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Tuesday
Apr012014

Pirates are Invading the Fairy Garden

It's almost time! The daffodils are peeking out of the soil, the robins are hunting for worms, and there are buds on a few of the trees. IT'S ALMOST TIME!

There are three tiny little fairy gardens in our yard just waiting to be awakened for spring. There is pruning to do, plants to move, and soil to amend.

Even better, there is a giant stash of fairy garden accessories just waiting to be put to use. There are tiny little patio tables, a wee firepit, an itty bitty watering hose, and even a pirate ship that will become a fairy house near the pond. WE ARE SO EXCITED.

A lot has changed since Alexis and I built our first fairy garden three years ago. What was once a challenging sort of hobby is now mainstream with accessories donning shelves in nearly every craft store and garden center.

And the ideas. THE IDEAS! There are so many fantastic ideas to be found online. While once a search online for "Fairy gardens" landed you at this site or one other, now there are hundreds and hundreds of photos of fairy gardens to be found.

It's a good thing. There is a lot of inspiration to be found with just a few clicks.

For example, I follow several fairy garden boards on Pinterest. One of my favorites is this one. It includes a great idea for turning an oatmeal container into a fairy house using bark and pinecones. I prefer fairy gardens made from "found" things, so it's very much so up my alley.

There is also a Pinterest board that seems to focus a lot on fairy houses here. There are several ideas for creating tiny houses out of natural materials, including many that are subtle and can be discretely hidden in the smallest corners of anyone's yard.

I also love this Pinterest board because it's full of magic. For example, there is a tree stump fairy house that makes me dream tiny dreams full of itty bitty wings.

It would be odd if I didn't have my own fairy garden board, of course. I use the board to share photos sent to me by readers who have built fairy gardens. I also share great ideas and sources that I find around the internet.

There is one more board that is going to come in very handy very soon. Remember that pirate ship that is going to become a fairy house near the pond this year? Alexis picked out the pirate ship over a year ago, but it never quite made it out to the garden. Now that the brand new Tinker Bell movie Disney's The Pirate Fairy is now available on Blu-ray and Digital HD, she has renewed her interest in building a little pirate-themed fairy zone, so we've been checking out this Pinterest board for ideas.

We'll also be watching the movie closely for ideas. Alexis has been asking us to buy it the very second it's available. Obviously, we will because FAIRIES. WE BELIEVE IN FAIRIES! And love them. A lot.

If you're interested in getting the movie, you can order it here. You can also check out the movie's Pinterest board and the Disney Fairies Facebook page.

 

The first person to figure out how to make a tiny little Zarina outfit I can hang on my fairy clothesline gets fifty gold stars.

Monday
Mar312014

An Explanation of Sorts

There are lessons that all of us are learning together, and this whole identity on the internet is definitely at the top of the list.

Methinks if we wait a few years, Alexis will be able to tell us all how to handle ourselves.

Recently I've mostly stopped posting photos of her at her request. She really does have her hands on the puppet strings around this space, and pretty much always has. When "every kids' story" began to morph into "her unique story" as she got older, I involved her more and more in determining what stories were OK to tell and which weren't.

Like, the sequin story. I've never told it BUT I REALLY, REALLY WANT TO. Ahem.

ANYWAY. I'm sure this space has become less interesting with time, but meh. I respect the kid's right to have her childhood lived without public documentation. If that means losing people along the way, oh well. If she says "Don't put that picture on Burgh-y Baby," I obey. If she says "Don't tell the internet I did that," I obey.

Easy enough.

The super interesting behind-the-scenes part of that is that she has been telling people about this space since she started school. She has told teachers, principals, bus drivers, classmates, all sorts of people. So when she says she wants something posted here, she's saying she wants ALL OF THOSE PEOPLE to see it.

At least, that's the assumption she operates with. I know not all of them actually read, but it's a pretty good policy she has there when she assumes they will see it. Already she could teach half the internet a thing or two ...

But then she screwed up.

She told the WRONG classmate about this space.

And he chose to try to use it against her.

The whole thing has been playing out for a few months now with her carefully crafting what is and is not allowed to pass by his eyes. All the while, the situation has led to tons of conversations about internet privacy and all of the different ways people handle it. She now understands why a search of her name doesn't land here, how it's possible (but convoluted) to get here with my name, data mining, privacy controls, and all sorts of stuff about creative commons and intellectual property.

Which is how we managed to find a solution to her little classmate situation. It seems someone was "using" photos of her (I'd tell you in what way, but she said not to. So.). She understands that I can't stop someone from doing that, but technically all photos used in this space are copyrighted by me. That means they can't be used without my permission.

When you're in second grade, "used without permission" has a broader meaning than the law dictates. But, no matter. Alexis figured out how to make it all stop.

She gave the kid her version of a cease and desist letter basically saying he needed my permission to use the photos. She included in there some of the things I can do if someone uses my photos without permission.

It worked.

I'm totally putting her in charge of all legal matters around here for now on.

Sunday
Mar302014

Meyer Lemon Cheesecake Bars

There are a few things that I MUST buy if I spot them in the grocery store. Key Limes are at the top of that list, followed very closely by Meyer Lemons. By "followed closely" I mean PLEASE DON'T ASK ME TO CHOOSE JUST ONE. If they're both there, I'm buying them both. It's just a fact.

I love Meyer Lemons for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that they taste amazing. They're a cross between mandarin oranges and lemons, so they're a little bit lemony, but without the tart. Another fun thing about them is that you can use every little bit of them when baking. The zest, the juice, it's all good.

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Especially in cheesecake form.

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I'm not ambitious enough to dig out the springform pan lately, so I've been playing with cheesecake bars instead. Combining Meyer Lemons with a cheesecake bar was a work of pure genius, I must admit. What wasn't genius is that I didn't write down what I did the first time I made them, so WHOOPS, I had to make them again. And then more time just to be sure.

It's science. Go with me on this.

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Meyer Lemon Cheesecake Bars

1 stick butter
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 8-oz packages cream cheese (room temperature)
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup Meyer Lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated Meyer Lemon zest
Meyer Lemon zest for garnish

1. Place the stick of butter in a 13x9" glass dish and stick it in the oven. Turn the oven on to 350 degrees. You're melting the butter while warming up the oven.

2. Once the butter is melted, swish it in the pan until the sides and bottom of the pan are coated. Then sprinkle the graham cracker crumbs into the pan evenly.

3. Let the crust bake for 5-7 minutes at 350 degrees. When it's just barely lightly browned, move it to the freezer until you're ready to put the cheesecake filling on it.

4. To make the cheesecake filling, start by combining the cream cheese and sugar using an electric mixer and medium speed. Mix them until creamy, about 3-5 minutes.

5. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing constantly.

6. Add the cornstarch and vanilla extract, mixing constantly.

7. Add the lemon juice. Mix.

8. Finally, add in the lemon zest and mix some more.

9. Carefully spread the cheesecake mixture over the cooked crust. Use a spatula to evenly spread it out, if necessary.

10. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the top just barely begins to brown. Remove from heat, garnish with lemon zest, and place the whole pan on a cooling rack for at least an hour. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.