If you do stuff, stuff gets done.......

If you do stuff, stuff gets done.......

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Easter decorations 2012

Our mantle
I was inspired by Manuela to paint the mirror frame black and I really like it.  

sweet baby Andie napping with some little vintage thrift store bunnies.
Andie is doing great!
She had a checkup this week and has already gained 2 pounds in just 26 days- such an answer to many prayers.  



that pink tree bought on clearance about 4 years ago
We've used it for Christmas,  Valentines and Easter too.  

Close up of some or the ornaments.
My mom did the crocheted egg covers.
I did the cross stitch and plastic canvas ones.  


I am hoping to do a plastic egg wreath for the front door.  I have wanted one for years but never got around to making one.  So, since I've blogged it,  hopefully I will make one soon.  I've seen several tutorials for how to make them.  One type says to just use a wreath shape cut from an a big box for the base.  The others say to use a straw or styrofoam wreath for the base.
Any of you visitors made one and have any advice for me?


From Sue at Berkshire Cottage

I am very flattered to of been given this blog award from Sue at Berkshire Cottage.
Sue has a wonderful blog herself.  She does an amazing amount of cooking and stitching,  go take a peek and I know you will enjoy visiting her cottage too.

Liebster means favorite - we both learned a German word today.

Thank you dearly,  Sue.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Homemade Calzones - Wonderful!

Hello - sorry to be gone for so long but I was sort of on a vacation at home while my grandchildren's educator parents were on their spring break.  Gavin was with us for one over nighter and Elizabeth was here one evening while her parents went to a movie.  Other than that,  I was home alone and found so many things to keep me busy as well as plenty of time for just relaxing.

One thing I did,  actually did it twice as they turned out so very good,  was to make homemade from scratch calzones.  They are delicious warm from the oven.  They are also delicious when they have been frozen,  then reheated in a microwave for 90 seconds.
Mine were filled with browned up hot Italian sausage,  mozzarella cheese, bell peppers and onions and just a little homemade tomato sauce. 

the dough is really easy to roll out and has no weird ingredients.  

baked ones.


I divided the dough into 10 pieces but I think making 12 would be big enough for a  main course helping.
I also plan on making much smaller ones to have for my grandchildren.

I like the Italian ones but also plan to do some taco ones, breakfast ones and maybe some cheese and veggies ones with no meat.

after they cool,  I bag them in freezer bags and freeze.  Jeff has taken them in his lunch box several times and I like something easy for my lunch too.

this dough recipe is from the Fleishmans yeast site.



Dough
3 to 3-1 / 2 cups all-purpose flour  
(both of my batches have used 3 1/4 cups flour for the right consistency)
1 / 2 cup cornmeal
2 t yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1-1 / 4 cups water
1 / 4 cup olive oil


Directions
Combine 1 cup flour, cornmeal, undissolved yeast and salt in a large bowl. Heat water and olive oil until very warm (120o to 130oF). Gradually add to flour mixture. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes.    I do the dough in the bread machine on the dough cycle  


Divide dough into 10 equal pieces; roll each piece to 6-inch circle. Place 1/3 cup filling of your choice on one half of each circle. Fold dough over filling; pinch seam or press with tines of fork to seal.  I think they seal better with just a little water rubbed on to one side too

Place on greased baking sheets. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
Bake at 400oF for 20 to 25 minutes or until done. Serve warm.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Homemade Pigs in Blankets

I know Dawn from a homemaking list on YahooGroups and also read her blog.  She posted about making some good homemade calzones recently

The dough recipe is found HERE at Bread World.

The dough is basic yeast dough that also has some cornmeal and a little more olive oil than a normal crust recipe.  The oil makes it really easy to roll out and the cornmeal gives it just a little crunch.
I wanted an easy meal last week on a night when our grandson was here for supper.  I remembered 3 packs of Hebrew Kosher hot dogs in the freezer but did not think going to the store for buns or crescent rolls was something I wanted to do.  (with high gas prices and a toddler or 2 with me on most days,  I just don't drive to the store unless I have to,  I like doing things at home with things I already have and this recipe fits that plan perfectly)
So I just mixed up a batch of this calzone dough in the bread machine.  Half of it very amply wrapped up those 7 hot dogs.  I rolled out the other half  for a parbaked pizza crust.

