Monday, September 28, 2009

Thinking Comfy Thoughts!

With the weather cooling off like it has this week, I've been thinking more and more comfy thoughts - even got in the mood to crochet a little, buy more yarn and start thinking up all the perfect crafty Christmas gifts I could make for my family and friends. Amazing how one rainy, chilly 50 degree day can do that to you!

Here's a project I whipped out earlier in the summer no-less, but had neglected to post about. I had this lovely ribbed sweater I had gotten for Christmas a year or two back that just would not shrink down to a wearable size - but I loved the texture and look so I kept it around. And then inspiration struck! A comfy pillow! Though the idea was good enough, my cutting, measuring, sewing skills have much to be improved upon. The original idea was supposed to be a pillow made entirely out of the fabric from the sweater. But in my excitement I cut it wrong and then tried a different idea and ended up rendering a good length of the fabric as useless.

But managed to save the project with a bit of grey and white striped cotton as a backing - still looks lovely and comfy - especially up against my Heather Bailey patchwork pillow!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Indy Blogger Day at the King Tut Exhibit

Happened to see a tweet earlier this week from @TutIndy about a Indy Blogger Day for the King Tut Exhibit at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis. I got details and spread the word to other fellow Indianapolis bloggers and made plans for Friday!

We met up with Jessie from Incidental Indy and ran into quite a few other blogger pals as well! (It was good bumping into you - Joanna, Ann and Quatro Mama!)

The whole museum is decked out for this great exhibit. We're were a little lost at first, not having been to the museum since their recent remodel - got just a tad turned around! :) But love the new open space!

Here is a view of entrance of the exhibit. No pics inside, so this is what you get. :) They gather you up in small groups and have you wait in this little room, dimly lit by flickering faux torches on the walls - where you watch a little intro video - very dramatic! And then you;re ushered in to the exhibit itself, which twists and turns into various rooms and feels a little like you're exploring a tomb yourself!

Didn't see the handy map that was in our "press kit" until I got home - should have looked at it before hand, because I was getting all worried when 5 rooms into the exhibit we still hadn't seen any actual King Tut artifacts - only items from other pharaohs. It all makes sense now, looking at the maps of the exhibit - first you go through a little history of pharaohs, then pharaoh family and private life - including a royal toilet seat! , their court, their gold - beautiful!, religion and finally you enter another little room called "Discovery of a Pharaoh" with a plasma screen that plays a very dramatic prelude about how the tomb was found and then you enter on to the final 7 rooms full of artifacts from King Tut's tomb.

I loved how we were able to take our time, being so late in the evening and having much of the exhibit to ourselves except for a few other people. I was able to read, reread and walk around all the way around the pieces and see every detail without worrying about holding up the crowd. The exhibit is well spaced so even if there were more people, they can control how many go in at a time with the Introductory Theater. And there are so many rooms to go through that you can't possibly get bunched up.

Also, enjoyed how close up you could really get to everything. The glass cases were kept impeccably clean - could hardly tell there was a pane between you and the artifacts.

The exhibit was very informative - even for adults. I learned quite a few new things - especially about Tut and had to go later and read into the items in my press kit to answer a few questions - and will probably go on a Google hunt for more info. I was also impressed at the large artifacts. This exhibit is not just limited to small, intricate pieces of exquisite jewelry behind panes of glass - there were colossal statues as well.

One thing I really liked was how the walls of the Tut exhibit had large photos of how tomb looked when it was first discovered - all untouched - and you could see the item on display in its original place amongst the rest of the tomb's treasure.

I never mean to actually take shadow pics like this - but love how they turn out! :)

This exhibit goes on until October 25 - so you still have a little time to get out and catch this great exhibit before it leaves Indy! I definitely recommend it!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Indianapolis Apple Orchard Hopping

Last weekend it was cupcake crawling - this past weekend - apple orchard hopping!

