Monday, June 30, 2014
Can you believe that the 4th of July is this Friday? Have you made your plans? We are still trying to figure out what we'll do... probably some fireworks, a little BBQ'ing... I'd also love to display this new Burlap and Chevron Fabric Banner in our backyard! Annnd, if the kids will cooperate, I'd love to get a photo of them holding it (wish me luck...).
I found the inspiration for this banner at Hobby Lobby... I saw a full banner that said Happy 4th of July! However, I knew I could make one for less and I shortened it to say 'I HEART USA'. I was really pleased with how it turned out and it only took me one afternoon to throw it together. The only items I had to buy was the red and blue chevron fabric... everything else I already had on hand at home.
So, grab an ice tea, iced hot chocolate... or whatever your summer beverage choice is... and, I'll follow you along on how to make one of these beautiful holiday banners for your home.
This banner consists of two banner shapes, a larger size (4x6.5", the extra .5" is for a crease at the top) for the fabric and a smaller sized banner for the burlap that will fit inside the larger size banner. I traced the shape on the burlap pieces with a sharpie and then cut them out.
Then, I used a fabric pen to outline the banner shape on my red and blue fabric and cut those out with fabric scissors.
I then had the fabric pieces I needed for the banner
Then, I used a stencil and white paint to sponge the letters on each piece of burlap. I hand drew the heart with red paint on its piece of burlap.
The burlap pieces after I had painted them
Then I used the iron to create a 5" crease on the top of each fabric banner piece
Then, fold over the 5" flap so that it overlaps the string you are using the hang the banner with and sew across. Make sure that you don't sew the string, or you won't be able to pull it through and also make sure you sew it shut with the string inside it.
Here is a close up of how it will look when you are finished sewing
Leave the banner on the spool of twine, ribbon, etc., because you won't know how long you want it to be until you hang it on your fence, tree outside, etc. After you hang it, you can then cut it off from the spool... trust me, this way you won't land up cutting it too short!
Hot glue around the edges of the burlap and then stick it onto the fabric
And, then ta-da! You have a 4th of July banner!
I made sure that the heart landed up on a blue chevron fabric piece, because if it had been on a red fabric piece, it would have not stood out... you don't want red on red, so be careful of that
I have this HUGE limelight hydrangea bush in my backyard that blooms like crazy from Spring all through the HOT summer. Isn't this banner adorable when I laid it on top of the huge blooms?
And... if this isn't enough 4th of July for you... did you check out my scrappy banner (click HERE) that I hung on my porch chalkboard? Next year I will probably try out the burlap and chevron fabric banner and the scrappy fabric banner together! What fun that will be! Hope you all have a great week leading up to the festivities on the 4th!
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Sunday, June 29, 2014
You are going to be a little amazed at just how much we accomplished on this trip to NYC. Yeah, we walked our little legs off and saw as much as we could see during our short stay there! On our second day in NYC, we did a food tour in Little Italy and Chinatown with Ahoy NY Tours & Tasting.
As soon as we stepped off of the subway, it felt as though we were in another world... China! There was Chinese sprawled all over the sign, we were surrounded by Chinese workers rushing past us and the SMELLS were different. The subway was right by the market and we walked past fish on ice, fruits and even these dried mushrooms as you see here. The smell was a little overwhelming at first!
Fresh fish... all kinds.
I was amazed by all of the different kinds of fish they had... even dried fish such as these (whatever they are).
We started our tour in Little Italy, which is right next to Chinatown.
We met our tour guide in front of Ferrara and that is where we had our first tasting. Ferrara looks really small from the outside here, but inside it is two stories and huge. They were even having a baby shower in an extra room upstairs.
At Ferrara we had a tiny cannoli (don't worry, we were stuffed by the end of the tour) that had tiny little chocolate chips in it. Best cannoli I've ever had, the inside filling was so smooth and creamy. Ferrara had a lot of other delicacies that I would have loved to try!
There was also this little store next to Ferrara that everyone was taking photos of... I didn't realize it until our tour guide told us that it was the oldest store in the area.
Our next stop was at Alleva Dairy, the oldest Italian cheese store in America.
At Alleva, we sampled homemade mozzarella (made fresh that morning!) and prosciutto. It seemed like mozzarella and prosciutto was BIG in NYC... everywhere we dined you could get mozzarella & tomato (caprese salad) or an appetizer, our hotel has prosciutto at our indulgent hour every night and all of the pizza places we ate at had prosciutto as a pizza topping!
Here is our unsalted mozzarella! Now, if you were to buy salted mozzarella, it would last longer than a day or two. I don't believe I had ever had unsalted mozzarella until this food tour!
We walked past a homemade ravioli place, but didn't go in... it didn't stop me from taking a photo at the window, though! Yum! This was Piemonte Ravioli Co.
The next place we visited was Di Palo's Fine Foods, which has been in Little Italy since 1910.
