Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Insta-Boo and Thank You

Just wanted to share a few Halloween, Thanksgiving, and other fall highlights since my last Instagram post. Hopefully things will be looking a little more wintery around here the next time I post photos!


You can follow me on Instagram @michelledupuis, or check out my Instagram profile on the web at instagram.com/michelledupuis.

Monday, November 26, 2012

DIY Feather Wreath

Ever since I spotted this wreath on Pinterest I've been dying to make one for our house. Only problem is, it's really hard to find orange feathers! I've dyed feathers before so I might attempt it next year, but for now I decided to make a less colorful one for Christmas. I loved this white one from West Elm, but at just a little over 15 inches wide it looked super tiny in real life, so I opted for a bigger, fluffier version. (Just ignore the fact that our front door is also white. I plan to paint it someday...)


There are a ton of wreath making tutorials on the web, so feel free to follow a different one if you want to use a pre-made wreath form. When I went to Joann, they only had the little ones in stock, and since I didn't want to search all over town or spend any more money than necessary, I decided to make one out of cardboard instead.

You'll need:

  • 2 large flat pieces of cardboard (The cardboard I used was already white on one side. You can use regular cardboard but you may want to paint it so the darker color doesn't show through.)
  • 2 six foot feather boas (I used these heavyweight boas that I picked up on sale at Joann Fabrics. If you buy the thinner ones, you may need more than 2.)
  • Scissors or box cutter
  • Thick string or wire
  • School glue
  • Hot glue (or some sort of strong adhesive - duct tape would work!)


1. Trace a large circle onto 2 pieces of cardboard. (I used a large beverage bucket, with a 16 inch diameter, as my guide.)


2. Trace a smaller circle inside the large one. (This time I used a trash can that was about 8 inches smaller than the beverage bucket, so the wreath was about 4 inches wide all the way around.)


3. Using scissors or a box cutter, follow your guidelines to cut out 2 cardboard "donuts."


4. Securely tie a string (or wire) around one "donut" for hanging your wreath when it's done.


5. Glue the two "donuts" together. For added stability, I made sure one "donut" had the cardboard channels going vertically, and the other running horizontally (see the photo with the string above).


6. After the two pieces are glued together, hot glue one end of a feather boa to the back of your cardboard wreath. 

7. Wrap the boa around the wreath, passing it through the middle and around the outer edge until you get to the other end of your boa. (One boa should cover roughly 1/2  of the wreath.) Push the boa loops closer together or spread them apart a bit as needed, and hot glue the end in place. Repeat with the second boa.


8. Tie a loop with the string you attached in step 4, or run a ribbon behind the string, and hang it up!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Sweet Corn Ice Cream

Sweet corn may not be the most traditional Thanksgiving vegetable, but it fits in perfectly with all the other Thanksgiving dishes. I adapted this recipe from Cooking Light to use frozen corn, since fresh corn on the cob is hard to find (and usually not so sweet) once summer ends here in Minnesota. I also added a bit more salt to bring out the corn flavor - the finished custard didn't taste much like corn without it. This ice cream tastes just like corn on the cob, and goes great with blueberry pie...or cranberry sorbet!



Ingredients

2 cups frozen corn kernels
1 cup half-and-half
2 cups milk
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 large egg yolks


1. Allow frozen corn kernels to thaw, then pour corn and half-and-half into a food processor and process until smooth.

2. Strain pureed mixture through a sieve over a large bowl to separate out the solids. Discard solids.

3. Stir milk, sugar, sea salt, and egg yolks into the corn mixture, and pour into a large saucepan.

4. Stirring constantly, cook mixture over medium heat until thickened (about 20 minutes). Don't let it boil! (Once the mixture is cooked, give it a taste and add more salt, if necessary, to enhance the corn flavor.)

5. Remove from heat and let cool about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to the refrigerator until cold.

6. Once the corn mixture has cooled completely, pour into ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions (took about 25 minutes in mine).

7. Transfer to freezer-safe containers for storage, and put in freezer until ready to serve. Makes 1 quart.

In case you missed them, check out my other Thanksgiving treats right here. And have a happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cranberry Sorbet

In my mind, Thanksgiving dinner requires a few essential dishes to be considered Thanksgiving. Turkey (of course), stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, pumpkin pie, and cranberries. When I lived in New Orleans, sweet potatoes and pecan pie were added to that list, so I realize there are different "essentials" depending on where you live in this country. One thing that always remains constant though are those cranberries, so this sorbet is a natural fit for any Thanksgiving dinner.


