Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Star Art

     Since the babies are learning about shapes and the 4th of July is around the corner, I decided to have the babies do some star art using this free star shape I found online.  My brother, the babies' uncle, gave them nice easels which we have put to good use.  First, we used Crayola Tadoodles washable paints which are easy for them to grasp.   Then they tried sponge painting with tempera paint which was a little more challenging.  When they tried the sponges, they did a combination of pressing the sponge as is typical with sponge painting and sliding the sponge all around which had different effect. 

I cut up a kitchen sponge and placed one piece in the red paint

and another piece in the blue paint. 

Capri started her star with the red Tadoodle

and then she switched to blue.

Ryder enjoyed painting his star.

Grayson tasted the red paint before painting with blue.

Xayden admired his finished star while he held on to the sponge.

     This was a fun and easy art project for the babies.  They loved painting and also enjoyed washing their hands with strawberry soap when their stars were finished.  I loved seeing the joy on their faces as they painted their stars.  Have your families done art projects lately?  I would love to hear from you.  As always, comments are welcome.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Make Cute T-Shirts for your kids...An Appliqué Tutorial

      I enjoy making appliqué t-shirts for the babies because they are cute, fast and easy.  I can knock them out while the babies are napping.  Since the 4th of July is approaching, I wanted to make the babies matching outfits.  I will make them shorts, which take a little longer, and matching appliqué t-shirts.

What you will need:
Fusible Web for Appliqué (I use Steam-A-Seam)
Template of Design you wish to Appliqué (i.e. star, cowboy boot, heart)
a piece of cardstock paper
Sewing Machine with contrasting or matching thread (or you may sew by hand)
iron and ironing board

Capri agreed to model an appliqué shirt for this tutorial...

     Trace a design onto cardstock and cut it out.  I used this one for the star.  Then, trace it onto the webbed side of the fusible web for applique fabric.  For dark fabrics, use a light colored pen, otherwise, I found out, you need to trace it again onto the paper backing. 

The Star design on fusible web, ready for tracing

Iron the design, still on the fusible web, web side down,  onto the wrong side of the fabric.

    Make sure you have the web side down or you will have a gooey mess on your iron.  I know this from experience.  Iron the design onto the fabric for about 10 seconds, or longer if using a press cloth.  Once it is ironed on and cool enough to handle, cut out your design.  Then, remove the paper backing and place your design onto your t-shirt (fabric right side up) where you would like it and iron it on for at least 15 seconds (or longer with a damp press cloth).  I like to use damp Viva paper towels as press cloths.  After you have ironed it on, you are ready to sew.  If you are hand sewing, sew the design of your choice (such as blanket stitch) around the cut-out shape. 

Sewing around the star using the sewing machine

     If you are machine sewing, pick a stitch, such as zigzag or star on your machine and sew around your shape.    I used the star design on my sewing machine since my shape was a star.  I would suggest using an easier design such as the blanket stitch or zigzag if this is the first time you are trying appliqué.  It is useful to pause in the needle down position to turn your fabric as you sew around your design. Take your time sewing and turning the fabric and make sure that the back side of the t-shirt is not in the way, or else you will sew the shirt together.  When you are done sewing, trim the loose threads from both sides and you are finished.

This is how the star looks on the inside of the shirt.

This is the finished star on the outside of the shirt.

The finished t-shirt

I Heart Daddy was also done using appliqué.  Letters are a little harder than shapes.

I made the babies cowboy boot onesies using appliqué.

     Appliqué is really easy and fun.  The end results look professional and would cost a bundle if sold at a boutique.  There are so many free printable shapes on the web that help to make this an inexpensive project.  If you try this out, let me know how it goes.  Post pictures on the Capri + 3 Facebook page.  I'd love to see your projects.  As always, comments are welcome. 
Linked to:  From House to Home on I Choose Joy

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day...Zoo and Remembrance

     My husband Greg lost his Dad suddenly in February, seven months after he lost his Mom to cancer.  As Father's Day approached, Greg felt a mixture of the happiness of being a father along with the sadness of losing his Dad.  We wanted to honor the memories of his parents on Father's Day.  We took the babies and met Greg's sister, her husband and our niece Emma at the cemetery.  We were amazed by how many people visit the cemetery on Father's Day.  We were saddened to see that there were some funerals happening too.

We brought flowers for Greg's parents

and the babies sat near their Nana and Papa's graves.

