Saturday, December 17, 2011

Handmade Holidays



The holidays make me think of being home and celebrating the day to day blessings I have with my family.  Like many families we are quite busy and I often feel like I'm not honoring the moments I have with them as much as I should.  I miss being home with them more so I have been trying harder to create special memories with them when I am home.  The holiday season brings up this desire even more.  So this year when it came time to think about giving something special to the wonderful teachers in our lives I decided it was time to get my hands dirty again and get crafting.  


 We decided to make peppermint bark this year.  This is a very simple project and there are lots of great recipes online for it.  We chose one that combined both dark and white chocolate.  I bought all the ingredients on my lunch break the other day along with some jelly jars to package the pieces up in.



 It all starts with good chocolate.  Personally I buy Ghiradelli for my cooking and the bags of chips happened to be on sale and so it was a better bargain than buying the bars.  I just placed a bowl of chips over a pot of boiling water (1 Bag) until the chips melted.  Once melted I added a teaspoon of peppermint extract and poured half of it into a small brownie pan lined with tin foil and the other half in a second pan also lined with tin foil.  Plop that in the fridge or freezer for about 20 minutes and wait.  Once hardened you can take it out, and after melting the white chocolate you can then pour the white over the dark, sprinkle on crushed candy canes and place back in freezer.



Once the chocolate is hard you can take it out, peel off the tin foil and chop it up or break it into pieces.



I chose to put our bark into jelly jars and tied some ribbon around them.  
It's easy, fun, tastes great and makes a wonderful handmade gift.

Yum.
I hope the teachers enjoy it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Being Italian

my great grandfather Angelo in his barber shop in America.


My husband and I went out for dinner last week with some friends and during a conversation with an Italian friend of mine he said "I think Kacey gets more Italian by the day."  I laughed when he said this and couldn't help but feel overwhelmed with joy.  I'm not full Italian, heck not even half.  From what I know I am Italian, Irish, and English.  My maternal grandfather is Italian, maternal grandmother is from England.  My paternal grandfather is Irish and I'm honestly not sure about my father's mother's heritage.  Despite the mix I inherited it has always been the Italian side that has clung to me the strongest.  It could be that Italian blood simply runs strong and deep and despite the fact that my mother was raised in an Italian/English home, it was the Italian side of the family that consumed us.  I can't explain why, but I identify more to that side of my past.  As I mentioned, Italian blood runs deep.  So deep that when my first child was born he came out looking like he would fit right in if born in Italy.  He was born with a full head of black hair, dark Mediterranean skin, and the deepest brown eyes that only my mother has.  Even to this day we are often told how European he looks.  Yes I think he got the Italian genes as well.

My kids both have Italian (family) names as their first names.  We did this because I married into one of the most American families I know.  Their last name screams American we felt giving them family names from my side would be a great balance.  I like it.  It works.

My husband is right though.  I am becoming more Italian.  As our family ages I feel a strong urge to keep my heritage alive.  I have several cousins who luckily feel the same way.  Through Facebook we have been able to stay in touch and pass along recipes to each other from what we remember.  Cooking is one of my passions and I love being able to make food for my family that includes stories about my heritage.  In our house the kitchen truly is the heart of the home.

I look forward to the upcoming holiday season where I can cook good food, tell good stories and feel together even though my extended family is far apart.

enjoy the last few dark days.  the light will be coming back soon.

xoxo

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

My kids have been begging me to make peanut butter cookies so we found a recipe, altered it a bit and made these this weekend.  They came out great.  Soft and moist, not hard and crumbly.  I cut back the sugar and chocolate chips from the original recipe because I like to be able to enjoy a few cookies without feeling like I'm on sugar overload.  I thought the original had an overwhelming amount of chocolate chips.  Plus I think they just taste better this way.  I decided to go with a vegan recipe because I could not stomach the amount of butter needed for the non-vegan recipes.  These are just as tasty and a little healthier for you.

This is my altered version.  I already cut down the sugar and chocolate chips below.


  • 2/3 cup + 2 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
  • 4 tablespoons safflower oil
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup soymilk ( regular or vanilla flavored)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 - 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips 

    Directions:


    1. 1
      Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    2. 2
      In a large mixing bowl, stir together first five ingredients.
    3. 3
      In a small bowl, thoroughly stir together flour, soda and salt.
    4. 4
      Stir into batter.
    5. 5
      Stir in oats and chocolate chips.
    6. 6
      Drop batter by rounded tablespoonfuls onto parchment lined baking sheet, or oil the baking sheet.
    7. 7
      Bake for 10 minutes or until set.
    8. 8
      Remove sheet from oven and let cool on tray for 5 minutes.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Finding Me Continued

So a year ago, after 10 years going by my married name I changed it.  At the time I had strong reasons for doings so.  My decision was to drop my married name, take back my maiden name, and add my mother's maiden name to it.  All of a sudden I had a new hyphenated last name that was different than my husband and children.  My reasons were good at the time.  Since I was little I always felt bitter that because my mother decided to take my father's name I wasn't given the opportunity to have her maiden name.  I thought it was wrong.  I never thought when I got married that I would change my name, but when the day came I did and I lived with it for 10 years.  At for our 10 year wedding anniversary I told my husband I was changing my name.  He wasn't surprised at all because he has heard me talking about this for years.  He was supportive so I made the change.

