Saturday, October 31, 2009
Huge thanks to Katie at Kitchen Stewardship for the head up on the giveaway!
(And yes, I think three posts during one naptime is an all-time record for me . . .)
Thursday afternoon, I didn't have many links. I'm not sure what exploded between then and now, but this should keep you clicking for a while -
I'm only a bit ashamed to admit that I still have the box of swiffer pads that I bought when I got my swiffer . . . in my defense, we ONLY have linoleum in the bathrooms and um, OK, I don't clean the floors very often. But once those run out, I think I'll use some towels to make these swiffer covers at Tipnut. (You may remember I made one of the reusable swiffer dusters a while back.)
This book sling is a neat concept for accessible books - I'm tired of picking them all up off the floor since Goose pulls them ALL down looking for the one she wants. Then again, sometimes I'm pretty sure she pulls them all down just for the fun of it . . .
Looks like there should be more details in the comments coming on how to actually *make* this odd corner play tent but I'm willing to bet Hubs could figure it out pretty easily.
Ah, bread, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways . . . and let me be a weenie about kneading and rising with this roundup of bread machine recipes at Tipnut.
Something tells me I probably couldn't sneak this past Hubs, but I'd still like to try it sometime - Mock Chicken Fried Steak at The Prudent Homemaker.
As usual, I'm intrigued by the concept - spray paint over lace for a funky finish on a dresser (at Daily Danny).
This is a new one to me - dishcloth gourds at Tipnut.
There are some very cute painted (and otherwise embellished) pumpkins at Curbly.
There is an old school desk at my parents' with my name on it that just needs a bit of retouching, but I have another desk in my storage room that would be a great candidate for a school desk makeover like this one at Trey and Lucy.
My friend Kim gave me a heads up on this alphabet box at Itty Bitty Love (which is one of those blogs that I suspect I'll eventually throw in the towel and put in my reader :>)).
PRAY & PONDER
Fellow Nebraskan Karen Edmisten talks about not wishing time away in her post When They're Older. Though I'm aware of this phenomenon and try my best to avoid it, I still fall victim to it once in a while.
I'm saddened and a bit relieved for the family of Dorothy Gay Howard, who has been identified as Boulder Jane Doe who was found dead in 1954. The story has been covered over the past several years in a Nebraska newspaper because it was thought for a while that "Jane" could have been a local girl that ran away. There is also a follow-up story about how she may have been killed and who some possible suspects are. How difficult for the family that probably never gave up home that'd she'd eventually come home.
On to happier topics, I really liked this article on the Beatitudes at Faith & Family Live.
Also at F&FL, I'm looking forward to showing this video on Sunday's Gospel reading to Goose.
Have fun surfing!
I used some pumpkin fabric that I had on hand, and made the bag's size kind of adjusted to the piece of fabric and also the size of my Goose. (I didn't want it to be too long, specifically.)
To began, I cut the two front/back pieces 13" tall by 11" wide, two side pieces 13" tall by 5" wide, and one bottom piece 11" by 5". I kind of tried to pay attention to how the pattern on the fabric went, but the pumpkins go every which way as it is, so I didn't worry too much.
Pin one side piece to one front (or back) piece right sides together and sew using a straight stitch. Press the seam open. Repeat with the other pieces, making sure you're alternating - front (or back) then side then back (or front) then side. At this point, I folded the top down about an inch and pressed it then stitched it down. Because I was too lazy to fill a bobbin with orange thread (I had cream thread instead), I flipped it over and topstitched it so that I had one orange line and one white line. But that's just me. Stitch the final side to the front/back so you have a big tube.
I have to admit that the bottom didn't go on as neatly as one might hope, but it's homemade, and it looks just fine. I started by stitching one long side of the bottom piece to one front/back, pressed the seam open, and then stitched the other long side to the front/back and pressed open. Then I stitched the short sides together.
When you're sewing something like this, it's tough to get things to lay flat to press the seam open. What I do instead is fold the extra fabric down over the seam (pretty much folding in half at the seam, right sides of the outside are together) and press the seam inside out, so to speak. And it's kind of funny, because then I went back and pressed the seams the opposite way from the outside so the seams were more creased and it holds its rectangular "bag" shape better. :>)
At this point, I checked the amount of fabric I had left and didn't think it was quite enough to make the handles as long as I wanted. It was close, and probably would've been fine - but I knew I had some orange ribbon that I could use. I cut two pieces about 14" long, and put Fray Check on the ends to keep them from unraveling. I pinned the outside of the ribbon (I think it's 1.5" wide?) about 1.5" from the seams on the front and back pieces. I triple-stitched them down, so they won't have any chance of coming loose when the bag is bursting with candy.
Overall, I'd guess this project took about 2 hours with the normal toddler interruptions. I know it wasn't cheaper than the 50 cent jack-o-lantern bucket we saw at a garage sale this summer, but I think it's prettier and I think it will last longer, too.
Friday, October 30, 2009
And if you're one of my sisters-in-law, MOVE ALONG! NOTHING TO SEE HERE! :>) (They both subscribe to my blog, and I'm trying to keep them from inadvertantly being grinches!)
For my nieces (who are ages 10, 6, 5, and 2):
* The oldest three will each get one of these I Spy bags. I picked up random little things at the thrift store to put in them, bargin bin fabric, and I bought a huge bag of rice and 1/2 yard of thick clear plastic like that which your grandmother may have over her tablecloth to protect it from the hooligan grandchildren. :>) You can read more about them at my post here. (and I re-did them about three times to make them not-so-easy. :>))
* The middle girls will each get a homemade camping lantern, mine are shown at left. (with apologies for not realizing that the phone cord was in the picture going up the wall) I ended up hot gluing some ribbon around the bottom to cover the gap between the lid and the waxed paper. For about two minutes, I tried to figure out how to glue the ribbon to the jar. Then I gave up and glued it to the lid, so the open part is up instead of down but at least it lays flat. Whew.
* I made a "quiet family" for the youngest. I liked both the wooden version and the cloth one. I like how they're made without mouths, hence the quiet part. :>) I was able to find the wooden version pretty inexpensively at Hobby Lobby - I think both the bag of "kids" and "adults" were $3 each with several in a package, and the box was around $2. I recruited my dad to trim the bottoms so the mama is shorter than the papa, and, in the case of my nieces, they're four different sizes. (He's the best!)
