Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tis the Season

It's that time of year when we parents traumatize the little ones with a visit to see Santa. Zeb would not even get on his lap. Indiana had to hold him in a chair while he cried and screamed. Ahhh....warm Christmas memories.

It has been extra cold here the last few days, I mean "this ain't the South, ya'll" type of frigid cold. It always makes me nervous for the bee hives. There is no sure way to gage how much honey the bees need for winter.
So...we made candy boards this year.
The theory is to get these boards on by December 22nd and it will assist the bees through the rest of winter. Start with an inner cover board that is not notched and has a 1/2 inch lip all around.
What you will do is boil 2 cups of water and then add 5 pounds of sugar. Cook it to 240 degrees (soft ball stage)
Remove it from the heat and let it cool to 200 degrees.

I added Honey B Healthy when it cooled to 200 degrees. I intend for it to attract the bees more readily to the candy. Now you pour the mixture onto the board and let it set.
I am hoping the weather will be decent enough Friday to put these on the hives. I will take the inner covers off and replace them with these boards, candy side down.
You can learn more about these boards if you visit David Burns HERE

Here's hoping it will soon feel like the South again real soon!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Questions I Ponder

This time of year I find myself busy. Today was filled with school, laundry, sewing, baking, etc. I finally got the baby bathed and down for a short nap so I thought I would update the blog since it has been a neglected part of my weeks lately.

First, my new toy arrived today. It is a birthday present from Devin's parents and my mom.
It is a 30 quart canner. Wow! Big Bertha! I can't wait to test the thing out, and I am sure it will be put to a ton of use over the next several months.

What should I can first?
I wonder if I have enough jars?
Should I watch Psych tonight and do some knitting?
How many macadamia/caramel clusters is too many for one day?
Why is  the price of gas climbing? Is it just the holiday season?
Why do total strangers ask about how many kids I plan to have?
Since when is it anyone's business?
Maybe strangers are just nicely curious?
Are all 2 year old boys a wild handful?
Does crayon wash off walls?
How many times can a toy car get thrown down the stairs before it finally breaks?
Would a toy company ever pay us to test toy durability?
How much longer till bedtime?

Perhaps my brain needs a break.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Babies and Bread

Oh how I have been busy! Busy, busy. Yes, I have been sewing. I am not posting those details, however, because the recipients read this blog. I would not want to spoil a surprise.

We have been moving right along in school too. We have had to slow down and stay on a few topics because they have been difficult to grasp and required some extra work, especially some math. This is when it really is a blessing to be home educating. We stay on a topic until it is mastered and that makes a huge difference in self confidence.

I have also been doing some Christmas shopping. It has been really nice when Devin takes me and drives me around to the stores and also buys me lunch! What a sweetie!

I will tell you that what has kept me occupied more than any of the above activities though......

This little stinker has been a wee bit demanding. I forgive im though when he smiles like this for me:-)

This big stinker is quite the handful these days. How many times must he flush toys down the commode?

I'll let you know. :-)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Link Love

Since it is Friday I am going to post a picture from this week. My daughter and one of her roosters.. What would be a good caption for this photo? I am not sure what she was doing but I would love to give it a name.

I also want to leave some links from what I have read this week.
Mary Ostyn encourages us to Keep Walking. This is a post I can surely relate to, as can just about any mother.

Have you heard of Katie in Uganda and how she helps orphans there? Right now she needs prayers for her family. Please stop in and check on her. She is such a blessing.

If you are looking for great gifts to sew then check out Sew Mama Sew. You will find exactly what you want and more!

Finally, you really need to make this bread. We had 2 loaves today and I just made 2 for tomorrow. YUMMY!

Have a great weekend ya'll!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Handmade Christmas Part 2

When the fabric is as cheery as this, well, you must make something fun!

Who can resist these snowmen?

Can I get three cheers for rick rack?

And another three cheers for what might be the easiest and cutest apron in town!

Here was my inspiration.....well, that and some cheery Christmas fabric and a couple of dear people who will make great use of these aprons!

I am suddenly craving some cookies.....

