Friday, December 31, 2010

It's always fun to get fabric in the mail

I have this obsession with Munki Munki fabric from Heather Ross.  I've been hoarding it in my stash for years.  But I ordered some scraps off Etsy for some munki prints that you can't find in whole yardage.  They arrived yesterday and I've been petting them.  My plan is mug rugs for myself and then mug rugs and applique baby clothes for Quilty Bits.

And just for fun, here is my sweet Molly B who learned to clap today.  It's just gonna be her, mommy, and daddy tonight for the New Year. We're gonna have a huge party with chocolate chip cookies and Arbor Mist Raspberry Sparkle .  Is it me or does "Raspberry Sparkle" sound like something a drunk stage mom covered in Tammy Faye-esque makeup would say as she pushed her kid out onto the stage?

My other babies are staying with their dad until tomorrow.  Em is getting herself a Felicity doll at the American Girl Store today with her dad.  She claims it's the ONLY American girl that looks just like her, and they are putting Felicity in the dungeon or something after this season and you will never be able to buy her AGAIN!  :) 
 
Happy New Year!!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Weepies

I love The Weepies and I was shopping for music on iTunes and just realized they had a new album this year. Such happy songs! I can't pick a favorite, so I put three up here so I can find them later. They make me think of how I feel about my hubby. Sometimes I have to catch my breath and think how lucky I was he found me.

When You Go Away

Be My Thrill

Be My Honeypie

Quilty Bits

I mentioned yesterday that my mom and I are going to do craft fairs and whatnot together. We decided to create a blog and an Etsy store too....known as Quilty Bits.We just set it all up this morning and haven't personalized anything yet.  The Quilty Bits name will point you directly to the Etsy store sometime today, I think. 

I got the idea at 4 am this morning for Quilty Bits and was very surprised the names had not been taken yet.  We had come up with another name but wanted it to be something more than just quilting.  My mom informed me that she is the "quilting" and I'm the "bits."  Whatever mama, lol. And it will be a family affair with my husband in on it too making some amazing earrings I can't wait to show off.

I told my husband I'm going to make him wear a t-shirt to all the craft fairs that says "Check Out My Quilty Bits." :D

Christmas and other stuff

The kids are with the ex for the week visiting his family.  They have recently announced they see huge positives in having divorced parents -- the fact that Santa visits two houses.  [Insert huge eye roll from me] Just lovely.  My children.  Always seeing the glass half full. 

I miss them terribly, but the baby has a horrible bout of bronchitis (as does my poor hubby who stayed home today).  So I'm glad they are off having fun and not stuck with mama and the sick baby.  The pediatrician has her on round the clock dosing of Benadryl, so I have certainly caught up on my lack of sleep.   

For Christmas my wonderfully sweet hubby gave me this lovely Vera Bradley bag.  It's huge and has a zipper, which is what you need in a purse/diaper bag all in one.  I love it!  It holds everything including cloth diapers and a sling all in one, and I can zip it closed so it doesn't dump everything the minute I set it down and it falls over. 
He also got me a very nice hard wallet that looks like this one pictured, but it doesn't have that strap.  With the amount of cards I have to carry from insurance cards to business cards and everything else for the kids, I need a HUGE wallet, lol.  This one seems to be doing the trick.

My quilting mama wants to do craft fairs and I'm going to do them with her.  She wants us to make mug rug sets and include mugs with them.  Well...I found the deal of the day at Walmart.  They are getting rid of Christmas stuff and they have a package of 1 dozen porcelain mugs with golden rims for $2.40.  I bought the last 2 boxes they had and was very proud of my 20 cents/mug deal.  They even have a lot of toys 50% off, if you need anything. Since it was just the 3 of us, hubby, the baby and I played in the toys and Xmas stuff at Walmart last night for about an hour.

Since I've had a sick baby who is only interested in nursing 24 hours a day, I've been reading and watching movies.  I rented Devil on Dish last night.  I love M. Night Shyamalan movies because they are so Hitchcockian and this one I enjoyed to the last minute.  Though, I have a very analytical mind and constantly try to guess the ending of everything.  It's like some weird OCD thing which I think stems from my reading way too many books.  

In the beginning of the movie after I got a look at all 5 characters, I guessed correctly who the devil was but began doubting myself until the very end.  The story involves 5 strangers in an elevator and as events unfold, the story reveals that one of them is the Devil and will end up killing them all before stealing them away to hell.  With five people in a tiny room, you are still guessing until the very end who did it. And apparently, I just read, this is the first chapter in a series called The Night Chronicles. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Mug Rugs

We have not had a lot of moolah since I quit my job to stay home with the baby.  I've made it work by living very frugally, but we're having a homemade Christmas this year.  My mom is a quilter and asked for me to make mug rugs for her and my dad.  I had no idea what they were, but apparently it's a cool new fad, and I have to say they are so much fun!  So here are my mom's and dad's mug rugs. They're like mini quilts.  I followed no rules with these things, I just made them how I saw fit.  I read a few things on some blogs that said don't make them bigger than 5 x 8, so that's what I aimed for.  I think my mom's might be a tiny bit bigger, but oh well.

My dad is an aerospace engineer, he writes the software for some missiles.  He's kind of like a rocket scientist, lol.  So I tried to think of something sorta manly and related to what he loves, so this is what I came up with.  These fabrics were in my stash and are probably 7 or 8 years old, but they were perfect. I love how the sun came out.  Well, I love how the whole thing came out. I found this batik that I thought was perfect for the starry sky, then I appliqued the sun and the rocket ship.  My hubby really liked it, so hopefully my dad will too. 

Here is my mom's mug rug.  This is  a set of fabrics I got from her.  It actually came from leftovers from a quilt she made my daughter.  I tried to make it rather whimsy with weird-sized strips.  I hope she likes it.  I don't like it as much as my dad's, but I'm probably just too critical on myself, lol. 

I'm including a mug in each of their gifts to go with their mug rug.

And the weird tutorial I was going to have is this waldorf doll hat.  I've made these before for swaps, but this time it just seemed kinda creepy -- a doll head on my baby's head just didn't seem..um normal. I  don't know why.  I need to write it up, but for now, here is a creepy picture of the finished product.  My baby refuses to keep it on her head long enough for even a picture. 





Who doesn't love a good alien invasion?

Oh my wow, after reading these two novels by Scott Sigler, I swear every time I have so much as a mosquito bite or a zit, I get a little creeped out and wonder if it's really just an innocent skin problem. I recently finished the second novel in this two part series about alien invasion.  It's one part sci-fi and one part horror. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The first novel, Infected starts off with people getting these weird blue triangles on their bodies that screw with your mind and make you afraid of authority and then kill your whole damn family in the most violent way ever.  One guy cuts his legs off with a hatchet.  If you somehow make it past the initial crazy phase, you end up like Perry Dawsey, where the blue triangles turn into EYES!!  If I recall, because it's been awhile since I read book #1, I think he has 7 of them, on his back, neck, arms, and, my favorite, his penis.  Not only are they eyes, but they communicate telepathically with you to get to other people with the blue triangles and to get to this place out in the middle of nowhere to build something spectacular to create a wormhole of sorts to bring the aliens here.  After finding another infected person in his apartment building, he figures out that the "eyes" will hatch out of you and become hatchlings.  There is also CDC and FBI people trying to contain this outbreak of sorts before it becomes public.  It's a fast paced thrilled that you don't want to put down.