I ended up not bothering with faces or hair, just glued a piece of fabric around the bodies. Since my box was divided, I decided to make different "rooms" like my brother's new house. I found some clip-art, made it black and white, printed it, cut it out, and glued it to the fabric that I glued in the box. I had brief thoughts of trying to draw a swing set on the back but quickly realized I'm a *terrible* artist and threw that out the window. I think she'll be pleased anyway.
* My youngest niece will get some of this play makeup. I requested makeup and nail polish on freecycle, and I was tickled with how it turned out. I have some for sale in my Etsy shop, if you're interested!
* Youngest niece will also be getting a scrappy flower crown. As you can see from the little hand in the pic on the right, Goose was quite interested. It might get a bit crazy when her cousin opens it up...
* For my middle two nieces, I am planning to put together a craft-a-day kit because last year, the glow of being at Grandma's kind of wore off a few days into the several-day visit. There was a wrench thrown in the works when it was decided that we'll celebrate at my brother's instead, but this will give them something to do during the days they have off from school anyway, and it's kind of "consumable" in that it's not a whole bunch of stuff my sister-in-law has find a place to put. Win-win-win!
*** fruity smelly painting
*** no-sew bags
*** paper marbling
*** marble run
*** (which got me thinking about a domino run)
*** puffy paint (though we won't do ghosts and I'm thinking about a bit of food coloring mixed in here and there - like this post from Chasing Cheerios)
* My oldest niece will be getting some bookmarks, I found lots o' links (here, and here, and another at here, and one more here, the beaded one is here though I made a few changes, and the felt and ribbon one is here.)
For my sisters-in-law:
* As noted earlier in the Reading the Whole Internet Post, I plan to make them each two of these button and wire brooches. I'm using buttons out from a huge bag I got at a rummage sale last year, Hubs brought me some wire. It wasn't quite as easy as I hoped, but I'm got better as I went along. I still need to glue felt on the backs and attach the pins.
I had trouble getting the wire to be very tight in the button holes, especially when there were four holes instead of just two. I also had much better luck (and more straight twists) by holding the wires taught and twisting the button rather than twisting the wire around the other strand of wire. Some of my buttons broke in the process as well, which was a huge bummer. but, they're cute, and hopefully the SILs will get a kick out of wearing them a few times and that's all I can ask. [update - I bought some button magnets and am planning to offer to turn them into magnets instead - I'll let them decide since they're already wrapped. :>)]
* Since they both live in cold places (Colorado and Alaska), I was planning to do hand warming gloves. I thought about instead making a small pocket on the outside of the gloves so that they can remove the rice bag and warm it without warming the whole gloves. Instead, I made little palm-sized warmers that they could tuck either in their palm or on the back of their hand. Of course, I didn't get the idea to embroider their initials until I was done with the first one. I mean, I really tried hard to make them unique! I used some new tan felt I'd found at the thrift shop and three strands of embroidery floss. [Update - looks like I'll be working on a new set of these . . . I have discovered the hard way that they make excellent cat toys. I also ended up making them bigger, so that they cover nearly the entire palm.] [Update 2 - Um, I wrapped them yesterday without taking new pictures. Oops. Guess you'll have to wait to see them until after Christmas.]
I will say that it appears to be the year of the blanket stitch. :>) My mom taught me how to do it and I'm loving it!
* The post that kicked the blanket stitch craze off is Frugal Family Fun Blog's hand warmers. I used pink felt, also found new at the thrift shop, bound with a blanket stitch using three strands of varigated embroidery floss. I kind of based the size off the size of the piece of felt I had, but I thought they were too big - Valerie's are more the size of a deck of cards. I ended up taking the stitches out of one end, cutting off some felt, embroidering their names on their respective warmers, and re-stitching. Valerie also has a more masculine denim version here.
I read in this link on homemade bed warmers that field corn actually holds heat better than rice. Since we have an abundance of that around here, Iactually re-did these and removed the rice - especially since corn from the farm will hold a bit of significance for my sweet sisters-in-law. I also re-did my own rice bag that I use when I'm chilly or achy, and I found that corn needs longer in the microwave than rice did. I made some bed warmers as gifts, too.
For my 9-month-old nephew:
* He has requested a few more pairs of leg warmers, so that's easy enough! Well, except for choosing which ones to give him, that is. :>) (Feel free to visit my Etsy shop if you'd like some leg warmers for your special little one!)
* I made him a crinkly owl, which I thought turned out great! I used fleece instead of felt because I wanted it to be totally washable. I went bigger with the eyes, using a baby food jar lid as my pattern. I gave some thought to doing some sort of claws but thought that might be overkill - he won't care either way. (And please note that the owl is blanket stitched all over the place.)
* Thanks to the suggestions in the comments, I made a set of blocks for the little guy, with a bag to hold them. You can see how I made them at my Soft Blocks for Baby post. They weren't quite stitched up in the picture but they turned out great.
Any other suggestions for a baby boy? Or a toddler boy, since his birthday will be coming up in March - and Chrismas will come around next year?!? Per Sarah's e-mailed comment, I'm looking hard at something like these puzzle blocks from the Land of Nod. I was thinking about painting the blocks then decoupaging on pictures, or maybe even just use patterned scrapbook paper. Then I found an awesome deal on Melissa & Doug puzzle blocks and punted on the idea for now. :>) [edit - if you want to make your own soft blocks or puzzle blocks, check out these posts at Make it and Love it (soft) and Making The World Cuter (puzzle).]
* He isn't nearly as big on games as I am, but I made Quatro for him anyway. Actually, my dad did the cutting and staining, so I did very little, but I think it came together pretty easily! The problem is that Hubs is surprising me by kicking the soup out of me pretty much every time we play. I did well at first, but he's been handing my rear end to me ever since. The nice thing is that it doesn't take too long to play a game.
For our mothers and my sisters-in-law:
* I like to make calendars that feature a picture of Goose from (approximately) that month the previous year. It's fun to see how she's grown! I make the calendar part in Word - it's basically a "table" the size of the page that's seven columns by five rows, and then adjust the days and numbers as needed. I also put in that side of the family's birthdays and anniversaries, so I end up with two versions of the calendars. I then use Publisher for the picture pages, and I also have had fun including little quotes that I've found - I especially like The Quote Garden.
