It’s no secret that Newt is crazy about Doctor Who. Last week, while she was at summer camp, Walt and I turned her room into a space fitting her obsession (with a few nods her her other geeky loves). I forgot to take good before pictures, but you can see here a bit of the original, ugly wall color and trim. The closet makeover is already underway. Note: some of the photos were taken with my phone and at night, so the quality is not so good. The dresser was a garage sale find before Walt and I got married, 17 years ago. I’ve painted it at least ten times. This incarnation is just a bit darker – I was going for a just after sunset vibe. I also painted new Doctor Who themed knobs. Before/in progress: After: Here’s a close-up of the knobs. Top drawer is for the 9th Doctor and Rose. Middle drawer is for the 10th doctor and the bottom one is for the 11th.
More details: New switch plate, etsy I found a bookshelf on craigslist ($20-score) and filled it with all of her little collections. Not everything is Doctor Who; she likes a few other things as well. It makes me happy to see just how many things I’ve had a hand in creating. I made the Luigi cap for Halloween a couple of years ago and painted the Hello Sweetie! sign one evening last week. You can also see the Star Wars needlefelting I made her for Christmas. To the right of her shelf, you’ll see some of her paintings. To the left, a new Converse lamp I picked up at a discount store and a painting of Shasta done by a family friend.
I wanted some kind of art above her bed, but I didn’t want it to fall on her. Spray paint to the rescue. The Bad Wolf is Newt’s favorite part of her room. I also sewed new curtains to match her quilt. I didn’t like the finials on her curtain rods (they were pink) but didn’t have time to go pick up more. So…Lego! Not pictured, a new Doctor Who Poster with David Tennant. You’ll see it in the video below. I also have a Doctor Who Wall Calendar on the way. It should arrive next week.
Here is the room’s crown jewel – the Tardis: I painted the two center panels of her closet blue ( I had done the whole thing in chalkboard a couple of years ago) and added decals (etsy). Walt installed a handle and lock. Then I painted the trim and a light above (which I do not love and will likely redo).
I also painted the remaining trim in the room and her door white. Walt hung new blinds. We still need to put in new baseboards, but we didn’t get those finished in time. Now they will have to wait until we have company or move. Isn’t that the way it always goes?
All in all, I think her room turned out great. I’m pretty proud of it and the hours of work we put into it. But it’s not my opinion that matters – it’s Newt’s. See video of her reaction, complete with uncontrollable giggling, below:
Newt had the most excellent idea: a summer book club for her friends and their mamas. We had our first meeting earlier this week and we discussed Kathryn Fitzmaurice’s lovely The Year the Swallows Came Early. We talked about everything from achieving your childhood dreams to discovering that your parents are not perfect. Chocolate covered strawberries are featured in the book, so we had to have some (there is even a recipe at the back, though we subbed coconut oil for Crisco). But given the er…specific timing of book club this month, more chocolate was called for, if you know what I mean. I modified a cocoa brownie recipe from Smitten Kitchen and added Nutella frosting inspired by My Baking Addiction (though the brownies would have been delightful even unadorned). Warning: this is not a health food. Two tiny squares had enough sugar to keep me up until 2am. But while I was awake, I was feeling happy.
Rich, dark and fudgy brownies topped with Nutella frosting. Forget the book, let's just eat.
10 tablespoons butter
1¼ cups sugar
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, cold
½ cup minus 1 Tablespoon white whole wheat flour
½ cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts (optional)
¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
½ cup Nutella
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Up to 1½ cups powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 325. Line 8x8 pan with foil. Grease.
Place butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a microwave safe bowl. Heat in microwave on high, 30 seconds at a time (stirring with a wooden spoon after each round) until butter is melted and mixture is very warm.
Stir for a few moments to cool a bit.
Add vanilla. Stir.
Add eggs, stirring well after each one.
Add flour and stir until well mixed and batter is shiny.
Fold in nuts.
Bake for 25 -30 minutes or until set and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Prepare Frosting: With a wire whisk or hand beater, beat together butter, Nutella, vanilla, and cream until smooth. Add powdered sugar, ½ cup at a time until desired consistency.
I’m going to go on record right here, right now and say, “Teachers of the World: I love you!” That was awkward, wasn’t it? I thought so. I hope we can put this little incident behind us…
<begin mild rant> There is a nasty bit of a rumor floating around out there. You know, the one that says that homeschool parents don’t like/appreciate/respect teachers? And that teachers don’t like/appreciate/respect homeschool parents? I’m going to lay that rumor down right now.