Part 2 of this horror story is Contagious.  It continues the story after the military has stopped the first wormhole from opening.  They have now recruited Perry Dawsey because he can "hear" the communication between the hatchlings and something else to figure out where more of these gates are being built by these hatchlings.  In this book, I enjoyed that it gave some back story into the how to of the blue triangles and hatchlings, etc.  Basically, there is a very complex satellite, of sorts, that is creating these spores to infect people, but it's smart and can try other methods to be successful.  So...since the infection of people with hatchlings isn't working out too well and Dawsey can "hear" them and figure out where the gates are being built, this satellite thing changes things up and decides to create soldiers to protect the hatchlings.  In doing so, it creates a "general" out of a 6 year old girl to control all the hatchlings and soldiers.  The satellite communicates with her convincing her the aliens are angels to be loved...until she becomes a bit too big for her britches and tells the satellite to take a flying leap. 

While I loved the flow of the novel, this was my one bone to pick.  Maybe it's because I have a 6 year old myself, and he happens to not be a sociopath, but I found Chelsea, the 6 year old sociopathic general of the "army of apocalypse" to be somewhat unbelievable.  She had no concept of right or wrong.  Now I could see how a 3 or 4 year old child could be like that, but a 6 year old? We're talking 1st graders.  My 6 year old is probably too honest, but children his age know right and wrong and understand you don't torture people into submission.  I just find it hard to believe this girl was turned into an alien soldier and suddenly lost all concepts of right and wrong.  She still could crave ice cream and McDonalds, but beating her mother or killing a 9 year old were concepts she thought were fine and dandy.

Other than this one issue, it's a great story.  It switches back and forth between the satellite's plans, the FBI/CDC chasing the "infection," and the Chelsea army of crazies.  If you love sci fi and thrillers, this is a great two part series to read.  It will scare the crap out of you.  Like I said, I've found myself checking out bumps I find on my body a little more closely lately.

Monday, December 20, 2010

I hate exes...venting

I consider this blog like a diary of sorts...so this is one of my annoying venting blogposts...feel free to move along and avoid it.  And...I'll be adding a creepy tutorial in the next day or so. 

Hubby's ex got some mail here on Friday...and no she has never lived here, we moved here 6 months ago.  It was a collection notice for her freaking macy's visa card.  Hubby and I have a little freak out when he comes home from work and he calls her to see why this is being sent to us.  Well...then...the proverbial sh*t hits the fan.  She doesn't know why it came here but then throws the "oh by the way...I'm filing bankruptcy" line at him.  What in the holy hell is this?!?  Her name is still on hubby's car loan, we were paying it off next month with the tax return and figured who needs to refinance to get her off it when it's going to be gone so fast?  Apparently we thought wrong.  And to make matters worse, hubby's divorce attorney way back when thought it was best if we gave her til April 2011 to get his name off the mortgage.  Is it April 2011 yet?  Um...that would be a nope...so hubby is still on the freakin' mortgage.  Let's just say as I'm listening to hubby's end of the convo as he says "you're what? you're filing bankruptcy?" my stomach fell onto the floor and expletives start running out of my mouth.  She thought it was (and I quote from her fit of rage) "none of [his] f*cking business."  First of all, how is this NOT his business? His name is on the damn loans, you moron.  She "claims" she had no idea how to get ahold of him, yet was quite capable of emailing him just a couple months ago and has spoken to his mother just a couple weeks ago in public. 

I was quite proud of hubby.  He was so calm and even cordial the entire time while I could hear her screaming and yelling at him. 

So tomorrow hubby is meeting with a lawyer at his office to see how badly this can damage his financial career.  And I won't even terrorize you with the crap my ex is doing.  I swear that man cannot NOT lie to me -- ever.  It truly amazes me.  I have to wonder if he is really cunning or an inept idiot.  I'm thinking the latter.  I swear the two of them really should meet, it's like a match made in hell or something.  A liar and a cheater who both spend money like water.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Baby Turkey Hat


In the spirit of baby hats, I was looking for an idea I had to see if anyone else had attempted.  However, I discovered this one in the process and had to share.  I wish I had found this before Thanksgiving, but alas, it's good for Christmas too, right?  It's from a blog called goingcrafty.com.  Is it not the cutest?  She has the pattern available for PDF download too.  I love it!!

And in looking at her blog, I noticed this interesting patch of a squirrel on fire, which was from This American Life in relation to a story on TAL.  So I had to go check it out.  I'm currently listening to the story as I type this.  If you want to listen, here is the direct link.  

Off to construct my baby hat for a tutorial.  Keep your fingers crossed...baby is sleeping in her crib and I go sew.  You have no idea what a feat this is for any of my children.  We are usually co-sleepers and a lot of times she sleeps attached at the boob in the recliner, but I've been gradually getting her to the crib because she HATES sleeping next to me in the bed.  I think she's a very light sleeper and daddy and mommy bother her too much.  So far, we are up to 4 hours alone in the crib next to the bed.  My secret is an electric blanket to warm up her crib before I put her in it.  It seems to work like a charm. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Yippee! Done with school

I'm officially done with school for the semester.  I am fairly certain I got As in both classes.  Now I have time to sew for an entire month (bearing the baby let's me).  I should have a new hat tutorial in the next couple days.  Baby, it's cold outside here, so Mollyball is getting some new hats.  And hopefully a fairy-eared waldorf doll for Xmas. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

This is ridiculous...

I somehow escaped going to a Southern Baptist high school with my brain still intact.  It wasn't but just 2 or 3 years after that, that I finally admitted to the world my atheistic views.  My old high school/church is in the news again for coming up with this brilliant idea.  Grinch Alert  Can you imagine?  How terrible and un-American of people to say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" to exclude the other religions at this time of year.  How stupid of them to think other religions have holidays at this time of year too. 

P.S.  I wrote this post yesterday and forgot to post it and then last night we were accosted by a baptist church youth group at this delicious Chinese restaurant where we had dinner, literally tossing tracts on our table.  I dared my husband to inform them we were a table full of freethinkers/atheists, but he didn't want to scare them.  Instead he asked if jesus was REALLY the reason for the season.  They proudly proclaimed yes.  And this is my biggest problem with this religious cult -- they don't know their own religious history. 

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Another year of....Elf Yourself!

I find this hilarious every year to torture my children and turn them into the Elf Yourself crew at OfficeMax.  It's my favorite part of the holidays.  Torture your kids too here.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Christmas Pattern Sale - $5 Bucks!!


We're having a Christmas Sewing Pattern Sale!! Lowest prices of the season!! All my patterns will be $5.00 this month and if you purchase the patterns together there is an even bigger discount.  This includes the ever popular Diva Mommy Tote, the TipToe Fairy Tote, and the Inside Out Bag.  The sale price will show up in the shopping cart. 

Here is a link the patterns: Sewing Pattern Sale!

Check out these adorable stockings from vintage sewing pattern paper.  I was at the library today reading through Country Living, and they had this adorable idea.  I just love it!  You sew them to clear vinyl and make stockings.  I'm always looking for a way to incorporate sewing in my home. I found the link online for the directions ~ here

I'm finishing up my semester of classes this week so I'll be back with more tutorials next week.  Sew on! 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Popsicles

It was my ex's weekend for the older kidlets, so guess what I got for my wedding anniversary weekend? Two pukey kidlets.  My poor babies needed mommy, and no one called to let me know they were sick until 5 minutes before they showed up.  Not to mention he unexpectedly brought his girlfriend who had to pee in my freaking house.  And it was one of the few weekends when my house was a disaster.  The bathroom was dirty, the floors were dirty, the kitchen was a disaster because the pipes under the sink are leaking and every cleaning product is piled up on the counter because my landlord always has some disaster that precludes her from calling someone to come fix stuff (don't get me started...it's amazing how many people in her family need emergency brain surgery or have broken hips...and no, I'm not kidding).  Not to mention the baby had thrown her little puffs all over the floor.  Just great...

