September 30, 2011

Photo Friday

 Audrey is not the kind of kid that will just fall asleep anywhere. She sleeps in her crib and occasionally the car and I can't tell you the last time she fell asleep somewhere else.  Which is why this picture completely cracks me up.

A few weeks ago we visited the children's museum that just opened here. Apparently Audrey played so hard she needed a little nap. She climbed into the chair, laid back, and closed her eyes. This lasted about 15 seconds and then she was up and going again.

I'm pretty sure this is what people would call a power nap.

Have a great weekend everyone, maybe you can even squeeze in a power nap or two!

September 29, 2011

Crossing Off My To-Do List

Is it just me or sometimes do you have a project that you know you have to do, but no motivation to do it? Well I've got one of those. Remember the felt play mat I made for the third week of One Month To Win It? Months ago. Back in May. That sweet play mat went to one of Audrey's pals for his first birthday. He and his parents loved it. Really it was quite the hit.

Problem is Audrey has TWO little pals, not just one, and pal number two turned a year old just a week after pal number one and I still owe pal number two his play mat. Four months after his birthday! I'm awful.

I don't know what my problem is. I've had it started for months, but just couldn't find the motivation to work on it. Well, with new resolve I've told myself I can't do any other projects until I finish the darn thing.

Now that I'm working on it again I am actually enjoying it. Funny how sometimes we make things seem so much worse than they really are.

Here's to crossing something of your to-do list today!

September 28, 2011

The Shop

I'm so excited to announce that homemade(lovely) The Shop is now open. 

I have had such a great response to Audrey's Busy Book that I will be selling custom busy books made to order. As these are custom I can only list a few at a time so be sure to get your order in quickly if you want one. 

A couple of other items are also in the works to be added to The Shop in the coming weeks, so be sure to check back.

Click on over and check out all the details.

September 27, 2011

Audrey's New Jumper

I was just looking back through previous posts and realized I haven't put a sewing project up in well over a month. Geez, no wonder I felt rusty while I was sewing Audrey's new jumper.

I had forgotten how much I enjoy sewing little dresses like this. It is such a fun project and goes fairly quickly, even despite the fact that I made more mistakes than I can count and actually thought I broke my machine at one point.

Those little hearts on the sides are pockets, so she has a place to tuck all of the treasures she finds.

She tested the jumper out at the park yesterday afternoon and it passed with flying colors, although at this point there isn't much that would slow this little girl down. She is definitely a toddler now.  

And for those of you who have kiddos or have worked with them you know that cooperation isn't always the name of the game. This is where Audrey wanted to play for the first ten minutes we were at the playground. I had to coax her out with crackers in order to get a few pictures that actually showed the dress.

Posted at:
Get Your Brag On Link Party at Gluesticks
Strut Your Stuff Saturday at Six Sisters' Stuff 
Frugalicious Fridays at Finding Fabulous

September 26, 2011

Chocolate Cupcakes

I feel like for the sake of honesty I need to start this post with a couple of disclaimers. First, I can't take any credit for this recipe, it came from a book called Cupcakes and Other Goodies published in 2005. And secondly, I can't really tell you how good these are because I don't like chocolate, so I don't eat them. However, all of my chocolate-loving amigos tell me that they are amazing and often request that I make them.

What I can tell you though is that the recipe is a simple one. My only words of advice are to really grease your muffin tins if you aren't going to use liners. I always have a hard time getting the cupcakes out in one piece. Use a double-boiler to make the glaze and leave it on low heat so it doesn't harden too quickly. Also, if you think you have ruined the glaze after just the first step of cocoa, butter, and water, don't worry, I always do too, just keep going. And I have never put my cupcakes in the refrigerator to set, they seem to do just fine sitting on the counter.

Here is the recipe as it is written in the book, the photos are mine. 

Rich Chocolate Mini-Cakes
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon each baking soda and salt
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chocolate Glaze (recipe follows)

1. Heat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease 24 small muffin cups.

2. Sift together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl.

Add water, oil, and vanilla; stir until batter is blended. (Batter will be thin.) Spoon into prepared cups, filling 2/3 full.

Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until top springs back when touched. Cool in pans on wire racks 3 minutes; invert onto racks. Cool completely.

3. Prepare Chocolate Glaze; dip rounded portion into glaze. Place on wax paper-covered tray; refrigerate 10 minutes to set glaze.

Chocolate Glaze: Melt 2 tablespoons butter in small saucepan over low heat; add 2 tablespoon cocoa and 2 tablespoons water. Cook and stir until smooth and slightly thickened; do not boil. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Blend in 1 cup powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract; beat with wire whisk until smooth and slightly thickened.


Posted at:
Get Your Brag On Linky Party at Gluesticks
Strut Your Stuff Saturday at Six Sisters' Stuff

September 23, 2011

Photo Friday

Audrey discovered that the drip system makes the perfect drinking fountain after a long morning of playing in the dirt.

Have a great weekend everyone!

September 21, 2011

Audrey's Room

We painted Audrey's room the day after we found out she was a she. The curtains were made and hung just two days later. And we moved in a dresser, nightstand, and bookshelf repainted with a fresh coat of white. (Really all the credit for the painted walls, furniture, and the curtains has to go to my mom, I basically just sat and watched her work.) 

Other than adding the crib and an amazing mobile my sister made a few months later that is how her room stayed. Painted walls, cute curtains, a mobile and white furniture. There wasn't a single thing on the wall for almost the entire first year of her life. Honestly, I don't feel too bad for her, it isn't like she noticed, but I sat in that room for hours a day, it seems like I would have put something up for me to look at.

Several months ago I found these alphabet printables and then I made the footprint shadowbox and all the sudden it felt like her room was coming together after all. My favorite part of the whole room is how many items hold special meaning, it definitely is not a cookie cutter room.

Here's a little tour:

The 60th anniversary poster from the ice cream shop owned by Bryce's family.

Repainted $5 dresser
and these amazing (and free!) alphabet printables.

Repainted bookshelf that my dad made for my sister the year I was born,
footprint shadowbox,
an embroidery from Bryce's great-grandma,
an embroidery done by Bryce's dad when he was a kid,
and a beautiful butterfly print Audrey received on her first birthday from my sister.

My sister made this mobile and gave it to me at my baby shower, I think it is one of the most amazing things I've ever seen.

Audrey's giraffe quilt made by my mom, she surprised me with it at my baby shower.

Curious what Audrey was doing the whole time I was taking pictures?

She was pulling every single Kleenex out of the box. She had no interest in putting them back in either, she thought the box made a much better home for her alphabet magnets and the pile of Kleenex is now in a heap on the bathroom counter.

Posted at:
Made By You Mondays at Skip To My Lou
Frugalicious Fridays at Finding Fabulous

September 20, 2011

Mirror Makeover and a Sneak Peek

Several months ago when my parents came to visit my mom brought me this mirror.

Apparently some time before that I had said I wanted it, I actually don't remember that part, but I was more than happy to take it anyway. I needed a mirror for Audrey's room and this was just the right size. I really liked the detailing, but the color had to be changed. After a few coats of Sicilian Sky leftover from our living room project this is what it looks like now.

I'm pretty sure that months ago I said I would share pictures of Audrey's room. This is just a little preview, come back tomorrow to see the rest of the room.

September 19, 2011

Refrigerator Dill Pickles

I love pickles. I always have. Remember those big jars of full of pickles that they used to sell at concession stands or the movie theater? Yeah, I was the kid who bought those. I remember telling my husband this years ago and he laughed. Mostly because he had never heard of a movie theater selling pickles, but also because he didn't know anyone ever chose pickles over chocolate.

When I heard about making your own pickles in the refrigerator I knew I had to try it. I'm so glad I did. These were perfectly crunchy with a fantastic flavor. Ten times better than any pickle ever sold at a concession stand.

Here's how I made them:

Refrigerator Dill Pickles
clean quart jar
3 kirby cucumbers
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup water
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 onion, sliced
1 teaspoon dill seed

In a saucepan combine vinegar, water, salt and sugar and bring to a boil. While waiting for the liquid to boil wash the cucumbers, slice both end off and cut into wedges. Add the garlic, onion, and dill seed to the jar.

