Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tasty Tuesday - Vintage Skillet French Toast

My bloggy friend Jen over at Balancing Beauty & Bedlam (gotta love the name of her blog) has been running a regular Tasty Tuesday theme for a while now. I keep meaning to join in, but always seem to be posting bits about my own cooking adventures on Fridays or Mondays--not Tuesdays. SO, I saved one up for today, and am officially joining in on the Tasty Tuesday fun!

My Dad has been holding a vintage Sunbeam electric skillet for me that I got to bring home after our visit over Father's Day Weekend. He always has said that you can't have better pancakes, grilled cheese or French Toast than this skillet can make. This one is actually my Mom's. He found another one in an antique store box for a $1.00--so this one is now mine. ALL MINE.

As you can see it has been lovingly assisting with meal preparations for years. For this installment of Tasty Tuesday I am going to highlight a simple and cheap dinner idea--Vintage Skillet French Toast. (We tend to have breakfast a lot for dinner in our house). This is by no means a complicated meal, nor an expensive one! (Jen promotes frugality on her blog, so I know she'll like this one!)

I used a loaf of IGA white bread that was on sale for $1.29, and a dozen eggs that were on sale for 99 cents. I already had butter from my weekly local dairy home delivery. (Okay, so the generous amount of local maple syrup that I pour all over mine is not cheap. Let's not even go there. But the good stuff is worth it!)

Start by whisking 3 eggs and a couple of cups of milk and some cinnamon and a pinch of salt together. (I made 8 slices). Get the skillet heating (mine was on 380 degrees). Toss in a generous slab of butter and you are on your way!

Since the IGA bread was pretty thin, I just want to pace it in the egg mixture briefly, turning once to coat. For a heartier, homemade bread you would definitely want to soak it. Lay the slices in the skillet and listen to the yummy bubbling!

Flip when they have reached the desired doneness. I was being overly cautious since I was going to be giving a slice to Ella.

Move to a warm plate, add butter and local maple syrup and dig in!

Seriously folks, my Dad is so right--my French Toast never cooks this evenly in a regular fry pan, nor does it get the great crunchy edges that it has here. Can you see those crunchy edges? Can you smell the French Toast goodness??

I think James liked them!

Ella did too!

Mmmmmm . . . . just . a . moment . I . am . chewing . my . last . golden . buttery . bite . . .


Monday, June 29, 2009

A Great Day for a Birthday Party

So, when the morning of James' party rolled around, I was concerned that we would get our 26th straight day of rain. Considering that the evening before we had a torrential thunderstorm, 20 minutes of golf-ball sized hail and lost power right in the middle of my food preparations (homemade potato salad, coleslaw and the dinosaur cake) it wouldn't have been crazy to expect rain.

But--we were lucky and the sun came out in full force to shine down on James' special day.

We picked up a ton of balloons right before the party and James was very excited to hold a bunch of them--I think he thought he was going to float off into the sky!

Here is my beautiful Ella with my handsome hubby.

Our big gift to James this year? A bouncy house! Check out his tongue--HYSTERICAL!

Here is his little friend Colin--he was such a sweetie and the boys played ALL AFTERNOON. Look at James' feet on the right of the pic above--another funny one! Gotta love that sport shot setting on my camera!

We set up a pack and play in the shade next to the bouncy house so that Ella could see all of the fun--I think she really wanted to play with the big kids!

James had such a blast in the bouncy house--I love his huge smile in this photo.

Colin was funny--he would dive into the bouncy house, jump around, and them come hurling out of it and down the slide, and then run to Baby Ella and kiss her, or touch her face or hold her hands. It was a little game they were playing!

The bean bag toss is always a hit! An old friend of Chris' came down with his son for the party. I hadn't seen them in YEARS and it was so fun to reconnect!

A dinosaur must have visited during the party when no one was looking, because these huge tracks led all the way down the sidewalk right up to the door!

We let a couple of balloons go for the kids (crossing our fingers that no birds would be harmed) and I snapped this shot of my sister-in-law and her son Matthew. Adorable!

Here are my friends Tara (on the left) and Stacey (on the right). I met Tara in 1994 when we were both working in regional theatre and she has been a steadfast friend ever since. She flew out to Vegas to help me back with the kiddos! And Stacey and I worked together when I got my first "corporate" job ten years ago. I missed them terribly when I moved to Vegas--and when we moved back it was like the five years had never happened and we fell right into our old ways again. It has been such a pleasure to know them--authentic, honest, sweet and funny--I love them both dearly.

Cake? Did somebody say cake? Yes, I made this dinosaur cake. You can get the instructional video here. For a good laugh, you should watch it--the cake decorator ices it in about 30 seconds. IT TOOK ME AN HOUR. Seriously. Next time I will leave the cake making to the experts, like my friend Katie, who made James' first birthday cake!