Now, I just cleaned everyone up for the millionth time tonight and can't sleep, so blogging it is.  After they got home, I ran up to wallyworld to pick up popsicles and clear soda.  They puked those up too.  My poor little things. I hope they are well for Thanksgiving as they are so looking forward to hanging out with their cousins. 

Anyway, everyone was eating popsicles and Little Miss I'm-so-NOT-a-baby (aka Mollyball) wanted in on the action, so I let her have a few sucks of a cherry popsicle.  Daddy was holding her while I took pictures of her first few tastes.  It was so adorable, I had to share!

As an aside, notice the Daddy Muggle t-shirt?  We are not sure how to go see the new movie. It's really long, so I don't think we can take her and hope she sleeps and nurses through.  And Mollyball is not into either grandma at the moment, nor anyone but her immediate family, so I don't think babysitting will work.  Separation anxiety has settled in.  She doesn't even like strangers looking at her when we're out and about, bursts right into tears when little ol' grannies come coo over her.  I know hubby is going to be super disappointed that we are probably going to have to wait til it comes out on DVD.  Oh well...watching babies suck on popsicles is so much better than snake-faced Voldemort.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Amazing Garlic Cheddar Chicken Breasts

Let's just say I have never been a fan of chicken breasts.  I have pretty much avoided them like the plague because they always tasted like cardboard to me.  However, since I cook all the time I needed some variety for my family.  I've been trying to get away from beef, so I started looking for new recipes.  Well, I found one that comes out so deliciously moist, it's unbelievable!  And don't you just love garlic? I can't get enough of it, lol.  Everyone cleans their plate on garlic cheddar chicken night, and hubby is usually in the fridge eating any leftovers before bedtime  It's so easy to make -- just throw it in the oven and come back in 40 minutes and it's perfect every time.  I found it on some recipe website, but I made it a bit more healthier. 

GARLIC CHEDDAR CHICKEN BREASTS

Ingredients
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tbs garlic powder
1 tsp seasoning salt
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1 tbs minced garlic
1 cup bread crumbs or cracker crumbs
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
4-6 chicken breasts

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a baking pan or casserole dish for chicken. Mix one bowl of olive oil, 1 tbs garlic powder, seasoning salt and minced garlic.  Mix another bowl of bread crumbs (I always use crackers), 1 tbs garlic powder, parmesan cheese, and 2/3 of the cheddar cheese. Dip thawed chicken into olive oil mixture then bread crumb mixture and place evenly into pan.  After you've coated all the chicken, then take the leftovers from both bowls and drizzle over all the chicken.  Five minutes before you take the chicken out, sprinkle the rest of the cheese onto the chicken.  Bake for 40-45 minutes.  Let cool for 3-5 minutes before serving. 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Magical stories

I had an epiphany about myself the other day.  I have discovered something about my reading choices.  To me, reading is like a super soft warm blanket that I wrap around myself on a cold snowy night (if we had those here in Texas) and snuggle in deep.  I love stories with a hint of magic.  I don't like stories that are about every day painful lives.  I want something equivocal to a fairy tale, per se.  I love to escape into a book of fantasy that I could only dream of happening in real life, not some horrible Jodi Picoult Lifetime movie yuck.  Ok, I know I'm beating a dead horse when it comes to Handle with Care, but geez I hate that book.  I feel the need to purge it from my system, don't ask me why, lol.

This is probably why I've enjoyed Brunonia Barry's two novels.  The newest one my husband got for my birthday is The Map of True Places.  I could not put it down, even at the detriment of my chapters upon chapters of reading for school.  It is a bit of a fairytale wrapped into a story.  This woman is a successful psychologist who has to go back home to care for her ailing father.  Her mother had committed suicide when she was just a girl, and she has a lot of issues.  She was raised by her father and his gay lover.  Barry likes to set her stories in New England, near Salem, MA, and she's does a wonderful job of making it so colorful and believable with a hint of magic thrown in.  It's a bit of a mystery with romance and life-changing choices thrown in.  I love to guess endings, but the twist at the end of this novel I definitely did not see coming. 

The Lace Reader is Brunonia Barry's first novel, and some characters and tiny details from this novel are thrown in her second one up above.  It has the same wonderful New England setting.  It's about a woman, Towner Whitney, who ran away from Massachusetts and went all the way to the west coast.  Her mother is a nut who lives out on Yellow Dog island and out there runs a shelter for abused women and their children.  Towner must come home when her dear aunt, who helped raise her, goes missing and is later found dead.  Her aunt was a famous lace reader and ran a wonderful little tea room.  Through the story, she comes to terms with a lot of things from her past.  It has a similar magical feel as the other novel and has an interesting mystery that leaves you guessing, plus some romance thrown in. 

Both novels are intriguing and hard to put down.  I loved them and can't wait for her next story to come out.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Guess what!

Oh my gosh, remember just a few short days ago I was complaining about the paper from hell? I got my grade today...95!!  I have never worked so hard on a paper in my life.  Usually I whip them out and know I'll get an A, but with this one, I had no idea if it would make the grade. Yay!!  I'm debating on no longer participating in the class because I have enough points to get an A for the semester.  Would you keep participating if you knew you'd get an A anyway? By participating I mean writing 2-3 posts per week related to the weekly chapter reading and then taking the final.  I've had conflicting opinions from family members on if I should or shouldn't. 

On another note of guess what...Saturday is my anniversary.  I think we've decided to go to a hibachi grill, we both love hibachi and haven't been in forever.  It's hard to believe we each had a completely different life just a couple years ago.  It feels like he's been my partner in crime forever.  I can't wait til it's been 10..20..30 years.  I wished for him for a very long time and wondered if he was out there, and I feel so lucky to have found such a wonderful husband and father.  I hope my surprise for him shows up in the mail before Saturday. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Working on next tutorial...

Hubby is on vacation this week, so we are hanging out with just the baby during the day while the other kidlets are in school.  It feels like forever since the baby was born, we basically hit the ground running and haven't had time to stop.  We had a baby...I got a horrible infection...he switched jobs...we moved...he had to study his ass off for all his licensing tests while I had a newborn, unpacked, and got everything done for the move, then got kids ready for new school...we are finally at a spot where we can take a breather and just spend time together, just the two of us.  One of my favorite times is when we're alone and I sit in the recliner in our bedroom and nurse the baby to sleep and he lays on the bed near me and we just talk and giggle about all kinds of things. 

He just interviewed the day before his vacation to move to a new position in his office with a chance at higher pay, but he will also have to take a new licensing test and work lots of overtime to make his goals.  It's customary to move around at his work into different jobs, most people move on after 6 months from this first position he has.  We're both nervous and know it's gonna be some work on his part.  He finds out a week from Monday if he gets it.  Cross your fingers!!

Anyway, new tutorials I'm working on are something I've seen people searching for in the blog stats....fairy and elf waldorf dolls!  I'm making the baby a walforf doll for Xmas, so I'm going to turn the fairy parts into a tutorial.  Hand-dyed hair in funky colors, pointy ears, and petal dresses.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

And we're reading again...


