 1 8 oz can of Mandarin oranges, drained, 1 c. walnuts, chopped, 2 green apples, peeled, and cored, and 1 green apple, peeled and cored. Serve cool.
As for the orange bowl, I carved the top like a pumpkin, removed the innards with a melon scoop, and made these my serving dishes. I like 'em.  I made this months ago, and saved the picture until...whenever.  This would be cut with a little carved pumpkin face (I've seen this done before), or a drawn pumpkin face.  But really, who cares if it's cute, it's delicious, and that's how I pick a meal!  Oh wait...I do care, I care deeply if it's cute, but....I didn't think about it until later....as I started seeing pumpkins pop up at the store.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cupcake Topped Cupcake


I saw this idea at confessionsofacookbookqueen, and it made me smile. I had an extra cupcake once upon a time (mostly b/c I got tired with whatever project I was currently constructing), so I tried out this cupcake topped cupcake. I think with some fun liners, and a passion for piping this could be really cute. I was running on E at the time of this, but I had to share the idea.
The cupcake is pretty basic, and then you just add your Mini Cupcake.
Mini Cupcake Construction included a mini Peanut Butter Cup, Icing, and Cherry Berry sprinkles I bought at Michal's, but you could also use Sixlets, or a mini red M&M.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Halloween Broom Cookies

I saw this idea in a magazine standing in a line at the store.  I don't remember the magazine, but I can site the store that sold the magazine, will that count?  How about if I just say, it's not my ideas, but I thought it was kinda cute, and more importantly, it gave me an excuse to bake some peanut butter cookies!  I made some homemade cookie dough, but they also sell it in a tube in the refrigerated section at the store.  I molded the cold dough into the shape of a broom, and made the 'straw lines' with the back of a knife.  I'd probably go ahead and dip these in sugar next time (I like my PB cookies rolled in sugar before baking, but didn't do that this go round). 
The thing with PB cookies are that they usually don't spread too much, so they hold their shape really well as they bake, and the imprints you make pre-baking remain.  As soon as my cookies came out, I slipped a pretzel rod into each warm cookie. 
I'd make my cookies a little bit smaller next time, I think I was a LITTLE hungry when I made these cookies.  I also would like to pause and appreciate the powdered sugar drips that have nothing to do with these cookies, but another project I was finishing up.  I'm, obviously, running a really tidy work space.
When my cookies were cooled, I spooned melted chocolate over the cookies, this helped firm up the broom top to the bottom, and made them a little more colorful.  In the picture I browsed in the story they drizzled orange chocolate over the melted chocolate, but I just used left over sprinkles I had.  It's one less bottle I need to add to my will.  My imaginary great grand kids say, 'Thank you.' for this small change. 
I'm off to call my imaginary lawyer about the sprinkles count on page 19,245 of crap I'm leaving to my Great-Grandkids in a will.  And then I'm going to go join an online dating site so I can find someone to someday have Great Grandkids with, just as soon as I finish this plate of cookies.  Or not.
Linking To:
Free Pretty Things

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Traveling Pin Cushion


This past summer I attended a sewing/scrapbooking retreat.  One of my favorite things about retreats (other than actually getting 'stuff' done) is discovering new toys and doodads the others bring along.  One sewing gal brought along this little pill bottle someone made her as a 'hello' gift at another retreat she attended. 
She carries it with her along with a little pouch with some hand piecing fabric projects.  She said she brought this to jury duty a few weeks prior.  All the sudden 'doing my civic duty' doesn't sound so bad.  I could not find the pill bottles with the dual tops (one side twist on, the other snaps on), and I had a LOT of drug popping family members and friends I interviewed in hopes of locating these (apparently) rare jewels.  I did finally get this little bottle with a small indention via Zee, thanks Zee. 
I used some left over quilting fabric, and covered it with a scrap of fabric (any cotton would do).  I sewed the bottom together with the cotton inside for the pins to push into later. 
I used super glue, and held it firmly to the top while it dried.  I filled it with pins, needles, a small bobbin etc, and now....I'm ready for jury duty.
Linking To:
Sassy Sites