First stop was the Apple Works out in Trafalger, Indiana. A good 48 minutes from us, but didn't feel like it took that long really. There was ample parking and as you can see from the picture above, it is very picturesque as well as kid-friendly - with lots of great educational things, even a petting zoo and large play yard!

The shop was filled with fun and crafty home decor items, hot sauces, jellies and jams, candles, etc. In addition to apples, apple slushies, pies and the like - you could also get yummy looking ice-cream, fudge and candy apples.

My only gripe about the experience were the actual apples - and maybe a little about the spacing (lots of people - not a lot of space to move around). The pic above, with the long line and the 2 ladies in green serving apples behind the blue bins is pretty much the entirety of the actual apple get-up at the Apple Works. I couldn't really see what apples they had available or really get a good chance to taste them at all. If I wanted apples, I was going to have to wait in a really long line of people to get up to the blue bins and then hurry and make my decision because there was a long line of people waiting behind me.

I am not a good hurry-up-and-decide type of decision maker. I like to mull around, shop, browse, taste-test, etc. And when it comes to apples, I don't know a jonagold from a granny smith. It can be summed up as being practically apple-idiot - so I need time to ask questions, have a sample if available and think about what we want to spend our next $6+ dollars on apple-wise.

And those six blue bins didn't exactly scream variety to me - though their website said they had 50+ varieties.

So, we opted to simply slurp on our oh-s0-good apple cider slushies, buy some hot sauce and enjoy the scenery.

But, not having actually bought any apples, I was not ready to end my apple orchard experience - so we googled directions to the next closest apple orchard.

Next up is Anderson Apple Orchard, in Mooresville, Indiana. Again, lots of parking - very nice. Even has a little playground - though no petting zoo or many educational type game stuff. No ice-cream or fudge- but plenty of elephant ears, apple butter & biscuits, hot dogs, caramel apples and apple fondue!

And, AH the apples! Lots and lots of apples - everywhere! Room to move around the apples and read the signs and taste and think, etc! See the little basket in the picture above - those apples are for you to taste what is in the bag. Have no clue what a jonathan apple tastes like? Try it!

The prices were a little more competitive and there was a lot more produce. You could buy pears or pumpkins, even chestnuts, gourds, sweet potatoes and mums. It was like a farmer's market of goodness - and with space to move around and tons and tons of apples!

Anyone have good suggestions of apple orchards to visit here in Indiana? Let me know! I swear there was another Anderson Orchard somewhere near I-465 on the southside...but couldn't remember where and couldn't find it online.

Want to see more pics from my apple orchard adventure? Click here!

Want to find an apple orchard in you area? Visit this page to see a full list of Indiana apple orchards!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Can't Stop Staring: Indiana Wind Farm

Traveling to our hometown has been made just a little more interesting - a wind farm has come to the small rural area where my husband and I are originally from.

I can't stop staring - so sci-fi looking in contrast to all the fields and barns.

And there are so many of them.

For more info about this wind farm - click here.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Monarch in the Garden

Funny how I was just blogging about my little Monarch caterpillar friend - look who I was able to get a shot of! I've been complaining all summer about how all my flowers hadn't attracted any butterflies. I've got bees out my ears - mainly bumble bees but not butterflies.

Well, this guy shut me up for a while. :) And you can spot a few honey bees in the pic too!

Monday, September 7, 2009

In Review: 1st Annual Indianapolis Cupcake Crawl = NOM!

The wonderful blogger from The Queen of Free had the FABULOUS idea of putting together the 1st Annual Indianapolis Cupcake crawl - and, of course, I was all in!!

Our first stop, Our Bake Shoppe, located less than ten minutes from my house in Olde Towne Greenwood!

Here a peek of all the cupcakes and a snapshot of the participating bloggers! Had so much fun with you ladies!! (Top row left to right: Joanna from Keeping Feet, Punkinmama from More on the Other Side, myself and Shireen from Just Shireen. Bottom row left to right: Cherie from The Queen of Free, Emily from designhermomma, Casey from Moosh in Indy and Shelli from The Worgress Family.)