Since I finished my paper, I was able to breathe a big sigh of relief and get back to my love of reading.  I felt suffocated by that Jodi Picoult book.  It was one of those books that I felt dread reading the entire time and when I read a book like that, as soon as it's over, I have to immediately read something else.  It drove me crazy because I couldn't, instead I had to delve even further into the book and pull out quotes and paraphrase passages and just completely immerse myself into it.  It's literally sitting in the fireplace right now, waiting for some prime cold weather to light it up and have a fire.  I missed sharing about books I've enjoyed reading.  On with the show...

The first novel is a story by Curtis Sittenfeld, whom I assumed was a boy until I looked at the book jacket and realized she was a girl.  This is a fictional account of the George W Bush family and his rise to presidency written from the perspective of his wife.  I am not sure how close to the truth it is, as someone from Texas, who has read quite a bit about the Bush family, I assume it is fairly close as a lot of things in the novel were true. I really enjoyed it.  I wasn't sure if I would, as I found this book sitting in a $5 bin at Walgreens, but it made me want to find more from Curtis Sittenfeld.  I loved how she wrote it through the eyes of the "Laura Bush" character.  It made you realize she certainly wasn't all she was portrayed to be, and it made you soften a bit toward George W.  Politically, I tend to lean republican (which drives my diedhard liberal husband crazy), but I did not like the Bush administration.  However, this book softened my views of them as people.  It's a wonderful story, and a definite page turner. I couldn't put it down.

I just finished this novel yesterday.  I thought it was wonderfully appropriate for the season.  It was very short, only 300 something pages, but I wanted it to go on and on.  It's by Amy Foster, who is a songwriter, and it was her first novel.  I am an atheist by nature, but I love pagan things, just can't get my head around a goddess.  The story is set in this wonderful little town called Avening.  It makes you want to live there.  The beginning of the story is about Autumn Avening, who is some what of a witch, though she hates that word, and she must choose her replacement because she has been called to leave.  You can just imagine her home and little store.  She is given a list of women to consider, and their stories are fascinating -- that was the part I would have loved to have delved further into.  Their stories were just enough to make you beg for more.  I wanted the tiny little plot lines of their lives to keep going, especially the woman who had breast cancer and was dying but was given the option to go some place else...very interesting....or the girl who could astral project.  She wrapped the story up nicely with truths about Autumn you suspected but ended up being much deeper than you realized, but I felt there was so much more to tell about each of the women in the story, and I'm still craving it. 

I've got a week to finish up 2 more novels from the library, The Red Queen and The Calligrapher's Daughter, historical fiction and asian fiction.  I read all of Phillipa Gregory's novels as I love Tudor historical fiction, so I'm excited to read The Red Queen as I finished up The White Queen several months ago. 

Monday, November 08, 2010

Recipe Scrapbook

In order for me to be a stay-at-home mommy, we don't each out much, and I cook everyday.  Having to cook all the time, I've acquired quite a few tried and true delicious recipes along with some personal family recipes .  Also being a SAHM, we need to do Xmas on the cheap, so I plan on making a lot of gifts this year.  I'm going to make my mom, his mom, and possibly my SIL (she doens't cook, so I'm not sure how helpful this would be to her) a recipe scrapbook.  I went looking online to see ways other people did it, and I found the coolest site, complete with all kinds of page examples with recipes.  Check it out here. 

What do you think about my making another recipe scrapbook to offer up here on my blog?  I'm just thinking  that would be something I would love and cherish to get myself so I'm sure other mothers would like it too. 

In a related thing, I found the coolest thing on eBay -- old vintage handwritten recipes.  I got a huge stack of them on their way right now.  I can't wait to try the recipes.  I'm hoping to incorporate some of them into my scrapbook designs for my own recipes.

Shopping Cart Cover / Highchair Cover Tutorial

I finally got the computer away from my husband the flight simulator addict and wrote up the shopping cart cover tutorial.  I had all the pictures done by last weekend, but we all know I had the paper from hell and a test for the same class due this past week.

It's complete, and you don't need a pattern!  Click on this link or click the picture.  It's a PDF document you can save to your computer. It's fairly straightforward with lots of pictures and easy even for a beginner. 

Everyone raise your hand if you hate patterns.  Ah yes...you...and you...and you...  I knew I wasn't the only one. ;)

All I ask is you don't use it for commercial use, and if you want to repost it, please ask my permission first.  Thanks guys!!

Friday, November 05, 2010

Whew!

I just turned in the hardest paper I've written in my life.   Ugh, ugh, ugh!  It was due this weekend, and I've been working on it for a month.  It had to be around 10 pages long and it was based in sociological theory and on one of the most annoying books I've ever read -- Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult.  If you love Lifetime movies, then she's you're kind of gal.  She, however, is not for me.  I inhale books by the tons, but I hated every minute of that book.  I can finish a huge novel in about 1 day -- this sucker took me 2 weeks of forcing myself to read it, and then the ending sucked.  Crappy crappy ending.  I'm debating on torching it in the fireplace this weekend I hated it so much.

Anyway, I have an exam to take tomorrow, and then this weekend, I will post my shopping cart cover tutorial -- complete with pics....The best part - NO PATTERN!! I hate patterns.  I have decided I need to create an I hate sewing patterns blog specifically for sewing without patterns. 

Wow, I feel like I can breathe again.  I have been so busy from halloween costumes to tests to that stupid paper.  I'm almost done with the semester and can get back to reading fiction I like and sewing and crafting.  Now I'm just going to worry about my grade.  Paper grading is so subjective, I hate that part. 

Next project after the shopping cart tutorial - holiday wreaths made with polar fleece.  Woohoo!

I think I'm delirious, it's 4:30 AM and I'm so relieved to be done with that damn paper.  Off to bed, gotta get up in 1 1/2 hours to make hubby's lunch. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Working on a shopping cart cover tutorial

Sinus infection = yuck.  I have a horrible sinus infection, probably from taking Mollyball to the dang pediatrician for a well baby visit a few days ago.  I'm hoping I can skip a doctor visit and I get well fast as I have too much to do.  A paper due next week, a test next week, garage sale and Halloween this weekend...and....hubby just informed me it's his turn to bring breakfast for a meeting this Friday morning, and I have to make something else for a potluck for Friday lunch.  Yeesh!!

On another note, Molly ball is up to almost 16 lbs. I like to think it's all that yummy mommy milk, lol.   She is so heavy now, I avoid carrying the car seat anymore, just her. 

I'm almost finished with my shopping cart cover tutorial.  You know those big fluffy things babies sit in grocery carts or high chairs?  I just got my safety stuff in the mail today - from StrapWorks!!  They were very fast in shipping as I ordered on Sunday night and got it today.  And their prices are very reasonable, as well as shipping. 

I did not want the regular ol' plastic buckles that were just two pieces.  I wanted a three-sided one that would fit between their legs and around their waist, so I found the one pictured above at Strapworks. 

And I had to get this adorable ribbon on webbing.  I thought it was too cute.  But they have sizes and all kinds of colors of different webbing as well. 

Anyway, for my tutorial, if you want to get ready for it, get yourself one of those clips and a yard or so of webbing, plus a yard of plush foldover elastic as pictured.  I found the same elastic as I have at Kids In the Garden, but I have never purchased from them so I don't know how fast they are at shipping.  I'm sure you can find it other places such as Sewzannes (great WAHM!) and SewShoppe.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Jester Fleece Hat Tutorial



This is my favorite hat to make kids.  It's super easy to whip out for a gift, and you can change it up a bit.  I'll be making the jester version out of one color.  You can make the jester out of multiple colors put together.