Grana Padano is one of the world's first hard cheeses, created nearly 900 years ago. This is a favorite cheese of the Italians and has a distinct grainy texture.
We tried two imported cheeses at Di Palo's, a cow's milk cheese known as Piave and a sheep's milk cheese known as Moliterno. I preferred the Piave cheese... and, I normally hate olives, but I couldn't let mine go to waste and I tried them... not too bad.
Grand Appetito was our next stop and we had a slice of 'Grandma's Pie', which was a Margherita style pizza.
Little Italy was really pretty, I loved the street side cafes... it sort of reminded me of the street side cafes in Paris, but... those were MUCH nicer. :)
Our tour guide told us a story about the restaurant that resided here before this one (Umberto's Clam House)... Crazy Joe Gallo was shot and killed on the corner of the street. You can google the story on your own, it was quite interesting.
So, if that wasn't enough... next, we headed to Chinatown for our tour!
Our first stop in Chinatown was the Nom Wah Tea Parlor. Here we got to try some authentic dim sum tastings. We had a lot of tastings here!
As you can see above, we had quite a sampling at the Nom Wah Tea Parlor! Oh my! Starting from the top left, we had a veggie dumpling, then an egg roll with duck sauce, then lower left was a shrimp & vegetable dumpling... and last, was a bbq pork dumpling. We also had an almond cookie, which I forgot to take a photo of!
Our last tasting was at the Tasty Dumpling, where we enjoyed a dumpling of course! Dumplings is one of the most important foods to eat during the Chinese New Year.
After the tour, we did a little shopping... I got this beautiful pink kimono for Autumn for just $10!
We also enjoyed some bubble tea, which has tapioca (bubble) on the bottom!
Sooo, after a Little Italy and Chinatown tour... we went back to the hotel for our free indulgence hour (wine, cheese, bread, etc.!) and fueled up for another adventure... Central Park and a carriage ride! Yes, I know... this is a crazy long post. And, note... the Ghostbuster Towers are behind us!
We decided to do the carriage ride that went around the entire park... this way we could see most of Central Park, without walking. ha! And, we could go back and see whatever parts we saw and liked during our carriage ride.
I took this photo while we were on the carriage ride, it is amazing how many people are in Central Park at one given time. It was a really nice day (mid-seventies) and I am sure everyone just wanted to be outside!
Our driver was kind enough to take a picture of us by the Bethseda Fountain.
The carousel in Central Park
Just some more carriage ride pics :)
This photo shows you just how crowded Central Park is (and it is such a huge park!)... this is an open field and there are hundreds of people having picnics.
After the carriage ride, we decided to walk and check out the boathouse.
We got to sit right up against the water and we saw at least 5 turtles. So neat.
A couple photos of the Bethseda fountain. This is just a gorgeous and peaceful area of the park! A popular spot, too!
While we were by the Bethseda fountain, we saw a bridge and groom getting their photos taken AND if you look in the background, a guy is proposing to his girlfriend!
And, isn't this the most amazing wedding photo ever?!
We had no idea where to eat for dinner that night, so our hotel recommended the Brooklyn Diner to us. It was close and I got to have a milk shake!
Our appetizer, a caprese salad
Milkshake, which... might have been weird with what I ordered, but oh well!
And, I ordered some sort of steak fajita... it was really good! Brian got a ruben sandwich.
After dinner we decided to go to Times Square at night! It was SO, SO awesome! Everything was lit up! I loved it!
New Year's ball! I would love to see the ball drop someday on NYE!
Everything all lit up.
We didn't get our pictures taken with the creepy characters that were dressed up. They were everywhere!
We were so tired at the end of this day! Here is the outside of our hotel... we fell asleep so easily that night with all the walking we did!
Now that I am done with the NYC Recap of Day 2... and, if you are still reading (which, I hope you are!)... here is the meal plan for this week!
Are you ready for the meal plan for this week?
Menu Plan for Week of June 29, 2014:
Sunday - Pasta con Broccoli with Homemade Rolls, recipe HERE
Monday - Cilantro Lime Shrimp with rice on the side, recipe HERE
Tuesday - Fruity Breakfast Burritos with Crockpot Oatmeal
Breakfast for dinner tonight, plus... I'll be sharing this recipe soon! Also, I've never made oatmeal in the crockpot, but this recipe (click HERE) has great reviews.
Wednesday - Frozen Pizza
Autumn has gymnastics on Wednesday evening, so I thought it'd be nice to have something simple for dinner.
Thursday - Walking Tacos (aka Taco's in a Bag), recipe HERE
I was looking on Pinterest for some easy and fun meal ideas for the kids and came across this one... going to try it this week and see how it goes!
Friday - 4th of July, we will either BBQ or Eat Out!
Every summer we enjoy going to one of our favorite local wineries for their sunset dinner. This year we are going to enjoy a Jack Daniel's Marinated Grilled Tri Tip Steak and Grilled shrimp! OH YUM!
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