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Handmade Christmas Tutorial

I just had to share the love today! 10 minutes is all you need to whip up one of these little treasures.

This is the wine bag that is in this nice little book:

I bought this book last year and made some table runners and place mats from it and they were nice. I thought the wine bag was a cute idea for gift giving as well.

Here's what you need:
1 fat quarter for outside
1 fat quarter for inner lining
1 yard of ribbon

Trim your fabric pieces to 14"x16" each. This project is great for that stash of fabrics you have in the closet:-)

With the RIGHT sides together, stitch down the short 14" inch side. Use your 1/4" foot. Press the seam towards the lining.

Now open it up and it should look like this.

Fold it in half this way with the RIGHT sides still together and sew down the side.

You should have a tube. Do you? Good. Next step.....

Turn the lining side out over the outside fabric. It should look like this. See where the two fabrics are sewn together at the top?

Sew a 1/4 " seam all the way around the top there. You are doing great! We are almost done.

Take the open end and trim it just enough to get any scraggly ends even. Then.....

Sew it closed...all the layers together there where you just trimmed. Zig-zag the raw seam so it looks neat.

Fold the corner down and measure 1 1/4". Mark the line and pin it. Do this with BOTH corners. This will give the bag a flat bottom so it will stand up better.

Sew on your marked line. Trim a 1/4" seam and zig zag the raw edge. Do the same with the other corner.

How does your bag look? I bet it is looking great!

Turn your bag RIGHT side out now! Now all you need is a way to tie it up.

Measure down 4 1/2 inches on the side where the seam is and put a little mark there.

Fold your ribbon in half and tack it down by hand or machine. I used thick hand quilting thread and tacked it by hand.

Now you bag is ready for some wine or even sparkling juice!

Tie it all up and you are done! That was easy, yes? Anybody can buy a paper gift bag for a wine gift. Your handmade bag is so much nicer!

Tomorrow I will show you a couple of cheery holiday aprons that are almost as simple to make!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Handmade Christmas Part 1

Most years I try and make at least a few of my Christmas gifts and this year is no exception.
Today I finished up what is called the "Zippy Strippy"...or is it the "Strippy Zippy?"

I am not sure, but either way it consists of a little fabric pieced and quilted and made into a nice little bag with a zipper.
I love them. You can use them to hold all sorts of treasures or sewing tools or make-up. I was given one by a wonderful lady friend at the quilt store. I then took her class and made one for myself and that inspired me to make some as gifts.

She showed me how to add this binding on the zipper so it would look more finished. I admit I am not a fan of sewing zippers, but it was easy.

I am not giving a tutorial for this project, but here is the pattern I used.

Isn't this fabric adorable? No doubt some special people will be getting these in a few weeks!
Stayed tuned as I am making some more things over the next few days, that is if my infant and toddler cooperate!
What gifts are you making this year?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Busy Bee

I am not quite sure what it is about having a new baby AND the holidays quickly approaching but it really gets my gears going.
I suddenly feel the urge to clean out every room and closet, I HAVE to get rid of clutter and stuff that really serves no purpose for this family. Combine this urge with the desire to start making some Christmas gifts and you have one busy bee.

Today I made out a Christmas list and plan to utilize it sometime next week. My quilting will stop for the time being so I can focus on sewing other goodies. Tomorrow I will make out a shopping list for the holidays and when Devin gets another little stretch off work we are going through the house and basement and getting rid of things we no longer need!!!! (yay!)
When there are 9 people living in the house (big or small people) it can get cluttered, especially with homeschooling.
Because I am not focused and just rambling, I am going to direct you to another site, specifically a blog I created last year for my dad. There is a particular story that we were all talking about last weekend about a cat. A very sneaky cat, indeed. It was one cheerful story on a blog that chronicled a sad situation.
Go read it HERE and enjoy a laugh. Only these things happen to me, honestly.

Monday, November 8, 2010


It is already almost the middle of November!!! How did that happen? Where did the time go?
I am going to blame it all on this daylight savings time garbage.
Twice a year we get to re-adjust our sleep pattern (ie. lose some precious sleep) over this time system that honestly makes no sense in the 21st century. It's an evil, evil thing I tell ya.