What a great day. Thanks to our friends and the weather--James' party was PERFECT.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Happy 3rd Birthday James!

Our little boy turns 3 years old today.

My, how time flies.

* * * * * *

Dear James,

You are so sweet, and inquisitive, and funny!

You are enchanted with the outdoors, and all things boy--
playing in the dirt, riding your "motorcyle"
watching caterpillars and chasing dragonflys.

Your favorite things to eat are anything
from Shady Glen or Fat Boys or Augie and Rays--
(and let's not forget the doughnuts!)

You love books and our storytime together,
learning new words and phrases,
What boy your age says "Certainly so!"

You may stomp at her for playing with your toys,
but as you say it,
"Baby Sister Ella is my BEST friend."

Your Dad is your hero, teaching you about tools,
and hard work, and inspiring in you a love of old cars.
I watch you look at him with such a look of
adoration that it melts my heart.

Every night no matter what
we have our special time together, reading books
and taking an adventure (or two, or three) before bedtime.
I get to cuddle you every word along the way,
just like I did when you were a baby.

You have a glow about you that turns any gray day sunny.
We are so lucky to know you, and love you,
and share you with the world.

We love you,

Mommy, Daddy & Baby Sister Ella

Happy Birthday James!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Vintage Friday Finds - Paper Dolls

Introducing Dolly Dumpling, and Bobby Bobbs, a pair of sweet paper dolls from the 1920s that my Dad has in his auction this week.

Isn't Dolly sweet? I just want to pinch her little cheeks!

I love that Bobby has his own little paper doll accessories, including a Bulldog!

These paper dolls remind me of a time when children were raised in a much simpler way. No cell phones, no Xboxes, no computers. I hope that despite the "information age" I can give my children an environment that is somewhat more based on using their own imaginations to keep them growing, learning and having fun!

(My husband read this after I posted it and noted that James was watching Super Why so don't think I am a purist by any means, LOL!)

Happy Vintage Friday Finds!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Dinosaur ROAR!

James' 3rd birthday party is this Saturday, and it is a dinosaur theme.
So, we are doing all things dinosaur this week for crafts.
Today we made two crafty dinosaurs that we will be hanging as decorations for the party.
I downloaded a template for the first dinosaur from the All Kids Network here.

Then I copied it by free handing it on heavy weight construction paper with a black marker. Next I asked James to color it in, and then glue "spots" on it.

Next he applied little pom poms to the spots.
We added a googly eye and then started the next one!

I just free handed this triceratops
(I guess I have been staring at a lot of dinosaurs lately, since James is so obsessed!)

Next he colored it in,

Then we added another googly eye.
(Something about these eyes makes him laugh like crazy!)

More glue for spots,

And there we have it! (Please excuse the runny nose!)

We will make a few each day this week.
After they dry we will cut them out and hang them as decorations
for our little birthday party!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Father's Day Weekend in Maine

We headed to Maine to spend Father's Day Weekend with my Dad. It was GREAT. Chris suggested that when I post the photos I ask James to narrate. His comments are in italics.

Grandpa and Jamesy picking strawberries!

We picked 11 strawberries.

I am holding a really big strawberry! I ate it and vanilla ice ream.

Here are honking geese that are eating bushes!

That's Jamesy with flowers and holding a nectarine. (I don't see a nectarine in this picture, but O.K.!)

Some flowers from around the house:

Strawberries! (As you can see, there are more than 11 here.) We ate them over Gifford's vanilla ice cream. James even had seconds!

Playing baseball and then going to the tractors. (Don't you love the goose in the background, getting right in on the game?)

More flowers. I think Dad said the Daisies are Buckeyes? I'll have to check.

Here is Dad on Saturday evening before we headed to the hotel, bringing Gaby the Goose right into the car to say goodbye to James! (Is that a riot, or what!! I LOVE MY DAD.)

Daddy and Baby Sister! I really love this photo--there was a very, very light misty rain coming down and the little droplets were collecting in Ella's eyelashes. She was blinking ever so sweetly.

Jamesy riding a tractor! The tractor was out of the barn getting worked on. It seemed much larger than before!

You feed a horse with your hand out. Dad was showing James how to hold his hand out flat. That will be a lesson that could stand some repeating!

Jamesy riding on Flash like a cowboy! Yes, here he is riding alone. My heart was in my throat, but Flash is a very good and patient boy. Dad showed James how to hold on to Flash's mane and he did great!

Aw it's Grandpa and Mommy.

Flash! Isn't he gorgeous? Sonny Boy is getting older, and was a little camera shy.

Baby Sister and Daddy! Chris was asking her if there was butter on her chin. LOVE THAT!

I am riding in Grandpa's car like a big boy! Mmmmm . . . yup. Its a tradition when we go see the horses--they are a little ways down the road and since it was raining we drove.

I hope everyone had a great weekend!