This one isn't too hard either although it basically requires making cranberry sauce from scratch. (It would also be a good way to use up leftover cranberry sauce - assuming such a thing even exists!) I followed this recipe from Lottie + Doof, but left out the fennel seeds. If you have a favorite recipe for making cranberry sauce, I'm sure you could use that instead. Just blend up the sauce after cooking and make sure it has cooled completely before pouring it into the ice cream maker. Serve with pecan pie...or turkey! Makes 1 quart.

Where do you live? Are there any "must haves" on your Thanksgiving table that we might not eat in the midwest? In case you missed them, check out my other Thanksgiving treats right here.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Easy Eggnog Ice Cream

Last night while trying to think of something to bring to our Thanksgiving gathering at Noah's grandma's house, I had a brilliant idea. You see, Noah's mom and grandma make all the traditional foods (turkey, potatoes, stuffing, cranberries) and Noah's brother usually takes care of the vegetables and bread rolls. Everyone else brings pie. We usually end up with a lot of pie, and although I love to make pie, I decided to try something a bit less traditional this year - ice cream! 

I've got three ice cream recipes that I think will be the perfect complement to Thanksgiving dinner...or dessert. This first one has got to be the easiest homemade ice cream ever!


You'll need:

1 quart egg nog
ice cream maker

That's it! Unless you want to add booze. In that case you just need 1-2 tablespoons of whatever kind you like. As for the eggnog, stick with the traditional (full fat) version to get a smooth and creamy ice cream. Although you can certainly experiment with low-fat, soy, or other types of eggnog - if it doesn't turn out, just let it melt and drink it instead!


1. Pour a chilled quart of eggnog into ice cream maker. Add booze if desired.


 2. Turn machine on and let it mix for 20-30 minutes.


3. Mix until smooth and creamy...and completely frozen! If you notice any liquid around the edges, let it run for a few more minutes.


4. Immediately transfer to freezer safe containers and store in the freezer until ready to serve.


Enjoy your "homemade" ice cream on its own or with a slice of pumpkin pie! And feel free to revel in the "Wow. You must have worked on this ALL day!" praise anyone is willing to offer...

Makes 1¼ quarts.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

DIY Glitter Play Dough

Abe's new found love of dinosaurs couldn't be ignored any longer. Our last bit of Play-doh (leftover from his birthday party) dried up after Abe left his "Sharp Tooth" out overnight. I kept promising we'd pick up more Play-doh at Target, but since they don't keep it in the grocery section, I kept forgetting. Luckily, we still had all the ingredients we needed to make our own play dough at home.


I followed our recipe for homemade play dough, but this time, just for fun, we added glitter. Abe enjoyed helping me, although he kept telling me the dough was "too hot," so I did all the mixing.


I bought a sample pack of glitter for a project awhile back and only used a couple colors. The packs were too small to use for most art projects but they were just right for our glittery play dough.  (We made a double batch and divided it up between 4 colors. If you're making this without the sample-sized packs, add about 1 teaspoon of glitter for each color.)


The glitter we used was the super-fine, almost powdery stuff. I think Abe thought it was powdered sugar. He was all ready to taste it!


We used gel food colors because that's what I had on hand, but I prefer to use the liquid colors when I have them. We added the glitter and a few drops of food coloring, and kneaded the dough to mix the colors in. If the colors weren't deep enough I added more food coloring.


We have a bunch of these half pint jars (that were used as part of our picnic wedding), which were the perfect size for storing our finished play dough.


We mixed together a few different colors and then started making...


...dinosaurs!


He loves his dinosaurs! 


Most of the dinosaurs are pretty friendly, but sometimes they use their tails to fight off the Tyrannosaurus Rex. I would too. Apparently he eats all the Jell-o!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Knitted Baby Blanket #2

This time around I didn't have anything picked out for the Pinterest Challenge, and couldn't find anything I'd be able to complete in time, so I almost gave up. Then I realized I was in the middle of a Pinterest inspired project...


When I was expecting Abe, I made a knitted blanketcrib quiltring stacker, and sheep mobile, so I really wanted to make something for baby #2. (Why should the first kid get all the good stuff?) When it starts getting cold out, I get the urge to knit, so I decided to start by making another knitted blanket. 


I've pinned a lot of blanket patterns to my KNIT This board on Pinterest, but the one I couldn't get out of my head was this blanket, which was made using this pattern from The Purl Bee.


I picked out the colors before we found out if #2 was a boy or a girl. (I didn't buy the purple yarn for the border until we knew we were expecting a girl, but I did decide on it in the store, plus either green or navy blue for a boy.) I bought an extra skein of each color (except the purple) because I wanted to  make a larger blanket than the one in the pattern. My blanket ended up being 34 x 36 inches instead of 28 x 28. Baby's gotta have some room to move!


