Friday, January 28, 2011

Water Storage

Do you can fruit? Do you have a bunch of empty glass jars in your storage room waiting for next canning season to start? Here's an idea to help you store a little extra water in case of an emergency.

After you've used the fruit from your quart jar and washed the jar, fill it with water and put the lid back on before you go stash it away. This will give you a little extra water in your food storage until you need the jars again next canning season. It may not be a ton of extra but in an a emergency every little bit counts.

Have a happy weekend!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Baby Pajama Pants

My little man is growing like a weed. And he was in need of some new pajamas. Well, buying pajamas, especially for a little guy who will out grow them in two months, can be expensive. So here's what I did instead.

I like to sew. Like that was a big secret, glad I got it off my chest. Anyway, I have some great fish material leftover from a Jr. High sewing class project. I know that's a long time to hold onto material but hey. I thought it would make some cute pants for my little guy and I could just use his onesies for tops.

Well I don't have a pattern for baby pants and really don't want to buy one. Like I said, he grows like a weed and will outgrow the pattern I'm sure before I ever get my moneys worth out of it. So instead I just made my own pattern.

I took a pair of his pants that had the kind of fit I wanted and turned them inside out, putting one leg inside the other. Then I laid them on some paper and traced around them, leaving extra for seam allowances (and plenty of growing room!). Wah-la!

Once I had a pattern sewing up the pants was simple, as long as you know how to sew pants. I will be doing a pants tutorial soon, I promise. I did an elastic waist and added ribbing to the bottom for cuffs. I got two pairs out of it and there's still enough material for a third.

They turned out pretty good if I do say so myself.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Substituting Eggs

So this weeks "recipe" isn't really a recipe at all. It's more a cooking tip.

I have a sister-in-law who is deathly allergic to eggs. She has to carry an epi pen with her where ever she goes. She taught me this trick:

One egg=2 Tbs applesauce

Yes, that's right. If you are cooking for someone with an egg allergy, substitute your eggs for applesauce. Just note that when you make cookies and cakes and such, they will dry out faster than normal so you'll want to eat them in the first couple of days. We have used this trick in pancakes many times when I've opened the fridge and realized we're out of eggs. And I have never noticed a difference in the pancakes consistency or taste.

Now my most favoritest (I know that's not a word, but it just shows how excited I am) reason that I am sharing this tip.......

Are you ready........


Yes! I can make cookie dough and eat it too! I am one of those people who doesn't like to eat cookie dough with raw eggs, but I love love LOVE cookie dough. Now I can whip up a batch with applesauce and store it in the fridge and eat cookie dough when ever I feel that itch.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Reusing Baby Food Jars

So I know I usually take the weekends off from posting but I didn't get around to posting this yesterday so here it is:

If you have a baby at your house, you probably have a million of these:

So what do you do with them? If your like me and hate to throw them out, but are not very good at the "recycle all your trash" thing, here's an idea.

I made a few sets of these for birthday presents and had to make myself a set. Heaven's knows I need help getting organized and this was a fun way to organize all those little office supplies that you can never keep track of.

I spray painted the lids and covered the jars with cardstock. I used stamps and heat embossing to do the letters. But the possibilities are endless. You can embellish them with paper, fabric, flowers, buttons, stamps, vinyl, etching, glitter.....................................

And use them for anything that you may need a small container for. Here are some other ideas:

Turn them into spice jars and line them up on the back of your stove.

Make them into tithing jars for your kids or an achievement day activity.

My husband stole a few jars to use to keep track of all the screws while he's fixing something. Although he won't let me make those ones over.

Fill with candy for a cute treat for a friend.

What ideas can you think up? And please share. (I need ideas to use up all my jars!)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My New Shelves

When we built our house we built a cold storage room under the front porch. For the past year it has been empty cement walls with boxes piled all over the floor. Needless to say- a bit hard to get to things.

Well for Christmas our gift from my husbands parents was all the materials and help building shelves in the storage room. Yay! So on saturday my sweetie and his dad built my shelves. Now I just have to unpack all those boxes of food.

Here are the before and afters:


Monday, January 17, 2011

Hamburger Hash

Do you need to get your kids to eat more of these?

Here's a fun way to get them to eat some veggies:

Hamburger Hash

4 regular sized potatoes
4 carrots
1 lb ground beef

Wash and peel your potatoes and carrots. Then grate using the large grater on your food processor. Place in a large frying pan with ground beef. (I usually add a little oil too, but this is optional and may depend on your pan.) Cook on medium heat, stirring regularly, until all the meat is cooked and the veggies are tender.

Serve with ketchup and some yummy homemade bread.

It has a little bit of that "Hamburger Helper" kind of feel to it and for some reason kids go for that kind of stuff. You can also add other veggies to this as well: onion, snow peas, squash......... Whatever you can sneak in there.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Lifting Each Other Up

A friend of mine posted a link to a blog on facebook the other day and wanted to know everyones opinions about it. So I clicked the link and it sent me to a blog called Single Dad Laughing. Have you ever heard of it? I have and what I have read on it I have enjoyed. It's a daddy blog written by a single father.

