Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: My First Hemp Necklace


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

30 Day Family Challenge (update)

The best things in life are free...

Not to say it hasn't been difficult at times, but we have made it 1/4 of the way through our 30 day family challenge!

Its been a week and we haven't spent any money, we haven't even made a dent in the pantry! There have been a few moments when either my husband or I was like, "want, want, want..." and the other was like, "no spending, we can do this,"

The ultimate test is Flogging Molly (one of our favorite bands, even better in concert) is coming to the town next to us and the tickets are way cheap! But we are going to wait to buy our tickets (unless they are sold out which is way possible) until after this challenge. This is the first time we've challenged ourselves as a family to do something. We can do it! and if the concerts sold out then thats a message from the universe to not go. :P

This week the harder part was explaining the challenge to others. Questions like, are you broke? are you having money problems? Why would you do this? etc. We are not broke, nor having money troubles. We just are trying to teach ourselves the difference between need and want (I understand we could do without a lot of what we have). We are also doing this to save money. Its always nice to have money saved up for whatever reason. One of my 101 things to do before I die is to save $10000 in my saving account, so this is a great way to presume my goal and also ween myself off consumerism. We have also had alot of concern over starving directed towards us. Okay, we aren't going to starve we have plenty of food. Also, if we run out of food, we will go buy some and we will have learned something from this challenge. So don't worry about us starving.

   
Homemade pizza!
We have actually been eating a lot more healthy now that we have to make everything from scratch and take getting the proper nutritional thingys into account. There's no junk food available in the house and everything takes time to prepare. Granted being 5 months pregnant sends me into craving for thick banana ice cream shakes... but I'll eat a banana instead or have a glass of water and play spongebob memory game with my daughter. Its a new relationship, I have with food, one I want my daughter to learn from me. We also made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (the best cookies ever), pierogi (which flopped so badly even though we tried so hard... maybe next time -Jorg still ate them), and ham cabbage casserole (which was also amazing and done mad scientist style so I don't have a recipe, but Jorg and My Girl gobbled it up and want me to make it again! So perhaps, I'll get around to making one).
Sookie is always in the bkg of every pic

 As for entertainment, its also been impacted. Can't go to the movies, can't GO SHOPPING, can't throw a party, not that these things were things that happened alot... well, except the shopping. I noticed that this week, we have been really involved with each. Everyone helps out with everything, laundry, cleaning, gardening. We are moving as a family unit and its amazing! We have spent every none raining day outside for the whole day. Rainy days we pwn the organizing and housecare, and play so many games. This challenge has really brought all 3 of us together this week.

3 weeks left to go and I am so proud of us all ready! I'm making a big corned beef for us all tomorrow and we are going to finish off the spiral garden and start some flowers!




Monday, March 28, 2011

New Tapestries!

Ed Hardy Collage

Once again, I went into Spencer's and found phenomenal 5'x7' Tapestries for 2 dollars a piece! I am in love with both of these. Though the material is definitely not as nice as the Grateful Dead Dancing Bear Quilt I made, its very synthetic-y... I dunno.

But I couldn't resist. I think they will make really nice picnic quilts and my husband is so excited for me to get them done!

Irish Drinking Team

    I thought I'd outline all the detail. I am
    starting with the Irish Drinking Team one
    first. Then if I feel ambitious I'll spend
    the rest of my life on the Ed Hardy Collage!

Urban Homestead Plan



I spent most of last night drawing this up... My husband said, "its quite ambitious" but we can do it over the next couple years. Its a process right?

Coming Along

Jorg tilling the new plot!

We had our starters burst out of our little soda bottle green houses. I have had one plot ready since December for our beloved pumpkins! But that just won't fit it all:
  • sunflowers
  • calendula
  • salvia
  • echinacea
  • sugar peas
  • big max pumpkins 
  • cucumbers
  • dill
  • basil
  • zucchini
  • tomatoes
  • okra
  • bell pepper
  • corn
  • watermelon
  • peppers
So we are going to need a few more plots :P, to say the least.
   
three plots
We have three plots getting there. One for pumpkins, one for flowers, and one for cucumbers and basil. We also started working on a spiral garden. I was looking for ideas on the internet late last night and I wish I could remember where I saw it... but it was a herb garden on a mound of dirt with rocks outlining a spiral. I want to do a root one and an herbal. I haven't decided on carrots or radishes. But we are definitely doing red onions. RED ONIONS everywhere.