* The past two years, I've traced Goose's hand and then embroidered it onto a piece of fabric . . . I think of it as a Christmas ornament, I guess. The idea for that came from Plum Pudding, though it's a bit different with only one kiddo. :>) Here is the picture of mine from 2007 and 2008. For this year's, I finally used my sewing machine! I put the right sides together and stitched around the embroidered hand, leaving a gap. I turned it right side out and hand-stitched the gap shut, then used an embroidery needle to poke embroidery floss through to hang it up.
* Last year, I found a package of blank note cards and envelopes in a variety of colors. I also traced Goose's feet and took a thumbprint, and scanned them into my computer. I made it easy on myself and just digitally flipped them so I had right and left without trying to hold a kid still for so long. I used Paint and darkend the outside line, then filled them in with different colors. I ended up with some pretty random stuff, but I'll include them below for your enjoyment. (You'll note I made good use of the "rotate" feature".
Some things I've made for gifts previously:
fabric and button barrettes with an update, though I don't think the buttons ever stayed on very well. (Mine are here.)
bangle bracelets (mine are here)
sidewalk chalk paint
ribbon dancer (mine is here)
tulle pony tail holders
silhouette pendants (Mine are here)
this headband, the ribbon one from here and I didn't make this but I really wanted to! I intended to make some for Christmas, but after checking with her mom, I learned she's kind of growing out of them.
What are you making for Christmas this year? I'd love to see links in the comments!
And for more frugal ideas, visit Life As Mom. For more handmade Christmas ideas, visit Abbi at Proverbs 31 Living!
Saturday, October 24, 2009
So when we last left off, the mission was closing and I'd found a new job not far from my hometown. I ought to back up and note that things continued to go downhill with my then-fiance. I was a bridesmaid for one of my college roommates in June, and I'd asked my then-fiance to go to the wedding with me, but I'd made it reasonably clear that things were going to be over after that.
Things really came to a head after the rehearsal dinner. He had wanted to leave so he could watch an NBA game that was one that night. Did I mention the rehearsal dinner was AT A SPORTS BAR with TVs turned to every game imaginable? So I said no to leaving, and had a fun time with college friends I hadn't seen much for a couple of years. On the way home, we had an ugly fight, and I was ready to end it right there but he apologized and I didn't want to deal with that drama. We went to the wedding and things were OK, but when I went to leave on Sunday and said "this is it" he couldn't believe I meant it.
I returned to Colorado Springs, where as I mentioned I had been making friends through the Catholic young adults group. One fellow in particular had taken a liking to me, but I'd made it clear that I wasn't available just yet. We spoke on the phone frequently, though, and the evening I returned from Nebraska was no exception. The next day, both guys sent me flowers at work, from the same flower shop, in the same delivery. Looking back now, it's HILARIOUS - back then, it made me cry. :>)
Back to the rest of my life, I packed my things and headed east. In the town where I lived, there is a hike/bike trail along the Platte River, and I loved to walk it and sort my thoughts. One time shortly after I moved (so it would have been late January or early February), I found myself just feeling *at home* and thinking how absolutely BEAUTIFUL all the shades of brown were. Yes, all the shades of brown. That's when I knew Nebraska was where I belonged.
My new job was writing grants and handling the human resources for a non-profit organization. The organization's mission was providing assistance to migrant and seasonal farm workers, and it had expanded into other services to the Hispanic population. I really, really enjoyed it - I loved the writing, and for the most part, I liked the HR aspect.
One of the best parts of this job, I thought, was that I traveled to the other offices throughout the state. One was west, in the panhandle, another was in the central tri-city area, two more in Lincoln and Omaha, and the final one in northeast Nebraska. I had a good time exploring the state and visiting all these places. That summer, I had to attend a meeting as a representative of the tri-city office. The young lady that was to be in charge of the project was a brand new employee, so the night before the meeting, I killed some time by driving past the meeting location (in a different town) to make sure I could easily find it.
Afterwards, I stopped at Wal-Mart to pick up a few things. While browsing the magazine aisle, a handsome fellow approached me and asked what a classy babe like me was doing in a joint like this. Yup, that was my future husband! He was so cute that I couldn't help but chat with him and we went out to dinner that night. I was head over heels from the start.
Coming up - becoming a farm wife. (You can also jump ahead and read about our wedding which was posted in celebration of our anniversary last week.)
Let's get to the link love!
If you are one of my sisters-in-law, please do not click through to these button and wire brooches because you're probably going to get one for Christmas. (@ Crafty Pod)
I'm highly amused by some of the projects at Evil Mad Scientist. I'm thinking this might be something to tuck away for a few years until Goose and Hubs are ready to do some experimenting.
We're lucky that Goose hasn't had very many bumps, bruises, or falls, though I suspect that may change as she gets braver and tries more new things. It would probably be a good idea to have some of these homemade ice packs from Tipnut in the freezer at the ready.
This is one book that we don't have - and I didn't read in my childhood, either - but here are a number of crafts that go along with the book Where the Wild Things Are at the Crafty Crow. As an aside, though, we HAVE been thoroughly enjoying reading Corduroy - which I can't believe my Hubs never read as a child.
While I don't do much fresh flower arranging around here, I really like the idea of these pom-pom yarn flowers for little hands to arrange, from Happy Together.
Angela had us all drooling on Facebook when she noted she made Cinnabon copycat cinnamon rolls from All Recipes. I would love to make these, but my tendency to eat the whole pan would be a problem. Not for me, really - except for my rear - but for Goose and Hubs who would have to smell them and not get any.
These cranberry granola bars sound great! I never make stuff like this because I don't want to buy stuff like wheat germ and have it go to waste. But maybe if I bought wheat germ, I'd make stuff like this more often and get it used up?
I like to make candy at Christmastime mostly because I can eat a bit and give the rest away. (That's right, willpower is NOT my strongest virtue.) Homemade caramels from Giver's Log sound *awesome* right now.
