About Me

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I’m a book-reading, craft-making newlywed living outside Chicago. I love my husband, cooking dinner and especially eating desserts! We love to ride bikes all over town and read books at coffee shops. I also enjoy shopping at JoAnns, drinking wine on the patio and playing with my bunny rabbit Penelope. Thanks for stopping by and visiting my blog. Please leave a comment- they really make my day! :)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Kale is Penelope Approved

This post is inspired by Penelope, who devours kale with great enthusiasm and gusto.  To her kale is as decadent as ice cream, as flavorful as fresh tacos, and as scrumptious as a Hersey's kiss. 

Oh Penelope, to have your taste buds.

In my quest to eat healthy I've discovered kale is somewhat of a superfood.  According to the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (which compares nutrients in a certain food compared to it's calories), kale scores a 1000 out of 1000!  Check out this interesting chart of ANDI scores from Whole Foods.  Unfortunately, chocolate does make any list....

Kale is a new vegetable to ThatGuy and me, and we're trying different ways incorporating it into our diet.  ThatGuy put kale in his morning green smoothies and we love eating pseudo-potato chips: baked kale chips.  

Another way we've had kale is in Kale Potato Soup, taken from Simply in Season.

1 large bunch of kale (steam and set aside)
1 tbs butter
1 large onion (chopped)
1 clove garlic
2 large potatoes (diced)
5 cups broth
salt and pepper

Melt butter in soup pot.  Add onion and saute until golden.  Add garlic and saute one more minute.  Add potatoes and 2 cups broth to the pot.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are soft.  Working in batches, puree the potatoes and kale in a blender and put back into the soup pot.  Add remaining liquid (you could do milk instead of broth) and season.  Serve with Parmesan cheese and crusty bread.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Football Oreo Balls

This post is a little overdue, considering ThatGuy's birthday party was about a month ago.  ThatGuy's birthday is close to the Super Bowl, so we always host a party and invite our families over.  ThatGuy's grandma is the cake baker in the family, and I wanted to make something sweet for the meal.  After trolling the internet for inspiration, I found these cute football oreo truffles on Bakerella.  But please don't click on that link, because you will see her truffles are like 1,000 times better than mine!

First step is to process one bag of oreos (minus the 1 you have to eat).

Add 1 package of cream cheese and pulse to combine.

Scoop out some dough and roll in a ball, then pinch the edges to make a football shape. Freeze on a cookie tray. 

Melt chocolate in a bowl. Then drop the footballs in the melted chocolate and place on back on the cookie sheet.

I used white frosting to make the ties on the footballs. Then I stuck them back in the freezer until it was time to eat.  Mine did not turn out as cute as Bakerella's, but they sure were delicious!

Update: ThatGuy says the correct football term is "laces" and not "ties."  Whatevs.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Crafty Party

Last weekend my friend Mandy (read her guest post) hosted a Craft Party.  She had supplies and directions to make some easy crafts, as well as some delicious snacks- like so delicious I stood by myself for 10 minutes at the kitchen counter eating after everyone started crafting.  Guest could make washer necklaces, glass tile necklaces/magnets or glass circle magnets.

Washer necklace- cut pictures from magazines and mode podge onto metal washer.  Tie with twine and it's a necklace!  I did a thin layer of diamond glaze over the top to seal it and protect the paper.  I totally had a crafting nerd moment when I realized Mandy had diamond glaze for us to use- I've been wanting to use it for a couple of months.  And now I'm going to take my birthday gift card (thanks Johanna!) to JoAnn's and get me some!!

Here are my 2 magnets! Cut out cute patterns from magazines and attach to glass circles/tiles with mod podge.  Then hot glue a magnet to the back of the paper.

This party was soooo fun!  And the crafts were perfect- there were some people with "craft anxiety" who were able to successfully make their crafts and feel really good about their projects!

People suggested to Mandy that this be a yearly event.  I'm hoping for this to be a monthly event.  Mandy, what do you think? 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Joy of Books

This is the librarian's version of Toy Story.  Instead of toys coming to life at night, it's the books!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine Printables

Guess what tomorrow is?  Valentine's Day!  I was super surprised to come home today and find roses and a sweet card from ThatGuy a day earlier than I expected!  ThisGirl (me) loves sweet surprises, so having my Valentine's present a day earlier than expected just sends my heart all a flutter.

But of course this means I'm not prepared to give ThatGuy anything until tomorrow! Here are some great printables for you last minute peeps.

Hunger Games inspired cards at HungerGamesMovie.org.

Downton Abbey printables from Chad Thomas

Awesome Harry Potter inspired cards from Yenniper. I love them so much I had to post 3 examples!

2+2= Friends Forever!  School cards at One Charming Party

Coffee cup printable covers from Eat Drink Chic.


Oh Chuck Bass.... find all of the Gossip Girl men on their Facebook page. (Yes, I am friends w/Gossip Girl!!)

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

My Heart is Like a Zoo

My absolute favorite book for February (i.e. Valentine's Day) is My Heart is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall. 

What makes this book so great are the pictures- they are simple, bold and ALL MADE FROM HEARTS!!!  I've used this book with ages 3-7 and everyone loves it.  The kids love guessing the animals and counting the hearts.  Some of the younger kids have a hard time seeing the heart if it's upside-down, so I will rotate the book around to see the hearts from different angles. 

Our local public library asked school libraries to take a month and decorate their bulletin board.  I signed up for February and begged the preschool teachers to let me do a craft with their kids (typically I just do a storytime with books and songs).  Being the great teachers that they are, we made a craft based on Michael Hall's books.  I had each of the classes make a different animals: frogs, seals and lions.

Frogs! (apparently a red-eyed tree frog?)

Then I took all 60+ animals to the local public library and decorated their HUGE bulletin board with all the frogs, seals and lions.  It looks pretty cheery and colorful!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Guest Post: Satin Flowers

I'd like to welcome my beautiful friend Mandy to the Storycrafting for a guest post!  Mandy is a fellow teacher at my school.   She's a great teacher who loves her students dearly.  Not only is she talented at teaching 5th graders, she's also an extremely crafty girl! 

Today this teacher is going to school us on how to make these cute flowers!

Materials Needed:
-       satin, tulle, any fabric that edges can burn and curl
-       scissors
-       candle
-       matches
-       buttons, beads, equines ect.
-       Hot glue gun OR needle & thread

Choose your fabric; I used a purple satin.

 Cut out 5-9 “circles” starting small and getting a little bigger with each one. You do not need to make sure the circles are straight/perfect.

Stack your circles so the biggest one is on the bottom and smallest on the top. Light your candle and have your glue gun ready

You carefully are going to MELT the edges of each circle by holding it to the candle. Make sure you MELT them not burn. When you burn the edges they get very black and dark and crack.

5  As you burn the edges you want to sort of roll the each the circle so they edges curl.

You can either hot glue the next part or you can sew them together. I used hot glue, and hot glued each circle on top of each other.

If you use a needle and thread you would just stitch it right through the middle of the petals that are stack. I use hot glue because I find that when you use needle and thread the flower is a little too floppy.

Then you can put a button or bead in the middle!