Sugar peas, sage, and lemon balm         

We got our sugar peas ready to go! I am really excited about this gardening. My daughter loves it, she's starting to like getting her hands dirty. We spend most of the day outside as a family trying to get the land ready and we work together. This urban homestead is bringing my family together!

Our pumpkins! Itsy bitsy ones!
Now our pumpkins will spread over a few different plots because they are what we love growing the most. Besides making delicious pies, butter, cookies, risottos, etc. they are our Halloween thing! We carve pumpkins to the extreme! We are hoping to get a nice 100lber to carve into the death star this year.
unincorporated backyard: future fire pit and earth oven area
More unincorporated backyard: future clothesline and My girls play area



We still have a lot of work to do :)





Thursday, March 24, 2011

Crafty Crafts

Made By Me Junior Box of Projects
Steve Bear!
I recently bought Made By Me Junior Box of Projects with 30 projects. I love art and I want my daughter to love it too. I'm creative but its hard for me to recognize crafts and art projects that my daughter can do and not get frustrated. (I'm still kinda a newb, lol) This box has alot of projects and so far the 4 we have done make her very happy. She walks around asking "Mama, we do crafty crafts after we do school?" She loves school too.

It mostly been painting and putting stickers on a template to make a picture. There are alot of options to pick from but the bear will still be a bear and the farm still a farm, though a very interesting on with a cow that flies over a rainbow. LOL. I'm glad I bought this and already have ideas to design projects for her!
Tree Face
Orange


I'll keep you posted on the craft box! They have Stickers! Tissue Paper Animals! Foam Jewelry! Paper Puppets! Clay Animals! Color Roll! Mosaics! that we have yet to even do!

The Wonton Experiment

Okay, maybe they aren't quite wontons. I think wontons are folded differently and we kinda folded this like unsealed envelopes and there's the whole filling thing.

My husband and I are very interested in cooking. As I have said before, he's a very precise in cooking and I am sorta cook by feeling... anyway, we were discussing what we needed to eat for the day. Since we are in day 2 of our no spending any extra money family challenge, we need to eat things that will go bad first to be sure that we don't waste any food. I remembered I had bought some Wonton wrappers from Melissa's and searched the internet for ideas to use them before they went bad. After some brainstorming, and some reminders about the crab meat and brie in the fridge, we decided to make a different version of the crab rangoon.

So we sat and folded them... we made over 30 but less than 60 of them. We ran out of brie and crab. Some were just brie and some were crab and brie.

Truth be told they were amazing when they were still hot and melty. They were yums are that but not nearly as good. But its almost like you'd have to fry and eat at the same time. But it was salvaged with a "dippy" as my daughter calls them. Soy sauce and balsamic vinegar! Is there nothing that vinegar can't fix?

Tip for frying: My husband did the frying while I folded. He wanted me to pass on that the wontons bubble up when they hit the oil and the way to combat this is to flip them over as soon as they are put in.

We love experimenting! This Friday we make pierogi. My husband is making the dough and I am making the filling! So far, its been fairly easy to do this family challenge. We are making one exception, we can buy milk and diapers (I'm not making my daughter suffer like that) but a good thing that comes out of it is we are keeping a log and we will finally know how much money we spend a month on diapers and milk!

101 Things to do Before I Die

So this is totally a popular thing that's been going around the internet. I've written tons of them. I'm a list junkie. I make notebooks of lists (not at a single time but over like a couple months). It really relaxes me and focuses me. However, once I make the list, I don't need to look at it again because after writing it, I'll remember everything I need to do. This is not the case for a grocery list LOL... but don't have to worry about that for about 29 days! Heh!

People call this a "Bucket List". I'd really rather not think that if I could complete this list than I would be so fulfilled in life and have nothing left to do. Not a likely scenario, I grant you, but still. I read on one of my favorite blogs, The Personal Excellence Blog: 101 Things to do before you Die. She writes about how this list evolves with you. When you finish something, you can add something or you can go over 101. Who says you have to limit yourself to only 101 things? Its a big world out there with more experiences, things to learn, and ways to help than most people could ever know, let alone put it all on a 101 list.