Made it and thought it was great: slow cooker Italian chicken meal. Thanks, Amy's Finer Things! I also served it with some Sister Schubert's rolls that I got at Wal-Mart. It was a delicious meal. (The one my parents could've had if they'd have visited . . . too bad for you!) :>)
Can't go wrong here - candy corn bark at The Idea Room with a recipe for peppermint bark, too.
PRAY & PONDER
One quote from this article at Faith & Family Live on Mary and God's Mercy - "To receive [God’s] mercy, we must admit our faults" - I think we must also resolve, with the help of God's grace, to knock it off, too.
I thought there was a lot of wisdom in the article "No Family, No Peace" (also at F&FL).
This piece at F&FL links to four articles on Finding God in Infertility. Pretty powerful stuff.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Since I quit work to stay home with the Goose, our budget has become much smaller - the same story as many families out there. My mother-in-law bought me a very nice sewing machine and helped me re-learn what my mother taught me so many years ago about sewing.
For my cousin's gift, I selected a pair of hand stitched baby leg warmers that I made, (that link will take you to my post on how to make them, you can see my Etsy shop here and all the styles I have available here) and I made some crinkly taggie squares.
I've linked to crinkly taggie squares before in a "Reading the Whole Internet" post, citing this post from Chasing Cheerios that references this post at Joy's Hope.
Pictured above, one square was camouflage print on one side with black on the other, and the other square was light blue on one side and a farm print on the other. (I have posted before on how I organize my ribbon scraps using wooden clothes pegs, and I have some tips on getting fabric and ribbon on the cheap in my baby burp cloth and taggie blanket post.)
Unfortunately, I'm drafting this post without the benefit of an internet connection, so I'm unable to pull those posts up and tell you exactly what I did differently (since I tend to be a tweaker!). I think I cut my squares about 6.5" square so that they'd be about 6" with seam allowances. Not sure if the posts recommend it or not, but when I sew something and turn it inside out, I trim the corners diagonally (cut off the "peak" - but don't cut too much!) so they lay better once turned inside out.
I also cut the crinkle piece (I used part of a wipes refill bag) a bit smaller and stitched it to the plain side of fabric, making sure that the writing faced whichever piece of fabric that seemed less likely to let it show through. I also topstiched (if that's the right word?) a tic-tac-toe design to help hold the pieces together. You could also do an X, or anything else you wanted.
Something that I am considering with the crinkly squares - I'm not sure how well the bag will hold up to washing and drying and, well, constant crinkling by a little one. I have read of people using items such as washed cereal bag liners (I think it was this post on Frugal Family Fun Blog?) where others weighed in and identified that they may be sprayed with a chemical preservative - not really something you want a little one gumming! I have asked a friend to save me wrappers/liners from organic food items (anybody else want to collect them for me? :>)) and am hoping that will be an appropriate alternative.
The wonderful thing about handmade gifts is that all the while I work on them, I pray for and think about the recipients. They certainly are one-of-a-kind, and since I'm a careful shopper, they permit me to give of my time and love instead of just money. (And that’s definitely a finer thing!
For more frugal ideas, visit Life as Mom and for more finer things, visit Amy!
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
I use it for oiling the waffle iron after it's already heated up (since I usually forget), they also work well to brush sauce on food when you're grilling - especially the long handled one, and you don't end up with bristles in your food like has happened to us with regular bristle brushes (blech).
The set I purchased has 3 brushes in varying lengths. The brush heads can be removed from the handle and both pieces put in the dishwasher. My brush heads have warped a bit but they still work great.
I did a quick search and found the set in a number of places. It's not the cheapest, but I have ordered from Miles Kimball before and I have been satisfied with their service. I also didn't click through to check shipping and handling on any of these, but I imagine that could be a stickler.
Other places I found that sell the brushes: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. (Whew.) Remember, I don't know anything about S&H at these sites, nor do I know anything about their policies. They just came up with cheap prices!
Another waffle tip - since I made a double batch of whole wheat waffles this morning with the intention of freezing the extras, I cooled the waffles on a cooling rack so the steam could escape. It helps the waffle retain a bit of crispness. We prefer to reheat them in the toaster so they really crunch back up!
For more kitchen tips, visit Tammy's Recipes.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Let's get down to the good stuff -
What a super gift idea - a homemade princess and the pea playset by Valerie at Frugal Family Fun Blog. I really dig that her hubs helped!
Valerie also has a very fun tiny pumpkin patch playset that looks too fun.
Very cute witches broom treat bag at Three Pumpkins Little. (Though what I really need is some inspiration for a big treat bag for Goose to carry . . . anybody seen anything out there? You would think there would be something at Tipnut's 250+ Halloween craft, food, and project ideas, but it has everything else except the kitchen sink.)
File this under "blown away by the amount of detail": shadow puppet theater tutorial at Giver's Log. I could see putting this together for my nieces except there would be one big open spot and that's it . . . doesn't mean I love them any less. :>)
Remember a while back I posted a link to a post where they used dresser drawers as bookshelves? Check out the dresser drawer ribbon holders at Blue Cricket Design. But more than anything, I'd love to see what the old dresser looks like behind the cloth now!
You have to click through to see more pictures, but this everything pocket bag tutorial is really neat.
I have a couple of pre-blog posts on making paper beads tucked into my favorites, but I don't think they're as involved as this one is. Pretty fascinating - and I like the inclusion of the metallic embroidery floss. (@ Go Make Something - great name!)
Fun freezer paper stenciled bean bags for learning to spell at Lil Blue Boo. I've not yet tried freezer paper stenciling but I've tucked away a few tutorials and it looks really cool.
These quick felt daisies on Whip Up are adorable! Now if I only knew how to do a french knot . . .
[Edit: Note to self - refresh Google Reader before hitting POST.] Amy at the Finer Things has a crazy comprehensive post on pumpkin recipes from around the blogsphere. Beings as I have a bunch of pumpkin and squash in my freezer, I'm ready!
Chocolate on My Cranium claims that these pumpkin muffins don't even need butter or jam. Might be a good thing for Goose and me to whip up and send in the tractor with Hubs now that he's back in the field.
I still need to do my final garden post - have I mentioned that I dug a WHEELBARROW full of carrots? We aren't big on sweet glazed stuff around here (unless it's actually dessert) so I'm very interested in this recipe for summer savory dusted oniony roasted carrots at Eating Simply. I need to add savory to my grocery list!
