Monday, May 31

The Red, White, and Blue

I have a confession, and I hope that it doesn't turn some of you off.  You see, I have a confusing relationship with the American flag.  It seems to generate conflicting emotions in me.  On one hand, I am proud to be an American (or United Statesean for those of you from the non-US Americas), but I am also wary of hyper-nationalism.  I enjoy the freedoms that the US offers, but I also believe there are opportunities to learn from other cultures.  I define patriotism not as unquestioning following of the government, but as pushing for the best for my fellow citizens.  With that said, I find myself nervous when it feels like the American flag is paraded out to garner an emotional response and is used to designate disagreement as a lack of patriotism.  I warned you I was conflicted.

With all that said though, every year when summer hits, I find myself wanting flags.  Perhaps it is the plethora of patriotic holidays at this time... Memorial Day, Flag Day, Fourth of July.  Perhaps it is because summer seems to be filled with so many of my favorite quintessential American practices like barbeques, corn on the cob, sweet southern tea, popsicles and ice cream trucks, and even running through sprinklers.  Perhaps it is the influence of growing up on and near Marine bases with all the color guard ceremonies and military parades.  I'm not sure what the cause is.  But this year, I have decided to embrace my craving for the red, white, and blue... via food.

BLUE [Breakfast]
I thought I'd have a little fun with it since I was at home.  So, we had tea and coffee (for the adults) in our blue mug collection, paired with blue and white dishes and our blue and white "napkins" (a local french restaurant uses dish towels as napkins during lunch, and I have adopted the idea with these blue and white dishtowels). 

The menu:
  • tea, coffee, and milk (in other words, mommy, daddy, and daughter... baby boy's too little)
  • homemade pop-tarts with strawberry jam or with lemon curd and blueberries
  • fresh blueberries
RED [Lunch]
Continuing the color theme, we went red for lunch... red Hawaiian quilt napkins with the same blue and white dishes.

The menu:
  • White grape and strawberry punch
  • Rolled ham and turkey sandwiches
  • Fresh peach slices
  • Red, white, and blue parfait (strawberries, blueberries, and freshly whipped cream)
And Memorial Day wouldn't be complete without a little grilling.  In our case, the meal took a slight Italian twist.

The menu:
  • Sweet Tea and Lemonade
  • Burgers (with a little brushetta mix and romano cheese incorporated with the meat)
  • Potato Salad (Roasted Red Potatoes with Pesto and Olives)
  • Strawberry White Grape Jello with Fresh Fruit and Panna Cotta (recipe in the next post)
I'm realizing looking back on the day that we really need to eat some greens tomorrow.  Fruit seemed to dominate today.  Oh well... it was fun.  I hope your meals were even more delicious.

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Friday, May 28

Embracing Summer

Memorial weekend... the unofficial start of summer

Here's how I plan to embrace summer this weekend:
  • Eating strawberries
  • Playing outside with the kids... maybe even on the new play-set Daddy will be working on
  • Reading "A French Woman for all Seasons," my favorite way to begin each new season
  • Visiting local Farmer Markets
  • Playing in the garden
  • Making fresh lemonade
  • Brewing a batch of homemade Sweet Tea
  • Trying new desserts with seasonal berries, including more strawberries
  • Grilling outside
  • Eating almost every meal outside on the deck
  • Making some patriotic crafts with my daughter
  • A picnic
  • Lounging on a blanket in the grass while reading books, though probably Eric Carle and Dr Seuss
  • Getting out the sunscreen
  • Sleeping in fresh white lavender-scented sheets
  • If it's warm enough, getting out the kiddie pool
  • And eating more strawberries
How are you celebrating the summer kick-off?

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Thursday, May 27

Fish Barrettes

Our house is busy gearing up for our holiday season... June.  From Memorial Day until Bastille Day, we find ourselves in a dizzying array celebrating not only Memorial Day and Fourth of July but also my husband's birthday, my daughter's birthday, Father's Day, our wedding anniversary, and my birthday.  Only my son's birthday escapes this period of madness.

As you can guess, my daughter's birthday seems to trump all the other celebrations (poor Daddy).  So we are in the midst of birthday preparations.

For her 3rd birthday, we're hosting a Water themed party... all in orange and blues.  After all, a June birthday just screams for playing outside, and water is a necessity to cool down in the heat.  And since she's still at an age where she has girl and boy friends, I wanted to go with something gender neutral.

Much more will be shared over the next month, but I wanted to share one little project with everyone as we all gear up for a summer of sunshine (at least in the northern hemisphere).  These little fish barrettes will be part of the party favors for the girls.  Bright, fun, and summery.  I'm hoping they enjoy.