  1. Learn Poi
  2. Learn Fire Poi 
  3. Achieve my ideal weight 
  4. Do a Mud Run
  5. Take up Hiking again
    1. Go on these hikes:
      1. Antelope Valley (CA Poppy Reserve)
      2. The Bridge to Nowhere
      3. Joshua Tree National Park- Lunar Hike
      4. Mt. San Jacinto- Palm Springs Tram
      5. Devil's Chair- Devil's Punchbowl
  6. Bungee jump from the Bridge to Nowhere
  7. Ride the Palm Springs Tram
  8. Plant a small grove of trees and watch them grow
  9. Write a letter to your best friend to let them know how much they mean to you
  10. Learn all about wine 
  11. Learn how to play the banjo or violin
  12. Take a woman's self-defense class
  13. Take Karate with my Husband and Children
  14. Get a makeover
  15. Run in a 5K Marathon
  16. Act in a film (family written, produced, acted, and directed)
  17. Knit a scarf
  18. Go on a road trip to Northern California
  19. Try being a vegetarian for a month
  20. Fold 1,000 origami cranes
  21. Organize a picnic outing
  22. Finish up and get my Associate's Degree
  23. Have my teeth whitened
  24. Sew my daughter some clothes
  25. Sew a quilt
  26. Create a house that inspires me
  27. Sell something I have made
  28. Start a blog with at least 5 followers
  29. Go to a nude beach while nude
  30. Learn to paint a wall correctly
  31. Paint a mural
  32. Plant a row of red roses in my backyard with a white rose bush
  33. Give barefoot running a try
  34. Grow a 100lbs pumpkin
  35. Win a contest
  36. Save 10,000 dollars
  37. Raise butterflies
  38. Make everyone I love an amazing hemp braclet
  39. Go see Flogging Molly in concert again
  40. Go see Ingrid Michaelson in concert again
  41. See Lady Gaga in concert
  42. See Devil Makes Three in concert
  43. Go see Rain in concert again (beatles thing... awesome)
  44. Sing a song in karaoke
  45. Get a henna style (real) toe ring tattoo
  46. Do 100 situps
  47. Do 100 pushups
  48. Adopt a really big dog
  49. Go to Montreal and see the bio dome
  50. Go on safari in South Africa
  51. Build an Earthstove in my backyard
  52. Learn to make juicy pork soup dumplings
  53. Make dandelion wine
  54. Get an incredible tan
  55. Ride a mechanical bull
  56. Go to Burning Man
  57. Go to Huck Finn's Jubilee
  58. Make my own apple cider
  59. Go to Scotland
  60. Go up in a hot air balloon
  61. See the Grand Canyon
  62. Climb/hike Mt. Whitney
  63. Do a triathlon
  64. Go to Minus5 Ice bar in Las Vegas
  65. Take an Alaskan Cruise
  66. Write a novel
  67. Move back to Arcata
  68. Take a dance class with my husband
  69. Ride an Elephant
  70. See the Northern Lights
  71. Make my own ice cream
  72. Take a painting class again, this time with acrylics not oils
  73. Take a drawing class
  74. Get My BA
  75. Get my Masters
  76. Make Chocolate crossiants
  77. Get a crazy amazing dress
  78. Win 500 dollars at Blackjack
  79. Learn French
  80. Finally win one game of chess!
  81. Have a huge garage/yard sale
  82. Read Finnegan's Wake and get it
  83. See Halmet performed 
  84. Carve a 100lb pumpkin
  85. Eat at Gordon Ramsey's Hell's Kitchen
  86. Design my own "signature" cocktail
  87. Hike in the rainforest
  88. Learn to dirtbike
  89. Go to Cedar Point
  90. Go to Coney Island
  91. Go to San Francisco and not be miserable this time
  92. Go to Oktoberfest 
  93. Make Amigurumi
  94. Fold 1000 origami cranes 
  95. Go Berrypicking
  96. Get out of debt
  97. Rent a convertible and go sight seeing around socal
  98. Renew my wedding vows
  99. See walking with the dinosaurs
  100. Go on the fair's rides that terrify me
  101. Spend Halloween night on the Queen Mary

    Amazon Book Sale!

    I love Amazon.com. It has wonderful deals for books and alot of options for the kindle which is my primary source for my fiction book. But for reference books like cookbooks, how to books, or books to read in the bath, I either go with the under 5 dollars bargain bin at Amazon.com or the friends of the library sale.

     Amazon's Under 5 Dollar Books

    I just a box of books, that I couldn't resist ordering.




