Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Magnet Pin Dish

I found a  good solution for my sewing pins:-)
 I had the regular stuffed tomato that everyone has, but I really wanted one of those magnet pin dishes that the really serious people that sew have! 
I found two cute silver dessert dishes at the thrift store the other day.  I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them :-)  I put a strong magnet on the bottom  of each of them ( I did not even have to glue the magnet because it stuck onto the metal) and ta da! I had a Magnetic Pin Dish!

 It has been a huge help to me.  No more pins all over the place! I have one by my sewing machine and I have one at my cutting table.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

"Put The Castle In First!"

I thought you all would like this wonderful analogy my friend Valerie made about  her daughter's Toy Castle.  I hope you enjoy her thoughts as much as I did.  Thanks Valerie for your wonderful insight as always :-)

Put The Castle In First

My daughter Kenzington has a darling little Disney play set. It has a tiny little version of many of the rides you would find at Disneyland (including teacups!) and lots of teeny tiny Disney Characters. The set also has an amazing castle. Kenz stores this set in a snap-top box that is just the right size. In fact, it is so perfectly sized for the set that if the pieces don't go in just right, the lid won't go on and close. She often attempts to put the set away and ends up very frustrated! Things just aren't working! She can't get it all in and get the lid on. Then I hear myself saying to her,
"Put the castle in first, the rest will fit in around it."

I'm guessing you already know what I'm getting at here; how this all relates to life, but perhaps, if only for myself, I need to clap it all out and finish drawing the analogy. Bear with me now!

We came to this earth for a number of reasons:

To get a body

To be tested

To have children

To fulfill a purpose

The overall goal of life is to live worthy to return to our Father in Heaven.
I think that SOMETIMES we get mixed up and mistake real life for a real life version of the GAME of LIFE. You know- the board game where the overall goal is:

to zip through school

to get the best job

to fill your car with family

to fill your bank account!

to sell the skunk farm!

to retire in Millionaire Estates or Countryside Acres.

REAL LIFE has to include many of those things, (hopefully not the skunk farm!) which is partly why it's easy to get mixed up about what REAL LIFE'S overall goal is. We spend so much time trying to make the journey through life better that we forget to move toward the REAL overall goal. In fact, many times we've forgotten what the REAL overall goal is and we're not going anywhere at all, just winding back and forth like on the board-game.

So here it comes- the secret to doing it right:


The Castle is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is attending ALL of our church meetings. It is repenting when we mess up. It is studying our scriptures and praying. It is having family home evening. It is attending the temple. It is serving other people. It is reminding others, some who might not even know about the castle, to put it in first.

And guess what?

When we put it in first, all the other little WORTH-WHILE things that are also a part of this experience we call LIFE fit in around it.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Another cute apron!

I made another flour sack ruffle apron for my friend :-) 
Her daughter is getting married and this is going to be her wedding shower gift.  I think the fabric colors are so cute! (you can find the fabric at Hobby Lobby)  I switched how I did the ruffle at the top a little bit ( every time I make one of these aprons they turn out just a little bit different.  That is how things go when you don't use a pattern :-)
People have asked for instructions for this apron and it is hard because really there is not any solid instructions.  I just made it up as I went, but I do have some basic ideas that I can share, but I warn you this will most likely be the worst tutorial to understand so just know you have been warned :-)

I bought a flour sack towel from the dollar store  I like to get a flour sack towel because all the edges are already hemmed which saves me a few steps ( I am all about saving steps!), but I do cut the corners off one end of the towel and I hem the new rough edges by pressing under a quarter inch twice and then hem it down until the corners look like this. 

Then you need a quarter yard each of two different coordinating fabrics.  I cut each  quarter yard of fabric into 6 inch wide strips. 

 Then you press in the sides of each strip of fabric a quarter inch and hem around all sides.

