Dinosaur Land!

Do you ever just get fixated on doing something and nothing will make you happy until you do it? I get a bee in my bonnet like that from time to time and this weekend was no exception.

It was pretty and I was tired of being cooped up indoors, and I wanted to go on a picnic.

A while back, the fellow and I came across a couple having a yard sale giving away a bunch of stuff including some wedding gifts (Shhh . . . Don’t tell!). Included in their pile of goodies was Disney’s Tangled on Blu-ray, an electronic fondue set, and this awesome picnic basket!

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I’ve been wanting to use the picnic basket for a while, but we hadn’t gotten around to it. So I made some turkey sandwiches and an impromptu apple cinnamon oatmeal dessert, and we headed to a nearby park. It was so nice to just sit and eat and chat outside. Next time I think we will make a morning of it and head somewhere where we can spread a blanket on the ground. I need to find a nice cloth buffalo check tablecloth!

On another note, recently at work my boss was talking about a local landmark, and then a friend mentioned it as well: Dinosaur Land.

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Somehow in my 24 years of bizarre trips, I had never managed to hear of Dinosaur Land, let alone go there. As a child, I remember going to Dutch Wonderland and a few small amusement parks. We’ve gone on history jaunts and driven to Gettysburg just to get a cup of tea. I’ve seen giant rocking chairs and the World’s Largest Tea Pot, but I somehow missed this classic gem.

However, all that changed this weekend. Ladies and gentlemen, I made it to Dinosaur Land!

A friend was going down to the Shenandoah Valley Flea Market on Sunday anyway and was shocked to learn I’d never gone to Dinosaur Land, so we made a day of it and went to both. Nothing I love more than cheesy road trips and flea markets or antiquing so I was in!

What is Dinosaur Land, you ask? It is a remnant from the past. A roadside attraction from the ‘50s featuring fiberglass models (and informative signs) inviting visitors to step into the world of the prehistoric past, “turning back the pages of time to the Mesozoic era, when dinosaurs were the only creatures that roamed the earth” (so sayest their website). For $6.00, you wander a gravel path twisting through time. There are also some great photo ops with Jaws and you can even sit in King Kong’s hand!

We wandered around and took so many pictures!  Even the Fellow joined in in the fun.

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My Name Is…

I have a list at my desk that I started when I began working for my company. This list is three columns long and includes everything that I have been called that is not my name.

I’ve been called Candy, Kitty, Pete, June, Tee Dee, Dee, Karen, Cathy, and Gary. Yes, Gary.

I’m not sure what is so confusing about my name. I think it’s mainly that the person on the other end of my phone line is ruffling through papers, looking for information, and dealing with customers for the first few seconds of the call, so it’s easy to get distracted.

That being said, I’ve gotten really used to explaining and spelling my name. (Any other ‘90s kids out there who never found a personalized souvenir at the beach?) So, I totally get it and try to be sensitive when other people have difficult-to-spell names.

The other day I was having a really rough day. I was behind on some things and had been working with an extremely upset customer for over an hour and a half and was hurrying to get some things out to my team, and I committed a cardinal sin: I didn’t proofread an email!

Luckily for me, the email only went out to about 5 team members. In the email, I listed names and tasks which needed completed. One of these team members is a very sweet wonderful lady named Kayla.

Kayla’s last same is spelled something along the lines of Sub*********e. (Seriously, I cannot spell her name without looking it up . . .) I usually just shorten it to Sub in my rough draft. I typed her last name as best I could intending to go back and fix it before clicking send; however, in my haste, the email went out to KAYLA SUBMARINE. Yes, in all caps. Thanks, auto-correct.

Thankfully, she brought it to me laughing and thought it was very funny. It definitely was good to get a big belly laugh at the end of a hard day. I’ve chuckled about it a few times this week and figured I could use it to fuel my latest craft.

I keep seeing these adorable felt animals and scenes on Pinterest and have wanted to try one out, so I figured I’d make a little felt submarine to hang from Kayla’s shelf.