We liked the pigs in blankets very much and the pizza crust was good too.  I plan to make some calzones for the freezer soon.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Rice Taco Salad

This is a recipe I cooked often when all our children were at home.  It is easy, thrifty and everyone likes it.
The recipe is from either Grit or Cappers -my grandmother was an avid reader and she saved these weekly newspapers for us.

It's been a while since this I made this recipe.   Then last week,  I saw a cup of leftover rice in the fridge so I made a half-recipe of Rice Taco Salad for just the 2 of us.   It does not use a lot of spice - just salt, pepper, a little cumin and garlic but it really is delicious.
I put my helping on top of some tortilla chips. This recipe is great for using up leftover rice.   We did not usually add the avocado the recipe calls for,  other than that,  I make the recipe just as it is written..

Everyone liked eating this recipe but I think Nina is who asked for it most often.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Fixing, recycling and making


We have more wear and tear to our towels than we used too.  I am assuming it is because things are just not manufactured with very high standards anymore.
This hand towel had a hole and some fraying at the bottom along that plain part on a towel.
To save the rest of the towel,  I trimmed off the entire bottom, then enclosed that cut edge with some wide black bias tape.
I think it looks pretty good - it will hang in the hall bathroom that has yellow walls and mostly black and white accessories.


I also had to big bath sheets that had very frayed edges but the inside part of the towels were in good shape.
I decided to recycle them into wash cloths.

I cut away the bad parts of the towels, then cut 12 inch squares - you can tell they are not all exact but close to 12 inches. 

I cut 12 inch squares from a vintage yard sale sheet and sewed them to each wash cloth,  then turned them right side out and sewed around the whole thing, close to the edge to seal up the turn spot and to keep them from getting too wonky as they go through the wash.


Those towels were so big,  I ended up with 16 wash cloths.  
We have been using them for about a month and like them just fine.  

These go in the master bathroom that is mostly white with a little blue in the curtains.  


The bibs I made earlier worked so nicely on Gavin and Elizabeth.  They really enjoy picking out the animal they want to wear.
Elizabeth's momma, Nina,  requested some big girl bibs for Elizabeth to have at home so I sewed up 6 bibs that next evening.  3 of them are a "Pooh" print and 3 of them are dessert themed fabric.  I used fabric I already had - the thriftiest way to do things right now - besides not spending money on the fabric,  I also did not use any gas for a trip to the store.

Bibs really are quick and easy to sew up,  if you need some for your toddlers or maybe a baby gift,  give them a try!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ironing - frugal ways

some of my son's dress shirts before ironing

I iron most every week.  
My son would rather not iron, but since his job requires him to wear dress shirts every day 
and his big law school debt,  he is currently ironing his own dress shirts.
He brought over 11 dress shirts to iron after Sunday lunch.  

He has taken them to the cleaners several times but it expensive.  I don't like the idea of my clothes being put in big tub of chemicals with many other people's clothes - ick!  So I never use the dry cleaners, even if it was  really cheap.  

Liquid starch - mix with water in a spray bottle
1 part starch to 2 parts water

A while back he tried adding the liquid starch to the rinse water in the washing machine.  He was not crazy about those results ( I am not sure why,  just that he did not want to do it that way again)

Since I was out of aerosol spray starch,  I mixed up some Sta-Flo in a washed out spray bottle.  

ironing in progress


some of his finished shirts -
and, Yes, he does only wear white or light blue dress shirts 

I thought his ironed shirts looked really nice.  So I tried the mixed up starch on my blouses too.  
My ironed blouses

I like this new to us way to iron.  I think it is cheaper than aerosol  cans but I have not done the math because I don't know many uses you get from aerosol compared to the liquid spray.  I do know that not using the aerosol cans is better for the environment.  

I've also read that mixing up, maybe it involved cooking?, corn starch with water can also be put in a spray bottle to use instead of liquid or aerosol spray starch.  Anyone tried this?  