I'm also basing tutorial on my 6 month old.  I'll measure my older kids and give head circumferences and hat length at the bottom for those, so you can easily make this for just about anybody. 


Materials
1/4 yd polar fleece fabric (this can probably make 2-3 hats depending on size)
thread
sewing needle

1.  Measure your child/baby's head.  My 6 month old has a head circumference of 17 inches.  For the length I chose 8 inches, as I vaguely remember reading that was a good hat length for a baby.  It also gives me 1.5 to 2 inches to work with to hem.


2.  Cut out two rectangles that measure 1/2 the circumference by the length.  So I cut two rectangles each 8.5 x 8 inches.

3.  Sew up 3 sides, leaving the bottom open.  I used a serger, if you don't have one, I suggest zigzag stitch to allow for a bit of stretch.

4.  Hem bottom of hat.
5.  Make the pom poms.  This is how I make fleece pom poms.  I cut 2 strips of fleece roughly 2 inches wide by whatever length you want.  A good estimate is 12 inches, it will create a full pom pom, less and your pom poms might come out puny. I recommend 8 to 12 inches in length.

Cut into the strip on either side, not cutting through to the middle, all the way down the strips.  Once that is done, take both ends of your strip and give it a little tug to stretch it out just a bit.  Next, take your needle and thread and roll the pom pom down the middle about 3-4 turns, then pull the thread through a couple times.  Continuing doing this until the entire strip is rolled up.  Pull the needle through a few times until it feels secure, then tie off.  Now, fluff your pom pom to hide the center.  Make a second pom pom the same way. 

6.  After making the second pom pom, attach each one to the points on the hat.  I usually run the thread up through the inside and through the pom pom about 4-5 times before I tie off.


 And you're done!!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Leche Quemada?

I think I spelled the right, and quite frankly, I'm too damn lazy to actually google it.  It's burnt milk candy in spanish!  So long story short, when I was a kid there was this little ol' chain of mexican restaurants called The Monterrey House in DFW.  So yummy!  And they put these delicious little candies in the bottom of the chip basket.  They were like sugar that melted in your mouth.  Well years later, I've been trying to figure out what those little candies were.  I finally figured it out...leche quemada.  And I found a thread buried somewhere on the internet precisely about those little Monterrey House candies and a they posted a recipe that takes 4 hours.  Four hours?  Are they kidding me?  This recipe is like fudge.  Can you imagine 4 hours of cooking something like fudge?  Who has time for that?  I made it in the microwave in about 30 minutes.  It came out the right consistency (ok ok...I did have to figure out the microwaving as it took about 3 rounds of microwaving and whisking), and it tasted just like I remembered.  I'm also too lazy to find the recipe right this moment, so if you're curious look for leche quemada recipe and it's the one with a four hour cook time.  You'll find it, don't worry, it's very rare to find a recipe for that candy online for some odd reason -- there's like 2 or maybe 3. Once I am fully conscious later this weekend (a certain baby just woke me), I'll see if I can figure out how to add my special microwaving technique to the recipe and post it. 

Speaking of the Monterrey House.  I feel the need to apologize to them for my 6 year old self who threw up a lovely shade of pale pink milk all over one of their tables once.  My mom had taken me to the dentist and then we met my dad at the restaurant.  Well...let's just say no one told me not to swallow the fluoride.  It was not pleasant, and I think my poor mother died of embarrassment.  I did feel much better after said puking and had a lovely plate of cheese enchiladas and that yummy candy. Sigh...oh the memories of childhood.

Halloween 2010





We went to Mr E's Fall Festival tonight, so costumes had to be done a week early - during my midterms, when I also have an 8-10 page paper due next week, not to mention the neighborhood wide garage sale I signed up for next Saturday - plus my stupid professors are still requiring us to post our regular ol' homework (WTF?).  AAAAAHHHH!!

Here is a silly pic of Mr. E attempting to eat a donut on a string.  He got icing literally up his nose and in his eyeballs, but he won!

This year my only real costume to make was Miss Em's.  She informed me last week she wanted to be a 1950s car hop, complete with roller skates (thank goodness we already have those). Mollyball is going as a spider - a super easy costume I made for Mr E for his first Halloween.  We are debating on calling her Charlotte or Aragog.  In lieu of my husband's love for all that is Harry Potter, I think we are going with Aragog.

You can't really see her costume (I'll take a better pic tomorrow), but this is such a cute pic of her and daddy I had to share.  For the baby spider costume you can easily make this in a couple hours with a serger.  Make a black interlock hoodie from your favorite hoodie/sweatshirt pattern.  Before you sew up the side seams, make 4 tubes stuffed with fiberfill the same length as arms and put two under each arm, sewing them in the side seam.  Then in about 3 locations, take black embroidery thread and run it through to connect the 2 fake legs with the arm hole for stability.  Then make a matching pair of sweatpants. Voila - baby spider!

Now for Miss Em's Car Hop costume.  I had so much fun with this, and used no patterns (um, well I used a pattern I made for the hat, but other than that - no patterns).  I didn't make the shirt.  We used one of her old t-shirts that was almost too short, and I ironed an "E" on the shoulder.

Her skirt is a simple circle skirt.  I added a ribknit waistband just to finish it easy.  I also trimmed the hem in a pink polka dot grosgrain ribbon.  The petticoat, which there is not a picture available yet, is a layered skirt.  It consists of a rib knit waistband, a 3 inch woven layer, than a 6 inch layer of nylon tulle and another 6 inch layer nylon tulle.  The outer layers of tulle are the scratchy stiff stuff - they really add bulk to make it poof.  The top tulle layer is three strips sewn together of the stiff tulle, gathered - each strip is  6 inches x the width of the fabric.  The bottom tulle layer is twelve strips sewn together of the stiff tulle - same measurements.  Then, I did the exact same thing with the softer tulle under those and attached.  Then the side seam was sewn together, and finally the knit waistband was attached.

The apron was next.  I basically cut a rounded half apron shape, then cut several strips 4 inches wide x width of fabric and folded over and made a ruffle, then attached it.  Next, I wanted straps big enough for a decent sized bow.  I cut straps 3 inches x the length of fabric, attached and then topstitched along top edge of apron. 

From other 1950s car hop aprons, I saw examples that had all kinds of things like poodles to "'50s" appliqued on one edge, but I thought a cupcake was cute and was sort of carhop-y.  So I drew my own applique, sewed it, then blinged it with hotfix crystals, and finally ironed on the "E" to complete it. 

Next, we needed a name tag.  This is super easy.  I cut a square of the "icing" fabric from the cupcake and used pinking shears.  Then folded it as above, added a couple dots of hot glue to keep it that way.  Next I made the name tag out of foam and foam letters, and added embellishments, then hot glued a pin backing, and attacked the whole thing to the shirt.  (That adorable ribbon flower embellishment was found in a 2 pack at Joanns near the trims and ribbons.  They had all kinds including adorable pink ribbon elephants - so cute!)

