Saturday, February 28, 2009

Lake Michigan Winter Hike

This morning we went to Rosy Mounds, a county park by between Holland and Grand Haven. The hike is only two miles, but the added ice and snow on the steps up and down the sand dunes made it extra adventurous. Lake Michigan sometimes freezes on the Michigan side, creating mountains of ice from the waves tumbling over the already formed ice. Along the shore was a section that melts during warm days, and Ezra was eager to see how close he could get with his boots before we yanked him back. We left with only one wet boot. It was 15 degrees along the lake this morning, but the wind was what made things uncomfortable. The sun was a beautiful change of scenery for us.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Baby Tags

One of my favorite gifts we received when Ezra was born was a handmade book with his name on it. It fit in perfect on a shelf above his crib and celebrated the new addition to our family. For some lucky parents, picking a name is easy. For others, it is a struggle. Many parents put a lot of thought into choosing names that their kids will grow up with and grow into.

Now I like to give a handmade gift with the new baby's name, because of how special this was for me. I also like to recycle old things and make them new. These baby tags are created from scrap minkee fabric from blankets I've made and from ribbons I collect from garage sales or gift wrapping. I do buy a few spools of ribbon to help pull it all together.

You can adjust the size and shape for what scrap fabric you have. They also look great with varied textures and colors of ribbon. I reinforce each with a piece of upholstry fabric on the inside, so that they aren't so flimsy and will withstand a lot of wear and tear, but you don't have to. The picture on the right shows how you begin "inside-out" with the rightsides of the fabric facing each other, the ribbons folded inbetween and their raw ends sticking out. After sewing around all but an inch and a half of the edge, flip the right-sides out through the space you didn't sew and use a pencil to push out your corners. Sew the last inch and a half by hand.
Now, Brian and I need to get working on a moniker for Ezra's little brother or sister!

Monday, February 16, 2009

I Heart Cookies

Ezra and I usually accomplish baking something once a week. It is usually a simple recipe: chocolate chip cookies or grandma Barb's cake bars, but for Valentines day we made Aunt Stacy's famous sugar cookies.
Ezra made a mess while I made the cookies. He was also very impatient with the decorating part, understandably, so I finished that part during his nap.
Several have asked for the recipe, so it is posted below. This recipe makes an outstandingly soft cookie, unlike the hard sugar cookies you may be used to. Be warned: there is a lot of crisco...

Soft Cut-Out Cookies

2 c sugar
2 c butter flavored crisco
1/2 c sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp almond flavoring
1 egg
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
5 c flour

Cream sugar and crisco, add sour cream, vanilla, almond flavoring, egg. Mix well. Combine salt, baking soda and flour separately, then add to the mix. Chill dough overnight or a few hours until easy to roll. Roll out 1/4 of dough at a time to 1/4 inch in thickness. (Too thin cookies will be crisp). Cut with cookie cutters and bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Do not over bake!

Butter Cream Frosting

1 c margarine
1 c butter flavored crisco
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
6 T milk
1 bag powdered sugar (8 cups)

Mix well and add food coloring if desired. Makes 6 cups.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Backyard Sledding Fun

This weekend has been beautiful for Michigan winter, and our backyard is known around the neighborhood for having a great sledding hill. We often have tracks through our yard as evidence that a group has been sledding. On Saturday Brian and Ezra took a sled ride to watch the neighborhood kids. The video below is of our neighbors' sled train, which included parents, their kids and friends. One of the moms is at the bottom with the job of catching them in case they slide into the creek, which wasn't frozen.

Ezra loves being outside. Here is a video of part of his sled ride behind our house.