June 29, 2012

Lakefront Festival of Arts

On June 16th our family headed down to the Milwaukee Lakefront to see some art! I took a lot of pictures, but I have been putting off blogging about it. I'll admit that I've been a bit lazy. Here's to getting some things done!
One of the main attractions was the Posters of Paris sand sculpture. An international team of sand sculptors made it out of 75 tons of sand!

Here is one side of the very detailed sculpture. It included a 16-foot replica of the Eiffel Tower.

This was a wooden clock created by James Borden. The time was off a little, but a even a broken clock is right twice a day, right? ;)

These birds are made by James & Victoria Mullan! Their feathers gave us some free entertainment as they blew in the wind. I enjoyed looking at all the little objects that each bird contained.

This bird was especially cute perched on a bird food tin. The yellow polka dot feather was adorable.

Bob McNally had a booth with Strumstucks for sale. Apparently they cannot play a wrong note. The stormtroopers hanging above them sure sold the product! lol

I really liked this water tower painted by Scott Olson. He came up with a really cool distressing technique using woodstain. 

The "Well Suited Hummer" made us laugh

I really liked the colors of this painting! I was very inspired by it!

This large whale was another one of my favorites. It was made out of all different scrap pieces. Some of them where even sections of old baseballs.

The lighting in this painting really stood out - I could not stop looking at it! Sorry about the weird camera angle. I always feel bad about taking pictures of an artists work when they are standing right next to me.

Mom and I loved this print that listed the "Pros and Cons of Small Dogs"

The chance to paint with watercolors was available to anyone. I took a picture of this tiger as we walked by.

This 3D tree looked great against a bright red background

Recently, I saw this Mixed Media dog in a magazine. A few weeks later I was able to meet the artist in person! Dolan Geiman has some pretty cool pieces.

That's all that I have to share with you for now. I will leave you with a picture of a bunny smelling some berries! Thanks for stopping by!

June 28, 2012

Mini Cherry Cheesecakes

Today I'm going to show you how to make a batch of  24 mini cherry cheesecakes!

Vanilla wafers
2 - 8oz packages of softened cream cheese 
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla 
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 - 1 lb cans of cherry pie filling (I usually have some extra filling, but it's worth it to have a lot of cherries per cake!)

  •  Line your muffin tins with paper cupcake liners. The original recipe has you place one vanilla wafer in the bottom of each cup. I found out that it works out better if you blend them in a blender or food processor. The picture above should give you an idea of how much to fill each cupcake liner. 1/3 full is usually a good amount. Try to envision that a layer of cheesecake and pie filling will have to fit on top of the cracker mixture. Be careful not to add too much!

  • Next, mix the cream cheese, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and lemon juice together, Beat until smooth. Using a Kitchen-aid mixer works best.  
  • Now you should have a mixture that looks like this! Don't forget to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. I used the basic Flat Beater attachment until the cream cheese was mixed well. Then, I switched to the Wire Whip attachment  to get a smoother consistency.

  •  Spoon the mixture over the top of the vanilla wafer crust. The cupcake liners should be 2/3 full. Before I start filling the cups I preheat my oven to 375° F.

  • Bake at 375° for 15-20 minutes and cool slightly. This will be the hardest step. It can be difficult to tell when they are fully cooked, but you do not want the crust to burn. After about 15 minutes I usually check on them. This picture shows the golden color that they should acquire. Continue baking if they look pale or runny. You may need to pop them back into the oven for a few more minutes. Lightly use your finger as a test! They should feel slightly firm to the touch. Remember that as they cool they will continue to set - this is especially true when they hang out inside your refrigerator.  

  • Spoon the pie filling on top of each cheesecake. I like to scoop out about five cherries per cake. Whatever filling comes along with each cherry stays on the cheese cake. Be sure to fish for those cherries! Let some of the filling run back into the can before adding it to the liner. Cover each cake completely.  

  • Tada! Easy as cheesecake? You're all done! Refrigerate for at least a couple hours before serving. This is a great dessert to bring to potlucks and picnics. Traveling with them inside a 9x13 pan works well. You can add a dollop of cool whip on each cake. I usually leave them plain and nobody seems to mind. Happy baking!

June 19, 2012

Twenty-Two Books under $20.00

Recently, I have been updating our children's book collection. I sorted through our little white shelves for a couple of hours. You know the routine - A pile to keep, a pile to donate, and a pile to throw away. Some of these books were from my mom's old teaching days, and their covers were not attached anymore.

It still amazes me how far children's books have come in the past twenty years. Pages are now bursting with color, and it really makes the whole reading experience more fun! Now, you might be wondering why I am buying books on such an easy level. Shouldn't I be buying large chapter books now that I'm older? That's a good question! I sometimes find myself asking the same thing. I found a way to justify my thrift store bargains. There is always a child that would love to be read to.