Not sure that I'm brave enough, but I thought this idea of using cauliflower as a pizza crust at the Chicken Coop is intriguing. (Does anybody else's cauliflower frequently turn out watery? What am I doing wrong?)
After yet another round of porcupine meatballs that took a very long time to cook, I stumble across this: porcupine meatballs with pre-cooked rice at Cooking During Stolen Moments. Oof, why didn't I think of that?
Another interesting meatball recipe in tomato chipotle sauce at The Wednesday Chef. Better yet - no browning first.
Now this is something I'd never have thought to do - use a pillow sham as a stroller blanket. But it's a great idea - and it obviously worked very well! (@ Inspire Company)
Another thing I'd never thought to do: cut toddler spaghetti with scissors. I tried it this weekend, and instead of wrestling around with a knife and fork forEVER and still not doing a good job, it was snip snip snip and the hungry toddler was appeased.
Chasing Cheerios had a neat idea on taking dictated letters from a little one but putting them on e-mail instead of writing letters. Have to admit, there's really something about getting an honest to goodness letter in the mail, though!
I was a bit surprised (though I shouldn't have been) that these 20 ways to improve your sewing ALL went over my head. Guess I need to improve a lot of other things before I can improve those. :>)
As I note in the comments, I'd love to get a grain mill to grind our own flour because I could just get it right out of our fields! Laura at Heavenly Homemakers is doing a series this week on her grain mill and grinding, you can find part one here.
PRAY & PONDER
Karen Edmisten writes about two things that help her when she feels adrift from her faith. "What am I doing differently?" and "The Lord will provide." I highly recommend you click through and see what she has to say.
Karen also has some great quotes by St. Teresa of Avila for her feast day, Oct. 15.
Oo-oo-ooh! What a resource Jessica at Shower of Roses has compiled! It's a list of feast day plans and celebrations categorized by month. GREAT stuff there!
Jessica also posted this prayer of mother with child. How beautiful! And how appropriate as I just learned today a dear cousin is expecting her second child. (Another belly to rub for good luck!)
Jennifer at Conversion Diary wrote a thought-provoking post about "so you went against God's will - now what?" Her take? It might not be quite as bad as you think. (My words, not hers.)
Hmm, I thought I posted this a while back but I sure can't find it now . . . Jennifer also has a post on why it makes sense to be obedient to my husband. Lots to ponder there - especially since she comes from a former feminist standpoint.
Stacey at Almost There posted don't knock the Rosary till you try it regarding her first experience praying the Rosary. Her reaction to it came as a surprise to her, but probably not to the rest of us. :>)
Dr. Ray Guarendi has a guest post at Faith & Family Life about raising difficult children.
I really enjoyed this post on Columbus's devotion to Mary at Faith & Family Live.
And last but not least, this one doesn't really fit into a category, but I really enjoyed it. Birds on the Wires by Jarbas Agnelli. He saw a picture of birds on power lines that looked like notes on a music staff and figured out the melody. It's lovely!
Yeah, I know that's a whole lotta links. Happy surfing - and let's hope next week isn't so full of stuff to see!
1. Where/How did you meet? We met at Wal-Mart. (Holy cow, I just realized I haven't yet published "About Me, Part 4"! Story coming soon!)
2. How long have you known each other? 7.5 years
3. How long after you met did you start dating? About five minutes.
4. How long did you date before you were engaged? About seven months.
5. How long was your engagement? About 10 months.
6. How long have you been married? 6 years.
7. What is your anniversary? October 18, St. Luke's feast day.
8. How many people came to your wedding reception? Not sure . . . 200?
9. What kind of cake did you serve? It had three layers, chocolate, white, and lemon, I think, and one smaller cake. They were frosted in a smooth white frosting and decorated with pinecones, cinnamon stick twigs, and a few small green icing lines to look like pine needles.
The groom's cake was made my my MIL. It said "The Farmer Takes a Wife" and had a plastic couple on it, a toy husky dog (Hubs had a husky named Frosty) a toy tractor and grain cart, and toy cows. Wonder what happened to those???
10. Where was your wedding? St. Luke's Catholic Church in our hometown. My mom just made the connection last night that we got married on St. Luke's feast day at St. Luke's.
11. What did you serve for your meal? Our wedding was at 2 o'clock, so when people got to the reception hall, we had popcorn for them to snack on. For the meal, we served salad, chicken in a champagne mushroom cream sauce, some kind of beef, I think, potatoes, green beans and rolls? It's blurry after the chicken.
12. How many people were in your wedding party? Three attendants each. My sister-in-law was my matron of honor, and Hubs's sisters were my bridesmaids. I asked his middle sister to be in our wedding before I met her, since she lived out of state. :>) One of Hubs's friends was his best man, another friend of his and my brother were groomsmen.
My four-year-old niece was flower girl. No ring bearer. Hubs's cousin was my personal attendant, and I must mention that the music for the ceremony was provided by my family - aunts, uncles, cousins. It was *amazing*.
13. Are you still friends with them all? Yes.
14. Did your spouse cry during the ceremony? No, but I cried most of the way down the aisle and all during our vows. My SIL handed me a kleenex, I blew my nose, and handed the kleenex to Hubs, and he stuck it in his pocket. My SIL said she knew at that point it was true love.
15. Most special moment of your wedding day? The whole thing was wonderful, from start to finish.
16. Any funny moments? Our "get-away ride" was a trailer pulled by my uncle's old tractor. We put canvas camp chairs on it (including a little one for my niece) and rode it to the reception hall. I was hoping my uncle would cruise main just once, but he went straight there.
17. Any big disasters? None that I remember.
18. Where did you go on your honeymoon? Colorado
19. How long were you gone? A week.
20. If you were to do your wedding over, what would you change? Better photographer and videographer - he was not good. I've heard he's working at Menards now.
21. What side of the bed do you sleep on?: The right side (when looking from the foot of the bed).
22. What size is your bed? Queen.
23. Who pays the bills? He earns 95% of the money, I write the checks.
24. What is your song? You Never Even Call Me By My Name by David Allen Coe?
25. What did you dance your first dance to? The One by Gary Allen.
26. Describe your wedding dress: Ivory, short sleeved, square neckline. My skirt was plain ivory organza, but edged in lace and pearls. Long train. My veil was exactly what I wanted (and cheap!) - it was plain tulle attached to a comb. My mom glued pearls around the edge, and I wore a small tiara type hair piece that had metal flowers and crystals and pearls on it, I think.