    I really am looking forward to using the hemp and beading, herbal remedies, and spa vitality books. The pumpkin books (and yes there are alot of them) are for October when we do our pumpkin carving/sculptures. This year we plan on using one of the 100lbers, we will have growing in our patch very soon, to carve the death star. Not to mention tons of other ones. It'll be a busy day but as you can tell I'm totally looking forward to it!


     

    Potato Bread Recipe

    In the spirit of the season, (I betcha I've worn out your zest for StP day huh? :-) we have been making the yummiest bread. Yes, Potato Bread! Its also my families favorite, next to green chili sourdough which we haven't been able to reproduce yet. Now I'm more of a cook than a baker, though I adore baking way more. My husband is a baker, but not a cook. Its the whole mad scientist thing v. chemist. Cooks throw things in (a lil of this, a lil of that) and Bakers can't do that because they rely on chemical reactions to create the proper taste and texture, so the measurements have to be perfect. But this recipe even I can do! YAY!

    This bread has an amazing texture while having a moist buttery flavor.

    It makes 2 loaves.

    Ingredients
    • 1 Med. Potato, peeled and cut into 1inch cubes
    • Water
    • 1/2 tsp. Salt
    • 2 C. Milk
    • 1/4 C. Butter (or hard margarine)
    • 1/4 C. Granulated Sugar
    • 1/4 oz. (2 1/4 tsp.) Envelope of active dry yeast
    • 3 1/2 C. All-Purpose Flour
    • 2 tsp. Salt (yes, its here again but used at a different time
    • 1 1/2 C. All-Purpose Flour (again :-)
     Method
    1. Cook Potato in water and salt in a small saucepan for about 15 minutes until way tender.
    2. Mash well in a medium bowl and cover to keep warm
    3. Combine the next 3 ingredients in a separate small heavy saucepan.
    4. Heat and stir on medium until sugar is dissolved and butter is almost melted.
    5. Pour into an extra-large bowl.
    6. Stir until butter is melted and let stand for 5 minutes.
    7. Sprinkle the yeast over the top.
    8. Let stand for 10 minutes.
    9. Then stir until yeast is dissolved.
    10. Add the first amount of flour, salt and potato. Mix until a soft dough forms.
    11. Work in enough of the second amount of flour until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl and is no longer sticky.
    12. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 5 to 10 minutes, adding flour if necessary to prevent sticking, until smooth and elastic (make sure you are patient enough for this step as I often am not and my bread turns out hard)
    13. Place in a large greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. cover with a tea towel and let it stand in the oven with the door closed for 1 hour until its doubled in size. 
    14. Punch down dough. (POW!)
    15. Turn onto lightly floured surface and knead for 1 minute.
    16. Divide into 2 equal parts.
    17. Flatten 1 portion of dough into a rectangle (tuck it, roll it, stretch it to get to fit in the pan, place seam down) We use 2- 9 x 5 x 3 inch pans.
    18. Cover with tea towel and repeat with remaining dough. 
    19. Leave the loaves to stand in the oven with the door closed for 1 hour (until dough rises to top of pans).
    20. Bake at 400 F for 10 minutes
    21. Reduce heat to 375 F and bake for 20 minutes until its all delicious and golden brown looking.It also sound hallow when you tap it.
    22. Let stand in pans for 5 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool.



    DIY Laundry Detergent




    My family goes through clothes like they are going out of style (pun... almost!!!) 

    We aren't a "don't play in the dirt" kind of family. We play in the dirt, especially if its muddy. That's so much better. My two year old very much likes our policy. So there are is at least a load of laundry a day and if I skip a day. Its like the laundry multiplies like bunnies... there dirty laundry pouring out of every room like some kinda horror film! I got tired of buying detergent every week. Buy the cheapest stuff cause I wanted to save money and not knowing if it would be itchy or clean well, etc. Surely, there had to be a better way. So far this is the cheapest way to do laundry, cleans as well as anything out there, and its a family affair to make once a month! 

    I searched and couldn't find washing soda which is what a lot of recipes call for. I use baking soda, which I know isn't the same thing, but it works just fine. 

    Ingredients
    1/2 C. Baking Soda/Washing Soda
    1/2 C. Borax
    1 C. Fels Naptha


    Method
    1. Grate the Fels Naptha into a fine powder
    2. Mix well with baking soda and borax 
    3. Store in a container.

