10/31/2011

Weekend Review!

We had a great weekend filled with Halloween fun.

Friday night we stayed home and the man of the house FINALLY fixed the dryer. Lets just say it has been broken for a while. A long while.
I made a sweet little pair of green baby booties for a new little baby that was born thursday. I can't wait to meet him.
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Saturday night, we went to our friends house in Altamont for a backyard fire. We had chili and the kids made smores. Some friends of ours shared some happy news. More to come later on that.

Sunday, the kids entered another costume contest and were in a parade. Gavin won first place as Harry Potter.
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Kylee got third place with her corpse bride/black widow costume.
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She actually yelped with excitment when they called her number. So cute.
Both were happy kids.

That night our town had trick or treating so we braved the rain for a little bit of fun.
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I love houses that go all out with decorating. They made a haul.

Happy Halloween!
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10/27/2011

Not So Tasty Treat: Burnt Pumpkin Seeds

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Que bugle playing "Taps".
I murdered my precious pumpkin seeds.
It was not on purpose. So, please, have mercy on me.

I have never burnt my pumpkin seeds before. Never. It really broke my little heart to have it go down like this. In the spirit of being a real girl and not wanting to do some "rose colored glasses" kind of thing, I am here showing you my imperfections: I burn my seeds.

I suppose I should tell you what I did and in hind sight what I would do differently.

I painstankenly picked through all the goo of two large, beautiful pumpkins.
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Here are my children with their proud pumpkins.

Kylee hasn't slept in about three years.
Just kidding.
Earlier that evening we attended a puppet show and costume contest at our local library. Kylee liked her make up and wasn't ready to take it off.

I will side note one quick moment here because it was the highlight of my day. We found out about puppet show/costume contest at 3pm that afternoon. A contest that Gavin won last year! We have to defend our title. Gavin's Harry Potter costume was not ready and Kylee had not decided what she wanted to be yet. Gavin was easy. We had the Buzz Lightyear costume (complete with automatic wings) already from pretend dress up. He wore his green rain boots and looked awesome.

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I didn't want Kylee to feel left out. So, while making dinner, I brainstormed (with about 45 minutes to party) and came up with a costume plan. I dug out a white veil that I watered down black acrylic paint and dyed it grayish black in the kitchen sink. Thank goodness for the windy day! It dried in 30 minutes! She was able too squeezed into her flower girl dress from two years ago. Skinny girl. Thank goodness it was black. Some black tights and black shoes. A little white powder on her face. Add some black eye shadow to hollow out her eyes. Complete the look with a bouquet of dried roses and

*POOF*

I give you The Black Widow!
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She won the contest! She reminds me of Lydia off Beetlejuice. Funny thing, this is the perfect Halloween costume for our usually solemn and morose faced girl. She is a natural at looking a little gloomy. Perfect I tell you!

Anyway, enough of my successes of the evening and back to my failures.
Burnt seeds. Boo.

I boil my seeds for about 10-15 minutes in salt water. I spread them out and patted them down with paper towels then threw them in a bowl.

I try new seasoning every year. Last year I think I just did salt and olive oil. The year before was a lemon pepper. This year I was out of olive oil so instead I added 2 tbs of melted butter, 1 tbs of seasoning salt, 1 tsp of garlic powder, and a few shakes of worcestershire sauce. Set my oven at 400 degrees F, spread a thin layer of seeds on a sheet pan, set my timer for 30 minutes. Stirred after 30 minutes. Things are looking okay here still. Set timer for another 30. This is where I think things began to go wrong.

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First of all, I think 400 degrees was far to hot for butter. Olive oil probably would have done fine. Second, I should have been checking every 15 minutes. Previously, when making pumpkin seeds, it takes at least an hour to achieve the crispiness I like. This time I achieved nothing but yuck. We tried to pick out the exceptionally burnt ones and eat a some but it was just awful.

Tanner tried to cheer me up:
TANNER: "It is like burnt bacon. You eat it because its BACON."
ME: "But its like ashes in your mouth."
TANNER: "This one is good."
ME: "No, it isn't."
TANNER: "No, it isn't."

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*sniff sniff tear*

So to redeem myself a little I will provide you with someone who actually had success making their pumpkin seeds! Who better to tell you how to roast seeds than Pumpkinpatchesandmore.org! I am sure they know better than me. Next year, I will try again! Hope your seeds turned out better than mine!

Happy Halloween!

10/26/2011

What to be for Halloween?

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Still perplexed about your costume? Don't fret! There are plenty of ideas to pull together in time! Here are some unique ideas to help you out!