Pack the cucumber spears into the jar.

Once the brine comes to a boil slowly pour it over the cucumbers. Place the lid back on and allow to cool. Store in the refrigerator for at least two days before eating. The longer you wait to eat them the more pickle-y and less cucumber-y they get.

And if your house is anything like mine you won't have to worry about them going bad because they will be quickly eaten, but if not they should keep up to a month in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

A little side note: The jar may seal during the cooling process, mine did, but according to the USDA this doesn't make your pickles shelf stable.

Posted at: 
Made By You Mondays at Skip To My Lou
Strut Your Stuff Saturday at Six Sisters' Stuff

September 16, 2011

Photo Friday

Five years ago today. 
One of the best days of my life.

September 15, 2011

Homemade Tomato Sauce using Fresh Tomatoes

My in-laws planted a couple of tomato plants this year that were labeled as a small cherry variety. Unfortunately for them, luckily for me, the plants were mislabeled and produced a larger fruit that looks like a mix between a roma and pear tomato. The worst part, for my in-laws, about this little mix-up is that the tomatoes aren't very good for eating raw. However, they are perfect for making homemade tomato sauce.

If you've never had it, homemade tomato sauce using freshly picked tomatoes right out of your own garden, or your in-laws' garden in my case, cannot be beat. The flavor is so rich and fresh. I make huge batches and freeze them to use throughout the rest of the year. 

This is kind of a non-recipe recipe. There really aren't any measurements to give because it all depends on how many tomatoes you have and how big of batch you want to make. But trust me, you really can't mess this up. Just add the amount you think is right.

Here is what I did to make a batch of sauce that completely filled my large dutch oven:

Tomato Sauce
1 large onion, chopped
8 cloves garlic, chopped
a huge bunch of fresh basil, chopped
fresh tomatoes
salt and pepper

Start by peeling the tomatoes. Peeling the tomatoes is a cinch, simply bring a large pot of water to a boil, place the tomatoes in the water for 30-60 seconds until you can see the skin starting to bubble up. Remove the tomatoes from the boiling water and submerge in an ice bath. Then you should be able to just pop the skins off.

In small batches puree, in a blender or food processor, 3/4 of the tomatoes. With the other 1/4 of the tomatoes simply squish them between your fingers or roughly chop them. I should note that I don't worry about the seeds in the tomatoes and don't bother taking them out, in the final sauce they aren't even noticeable. If you like, you could always seed them first.

In a large dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and saute the onion for 5 minutes or until soft, season with salt and pepper. Add the garlic and saute another 2-3 minutes. Stir in the basil.

Add the pureed tomato and the crushed tomato until the pot is full. Season with salt and pepper. At this point the sauce looks strangely pink and frothy, but don't worry about either, the color will turn a rich red and the frothiness goes away.

Bring the sauce to a simmer and stir occasionally until the sauce has thickened to where you like it. Check the seasonings. I let mine reduce by about half. This takes a bit of patience as this pot simmered for almost 3.5 hours. But in the end you get the most beautiful, thick, and rich tomato sauce to use all year long.


Posted at:
Made By You Monday at Skip To My Lou

September 14, 2011

Happy Birthday!

I know I said I would have a new recipe to share but it will have to wait until tomorrow because today is all about this guy. 

Happy Birthday Bryce! 
We love you millions!

September 13, 2011

Zephyr Point

Audrey and I were lucky enough to be able to go to our church's fall retreat at Zephyr Point in South Lake Tahoe this past weekend.
Here are a few pictures from our time there. 

It was so beautiful and such a great trip... exactly the kind of weekend I was hoping for.

Back tomorrow with another recipe. I know my recent posts have been very food heavy, but my time lately has been overwhelmingly spent in the kitchen and not at the sewing machine. I blame all of the amazing fresh fruits and vegetables during this time of year that I just can't ignore. I'll be back to the sewing room soon though, I already have a few projects planned.

September 12, 2011


Around here we love hummus. I think it is just delicious and such an easy go to appetizer or snack if people come over, plus it's healthy. I'm not sure why I waited so long, but last week I finally tried making my own. I definitely won't be buying it from the store anymore, it was fantastic, not to mention ridiculously easy.