The whole thing is knitted using the garter stitch on thick needles, so it goes together really fast.


It felt like it took me FOREVER to finish Abe's blanket, but I had this one done in just over a month! The pokiest part was attaching the scalloped border to the edge of the blanket.


It's super soft too! Just like the one Noah's great-aunt made for Abe.


Abe definitely likes it, though not enough to give up his blanket!


Visit my Ravelry page for more details about this project, including yarn choices and needle sizes.


I'll be adding this project to the Pinterest Challenge pool over on Young House Love. You can see my previous Pinterest Challenge entries right here, and don't forget to check out all the other entries at Young House LoveBower Power, Our Fifth House, and The Ugly Duckling House!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Trick-or-Treat

So after seeing everyone else's Halloween posts I'm starting to feel like a terrible mom. Am I the only one that takes her toddler trick-or-treating after dark? Granted it gets dark pretty early here - we went out around 7:00 PM...


After dinner, we put on his costume, and while we were waiting for Noah to get ready, Abe filled his bag with treats from our candy bowl, then we headed over to our next door neighbor's house. When she bent down to let him pick a treat from the bowl, he reached into his bag, pulled out a pack of M&M's and tossed them into her bowl! We all had to laugh, and of course he was thrilled when she returned them along with a few extra treats!


Most of our neighbors just let him pick what he wanted from their candy bowl, and he always made sure to get an extra piece for mom or dad! We went to the 5 closest houses in our neighborhood, but once we were done he kept asking for "more trick-or-treat," so we went to a couple more houses down the block.


He was so excited to wear his dinosaur costume but the tail kept slipping down (I really should have made that waistband smaller), and he'd tell me "I having trouble walking." We'd just pull it back up and he kept on going!


I tried to get a couple good pictures before we left the house, but I never like anything shot indoors in artificial light, so I did my best to Instagram our outing along the way. You can see those pictures here, or follow me on Instagram @michelledupuis.


Once we got home, he dumped his candy on the floor and asked if he could have some...and being the sweet boy that he is, he was more than happy to share. He'd run to his pile whenever someone rang the doorbell, grab a few treats, and help me dole out candy to the kids that stopped by. One boy came dressed as a skeleton and Abe stared at him until he left and then told me "that scary!" It was a pretty fun night, but now I'm looking forward to our next big holiday...Thanksgiving! Yum. I'm pretty sure I get at least as excited about stuffing as Abe does about candy.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Baby Name Options #15 - Celestial Names

If you follow me on Pinterest, you may have noticed that I have a slight obsession with space. I doubt I'll ever get the chance to fly beyond the Earth's atmosphere, but I'm pretty content staring up at the night sky with my feet safely planted on solid ground. Perhaps I can inspire my children to be more bold...

Aurora Latin "dawn" Princess Aurora was always my favorite Disney princess, but if you've ever seen the Aurora Borealis (or Australis) dance across the night sky, this name becomes truly magical.


Carina Italian "dear little one" A sweet name for a little girl, and who wouldn't want to be named after a nebula?

Celeste Latin "heavenly" 

Gale Hebrew "my father rejoices" A nebula is one thing, but I'm not sure I'd want to be named after a hole in the ground. However, my grandma's name was Gail, so technically this crater on Mars could be used as a family name.

Haley English "hay field" The famous comet is only visible from Earth every 75-76 years. It last appeared in February 1986, and is scheduled to make its next appearance in July 2061!

Henrietta German, from Henry "estate ruler" Henrietta Swan Leavitt was a famous female astronomer, credited with discovering the cepheid variable period-luminosity relationship. (For those of you who don't spend their evenings watching NOVA: she figured out how to measure distances in space.)

Io (eye-o) Greek mythology name One of Jupiter's many moons, which were named after Zeus' many lovers.


Leda Greek "happy" Another one of Jupiter's moons, and the mother of Helen of Troy from Greek mythology.

Luna Italian and Spanish "moon" One of the names given to our own moon.

Stella Latin "star" There are hundreds of names out there that mean "star." For me, this one will always bring up the image of Marlon Brando shouting "Stella!"

Svetlana Russian "star" Also the name of the first woman to walk in space - Svetlana Savitskaya! First woman in space was fellow Russian Valentina Tereshkova. The first American woman in space was Sally Ride, who sadly passed away last summer.

Vega Arabic "swooping eagle" One of the brightest stars in the sky. These days anyone can have a star named after them, but how many of those stars are easy to find?

Venus Roman mythology name Tennis champion, goddess of love, and the second planet in our solar system. We already have a Serena in the family...

All images via NASA. Click on photos for more information.