Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving craft- Handprint Turkey Painted Block

If you're like me, you love kids handprint art.  You also probably have stacks of construction paper craft projects that build up because you hate throwing them away.  Eventually, some of it has to go.  Paper projects just don't hold up over the years and have a short display-life.  I wanted to do a little something different this year with the classic handprint turkey.  I decided to make a wood block that could be stored and put back up for many years to come.  It was really simple and I love how it turned out.

Step 1: "wash" paint onto a wood block slightly larger than your child's hand.  The process of washing paint is super easy.  You just basically water down acrylic paint so that when you brush it onto a wooden surface, some of the grain shows through.  I really like the effect of this when I want a softer background.  I used a light blue color to contrast the earthy colors of the turkey.  Let this dry for about 10 minutes.  It doesn't take long.

Step 2: Trace your child's hand onto paper.  This is to ensure you get a good outline without risking your freshly painted block.  

Step 3: Lay the paper with the hand tracing on top of your wood block.  Using a ball point pen, trace your outline onto the block using enough pressure to make an indent into the wood.  Remover paper.

Step 4: Using the outline indent as a guide, carefully paint your turkey.  I used a nice reddish brown for the body and fall colors for the feathers.  Add simple feet, a triangle for the beak, and a red gobble thing... whatever that is.  Done!  Just let it dry and put it up to display.  

I used my two year old's hand for this, so I wrote her name and "2013" on the back.  I look forward to setting this out for many Thanksgivings to come as a reminder of just how little her hands were.

*For even more durability, you can spray the wood block with a clear coat of paint after it dries.  This will protect your turkey during storage.*

Monday, November 25, 2013

Fall for Us

We've officially settled into our first crisp holiday season as a complete family.  Fall is a magical time for us.  Dominic, Jeff and I all have fall birthdays, we celebrate our wedding anniversary every November 10th, and I've always been a sucker for Christmas cheer.  Whatever holiday spirit I had before, it's amplified with children.  

This is really the first year that Dominic has seemed receptive to toy ads.  In the past, he would say random things he wanted, but they were general and it left us with a lot of room to buy him presents we liked and thought were "good".  This year he sees commercials and is constantly saying I want that!!  Some things are ok... other stuff I know he isn't getting.  LOL.  I guess this is the beginning of him learning that you don't get everything just because you ask.  The good thing about this is we have plenty of ideas for him.  I'm sure he'll be more than happy with the presents we have planned.

The girls are a little harder.  I'm trying to find a balance between getting Isla things I know she will be excited about, and ended up with a bunch of crappy plastic and glitter toys under the tree.  Maisy is too young to want, but with older kids we can't have them thinking Santa forgot about her!  So they're my real challenge this year.

I try my best to come up with unique and thoughtful presents for my kids.  I do a lot of shopping on amazon and etsy.  As an artist myself, I can appreciate handmade gifts.  Stay tuned for my holiday shopping guide filled with hand picked presents for kids aged five and under!  I'm so excited about partnering with some fellow etsy crafters to bring you the best :)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Recipe: Weeknight Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken noodle soup- the ultimate comfort food.  Just like grandma made, but without the day of slaving over a hot stove.  This recipe is the perfect way to throw together a pot of homemade soup in a short amount of time.  

- 1 large chicken breast (boneless skinless) cut into 1/2" pieces
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped carrot
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 large carton of chicken broth
- 2 cups wide egg noodles
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup water
- olive oil (drizzle)

Step 1:
Drizzle olive oil into a large pot and bring to medium heat.  Add carrots, onion, and celery.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook until vegetables are soft and onions are translucent.

Step 2:
Add chicken to the cooked vegetables.  Cook until just done.

Step 3:
Empty entire carton of chicken broth into pot.  Add water and turn heat to high.  Bring to a boil.  Once you have reached a full boil, add the egg noodles and continue to boil for the cook time indicated on noodle package.  

Step 4:
Once noodles are tender, remove the pot from heat.  Ladle into bowls and serve with biscuits.  Enjoy!

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