Tasty Tuesday - Orange Chicken

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Well, we're back from our trip to visit the family, and it's good to be home. The visit never seems long enough, but it is definitely nice to be back in your own bed at night. I hope everyone had a great holiday, and wasn't too put out by the heat. (The radio said we had a 107 degree heat index here yesterday! YUCK)


Anyway, as I was fussing around with the blog this morning, (still trying to fix the darn footer!) I realized that we haven't had a Tasty Tuesday since the move. Shame on me, because that is one of the easiest posts to put together! Luckily when I pointed this out to Ant, he told me he had actually taken the initiative to photograph one of his meals the other night just in case it ended up tasting as good as it looked. I'm not sure where my brain has been, but I'm sure grateful that someone has been paying attention!


The funny thing is that even though he says that I made this, I don't really remember doing it. I must really need a nap, or a Pepsi! I do have to agree with him though, as far as my stir frys go, this one does look good. I dug out the original recipe and saw that I made quite a few changes, so I'm going to share the tweaked version instead of the original which calls for things I don't normally have on hand. (ie, bean sprouts) 

Orange Chicken Stir Fry


  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves - cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (mixed with 2 tablespoons of water)
  • Your choice steamed veggies (I used broccoli, red and green peppers, and green beans)



  1. In a small bowl combine the orange juice, soy sauce, salt, garlic and brown sugar. Stir to dissolve sugar.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. When oil begins to bubble, add chicken. Saute until cooked through (no longer pink inside), about 7 to 10 minutes.
  3. Add orange sauce mixture to chicken and cook until sauce begins to bubble. 
  4. Add cornstarch mix and simmer until sauce has thickened to your liking. 
  5.  Serve over veggies and warm cooked rice.

Enjoy, And let me know how this turns out if you give it a try.
Maybe now I can get my weekly schedule back on track and pull everything together!
Don't hold your breath though.


Thanks for Visiting!
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Happy Memorial Weekend

Saturday, May 28, 2011

I figured I'd squeeze one last post in before we set sail for the land of no internet for the weekend. (ie, my Dad's house) No, we aren't going that far into the boonies, my dad just doesn't want to move into this century. I'm just lucky that he has taken to the cell phone so well! We are going to spend the holiday with my Dad, brother, and grandparents. All of whom (?) are really looking forward to a rare visit from the Tiny Tart.

Anyway, I just wanted to wish everyone a safe and happy Memorial Day Weekend! Hopefully you have something fun planned with your family.

On a random note (I am a crafter duh) Joann's is having a pretty great sale this weekend if you aren't doing anything special. I'm sure most of you already know, but Simplicity patterns are $1 and a bunch of fabric is 50% off. Special attention to 50% off red tag fabric. I went last night for a MUCH needed break from the kidlet and got all this...


for less than $40!!!

That's right, 9 patterns, 10 yards of fabric (knit, linen, flannel, seersucker, and cottons) plus buttons for less than I can get 4 yards of fabric on some days. Needless to say I was jumping up and down a little excited.

Ok, now the Hubbs is tellin' me to get in the car, so have a great weekend!
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Simple Watercolor Art Tutorial

Friday, May 27, 2011

I've had this project in my to do folder for a few months now and just couldn't find the perfect situation to actually try it out. But, once we moved to our current apartment and had an extra bathroom for Reli, everything finally fell into place.


The idea comes from a Lily Pulitzer segment on the Martha Stewart show which shows the steps they go through to make a new fabric print. I have simplified the process a bit, but you can watch the clip here if my wording gets confusing.

This is a super easy way to spruce up an empty wall on the cheap. All you need is:
watercolor paper
a coloring book page
a light-box (or window)
a permanent marker (Sharpie)
watercolor paints

The paint should be 3-4 shades next to each other on the color wheel, and the marker should be the same color as one of the shades of paint. (ex. orange marker with yellow, yellow-orange, orange and pink paint colors or yellow, yellow-green, green and blue-green with a green marker)


First I started by searching the web for coloring pages of my desired subject. (fish, shells and sea critters) When I found the ones I liked I copied the images (copyright free) and pasted them into a blank word document. There you can play around with the sizes until you have them how you like. My seahorse, octopus, and turtle were my focal critters so they were large while the shells were small and the fish medium. Just make sure everything varies a bit.