I think the best part about this recipe, other than the ease, is that it is a jumping off point to add any flavor you want. It would be delicious to roast the garlic first, make things spicy with a little jalapeño, finish with a drizzle of olive oil, really you could do anything.

2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 can low-sodium garbanzo beans, reserve liquid
juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons tahini
1 teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Slowly add liquid from garbanzo beans until you reach desired consistency (I used about 3/4 of the liquid). Enjoy!

Posted at:
We Did It! Wednesday on Sew Much Ado

September 9, 2011

Photo Friday

Fresh vegetables from a friend's garden. Beautiful. 

The tomatoes are my favorite part of the photo, not just because they are pretty, but because after Audrey saw that her dad and I were picking the beans and putting them into the box she started picking the tomatoes and adding them to the box too. She is definitely our little helper.

Enjoy your weekend!

September 8, 2011

Channeling My Inner Laura

Laura Ingalls Wilder that is. You know, from Little House on The Prairie. Oh, how I LOVED those books. I loved the detailed accounts of daily life on the Prairie, or in the Big Woods, or at Plum Creek or anywhere else the Ingalls family happened to be. Undoubtedly after reading one of the books I always longed to be a pioneer girl, living just like Laura. Everything about their lives was so fascinating to me. And thinking about it, a lot of my ideas about the role of a housewife and the value of homemade came from these books.

Today I am going to try to remember everything the Little House books taught me because yesterday I came home from the store with this.

That's right, I'm canning. A very Laura, or probably more accurately, a very Ma thing to do. I've never done it before and well, I really don't want to mess it up. Not only would I feel like I'm wasting perfectly good vegetables, but the whole botulism thing sounds pretty serious.

Hopefully my Little House schooling has prepared me well. I'll let you know how it all turns out.

September 5, 2011

Jamie Oliver is My Hero

Seriously. I have become slightly obsessed with the guy. More recently people have probably heard about him because of his "Food Revolution" and while I think he is doing a good thing, it is my DVR'd reruns of his show "Jamie at Home" that aired several years ago that have me swooning.

In a nutshell the show follows Jaime around his house as he creates meals using ingredients grown in his own country garden. The recipes look simple and delicious and have me so excited about cooking. I seriously love everything about the show. He even has a cookbook with the recipes from the show. Needless to say, I know one thing that will be on my Christmas list this year.  And while everything looks great it was his technique on cooking white rice that completely won me over.

I have never had luck cooking rice. No matter what I did the rice would be sticky or gummy or just plain bad. Which is so disappointing considering how much I love eating the stuff. When I saw my new bff's method I figured it wouldn't hurt to try it. OH MY GOSH - the guy is a genius. It was perfect. Here's the link to his website and his recipe for cooking rice.

You should definitely check the show out. Fair warning though, it's addictive.

September 2, 2011

Photo Friday

This absolutely melts my heart. She is definitely a daddy's girl.
Enjoy the long weekend!

September 1, 2011

I'm Back

August flew by. I'm having a hard time believing that it is already September. That means that Miss A is already 15 months old, the hubs is less than a year from being finished with his current job, and we are less than a year from moving, and fall, the best season of the year, is right around the corner. I have high hopes for September.

But before I completely dismiss August, here are a few highlights from the last several weeks.

We started by setting off on a two week road trip with plans to camp along the way. Interestingly enough no one said anything to us before we left, but when we got back no one was shy in telling us that they thought we were completely crazy for even attempting a trip like this with a little munchkin. As it turns out, Audrey is the definition of "happy camper" and the trip couldn't have gone any better or been any more fun.

I told myself I wouldn't put any naked pictures of her on here, but I couldn't help myself.
After we spent the first week camping in Southern Oregon we made our way further north, visited with family, built a fence, attended a best friend's baby shower and then headed to my parent's cabin in Central Oregon.

Hosmer Lake, Oregon
The rest of August was spent back at home enjoying some downtime.

Absolutely her favorite spot in our backyard. She will stand there and pick tomatoes until there aren't any left. The first three feet of our plant is now completely bare.

I hope everyone else had as wonderful and relaxing of an August as we did.