I work with a variety of kids during the week. I have fun trying to find creative ways to entertain them. The kids at church love when I walk into the nursery with new toys. Their eyes light up, and they do a happy dance whenever they see me carrying a large bag of goodies. In addition to serving in the nursery, I babysit for a school teacher quite frequently. Inside my backpack I bring pre-made crafts, coloring sheets, and sometimes I'll throw in a book that goes with the theme of the day.

I think these are all great reason to buy fun books! I'm also pretty sure that my future children are going to be bookworms just like me. Their grandma has to have some exciting stories to read them, right? ;)

Book Titles and Their Original Prices
1. To the Rescue! by Sam Mckendry - $4.95
2. Ten in the Bed by Penny Dale - $5.99
3. Curious George: Touch and Feel Book by H. A. Rey - $5.99
4. My Many Colored Days by Dr Suess - $6.99
5. No No Yes Yes by Leslie Patricelli - $6.99
6. Follow the Bunny by Sarach Dillard - $5.99
7. Daddy and Me: A Lift-The-Flap Book by Karen Katz - $6.99
8. Curious George: Goes to a Chocolate Factory by H. A. Rey - $12.95
9. Now We have a Baby by Rock - $5.00
10. A Very Special Snowflake by Don Hoffman - $3.99
11. The Way I Fell by Jana Cain - $16.95
12. Storm Is Coming! by Heather Tekavec - $3.99
13. Where Do Balloons Go? An Uplifting Mystery by Jamie Lee Curtis - $16.99
14. Kisses by Nanda Roep & Marijke ten Cate - $4.95
15. The Dog Who Cried Wolf by Keiko Kasza -$3.99
16.Where Do You Sleep, Little One? by Patricia Hooper - $16.95
17. Snowbear's Christmas Countdown by Threasa Smythe - $14.95
18. Merry Christmas Curious George by H. A. Rey - $5.00
19. Snowmen At Christmas by Caralyn Buehner - $16.99
20. Bad Dog, Marley! by John Grogan - $16.99
21. Baby Knows Bes by Kathy Henderson - $15.95
22. The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh by Milne/Shephard - $35.00

All Children's books are 59 cents at Goodwill! I also had a 25% off coupon...bringing the grand total to $9.68!

June 17, 2012

Scoop DeVille

On Father's day we headed over to an ice cream shop recommended by a friend. You know the restaurant is going to be good when you're greeted by a cow! lol

I couldn't fit all of the ice cream flavors into the shot because there were so many! The Blue Moon was tempting, but I opted out for my favorite flavor. Strawberry!

The vanilla and chocolate waffle cones are made fresh every day!

Want to buy the Mother of All Jawbreakers?!

The owner enjoyed waving to our grandpa on Skype! 

Here's a worker making some more cones in front of us

One scoop of strawberry was enough for me! It was delicious on a hot summer day

I enjoyed the ice cream while Jonny enjoyed his phone

Happy Father's Day!

June 7, 2012

Excuse Me, Your Tire Is Rolling Away!

Watch and be alert for pedestrians, go slower than 15 mph, stop at each stop sign. We all know the rules of the road in parking lots right? Well, I would have never even thought to be watching for what we saw next!

I was at a small 4-way stop making sure it safe to make my right turn. All of a sudden I see a huge truck tire rolling down the hill towards us! At first I was a bit confused. This isn't something you see everyday!
Next, I noticed the 4x4 truck balancing on its front axle! I heard someone yelling about a jack when I got into the car, but I figured they were just saying saying hi to a friend. As we were driving home I wondered if it was a lady was driving that truck. Did she know what to do? Why didn't we help?

A few blocks down the road we saw a police man talking to his friend. I pulled over to let him know what happened. He laughed, thanked us, and quickly drove away to help. The police man was waiting there at the exact moment that we needed him. It's interesting to see how God works! :)

June 6, 2012

Kite Flying

I laughed because I had trouble getting the kite in the air. Dad stepped in wanting to be the man, He thought that he could easily get it to fly. After a few failed attempts he handed the kite back to me claiming that it wasn't windy enough. I wasn't ready to give up that quickly! I continued to run with the kite chasing behind me.

I eventually was able to get my rainbow kite to fly! This was after the string broke, and it went flying towards the trees. I enjoyed watching Dad chase after our runway kite. As I tied the string back on the kite, we had a discussion about how to hold the kite while preparing to launch it. "Dad,  the pretty side faces you. Just like bed sheets!"-Angela

It was harder to keep the kite in the air than I remembered! I was holding onto that string for dear life! Mom was taking pictures without her glasses again lol. I yelled across the field, and nearly made the kite fly into dad...Oops!

There was a chance of severe thunderstorms in the area. We packed up our bags when the sky began to prove that the weatherman wasn't lying. Benjamin Franklin was not our role model! Haha

"The optimist pleasantly ponders how high his kite will fly; the pessimist woefully wonders how soon his kite will fall." - William A. Ward