27. What kind of flowers did you have at your wedding? Yellow roses, and cala lilies with a few pieces of wheat. They were real and they weighed a TON. (I'm guessing it was the soaked floral foam.) Tucked in my bouquet was my grandmother's rosary that my mother carried on her wedding day. My bridesmaids carried silk bouquets of fall flowers - mums, sunflowers, etc. with yellow roses and wheat.
28. How old were you when you got married? We were both 27.
OK, a few other memories I can't help but share!
The priest who married us has been at my home parish for several years, and had confirmed me. My mom had talked to him about dates and whatnot, but when I finally got back there and was able to visit with him myself, I proposed to him! I told him that I knew he and my mom had been talking, and I got down on one knee and asked him to marry me . . . and [insert Hubs's name here]. He got a good laugh out of it!
Before our rehearsal, I had an afternoon tea for my attendants. I made shortbread cookies, scones, and a chocolate pound cake, I think. We had a huge assortment of teas, but it was in the mid-80s, so we drank iced chai tea. I gave them each a tea cup . . . and I don't remember what my actual gift to my attendants was, though! (Hubs gave his friends Bill O'Reilly books, and my brother a Patrick McManus book. The priest got a bottle of Crown Royal!)
Our rehearsal dinner was held at a restaurant at a nearby lake. The weather was so beautiful, and it was a delightful night.
Our wedding day dawned a bit early for me - my then-six-month-old niece was up about 4:30. She got a bottle and went back to sleep, but I wasn't so lucky! I think that set me on edge for the rest of the day . . . I felt like I was on display and just not myself. I can tell it watching the video, too.
When I went to get my hair fixed (by the same woman who fixed my cousin's hair for her wedding two months earlier - we had the same cake lady, too!), I was nervous! She had a little stuffed Aflac duck sitting on her counter, and I asked if I could hold it while she curled and tucked and did her thing. She pulled the sides of my hair back in a small braid and curled the rest. Back then, my hair was waist-length.
My wedding day was the first and only time I've worn fake eyelashes. :>)
I did a bunch of internet research and instead of rice or birdseed, we had our guests throw spices as we came out of the church. There are lots of different meanings attached to them!
One of my cousins caught my bouquet - and it was her wedding that we attended this summer on our vacation to Wyoming.
Hubs's family watched my four-year-old niece get beer from the keg like she was a pro - and they didn't say anything, either!
Paging through my wedding album, I'm reminded of how much I loved our decorations - pumpkins, gourds, Indian corn, shocks of wheat and corn and grasses. The centerpieces were large round vases with layers of different types of grain with a small votive tucked on top. That's why I love decorating our porch for fall.
That night, we had booked a room at a hotel about 25 miles away that was owned by the son of some friends of my parents. Although he wasn't invited to the wedding, somehow they figured it out and upgraded us to the jacuzzi suite - for FREE - and had a bottle of chilled champange waiting for us.
The next morning, it is custom in my family to have a breakfast, which one of my uncles hosted at his farm. Really, it's an opportunity for everyone to visit just a bit more - I have a *really* big family, and we don't get together that often anymore. My mom is one of 10 and my dad is one of 11. Hubs told me when we met that he has a really big family - his dad is one of 5 and his mom is one of 4. I just chuckled.
Side story - Hubs and I are practically related. :>) My aunt (married to my mom's brother) is an extended cousin of Hubs's cousin's wife. So, not really. But it is a funny story.
When we returned from our honeymoon, there had been some "elves" at work. Lining our front walk were . . . plastic forks stuck in the grass. We'd been forked! They were hidden around our house in some obvious and not-so-obvious places. Hubs's cousins had also brought back some of our decorations and decorated our porch with them. It was a wonderful welcome home!
OK, for those of you who have hung on through this entire post - you deserve a medal! I hope to be back later today with a Reading the Whole Internet post, and look for the fourth installment of "About Me" this week - even though I jumped ahead with this part. :>)
Saturday, October 17, 2009
It's crazy that I've been blogging for almost six months now and I haven't introduced two members of our household! My calico is named Camilla. She is 10(!) this month, and I've had her for just over eight years. I got her from the Humane Society in Colorado Springs - which is a bit funny because she's the only cat I've ever had that didn't come from a farm, and I actually *paid* a fee to get her - she is worth every bit of it, too.
When I was going to pick out a cat, I had a short list of names that I liked, one of which was Camilla. (Remember Gonzo's chicken from the Muppets?) I walked around and looked at all the cats, and Camilla - which was her actual name - stood up and pressed her little black nose against the glass, meowing. It was all over in that second. I looked at a few others, but she was it for me.
I brought her home, and she hid under my bed for about a week! Thankfully she came out to eat, use the litter box, and explore while I was gone. Turns out she's a very sweet but super fraidy cat, and I'm lucky to have her.
She didn't care so much for our move from Colorado Springs, as new things are not her favorite, and she also wasn't too sure about our move to the house where Hubs and I now live. Plus, a few months after we got here, HE moved IN. (We got married, you know!) I think her ability to cope was somewhat helped along by the fact that him being here means that there is meat in the house all the time. :>)
Fast forward to August of 2005. Hubs called me at work and asked me to pick up some milk replacer at the vet - he'd taken in some abandoned kittens. They were probably about 2.5-3 weeks old, two white and one tabby. We'd recently seen the movie "Napoleon Dynamite" and so the white ones were named Napoleon and Kip while the tabby was Pedro.
We bottle fed those fluff balls for about a month before taking them to the barn. We'd had some trial runs ("day care" we called it) but after Labor Day weekend, I tucked them into the barn for the night and went home. Back then, I went to the farm twice a day to feed cats, usually stopping on my way to work in the morning and then going back late afternoon/evening. That Tuesday morning, I went early so I could give the little ones bottles. By this point, we'd figured out that "Napoleon" was a girl, and so we shortened it to "Nappy".