     Afterwards, we went to the zoo.  I remember talking to my father-in-law after he purchased the grave sites for himself and my mother-in-law.  It was after we knew she was dying.  He did not expect to join her there for many years as his father is still around at 102 years old.  He told us how much he loved that spot which had a view of a mural he visited with his school class right after it was painted.  He said he hoped that some day we would visit them there and then go to the Zoo.  So, we followed his wishes and took the babies to the Zoo afterwards.

At the zoo, the babies enjoyed the peaceful swans

and the Peninsular Pronghorn.

It was fun to show them animals from their storybooks.  They liked the zebra

and the elephant.

I made Capri an outfit which expressed her love for Daddy.

The babies had fun pushing the stroller out on the lawn.

The boys wore Spiderman shirts for their hero, Daddy.

     This Father's Day was a mix of remembrance and celebration.  Greg's Dad, the babies' Papa, will always be in our hearts.  The babies will get to know him through stories and pictures.  Greg is an amazing father to the babies, in part because he had an amazing father himself.  I hope you had a nice Father's Day with your families.  I would love to hear your stories.  As always, comments are welcome. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012


     "I'm staying home from work tomorrow.  You have the day off," my husband Greg announced.   It took me a minute to comprehend what he was telling me.  We had planned to go out that night for our anniversary after he got home from work.  He told me that he planned to take care of the babies for the entire day.

     The next morning, I awoke to the fragrance breakfast cooking on the stove.  My husband made my childhood favorite, eggs in a basket.  Eggs in a basket are made by cutting out the center of buttered sourdough bread and cooking the egg inside the hole in the bread which makes the 'basket.'  The egg in a basket is then flipped over so that the bread is crispy on both sides.  My Mom used to make it for me when I was little and still makes it for us when we come to visit.  The babies loved their eggs in a basket too.

     After breakfast, my husband dressed all the babies and packed them into the car.  He drove me to the spa where he had booked a massage, manicure and pedicure.  What a luxury!  I thoroughly enjoyed the spa experience.  Afterwards, Greg and the babies reappeared.  It was a gorgeous day.  He took us out to a nice lunch, where we sat on the patio with the babies in highchairs.  Then we headed home and got ready for our dinner date. 

The Beach in Tahiti

     Greg surprised me by taking me to a restaurant at the beach overlooking the ocean.  Our table was next to a fire pit and we loved the heat combined with the cool touch of ocean breezes.   We watched the waves while we savored a delicious meal.  It brought me back to our honeymoon in Tahiti where we spent many hours enjoying the ocean.  We pondered how the ocean absorbs any stress and creates a sense of blissful relaxation.  Greg earned many 'husband points' on this anniversary.  It was amazing to be pampered for the day while he changed all the diapers and took care of the babies.  We know we need to nurture our marriage and our children.  We want them to grow up feeling loved by us and seeing our love for each other. 

     What do you do to nurture your relationship?  Have you had some fun date nights or family outings recently?  I would love to hear your stories.  As always, comments are welcome.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Day with Our Niece

     We were excited to spend the day with our four year-old niece, Emma.  We took advantage of the opportunity by going to see some animals at a local learning center and then finished the day at a family farm.  The babies loved to spend time with their cousin.  It was fun for them to see how a 'big girl' plays.  Capri paid especially close attention to her older cousin and watched her with curiosity.

At the start of our day, we were greeted "Hello" by a friendly Macaw.

The Tawny Owl did not talk, but still wowed us with his beauty.

Grayson had fun impersonating the Lynx

while Emma enjoyed playing a Porcupine.

Capri the happy Lynx

Ryder the curious Lynx

and Xayden the mirthful Lynx

The babies and Emma enjoyed seeing the Sulcata Tortoise

and the playful prairie dog.

At the farm, we were greeted by a goat high above the walkway.

Emma and Capri were matching cousins for the day.

Emma bonded with a sleepy goat

and made a sheep smile.

She was great at picking boysenberries

and yellow squash.

     It was a fun day.   We hope that Emma and the babies will not only be cousins, but close friends as they grow up.  What have your families been doing lately?  I would love to hear from you.  As always, comments are welcome.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Homemade Stovetop Play Dough


     Many years ago, before I met my husband, I used to run play groups for toddlers on Saturdays.  I made a fresh pot of coffee for the parents with toasted bagels.  It was one of the few groups that had just as many Dads as Moms.   Then, I made a fresh batch of play dough right before the group began, so that the toddlers could play with it when it was still warm.