When all your pictures are printed start laying them out randomly to figure how they will best fit on your sized paper. I like to use a piece of copy paper to sketch figures on just to get the angles right, but this is supposed to be pretty free form.

Left: My copy paper "test" page. (Note how the squiggles and dots look odd before painting.)
Right: My coloring pages trimmed down for arranging.

Next grab your light box and marker and start tracing! This doesn't have to be perfect, and don't worry about large gaps we'll fill them in next. *tip: If you try to trace with pencil & then go over it, the pencil mark will show through on all but the very darkest marker colors. I know, I had to redo my orange :( *

When you have your coloring pages traced, start filling in little squiggles and bubbles and dots. Go ahead and add a few dots to the original figure too. (like on my octopus) Holding the marker very lightly helps these look more idk. . . flowy? organic?

Now you can start painting. Using the lightest color start adding highlights here and there then start adding the other colors in layers light to dark. If things start to get too soggy, blot an area with a dry paper towel and then use a slightly wet brush to blend the colors again. Don't be really strict about it, but make sure you leave a few white patches for contrast.

Port Hole Frame Tutorial Here

Once your picture is dry, the paper may have started to warp a bit. If this causes a problem with framing or hanging, the paper is thick enough to be ironed easily. Just make sure that you iron on the back side and NO STEAM! Once the paper is warmed, set a heavy book on top as it cools and in 10 min. it should be flat again.

Give it a try, and be sure to add a picture of your finished product to my new Flicker group Your tART!
Thanks for Visiting.
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Port Hole Frame Tutorial

Thursday, May 26, 2011


After mulling over a few different ways to construct these out of wood, picture frames, and various other materials I decided on the cheapest and most readily available product. Foam Core.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about I'm not surprised, the woman at Michael's looked at me like I had 3 heads too. I guess most people call it foam board, but it is essentially 2 pieces of poster board with a foam sheet sandwiched between.

source

My husband is an architect and we used this stuff all the time to make building models in college. They called it foam core (maybe because it has a core of foam?? idk) Foam board is a kind of insulation. So that is how it has stayed in our house. I ramble...

Anyway, it comes in different thicknesses and can be a (insert favorite expletive) to work with if you are trying to be perfect. Looking closely you can tell my circles are nowhere near what normally passes as round. Luckily this is for a kids room and it's OK that things are a bit wonky. Yes, they make a special cutter, but it's $20 and my whole project only costs $10!

What you'll need for this project:

a sheet of foam core (mine is 1/2 inch thick)
x-acto or mat knife (very sharp)
spray paint (or paint of your choice, heck decoupage with paper if it matches what you need)
flat thumbtacks (you can paint these to match)
ribbon the width of your foam (I think rope would be awesome for a ship theme, alas, I'm on a sub.)
hot glue
a large plate, compass, or string to draw the circles

**Tip: one of my favorite ways to draw a good circle is by pushing a straight pin through one of my old measuring tapes. You can poke right through the plastic at whatever measurement you need, and then use the hole in the end for your pencil.

Here we go...


Step 1: Draw the outside circle of your port hole (I fit 3 with a 12 diameter on one sheet) 6 inch radius
Step 2: Draw the inside circle (mine is 2 inches between the two circle) 4 inch radius

This is a scrap so don't look at the measurements.
Step 3: Cut on both lines (trying your hardest to keep the blade vertical and the curses to a minimum)
Step 4: Paint (or whatever you are doing to cover the white.)


Step 5: Hot glue the ribbon around the inside and outside edges (fold the end under for a clean finish)


As you can see, my ribbon was not the same size as my foam. (who knew 1/2 inch was so hard to find?) Instead of searching I just painted the back edge with some navy acrylic and glued the ribbon to the front.


Step 6: Add the thumb tacks (I didn't measure, just laid them out upside down and eyeballed it)
Step 7: Center your picture and attach to the back (Good ol' scotch tape)
Step 8: Hang (I used command stickers and sticky tack)
Step 9: Admire!


Now that you have a finished port hole, stop back tomorrow to learn how to make the watercolors to go inside it. Even if you don't know a lick about painting, you can make this art! And, if you don't really need a "fish scene" the same process can be done with flowers, animals, cartoon characters, and more!

Thanks for visiting!
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P.S. If you do try this project, be sure to post a picture to my new flicker group Your tART!