Anyway his post was all about how women are constantly putting themselves down- I'm too fat, I'm not good enough, etc. He also points out how women are always told to just be confident in themselves and ignore what the magazines and media say they should look like. He then goes on to say it doesn't matter how much a women tries to ignore it, the fact is that is where men give their attention and in the end she will still seek for that ideal because that's what men have shone they want. By stopping and looking at the girl with the long legs or big chest or sneaking a peak at the magazines at the check out stand, men are sending the message that women need to be that way.

I found that to be a wonderful attitude for him to have. And even more he made a declaration to change the way he behaves and pleaded with other men to do the same. His thought was that if men stopped obsessing over those things it wouldn't matter to us women what the magazines say. If men like us how we are, we can be confident with it.

So do I agree with him? I have been blessed with a husband that tells me I'm beautiful every day. I can't say that I have never felt down about how I look because I have. I do have an ideal for myself, though it is not what the media says it should be, it's more just needing to lose that impossible baby weight. And because I am not at my ideal I do feel down on myself sometimes, but it is more out of frustration with myself. Never do I question whether or not my husband finds me beautiful and that is because he does everything he can to make me feel that way. So yes, I agree. If men could flirt with the short chubby girl just as much as the tall skinny one because of who she is on the inside, it could help improve the problem.

However, though I have respect for him to take responsibility for men as a whole, I do not believe it is 100% their fault. Women compare themselves to each other. I'm sure they did it long ago, they just didn't have the media to help escalate the problem. It's just a girl thing. We (and by we I mean a lot of us- I know there are exceptions) tend to judge ourselves against each other. That's just what we do and I honestly have no idea how to fix that.

Another thought that was sparked when I read his post was- if men can have that effect on women, couldn't the tables be turned. Don't women tend to throw themselves more at the guy with the biceps and ignore the one with the big nose. We want the strong looking, money making guy, not the geek who sits behind his computer all day. Haven't we created a stereotype for them too? Don't we also need to take some accountability for our part in our society's "image" problem?

Men have image issues too. They just don't make a public scene about it like women do. So women lets do our part. Let's stop thinking a man has to have a six pack to be a good companion. I know that most who read this are already married so the part about searching for a companion is already done. But what about our husbands. Let's do our part to lift them up. Make your husband feel proud of the job he does as provider, father, caretaker, husband, etc. Like my husband tells me everyday that I'm beautiful, tell your husbands everyday how wonderful and attractive they are to you. Let him know how proud you are of how hard he works; how great of a father he is; how much you love him and love to be with him. Tell him thanks for being yours.

And for those of you that are LDS- help him honor is priesthood! Tell him how proud you are that he holds the priesthood. And give him opportunities to use it for his family. Ask for blessings. Let him bless his family with this sacred power that he has work hard to attain. Out of all the ways that he can provide for his family- his priesthood is the most important and most valuable. Don't ever forget that.

If you'd like to read the whole post from Single Dad Laughing click here.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Have you ever seen those breaded chicken cordon bleu in the freezer section?

Have you ever looked at the price?


I don't know about you but no frozen food is worth that price. So today I'm going to share with you my moms easy recipe for homemade chicken cordon bleu. Now you can have it without breaking the bank.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

2 chicken breasts
6 thin slices ham
6 slices swiss cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup
4-8 oz half and half
melted butter
crushed corn flakes or bread crumbs

Fillet your chicken breasts into thirds. Lay out the chicken breasts and place a piece of ham and a piece of cheese on each. *Note: if you use ham from the deli the slices tend to be pretty big around. You may be able to cut them in half and only use 3 slices. Roll up the chicken breasts and coat them in the melted butter. Then roll them in the corn flakes/bread crumbs. Place in a sprayed 9x9 pan.

In a bowl mix soup and half and half. *Note: I said 4-8 oz because it depends on how thick you like your sauce. I like mine a little more runny so I use closer to 8. Pour sauce over the chicken. Bake covered at 350* for 30 min. Then uncover and bake for 15 min.

We like to serve it with rice or noodles and put the sauce over the top. I have also used mozzarella instead of swiss to save on a few bucks and it still tastes yummy. Bon Appetite!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Featuring My Garden Of Eden

Yay I've been FEATURED!!!

I have this great friend, Abbi, over at My Garden of Eden who featured me on her blog today! Thanks Abbi! We've been friends for a long time. I just wish she didn't live 1500 miles away from me so we could craft together all the time. She is absolutely amazing at refinishing furniture. Take a look at these:

This is a small table she did for her entry way:

This hutch was in BAD shape but she made it beautiful for her kitchen:

And my very favorite- her refinished dining table and chairs!

I need her desperately at my house. I really really really (can't say really enough) need a new kitchen table and chairs. Go visit her at My Garden of Eden and see what else she can do. She also has an etsy shop where she sells some of her great creations.