     It took me back to that time in my life when I made the babies a fresh batch of play dough and had them experience it when it was still nice and warm.  It has a different feel than the store bought play dough.  I enjoy kneading it when I take it off the stove.  In the play groups, many of the parents had just as much fun as the kids playing with the dough.  I can see why.  It is fun and relaxing to work with the fresh warm dough.

Stovetop Play Dough Recipe:
2 Cups of All Purpose Flour
1 Cup of Salt
2 Tablespoons of Cream of Tartar
2 Cups of Water
2 Tablespoons of Vegetable Oil
Several Drops of Food Coloring

     Put the dry ingredients into a large sauce pan.  Add food coloring in the desired color to the water.  Add the colored water and vegetable oil to the dry ingredients.  Cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens.  Take it off of the heat and remove it from the pan as soon as it is cool enough to handle.  Knead the dough for one to two minutes.  Then, as soon as it is cool enough for your children to handle, but still warm to the touch, it is time to play.  You can play with it when it is completely cool of course, but it is more fun to play with it the first time when it is still warm.  Rolling pins and cookie cutters are a fun addition to the play time.  You can also show your kids how to roll the dough into 'worms' with their hands.  You can save it for a week by placing it into a sealed bag or container in your refrigerator. 

Capri loved to play with the cookie cutters

and Grayson enjoyed them too.

Xayden thought the dough tasted all right.

So, Ryder gave it a try

and found it to be disgusting.

Luckily, he was able to enjoy it once again when it was no longer in his mouth.

     It was fun making stovetop play dough for the babies.  They enjoyed cutting out shapes and squishing the dough with their hands.  Have you made stovetop play dough with your children?  What activities has your family recently enjoyed?  I would love to hear your stories and ideas.  As always, comments are welcome.  

Friday, June 1, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway--Plantation Brunch

     I recently made yet another recipe from the Plantation Brunch cookbook, which is my 'go to' cookbook for breakfast and brunch.  I have so much confidence in this cookbook that I will try a new recipe without a trial run when I am entertaining.   People who know me well would tell you that I love this cookbook.  I decided to contact the authors to see if they would be willing to give away a cookbook to a Capri + 3 reader.  They did better than that and offered three cookbooks! 

     I discovered the Plantation Brunch cookbook when my husband and I stayed at the Plantation Bed & Breakfast in the Sequoias before we had the babies.  It is a fun bed and Breakfast which has a Gone with the Wind theme that is reflected in each room's decor.  The food prepared by cookbook author Marie was marvelous.  It was so marvelous, in fact, that I bought copies for myself, a few family members and friends.  Marie's husband Scott was the  book's photographer. The book contains a nice balance of sweet and savory dishes.

     Here are some pictures I took on our trip to the Sequoia's.

A beautiful butterfly taking a rest

A whispering creek surrounded by beauty

A cute Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel climbing a rock

The majestic sequoias

Towering flowers from the Yucca

      Every recipe I've tried in the Plantation Brunch cookbook has been a success.  The most recent recipe I made for the first time was Dutch Cradles.  My family loved them.  I will make these again and may add some warm vanilla custard underneath the berries for fun next time.

The Dutch Cradle

      One of my favorite recipes from the book is the blueberry torte.  It looks elegant when served and is delicious.  I have made it several times and have never been disappointed.  It is relatively easy to make and has a 'wow factor' when served.

The Blueberry Torte

Xayden enjoyed every last bit of flavor on his hand.

When Ryder was finished, he decided to play peek-a-boo with his plate.

Grayson thoroughly enjoyed the torte

while Capri raised her fork in a celebration of flavor.

      In addition to offering three cookbooks for this contest, the authors offered the special price of only $10 plus $3 shipping within the United States by mentioning Capri + 3 (expires August 31st, 2012).  This book is now out of print, so once the books are gone, they are gone for good.  You can purchase the cookbook by phone (number located on their website on the bottom of the screen).   They also offered one free cookbook per family with the purchase of one night's stay at full price at the Plantation Bed & Breakfast in the Sequoias by mentioning Capri + 3 (expires August 31, 2012). 

Contest Rules and Disclosure:
     I was not paid to write this review.  I just love this cookbook and wanted others to experience it.  Three cookbooks were offered for free for this contest by the authors, with the knowledge that I would mention Plantation Brunch on Capri + 3.

     This contest is open to residents of the United States only.  Each cookbook will be awarded to a different winner.  Winners will be chosen at random by via Rafflecopter.  The promotions offered (one cookbook with one night's stay at full price and the cookbook special price of $10 plus $3 shipping in the United States only by mentioning Capri + 3) expire on August 31, 2012. a Rafflecopter giveaway
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