May 31, 2011

Love this... Swiss inspired dog bed


If you haven't heard of Garden & Gun magazine, you're missing out. You may have already gone there in your mind after reading the title, but it isn't what you're thinking. Every issue is filled with treasures and places to be discovered. In the May issue, they had a decorating feature suggesting design elements for different types of vacation homes, e.g. Coastal, Lake, Mountain. The Swiss camp dog bed from bellabeancouture bed stuck out, mostly due to the fact that 2 dogs revolve around me at all times and chew through their beds. I like how cozy and rustic it is, and the vintage Swiss blanket makes it look less like a dog bed and more like a big pillow tossed on the floor.

May 23, 2011

Get me to the Greek... Yogurt

Greek Yogurt Taste Test

I've decided that Greek yogurt's rise in popularity is on par with 2010's pomegranate food trend. I say this because I live in a very rural area and yet I was still able to find 5 different brands of Greek yogurt to choose from during my last shopping trip. You can imagine my surprise finding 5, so with so many options I thought a taste test was in order.

Voskos Greek Yogurt (blended wild blueberry): Rating D
0 fat, 14g sugar, 13g protein, 16g carbs
The most noticeable attribute of this yogurt is its texture. I can't say it's grainy, but it certainly isn't smooth. After eating half of it, I tossed because of it's lack of flavor.

Yoplait Greek Yogurt (blueberry): Rating C+
0 fat, 20g sugar, 14g protein, 25g carbs
If you like tart, this yogurt is for you. I'm not a big fan as it made my eyes water at times so I looked on the label and it actually contains lemon juice concentrate. I did enjoy the small whole blueberries floating around and the texture was thick and creamy. Not my favorite, but if you like dry and tart, pick this one.

Dannon Greek Yogurt (Blueberry, fruit on the bottom): Rating B
0g fat, 16g sugar, 12g protein, 17g carbs
Not the most attractive when you pull back the foil lid as "contents tend to separate" completely describes the unappetizing look, however after a few stirs Dannon delivers a light and fluffy yogurt very similar to their non-Greek offerings. I found this yogurt to be less tart than many and a little on the sweet side. Totally recommend this one if you want to try Greek yogurt but are worried you won't like it.

"Editor's Pick"
Chobani Greek Yogurt (blueberry non-fat): Rating B+
0 fat, 20g sugar, 14g protein, 20g carbs
The most not-like-greek-yogurt and more like plain yogurt. The texture is great, the blueberry mix is good and it is far from tart. It also contains quite a bit of sugar and carbs while still providing a great amount of protein which is great for me, because I make this breakfast once I get to work. I chose this as my pick mostly because it contains zero grams of fat and a girls gotta watch her figure. However, if I was to splurge, I would definitely go with Fage's yogurt. Note: The photo has a strawberry yogurt pictured, but I did do the taste test with Blueberry... I just ate it before the photo was taken.

Fage "2%" Cherry Yogurt: Rating A 
2.5g fat, 16g sugar, 12g protein, 17g carbs
A little more tart than the full fat version, the 2% yogurt version from Fage still provides the smooth silkiness that distinguishes Fage yogurt from the rest of the field. Once you give it a good mix, it still has a mousse quality to it that can't be beaten. I couldn't find the blueberry version (to keep the taste test equal) at my local grocery, but their website shows a blueberry flavor in the 2%... will have to keep looking.

Fage "Natural" Blueberry Yogurt: Rating A+++
12g fat, 15g sugar, 9g protein, 17g carbs
This yogurt comes with a side car of blueberry mix, so you can determine how much sweet goodness you want to add and control the sugar. The yogurt is thick and smooth and reminds me a bit of sweet marscapone cheese. The tartness is low, especially when you load in the blueberry mix, and of all the yogurts, this one feels like velvet, with a heavy softness that is quite delicious. The downside, there's 12g of fat for about a 1/2 cup of yogurt. So, if you can be decadent, definitely choose this yogurt.

May 21, 2011

Pocket-size Birthday Gifts

Little birthday gifts
Sometimes it's hard to think of a good birthday gift for a long-distance friend -- something fun and personalized and, most importantly, easily sent through the mail. Anne and I have been friends for close to 19 years now (yowzers!). She lives in East Tennessee and I'm in Indianapolis, so for her recent birthday I wanted to make and send something special.
Anne's a kid at heart (even more so now that she has two little boys of her own), and so I thought she'd enjoy this dynamic duo. The pouch is around 4 inches and the lion around 2-3 inches (silly me, I forgot to measure them before I wrapped and mailed them). You might recognize the monkeys on the pouch from this post.
Felt lion & scrappy pouch
Scrappy fabric pouch tutorial from One Shabby Chick
Felt lion from Felties

May 3, 2011

Knit a Square for AIDS Orphans

Knitted squares for charity

I love knitting for charity, and I really love projects that are quick and easy (and don't frustrate me and force me to pull out my rows because I misread the instructions). My mother, who can regularly be seen knitting wool socks for orphans overseas, turned me onto an amazing charity, KasCare Knit a Square, that collects 8-inch knitted (or crocheted) squares. Very much like Joseph's technicolor dream coat, these squares come together to make colorful, warm blankets for children with AIDS in Africa. I've found knitting squares to be a relaxing activity for evenings while watching TV, and I can crank out a couple of squares each week. I've also been able to use up leftover yarn instead of shoving it in the back of a drawer or pitching it.

If you'd like to join me in knitting or crocheting squares, please share in the comments below. I'd love to recruit some fellow knitters to join us in keeping kids warm.

May 2, 2011

The Story of a Baby Quilt

Monkey quilt final

This is the (photo) story of a baby quilt I made for my cousin's little boy Nicholas, who was born February 23, 2011. It all started with a fat quarter of the grey-blue monkey fabric (David Walker Monkey Toss from the Boys Will Be Boys collection). The pattern is Mixtape: Favorite Songs from Oh Fransson!. Be sure to scroll to the'll be glad you did.

Monkey quilt step 1

Monkey quilt step 2

Monkey quilt step 3

Monkey quilt step 4

Monkey quilt step 5

Monkey quilt final

Monkey quilt back with applique

Nicholas with his quilt


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