Submarine Toddler Bath

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I told you guys that I was super busy with decorating the new apartment and I'm proud to share my first finished room. Tiny Tart's Bathroom! (Apologies ahead of time for the pics. bathrooms are so awkward!)

If you look closely you can see the decals on both mirrors. Can you find Nemo?

We have never had a pair of towels that were the same color, let alone a completely decorated bathroom. Until now the most effort I put into a bath was buying a duckie "snowglobe" toothbrush holder from the dollar store in college. (I would share a picture, but Ant finally tossed it during this move!) But, since this bathroom is pretty much only used for Tiny to take a bath at night, I figured it wouldn't hurt to go all out with a fun "kiddie" theme. I know some people cringe at theme rooms, but kids are only little once and I needed something fun!



The only problem with a kiddie theme bathroom is that you kinda have to buy a set from the store, or spend years finding and painting the right pieces from thrifts and fleas. I'm not that patient, and the current lack of a car also hinders the situation. So I went ahead and bought an adorable "gender neutral" set from Target that will hopefully last us through until our kids (fingers crossed) become tweens.

Not really functional, but he's cute!

Purchased from Target:

shower curtain
curtain hooks
submarine toothbrush holder
whale soap dispenser
fish bath mat
2 decorative towels
3 plain towels
fishy washcloths bundle 


  

They also had a matching wastebasket, and bar soap holder, but I figured they weren't really necessary. Besides, we already have extra trash cans, and the thought of a toddler with a bar of soap provides me with less than pleasant thoughts.

This pic makes me wish we could paint :(

After we set up all our loot, the room still looked empty, so I started turning the wheels and breaking out the paint. What do they have in or around a submarine? After shooting down Ant's ideas about installing a working periscope (weird) this is what I came up with.




The pieces that I made/added are:

painted wicker towel basket (from another room)
new basket liner (fabric from stash)
crochet turtle (from Reli's room)
puffy paint mirror decals (better pics in tutorial)






The counter still needed something so I grabbed 2 pieces of fake coral from the aquarium supplies at Walmart and voila! I'm really happy with how it turned out, especially since it cost me less than $140 for everything. Maybe it could have been better if we added paint to the walls, but such is the life of a renter.  Now, one room down, only 6 more to go.

Ha, Our toys even match! 
I'll be sharing tutorials on the decals, watercolors, and basket liner later in the week, so don't forget to stop back. Thanks for visiting!


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Complete Blog Makeover!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Well, after 5 days of copy, paste, what does this code do?, hair pulling confusion, I finally have a blog designed just for me. It isn't 100% finished, but I've been searching for hours about how to fix my last 2 issues and have come up empty. It is way past time that I turn off the computer for 24hrs. and go do something else!

But before I go I wanted to give a HUGE shout out to Nina at Momma Go Round! Her Beautify Your Blog Series is the only reason that I have anything to show you at all. She showed me how to do things that I didn't even know I wanted to change. (check out the cool heart favicon in the tab at the top of the screen!)

A few things I LOVE about my new home...


The Header - Before I started this project I had only used Photoshop maybe twice in college to very poor result. But this came together wonderfully after the hubby showed me just a few tricks. My favorite part has to be the tart itself. If you can't tell, the filling is buttons, the crust is ric rac, and the pie plate is corduroy.

The "Digi" Lace - This is part of the header, footer, and also my grab button and is awesome for how simple it was to make. I may have to do a tutorial about it so that others can use it in scrapbooking or other computer design projects.

The Grab Button - I've admired other blogger's buttons, but never imagined I'd have one of my own, especially one made by me!

and lastly,

My Signature - It just makes me happy to look at it. Maybe it just makes this feel like a "real" blog.

Sorry to make a post just to toot my own horn, but I think that everyone should know that You CAN do this. It doesn't matter how bad you are with computers, and you don't have to hire someone else. If you can Google your question, there is someone out there who will help you find the answer. It will definitely be a bit stressful, but I honestly think that the end result is worth it when you see a little piece of you on the page.

Please feel free to leave any suggestions. I'm by no means an expert, and you may see something I missed due to hours of staring.

Thanks for stopping by!
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Still Under Construction

Monday, May 16, 2011

I know that I said on Tuesday that my blog would be getting a face lift this weekend, and Oh boy it has! The only problem is that you can't see it. Not yet. I am so ridiculously excited by how AMAZING my progress has been that I feel it would ruin the total effect if I only showed bits at a time.  