My cupcake of choice at Our Bake Shoppe - the Smore! Chocolate cupcake with marshmallow on top and a dusting of graham cracker crumbs with the finishing touch of a Hershey chocolate square. My review? Loved the marshmallow on top - but was hoping for a bit more of pizazz - maybe toast the marshmallow a little or have a marshmallow or chocolate "surprise" in the middle of the cupcake - maybe have chocolate chips mixed in the batter. It was delicious - but needed something. Had the pleasure of tasting a little of each of some of their custom icings as well from the "make your own" station - love, love, love the icings. Chocolate chip cookie dough - icing? Yes, please!

Our second stop was the Flying Cupcake - if you've never been - you must. This place is as much a feast for your eyes as it is for your taste buds! Gorgeous retro shabby chic motif - just love it!

My cupcake victim at the Flying Cupcake? I normally go with the Red Velvet Elvis if we make it up that direction - but since we were trying different cupcakes - I thought I'd go with something different and try the "Here Comes the Bride" - an almond flavored cupcake with almond icing. It definitely tasted like wedding cake - it was good but the icing a little too rich - probably would have been able to handle it easily if I just hadn't mauwed down on the Smore cupcake just 20 minutes ago. :) Love how the Flying Cupcake's batter tastes so good - yum! The flavorings don't rely on the icing alone.

Stop numero tres, Holy Cow, Cupcakes....almost missed this one. In fact we drove by it twice! Kinda hidden as it is saddled up with a gas station - so if you're headed in that direction remember that tip!

Was a little cupcaked out by this point (having just been at the Flying Cupcake no more than 10 minutes ago) - so I ended up getting a vanilla cookie dough cupcake with chocolate icing to take with me (not pictured - obviously) but had to snap a pic of their Maple Bacon cupcakes - might just have to try one next time. And P.S. the vanilla cookie dough was great. Love how the cookie dough in the center of the cupcake was still a little gooey - and the vanilla cake had a great taste - good icing as well. Though, as they warned us, the icing is made of real chocolate, so if left in the car it melts...and yup it melted off the cupcake by the time we got home.

Fourth and final stop was at Paradise Cafe where we met up with the icing co. to try a few of their cupcakes (no store front yet). Here's a glimpse of a few of the flavors Katy brought us to try - you're looking at the classy carrot, the ganache, and lemon drop dots.

And here you're seeing dots of peanut butter explosion, pumpkin and strawberry (I think). Aren't they gorgeous? I love the tiny bits and the detail!

Definitely nommed up my fair share of these tasty treats - was able to revv up my cupcake appetite once again after lunching on some Paradise Cafe! Icing was superb, attention to detail with the little sprinklings of chocolate chip, chocolate shavings and dashes of nutmeg or cinnamon made these cupcakes glorious to look at as well as eat! Loved the lemon drop - it was like a lemon-shake-up in cupcake form! And the pumpkin was nice and fall-like! The peanut butter was amazing too - and the strawberry - so sweet and summery!

You can see all of my photos from the crawl here on Facebook!

And I already had a question or two about which was my favorite but honestly, how can you choose when it comes to cupcakes?? We're talking about C.U.P.C.A.K.E.S. here people. They all had things about them I loved - but a favorite - don't make me choose! Try them all yourself and you will see what I mean! :)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Bored? Break out the Board Games!

My husband and I have quite the collection of board games - ranging from Scrabble, Scattergories, Pictionary, Trivial Pursuit, Cranium, Apples to Apples and Battle of the Sexes. All very entertaining games if you've ever had the chance to play them! Though after a bit it seems that you cab find yourself in bit of a board game rut.

