Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Big Truck Day 2013

Big Truck Day is almost here! We went to this event last year and my guy had loads of fun. The kids get a chance to not only look at the dreamy trucks, but get inside them too.
If your child is into trucks, you don't want to miss this event, put on by The Children's Museum at Saratoga

Where: Maple Avenue Middle School, Saratoga Springs, NY
When: Saturday August 3rd, 2013 10am-2pm
Cost: $5 per child, $1 per adult, under 1 gets in for free

For more information

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

*Free* Knot Headband With Any Crooked By Design Purchase Today Only!

Crooked By Design

*Add a favorite color to the notes section at the checkout, or leave it blank and you'll get a surprise color

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Curious George at the Washington County Fair Grounds-Today Until 3

We just got back from this fun event and my guy had a blast! It took us about an hour to see everything, but he was mostly obsessed with the cows.  They are running this free family fun day until 3pm, so get over there if you can!  You may even spot the man with the yellow hat walking around.   Directions

Magnetic flowers

One of the two crafts they had

Rubber duck races were one of his favorites

"It said mooo!"

Last year the theme was Winnie the Pooh and for some reason, I always feel the need to wear similar dresses.  Last year vs. this year (side note, look how big my guy has gotten in one year! *sniff*):

Friday, July 19, 2013

Free Curious George Fun in Greenwich, NY

Image could not be found!

Gluten-Free Beers: A love story

 *This is an updated post from August 2012

I bet you remember the day you realized that being gluten-free meant you were also beer-free.  I bet you were crushed (I know I was).  To never have another Sam Summer was a very upsetting notion for me.  For a while, I just gave up on beer all together, not wanting to take the time (or spend the money) to get to know the gluten-free versions.  I've moved away from that, and have tried a handful of them.  As a whole, they really aren't bad, just different.  These are the few I've tried (finding different gluten-free beers isn't an easy thing to do), but if you want information on more you can check out this website.

The most mainstream of the gluten-free beers is Redbridge, made by Budweiser.  It's your run of the mill beer and at $7.99-$8.99 for a 6 pack, its not too pricey.  I like it, just don't let it get warm (or its terrible).  Redbridge is my go-to beer, if I'm ever in the mood for it, and many restaurants have it too since they all have Budwiser, so be sure and ask for it by name next time you're out to dinner.  Even if they don't have a gluten-free menu, they may have Redbridge. 

I've tried New Grist a few times and I like it, but not enough to justify the $12.99 a 6 pack costs.  I don't taste a huge difference between it and Redbridge. 
If you like IPAs, you may want to try a new one I just discovered, New Planet pale ale and I enjoyed it.  It was pretty hoppy, and though I've never had a real IPA, my husband said it tasted very similar.  Bad news: its $10.50 for a 4 pack.  Good news: they have different varieties, so you're sure to find one you like.

 A new one to hit the market, one that I have actually seen served in a couple restaurants is Omission Beer.  Boy oh boy will you be happy you tried this one!I personally liked the Lager more than the pale ale, but both were yummy.  With their slogan being, "It isn't what we took out, its what we left out," their goal is making this beer taste like real live beer.  They do have a warning (probably to cover themselves) that there is a chance of containing gluten, but they provide a code for you to punch into their website and see the gluten content in parts per million.  Because it is brewed with malted barley, with the gluten removed, they can't legally mark it as gluten free (which is how they achieve the amazing taste). However, I did a lot a lot of research before subjecting my sensitive gluten free body to it, and I was 100% fine with it.  I should add that I am very sensitive to the effects of gluten. 


Of the ones I've tried, the best I've had is Bard's Tale Dragon's Gold.  I can't remember exactly how much it was, but I think it was about $12 for a 6 pack, and well worth it.  It tasted like beer, not some knock off version of.  If you ever see it in a store, pick some up.  You'll be happy you did.

Have a suggestion on a gluten free beer to try? Please share!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Budget Friendly Family Fun in Saratoga

(aren't we charming?)

My husband had the day off today (horrayyy!!) so we declared it a family day.  Saratoga has so much to do, even if you are on a tiny budget (like us).  The first place we went was the Peerless Pools in the Saratoga State Park.  This was our first time there and it was so much fun!  They have a large pool, plus a kiddie pool and two water slides, too! 

There was so much space to put down chairs and blankets and food is allowed inside.  If you don't want to bring a picnic and snacks, you can visit the concession area and pick up some curly fries or a hot dog.

*I have to admit, the bathrooms left much to be desired.  But there is a place to change, so that is good.  My husband said the men's room wasn't bad, so maybe it was just the women's room and from being super hot, so a lot of people. 