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Every submarine picture I found was of a yellow submarine. (I can thank the Beatles for that.) I opted for shades of blue.

 

 

I’d love to see your take on these submarines. Feel free to right click and print the template and share!

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Tea and Crumpets (Whatever They Are)

I remember reading an Animaniacs book over and over when I was a kid. They went to London and ended up melting and then restoring Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum. When they set out on their adventure, they said they wanted to have tea and crumpets (whatever they are) with the queen.

Does anyone else remember these guys?

For some reason I think of that book fairly often. This is most likely because I drink copious amounts of tea.

I actually have had a crumpet, but I’m still not quite sure what they are. My brother is friends with the only British country boy in West by God Virginia, and he gave my parents a package of crumpets which they saved for me. The crumpets were similar to English muffins though thicker and fluffier … I wonder if English muffins are called English muffins because of their similarity to crumpets … I mean, a crumpet is a muffin from England, right?… maybe … To Google! The difference seems to be in the dough and the baking, but they’re basically the same. Either way you split it, the crumpet wasn’t my cup of tea. I’m sorry for the puns … I really am. (I should go on the record here and say they spent a little time in the fridge so that may have had something to do with it.) The crumpets just seemed flavorless and soggy.

While we’re on the subject of childhood books and tea parties, I had a mini flashback this weekend. Two girls with whom I was friends as a child reconnected with me via Facebook, and we all went out to tea! We opted to dress up, and they joked that I would go all out (I have a flair for the dramatic at times.), so I did.

Fortunately, the timing for this was perfect as all of the thrift stores still had Easter things out. I went to Goodwill and grabbed a grey straw hat with pink trim and bow. I wish I had taken pictures of the hat before and during as it turned into a neat project.

The hat originally had wire under the edge ribbon so you could bend the brim. After washing the hat, I ripped the ribbon off as I was going to trim the hat in purple. Re-trimming the edge didn’t look polished enough for my taste so I opted instead for a clean edge. To achieve this I seam-ripped apart the outer ring of the hat making it a few rows smaller. (Straw hats function like a coil. They get larger each time they circle outward.)

Once the edge was trimmed, I had a clean slate with which to work. I found a small spool of tulle at Wal-Mart for about $1.50, and I bought 5 bunches of flowers from the Dollar Tree: pansies, daises, some draping purple flower that may not actually be real, and two different-sized roses and I went to town. Seriously, I use so much hot glue …

The newly trimmed hat turned out so posh. I wish I could wear hats in my day-to-day life. The problem with hats is that you have to take them off indoors, as no one knows hat etiquette in today’s world of wash-and-go hair and baseball caps, and hat hair is not attractive.

 

 

I love drinking tea, and we had so much fun! We think the last time all three of us were together was very nearly ten years ago. We sat, reminisced, drank several pots of tea, and munched on tiny finger sandwiches and scones. (I need to find a good scone recipe. If you have one, let me know!)

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There is something enchanting about murmuring conversations while delicate music plays in the background with the soft clink of china that is simply magical. We sat at our table just chatting and lost track of time.

 

We had such a good time! I can’t wait until we get together again.

 

Tea lover? Try our all natural SkinnyMe 'teatox' (a detox with tea!) only available from www.skinnymetea.com.au:

( I love this print!)

Easter Bunny Disaster

Do you ever get one of those ideas that are going to be t-totally awesome? Like, change the course of history, better than sliced bread, this changes everything type of idea? Yes? Then you probably know as well as I do that those types of ideas usually end in disaster.

If you Pinterest cakes at all recently, you’ve probably seen a “Surprise Cake.” Basically, when you cut into a cake, you see a shape.

(Seriously, check these out; they’re super neat!)