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Handled Travel Pillow

This is the beginnings of a gift for a friend that doesn't check my blog....because he's 8 months old.  I'm sure when he is 10 months he'll check it daily.  I just needed to make an excuse give a reason for why I'm breaking my 'don't post before you give the gift, 2010 Resolution plan of action' for the 1,234 time this month.  If the 8 month old part doesn't work, this is also just the beginnings of his gift.  Anyway, let's not talk about that anymore because it's not fun for me.  A few months ago I made a little travel bag filled with activity bags for the cutest girl under the age of 2 in my family.  I wrote about it here.  BUT THEN I saw the idea for making travel pillows on Sugar Bee's site here.  I think this is so clever b/c you can fill it with a travel pillow, AND toss a few other things (books, games, activities) to bring along on the plane/train/automobile in the pillow/bag.   I love the idea of the handle on the pillow for this purpose.   His nursery is animal themed, and I had some jungle fabric I bought at some point b/c I liked it.  I may add an initial like I did for Blythe, or I may just add goodies. 
As for a simplified version of the process.  I bought some pillow cases, but then I figured out that I didn't actually have to use pillow cases, I could use fabric.  I had some left over sheet fabrics from the barn play tent I made,  I sewed a collection of fabric together after eye-balling the size I'd need the pillow case to be...
I then attempted to stitch a thick zig-zag into a rectangle so I could cut out the middle fabric, and he would have a sturdy carrying handle. 
I sewed down the sides inside out, turned it right side out,  and now I just have to worry about what other things I'll include in this little bag.  You bet there will be a book...or four.  It's the teacher in me.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Galveston Island, Texas

Two years, and 11 days ago, Hurricane Ike swept through Galveston Island, and it completely smashed 100 years of hard work.  I went three months after the hurricane to the vacation destination I'd been heading to with my Mom, who went with her Mom, who went with her Mom, and I was bowled over by just how completely the hurricane knocked out this island built to stand up to some pretty significant bouts of mother nature.  I wrote about it here.  At that time, the only thing on the island were workers, and their trucks, a McDonald's, a Wing's, and the dust of all the buildings that once were.  I'm sure it was my imagination at work, but I found it hard to even breath.  All my favorite stores and hotels were closed.  You never know if, when, and how a place will start over, but I'm happy to report, Galveston is on the mend.  Galveston certainly doesn't have the best beach, but it has one of my favorite stories.  Once upon a time, it called itself the New York City of the south, and remnants of that life are left in it's downtown area. 
I love the mansions, and the colorful wooden frame houses (which I didn't take photos this time around, next time...), and The Strand shopping district that still tells those stories.  We spent a good part of two days shopping on the Strand. 
This strip of stores houses some of the cutest boutiques on planet earth.  They moved in when the cruise terminals built ports here ten or so years ago.  I think the cruises probably go a long way towards helping Galveston begin the process of recovery.  There are still stores that are closed, there are still stores that are suffering from their loss.  The Strand and ports, along the bay had water 8+ feet flood their stores.  This is also the slice of land the pirate, Jean Lafitte called home.
Mom and I also spent time along the sea wall.  The last time I was here, the only thing left of Murdoch's Bath House were a few walls holding one rack of nothing (seen in the link above). 
There is a picture of my mom's mom standing on these steps on one of their  mother/daughter trips.  I had my Mom and Aunt stand here a few years ago and made a little shadow box dedicated to this girl's tradition. 