The thing that scared me the most was the pillbox style hat.  I used this wonderful Threadbanger tutorial and pattern.  I made mine backwards because I sort of wanted a cross between a pillbox and garrison cap to give it a waitress-y feel.  Surprisingly, it was very very easy, and came out exactly as it should.  I was down to the wire on this one.  I had one chance and 30 minutes before it was time to pick up kidlets from school.  It was so much fun, I'm tempted to make one myself just to wear (hubby has a thing for women and hats, lol).  They are super fun to embellish too.  I punched holes in either side and attacked clips to Miss Em's hair.  For the hat embellishment I made a tiny pinking sheared square, folded it, hot glued it, and added the ribbon embellishment and one last sparkly foam "E."

Total cost of car hop was  probably $20 for embellishments, fabric for skirt and hat, and tulle.  Everything else I already had in my stash.  

Later this week I will get a picture of all 3 together.  Mr. E was a home grown Jedi with white t-shirt, black sweatpants and last year's mama-sewn Harry Potter robe (He was Draco), topped off with a belt and a lightsaber.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

We're on solids!!

About a month ago we started solid foods.  Mollyball could not be happier as she was ready to rip the food straight from our mouths at dinner every night.  With my other children, I never did the stupid rice cereal.  I think it's bland and yucky, especially compared to mommy milk (which according to an anonymous husband "tastes like whip cream only lighter" ;) ).  So I tend to make my own baby food and use covered ice cube trays.  We start with pureed bananas and move down the fruits and veggies lines.

I just picked up this great OXO one at the Container Store a few weeks ago -- I love it, it lets you just pull out 1 or 2 without dumping the entire container.  And you can save a lot of money.  I pureed a can of Great Value carrots - 67 cents for the can, and it made an entire ice cube tray full.  I'm guessing based on the amount this is equivalent to about 4 jars of baby food versus about 42 cents for 1 jar of carrots. 

Once we move from the single veggies and fruits, I just use my mini Cuisinart and puree whatever is for dinner and freeze the leftovers in the ice cubes for another day.  I truly think this has given my children a great palate for food because they are not picky and will eat all kinds of veggies and try all kinds of things.   

In the last week Mollyball started getting bored with just single foods, and I wasn't sure what to do.  Then I saw some stew meat on quick sale at the grocery store Thursday and got a craving for beef stew, so that's what I made Friday night.  It was delicious, and absolutely hit the spot to my craving.  I sliced up a giant zucchini and let it and the potatoes cook down.  The potatoes were still around, but the zucchini cooked down to nothing and really thickened up the broth and made it so delicious.  She was not thrilled with just peaches, so I started giving her little spoonfuls of the broth of the stew, and she was in heaven.  After we were done, I pulled out the last little bit of meat and pureed everything that was left.  She LOVES this meal and with the zucchini cooked down to nothing, the puree is thickened to the right consistency for baby food, perfectly.  What I really liked about this was how hearty is tasted and how super fast it cooked -- it was done in about 2 hours.

Quickie Beef Stew
5 small Russet potatoes - peeled and cubed
1 can of sliced carrots (I usually put in raw, but this made it cook faster)
1 large zucchini - peeled, quartered then sliced
1 can of french style green beans
1 small package of stew meat
1 tbs minced garlic
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 c ketchup
salt and pepper to taste

Cut up potatoes and zucchini and started boiling in about 2 cups of water.  Brown the meat in a bit of olive oil.  Throw in the carrots and green beans while meat is browning and get it to a rolling boil before adding the meat.  Add enough water to cover everything.  Then, add spices, garlic, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce.  Simmer for about 2 hours on medium, checking to see if you need to add more water.

Serves a family of 4-5 easily.



Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Great Fabric Purge

Even though it's fall, we're having a spring cleaning at our house. And part of the cleaning is a fabric purge. So I've put a bunch of fabric on eBay I've had in my stash forever, most of which is very hard to find. Even the coveted Mermaid Surf fabric from Joann's a few years ago.

here's a link:
Fabrics on eBay

As soon as I'm done writing this dang sociology paper, I'm going to put up some crafty things on etsy for sale.

This weekend I should get a moment to post a new tutorial - I have two I've made - just deciding which should come first. Oh...and to post my new muffin recipe that is to die for - banana cream cheese muffins. Dear god...I just pulled some out of the oven a few moments ago and one just melted in my mouth. Yum!!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Tiered Gown - Sewing Pattern

I'm mellowing out with the Janis Ian video from below as I write.  Doesn't it make you think of high school when you were such a dork? Sigh....

Check out this sewing pattern! It shows you how to draft your exact size for the bodice.  And it's empire waisted. 

I love the comment about the darts made for a B cup, I now feel like a freak of nature.  My nursing boobies have grown from C/Ds to DDD lately.  Of course, a few things have grown with my nursing...this is the thing I hate about breastfeeding, the weight gain.  Whoever claimed you lost weight was an idiot who lied. While I love breastfeeding so dearly, I hate this damn weight gain, especially in my upper arms, very weird.

I've been wanting a dress I could try out zippered nursing openings, and this bodice looks like I could hide them in the ruffle.  If I get a moment in a few weeks, I might try this one in a muslin and see how it turns out. 

Click the picture to get to the pattern.  Enjoy!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Raise your hand if you like group work...

No hands?  Yeah that's what I thought.  I love this idea of college professors who think we all need group work to learn to work in the real world.  What makes matters worse is this is an online course, so I can't exactly beat people over the head with chastisement in a group setting to get them to work.  I can only email them.

So one of my courses has basically been a self fulfilling prophecy.  I knew online group work would be a nightmare, and so far, it is.  I have had to take over the group in order to get anything done, and even still, it's me and one other chick who are contributing.  Out of 7 people, 2 of us give a shit about our grades...woohoo!  And even still, the other girl...let's just say after reading her posts, I'm curious what her high school education contained.  There were so many wrong words used I was horrified. All I can say is that she will not be writing our final assignment.   Spell check does not fix everything, people; one must also be able to use correct grammar.

On another note...I've been sewing and crafting up a storm.  I will have a new tutorial in a few days and lots of pictures of crafty stuff.  I even made a new diaper bag...but I hate it.  Though I am using it for now until I revamp the pattern.  

I just have so much school work, and the majority of it is one stupid course.  My senior level seminar is not as intensive as this stupid junior level sociology course.  WTH? Well...back to wielding my whip to get these damn people in my group to finish their assignments so we can make the deadline (6 pm tonight!!!)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I hate school

Warning...this is a bitchfest....I would be amazed if anyone reads this all the way through. 

At the last minute I decided to try to do a couple classes to finish up my degree.  I sat down this summer and realized I could graduate in 3 semesters going very part time with the new baby.  So this semester I looked for the easiest classes I could take.  My school now requires this stupid basic math class for the core requirements.  It doesn't matter how much math you've had, as in 2 semesters of calculus sure doesn't prove you can do math...no, you need another class on basic math with stupid crap like logic problems and how to fill out an income tax form.  Clearly, the rest of the world sees the frivolousness of this stupidity, right?  Maybe it's just my school's way of making an extra $800 out of you....not to mention the $126 textbook that you can't sell back. 

Apparently I signed up for the class with the teacher who's never taught an internet course before, because first of all, she posted the wrong syllabus - the syllabus she posted was the one she uses for the class she teaches on campus.  This is supposed to be a self paced easy peasy math course.  I have been blessed with my father's math abilities, so it comes very easy to me.  I assumed  I do the problems, take the tests, and geez, I'd be finished by October just looking at it.