For now,  I think I will keep using the StaFlo starch mixed with water for my ironing.  

any other ironing tips for us?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Friday night sewing



My grandtoddlers wear bibs at our house pretty much anytime they eat anything, I don't like them wearing dirty clothes and bibs are  much easier to take off than to change into a clean outfit.  
Their other batch of bibs were getting rather worn so I sewed up a new batch.  



the bird print is my favorite


For the pattern,  I traced around a bib we already had,  then since my tracing was not as straight as it could be,  I just cut it out about 1/2 inch away from the tracing line.
pattern drawn on wax paper

I used a couple yards of a retro fabric bought at a thrift store a few years ago.  
Blogs are like diaries,  I just did a search and found exactly when it was purchased from an old blog post of mine. 
If you are curious,  you can read it on this link.  





I fussy cut each bib so I could center these fun animals on each one.
And I ended up with 9 nice size bibs.




I've used velcro for closures but it seems to get full of lint in the laundry and  velcro bibs are a little to easy for toddlers to take off.
Ties get tangled and knotted.
So,  I put button closures on this batch,  so far,  I like this method  a lot.  

My toddlers never did smile for the camera but they really liked their new bibs.
Gavin picked out the seal one and Elizabeth chose the cat and mouse one.


And just in case  because I said I don't like for them to be dirty, that they don't have fun,
 well,  I should of said I  don't like for them to run around in food-dirty clothes.
It is very warm today and we had rain over the weekend that left their sandbox full of water.
So for play time,  they played in the water in sandbox.  It kept them happy for 2 hours.
We came in at noon and put on clean dry clothes,  had lunch, story time and naps.  

Monday, March 12, 2012

Use your gadgets Part 3

Another gadget I found in my decluttering is this potato ricer.
I think Jeff bought it about 7 or so years ago and I think he saw the Barefoot Contessa or Alton Brown or one of those tv chefs use one.
The first time I used it was for a big Thanksgiving meal and  I cooked at least 5 pounds of potatoes.
Jimmy helped me that day and we were both tired from squeezing that many spuds.  

this Sunday,  I only cooked 6 small potatoes.
Ricing just a few potatoes goes really quick and easy.  

See how fine they are?
I just added a little half and half cream to them until they creamy
and a little salt and pepper.
They were really good mashed potates - very light, and smooth

If you like really smooth potatoes,  then you should try a ricer.

Cook your potatoes all the way tender so your won't have to work up a sweat while you press them  through.

But if you cook mashed potatoes for a crowd,  I would not recommend ricing unless you have some helpers with  muscles.  



about the Pampered Chef 4 loaf baking pan- I looked on the Pampered Chef sight and they do still sell it. 
 I think it is $34.  

I've got one more gadget to show you later,  as soon as I work up my nerve to use it anyway. 
Any guesses on what it might be?  

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Bloggers are the best! Many thanks to Jilly

Blogging friend Jilly over at Sunnyville Cottage    just moved to a smaller town and smaller home.  She downsized her craft and sewing supplies as she says she really prefers to cross stitch and crochet.  
So Lucky Duck me,  I was the recipient of  her quilting strips.  

These pictures don't do justice to just how much fabric and how nice this fabric is.  
Jilly packed this box with precision and I think she had to of sat on it to get it close.    
 This box was much heavier than it looks, and my Marine husband dropped it when he got it out of the mailbox,  .  Jilly's Sailor husband will probably think that is funny.  


I tried to spread them out to take a better picture of them,  but there are just so many and I am not a good photographer.  

You will just have to believe me that this was a wonderful gift and I will have so much fun sewing up some strip quilts.  

Thank you Jilly!  I think you are the best.  


Sweet Baby Andie

 We had the best time Saturday,  we spent the whole afternoon with tiny Andie and her parents.  
Andie was 10 days old yesterday and is doing just fine.  

She gave us such a scare coming into this world so early and then taking a helicopter ride to the big hospital when she was just 1 day old.
Except for still being tiny and sleepy,  you would never know any of that.  

Sheena, Bobby and baby Andie
This proud Grandma Rhonda holding precious Andie.

Isn't her little cap so sweet?
Sheena pinned it on Pinterest and my mom crocheted it for them.  

