Wednesday, September 30, 2009

House needs help!! I need a maid....

This is what my table looks like at the moment. Yuck! Yes, it's been worse... WAY worse. And, yes... this is only a small percentage of the mess you would find if you came into my house at the moment. But, I only wanted to post this small amount for you to see. I don't think anyone would enjoy seeing my WHOLE mess. So, I am committing myself to cleaning my house today! Woohoo! So fun, huh?!

Honestly, I can't believe it has gotten this bad. Well, I have been doing nothing but nursing sick kids back to health, and reading emails, blogs, etc. In other words, I've been wasting precious time! Like right now....

I am not coming back to the computer until I have my kitchen, living room, bathroom, and bedroom clean... and some laundry washed, dried, folded, and put away. So it could be days before I check my email! Well lets hope not. I need my house clean, almost as much as I need to check my email!! Right??

So, no one stop by unexpected. You'll wish you hadn't!

~~~Oh, and one more thing: Nesting Place is having a giveaway day. It started Monday and I guess she is extending it through tonight (Wednesday). There are 24 Awesome giveaway contests. Beautiful stuff! I really want to win something - though it is highly unlikely. But, I would equally love it if any one of my friends won something, also! All you have to do it comment on a specific giveaway post and you could be randomly selected! You can comment on all 24 giveaways if you like! So go check it out!

And, I'm off to clean! If I come back to check my email, you know my house is clean (for at least a few rare moments, anyway... until my kids have their mess-making way again)!!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Cutest Little Baby Buddies

My baby adores her little friend here. Who knew 1-year-old babies could play together so well?? I love having this sweet girl over because I know my baby will be playing happily for hours (...and I can get a lot done)! Honestly, I've never seen babies play together as well as these two.

I'm just so bummed that our friends are moving!! I wish they could stay... but I know that's part of life. I wish I could keep this little one here with us. Can I adopt her? ;-)

One short moment of discontent

Goodbye sweet little friend. We'll miss you!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

My First 1/2 Marathon!

I'm kind of embarrassed to even post this. But, I am so excited that I reached my goal of running a half-marathon that I couldn't resist sharing my joy. When I started my training I didn't have a specific race in mind. Then the soonest I could find one was in November (which I registered for a long time ago). I felt like registering for a race was my only way of keeping myself really committed. Since I had started my training in the summer I knew I would be ready by the end of September, which would leave about 6 weeks to improve my speed before the November 1/2. Well, about two or three weeks ago I was searching for races again and I found a small race a couple hours away from my house. I decided to go for it, since I would be ready for it that very weekend.

It was so much fun and SOO hard. While I was running, I was telling myself I would never run this course again. I will definitely run another half marathon, but never that course. I have now changed my mind. I think I wouldn't mind trying that course again next year, if they have it there. The course was on a gravel/dirt road with a five-mile-long hill that increased in 1000 feet of elevation. It was crazy. I ran the whole thing, just to say I did... but I was wondering (as I was babystep running up the hill) if it would've been faster to walk with big hiking steps instead. I think I would do that next time. But, for my first half-marathon I really wanted to run the whole thing.

It was fun. I ran slow and my finishing time showed that. But, at least there will be a definite time to improve on - it will be easy to accomplish that. I wasn't the last one to finish! I had to pee so bad during the race and knew there was a bathroom somewhere along the way. I ran for at least four miles, having to pee. I finally asked someone and they said I had already passed it. When I got to the turnaround point, I headed up into the woods for a minute and went behind a tree. Hopefully no one was camping close by...

This is at the starting line.

Here I am, finishing.

I wore a skort that I had been thinking about getting for months. I am not as impressed with it, now that I have it. In fact, after seeing the race pictures, I wish I hadn't worn it for the race. Oh well. Running skorts aren't all they're cracked up to be. But maybe that's just with me and my legs... ;-)

I can hardly wait for the next half-marathon and I plan to train for a full marathon early next year! Woohoo!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Homemade Croutons

{Yeah, I know... It's not the best looking loaf of bread. Little bumpy on top. Oh well. Better for croutons then, right?!}

What do you do with bread that is getting dry and old? (before it turns green) Sometimes I just throw it away. Sometimes I make french toast for dinner. This time I decided to make croutons. I started by cutting up the bread in bite sized cubes.


