Saturday, February 14, 2015

Neighborhood Valentine Delivery

Today's special Valentine's Day activity was to deliver Valentine's Day cards to our neighbors. We live in a great neighborhood, on a block that is ideal for taking walks around. There are about 36 homes on our block and we knocked on each one. Not everyone was home when we went around but we were able to hand out about 26 Valentine's cards today. We definitely shared our love today. From our deliveries we received lots of smiles, a few hugs and many, many thank you's. Everyone was surprised and really appreciated the Valentine's Day card and some said it was the only one they received today. One of the best outcomes of today is that we made some new friends. 
In 8 of the 36 houses we have families that are already our friends and for them we had an extra treat of little boxes of chocolates. Daddy also had to work today so a few Valentines and chocolate boxes went to work.

After a busy day of deliveries we finished our special day with a meal at our favorite restaurant. The food is wonderful but part of the reason for it being a favorite is that it has the most amazing ceiling. It is made to look like the sky.

Today has definitely been one of my favorite Valentine's Days. I think card delivery will have to become an annual tradition. The kids finished the trip around the block with huge smiles on their faces and I think a little more love in their hearts. 

Many blessings to you on this very fine Valentine's Day. Sending out to you, all of my love. (and if you leave me a note perhaps a little bit of chocolate.)--Kate

Friday, February 13, 2015

Handmade Valentines

So this is the first of, what will probably be, many years making our own Valentine's Day cards as a family. I even managed to get Rob involved, even though he does not like this holiday. It was not smooth sailing but we still managed to have moments of fun. My usually arty girl seemed to have a mental block when it came time to help with them. Thank goodness she has been drawing page after page of hearts for the last two weeks. My boy got into the process about as much as he ever does. Creation is not his forte, he is enjoying destruction much more these days.

As soon as I brought out my art supplies though I had two sets of bright eyes. Most particularly when they spied the paint and glue. Who doesn't love the sticky, icky stuff best though? After a few moments of chaos and one scary water spill that threatened a few computers, we achieved some beautiful and creative projects.
 I will have more to share with you tomorrow after we put our Valentine's cards into action seeing if we can spread a few hearts full of love in our community.

Many blessings to you this fine Valentine's Day Eve.--Kate

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Heart Thoughts

I think that it is easy for Valentine's Day to be a selfish holiday. Filled with pretty baubles, grand gestures of romance and chocolate. Not that I have a problem with any of that, (especially the chocolate.) It is just that in a world so easily filled with selfishness maybe Valentine's Day should be an opportunity to fill the world with love. Real love is self-less. So how could we spend a day being self-less? What could we do to fill more hearts with love and share those hearts in our world?

I have a Saturday Surprise planned with my kids, (and mom) that I hope will be a day spent sharing hearts filled with love. I look forward to sharing that adventure with you on Saturday. For now I would love your thoughts on what you could do to celebrate a self-less Valentine's Day. 

I was also able to cross another item off my projects list. I have a heart shirt that was ripped years ago that I have been meaning to patch. I finally got it fixed today so that it is ready to wear on Saturday.

The red stitches might be a bit hard to see here, that is what I was covering with the patch. My first thought was to go with something small but the location of the holes were such that anything I used would have been very noticeable. I am quite pleased with how this turned out.
Many blessings to you on this fine night.--Kate

Remember to send me your thoughts on what can be done to make Valentine's Day a holiday about real love.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Finishing the Heart Sweater and Pants

It was fun to alter these clothes to fit my daughter, but I will say the sweater took a lot more effort then I thought. I had to take seams apart, knit the neck and the sleeves, crochet the seams closed and do some seam reinforcement with the sewing machine. The pants were much easier, all I had to do was serge the inner seam from ankle to ankle.

 This is how they both turned out, and my little fashionista was pleased.

Many blessings to you on this fine night.--Kate

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Heart Sweater and Pants with Plaid Hearts

I adore shopping at thrift stores. When I was in high school one of my very best friends took me to Value Village for the first time and I fell in love. It is like going on a treasure hunt, if you dig deep enough for long enough who know what gems can be found. Recently I have found a new obsession in my thrift shopping, discovering clothes that can be turned into outfits for my daughter She is quite the fashionista. She goes into her closet and the clothing combinations she comes out with look crazy then she puts them on and they are darling.