Someday my cousin and I will stand on these steps, for awhile I wasn't sure if there would be steps to stand on to take that picture. 
I made them each a shadowbox for gifts one year. 
Murdoch's rebuilt their great porch overlooking the gulf, with rockers, and drink concessions. 
There is still a lot to rebuild along the seawall, and along a huge portion of the wall there isn't much beach left. 
The sea wall was built after the 1900 hurricane.  They elevated the Island 17 feet by pumping in sand, and built this wall, rock barrier, and outcroppings to help combat some of the waves the hurricanes bring in.  This fishing pier appears to be at the beginning stages of it's rebirth, the beach...not so much.  There were a lot of people fishing from these shore lines when we were there. 
They did import more sand for the areas near some of the larger hotels and shops. 
It's interesting b/c this brought the sand higher up along the wall.  One of the things I like most about Galveston is that you can drive down the main street and see the beach b/c there are not hotels and shops blocking your view, like most beach towns.  They have a really wide walking path along the wall as well, though I can't say I've spent much time walking the length of the wall, unless it's from ice cream shop to store. 
We decided on Saturday to take the ferry over to the Bolivar Peninsula (this area got hit the hardest two years ago). 
They have an exposed oyster bed, and some really great birding along the peninsula's water ways. 
I can't wait to see where Galveston is two years from now.  A lot of the buildings are gone, but the history isn't, and the future is definitely well on it's way to being a bright one.  :O) 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Johnson Space Center

Alternative Title:  Feeding My Inner Nerd

I have driven down I-45 from Dallas to Houston several times a year, almost every year, and I have never stopped at the Johnson Space Center.  If I had thought about it, I would have wanted to go, but I just never did...think about it, that is.  I have to say it's one of the best 'thoughts' I've had in awhile.  One important detail, admission was only 15 dollars (about 35 dollars cheaper than Florida's station, though that's still on my list too).  I took Friday off work a week or so ago to go to the beach with my Mom to celebrate her birthday.  We took an extra day so the weekend wouldn't be so rushed, and with a few more hours to add to my weekend vacation, I thought this might be a fun stop.  It's right off of 45 between Houston, and Galveston.  It's September, so not too many groups have booked their trips to the center yet, and it was a work day, and most people were...at work.  Go figure. 
I didn't have any idea what to expect, and initially, upon exploring the museum, it met my expectations.  I've always loved stars, space, and just Mother Nature's nightly show (a little harder to appreciate in the suburbs, but....I try).  The Planetarium was my favorite field trip in school, so...I knew a space center would feed that positive memory, and it did. 
I have to add, if I had kids with me, this would also be a PERFECT spot.  They had a ginormous play area.  Seriously, it was made for big and little kids alike, and they were having a blast.  There's a food court, and a gift shop...or two with all sorts of fun things.  Like the ever, wonderful, space ice cream. 
The museum also had a lot of informative movies, and the one movie I sat down for explained America's roll in the space race, and the journey that followed.  The movie also housed this podium...
This is the actual podium President Kennedy used to make his famous speech about America's commitment to getting the first man on the moon.  Mission Accomplished. 
They had an area with all sorts of tools, and machines used in space.  Along with moon rocks. 
There are a collection of these, but there is also another building on site that houses the largest collection of moon rocks...anywhere, well, assuming you don't count the 'moon' as an anywhere.  How about 'anywhere' on Earth?
There were several areas with simulations you could walk through that shows you what the inside of different space stations, and shuttles look and feel like.  The 'pilots seat.'
There are so many pictures I could share from this experience, with lots of shiny things, and flying objects, but I only get so much time before I run people off, including my future self, so I need to talk about my favorite part of the museum that I had no idea existed, and made this far exceed my expectations.  Every thirty minutes a tram takes off.  I actually had no idea where the tram went, or that there was anywhere for the tram TO go.  I got on anyway, it took you from the museum to the actual working parts of NASA.  Who knew 'NASA' in Houston is more than a place with a gift shop?  There was a little town of thousands of these space people, and all the buildings that house their research. 
Here is my #1 favorite building.  Mission Control.  You know, "Houston, we have a problem." MISSION CONTROL!
No windows.  I don't know why. I do know the flag on top marks the center of NASA's site, and the American flag flies as long as there is an American in space.  It has flown for 10 years (and counting). 
They then took us inside.
This IS Mission Control.  When shuttles take off, this is where the talking happens.  It's hard to see in my picture, but each spot is labeled with the job of who sits in each seat.  The right screen was currently showing a collection of weather data (mostly over Florida where the shuttles take off).  The middle screen cited the space station's current route, with all sorts of other information I can't remember, the third screen had a live shot of NASA's Florida site.  The plaques on the left hand wall are all the successful mission.  Each plaque is the patch design the crew gets to design before their flight.  Not shown in this picture are the missions in process plaques on the right hand wall, or those about to happen, and a memorial to those that did not make it home. 
In another room, there are another set of seats much like this that were being manned.  They are manned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and they are in constant communication with Russia, and the International Space Station.  It's where all the directions are given.  I can't even do all the fun information justice. 
Here's another building on site.  This is where the astronauts stay a week + before their flights.  They are quarantined in this building so the missions don't need to be scratched due to illness etc.   It's a 'green' building, I'm sure that matters, but I'm glad to know NASA is doing it's part to save the Earth while it explores the rest of the universe. 
This is a grove of trees on site with memorial plaques. There is one tree planted for each astronaut that has been lost in action. 
This little sandbox is actual a training site for the astronauts.  They come out here to simulate the moon's surface.  (The 0 gravity simulation pool is also near here, but we didn't see it).
Another building we toured was a training site.  The astraunauts train here before heading to space, and there were all sorts of machines, toys, and science attached to that.  There is a 'mock' shuttle set up.  The astronauts in training live and work here.  There were shiny scrapes along the shuttle from where they practice emergencies exits in full gear.  There was a gigantic 'arm' on site where they practice moving objects in space, and there were currently trainees on site practicing repairs in space....and lots and lots more, but my memory bank is filled to capacity.  I'm going to save some for *you* to learn for the first time on the visit.
We were driven past a ton of other interesting buildings, there is a 'kitchen' where all space food is manufactured. 
And then there is this building that houses an actual shuttle. 
This was a mission that got scratched because of the Vietnam War.
All I can say is that shuttles are much bigger than I could have even imagined. 
I guess I can end with, NASA far exceeded my expectations.  I'd say it was 'Out of this Word' if I wouldn't make myself throw up by saying something that cliche. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Arrrrr! Pirate Tutu Costume