I was wrong....this teacher has grand plans to make us do a "group project" (can you hear the groaning).  Don't you love those?  What person in their right mind allows 4 to 6 idiots to determine 20% of their ENTIRE GRADE?  Not only that, this is an online course, where I cannot determine the stupidity of the people in my assigned group nor can I followup on their progress of the group project....and not least of all, my having to work this group project get together crap around my new baby.  Can you see the fumes coming off my head yet?  I'm so f'ing pissed over this assignment. I think this stupid group project is fine for a class that actually meets in real life...not a self paced course. 

And it gets even better.  Oh yes.  So I email the teacher and ask if she posted the wrong syllabus since it talks about an oral presentation for this stupid group project and going to class and absences, blah, blah, blah... which she writes back and says yes she did post the wrong one.  Well guess what the right one is?  The same exact syllabus, but she puts in a little blurb that the group project is simply a power point presentation...no explanation of what it entails, just email it to her by December 17th...and she's putting us in groups of 5-7 people.  WTF?  She keeps all the same crap in the syllabus...coming to class, absences, etc, but just adds a couple sentences about this power point presentation.  I'm ready to beat this woman over the head with her syllabus. 

So now I have emailed her again to please clarify this stupid ass project.  God...the things I want to say to this teacher....I have had to erase quite a few paragraphs in my emails.  I know why she wants this dumb ass group project...a) she doesn't realize you cannot just turn an on campus class that you teach all the time into an internet class, it doesn't work that way, you can't do the same things....and b)she doesn't want to have to grade 60 individual powerpoint presentations, she'd rather only do 10-12.  Geez, like she has to do anything else in this class, a program grades all of our other work and quizzes and tests. 

Deep breaths....going to go nurse my sweetie and read this really good book called An American Wife...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I have this theory...

that Great Wolf Lodge is much like Chuck E Cheese or a McDonald's playground because we all came home with some nasty respiratory infection.  My poor little baby is the sickest probably compounded by her well baby visit and vax's, complete with puking on mommy a few times (at least it's only breastmilk coming back up).  I've been running a fever, hubby came home early a couple days ago and expired on the bed (lol), and Em seems to have the mildest case of it.  Whatever it is, it makes you extremely tired.

Today I made the yummiest pumpkin muffins...evah. I love to bake, and it's hubby's turn to bring food for a meeting at work.  I made a knockoff of some pumpkin cream cheese muffins from Starbucks.  I found a recipe online and changed a few things to my liking (i.e. I did not want to go to the store to buy the missing ingredients and my version sounded better).  They were so moist, and the cream cheese center was so good, better than icing. 

I forgot to take a picture, but they are so damn good, melt in your mouth with a little bit o'cheesecake in the middle.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins

Cream Cheese Filling
8 oz cream cheese - softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar

With mixer, whip cream cheese, vanilla, and powdered sugar til well mixed.  Take a sheet of wax paper and roll it into a log, wrap ends closed, and freeze for 2-3 hours.

Pumpkin Muffins
1 tsp cinnamon
4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
4 eggs
2 cups white sugar
1 1/4 cups oil
1 can of pumpkin
3 cups flour
nuts (whole walnuts or pecans) optional


Preheat oven to 350.  Mix eggs and sugar, add oil, pumpkin, salt, soda, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice until well mixed.  Add flour gradually while mixing until all is mixed well.  Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.  Take frozen log of cream cheese mixture and cut into squares about 3/4 inch x 3/4 inch.  Insert a square of cream cheese mixture into the middle of each muffin batter.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, until toothpick inserted into muffin comes out clean (do not insert into cheesecake mixture).  Let sit in muffin tins for approximately 5 minutes before removing. 


Yields 24 muffins

Monday, August 23, 2010

Great Wolf Lodge

We just returned from a long weekend at Great Wolf Lodge.  It was a gift from grandma to celebrate Miss Em's birthday.  We had never been there before, and it was lots of fun.  It's very "disney like" - very clean, friendly, and just about anything available you wanted.  The customer service was just perfect.  The food buffet was expensive, but really really good. 

The kids and hubby are Harry Potter freaks (technically hubby is the biggest Harry Potter freak I know, but he has indoctrinated the children well, lol), and there is a questing game called Magiquest.  It involves a wand and running through 8 floors of the hotel casting spells and finding runes and pixies and fighting a dragon, so you can imagine how exciting that was.  They loved it, and Mr E slept with his wand every night, lol.  

The waterpark was lots of fun too.  The baby and I spent most of our time nursing and sitting at the edge of the wave pool.  The kids spent most of their time swimming in the wave pool and riding slides.  Hubby...well, he spent most of his time filling these buckets of water on top of the lazy river and dumping it on people. I cannot figure out how he could stand there for 2 hours just dumping water, but it was quite thrilling for him, lol. 

My only complaint was the elevators...you would think 8 elevators would get people moving, but we waited sometimes 15 minutes for the darn elevator and with a stroller, the stairs was never an option.  All in all I definitely want to go back, and if you get the chance, it's a really nice little vacation that has everything all in one place. 

I got a good picture of the kids and hubby coming out of one of the slides, so hopefully I can find my camera cord and post it in a day or so.  Off to bed, tomorrow is the first day in a new school for both kids, and poor Miss Em is just terrified because she doesn't know a single person...cross your fingers 6th grade is wonderful for her and she makes lots of new friends. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Country Style Steak

I like to cook southern foods as I'm in Texas. I had some cube steak and usually I cut it into strips and make chicken fried steak fingers, but I decided to do something new tonight and everyone loved it.

Country Style Steak

4-6 cube steaks
1 pkg of Lipton Golden Onion Soup mix
corn starch
garlic powder
flour
oil

Preheat oven to 350. Cover bottom of skillet in canola oil. Dredge steaks in flour and cook in skillet for just a minute until brown (I turned them once). Transfer steaks to casserole dish. Mix 2 cups of water with 1 heaping tablespoon of corn starch, a couple shakes of garlic powder, and the packet of onion soup mix. Pour soup mix over steaks, cover with foil, and bake for about an hour.

Turns out tender, yummy and the soup mixed with cornstarch makes a perfect gravy for potatoes.

Who likes Land's End?

So this year for school I've been buying clothes for the kids online at Land's End...god, I love their fabrics, so nice. Anyway, this past week it was 25% off and free shipping and I stocked up for Miss Em. Well...I got another email today for 40% off with free shipping, so I couldn't pass it up and bought more stuff for Mr E and now I'm sharing.

Here is the code: Promo: SELECT40
PIN: 1031

I was able to get my son climber pants and shorts that are perfect for active little boys who split the knees of their pants at recess. I got 3 pairs for less than $50 and free shipping. Woohoo!!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Still Here

I'm still here. Reconnecting with my adorable hubby after feeling like a single mom for 3 months. Since May, he has studied, studied, studied, and it definitely paid off, but I've been forgoing the computer to be with him and the kids and spend family time. Tonight was a very cheap dinner at Burger King and the $1 movie seeing Marmaduke (cute for babies toddlers and for not paying full price, lol, not for the average thinking human). It had some cute parts and my 3 month old loved the ending, hubby and I were not impressed.

I'm working on this new pattern, I hope to have a sneak peek picture up by the end of the week. I'm really liking how it's turning out so far, no hitches yet, lol.

I just finished this book last week, and it's a really good read. I just wish it had about 500 more pages, I want a continuation of the story. It's about reincarnation. Most everyone forgets their past lives, but this man, Daniel, remembers them all, remembers everything, languages, places, his past livelihoods, and his love. He first saw Sophia in 500 A.D., and in nearly every life he lives he sees her soul again and again. Each time it is as if they almost get to each other, but something always hinders it, a brother, a death, vastly wrong ages, every time. And finally, in present day life, they are at the right time and ages to fall in love and be together.