It has also been a very busy week. We celebrated Rose's birthday a week ago and then last weekend we celebrated Journee's birthday.

She had a movie night party so instead of a regular cake, we had candy and popcorn and sodas. Initially we planned on a movie outside with the projector but old man winter arrived early so we moved it all indoors.

These two girls were actually both born Nov 3rd. Aren't they both so pretty? Yep, they are my offspring:-)

Now that we are all done with parties, it is time to work hard getting gifts made and list written down all in preparation for the holidays. I also plan to get the house de-cluttered in a serious way. (ha-ha-ha....I sort of laugh to myself) That will be an undertaking with so may kids, but I am determined to get a little more organized BEFORE next year. Wish me luck. It should be easy with a 6 week old, right?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What's In Indian Corn

So today starts a  season of crafts! Today we made Indian Corn.

We used an all time favorite staple among all craft supplies: construction paper.

I originally decided to do this craft because 1. I needed something to keep the 5 year old busy
2. It is a great for the little ones to practice cutting and pasting and 3. It is nice to have the house decorated in season by the kids.

Don't forget to add crunched up paper at the top for husks.

These are nice hanging up in the window too!

Also, if you are craving something yummy to bake look no further, well you need to head over to Once Upon A Chef. You will find the BEST pumpkin muffins. I made a double batch last night and we had them for breakfast. This recipe is a keeper, trust me.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Biscuits By The Dozens

Oh my, was I productive today! Not only was I cleaning, schooling and prepping for Rose's birthday party tomorrow, BUT I just happened upon a great recipe posted by a mom of many children.
Biscuits. 100 of them. At a time. To freeze. And eat one hectic day with breakfast. Or dinner.

We had some with lunch and then I froze the rest just like the recipe says.....pre-cooked.
Now I have a freezer stocked with these delights and it really took no time at all to make.
HERE is where you will find it all.
Have a great Halloween!!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Birthday Chicken Nuggets

There are not many foods more comforting than fried chicken. I like to fry chicken nuggets. I have been eating this meal since I was a little kid and now my kids always request this for their birthday dinner.
Birthday Chicken Nuggets.
You have to make the sauce too. Let me know how everyone loves them.
Yes, these are fried. Get over it and enjoy some REAL comfort food every now and then.

Here's what you need:

3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into 1 inch pieces
1 egg, slightly beaten
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 C flour
1/2 C water
2 TB sesame seeds

Mix the egg, salt, flour water, and seed together. Heat oil. Add chicken, 1 layer at a time. Fry 3-5 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Remove and let sit on paper towel covered plate.

Special Sauce

1 C ketchup
1 TB brown sugar
1/4 C oil
1 tsp. mustard
2 TB vinegar

Mix together in small saucepan. Cook over med/low heat until heated through. Serve as a dipping sauce with chicken nuggets.

OKAY! Here are some pictures to go along with the glorious details:

Here is my batter and my chicken. Keep in mind that I ALWAYS double the recipe, and occasionally triple the recipe because we eat a ton, especially this stuff! I have also found that cutting chicken that is frozen slightly is easier than cutting non-frozen chicken.

Here is the chicken getting covered by batter and I use a fork to lift it out and place it in the hot oil.

I always use cast iron to fry. In fact I use cast iron for nearly everything I cook. The trick to frying chicken (in case you do not fry much) is to get the oil HOT first.  The oil for these nuggets is about 2 inches deep in my fryer and I get it heated on med/high heat. This is one layer cooking, you do not want the chicken on top of each other. After it gets started, I will reduce my heat to medium.

When the nuggets look about like this, turn them over and cook the other side. It will take 3-5 minutes.

This is what the finished masterpiece will look like. I always cut the first finished nugget in half to "make sure" it is cooked through. Then I take the cut nugget and dip it in the sauce to "make sure" the sauce is heated through...and eat it. I encourage everyone to do the same.

I PROMISE everyone will love these, especially if you make some mashed potatoes and gravy to go along.
Make them and let me know what you think?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Snap Shot

I think this picture speaks for itself. Hope the weekend is treating ya'll well.

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