    Use 2 Tbs per load.


    Add white vinegar as you would fabric softener. It makes the clothes rinse clean, deodorizes them, and leaves them nice a soft. I use vinegar to clean almost everything (its absolutely amazing!) so I just throw all my used vinegary cleaning rags in with the load.


    I have been researching dryer sheet replacements and have made a bean bag satchel filled with lavender with two safety pins on each. Sounds weird? but so far there's no static and the clothes smell like lavender tea.

    There's a one recipe I still wanna try out, DIY dish washing cleaner... hmm...

    Our 30 Day Challenge!

    No, our family challenge is not to shop more.

    Instead from March 22 to April 22, we giving up shopping completely. No extra expenditures at all. We got bills budgeted out and rent. Also money only for diapers and milk. But we don't have to buy groceries cause we have plenty in the freezer and pantry.

    It will be nice to focus on other things other than money for a while. Money, money, money! It feels like that all I ever heard or worry about but if we don't spend anything than we don't have to fight or worry about the almighty money, which really isn't the end all be all. Any of the extra money is going straight into savings to cushion us when the new baby finally comes in July!

    I'll keep you all updated each week. I dunno what I'll do actually during the week. My husband and I both think to do anything that money needs to be spent... which is funny because growing up neither of us had any.

    Wish us perseverance and luck!

    Extreme Super Moon

    Did you see it? The Extreme Super Moon? March 19, 2011, the Moon was closer to the Earth than its been in 18 years! It was rainy and cloudy here but we managed to sneak a peek when it let up and the clouds parted... It was pretty cool!


    I must say for such a neat event it has a very disappointing name. Super Moon? then Extreme Super Moon? It sounds like a 2 year old surfer named the moon. (no offense to surfing 2 year old)

    Photograph courtesy Bill Ingalls, NASA
    It was the perfect time for me to transplant my starters! So into the ground went my peppermint, chocolate peppermint, thymes, sage, basil, dill, sunflowers, and pumpkins. The next round should be ready soon.

    LadyBug Fever...

    is not a new kind of flu... but that sounds like it would be horrible. We recently had a large number of ladybugs spring from their pupa. They are loving my backyard! My daughter has fell in love with them. She'll sit in the grass next to the lady bugs laughing saying "oh ladybug, you so funny!" Which makes me laugh hysterically. She recently decided that we needed to take picture of every ladybug we saw. We saw 58 that day. It was incredible. I have a huge album filled with ladybugs! We got to watch a lady bug hatch out of its pupa, another grow a real smart pupa (fyi they totally look like alligator bugs before they are ladybugs).
    I suddenly thought that I could use this ladybug love to teach her other things. Besides the life cycle of the ladybug and other nifty facts about lady bugs! This isn't a new idea to all you pro-mom out there but I'm still a rookie so I totally feel brilliant. Anyway, we made a "field journal" about the ladybug (thanks diego!) and I added in a ton ladybug learning stuffs from the internet. Here's some pictures and links, if your little one adores the ladybug.

     Quick and Easy Spring Time Craft 
    by She Scribes








    Free Kindergarten Counting Worksheet

    by ActivitySchoolBus.com






    Ladybug Life Cycle Wheel -Science Forms
    by Highland Heritage Home School











    Lady Bug Coloring Page 
    by Twisty Noodle








    Ladybug Fingerpainting
    by Fun with Mama








    These are the resources I used and they went over magically! Thank you so much to people sharing resources like this freely! If I credited anyone incorrectly, message me and I will fix it asap. Also if you don't want your amazing ladybug business on here, message me and I'll take it down. I'm new to the blogging etiquette of this. Its not intentional and it helps me for the future!


    Have fun!

    The Day After StP Day: The Leftover Saga!

    Corned beef and all the fixing aren't just yummy the day of, or as sandwiches later on that night... reubens, or for nom-ing on randomly in your sleep. The morning after *sigh* is corned beef hash day! The best breakfast of the year, if you are a corned fanatic like me. :-). I'm also a corned beef hash snob so the can just doesn't do. Here's my favorite recipe for it from simplyrecipes.com:

    We ate ours too fast to get a picture. This is from simplyrecipe.com

    Ingredients

    • 2-3 Tbsp unsalted butter
    • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
    • 2-3 cups finely chopped, cooked corned beef
    • 2-3 cups chopped cooked potatoes, preferably Yukon gold
    • Salt and pepper
    • Chopped fresh parsley

    Method

    1 Heat butter in a large skillet (preferably cast iron) on medium heat. Add the onion and cook a few minutes, until translucent.

