Lego Cake ~ A 5 yr old Birthday Cake!

This past weekend I had the privilege of making a Lego cake for a very special 5 year old, Charlie!

I always relish the idea of making kids cakes as I absolutely LOVE seeing their faces when they see their cake for the first time! What a great fun family, I loved spending the afternoon watching them love on their little big man!

Here’s a close up of the men hard at work on the fondant! (Yes I realize they are not real Lego men, but it’s all we had on hand!)Of course we needed some cupcakes to top it all off!

The cake table was quite popular!

Again, Happy Birthday Charlie!

If you would like to order a custom cake creation, please visit the cake page here: One More Slice Cake Designs

 

 

Oktoberfest ~ Leavenworth style!

On our way down to our vacation spot at Lake Chelan, we drove through Leavenworth, WA. Lucky for us it was in full Oktoberfest swing and we made a day of checking out the cute shops!

What a cute little Bavarian town!

One store is dedicated to the Nutcracker, a curious Christmas decoration that up until now I hadn’t really paid much attention to. Rows upon rows of nutcrackers line the shelves, all in full costume, and countless themes.

We even found a Star Wars themed bunch! They have a Nutcracker Museum upstairs that I overheard from one of the customers “was kinda creepy with all of them staring at you”. I thought they were lots of fun, and even found myself wanting to pick one out.

Of course we stopped in at the Munchen Haus for a bratwurst and local brew.

 This is honestly when our true German experience began! Long communal tables, accordian music playing and good ol’ fashioned handmade German Sausages!

Not to mention the um-teen specialty mustards and apple sour kraut to top them with! How does one choose?!

We found a spot at the end of a table and as it turned out we found the nicest bunch of people. They very quickly welcomed us into their group and next thing you know we were discussing everything from the US economy (ok I know a bit of a downer, but good to get an American opinion!) to the best local hidden gems. We left with plans to join them same place next year! So fun, I love meeting genuine folk like that in our travels.

A little more strolling the shops and taking in the entertainment of the day which, as you guessed it, was more polka music!Gotta love the lederhosen!I absolutely loved this little town and definitley want to make plans to come back during the Christmas season when it’s all decked out. Apparently it’s truly magical!

Well friends, off for the afternoon stroll around the lake!

Auf Wiedersehen!

 

 

Fresh Apple Cider ~ From Tree to Jug

On Sunday afternoon of our Chelan retreat we went off to one of the many farms around the lake to go apple picking and make fresh apple cider. Our friend Nicky was with us for the adventure and it was a hoot!

 The Sunshine Farm Market is a wonderful little place nestled along the edge of Lake Chelan. They bring that old-fashioned home grown feel back to life with authentic farm experiences.

An awesome little farm shop with every spread imaginable will have you pulling out the wallet in no time!

The sun was shining and it was a perfect day for apple picking.

 

 

We picked 12lbs of Winter banana apples, which is a tart apple to give just the right amount of spunk to the cider and 12lbs of Ambrosia apples to give the luscious sweetness. They were so yummy!

Then came a quick rinse, Mr. T. took the lead with this job!

We then chopped them into quarters.

Then came the fun part of crushing and juicing.

We decided to try a second crush by shaking up the bag after the first crush and we ended up getting another quarter of a jug out of it! Sam, our apple cider guide, said no one had ever tried that. Who wouldn’t want to get as much out of their fruit?!

Then came the bottling and Voila! We had 4 litres of liquid gold! I can tell you I have never tasted such amazing apple cider. Fresh from the tree with no preservatives, it’s like drinking an apple! It sure has been a very tasty, healthy treat on the breakfast table (and for every other meal!) this week!

We may have to stop in again on our way out of town on Saturday morning!

It was the best entertainment for under $15, plus we got a gallon of freshly made apple cider to enjoy for the rest of the week.

Astrid

 

In search of Rest and Relaxation ~ A Fall Retreat

If you are looking for us this week don’t call! Mr. T. and I have stolen away to the mountains of Washington state this week in search of some good old fashioned rest and relaxation. Normally I would favour a week of tropical paradise, but due to a very exciting trip coming at the end of the year (watch this space!) we wanted to avoid flying for this vacation, and hence save a few dollars. If you are looking for a couple Fall vacation ideas, read on!

We headed to central Washington to the Wenatchee Forest area. With outstanding scenic drives and views at every turn it is simply stunning at this time of year.

Let me tell you that it is absolutely spectacular! Unbelievable scenery no matter which route you take to get here, either through the North Cascade Mountains, or via Stevens pass – the route we opted for.

Our vacation started in Leavenworth, the cutest little Bavarian town this side of Munich, which just happened to be in full Oktoberfest celebrations as we came through on Saturday.

After Leavenworth, we carried on to our destination for the week: Lake Chelan. A quick aside here: Google said the 50 miles between Leavenworth and Chelan should only be about an hour, but somehow we ended up off the beaten track. It was only after Mr.T. announced “OK, the road lines have now disappeared”, did I admit that we were *a little* lost! It seriously felt like John Wayne was going to come blazing over the hills in hot pursuit of us at any moment. Great, we were officially lost in the desert of central Washington. Good thing we have handy dandy smart phones with GPS, lets just not talk about how much that roaming bill will be once we get home!! :)

We finally pulled in to Lake Chelan around 7:45pm, and met up with our friend Nicky who is joining us for a few days. Lake Chelan is known as the premier resort destination for Washington State residents in the Summer. The lake-side resort is a mecca for all manner of water sports during the heat of summer, but what about Fall?