1.) Smarty Pants! - *easy*
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One Halloween we went out to dinner and our server was wearing her regular uniform but with rolls of Smarties pinned all over her pants. Wear some nerdy glasses and carry a stack of books. I know you have been itching to wear a pocket protector! Simple. Easy. Clever.

2.) Prego Skeleton!
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I have three pregnant friends. THREE! My friends like to breed. I was looking for something to entice one to join us for Halloween fun by finding her an easy cute and fun costume. I fell in love with this skeleton idea over at Make It and Love It! She even made one for her husband with a fast food meal in his belly. Hilarious. Make your own with this stencil tutorial!

3.) Mario & Princess Peach!
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I thought this would make an adorable couples costume. Find some Goodwill bridemaids dress and make a yellow crown out of craft foam. Some overalls, white gloves, red shirt and a hat with a big "M".

4.) Beetlejuice & Lydia!
365.121 (Beetlejuice & Lydia)
A great 80's goofy yet creepy movie. These characters are iconic. kpwerker on flicker tells how her clever hubby made these costumes here.

5.) black and white tv character!
Pleasantville
Dress in gray (hello my friend, Goodwill!) clothes, paint all your skin gray, and powder your hair. Watch the movie Pleasantville for inspiration.

My inspiration:
hermione002
My costume is mostly provided by the Goodwill!
- v neck black sweater and white dress shirt $3
- burgundy tie $2 and a bit of yellow fabric paint (on hand)
- skirt $3
- knee high socks (kohl's,) 2 pk $8
- black Mary Janes (already owned)
- black robe, my graduation gown
- wand, painted dowel rod
- tease up my hair to Hermione bushiness
*unfortunately the plans have changed and I don't get to wear it out with friends but I might still dress up to take the kids trick-or-treat. If I do I'll be sure to take pics to share.


Other great places for inspiration:

Make up tutorials by Michelle Phan on youtube.

Costume ideas and tutorials with Threadbanger!

Happy Halloween!

Five Favorite Things...Knitted!

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Knitting. Something I can not do. I crochet and I love it but there is a certain look achieved by knitting that you cannot get when you crochet. They make delicate stiches that drape beautifully and make intricate patterns look effortless. I suppose that is why knitting is preferred when making clothing. I truly admire knitters and here are a few projects that make me wish I was a knitter.

1.) the Nell beret at Oh My Good Knits!
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Lisa does beautiful work! She is very generous with her pattern sharing and also has an etsy shop available for us who cannot knit to purchase her fabulous knitted hats. She is also a talented crocheter. Check out her unique Doily Blankets to spruce up your vintage couch.

2.) Cables!
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Oh how I wish I could make cables. These beautiful long purple cable knit mittens from Natasha Brenchley are beautiful!

3.) Leg warmers!
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I love these long leg warmers from Lion Brand. They are knitted with a fine sock yarn that makes these beautiful leg warmers almost look like cozy tights.

4.) Lacy Cardigans!
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Chic Knits offers a variety of beautiful free knitting patterns. The CeCe cardigan is light and breezy with beautiful lacy designs. Like I said before, I love cardigans. This beautiful feminine green beauty is right up my alley.

5. Basketweave!
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This is another one of those stiches that I wish I could do. It is interesting and beautiful on this elegant shrug from Luxlux. This shrug is a great fall accessory that could easliy substitute for a jacket.

I have 2 books on teaching yourself to knit and 3 sets of needles, still I haven't learned. It is a bit daunting to get started on teaching yourself something like this from a book. For now, I will admire other talented people's beautiful knitted work and concentrate on perfecting what I know and love, crochet!

10/25/2011

Tute Tuesday! Sweater to hat and mittens

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I am sharing a tutorial today from One Pearl Button's talented Alli Emmerson.
She has step-by-step instructions on how to take a sweater and make it into a beautiful cloche hat and mitten set. It looks super easy and would make a great handmade Christmas gift!! What a great way to resuse old sweaters. I am very tempted to give it a whirl soon! I might have trouble giving mine away though.

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I'd love to see if you make a set! Email me at brookeknebel@gmail.com if you do!

10/24/2011

Weekend Review!

I had another busy weekend making the trip back home for girl time and a family wedding.

Friday evening, we had so much fun giggling with good friends over dinner at TGI Fridays in Effingham, IL. I enjoyed a Japanese Hibachi Sirloin Skewer. It was pretty yummy.