I guess this says a little something about my personality.  I've been making costumes to be posted in the next few weeks, and yesterday I decided I could not live one more day without making a 'pirate' tutu costume.  I tried to convince my cousin to let his daughter wear this, and I got really close....maybe next time.  She gets outfit #2...to be shared soon.  In the meantime, I will now go find a friend who wants a little pirate for Halloween.  I like to invent friendships around Halloween just so I can make costumes for my new friend's kids.  I guess there is a costume designer trapped in me.  She's not all that skilled with the sewing machine, but her eagerness and dedication makes up for it.  Ironically, I detest wearing costumes of any kind.  So, maybe I just like torturing small children.  Yes, I teach your children.  Fine, it's a joke, I promise!   I only like torturing fellow adults.  Their screams aren't as high pitched.  Maybe I need a pirate costume?   Here is my super easy pirate process b/c I know the world is going to want to grab on to this idea and dress all their little pumpkin-pie-face-cuties as fierce tutu totting pirates this Halloween. 
I used the Life's a Beach Cricut cartridge and printed off a 4 inch skull. 
I placed the outline on a onsie, and dabbed black paint on the onsie, mixed with a little textile paint (which is supposed to help the paint set and be washable when you iron it). 
I dabbed on the paint with a foam brush.  It dried.  I ironed for the first time in about 10 years, and then I made a hair accessory.  I am CERTAIN every pirate spends hours searching for the perfect hair accessory.  I found the pirate gold at the dollar tree in a whole pirate package of fun stuff, which also includes a sword. 
I then made a little tutu to match.  I think almost everyone on planet crafty earth knows how to make tutus, but I'll share the process with one of the costumes in a few weeks.  I'd hate to be redundant.  And I'm pretty sure I overwhelmed the world with my complicated pirate skull and cross bones onsie costume and need to break it up into steps.  (I got the idea for this from watching this great tutorial for freezer paper stencils here.  I've used this technique on about 15 projects now, just not this one, I was feeling a little lazy.) I also have  jewelery, a plastic pirate sword from the Dollar Tree, and I'm pretty sure some striped tights and a stuffed parrot are in order.
And now....I'm off to find more imaginary, temporary friends who will let me outfit their children. 
Linking To:
Just a Girl
Entertain Exchange