Want to make your own?  Check out the tutorial below...
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Tuesday, May 25


After a long work day yesterday, I returned home to discover that my April Owls & Books Baby Shower was featured on Ohdeedoh.  You are blessedly unable to hear the squeal that I uttered in that moment.  It was even more exciting that I learned about it from a rader's comment prior to seeing the email from Ohdeedoh.  Hooray!!!!

I love Ohdeedoh's content and often look to them for inspiration.  If you aren't a frequent visitor (though I imagine most of your are), it's a great source for parenting tips, design ideas, crafts, and new products.  In fact, it was an Ohdeedoh article that helped begin my obsession with felt food, which you are all probably very aware of at this point.

Thank you to Ohdeedoh, particularly given that the photos were not great.

You can see the whole article under A Bookish Baby Shower.

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Monday, May 24

Can you guess?


This is just a sneak peek at the project that has me busy these days.  I'll be sharing more this week.

Have a happy Monday.

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Thursday, May 20

And more strawberries... long-lasting ones

For my budding chef... a few more strawberries for her to enjoy.  I really liked how these turned out.  And watching her play with them bring back memories of her first strawberry picking experience last year when I kept catching her squatting in-between the rows, eating more berries with the juices running down her chin.  She was a strawberry lover at an early age.

Want to make your own?
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Wednesday, May 19

More Strawberries... and Barrettes

May the strawberry festivities continue.  Let's keep embracing the glory of the season.  We've already celebrated with strawberry jam and with rosemary and strawberry shortbread cookies.  Now it's time for another "sweet" treat, but with a longer shelf life.

Now you knew that I couldn't resist the opportunity to make more barrettes.  It's an addiction.

Want to make your own?  There are lots of different tutorials available.  However, here's the tutorial for how I decided to do it.
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Thursday, May 13

And more strawberries... with shortbread

Let the Strawberry festivities continue.  You know I couldn't pass up the chance to include cookies.  Introducing Rosemary and Strawberry Shortbread Cookies.

This recipe is from Tartelette.  If you haven't checked out her blog, you need to visit.  She is truly an artist both with her culinary creations and her appetizing photos.  The only difference is that I made mine with both the homemade strawberry jam and some apricot (so I could taste the original flavor combo).  The strawberry jam brought a great sweetness to the earthier rosemary.

Enjoy.  How are you eating your strawberries?

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Wednesday, May 12

Ode to Strawberry Jam

First, let me say congratulations to the CSN Giveaway winner... Mary Ellen.  Congratulations.  I loved reading everyone's responses.  So many talented people with so many passions.

I love Strawberries!  I get tingly in anticipation of Strawberry season.  And during that brief period, I could eat strawberries every day.  And I'm not alone.  Since we first decided she was old enough to try one, she has been an addict of the red deliciousness.

As a tribute to this love affair, this blog will now be an ode to strawberries, at least for the next several posts.  Oh, that beautiful red color. The rich, sweet juices that run down your face.  The lusciousness of it all.  Forgive me.  I am getting carried away.

My dilemma though is always what to do with them.  Strawberries have such a short life span.  And while they have much more flavor at room temperature, they also last such a shorter time.  So, this week that meant that several were turned into delicious jam.

I used My French Corner's Easy Peach Confiture recipe but switched out strawberries for peach and cut back on the sugar.  (I made the peach version last summer and it became my main craving at the end of my third trimester.)

Sadly, the jam didn't last long.  It became the filling for homemade pop tarts for friends, the filling for cookies I will be sharing soon, and the delicious topping for our morning toast for many days.  I also gave my mother a jar for Mother's Day.

What foods do you find yourself addicted to when they are in season?

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Monday, May 10

Giveaway Reminder

Just a reminder... you only have until 10pm Eastern on Wednesday, May 12th, to enter for the $40 CSN Gift Card.  Enter Pink Tea's Giveaway

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Friday, May 7

A thank you note to you...

Today I want to say thank you.  Thank you for reading.  Thank you for commenting.  Thank you for sharing.  Pink Tea is my place for inspiration and renewal... my own tea time in a crazy life.  I cannot tell you how much your feedback has meant.  I only hope that you find inspiration and renewal here as well.

As a thank you, I am excited to announce (drum roll please).... my very first giveaway.

CSN has offered to give one lucky reader a one-time-use $40 gift certificate to any of their 200+ websites.  They have so many great options.  I started searching and you can find everything from a sofa for mom to toys for the kids.

Want to know what's on my wish list?

I have a slight play kitchen obsession.  After all, my daughter needs somewhere to put all that felt food.