We headed to the theater to get a good scare with Paranormal Activity 3! I am horrible at watching these movies in theaters. I keep my eyes closed during most of the scary parts. It was a lot of fun though being with my friends and picking it apart all the way home.

Saturday afternoon, Mom and I headed back to Effingham for a family wedding. We stopped in at Goodwill to bargain hunt. I picked up the last bits of my costume scoring a burgundy tie $1 & black sweater and white shirt set for $3. I also found a very pretty yellow cardigan for $3 and a couple plaid wool scarves for $1 each.

My cousin Chelsea was married at the edge of Lake Sara.

Gavin and I arriving at the wedding. He was happy to be my date.
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Checking out the lake before the ceremony began.
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Beautiful bride!
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Perfect day for a fall lakeside wedding!
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There was a sweet little ceremony with a nice reception afterwards in the pavillion near by. We stayed for dinner and then went home with Grandma Betty to meet her new little kitten! His name is Spook. He is a ball of black fur and was rescued by my "Ellie Mae" cousin Molly who is interning at a local vet clinic.
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Sunday, was a nice easy day at Grandma's before we headed back home. That night Gavin and I watched Coraline on the ABC Family's 13 Nights of Halloween! The perfect ending for our weekend!

10/21/2011

Have a great spOOky weekend!

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The best part of Halloween in watching the scary (and sometimes not so scary) movies! I prefer to watch them at home on the couch with my favorite crocheted afghan. (The holes are perfect for hiding and watching.) Here is a little list of movies that make it feel like Halloween to me!
4.) Scream
1.) Halloween

I am sure there are some of you with more frightening lists than mine!

I also wanted to share this fuzzy baby blanket I finished for a friend of mine!
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She will not find out what she is having. (so stubborn) I went with a gender neutral yellow and cream. When I make blankets for people, I often think about how they will use it while I am working on it. I think about the new little life that will kept warm in its folds. How sweet they will be to snuggle in this soft blanket. Maybe it will become their favorite blanket as they grow. Like a sense of comfort, it will always be a big hug from me. I can't wait for her to see it!

10/20/2011

Tasty Treats: Pumpkin Apple Muffins

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This is my third batch of Apple Pummpkin Muffins in a week! They are so good and burst fall flavors in every bite. They are a great snack and perfect breakfast. This recipe makes two dozen. So far, I don't think they have made it past the 24 hour mark before they are all gone. I gave some away to Gavin's teachers. I experimented with streusel topping to decide I prefer it without. It can even be baked in a loaf pan making two loaves of bread.

What you will need:

Preheat oven at 350 degrees F.
2 1/2 Cups Flour
2 Cups white sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp allspice or clove
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs beaten
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 vegetable oil
2 Cups peeled, diced apple

1) sift dry flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and spices together in one bowl.
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2) beat eggs, add pumpkin & oil in a seperate bowl.
This is the pumpkin I used.
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3)Gently stir together both bowls until moistened.

4)I wait to dice my apples now so they don't have an opportunity to get brown. It took two apples of medium size to equal two cups.
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Then fold them into batter. **I can't quite remember why its so important not to over stir your muffin batter. I'm thinking from Home Ec in 8th grade, it had something about pointy muffin tops and tunnels in your muffin. Sounds awful. I wouldn't chance it.
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4) spoon into muffin pan lined with papers or spray with oil and have naked muffins.
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Bake for 30-40 minutes. check with a toothpick.
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Let cool on a rack or munch right away. I prefer the right away method.
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10/19/2011

Five Favorite Things...About October!

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1.) Spooky Movies! Must see every October: Hocus Pocus!
Hocus-Pocus
I have a whole list of must see before Halloween movies. Hocus Pocus cannot be missed. What is great about this movie is that its spooky, funny, and great to watch with the kids.

2.) Eating Roasted Pumpkin Seeds!
pumpkinseeds
I love roasting pumpkin seeds. I great once a year treat! Next week, when we carve out pumpkins, I will share my recipe! This recipe is a different then what I make but might be worth a try.

3.) Dressing Up!
witches
I love the whole process of dressing up in costumes for Halloween. I love looking through etsy for inspiration. I love making the different elements with my hands.
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I love getting everyone else excited about putting together their own costumes too!

4.) My hometown Halloween Parade!
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Every year, the Thursday before Halloween, my hometown has a huge Halloween parade. People file along dowtown to see all the floats, costumes, and marching bands. It is a tradition that I have missed out on for the past few years since I have moved away. I am hoping to make it down there for it this year though.

5.) I get excited about crocheting and making cold weather accessories.
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soft pink button neckwarmer
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Happy Halloween!