Rewind one year and I started to have doubts about my decision which surprised me.  For one I had no idea how much it would bother me to not have the same last name as my children.  I also didn't realize how difficult having a hyphenated name would be.  I know there are plenty of people who have hyphenated names and different last names than their kids, but this is a personal thing so I'll go on.  As much as I always wanted my mother's maiden name I had to admit that it felt a bit strange now owning it.  It was never really mine (which I always hated), but the fact was it felt almost more strange as when I first got married and took on my husbands name originally.  So $130 later and another trip to probate court I changed my name again.  This time I added my maiden name as my second middle name and took back my married name.  So now even though I have two middle names I'll be going by First name, 2nd Middle name (maiden name) and then Married name as my last name.  Think Hillary Rodham Clinton and hopefully it won't be so confusing.

I feel a bit sad letting go of my mother's name and I wish she had given it to me originally as my middle name  but she didn't.  I could have kept it, but this just felt right.  Now I can go by both maiden and married names or just make it simple and use my married last name. My sister put it best when she said "Mom's maiden name is your heritage and always will be, your maiden name is what you grew up with and was known as until you got married, your married now is your present and future."  For me this seems like the best compromise.  I had no idea I would be struggling with keeping my identity 11 years into my marriage.  We all grow, we all peel back new layers of ourselves and we all must find out own way to shine.

Goodness it's tough being an indecisive girl.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Give the Gift of Health

As many of you know I tend to juggle many things at once.  Two years ago I started selling a line of non toxic personal care products called Ava Anderson Non-Toxic.  I fell in love with the products and have been using them and selling them ever since.  There are a lot of "natural" and "organic" products out there in the market place but often these products still contain ingredients that are harmful for your body.  Check out my website to learn more about the company, the product, and the important health message.

The 6 piece of 4 piece skin care set is the best place to start if you are trying out these products for the first time yourself.  It is a wonderful skin care system designed to work together and I can tell you from personal experience these products deliver.  


The skin care sets make a great holiday gift for someone special on your list.  We also have the new gift set perfect for teachers, coworkers, friends, and family.  This set contains our NEW Lemon Body Sugar Scrub and a bottle of our hand/body lotion.  



You can find all of these products plus SO much more on my website at www.nontoxicgoods.com

Or you can email me to place your order.

SPECIALS!
There are a few days left of our November special.  Orders $75 or more receive a FREE hand soap with pump.  

We also are having a Lip Gloss and Lip Stick Sale.  $3.99 each until supplies last.  These make wonderful stocking stuffers or small gifts for friends, family and teens.



Monday, November 28, 2011

Remembering me



I have lost myself.  I know I'm around somewhere, but I can't seem to find the girl I once knew.  Time is moving so quickly and I just want to hit the pause button for a moment and figure things out.  My kids are growing, my parents are aging, and I'm somewhere in between.  Riding the waves of this busy thing called life.  Having kids changed me, but honestly I was one who in the early years of having my children stayed pretty much the same.  My kids became the most important thing of course, but I always found the time to stay true to myself and enjoy my own activities and interests.  I want to finish things I started years ago.  I want to start writing poetry again.  I want to revive my love or photography.

When I first started this blog a long, long time ago this was the About Me section:

I am creative, strong, weak and driven.  I want to dream, weep, write, scream, and play lost songs to searching souls.  I want to raise my sons to be anything but the ordinary.  I am a seeker, a dreamer, a dancer in the darkness.

I need to believe in this again.  I need to dig deep and remember the girl who's soul screamed loud and proud.  I will find her.  Oh I will find her.





Robot Tea Infuser

I love tea.  I love it loose, I love it fresh.  I couldn't help myself when I found this robot tea infuser.  I had to buy him.  Love.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Happy 10 Enzo!


10 years ago today
3 hours of labor
5 hours of pushingyou came into our lives and we were forever changed.
Thank you for finding us
Thank you for teaching me
Thank you for being you.
Never stop exploring
Never stop learning
Never stop being who you are.
Keep dreaming
Keep feeling
Keep reaching for your dreams.
Happy 10th Birthday my sweet child.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Happy 6 Salvatore!


Today was a bitter sweet day. My youngest son turned 6. Turning 6 is a huge transition for both child and mother. The child is becoming more independent and the mother is starting to learn how to let go.

I'm not good at letting go.

We bonded strong at 7 months in utero
because of an emergency surgery we both had to endure.

We fought together and made it through
You were born a fighter
Like your mother.

Keep fighting little one.
Be passionate and strong
Keep dreaming.
Create and scream into the night
Don't be afraid of the fright.
Live and love.

I love you sweet child.  Happy Birthday.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Closing up my craft shop

Sadly I have decided to end my small crafting business Subsixstudios. I started my small business when I became a stay at home mom in 2005. At the time it provided me with a creative outlet and kept my mind in the business game as I kept up my skills in sales and built new skills in digital marketing. The reality is now I work full time outside of the home and I am struggling to keep up with it all. I will however continue to support the indie craft movement by pushing forward with Queen City Craft and the bazaar that I produce twice a year. The next show is on June 4th and it will be the first time in 5 years I haven't sold my own creations at the show. I am sad about this but I am excited to be there solely as the organizer where I can fully support the other artists and not have to worry about selling as well.

I will continue to make some items for myself and friends and perhaps I will spring back at some point under a new name. For now though it will be put on hold.

Thanks for all the support over the years!

xoxo