Saturday, March 30, 2013

Where Can I Get Some Pimento Cheese?

I love living in the Northeast, but we are missing a few things that I look forward to when I visit the South, namely warm weather and pimento cheese. I look for it every time I'm at the grocery store here, but I always come up empty handed. I can always count on my in-laws to have a tub ready for me when we visit Atlanta. My husband looks at me like I'm slightly crazy. It's not that he doesn't enjoy pimento cheese, he just doesn't share quite the same love of it as I. Perhaps it's the fact that I don't have it readily available to me that makes me want it all the more.

Well, I decided to do something about it and make my own batch of it. Pimento cheese is not the healthiest of treats, so I do not plan on keeping a tub of it in my refrigerator at all times, but for the occasional cheesy fix, this recipe will do the trick.

Now, pimento cheese is very good on crackers, but for the ultimate delicious lunch, make your next grilled cheese sandwich with pimento cheese. So good!

Choosing which recipe I would use was a no brainer. Paula Deen's of course! And here it is. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Party Party Club

Recently I came up with what I thought was a brilliant idea. Then like most of my ideas, I Googled it and discovered other people have already had this idea. Oh well. The idea came to me after I bought a giant roll of pipe insulation to make some wreaths. Read more about the giant roll here.

Unless I start a wreath making business, I'm probably never going to make enough wreaths to use up the whole roll, so I thought it'd be fun to have some crafting friends over to make some wreaths. This spiraled into the idea to have a get together with girlfriends where we share some kind of craft,  decor idea, recipes, or any other party or crafting type of thing. It's a book club, without the books. The working title is Party Party Club, but I'm not in love with that name. Do you have any suggestions?

My husband came up with another use for the pipe insulation...
...drying rack for the chocolate dipped marshmallows. Brilliant!
For our first meeting of the Party Party Club I told everyone to "Think Spring" as they decide what kind of  craft or food they were going to bring to share. I provided the material for everyone to make their own wreaths. We had a great time creating, laughing, and sipping sangria. Here are some of the dishes and decor at the party.

The craft supplies, plus some spring decorations. 

Glue sticks, glue gun, scissors, and tape measure all displayed in flower pots.
Chocolate covered marshmallows with crushed Oreos, crushed graham crackers, and pink colored sugar. 

On the right, the decorated marshmallows are displayed in a flower pot. 
Found another use for the pipe insulation. Used it to hold the marshmallow "flowers" in the pots

Then I covered the styrofoam with brown tissue paper
The finished marshmallow flower display

Straws were decorated with flowers cut from scrapbooking paper.

Strawberry basil sangria on the left, a virgin pitcher on the right for the mama to be.

Sausage, sun dried tomato, roasted red pepper, artichoke, and basil skewers.
Here is the recipe I used for the skewers.

Crostini with blue cheese spread and tomatoes

Pasta salad with asparagus and artichokes

Pretzel and chocolate buttons. Click here for the tutorial at Sugar and Bows

Flowers, flowers, marshmallow flowers, flowers

Flowers cut from scrapbook paper with Jelly Belly centers in cupcake wrappers

And here are some of the finished wreaths from the party.

Click here to see a tutorial on how to make the wreaths.

I had such a great time catching up with friends, meeting new friends, creating, cooking, and having fun.
Oh yes, and using up some of my pipe insulation!
Can't wait for the next meeting of the Party Party Club!

What To Do With a Giant Roll of Pipe Insulation

Recently my husband and I discovered the Habitat For Humanity ReStore. It's great. Google it and check it out. There's probably one near you. While we were there, I noticed this giant roll of pipe insulation and it got the crafting part of my brain moving.

I had seen some fabric covered wreaths recently that used styrofoam wreath forms as the base. I thought a little of this pipe insulation would be perfect. I asked the gentleman at the store how much for a yard or so and he told me I could have the whole roll for $10 but I had to take the WHOLE roll.  So I did. And now I have a LOT of wreaths to make.

This provided some inspiration for a get together I hosted recently with some crafting girlfriends over at Sugar & Bows. I thought it might be fun to do a little craft club, kind of like a book club, but without the books. I'll write more about the party soon, but I wanted to share the details about the wreath first and give a little tutorial in case you found yourself with a giant roll of pipe insulation.

Cut the desired length of foam. Tape the two ends together with duct tape.