    2 Mix in the chopped corned beef and potatoes. Spread out evenly over the pan. Increase the heat to high or medium high and press down on the mixture with a metal spatula.

    3 Do not stir the potatoes and corned beef, but let them brown. If you hear them sizzling, this is good. Use a metal spatula to peak underneath and see if they are browning. If nicely browned, use the spatula to flip sections over in the pan so that they brown on the other side. Press down again with the spatula. If there is too much sticking, you can add a little more butter to the pan. Continue to cook in this manner until the potatoes and the corned beef are nicely browned.

    4 Remove from heat, stir in chopped parsley. Add plenty of freshly ground black pepper, and add salt to taste.

    Serve with fried or poached eggs for breakfast.


    We like to make it extra decadent by adding some cheddar cheese on top... hmm... After this pregnancy, we need start eating a lot healthier  0.o

    Enjoy!


    Happy Saint Patricks Day!

     
    My Daughter in here St. Patty's Outfit!
     Anyone who knows me, knows I have absolutely been in love with all and anything Irish since middle school. I usually do it up big... lots of Irish decoration, green desserts, green snacks, green drinks (whether they are adult or children's), lots of Irish costumes, Irish stories, etc. But this year, we have alot on our plates as it is, so I kept it simple. We got our green on and those who hadn't yet done so were brutally pinched! Muahaha!


    It started as a wonderful day! Teaching my daughter to say: "happy saint patricks day", "top o' the morning to you", "Tabhair 'om pog, is Eireannach me" ("Kiss me I'm Irish!" in Gaelic), and "Beannachtai na Feile Paraic oraibh!" (St. Patrick's Blessing upon you!). I told you I am in to it. I thought we'd walk to the store and get some miscellaneous items when we stopped at the McDonald's play place, my daughter's favorite place to play! We went in, ate a fruit salad, shared their shamrock shake, and she played for about an hour. Just as I was getting ready to get her to go. A little boy scratch attacks her and bites her! She had a perfect outline of his teeth on her arm and he face was covered in scratches. I go and get her put ice on her bite and comforts her before I go to talk to his parents. But they bolted as soon as they heard he'd bit her. My daughter totally deserved an apology! It made me mad that someone won't teach their kids that there a consequences to hurting others. I have been told to call the police and get security footage and hunt them down. But though I'd like nothing better to avenge my daughter, he was a little boy! Kids do dumb things. They bite, hit, say mean things, it happens. My daughter was hurt but she didn't incur medical expenses. I am not hunting them down to force an apology or get their son on record as being a biter. Its a bit much in my opinion.

    We salvaged the day after that. I totally  My daughter had her first taste of corned beef and cabbage. She loved the corned beef and cabbage. She gobbled down more than all of us, okay maybe not because its everyone's favorite! I have a small freezer full. Honestly though, if I had my way I'd have gotten a deep freeze just to store all the 99cent a pound corned beef I could find! I'll be the reason they are all out, Muahahaha!
    The traditional meal for today!
    For anyone, who has no clue how to cook this marvelous meal, here's a recipe:

    Ingredients

    • 3 pounds corned beef brisket with spice packet
    • 10 small red potatoes
    • 5 carrots, peeled and cut into 3-inch pieces
    • 1 large head cabbage, cut into small wedges

    Directions

    1. Place corned beef in large pot or Dutch oven and cover with water. Add the spice packet that came with the corned beef. Cover pot and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer approximately 50 minutes per pound or until tender.
    2. Add whole potatoes and carrots, and cook until the vegetables are almost tender. Add cabbage and cook for 15 more minutes. Remove meat and let rest 15 minutes.
    3. Place vegetables in a bowl and cover. Add as much broth (cooking liquid reserved in the Dutch oven or large pot) as you want. Slice meat across the grain. 
    Corned Beef and Cabbage I Recipe At AllRecipe.com

    4 hours to myself!

    Its so easy, Its simplicity 2228






    Its starting to get to be summery (on and off) here. I thought since my girlie grows out of her clothes as soon as I buy them that I ought to be making her some summer clothes that will last all summer (knock on wood!). I got this summer dress pattern for super cheap on Simplicity.com.