Sew big stitches on one long side and lightly gather into a ruffle.
Then basically you sew the strips of fabric on the flours sack towel about 3 1/2 or  4 inches apart from each other.  Do not  gather one of the fabric strips because it will be your waist band.
I wish I could tell you exactly how I piece it all together.  Sometimes I start sewing the ruffles from the top and sometimes I start from the bottom.  And I do the top collar ruffle different every time also. So all I can say is this is what I end up with! 

Good luck!

Monday, March 21, 2011

A great gardening resource!

       I am sure you have all about had it with the gardening craze I am in, but I just had to share this wonderful website I found called Provident Living
They have some great information on how to grow more effective gardens. 
 Here is a link that will take you to how to grow veggies. And Here is a link that will take you to how to grow fruit. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Clever irrigation system for plants!

I think this is so cool!  Check out how buried unglazed clay pots make a very effective watering system for your plants in the garden. 

You can find a bunch of info here at Tipnut. There is also a few other neat ideas Tipnut shares using other items like coke bottles, buckets etc.  Here is a great example as to how to use clay pot ollas in a raised garden bed at website called A Path to Freedom.  This website has a lot of good ideas about edible landscaping too.  Some of their ideas are little extreme for me, but their story is really interesting I think :-)  They turned their yard in the middle of the city in Pasadena CA.  into a thriving organic gardening business.  They sale a lot of fruits and veggies to local resturants etc.
Pretty cool!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Where to put all those recipes!

There is a blog I like follow called Controlling My Chaos and she never disappoints with the recipes she posts!  And even better she makes the cutest digital scrapbook recipe cards that you can print out as 4x6 photos.  I had all of my favorite recipes from her blog printed out at Wal Mart, but you have to make sure you pick the true to size prints or they get cropped wrong.  So I have had all these recipe card photos, but I had not found a good solution as to where to put them yet ( I did not want them to get smudged and ruined). 
Well the other day I was at "Michael's" (craft store)  and I FOUND THIS!
It is a cute Paula Dean brand recipe binder (On clearance) that came with plastic protector sheets that hold 4x6 cards and it also has tabbed dividers with the different food categories!  Yay!  I finally found my solution :-)
I love that it is not too big and it holds my recipes perfectly!

One of my favorite recipes I use a lot is her Salsa recipe.  It is so easy and it tastes a lot like the Salsa you eat at Mexican restaurants. 

 I want to add some of my other favorite recipes to the binder so I decided I needed to start making my own cute digital scrapbook recipe cards.  Here is one that I made of the Bread recipe I posted yesterday.

Click on the card to make it bigger, then copy and paste it to whatever file you want it to go to.  I just put mine in a file I made on my desktop called blog recipe cards.

Happy Blogging :-)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Soft and Delicious Whole Wheat Bread

I  made the best bread this week! 
 I wanted to try a new Whole Wheat bread recipe from the one I usually make.  In my search I came across this recipe in a booklet I got from the Tucson Cannery back in 1999 when we lived there.  When I saw the name "Soft and Delicious Whole Wheat Bread" I knew I needed to try it!
Here is a picture of it when the loaves had  risen and were ready to bake.  I did not get a pic. after they were baked, but you will just  have to believe me that they baked into the most beautiful yummy loaves of bread :-)
The recipe

Soft and Delicious Whole Wheat Bread

Makes 4 loaves

5 cups warm water
2 Tbs. yeast
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup honey
2 eggs
1/3 cup potao flakes
 1 Tbs. salt
6 cups whole wheat flour
4-5 cups unbleached flour

Dissolve yeast in water.  Make a sponge using all ingredients down to, and including salt. mix and let sit for 10 min. Add flour a cup at a time while mixing until dough is close to cleaning the mixing bowl then knead for about 5 min.  cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double. Punch down; shape into 4 loaves, place in greased pans. cover and let rise until double. ( I used rapid rise yeast so I shaped loaves in pans let them rise in a warm oven about 200 degrees then turned the oven up to 350 and baked for about 30- 40 min.)