The best part of going here: it was only $2 per person to get in and kids under 5 are FREE!  There is an $8 parking fee per car to get into the park, but if you have an Empire Passport, you don't pay the parking fee. 

After that we went to the carousel where Atticus rode it three times, and its only $1 per ride, and the parent rides for free.

We ended our fun outing with a walk in downtown Saratoga and a visit with the ducks (a fit was thrown by my little dude when we had to leave the ducks. He's obsessed.) 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Christmas in July!

The other day I found the perfect gift for my younger sister and grabbed it to save for Christmas (it's cute, Sierra, very cute).  I was so excited with the feeling of "being ahead" of the holidays.  I know, its July, I've got time, but every year the holidays come and attack my budget and this year I'm vowing to do things like my older sister and start shopping and making my gifts early. 

This prompted me to have a Christmas in July sale in my Etsy shop, since I had a bunch of cold weather items either left over from last winter or new ones that hadn't been listed yet.  So now, you can get savings for the month of July on certain items, and feel good knowing you got ahead.

Here's some of the items on the sale, all handmade with love by me:

As a very special thank you for visiting this post, please enjoy 15% off entire purchase with code KNAPTIMEKNITTER at the Crooked By Design checkout.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Percy Jackson Themed Party/Library Program

 The Lightning Thief

 I recently read The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  So much that I have put together this Percy Jackson inspired party, which would also be great for a classroom or a library.

Percy's birthday is August 18th, so if hosting a party in his honor, that would be the best day.  Have the kids read the book first, so they can talk about it around the campfire (either real or a paper mache one).  The theme is Percy Jackson and Camp Half-Blood.  Invite attendees into a world of Greek mythology and educational fun with Percy and members of the camp.  Encourage attendees to dress up as their favorite Greek god or Percy Jackson character. 

Set up a food table filled with Percy Jackson inspired goodies such as:
-cans of diet coke
-blue jelly beans
-blue cupcakes
-grape juice
-blue Hawaiian punch 
-a BBQ cookout

Use these free printables to decorate.  Set up stations featuring different gods and activities featured at Camp Half-Blood.


Some ideas for stations & activities
At each station, put a "Meet the God" sign with details of what they are known for, and a photo of them. When guests arrive, give them a bracelet and at each station provide them with a bead to add it upon completing the activity.

- Ocean bottles with Poseidon, God of the Sea -

Poseidon is, of course, Percy's father, so this station would be to create ocean bottles with him like this one from the Austin Children's Museum. 


- Enjoy dirt cake with Demeter, Goddess of Agriculture -

Dirt Cake Recipe source: Taste of Home

- Sword and shield making with Ares, God of War -


Let the children create their own shield, with representations of which house they are in. Don't forget the sword!

*ask your local pizza shop to donate the circle cardboard

- Trivia with Athena, Goddess of Wisdom, War, and Useful Arts -

1. Who is Percy’s father? Poseidon
2. What does Grover frequently eat? Diet Coke cans
3. Where do Percy and his mother go for vacation? The beach
4. What learning disorders did Percy suffer from? ADHD and dyslexia
5. Who is the Greek god of war? Ares
6. Who is Annabeth’s mother?  Athena
7. Before going to Camp Half-Blood, what school did Percy attend? Yancy Academy 
8. How old is Percy in The Lightning Theif? 12
9. What is Mr. D's real name? Dionysus
10. What cabin was Percy first placed in? 1, Hermes cabin
11. Who does Annabeth have a crush on? Luke 
12. What was Auntie Em's real identity? Medusa
13. What animal/creature is Grover? A goat/satyr

- Campfire and book discussion with Hephaestus, God of Blacksmiths and Fire -

1. Why do you think Percy was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia, rather than something else?  How does this make him relatable?

2. What clues did you find which led to the eventual discovery that Percy’s father was Poseidon?

3. If you were at Camp Half-Blood, which house do you think you’d be placed in?  Is it your first choice?

4. Grover is seen as an outcast with few friends.  Percy is often defending him against his classmates.  We soon find out that Grover is, in actuality, protecting Percy.  Why do you think he posed as “helpless” and let Percy think he needed defending?

5. What parallels does Percy have with other “troubled youth” who struggle to control their emotional impulses? Can you think of other book or movie characters who have similar experiences?

6. The demons usually take form of seemingly harmless entities, such as the old ladies and the teacher.  Why do you think the evil characters took these shapes, instead of something more obviously evil?

7. What is Percy’s first reactions about who he meets at Camp Half-Blood?  Is he surprised at what he learns about his new life?