Wrap the foam with yarn or with 1 to 2 inch wide strips of fabric. Put a little dot of glue every once in a while to hold the material/yarn in place. Secure the end with a good dot of glue from your hot glue gun.

Next, it's time to make the flowers. There are three different types we used. The first is a rose using fabric. Cut a piece of fabric about 2 inches wide. The longer the fabric, the larger the flower. I used about 18 inches or so. Next, fold the fabric in half and secure it with a strip of glue.

Then roll the fabric, putting a little dot of glue every few rolls to hold it in place. As you roll it, twist the fabric and "poof" the petals out a bit.

You don't want to roll it too tightly if you want to get the "open rose" look. I would recommend practicing the rolling once or twice before you actually use glue so you can see how to roll it to get your desired look. Finally, attach your fabric rose to the wreath with some glue on the bottom.

The second flower is a felt rose. This is created in a very similar way to the fabric rose.

Cut a piece of felt about 2 inches in width. The length I used is just the length of the piece of felt, or about 1 foot. Apply some glue and fold it in half. 

Cut a scalloped shape down the length of the felt. 

Once your scallop is cut, roll the felt, applying a dot of glue every few rolls to hold it in place

Finally, attach it to your wreath with a dollop of glue.
Finished felt rose

The third flower is a felt mum. This is created exactly the same way as the felt rose except for the cutting step. Cut a piece of felt about 2 inches in width
Felt mum
Use the length of the piece of felt, or about 1 foot in length. Apply some glue and fold it in half. Then use scissors to cut a notch about 2/3 of the way through the folded edge. 

Once your notches are cut, roll the felt, applying a bit of glue every few rolls to hold it in place. Finally attach it to your wreath with a dollop of glue.

The finished yarn and felt flower wreath

Click here to read about the party

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Gingerbread Man

When I was teaching I started to notice that a lot of children today are not familiar with classic stories, fairy tales, or nursery rhymes. These stories are classics for a reason! Kids love them and often they teach a valuable lesson. A favorite in our house lately has been The Gingerbread Man. This story has been retold in many different ways, but most versions tell of the Gingerbread Man who escapes from the oven and then runs away from the farm workers and various animals. He repeats the line, "Run run as fast as you can. You can't catch me I'm the Gingerbread Man." Ultimately the little man runs into a wolf who tricks him into slowing his run and letting down his guard. The result is the end of the Gingerbread Man and a tasty treat for the wolf.

When reading this story, I try to have my son chant along with the repetitive phrase, "Run, run as fast as you can. You can't catch me I'm the Gingerbread Man." We also try to remember all of the people and animals that the Gingerbread Man ran away from as we read. Try some of the following activities we did after reading the story.

Make a paper gingerbread man
For this activity I drew a Gingerbread Man shape on white paper and had my son color it. You could also just cut it out of brown construction paper to save time if you wish. After cutting him out, I gave my son dots to glue on for eyes and buttons. Then I put a couple dabs of glue on the gingerbreads hands and feet and we sprinkled on a little cinnamon to give the man a fresh out of the oven aroma. Jack said he wanted to put the gingerbread man in the oven. I wasn't crazy about the idea of sticking paper in the oven, so that led to the next activity.

Make a cardboard box oven
There always seems to be large cardboard boxes in our house from diapers or something else I ordered on Amazon. So the latest Pampers box became our oven. I cut all of the flaps off one side of the box. Then I taped the two larger flaps together and then taped it to the bottom of the oven. Next I used some of the cardboard from the leftover flaps to make a handle for the oven. I covered the entire thing in brown paper and added some oven knob details. Now that we have an oven we can retell the story as we act it out. We put the gingerbread man on a cookie sheet and put him in the oven then we pretended he escaped. We tried to remember all of the characters from the story that he ran away from and we chanted the famous line, "Run run as fast as you can. You can't catch me I'm the Gingerbread Man."

Make cookies
Every story gets better when there is baking involved! We looked up a recipe to make our own gingerbread men and made these delicious cookies. Click here for the recipe we used.
I am not normally in love with gingerbread cookies but these were delicious! They were also much easier to roll and cut out than sugar cookies normally are so that was a positive for me.

Of course, we had to make a Lightning McQueen and Mater cookie too!

Run, run, as fast as you can. You can't catch me I'm the Gingerbread Man!

Online activity
Here's a quick online activity you can try too. Click here.

For the complete list of activities based on books and songs, click here.