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 min.. Put hot bread on a towel to cool for a soft crust. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


  I know this sounds strange for March, but I have been busy getting the yard and garden ready for the growing season.  I planted my seeds for my peas and my spinach in my Lasagna garden a couple of days ago.  And In my last post I mentioned that I was starting some plants in my kitchen window and yesterday I transferred my Leeks and green onions seedlings into the garden.  I have never planted this early, but after a lot of reading and info from my neighbor I learned that March and April is the best time to plant peas and other early veggies in Utah.  I will be planting my lettuce, carrots and beets in a few days. Then most everything else will wait until May.  Here is a full view of my Lasagna Garden.   I planted my peas along the chain link fence  and I planted the spinach next to it because I read that spinach likes some shade and the pea plants create natural shade for them.  If you look really close you can see the onions and leeks I planted on the right side.  People who know a lot more about gardening are probably laughing there heads off at me right now :-)
Yesterday I also planted a Raspberry bush, Blackberry bush and about 20 additional strawberry plants to what I already have. ( I have a rock wall full of strawberries ) I dug out the grass and made about a 3 foot wide space above my rock wall in our back yard and put some of the strawberries there and I added a row to my front flower garden to intermingle with my flowers. 
 I planted a Currant Bush ( great for juice and jams) and a blackberry bush to the same flower bed last fall so we will see how they turn out :-)      Oh and I also planted a Macintosh Apple tree about a week ago. I already have 3 Cherry trees and peach tree  that I have planted over the last couple of years.  I am still debating about turning my parking strip into a strawberry patch.  I might have my hands full at this point this year.
If you have not noticed I am planting a lot of edible plants among my landscaping.  It is an idea that  I have been keen on the last couple of years.  It is actually  called Edible Landscaping. We have all this extra space in our yards so when you plant flowers you might as well grow edible things along with them like berries, herbs and veggies!   
I planted more seeds to put into my kitchen window today. Cucumbers, egg plant, green peppers, Jalapeno peppers, garlic chives, basil and Parsley. 
Notice how big my lettuce is!  I need to transplant it soon!  I also found this great idea at another blog called the Back Yard Farming where you use plastic strawberry cartons to plant  your seedlings.  They are great because they have drain holes on the bottom and a built in plastic lid to create a green house affect :-)  I will update throughout the growing process of all my plants and hopefully it will be successful!  For those of you that don't have yards to plant if you have a patio or front porch you can grow a bucket garden. There is another good link here.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The good the bad and the sad!

Whew!  What a crazy life we have had the last few days! 
First off the Good news!  Saturday I took the day and prepared my main garden area for my Lasagna Garden. I am so excited!  This is really an experiment for me this year so I hope it works! .  I am too lazy to pull weeds, but I really want to be a successful gardener so this is a good solution I found!    If you are interested, the link above has some great info on how to do it.  Here is what I did Saturday.  It is lucky that I got any pictures since I am the worst at remembering to take pictures when I do projects.  As I was in the middle of the process I remembered I should take pictures, but I did not feel like going into the house to locate my camera, but then I remembered that my phone was in my pocket so I took some pics with that.  So the quality is not that great.

So first of all I am creating a U shaped raised bed garden on the south side of my house between the side of my house and the fence. I am using some big rocks that we already had just sitting there serving no purpose to be my inside border.  My plan is to be able to walk down the middle and have easy access to the 3 areas.  I lay ed down newspaper layers first and sprayed them down with water.  The newspaper smothers weeds and prevents new ones from coming up and the newspaper will eventually decompose into the ground.

 Next I layed down a layer of peat moss.

 Then I put down a layer of straw, leaves, grass clippings and kitchen compost (scraps of  fruit and veggies etc) then I put down a layer of soil that I already had in my kiddie pool gardens and manure. Then more peat moss and compost and continued layering in this manner until I had several layers.  I still want to top it off with one more layer of soil.  Normally you don't have to add soil, but since I did not prepare my garden spot in the fall and allow it to sit over the winter I am adding some soil to mine. here is how it finished up looking when I was done.
So anyway like I said It is an experiment for me this year.   I have never used this garden method before, but I have already learned from past experience that traditional row garden method just don't work for me so I am happy to move up from my kiddie pool garden level to something a little more advanced, but yet still an easier option then the traditional. 