Frantically Simple. Fighting injustices every day.
I love (most) teachers. They are dedicated, hard working and truly have their students best interests at heart. I don’t homeschool to keep Newt away from evil government schools and unrighteous influences. I homeschool because it works for our family. Most teachers that I know get that and respect it. </end mild rant>
Toning it down to an appropriate level: “Teachers of the World: I appreciate you!” Better?
If you’d like a cute and simple way to show your appreciation for a favorite teacher, read on. Note: Merely reading this tutorial will not be enough. Once you have read the instructions on creating the following project, you will have to actually create one. Or make a card. Or buy something. Or just say, “Thanks.” One of those ought to do it.
Newt and I made a chalkboard flowerpot for her piano teacher a couple of years ago. It’s a cute, simple, and cheap and easy to make little gift. Purchase a small terracotta pot from your local gardening store or crack addiction recovery center Wal-Mart. If you are going to plant directly into the pot, instead of using a liner, you’ll want to seal it. Thompsons MultiSurface Spray Water Sealer works great. Brush on or spray the interior of your pot and allow to dry according to label instructions. Once the sealer is dry, paint the outside or your pot with chalkboard paint. A little goes a long way; you don’t need to buy a large container of it. Allow to dry for 24 hours before planting. Have your little darling chalk a message to his/her teacher. I suggest, “Teachers of the World: I adore you (and also would like to smell your hair)!” And now we are back to awkward… I’ll be home all next week. Go ahead and drop the restraining order by any time.
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Planning a little Cinco de Mayo dinner at home this weekend? How about some fish tacos? If you’ve never had them, don’t be scared. They are not as weird as they may sound. If you have had them, well then, you know what I’m talking about, right?
I make awesome fish tacos, if I do say so myself: lightly spiced, pan-seared fish and a crispy cabbage slaw wrapped in a corn tortilla. Me gusto! Want to be an awesome fish taco maker too? The recipe is near and dear to my heart: it was one of the first ones I ever made up. It is highly adjustable. Feel free to use more or less spices.
You all know how I love meals that are healthy, but quick and easy to get on the table, right? Between running Newt to her classes and activities, homeschooling and spending extra hours in front of my laptop, I’m finding it more important than ever. This dish is nearly perfect. It takes only minutes to make but tastes amazing. Pair it with a quick salad and some bread and you’ve got a meal. If only everything good was this easy.
This chili is great for busy nights. It comes together in a hurry, but has a flavor that no one will think you skimped on.
2 (15-ounce cans) cannellini or other white beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups chicken broth (homemade or canned)
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chilies , undrained
1½ - 2 cups cooked chicken, diced or shredded
2 tsp ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, pressed
3-4 Tablespoons lime juice
Salt to taste (will vary depending on homemade or canned broth)
Shredded Cheddar or Monterey-Jack cheese
Combine all ingredients except cheese in soup-pot.
Cook over medium-high heat until boiling. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until desired thickness.
Garnish with shredded cheese.
This can also be cooked in the crockpot, but it will be more souplike (as pictured).
Dump all ingredients in crockpot and cook on high 1 hour or low 2-3 hours (or longer - it won't hurt).
Garnish with cheese.
I found some really awesome stencils on Chocolate and Cream Cake. I just modified the Dalek slightly to give him a more classic plunger. Sadly, said plunger placement is uh, right over my um… Let’s just say I wore it today and spent the day being groped. They are evil, right? (Pst: If you like Doctor Who, check out our free printable Valentines, my daughter’s room makeover, and her Halloween costume.) Not Spring-Break crazy enough for you? Okay, more spring break madness: We watched a pig give birth and… …we dissected a still-born piglet. You, ah… what’s that? Only a homeschooler.
Since Newt wants to become a vet, and lots of dissections are in her future, we both felt it would be a great opportunity. That is how I found myself inviting some friends over for a good old fashioned spring break dissection party. I have to admit, I was a little unsure how any of us would handle it, but once we got through the first few cuts, we were fine. Fascinating stuff, that. If you have the stomach for it, I created a set for the rest of my photos on flickr.
What else have we been up to? Lots of sleeping in. Reading. Writing; I’ve made a fair amount of progress on my book. Time with friends. It’s been a nice break.
Call my hometown bookstore, The Book Bin at 503-361-1235, and place an order!
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