About me: Work In progress

Posted March 11, 2013 by queenvanna
Categories: sesame, she's so crafty

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Living in Connecticut, sharp-witted and crazy-haired, “Queenvanna” (that’s me!) juggles a husband and two blond pixies, working in a
local scrapbook store, and running my own burgeoning paper arts business. My job and my family inspire me to create crafty projects for holidays, vacations and times when there’s just not much going on. I look to add a little flair to everything we do, to put some extra fun in to daily life as well as special occassions.
My daughters are full-time school age now and we are looking forward to many summer vacation activities and adventures!

abby

Celebrate Good Times, C’MON!

Posted March 6, 2013 by queenvanna
Categories: foooooood, sesame, she's so crafty

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sesame blog

The most EXCITING news I’ve had EVER (maybe not ever, but RECENTLY!!) is that I was selected to be a Sesame Place Blog Ambassador for this season and ohhhhh my goodness I’m so psyched I can barely sleep!  I’ll go down there to visit and play and see my buddies Grover and Bert with the girls and maybe some other folks, then I’ll tell you all about it.  As a little yippee and hooray, I made cupcakes today.

I got the Elmo picks at the big opening of HOBBY LOBBY a couple weekends ago (along with EVERYTHING ELSE IN THE WORLD) and I’ve been saving the ABC, 123 sprinkles for just such an occasion.

There have been some difficult and weird times at hunny’s job, morale is strange at the moment so he thought it would be nice to bring a treat to the guys he has lunch with every day.  I stopped in at lunchtime today to drop some off and they enjoyed the Elmo cupcakes a whole bunch.  The girls each had one as a bedtime snack, but they just thought it was because mom felt like making cupcakes.  I’m keeping our several visits to Elmo’s house a secret for now!

So There’s That

Posted March 5, 2013 by queenvanna
Categories: foooooood, home sweet home

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We got about 3 gallons of maple sap over the course of 2 1/2 days.  I filtered it, I boiled it a while, I put it in my crockpot.  Then I didn’t know when to stop.  Here’s what we got:

It’s a pretty color and it’s thickened up since it’s been in the fridge.

 I mighta let it go too long.  It’s kinda grainy, like it’s saturated w sugar.  Sooooo…. maybe I can turn it in to that maple sugar candy like we get at the fall fairs (YUMM-O!)?  Or it can sit in my fridge forever as I reminder that we could do it if we wanted to?

The sap was flowing again and we’ve got maybe another gallon and a half so far today…  Try it again?  Probably.

P.S. I just found this blog post by Simple Little Home and we are SO doing this.

Anticipation

Posted February 26, 2013 by queenvanna
Categories: foooooood, home sweet home, hunny hunny hunny

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I know folks who schedule blog posts weeks in advance.  They plan holiday posts and birthday posts, but I just can’t.  If I think of something to tell you, or if I’m in the middle of a project I just can’t wait to tell you about it.

So!!  We have these beastly maple trees on the front corners of our property out by the road.  During the first freak/weird/once in a lifetime but happened twice October snow storms a couple years ago they were really damaged.  One lost a huge section that blocked out street.  The other lost a giant branch into our driveway.  They’re pretty scarred and pretty ugly in the winter when they don’t have greenery to cover the damage.  When spring rolls around, they leak sap out of various parts and the other day one of the girls noticed a sap icicle way up in a tippy-top branch.  I told hubs we should tap that tree, just to see what would happen and with a couple bucks for a yard of tubing and a plastic thing that pokes in the tree, we are now harvesting sap like pioneers.

If pioneers had plastic pointy things and tubes and gallon milk jugs.  It is flowing like crazy:

(You can see the chunk that’s missing from the other tree on the right side at the other end of the yard, too.)

Last night after about 8 hours, we had our first near-gallon of sap.

I’ve been told a dozen times (and read it, too) that it takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup.  That’s great but really, we don’t need a gallon of syrup.  The Little Girl is the only one who even enjoys syrup in the first place (!!!), we’re just doing it for fun.  We’re just about 24 hours since hubs tapped the tree and we’ve gotten a little more than 2 gallons of sap.  I’ve boiled it down and put it in my crockpot to do its ‘thang” and eventually, we’ll see what happens.  If you suddenly see an influx of waffle posts, you’ll be assured making syrup was a success. 😉

Time dances on…

Posted February 22, 2013 by queenvanna
Categories: babycakes, beanie, home sweet home, the girls

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and skips and hops and cartwheels…

I’ve got my Bean (Big Girl) home with me today.  While I still can’t figure out if it’s a little tummy bug or some 2nd grade stress that caused her to be sick last night she’s here on the couch next to me.  I’m fretting about how to handle obligations later, who’s gonna go to gymnastics, who’s gonna go to work and when while we’re snuggled up watching daytime tv – Team Umi Zoomi, Dora, etc…  She’s 8.  She’s way beyond these shows but I’m steering clear of the other types of programming on at this time of day.  She doesn’t seem to mind.