I sliced off the burnt bottom crust and set it aside. I put the bread cubes on a large cookie sheet. (I don't always burn the bottom of my bread... it just happened the last time I made bread - darn it).
This picture was taken just after they went in the oven.

I added olive oil (just until I thought they were wet enough). I sprinkled with dried basil, dried oregano, Jane's Krazy Mixed-up Salt, and some garlic salt. Didn't measure. Sorry - I often just improvise. We kept them in the fridge in a bag {actually... the bag that the bread was originally in}!

They turned out a little overdone for my liking. I forgot about them. They must not have been that bad, my kids liked them. My kids actually ate them as a snack. They didn't last long.

***Update 9/25: I forgot to mention how long I had it in the oven and at what temperature. Don't even know if it would really help. I started it out at about 275* and it they were in there for about 20 minutes. I was getting impatient and turned up the temperature to 375*, but didn't change my mindset - oops. I left it in there for about 10 more minutes and they were a little on the done side. So, take from that what you will, to come up with your own temp and time. Or just keep checking on them (more frequently than I did). Next time I might try 325* for 20 minutes and checking every few minutes after the first 10 minutes. ***

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pie in a Jar

Ever since I saw this post on Little Birdie Secrets, I've wanted to try making these scrumptious little treats. I just love personal sized treats. Whenever there is pie around I feel like I eat too much or there is too much left over. This is just great as a small gift when visiting a friend for the day or as a little pick-me-up.

This really was way easier than I thought. Everything went REALLY fast. I made some this morning and gave it away to a friend around 10am. I felt a little funny about giving it away because I technically haven't tried baking it. I told my friend that I hadn't tried it yet and she said she'd let me know how it turned out. If I really wanted I could just bake one of the two I have left in my freezer. But, those are already intended for some special friends.

(I had the crust up over the top of the jar so I could make sure I had enough to squish the top crust with it. It worked well and there was a little left over.)

The crust recipe I used was from an old church cookbook. The recipe was titled "Best Ever Pie Crust". I figured with a title like that, I couldn't go wrong!

2 cups flour
1 cup crisco
1 Tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk

Cream 1 cup flour with the crisco. Add remaining flour and dry ingredients. Stir in milk. May use spoon or electric mixer. Roll out for double pie crust or 2 single pie crusts. For baked shell, fill unbaked crust with uncooked pinto beans. Bake at 450* for 15 minutes. Gently spoon out beans.

{Of course I disregarded the second half of the instructions, while making the pie in a jar.}

For the filling I just peeled 2 medium sized fresh peaches and cut them up in small pieces. I added some sugar (didn't measure - but I guess it was about 1 1/2 Tablespoons). I added about a teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg. I also added about 1 Tablespoon of flour to thicken the juice.

This yielded about 3, half pint jars of pie filling. I still have some pie crust dough leftover. So, I think I may whip up some more tomorrow. {... if I can find any more of my little jars.}

I also found a great post about this on Not Martha.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Two Posts: Sprouts and Peaches

This morning I went out to the garden to finish planting the seeds (thanks to my wonderful husband who watched my little helpers - inside - while I was in the garden. Thanks, Hun!) When I pulled off the burlap covering the garden boxes, this is what I found!!! Wow! I only planted the seeds five days ago! I really wasn't expecting sprouts yet! Maybe I wasn't even expecting them at all! I was so freakin' stoked! I ran inside to tell my husband. I was almost as giddy as I was when I first learned to stipple a quilt.

My yellow squash sprouts. Woohoo! The peas still haven't made an appearance, but that's okay. I have enough excitement for one day! (Oh, wait... I also have peaches!! That's pretty darn exciting, too!)

Here's one more. It's blurry. Sorry. I mean, you get the idea, right?! K- enough about my sprouting squash!

Peaches: Ah... mmmm... Utah Peaches!

My sister-in-law ordered these through her mom. My husband picked them up last night. We have approximately 60lbs (well, now maybe only 58lbs) of peaches in our possession. Yikes! I better get busy!

They smell so wonderful. So does my house. These peaches are so soft, juicy and sweet, with the right amount of tartness. Yummm! I've already had three... or four today. So I don't really know what I'm going to do with all of them, but I need to decide soon, before they go bad. I'm thinking: blanch, slice and freeze some, fruit leather, dried peached, can (if I can find someone who can help me), peach pie filling(?), peach syrup, and of course eat a bunch. {Cobbler, peaches 'n' cream, peaches on cereal, in oatmeal, etc.} Are the possibilities endless? I guess. But whatever I do, I need to get creative and BUSY!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Getting the Fall Garden Ready