    So I was in a sewing class, in 2003(?) for a whole semester where all I managed to make were pajama bottoms. Oh, they weren't very comfortable, but they had the sweetest shamrock design. But a year later the butt split from my freshmen 15! LOL. I kept the pants and we'll probably see the fabric again! Anyway, I think its clear that a pattern isn't something I have mastered.

    But it clearly states on the package that "its so easy" and that sold me, that and the clearance price! I also ordered some fab fabric from a cool etsy shop luckykaerufabric etsy store (the entire transaction was amazing!). Apparently, I love Michael Miller printed fabrics! I picked 3!

     
    Bite me, Bonehead, and Willow shrooms by Michael Miller
    Well, I kept wanting to try this pattern out. But my sewing machine needle broke, then I didnt have any bias tape, then I had no ribbon... then I everything but the time! Until this weekend when my husband took my daughter to the park with a bunch of our friends and there kids (they had a wonderful time!) as did I for my 4 hours to myself in what 4 months or so? I finished one dress and am 1/2 finished with the other two... I ran out of bias tape :-( LOL. But it was so easy! Only twice did I need to pull out the seam rippers! Here it is!

     
    Shes been doing these poses lately... should I be worried?

     She really loves it! But has been on me to finish her apple and mushroom dress LOL! If you are looking for a pattern that's really easy and requires little to no experience go with this one! You can do it!!! After the next two are done, I'm moving on to the pajamas for the summer!

    The Grateful Dead Dancing Bear Quilt

    the original tapestry

    I am a shopaholic.


    Just like in the book but less blunderous.

    When I see a deal, I just cannot pass it up! Which brings me to when I was shopping at Spencer's. I am a junk junky. I'm trying to break that habit but its a long road. As I was perusing the shelves of shot glasses, hats with bizarre saying, and a few naughty items for bridal showers (oh my!), I notice a small section of cloth tapestries.

    I immediately think to myself, "If I buy 4 of these massive ones, then I won't have to paint my room!" I quickly dismissed this thought as the shopaholic inside me aching to spend, Spend, SPEND!!! I picked it up and looked at the price. 75% off!!! A full wall tapestry of the beautiful dancing grateful dead bears, for 5.00 dollars? I bought it.

    I hung it on the wall for a while before deciding I wanted to make it into a quilt. I'd just come off the Caps for Good project, in which I crocheted 50 baby caps in a month, so I was ready for a new project that did not involve yarn. I never technically had made a quilt. We were suppose to make one in girl scouts but my mom made it for me cause she didn't want me using the sewing machine or the iron. It was also a 12" square. I have tried to make a quilt but they never got finished and looked very, very bad.

    I had everything I need except for the batting so I set to make my first quilt. About a week later, hours spent measuring, pinning, cutting, shooing my daughter off of the pinned quilt, and a few minutes of sewing I actually finished a quilt! It was so rewarding! Much more than going to a store and buying a 79 dollar comforter.

    The finished quilt!
    My daughter and I looked out over the quilt I had laid out. A week of promises built in my daughter's tiny 2 year old eyes.

     She said quietly, "Mama, Sharks?" 
    (I told her several times to stay off my pinned quilt because they were sharp)
    "Nope. Go ahead."

    She ran a circle around it and then jumped up and down on it.
    She yelled the whole time,

    "I like it!!!"
    A splash of color before the border goes on!

    /smile

    Soda Bottle Greenhouse Tutorial

    I started half my starters in pea pots and the others in these greenhouses. The pea pots have not sprouted yet but these took off! So I recommend them.
    1. A great way to recycle the bottles
    2. A cheap way to have a "greenhouse"
    3. Way easy and fun to make
    4. Keeps plants warmer
    5. Keeps plants wet
    6. Keeps plants away from hungry bugs
    7. Keeps those seed thieving birds away!!! (They have their own feeder!!!)
    They are a great way to recycle the bottles, a cheap way to have a greenhouse, are crazy easy to make, they keep the plants warmer, wetter, safe from bugs and theiving and in all awesomer! I don't drink soda at all but my husband and guests do so I got alot quickly.

    Note: Please forgive the poor quality of picture I only have a 5 mega pixel camera. I'm in the market for a 14 mega pixel which I should have soon!