8. Before reading the book, how familiar were you with Greek Mythology?  Do you feel you have a basic understanding of it after reading The Lightning Thief?

9. What did you think about the The Lotus Casino?  How would you have felt if you had entered the video game haven?

10. There is a recurring theme of children from divorced, or split families.  Do you think this is a reflection of our modern culture?  Why or why not?

11. What was your favorite part of the book?  Do you have a least favorite?

12. Who do you relate to most in the book?  

Other activities 

-Find Zeus' lightning bolt: hide a lightning bolt and/or create a treasure hunt to find it.  The person or "house" who wins gets a prize (such as a Percy Jackson t-shirt, a bead for their bracelet like the half-bloods in the book, etc.)
-Capture the flag 
-After the activities, reward the children with a final bead for their bracelet, just like in the book
-End the program with a viewing of the movie 

Additional resources:
-For details on the Greek Gods, visit Rick Riordan's website for the book 
-Check out this party kit for fun stuff to do with all the books in the series 
-All about Camp Half-Blood 
-Camp Half-Blood Daily Activity Schedule  

Monday, July 8, 2013

Gluten Free Shake n' Bake Style Chicken


For this recipe, using a Ziplock bag is the easiest way of "shaking" or mixing the chicken with the bread crumb mix.  I didn't have one, so I used a bowl with a plate on top to shake it up.

What you'll need:

3-4 chicken breasts, split in half to become cutlet style (or just use cutlets)
1 cup gf bread crumbs (I use Hannaford since they're a steal at under $3 a bag, but you can experiment with what brand you like best)
1/4 cup potato flour (use whatever gf you'd like, I had potato, so I used that. Rice flour works well too)
1/2 tsp paprika
salt and pepper to taste (the corn breadcrumbs and not salty, so I add a bit more salt to this blend)

Rinse the chicken with cold water.  Pat dry so the breading stays on better.  Place it all in a bowl and top with the rest of the ingredients.

Coat the chicken and brown in a little oil.  These breadcrumbs are corn based, so I find corn oil works best with it. You can use vegetable, corn, olive, or whatever you have on hand.  You may find you like a particular one better, so play around with it.  Brown for a minute or two on each side and place on a lightly sprayed cookie sheet.  Bake for 25 minutes or so (until fully cooked) on a preheated 350 degree oven. 

Variations to try:
-add a little Parmesan cheese to the bread crumb mixture
-to make Italian style, add basil, oregano and parsley to the mix and omit the paprika
-top with sliced cheese and melt to make chicken sandwiches
-for Chicken Parm, add some spaghetti sauce and provolone and bake until melted
-use as the chicken in chicken Alfredo (my favorite)
-for a slightly healthier version, skip browning and bake a little longer


oh, and if you have a little helper, snap a cute picture of them :)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

4th of July Sale Today in my Etsy Shop!

Happy 4th of July from Crooked By Design!  Lots of stuff on sale, and with code AFOURTHFORTHEFOURTH you can save 25% of any purchase of $25 or more.  
Thanks for stopping by!

To see all the sales and new stuff, visit the Crooked By Design Facebook page.

Beauty Buys on a Tiny Budget-All About Eyes

If you're on a tight budget like in my house, then you know how expensive makeup can be and how exciting it is to get new shadows and liners.  I don't have good eyelashes, and this has brought me to trying so many mascaras, I've lost track of them.  I'm also obsessed with liquid liner, so I've gone through my share of brands on that too.  Through my trial and error, I now use these brands, and the best part, they are all budget friendly.

1. I get asked a lot where I get my liner and you may be surprised to know, Avon is the place to get it!  I've tried a few of theirs and liked them all.  Like this one,  which is on sale for just $4.50!  They offer free shipping on any order of $30, so stock up and you can save on that.  Don't have an Avon contact?  Here's mine.

2. I recently discovered and fell in love with Star Crushed Minerals on Etsy.  Her products are great, and so affordable!  Order now and everything is 50% off, so you can pick up shadows for just $2.50! Be sure to check out the shop's Facebook page and give them a "like" so you see all the new items.

3. Once you get your awesome new mineral shadow, you'll need a brush.  Again, I go to Avon for this.  This is the one I have and its just $2.49 right now! If you're like me and somehow lose your makeup brushes frequently, you may want to buy a few a time since they're so affordable.

4. For mascara, I recently tried this one by Rimmel and loved it! I got mine at Wal-Mart for about $5, so I wasn't sure it would perform, since I felt a little like I was cheaping out.  To my surprise, it was fabulous and makes my lashes look full and long rather than, well, non-existent. 

The final product (kindly ignore my wet hair)

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