Our dirt is ready! We have to buy dirt for our garden, because here in the desert our dirt is like clay. We used a mixture of mulch, garden soil from Home Depot, manure, fertilizer (which makes my stomach queezy to use - so we probably will go organic next time), vermiculite, and peat moss. I really don't know if we got all of the amounts right for the mixture. But we're gonna try it anyway! I'll post pictures when we actually start seeing some sprouts.

Here's our lovely dirt in our lovely 4'x4' box that my dear husband made.

Here are our three boxes in our slightly elevated garden spot. Next to the tree my dear husband planted a few months ago... to add some shade to our backyard! (Woohoo for shade in AZ!)

We covered the boxes with burlap to protect those poor little seeds from the harsh sun, keep the soil more moist (it drys out soo fast here), and keep the birds away.

Now, if I could only have a way to keep THIS One away! She loves to help me. She loves the dirt. We go out there to water the garden and she gets SOO dirty! She scoops up the dirt with her hands and shovels it out of the garden box. It was quite difficult to get the seeds all planted on Saturday (wih my husband gone for the day). She kept getting into the dirt and stirring up the seeds. A few times she even took out the labels...err... stakes... telling me where the row of what vegetable was. I gave up after planting two different veggies. I planted two rows of peas, and two rows of yellow squash. I need to get out there and plant the rest of them when my husband is home. ...{Maybe tonight... Hopefully tonight!}

I have a bit of leftover burlap I didn't know what to do with. There wasn't enough to put over any gardens or plants. I thought I might use it in some Fall crafts or a Halloween costume, etc. And today as I was looking through my favorite blogs, the answer came to me! I found a post at The Nesting Place who posted a link to Fabulous K who made this adorable and easy fall burlap banner! So that's what I'll do!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Christmas Quilt - gift

I am going to make a zigzag quilt like this one at a quilt is nice. I'm making one for my husband's boss and his family. Every year we go to a Holiday office party at his house and I always hand make something. It never really feels like enough, though. This year the quilting bug has bitten me again. It's really been years since I have quilted. I think I had forgotten how much I love it.

I thought I should get started soon to have it finished by mid-December. Only because we have Halloween and Thanksgiving and three kids birthdays in our family, etc., etc. to worry about between now and then.

Right now I am having a hard time with fabric. I just can't decide!! There are the "okay" ones at Joann's and Hobby Lobby. They are fair priced. Then there are the designer ones online that I like a whole lot more, but are almost twice the price of the "okay" ones. ... and then there's shipping, if you buy online!

I've got my eye on Michael Miller's Funky Christmas, Free Spirit's Christmas Snow Flower, and, Moda's Figgy Pudding. (That's just a few of my favorites.) I'll probably end up with none of those and just go with what's cheapest. Unless there's a miracle... in the form of a super, smokin' deal on one of my favorites!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A quilt and a skirt

I love Amy Butler fabric. I had some leftover Amy Butler fabric from a bag I made last April (I never posted a picture of it). I knew I wanted to piece a quilt with the leftover fabric, but I really wanted a few more fabrics to make the quilt more interesting. I went to the store closest to me, that carries some Amy Butler fabric and found out they were on clearance for 40% off! I got much more than I needed for just that quilt. Who wouldn't?

{The back of the baby quilt}

{A closeup of the front}

I made a stacked coin quilt and a matching doll quilt for a friend who is adopting a baby girl any day now. (Hopefully she won't read this before I finish it and give it to her!) I still need to quilt it and bind it. But I am excited about how the piecing turned out!

{Front of the doll quilt}

{Back of the doll quilt}

I have so much extra fabric leftover that I want to make skirts for my girls and they have also requested a quilt each. Well, technically my 1-year-old didn't, but her 6-year-old sister requested one for her. She loves it when they have matching stuff. Since they share a room and bunk beds that will be shared in the future, I thought I could accomplish that request. It will probably take me till she's in a twin bed, to get the quilts done anyway.

I had originally thought of making a simple skirt with the Oliver +S lazy days skirt pattern . My daughters already have a few of these. But, I was ready to give them something different. Just yesterday I found such an adorable skirt made by the ladies at Roots and Wings Co (you have to scroll down a bit on that post - it starts with a Halloween craft). They used Heather Bailey fabrics that are sooo adorable! I'd love to find some of her stuff at 40% off! Anyway, they got the pattern and tutorial from this lovely blog. Shelly Detton of the 7 Layer Studio.

I will be busy making those matching skirts for my girls.

... and finishing the quilt, of course! (quilting it is my favorite part!)

I hope to show you the finished product, soon!