From this past weekend's shopping trip I found a number of outfits and I can not wait to see what she does with them. I have decided that I would not let the size of the clothes stop me from finding things I think my daughter will like. That means I have to do some alteration work on many of the items I pick up.

This week's alteration projects. A bright yellow sweater with a grey heart and some pink leggings with plaid hearts. Both are for older girls, so that means that I need to take them in a little.

Here is where we started.

This is the start of reconstruction. I have shortened the sleeves taken in the sides and trimmed a little off the top.
 In this picture I have the sleeves to the right length but need to do the cuff.
The only thing remaining to do here is finish the neck opening and shorten the length and then remove some of the extra fabric from the seams.
 The pants are pinned and the leg cuff open and ready for serging.
 Tomorrow I will be wrapping up these projects and will post the final pictures.

Many blessings to you on this very fine night.--Kate

Monday, February 9, 2015

No-Bake Huckleberry Cheese Cake

Do you need a delicious and beautiful dessert for Valentine's Day? Well look no farther. This cheese cake is easy to put together and a delight to the senses.
No-Bake Cheesecake with Huckleberry Sauce

Free of:  Gluten, Grain, Sugar
Full of:  Omega 3 Fatty Acids, Antioxidants, Vitamin C and K, Fiber, Folic Acid
1-16 oz bottle heavy whipping cream-Organic
2-8 oz pkgs organic cream cheese
1/2 cup xylitol-or to taste
1 organic vanilla bean (I just used traditional organic vanilla)
2 cups walnuts finely crushed
4 tablespoons raw or organic butter
1 pint organic Huckleberries (or what ever berry you have.)
1 to 2 tbsp xylitol for berries(depending on sweetness of berries)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Allow both cream and cream cheese to become room temperature.

Mix whipping cream until stiff.  Set aside.  Mix cream cheese and xylitol until smooth.  (The longer the better to break down xylitol).  Add vanilla.  Mix into cream cheese mixture.  Pour cream cheese mixture into whipped cream and mix by hand well but gently.  Place bowl in refrigerator and chill.
Finely crush walnuts by hand or in food processor.  Melt butter in preheating oven.  Place crushed walnuts in pie plate.  Pour melted butter into crushed walnuts and carefully blend until mixture becomes a ball.  With fingers press and mold into the pie plate.  It does not have to be perfect, even small holes will be okay.  Place in preheated oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until butter is mostly absorbed and crust is just turning brown.

Take crust out and let cool completely.  Do not put filling in even if your crust is slightly above room temperature.  Once it is completely cool, pour in cheesecake mixture.  Place in refrigerator to set.  The cheesecake mixture will bind the crust as it sets.  

Topping:  Put berries in a saucepan with 1 to 2 teaspoons of xylitol depending on the ripeness of the berries.  Cook on low heat and allow to simmer until it slightly thickens and becomes sauce-like.  If you have a berry with seeds that you would prefer to avoid, pour through a strainer and place sauce in refrigerator to chill.

Key Lime Cheesecake:  After mixing the cream cheese mixture and the whipped cream mixture I add about 1/3 cup of key lime juice and the zest of one key lime.  Again, you can use more or less depending on the tartness of your limes. 

This dessert is also delicious with Chocolate Chips.

Many blessings to you this sweet and very fine day.--Kate

Sunday, February 8, 2015

A Week Filled with Hearts

Even though Valentine's Day is yet another commercialism tactic, I like the basic sentiment of the holiday. For me and my family Valentines has never been a holiday for romantic love or lovers. It is a chance to cherish one another. I know for me I often allow life to get in the way and forget to let the most important people in my life know just how important they are to me. I forget to love. Though it may be sad that I need a holiday to remind me to stop and share some love, I do. Just as I need a holiday to help me to stop and remember the many who sacrificed their life so that my freedoms might be protected. Just as I am glad for a holiday that has me stop and remember that I am so loved that God sent his only son to live down here among his people and to then die so that our sins might be forgiven.

I think holidays just like all parts of our life can get lost in the rush and rhythm. I also think that they hold great potential for us to use them as the tools of remembrance that they were designed for. So this Valentines week I plan to take some time to fill my house with hearts, both literal and emotional. I also plan to take some time with my kids to spread those hearts around our world. It is important to put some more love into this world we inhabit. Personally I am grateful for this day that reminds us all to do just that.

Many blessings and love to you at the start of this Valentines week.--Kate

P.S. Plan on seeing lots of hearts from me this week.