This a.m. her little sister was talking about summer vacation – she’ll FINALLY be old enough to ride the roller coaster at Sesame Place all by herself, she’s been waiting 5 years to be able to ride alone.  She was remembering last year’s trip to “Elmo’s House” when mom and dad felt she could swim well enough to ride a certain couple of tube rides single-y.  She’s so proud of how big she is.  There’s no question in her mind that we’ll go back this summer, she loves it there.  It’ll break my heart when/IF she ever decides that it’s a place more for the little kids.

Where are my baby girls?  We still have the “season pass” for Sesame Street and Max and Ruby on the tivo, but now we’re more in to American Girl youtube videos (how to make uneven bars for your doll – we’re totally gonna do that!) and reading chapter books.  There are no more training wheels.  My little girls are not so little.  I tried to sit on the edge of Bean’s bed last night and sat on her foot.  “What was that?” I ask.  “Uhhh, I’m stretched out over here,” she answers.  She nearly reaches the end of the bed.  Little Girl reminded me that her half birthday was this week.  6 and 1/2!  I never planned out this far, it felt like they’d be 2 and 3, watching Diego and asking questions with their little lisps forever.

Ready mama?  Not really, but I’ll try to be.

Polkadotty Goodness!

Posted February 18, 2013 by queenvanna
Categories: beanie, foooooood, i saw it on pinterest, she's so crafty

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

For ha-ha’s I showed Big Girl the pinterest pin of the polkadot cake on Once Upon A Pedestal.  That cake is amazing, and I knew there’d be no way mine would ever look like that, but when anyone asked what kind of party she was going to have she’d tell them I was making a polkadot cake.

Thankfully my neighbor Karen had the ball pan for me to borrow:

and then Bobbie Jo bought me my very OWN ball pan – it was awesome to make 2 batches at once, cut my time in half!

The main tip I have is *don’t read the suggestions in the comments of the original post*  I started 2nd guessing myself,  should I freeze the balls, should I undercook them, fret, question, doubt…  Don’t read the comments!!  Don’t put frozen balls in the mix, they’ll lower the temperature of the mix and it’ll take forever for the cakes to cook.

AND the balls will start rising to the top in the center when the outter edges start to cook.  It’ll make ya crazy!

and you’ll have to saw off the top of some of the balls cuz they tried to escape.

Frost and lookit that girl smile cuz she knows the surprise inside her cake!

It’s hard cutting a cake this tall and taking its picture at the same time.  I had to wait til it laid down.

Our family was impressed, and the cake was YUM, if I do say so myself.

even later on after everyone else went home!

cake

Here and now.

Posted February 15, 2013 by queenvanna
Categories: Uncategorized

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Today is the day. The snow is clear, the pantry is stocked, no more yukko carbs and sugar, no more excuses. (Someone hold me.)

Last year after I hurt my hip I knew it was time to do something about my weight.  It was time to either go up (another) pants size, or feel better in the size I was wearing.  I stepped on the scale and the number was the same as the week I was ready to deliver Little Girl.  That right there was not acceptable.  I couldn’t exercise because of the type of injury I had, but I knew that if I changed my diet things would more in a more positive direction.  I did a modified no/low carb/sugar thing and it worked for me.  I lost 25 lbs slowly, and went down a full size (probably 2, the pants I was wearing were screaming for mercy).  I slowed up on the loss when it got to be time for my sister’s wedding and I completely went off the wagon when the dress fit just right.  And after the wedding, I never got back ON the wagon.  Where did that wagon go?

wedding

I’ve regained only a pound or two, plus or minus on any day, but it’s time to focus my energies again.  And this time, my hip is mostly better so I should get some walking in to help things progress.  You don’t need to know any of this (and probably care very little), but I feel like I need to be accountable to myself again.  There aren’t going to be any before or after shots, no celebrations for milestones hit, but hopefully *I’ll* notice, and get to wear some of the old things hanging in my closet.  Let’s go, Vanessa.