It's suspenseful while they find each other again in this life, but then you're wanting more and more. I do hope there is a sequel to this book. I really enjoyed it.

Friday, August 06, 2010

And he passed...again!

Today my husband took his series 63 licensing exam, the last exam he currently needs for being a stockbroker, and he passed it as well.  I am so proud of him!!  He has just amazed me with this new job, and I'm so glad he loves his job and the people there.  He has studied so hard...and he can finally rejoin our family again.  It has been since May that he has been studying for these exams every single day, night, weekends.  We've tried our best to stay out of his hair doing things without him, so he had lots of opportunity to study in the quiet without a baby and kids and wife making too much noise.  And now he's done and can go do all the fun stuff with us again.  Yay!!

So for passing his tests, I got him a surprise.  Well....he's gotten a few surprises for passing his tests ;) but I had to think long and hard for something just for him.  He loves music and plays the guitar, and he subscribes to some musicians on YouTube who play the ukulele, so I did some research and found out it's very easy to play one, so it arrived a few minutes ago.  I even researched the best beginning one with the right strings.  I hope he enjoys it, and I have a feeling we're going to get a 5 hour concert series tonight with his new toy. 

Thursday, August 05, 2010

This is Where We Live

I picked this book up at the library last week.  It was a very quick read for me.  It's about a mid 30s couple who are trying to follow their dreams.  The wife is on a journey to become a successful director while the husband is in a band who is working to finish an album.  Then real life hits and her movie bombs at the box office, and he hasn't been paying the adjustable rate mortgage (gotta love those!) because it adjusted, lol, and he was waiting for her huge deal with a movie company to pay it off.  It just goes downhill from there as the husband begins a midlife crisis.  This book was painful to read.  The turn of the story happens when the husbands ex-girlfriend, a successful artist, contacts him to just "see" him while she's in town.  The ex-girlfriend is the antithesis of his wife, not to mention completely nuts.  He has built her up in his head, and when she offers him the option of coming with her to Paris, he leaves his wife. WTF?  For me the ending was a bit to quick and didn't seem to flow, but the rest of the story was good. 

It was a definite page turner,  and I enjoyed reading it.  But this type of story is usually very emotional to read for me.  I feel the characters' pain so strongly I have to get through it as fast as I can to get those feelings away from me.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Let's Face It, I'm a Mess

I'm just curious if I'm the only accident prone idiot in the kitchen? I apparently am incapable of making anything without A) getting it all over the front of my shirt and said shirt becomes permanently stained; B) getting it all over the counter and/or stove top; and C) dropping at least 3 things on the floor, be it utensils full of whatever I'm making or the actual food itself, where without a doubt, it usually bounces about 3 times spreading the mess in all sorts of crevices around my kitchen.  This is seriously cutting into my wardrobe as I cook every day.  Argh!!

I'm not sure how to prevent my klutziness, but I've decided to fix part of this problem by making myself some aprons. I think I've settled on this one for my first one or I just might whip something up off the top of my head, not sure yet.  But this is my task for this week between dentist appointments and registering kidlets for school. Here are a few more free apron patterns/tutorials I found from a list on The Apronista. Pictures to follow in the next few days.

I made Raspberry Lemon Muffins on Sunday morning.  They were not a kid favorite, but my husband really liked them.  I don't know if I've ever made something with flavors that hit your taste buds like these do. First, you taste a hint of vanilla yogurt, then the raspberries, and then this sudden zing of lemon hits your tongue and you feel like..."wow!"  I liked them, too, especially topped with a bit of cream cheese.  This is the recipe I used:

Raspberry Lemon Muffins

1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
2 egg whites
3 tbs oil
1 tbs fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp fresh lemon peel
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup frozen raspberries

Topping:
2 tbs flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Mix yogurt, oil, egg whites, and lemon juice together.  In separate bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, lemon peel.  Add yogurt mixture to dry ingredients and mix just until moistened.  Then gently mix in berries.  Fill muffin tins 2/3 full. Mix together topping and sprinkle on each muffin before baking.  Bake for 16-20 minutes.  Immediately remove from muffin tins and serve warm.

This recipe yields 12 muffins.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Peasant Top Tutorial

Check out this peasant top tutorial to make yourself without a pattern from Joann.com.  I see definite nursing shirt potential in this one.  If my dear cranky baby gives me sometime this week, I think I'm going to try this one.

Peasant Top Tutorial

Sewing Pattern Sale - up to 30% OFF

While I work on 2 new patterns, I thought I'd have a sale for the current patterns. All sewing patterns are on sale and it will go through the entire month of August.  Below are the coupon codes, please enter the correct one in the shopping cart.

Take 20% off orders up to $14.99!!  Coupon Code:  TPN100801072004

Take 30% off orders $15.00 or more!! Coupon Code:  KST100801071930

The patterns are listed to the lower left under "Sewing Patterns" or a direct link can be found by clicking here.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Cutest things ever...little pies in little jars

I was blog reading tonight and came across a post from a couple years ago from Not Martha that was little bitty pies in little jars.  They are so cute.  I think I'm going to undertake these this weekend if I can find jars. 

I'm thinking I'm going with peach or apple. Here's the direct link for those lazy people like me....oh and here is a link for her other version with little bitty cobblers.  Hmm...now I'm debating...pies or cobbler? 

I want to make something for my hubby's class who all took the test yesterday together.  They have one more test next Friday, and most of them are fresh out of college young single guys who probably live on fast food and never get a decent home baked anything, lol.  Plus my kids will be in love with these things.  I think I will surprise them with the idea on Sunday when they get home from their dad's.

But first...tomorrow, the kids and I will be making some lemon raspberry muffins.  I picked up a recipe book at the library yesterday, and these sound just mouthwatering. Pictures to follow tomorrow.

Uh oh, I hear a hungry baby waking...off to watch Star Trek Enterprise.  It's the whole time travel Xindi thing.  I am a trekkie, but Enterprise never did it for me when it was on a few years ago.  However, now that I'm DVRing it on SyFy, I'm really getting into it.  We need a new Star Trek series again.  I miss TNG and Voyager (so kill me, I was never into DS9). 

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Her Fearful Symmetry

I loved, loved, loved The Time Traveler's Wife, so I was greatly anticipating this second novel by Audrey Niffenegger last year.  When it came out, I scooped it up immediately and was excited to settle in for another good read. 

It's a ghost story set in Highgate Cemetery.  It's an intriguing story, and the story builds for three quarters of the book and could have been a really wonderful story if it had a couple more hundred pages or so.  It begins with two estranged twin sisters.  One dies, Elspeth, and bequeaths her London apartment to her sister's twin daughters with one request, her sister can never set foot in the place. While the younger twins are inseparable, you learn that all is not as it seems and one is suffocating the other in her dominance.

It seemed as though the characters were being well developed and a story was unfolding, but I kept waiting and seeing I was getting closer and closer to the end of the story and wondering what the big climax was and what type of resolution could be completed in just a few short pages, and then it builds into absurdity that just leaves you thinking "huh?"  In the end, it made me wonder if the author just got sick of the story and wanted to quickly wrap it up. It felt like this wonderfully slow build that just drops you off a cliff at the end.  You feel invested in the characters and want more story, but it just ends in a ridiculous way.  She could have done so much more with the story, it was very disappointing.