When I got to the barn, the big cats met me but no little ones. I finally found Nappy's hiding spot and she was so scared she was trembling. The other two were gone, and I still don't know what happened, but I sure cried as I brought Nappy back home that morning. Much to Camilla's (and Hubs's - and my mother's) dismay, she's been a fixture in our family ever since.
Nappy has mitten paws or, well, thumbs. Hubs and I have shared many a joke about that over the few years we've had her. Camilla is the brains while Nappy is the opposable thumbs, that sort of thing. I also tease Hubs about being her mama cat since he's the one that agreed to take them in, and I say she's his cat. (He strongly disagrees.)
Perhaps the best, most amusing thing is the Goose's love for kitties and especially Nappy. I suppose it's due in part to Camilla's high-strung-ed-ness (did I just make up a word?) and Nappy's more easygoing personality that makes her not care so much about the baby goose rolling over her, thumping her, grabbing handfuls of fur, etc. In fact, Goose's first actual word that she actually connected with a thing was "Nap" - and I don't mean her daytime siestas.
In fact, Goose's beloved stuffed animals are a take off of Nappy. When she was just learning to talk, she referred to everything she loved as "Nappy". Her papa and I needed a way to distinguish the striped cat from the polar bear, so they became "Nappy Cat" and "Nappy Bear". None of which would make sense nor have come about without the thumbed kitty herself.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Of course, you can purchase them from me directly and save the Etsy fees, but this way I have the widgit on my sidebar for people who are just passing through. I've not listed them all there, since there is a fee for listing, I'm kind of testing the waters. You can see all my designs here.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
I smiled to myself when Katie noted that Real Food is easier to read than Nourishing Traditions because I'm still on the intro of that book. And it's been like a year since I started. I've learned quite a bit from what I've read, it's just really heavy stuff.
So, if you'd like to learn more about simple, healthy eating, click through and sign up to win!
PS - Confidential to Amy, if I don't win, and I ever end up needing to read it, can I borrow your copy? :>) Praying for you to need it first, though!
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
After my hubs digs potatoes, I sort them. All the good ones get set out to harden off per Laura at Heavenly Homemaker's directions. The ones that have some green on them and the ones that got cut by the spade are turned into mashed potatoes and frozen.
In the picture at left, you can see a lot of green on some of the potatoes. I make sure to cut all the green off as it is toxic, but the rest of the potato seems fine to eat. I also trim the cut edges, mostly because they got dirty and have sat for a few days by the time I get to them, so they're pretty icky. I also use any potatoes that have bad spots that I can cut away. Similar to tomatoes, I cut and sniff until I don't smell any "ick" - just potato and kind of a fresh dirt smell. :>)
I then slice up the potatoes and use my chop wizard to dice them. (I am not all that good with a knife, and this makes it go SO MUCH faster!) It is a bit noisy - it THUNKS as it cuts - so I sometimes take it in the laundry room to use while Goose is napping. I set up my ironing board at about pelvis high for the best leverage.
After dicing, I put the potatoes in a big pot with a couple of inches of water, cover it and bring it to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Most people cover the potatoes with water, and that's fine, but I tend to boil them over when I do that. This way, the potatoes kind of steam. Make sure you stir, though - they'll stick on the bottom.
After that, I pretty well follow the guidelines for the Pioneer Woman's twice baked potatoes. I use some butter, sour cream, buttermilk, cheese, and bacon bits. One time I stirred in a packet of ranch dressing mix and it was really, really good! So this time, I did a search for homemade ranch dressing, and my favorite one was this one from Recipe Source. I don't do exact measurements, and I don't put in the other stuff, just parsley flakes, dried onion, dill, onion and garlic powder, and instead of the onion and garlic salt, I up the powders and add some seasoned salt. I then stir and have my hubs give it a taste. Remember that you can't take spices out, so start out on the low side.
I then divide the potatoes out into freezer bags and mark them with the amount and what all I put in. Last year, half my potatoes had the yummy ranch and half did not, so sometimes I would thaw one bag of each and mix them together.
These freezer bags are especially handy for thawing since they are reasonably flat and not too thick. If I don't plan ahead well enough, I put them in hot water in the sink and it doesn't take too long for them to thaw. To cook, I like to put them in a casserole dish and bake them, especially if I'm baking the main dish and am already running the oven. I prefer to bake them uncovered so the top can get browned and kind of crusty. Yum!
I'll leave you with a picture of some of the big funky potatoes we managed to grow this year. They look like one big potato with several smaller potatoes attached. After I wash them, I cut off the small potato offshoots and slice them separately, then proceed as noted above.
For more kitchen tips, visit Tammy's Recipes!
Saturday, October 10, 2009
My trip to Lincoln was for the annual meeting of the Nebraska Friends of Midwives. It's always good to see everyone that I only get to see once a year and in my inbox, and there's lots of hugging and a few announcements by those who are expecting. (Maybe I should have been rubbing their bellies for good luck? :>))
Regardless, I managed to sock away plenty of links to share.
Don't think I'm giving up on my baby leg warmers but this is a great tutorial on how to turn a dollar store scarf into baby legs at Obsessively Stitching. Crazy cute!
This is quite a concept - Everyday Mom's self-binding receiving blankets. This could be a great way to showcase two super cute prints on flannel.
You Can Make This has a link to a neat tutorial on a no-sew knotted handkerchief bag - cheap and functional do well around here.
Homemade cleaner recipes fascinate me, but I seem to loose the recipes before I can try them out. (Not so with the vinegar and peroxide which I still love but I digress.) Littles Rule the Roost (heh on the name!) has a post on homemade cleaning wipes that I'd really like to try. (the theory is quite similar to my homemade wipes) Yes, I have read the posts on using rags instead of paper towels, but I get so grossed out when I clean bathrooms that I really prefer disposable stuff. Plus we burn our trash, so it's an entirely different environmental impact than going to a landfill. (Welcome to country living.)
I've only set foot in a Pottery Barn store once that I can remember(in New Orleans), and I did think they had some cute stuff. Pretty much all out of my price range, though. Enter knock-offs! These twine balls at V and Co are easy but still look great.
Mmkay, this has been at the top of my "to make NOW" list since she posted it, but I never seem to have everything in the house at once that I need (i.e. I used the last of the whole wheat flour on waffles tonight). And you have to start it the night before you'll bake it - planning ahead isn't always my strongest suit. Regardless, I WILL be making this multigrain sourdough bread from Sarah's Musings. Can't wait to see if I can get it to turn out!