    Materials: 
     
    1. 2-Liter bottles (rinsed out and dried                       
    2. Sharp scissors


    Step 1: Remove lid and Cut the bottle in half





    Removing the lid makes it so much easier
    to smash the bottle and cut it in half.












    Step 2: Poke holes in the bottom of the bottle





    Careful not to stab yourself!















    Step 3: Cut slits around the edges of both halves




    Hopefully, you can see that. But this is an important step to make the top half fit onto the bottom half.






    Finished greenhouse!




    They should fit together quite well
    if you push and turn it.

    Starters all happy!




    Add dirt, water, seeds, and sun...
    then BAM!



    It got really cold and windy so I brought the greenhouses in and sat them in the window.










    The lids are off because some of these plants got to big for their britches and on advice from my green thumbed friend I am waiting for the full moon to do all my transplanting.







    Good Luck!




    Thrift Store Find


    I love chicken and rice. But I also boil some rice and tear up some chicken when I make it for myself. Not terribly fancy at all. I was in the mood to cook the other day and found this yummy recipe: Arroz con Pollo Recipe on epicurious.com. I followed the recipe and realized halfway through the recipe that I didn't have a dutch oven to put the chicken and rice in at the end to finish in the oven. So I substituted my ceramic crock pot and glass lid. I watched closely for the next half hour as the handle on my crock pot lid began to wilt and eventually just fall off. I have fixed it and but its not so pretty. 

    The Arroz con Pollo was delicious... and I wanted to make it again next week, rice and chicken are pretty cheap and delicious. I popped into the thrift store hoping to find one and I did! 7.99 and its in such good condition! 

    Corningware Floral Bouquet 5 qt Dutch Oven circa 1971- 1975! I love it!

    Gardening by the Moon


    I asked my friend how her starter plants were doing. She responded that she hadn't started them and because she missed the new moon. I looked horribly confused, I'm sure, so she explained, the new moon is the best time to start new things because of all the positive energy in the earth from the moon. She also told me the best time to transplant my starters would be the full moon. I did some research and sure enough its a thing. So here's a lunar calendar for the month!

    I figured I'd give it a try and it couldn't hurt anything. It also is such an old and romantic idea of gardening by the moon. For more information: The-Gardeners-calendar.co.uk.

    Wednesday, March 9, 2011

    Caps for Good

    I recently finished the Caps for Good campaign. It ran from November, 2010 through February, 2011 but I didn't start until January. The campaign called on knitters and crocheters to create a cap for  low-birthweight babies in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

    I set a goal of crocheting 50 caps before the deadline. I'd never followed a pattern before but I found the one that was provided to be perfect for a first pattern. I also got my mother-in-law and sister-in-laws to crochet 100 each. So combined we had 350 caps! They also encouraged alot of people at their churches to crochet and knit caps as well.

    I hope that they do this campaign again next year. It was a wonderful feeling to be making something that somebody would need it. How many times have you crocheted a scarf and no one wears them... maybe that's a California thing?

    Half or so of the hats and half or so of Sookie
    They are alot of fun to make!

    Here's the pattern for crochet (pdf) and knitting pattern (pdf):

    Crocheted Cap Pattern
    Abbreviation Key
    “ = inch(es)
    ch = chain
    dc = double crochet
    lp = loop(s)
    mm = millimeter(s)
    oz = ounce(s)
    sc = single crochet
    rnd = round
    rep = repeat
    sl st = slip stitch
    st(s) = stitch(es)
    Size: 12” circumference

    Materials
    - Medium-weight yarn, 1 oz
    - Crochet hook size H (5mm) or size required for gauge
    - Yarn needle to weave in ends

    Gauge
    7 dc = 2”


    INSTRUCTIONS
    Rnd 1:
    Ch 4, work 11 dc in 4th ch from hook; join with a sl st to top
    of beg ch: counts as 12 dc.

    Rnd 2:
    Ch 3 (counts as first dc, now and throughout), dc in joining
    ch; 2 dc in each dc around, join: 24 dc.

    Rnd 3:
    Ch 3, dc in joining ch; *dc in next 2 dc, 2 dc in next dc; rep
    from * around, join: 32 dc.

    Rnds 4 through 11:
    Ch 3, dc in the top two loops of each dc around; join.

    Rnd 12:
    Sc crochet in the top two loops of dc around; join, finish off.
    Weave in all ends. Turn cuff up.