For example - for a good few months there I could NOT get enough game time with Scrabble. We bought a travel version and took it everywhere - playing it in the car, at the pool and even at the winery with friends! I even bought this little book to record every move, etc. But alas, I am now in a rut with the game. Every time my hubby suggests a round I just about groan.

And then there's Apples to Apples - lord have mercy. That game was on fire with us for a good year and half and now - yup - if you mention it you might just get the same groan from me. Doesn't help that I recently played the game from nearly 7PM to 3:30 AM straight just a few weekends ago - oy! It is a fun game to get to know people - to break the ice and get talking and laughing together. But oy.

Last night, having dinner guests over, we broke out Battle of the Sexes - a game we used to play a lot but hadn't in a while. Ah, the humor and the fun when I break out my tucked away tidbits of knowledge that my husband has no clue that I know! :) Yup, I knocked my hubby speechless by effortlessly guessing the correct Rocky movie to whatever question was asked - something about some specific star that was in which rocky movie - WITHOUT EVER HAVING SEEING A SINGLE ONE. Yup, I am THAT good.

I rattled off what the main body of a ship was called - a hull - duh! And correctly identified what cuban item a "Havannah" was - a cigar. And me and my fabulous teammate successfully prattled off what color is associated with the positive end of a car batter - red!

And, oh, the great-fun as we watched them struggle over question over question when it was their turn.

"What item in the house has a deep feed and a top loading bobbin?"

Their guess? Washing machine! ahahahahahahahaha!

"How is the best way to store egg whites?"

A jar?

Heck no, boys, you freeze em!

"What phrase completes this advertising slogan: "I use L'oreal...."

Their answer: everyday

The correct answer: because I'm worth it!

Hehe! Oh the list goes on and on. It is funny because the boys always prematurely pronounce victory - even before the game box is open! They are all hooping and hollering about trouncing us in strategy and then end up cursing the game and insisting it is unfairly made as they lose miserably.

My theory - us women pick up more things and retain them better than our counterparts- even if the info is about boring old cars or sports or whatever. Our spouses would KNOW the answers to the girly questions about panty hose, cooking and make-up if they listened closely and tucked the info away - but alas, it goes in one ear and out the other. :) Though, maybe, just maybe a few are insanely hard - that we don't even know them and vice versa with the boy questions.

Any good games out there that you, my lovely readers, love to play? Tell me about them! I think after the last round we played last night, we may be in the market for a new one! ;)

Web Finds Wednesday! (Friday Edition)

I realize it is no longer Wednesday - but hey, apparently my draft for Wednesday was never put into publish mode - sigh. So here ya go! :)

Downloadable Pocket Stitch Book

Katharine Hepburn Brownie Recipe

Microwaved Lime Cheesecake Tarts

75 Things You Can Compost

How To: Make Your Own Worm Bin

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Matt's Birthday Festivities Wrap Up

My husband's latest birthday festivities this month took us to the new Scotty's Brewhouse location in downtown Indianapolis. Luckily his birthday fell during the weeks of Devour Downtown - so we were able to dine out for quite the deal! (if you missed this past devour make sure to mark your calendars for January 25 - Feb. 6, 2010).

Matt tried the aloha burger off the 2 for $30 Devour Downtown menu (We split our burgers in half and each were able to try half of both - the aloha was great!)

And I had the Shewman Special - jalapenos and peanut butter on a burger! Yum! For some reason I am attracted to odd burgers like that - I loved the donut burger they had at Badaboomz as well.

The menu also came with an appetizer and a dessert (not pictured because we ate them so fast! :)) We had the nachos and the peanut butter pie! So good!

Would definitely recommend Scotty's as a must-try restaurant. They have such an extensive menu list that you are bound to find something you like whether you are feeling like something different or just wanting the same old burger and fries. And I love the patio - eating outside in the summer weather is so great because it only lasts so long here in Indy.

Oh and the drink specials are great! We enjoyed a $7 margarita pitcher the night we went - but there are different specials every night.

Yay for good birthday weekends! :)