Have I mentioned how much I LOVE Melissa and Doug sets?  We have some of their other foods and have a blast with them.  I highly recommend the spices.

And this last pick is for Mommy.  I love these.  They remind me of a pair of shoes that my grandmother let me have when I was a teenager.  I used to wear them with a short white skirt (back when I danced a lot and had legs to prove it) and a light 3/4-length-sleeve red cardigan.  I loved that outfit.  I felt so cute and flirty.  I even had some of my senior pictures taken in it with a huge smile.  You know, I really may need to order those shoes.  How often does a Mommy get to feel flirty?  And those are too cute.

Want to win?  All you have to do is leave a comment.  Just answer the question... Where is your creative passion?  Do you love to serve and share with others through hospitality?  Do you love crafting for your kids?  Is your passion anything with a needle and thread?  Do you love to have your hands covered in flour and sugar?  Or perhaps soil is your preferred medium?  I just want to know what brings a smile to your face and a twinkle to your eyes.

The giveaway closes at 10 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, May 12th.  A winner will be picked at random and I'll post the winner's name shortly thereafter.  Make sure to include an email address as well.

Now go check out the CSN websites to see what you'd like to get if you're the lucky winner.

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Wednesday, May 5

A Guitar Man

Have you noticed that there are a lot of clothes out there with electric guitars?  Only problem... we're an acoustic family.

It's one of Daddy's hobbies.  It's something that his little girl loves to help with, and something I imagine that his little man will want to share in as well.

So here's a special onesie for our future musician....

This was by far the most complex freezer paper stencil I have done to date.

Oh that little man of mine!  Doesn't he have a great smile!

Definitely a guitar player on our hands, and a little cutie.  Want to do your own freezer paper stenciling?  Check out the tutorial below.  But be forewarned... it's addictive.
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Tuesday, May 4

Korker Tutorial... New and Improved

Like I mentioned in the previous post, I've been on a kick with making korker bows to match my daughter's outfit.  And per my friend's suggestion, I now have an improved way of making these.  And this method even fixes my daughter's recent love for pulling all the curls out (a flaw with tying them into a bundle).

So, without further adieu...

Reminder:  Do not use Nylon blend ribbon.  Use 100% Polyester or 100% Cotton.
  • 100% Polyester Ribbon
  • Clothespins (the small type work well)
  • Wooden dowels, cut to fit in the oven
  • Scissors
  • Fray check
  • Thread and Needle
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Alligator Barrette Clip

  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Use a clothespin to hold one end of your ribbon on the dowel and begin to wrap the ribbon. Once you reach the end of the dowel, cut the ribbon and use another clothespin to hold it in place.
  3. Place the wrapped dowel on a baking sheet. Make sure it is clean since you won't want grease transferring to your ribbon. You can also put a sheet of aluminum foil on the sheet to make sure the ribbon stays clean.
  4. Put the baking sheet in the over and "bake." My oven takes 30 minutes. However, you may want to start with 20, make sure the ribbon isn't browning, and then try another 10.  Once the ribbon seems universally hot and set, take the baking sheet out of the oven and allow to cool.
  5. Pull the cooled ribbon off the dowel. You should now have a coiled strand.
  6. Cut the ribbon into 3-inch lengths and apply fray check to the ends.
  7. Thread the needle and knot the end.  Run the needle through the center of each ribbon segment until you have the number you want threaded.  (I tend to do 8-10 since I am making two barrettes for a toddler's pigtails.  I would recommend more for the ponytail of an older child.)  Once you have threaded all the ribbon segments, run the needle back through and pull it tight.
  8. The next step is to cover the barrette clip.  Hot glue the ribbon to the barrette starting with the inside and wrapping your way around.
  9. Next tie your korker bow to the top of the barrette.  Because my daughter can be rough on the barrettes, I also add a bit of hot glue to secure the bow.
  10. Voila!

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Monday, May 3

Korker Explosion

It is verging on hot here... hot and humid.  We've been embracing the warmth (to a degree since I love air conditioning)... picnics, playing outside, planting flowers.  In honor of the warm days, I took some time to finish making hairbows to match my daughter's spring/summer wardrobe.  It's been an explosion of curled ribbon.

I do think I may be developing an addiction here.  Is there a 12 step program for addictions to hairbows?  A friend and I were discussing this addiction recently and she shared an idea for making the korker bows.  Well, I tried it and it is definitely an improvement.  So tomorrow I will be posting a new and improved Korker Hairbow tutorial.

Until then, here are the newest additions.  My afternoon went from this...

To these fun bows... bubble gum pink with white polka dots, bright blue, baby pink, red and white gingham, and a baby blue gingham (finished product not pictured).

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