Monday, March 5, 2012

Use your gadgets - part 2


During my decluttering,  I found this Pampered Chef stoneware pan tucked under some other bakeware.
I've been making all our bread since Christmas in the new breadmaker,  it makes very nice bread but the loaf is huge.
Well,  one batch of bread dough is the exact amount needed to make 4 little loaves in this pan.

I just make the dough in the machine,  then take it out and divide it.  After it rises,  the little loaves get baked in the regular oven.  This size loaf is much more practical when just my husband and I are here.  I sliced each loaf and froze the extra in ziploc bags.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Lent Declutter 2012


I've read on several blogs about other homemakers doing a 40 bags for 40 days decluttering challenge for Lent.   I am not sure cleaning out drawers will make me a better Christian but I do like the timeframe of this challenge.
So, I made a list of every place in my home that needs cleaned out or decluttered and I plan to have them all done before Easter.  My list starts at one end of the house and works my way to the other end.
I started making the list on Ash Wednesday and have crossed off a few things.  
I was alone all day this Wednesday and made a lot progress on some of the bigger places - mainly getting the entire kitchen done except for one cabinet that is in a corner.  
The places highlighted in red are decluttered 

A list is my way of staying on track and eating this elephant one bite at a time.  

Master bedroom
Endtables
Desk
Under bed

M bath
3 drawers
2 lower cabinets
1 upper cabinet

M closet
File cabinet
Supply shelf
R – clothes
J – clothes

Laundry Room
Upper cabinet
Lower cabinet
Drawer

Dining room
2 drawers

Entry closet
The whole thing!

Charging dresser – 3 drawers

Living room
Dresser – 7 drawers
1 cabinet
End table
Lamp table
Table drawer 1 and 2
Recliners

Bed #1 closet and under bed

Bed #2 top shelf and under bed

Bed #3  computer desk

Hall bath
Sink cabinet
Big cabinet

Kitchen
Red pantry
Green pantry
Drawers
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Under stove
Cabinets
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Attic

Garage

all the the discards are going into a big pile in the master bedroom, 
thankfully it is a big room.
Then I will have to decide whether there is enough for a yard sale,  or if I should Freecycle it or donate it to a charity shop.


 - anyone else working on this too?

Andie Day 4

Little Andie will have lots of good times growing up with her fun-loving parents.  
Her silly daddy put "eyeballs"  on the outside of her light-protection goggles.  

I can already imagine her as a 13 year old and rolling her eyes at her daddy when he is still doing pranks like this.  

Andie is still in the hospital but her parents have been told she should be released Monday.  
She has passed all her tests and is thriving.  

Thank you all so much for your prayers and kind comments.  

Friday, March 2, 2012

Good news!

Lamentations 3:22-23

New American Standard Bible (NASB)
22 The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, 
For His compassions never fail. 
23 They are new every morning; 
Great is Your faithfulness.

Baby Andie is doing great,  better  faster than I ever imagined she could.
She has had no more apnea / breathing problems since she the helicopter ride.
Today she is eating some of her mom's milk and it seems to agree with her.
And today we got to hold her for a little bit.
Yesterday we only got to see through a little window.  

Andie is spending time under a nice lamp for jaundice treatment.
She just relaxed under it like she was a tropical beach sunbathing.  

she is still tiny - that is my finger she is holding
but it is so amazing and encouraging that Andie has made so much progress in just 36 hours.
Thank you all for your prayers and kind comments.  
You all are so sweet and I appreciate every one of you.  

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Please pray for our new granddaughter

Andie Elise was born this morning,  early and tiny.  
All her vitals and tests are good but she is just 5 pounds 1 ounce 
and she has stopped breathing in her sleep 4 times.  
She took a helicopter ride from the hospital in southern Oklahoma to the big childrens hospital in Oklahoma City and will be there for awhile. 
She is a beautiful little girl,  she has her daddy's blue eyes and long toes.  
We are already head over heels in love with her.  


in the picture,  that is her momma's hand by Andie's leg.  
and momma Sheena's hand are not very big 

Please pray that Andie will grow and breath.


Jeff and Rhonda

Jeff and Rhonda