So now to the sad and bad news we have had lately and that was the source of a lot of stress this last weekend.

See this tiny little Poodle  with a very sad haircut ( I do it  myself because I am too poor these days to take her to the dog groomer)
Well Saturday while I was busy doing all this garden stuff,  and my husband was at my dads watching the BYU game with my son,  and  the other kids went to see Rango with friends. She slipped out front without us noticing. We were so busy and distracted that day that I am embarrassed to say that it was not until later that night that we discovered she was gone.  She usually comes right back when she gets out so we knew that she either got hit or that someone had her. We called for her and we drove around the neighborhood in the dark trying to find her.  We finally had to go to bed wondering where she was:-(  I could not sleep all night!  We got up early and drove all over our area looking for her.  We had no success and were so depressed! I made flyer's with her picture and description and the kids went around the neighborhood before  church dropping them off at everyones door. It happened to be fast Sunday so we made her one of our main objectives of our fasting.  I know we were all praying constantly.  I think what was bothering us more than anything was just the unknown of where she was and what had happened to her!  I was afraid to tell the kids that if we had faith we would find her because what if we didn't  find her?  Then about half way through church it hit me that if she was alive there was no reason why God could not give  her back to us because he can do anything right!  So after church we redoubled our faith and prayed again as a family and asked that if she was alive that she could return to us.  My kids were so sad and my 12 year old cried herself to sleep Sunday night (mocha usually sleeps with her)  Anyway our last hope was to call the Animal shelter Monday morning and hope that someone had turned her in.   Anyway to make a long story not so long (sorry)  we called and she was there!  What a relief!  A police officer had picked her up Saturday afternoon a few blocks away from our house and had turned her in.  We surprised the kids with her when they got home from school and they were so happy!  But the main things learned in this situation is #1 Make sure your animal has identification.  #2Mocha meant a lot more to us then we realized and we will appreciate her much more. #3 Faith , Prayer, and Fasting works!  And I should not be afraid to have faith because I am worried that the outcome may not work out how I hope.   I need to trust in God and know that he sees and knows all.  I need to trust what his will is.
So now onto the next sad and bad thing happening right now.  And I hope the small lesson of faith learned with Mocha can be applied to this situation to. 
We found out last week that My Mother in law has breast cancer.  They found it is spread to her lymph nodes so it is pretty certain that she will have to do chemo.  She is  having her surgery  today to remove the breast and lymph nodes that have the cancer.  My own mother passed away from breast cancer 4 years ago this month so it really hits close to home for me:-(  

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mini Frittatas!

So just bare with me people!
 I am going through a food and recipe stage lately if you have not noticed :-)
 One thing you'll learn about me is I go through stages!  And I have found that it all depends on what time of year it is.  I get really crafty in the fall and winter,  I get into recipes, food and gardening in the spring and summer.  My crafty side seems to be taking a break right now.
Anyway like I said in my last post I can't eat any breads or starches for 3 weeks so I have been looking up good recipes for breakfast.  I found this Frittata recipe and decided to try it this morning and I was not disappointed!
 Picture of Mini Frittatas Recipe
I did tweak it a little bit though.  I added grated zucchini.  I put a couple of tablespoons on the bottom of each muffin tin ( I used regular sized muffin tins and it made exactly 12)  then I put ham and cheese on top of the zucchini and then poured the egg mixture on top.  I also flip flopped the pepper and salt ratio.  That seemed like too much pepper to me and not enough salt.  So anyway they turned out fabulous! A perfect breakfast! They were nice and filling and a handful of blueberries topped the meal off :-)  They would make a great snack for later too.