Friday, January 29, 2010

Terrific Tote

I decided to make a new tote. And I like black and white. So here's my idea... what I came up with.
(Maybe you can add this to your sewing ideas.)

I needed outside pockets ... you know for the phone, secret candy bars, etc.

I added a few loops. This one at the top could be used for keys.

I added buttons just for fun.

This is a fun silky lining. (polyester) Be sure to put pockets on the inside too!

And here's my main embellishment. My super cheap belt on clearance from Target.

And just add a flower clip and your done.

You can even change it up with different colors to go with your outfit.

Best-Ever Cinnamon Rolls

I like sugar... Way too much. I eat too much of it too. But how could I not when I have recipes like this? I ate more than half the pan of these rolls all by myself. Just a little bit here... just a little nibble there... Before I knew it my kids were asking me if they were ever going to get any. I suppose I should have shared sooner. So, are you ready for the recipe?

BEST-EVER Cinnamon Rolls
"All you have to do is turn your clothes dryer on high for about 10 minutes, then turn it off. Immediately put your bowl of yeast dough in the dryer for about 20 minutes, until the rolls triple in size. I am always thinking of shortcuts, so I tried this and it works great." -Mary Mills
(Great idea, Mary!)

For rolls:
2 (1/4 oz.) env. rapid-rise or active dry yeast
2 1/2 c. lukewarm water
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 (18.25 oz.) box yellow cake mix (without pudding)
5 to 5 1/2 c. all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for kneading
3 eggs
About 1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, melted
3 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 c. granulated sugar

For glaze:
1 (1 lb.) box powdered sugar
1/4 c. (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 to 3/4 c. milk

To prepare rolls: In large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water; let sit 3 minutes. Add salt, cake mix, 1 cup flour, and eggs. Beat well until bubbles appear. Slowly add 4 to 4 1/2 cups flour. Stir until ball of soft dough forms. Knead on well-floured board about 5 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl; let rise until doubled in bulk. (Perhaps this would be a good time to do the dryer trick.)

Punch down dough, then divide into 2 equal parts. Roll out each piece of dough on lightly floured board. Spread with softened butter. Combine cinnamon and sugar; sprinkle over dough. Roll up dough like a jelly roll. Cut with sharp knife or dental floss into slices 1 inch thick. Place on greased cookie sheets; let rise until doubled. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake rolls for 25 to 35 minutes or until golden brown.

Just before rolls are done, prepare glaze: Combine powdered sugar, butter, vanilla and milk. Drizzle over hot rolls. Yield: 3-4 dozen rolls.

(I squished my entire batch into one pan. Next time I will use two pans.)

Now, I ran out of powdered sugar, so I made my own:

Powdered Sugar
1 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
In blender add sugar and cornstarch gradually, while blender is on. (SERIOUSLY! ADD IT SLOWLY!) Blend for 5 minutes.

Here is what was left over:
I also ran out of milk, but I just reconstituted powdered milk:

Here is the glaze all mixed up:
There was so much glaze that it over-flowed and puddled on the counter!
So yummy! What was so cool about these rolls is that they stayed moist for a LONG time after I made them. I would definitely use this recipe again.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Poop Stain Removal from Baby Clothes

Babies are so sweet. They cuddle and crawl, giggle and wiggle, coo and pooh. Sometimes that last action can turn into quite a blow-out, exploding all over those cute baby clothes! So, to save those darling footed onesies from a fate worse than the trash-can, grab your Dial Soap Bar and follow these few steps to make them clean again:

  1. Wet soiled area of garment with cool or cold water and lay against a hard surface.

  2. Rub thoroughly with a handy-dandy Yellow Dial Soap Bar.

  3. Scrub rigorously the soiled area in a circular motion with both hands.

  4. Rinse completely under cool or cold water.

  5. Repeat if necessary.

*Note: Avoid using hot water as it may set in the stain.

Here's the before and after:

Have fun saving your baby's layette!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Reading Goals

I found a great way to motivate my kids to read. My sister-in-law told us the other day that she has a goal to read 500 books in 10 years. I thought that was awesome. It made me want to set some kind of reading goal. That is when it hit me. If I think its cool that she has that kind of goal, what would my kids think if I made some kind of big goal? So I told my son that I have made a goal to read 45 books in 2010. And just as I was hoping, he jumped right on that and wanted to set a reading goal too. So I went into my spreadsheet program and made a simple chart to keep track of what we read and when we complete it. Then I printed one out for each person in our family with their goal written at the top and put them all in a binder.
My son has looked at our goal binder nearly everyday since we made it and loves to see my progress as well as his own.
We made our charts and goals about a week and a half ago and my son has already read Charlotte's Web and is a good way through Frindle (two very great children's books, by the way).
I have already finished Anne of Green Gables and Frindle and am now working on Gone With The Wind. Any suggestions on what book I should pick up next?


Scottish Oatcakes - Easy Recipes for Dinner

I'm always looking for a fast and easy recipe idea come dinnertime! I'm not much of a gourmet cook either. Fancy recipes tend to take more time and often call for ingredients I've never heard of before. So let me share with you some of the tastiest, healthiest, quickest dinners I know - the Scottish and Highland oatcakes.

I like to flavor oatcakes like I would my meat. For example, if I want it to taste like Chicken Parmesan, I flavor it with my chicken or poultry seasonings and top it with spaghetti sauce and Parmesan cheese. My husband likes to use them as "veggie burgers" when we're out of ground beef. He'll flavor it with onion powder, garlic salt, Montreal Steak seasonings... you get the idea... and fries it like a hamburger.

Experiment with it! This is one of those recipes you really can't mess up too bad (unless the lid to your salt shaker isn't on very well). Anyway, here you go....