I don't think it's a secret that I get a huge kick out of Alton Brown of the Food Network. I have his baking book, and his cooking book might make a nice Christmas present (or this one cough*cough) - anyway, here's his recipe for waffles. Of course, when I made waffles for the freezer earlier today, I forgot that I had this bookmarked. So. I'll try them next time. :>)
Passionate Homemaking has a great lineup of recipes for homemade pizza. [and it's another of those blogs that I keep clicking onto and finding great stuff . . . which means it won't be long until I break down and subscribe. :>)]
This is a very interesting sounding recipe for rice lasagna at Three Ladies and a Dad.
Donna at Mom's Frugal has me chewing on my arm just looking at pictures of the chocolate angel food cake. I didn't even know there was such a creature, but it sure sounds good, doesn't it??
This blog name reminds me of our farm: Chickens in the Road. :>) I really like this recipe for dry cream soup mix though I'm still pretty cautious on dry milk powder. I just don't think that it's that good for you. (But is it better than all the preservatives in the canned cream soup? I dunno.)
Goose is quite a ways from getting online, even supervised. Danielle Bean, though, is a mother of 8, so she knows of what she speaks when she discusses one way of supervising kids' online time.
Here's a great post on keeping toddlers busy while homeschooling at the Homeschool Classroom that would also be great for, you know, keeping toddlers busy in general.
I love reading blogs, but when I actually know the person, it's all the more fun, isn't it? Paula, mother of 7 and fellow Nebraskan, blogs at Modern Motherhood, Vintage Values. My favorite posts so far include sibling rivalry and (imagine this) potty training. Did I mention that she homeschools, too?
My poor house plants. I used to really have a green thumb with them. Then I got cats that eat plants and had a baby that probably would have tried to eat them. The plants got relegated to the basement under a fluorescent light, and they're slowly dropping, one by one. For the remaining die-hards, here are some houseplant care tips at Tipnut.
Happy surfing! Hope everyone is having a good weekend -
500 Terrific Ideas for Organizing Everything - Rachel
Dressing Up the Home in Wartime (vintage) - Wesdelchic07
Christmas Baby Legwarmers - LeeAnn
How to Clean Practically Anything - Elaine R
Favorite Recipes from House and Garden - Heather
I have e-mailed or posted a comment for each of you; once I get your mailing info, I'll get these sent out.
Who's ready for spring to get here so we can do this again?!? :>)
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Those of you who have been with me for a while may remember that my fourth post was participating in her Spring Giveaway Carnival. I enjoyed it so much that when I hit my 100th post, I really went crazy with a giveaway!
And now it's time for the Fall Giveaway Carnival. Whooo! I actually had such a stash of things squirreled away from my 100th post giveaway, I'll be able to just coast on that for a while. So, here's what's up for grabs this time!
A pair of any Christmas baby leg warmers. You can see all the styles that I have available here and the Christmas ones start on page 4. (Why yes, they ARE available for purchase! You can e-mail me at nettacow at gmail dot com - remove spaces - for info. They are $8 per pair, with discounts for multiple pairs, plus exact shipping. You can also visit my post on how to make homemade baby leg warmers.
How to Clean Practically Anything, from the Editors of Consumer Reports. On the back: "This completely revised fourth edition of How to Clean Practically Anything tells you the most efficient, cost-effective, and practical ways to clean all kinds of household and personal items. Covering cleaning appliances and products from dishwashers, washing machines, and vacuums to household cleansers, paper towels, paint removers, upholstery cleaners, and laundry detergents, it includes:
500 Terrific Ideas for Organizing Everything by Sheree Bykofsky. On the back: This book will tell you how to:
Caveat - I read through this book and some of the tips are a bit dated since it was written in 1992. I raised my eyebrows that there are several companies and specific products mentioned, but the author notes in the acknowledgements that nobody paid to be included nor were they promised mention or endorsement. So take it for what it's worth.
Have I mentioned that I'm a sucker for cookbooks? It's kind of embarassing, really, because I have a lot, and I've just scratched the surface in trying the recipes in them. So, I thought I'd share . . . but if you win this, you need to let me know what you try and like! :>)
Favorite Recipes from House and Garden, copyright 1958. There is a lot of good info in here, too!
And, of interesting to probably no one else but me, on the very first page - even before the title page - is a small drawing of The Sower, which is the statue on top of the Nebraska State Capitol.
OK, so your choices are Christmas legwarmers, the cleaning book, the organizing book, the cookbook, or the vintage decorating book.
So, how do you win??? First, please have a US or Canadian shipping address. Then check out the categories in my sidebar and tell me which of them is your favorite or that you'd like to see more posts in. It's that easy! To make things a bit more complicated, though, I'll let you CHOOSE what you'd like to win - put your first and second choices in your comment. I'll number your comments and use Random.org to pick numbers. The first number will get their first choice. The second number will get their first choice if it's still available; if not, they'll get their second choice - and so on.
Want more entries? Do one of the following and leave an additional comment or comments:
* blog about this giveaway (please include the link)
* tweet it if you're on Twitter (please include the link)
* share this on Facebook (honor system since I wouldn't be able to see it)
* subscribe to me in a reader or via e-mail or follow me from your blogger profile. If you already do one of these things, then leave a comment telling me that you do.
It's your choice as to whether you list the same thing(s) that you want or change them up in subsequent entries . . . but what you have listed in the comment number comes up is what I'll go by to award the goodies.
The giveaway will end Friday, October 9 at midnight central time. Winners will be notified via e-mail and I'll post it, too, so you can see who the lucky people are.
Please PLEASE make sure there is a way for me to contact you, either via your blog, or leave an e-mail address (you can use the cryptic form of yourname at domain dot com if you wish), and please indicate what you want - up to two things, and leave separate comments for the additional entries. If you have a question about something that I've made too complicated or would like a bit more info on any of the prizes, please feel free to e-mail me at the address in my sidebar. If a winner doesn't claim their prize within three days, I'll award the prize to someone else.
Thanks for participating - and head over to Laura's to see what everyone else is giving away starting Monday morning!