After 2 trips to the DMV (yes, I sat for 2 hrs so they could tell me they needed more papers from home), grocery shopping, and helping the hubby pick out new suits, we finally got started working on my blog design. So far I have finished the header (one of the best things I had ever made, next to Tiny of course!), and a navigation button to share. 


Count...

Select...

Confirm!


I really thought that I would just be telling Ant what I wanted while he did all the work, but he had other plans. Since it is so hard to show what is in my head I asked "How do I...?" and he showed me so I could work it out in Photoshop.  I am so proud of the fact that I did 85% of the work all by myself! I'm not very good with computers so this is super cool! 




Hopefully I will be able to finish the design for the other buttons (home, about, etc.) and the footer design today so Ant can help me put all the html stuff together tonight. My other projects are really starting to back up and it has been killing me not to be able to share them with everyone!


Thanks for stopping by! Please be sure to come back later in the week and let me know what you think of the new look! I'm always open to ideas on how to improve the feel and flow of my page.


♥Momma Tart


I know the pictures have nothing to do with the post, but I needed pictures, and her love for the piggy is too cute not to share!

Change is in the Air

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A month or so after I started blogging I began fiddling with the design. I wanted it to be less generic and show more of my personality, but I am pretty terrible with computers. Even though I found wonderful articles on how to make headers and buttons and the like, it just wasn't going well. I'm a visual learner. So I turned to the hubby for help. I mean he built our entire computer, he should be able to make a pretty header Right?


Unfortunately, we then got sucked into the whirlwind of 2 moves, new jobs, and out of state relocation. All of which are very exciting, but leave my poor little blog relegated to the distant background. Now, in order to bump my blogs beauty a tad higher on Ant's "to-do" list, I put out a desperate plea gentle reminder over Mother's Day that I was still in need of help. 



Since I have unpacked all the boxes, taken over the decorating, and kept things relatively tidy and efficient, all while missing a car and dealing with Tiny and her new 2 year molars (what joy), he agreed that we should take some time to work on something just for me. 


So, this weekend, after the groceries and shopping are finished I have 2 free nap times where the hubby and I will sit together and try to make this blog everything that I see in my head. I know it will probably take much longer than that small amount of time, but I'm a fast learner and hope that once he gets me started I'll understand enough to take over by myself. 


In the mean time I have realized that my initial blogging goals were a bit too ambitious and have made a plan for the direction I would like to take instead. Everything's still about crafts, recipes, and crazy kids, but I would also like to add a few things like more photos and also books. 



I am still working on projects while this is all happening, and just putting them into backlog until everything is ready. Lets just say that there is a whole lotta paintin goin on. Spray. Puffy. Watercolor. Acrylic. I've got it all, and can't wait to share it with you. 
Thanks for visiting!
♥Momma Tart

I'm Dreaming of a White Focus...

Monday, May 2, 2011

. . . Just like the one I used to drive!


I know, I'm a dork, but I really miss my car. Since moving to Manassas my husband has been driving the car to work everyday where in Philly he would take the train. This leaves me sans transportation 5 days out of the week and is really hampering my creativity.


Eventually we will get a second car, but that isn't a decision that I would like to rush. At 26 (Oh gee) this is my 3rd car, while Ant has never owned one before. I've never been in a situation where I wasn't able to just run to the store if I needed too and honestly it stinks! Trying to cram all the errands into 2 days while still spending time together, working around nap times, and not forgetting that one thing you'll need later in the week, is really hard. I used to sleep in on the weekends while Ant got up with Tiny, but now if we want anything done we have to be out the door by 8am and still might not finish half of what I planned.


I'm sure things will get better when we have less projects going on and figure out which grocery store is "the one". I know that I could go out after he gets home during the week, but by the time we finish supper it is usually 7 pm and some places would be closed before I got there.


Oh well, Its just one of those "stick it out" kinda situations, but thanks for letting me whine. I must be getting a little stir crazy. Maybe another piece of chocolate would help me think of a better plan! (HELLO, bunny ears!) :)


Things are moving along with the decorating though, so hopefully I will have a room makeover to share soon.  Probably sooner if I worked on one room at a time, but what fun is that? Thanks for visiting!
♥Momma Tart

*I know the pictures have nothing to do with this post. They are just more proof we are going crazy. That last one she is saying Shooooe. lol.*
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