I got the bright idea to make a cake for Easter dinner. Before I settled on a Surprise Cake, I mentioned to my mother that I was thinking about making a carrot cake. She, in turn, mentioned this to my father who was very excited about having carrot cake since it’s one dessert that my mother doesn’t make. I hated to disappoint him so I thought, well, I can just make a Surprise Carrot Cake…

I was soon to find out that this idea was a huge mistake.

When making a Surprise Cake, you need to have cakes in two different colors. I figured that a cheesecake would work. I was very wrong.

The cookie cutter that I had gotten was too tall to use in one of my regular 9 or 6-inch cake pans, so I figured I could bake the whole cake in one layer in a coffee can. Fun fact – coffee cans aren’t metal anymore. Realizing this, I went and got a giant gallon can of green beans I would then have for dinner. You can’t have green beans by themselves so I also ended up buying a ham (In case you hadn’t realized it yet, this story is quickly turning into If You Give a Mouse a Cookie meets A Series of Unfortunate Events).

Once I got the green beans home, I learned that my can opener wouldn’t handle the industrial walls of the giant green bean can… I had the fellow open it with his multi-use tool, but the edge was ruined. Luckily, he had gallon cans he had saved from work for use in some crafts (so I didn’t need to buy the green beans after all…).

I made a cheesecake from scratch and made up the carrot cake batter (which was an entire situation to itself; my tiny food processor raged a fierce war on my kitchen with all of the carrot mess). With the cheesecake out of the oven and cooling, and the carrot cake batter mixed and sitting on the counter, I realized I’d neglected to account for the cooling period of the cheesecake.

Panicked, I threw the cheesecake in the freezer and ran to the store to grab a pre-made cheesecake since it was eight at night and I needed to go to bed. Second mistake: I grabbed a frozen cheesecake and didn’t think about the time needed to thaw it.

Thankfully, by the time I got home and finished fooling with the frozen cheesecake (which is still in my freezer….) the homemade cheesecake was set up enough to hold.

I cut out my bunny and put it in the can. Enter problem number three: Somehow I had decided that I should start to make a layer of the cake first so the cheesecake wouldn’t sink to the bottom. This was a terrible, terrible life choice.

The cake did actually bake very nicely in the can, and I turned it upside down as the recipe recommended. This was something else I hadn’t accounted for – how much water the carrots would add as the top of the cake was very, very moist. I’d never made a carrot cake before and didn’t realize quite how crumbly this would be.

The next day I got up at four to go work out and figured I’d get the cake out of the pan and all ready, so I could ice it right when I got home from the gym. Thank goodness I was up early. When I got it out of the pan, the layer I had baked before adding the cheesecake split causing the top two-thirds of the cake to shift – which then put stress on the cheesecake center and the whole thing fell to pieces.

(Excuse the quality of the photo; I snapped it to send to the fellow as I was freaking out at 4 am.)

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So there I am, Easter Morning, 4 am with our dessert in pieces on the counter.

Frantic, I threw on my shoes and ran to Wal-Mart for a box of carrot cake mix. I hurried back; mixed it up and got the cake in the oven, and then went to clean up the mess of my homemade disaster.

I threw out one of the sections, but then started to feel bad about just throwing out all of the ingredients/time/effort. A quick Pinterest and Google search offered plenty of suggestions to reuse birthday cake, but a carrot cake trifle just didn’t seem appealing.

Then I got an idea… I would take half of the cake and some of the smaller sections and turn it into a rabbit-shaped cake.

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See how cute?!

I had already baked the other cake, so I ended up with two Easter carrot cakes. I took the larger box mix cake for my family’s dinner and the smaller rabbit cake to the fellow’s.

 

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(My family wasn’t a fan of the edible Easter basket grass, but I thought it was adorable.)

Looking back, I should’ve timed it better, and started much smaller. I just took on way too much without enough background experience. Fortunately, it all turned out delicious in the end.

My family still has an Easter Egg hunt even though it’s just my Grandmother, 26-year-old brother and myself (and our significant others when they’re with us for Easter). Look at how adorable my grandmother is – she’s such a good sport.

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