Scottish Oatcakes (my college survival meal!)
Prep time: less than 5 minutes
Cook time: 6-10 minutes

1/3 cup instant oats
1 egg
salt, pepper, seasonings
your choice of sauce anc cheese (optional)

Mix oats, egg and seasonings. Fry on medium-low heat until the top starts to buble like a pancake (about 3-6 minutes). Flip over and top with sauce and cheese if desired. Cover and cook until cheese melts (about 3-4 minutes). Serve!

Makes 1 serving.

Highland Oatcakes (a bit yummier and only takes a little more time)
Prep time: about 20 minutes
Cook time: about 10 minutes

1 cup finely ground instant oats (don't have finely ground? put your instant oats in the blender!)
2 cups flour (wheat or white is fine)
2 tsp baking powder
salt, pepper, seasonings
1 egg
your choice of sauce and cheese (optional)

Directions for BAKING:
Preheat oven to 390 degrees Fahrenheit. In medium-sized bowl, sift dry ingredients together including seasonings. Mix in egg. Add water and mix until it becomes a pastey, thick dough. Separate dough into 8 rounds. Flatten to about 1 centimeter to 1/2 inch thickness. Place on a pre-greased cookie sheet and cook in oven for 10 minutes. Top with warmed sauce and cheese. Serve!

Directions for FRYING:
Fry in lightly greased pan on medium-low heat for 3-4 minutes, then flip. Top with sauce and cheese, then cook until cheese melts (about 3-4 minutes). Serve!

Makes 8 servings.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Free Personal signatures - cool!


Best Playdough Recipe Ever!

Homemade Playdough

2 c Flour
1/2 c Salt
4 tsp Cream of tartar
2 c Warm water
2 T. Vegetable oil
4-6 drops food coloring
Mix first flour, salt, and cream of tartar in saucepan. Stir in water, oil and coloring, stirring constantly over medium heat until dough pulls away from sides of pan. Remove from pan and allow to cool a few minutes. Knead until smooth. Put into plastic ziplock bag or container. Store in a cool place.

I store it in the fridge. If it dries out a little, just rub a few drops of vegetable oil into the dough and knead well. I love this recipe because it is made with stuff I have on hand and it's completely safe in case somebody decides to eat it. But, eeww! I hope no one eats it!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Whole Wheat Muffins

Want a yummy muffin recipe using your wheat flour? This might just be it.

Whole Wheat Muffins

2 wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 c brown sugar
1 c milk
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/3 c oil
2 mashed ripe peaches for moisture (You can use canned)

Mix dry ingredients together. Make a hole in the middle. Add wet ingredients, mix until wet; don't over mix! Add fruit to batter with wet ingredients. Bake in greased and floured muffin tins at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Before baking, top with mixture of 1/4 c butter, 1/2 cup oats, 1/2 cup brown sugar. Makes 12

Friday, January 22, 2010

Puddles of Joy

Rain showers are not really common in the Sonoran Desert. But when it does storm, a unique phenomenon occurs. PUDDLES. These are not just any small bodies of water, they are RAIN p00ls. My beauty girl just had to play in the rain created Barbie mud baths.

The idea is to do the little things. Take a minute to have a family activity and make family memories. Play in the puddles. See what wonder the children see. Weather you get rain lots or only once a year, nothing makes a family stick together like mud!

(Ignore the date stamp on the corner of the images. My camera is in denial about what the date is.)

Lovely little wood pile

Here in the land of perpetual sunshine we have little need of a wood pile. Yet in the off chance that the weather gets cold, it is lovely to have. We have had a cold weather system blow through the Phoenix area and had a good reason to use our fire place.

I have found that there is a trick to chopping wood.
Have your big-ol-boy do it! Ha! He gets a kick out of chopping wood because it is a novelty. Isn't it lovely that we can still use our teens for manual labor!

Hazzahh.... it is fire time!

Mystery Citrus

The irony of it all... I have a huge lemon tree:
(use the fence as a reference)
A medium size orange tree:
And a puny grapefruit tree:
My Lemon tree over-produces:
My orange tree is finally getting a good crop:
And our grapefruit tree has zip... hold on a second. Let's take a peek around the other side of the tiny tree...
Oh my goodness! Would you look at the size of this thing?! Is this really a grapefruit?
To give you some perspective, I have long hands and I can hardly hold the thing in my palm. However, I can hold an orange just fine.
And I can hold a lemon with just my finger tips.
Funny how the smallest tree has the largest fruit. Maybe it's because there was only one. What do you think?

By the way, my little grapefruit tree is not very old so I feed it every six months with MiracleGro Food spikes. They work like a charm. Sorry about the fuzzy photo... Camera is acting up. Or maybe it's the operator...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Little Woven Journal

See this little composition notebook... and these torn fabric strips that look like rags?
Well, I'm using them to make a woven journal. Note also a decision has to be made about which color to use for the warp string. I chose the black crochet thread. Yarn is fine too.
To make this little woven journal, on the notebook make 1/4 inch marks on the inside front and back cover, top and bottom. Tear one inch strips of fabric or you can iron under the edges for a more finished look. I used three colors, but you can use one color or as many as you want.
Next cut on those marks to create your loom.
Now starting at the top, weave the "warp" thread (or yarn) from top to bottom, looping around the little slits you just made to hold it in place, leaving a little thread (yarn)at both ends.
Then just start weaving your fabrics in and out.
When you are finished, trim the fabric strips to the edge of the notebook.
You will need to edge it with something. I cut a bias strip out of the same fabric and ironed the edges under just like bias tape.
Trim and glue a piece of cardstock to the inside cover, front and back.

Next glue on the bias strip and secure with paper clips. Make sure you cover the inside edges as well as the outside edges. Leave the paper clips on till the glue is dry.
And there you have the finished project.
Hope you enjoy this fun little project!

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