The colours of fall are everywhere, and because Chelan is situated East of the Cascade mountains the weather is generally warmer than the coast. It has been nothing less than spectacular with glorious sunshine everyday so far.

There is so much to do in the area at this time of year: from hiking to wine tasting, apple picking to strolling the quaint shops, Chelan and the surrounding area is so relaxed at this time of year it really makes you slow down and enjoy the season.

Tomorrow I will share our apple cider making experience! A truly fall experience!

Take care friends!

Astrid

Painted Glass Jars ~ Simple Eco-Decorating

A few rainy days ago I headed over to my friend Andrea’s house armed with a box of acrylic paints, my blue recycling box overflowing with empty glass jars and my creative juices going full tilt!

A craft would have to be on the agenda to keep us busy as her wonderful ENERGETIC boys were going to need some entertaining on this day only ducks would enjoy.

I love to create crafts with recycled materials and had been collecting glass jars for a couple weeks to make these wonderful painted glass jars.

You can make them in whatever colour you choose and they look simply delightful grouped together on a window sill, mantel or in any other corner that needs brightening. I chose (along with my helpers who have strong opinions!) to do three pastel colours, and with each jar I varied the intensity of the shade.

Well they were beside themselves with excitement and quite honestly I couldn’t get the paints out fast enough as far as they were concerned.

“Somewhat” Controlled Chaos is what I would describe ensued….the two year year old getting a hold of the paint bottles unscrewing the lids and holding them upside down, while the four year old is trying to gather ALL the glass jars in his arms at once!! Ay Ay AY! Needless to say my vision of sipping tea while doing crafts with them was not what actually transpired, but boy did we have fun!

I mildy regained order and got somewhat of a system down with my enthusiastic bunch and I’m quite pleased to share with you our finished painted glass jars. The boys were pleased as punch with what they had created and we managed to escape without any major paint explosions!

Here are my tips for painting your own Painted Glass Jars:

  • Clean all jars thoroughly and remove labels, allow to air dry
  • Select your acrylic paint colours. Regular arts and crafts acrylic paint is perfect.
  • In a yoghurt container (or any other plastic cup you use for painting) mix your paint with a splash of water. You want the paint to be thinned out a bit so that it will easily coat the inside of the jars, but not so thin that it won’t stick to the glass.
  • Pour into your cleaned jars, and tightly screw the matching lid back on the jar.
  • Gently tip the jar on it’s side coating the entire inside surface with the paint mixture.
  • Leave the jars turned upside down on their lids for about an hour, then go back and take the lids off and turn them right side up so that they can continue drying.
  • They will probably need a couple days to dry completely, depending on how much paint you used.
  • Depending on the size of the jar you will use different amounts of paint, and therefore you will need to adjust the amount of water used to get the paint thinned out.
  • It’s really not difficult to get the right consistency, you basically just want to make sure it’s thin enough to swirl around inside the jar.

This is a great DIY craft idea for younger kids as they don’t actually have to get directly involved with the paint if you don’t want them to, and they really love seeing the clear jars turn to the brightly decorated colours before their eyes.

Happy painting!

 

 

Ginger and Honey Tea ~ An all natural cold and flu remedy

So fall has officially started, and along with it has come the inevitable colds. I am thankful that I only get a cold once or twice a year, but still when you get one it becomes all consuming!

I spent an afternoon last week with our Godson’s who were in fine form with snotty noses, and me, being the ever optimistic one, threw caution to the wind and did not heed the advice of their mother when she warned me about their colds. “Ahh I never get sick, I’ll be fine!” Hmmm..two days later I woke up with a sore throat, 4 days later and I’m writing to all of you, armed with an all natural cold and flu remedy ready to pack a punch to this cold that has taken up residence in my sinuses.

I really don’t like taking too many heavy medications, and don’t enjoy how alot of them make you feel drowsy.

Walking through the grocery store yesterday I had an idea! Ginger and Honey tea! So I grabbed a good chunk of ginger and when I got home got to making myself a good little cold remedy.

Ginger works amazingly well as a remedy for a Sore Throat, Congestion and Cough. Ginger also helps a lot with food digestion — which is why it gives body energy — the less energy body uses for digestion, the more of it is left for other uses. Ginger is often included in many herbal decongestants and can help to minimise the symptoms of respiratory conditions, colds and allergies. Ginger and honey are well documented to help the immune system.

Here’s what I did:

1 piece of Fresh Ginger Root

1 tablespoon of Honey (or add to your taste)

Small dash of Lemon Juice

1 Litre of boiling water

  • Peel and finely grate about 2 tablespoons of ginger
  • In a large tea pot pour boiling water over the grated ginger
  • Add honey to taste, and a dash of lemon juice.

You may want to strain out the ginger, but I left it in.

It was amazing. The ginger is so soothing on the throat, it was truly a great pick me up on a rainy afternoon.

I’m hoping you won’t need it, but there’s my cold remedy that I’m sticking by as the busy week lies ahead!

Stay healthy friends!