Also check out my Link Parties page to see what link parties I've joined this week.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Repurposed PJs

Before I start the tutorial, I must amend my post the other day about vanilla. It has been brought to my attention by a couple of you that even pure vanilla (which is what I ended up buying) has alcohol. So I checked the ones that I bought and they have 35% alcohol!

There was also brought to my attention a suspicion about an ingredient called vanillin, which is in my "alcohol free" stuff. So I googled it and got very mixed information. Some sites said it contains alcohol. Some said that only the natural vanillin contains alcohol and the man made stuff doesn't. And some said that it doesn't contain alcohol, it IS alcohol. And some said that it was just flavoring.

So as for me, I'm going to take my chances with my old brand. Yes it contains vanillin (which they all do), but at least there is no extra added alcohol. I googled that brand as well so I could figure out where I got it and.... It's Dutch Mill brand and can be found at Harmons. (I should get paid something for that little advertisement, don't you think!)

Okay on to the tutorial:

We have a tradition give the kids pajamas on Christmas Eve so that they have new ones to wear for Christmas. This year I decided to make them all pajama bottoms and then just buy plain white t-shirts to go with them. Here's what I did for my two girls.

I took their old sleeper pajamas from last year that don't fit anymore:

And turned them into new pajama bottoms for this year:

Fun huh! Here's how:

Step 1:
Cut off the feet right above the elastic on the back. Cut off the arms about an inch out from the armpit. Just make sure not to cut it in line with the side of the pjs. You need some material for seam allowance so you can extend your side seam all the way up.

Step 2:
Cut off the top of the pjs. I found it easiest to cut right below the snap piece so that I didn't have to worry about trying to unpick it. If your pjs don't have a snap piece cut right under the neck. I cut right through the zipper because I have to need for a zipper that long. But if you would use the zipper for another project go ahead and unpick it at the top of the pjs before you make the cut.

Step 3:
Turn your pjs inside out and pin the sides together at the "arm holes" (or where they used to be).

Step 4:
Sew together. I started on top of the original side seam, remember to back stitch, and then continued along that line all the way to the top of the pjs. Back stitch at the top. Then clip the extra material off.

Step 5:
Now unpick the zipper.

Step 6:
With right sides together, match the two front edges of the pjs where the zipper used to be. Pin together and sew starting at the top of the pjs for about 3-4 inches. Remember to back stitch at the start and finish.

Step 7:
Turn the pjs right side and trim the top edge to make it straight.

Now did you notice that cute embroidery at the top of the pjs? It is close enough to the top that if you try to fold down a waist band it will hit the embroidery. So if your pjs have embroidery read the next step and I'll teach you how to save it. If your pjs don't have embroidery skip step 8, the extra work is not necessary.

Step 8:
We are going to make a higher waistband for our pjs so that the cute embroidery will be nicely visible on your pajama bottoms.

First your going take the sleeves that you cut off and cut them along the seam. Then lay them out flat.

Now using a rotary cutter and ruler (scissors are fine if you don't have a cutter) cut four strips 2 inches wide. To figure the length of your strips, measure around the top of your pjs, divide by four, and add on 1/2 inch for seam allowances.

Using 1/4 inch seam, sew your strips end to end and make a circle with them.

Pin right sides together around the top of your pjs. Sew with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Step 9:
If you made the waist band in step 8 your pjs will now look like this. If you didn't make the waist band your pjs won't have the seam just below the top.

Turn your pjs inside out and fold the top down 1 inch. Pin and sew at 1/4 inch to make your elastic casing. Make sure to leave a 1-2 inch gap so you can insert your elastic and remember to backstitch. Sorry I forgot to take a picture of this.

Step 10:
Look at the crotch of your pjs. It should have a diamond shaped piece like this:

Carefully unpick that piece. DO NOT cut it. You need this piece.

Step 11:
Measure how far down from the top of the pjs you want the crotch of you pants to be. Pin the diamond piece, right sides together to the front of the pjs at this point. Make sure the long points of the diamond go down the legs.

Now turn your pjs inside out and pin the other side of the diamond to the back of the pjs, again right sides together. Then sew in place at 1/4 inch, remember to backstitch. I found it easiest to sew one side at a time so that I did four lines of stitching rather than trying to pivot at the corners.

Step 12:
Lay your pjs flat. You'll notice at the point where the crotch used the legs now have points. Cut these off so that the edge of the inside legs are straight.

And stitch up the legs at 1/4 inch. Remember to backstitch.

Step 13:
Now measure from the top of the pants how long you want them. Make sure to add in seam allowances. Trim the legs and hem.

Step 14:
Insert 3/4 inch elastic into the waist band and sew ends together. Then sew of the gap in the waist seam. And your done!

I made each of my girls two pairs of pants. Here are the other three pairs I made:

The two printed ones didn't have embroidery so I didn't add the extra waist band. But notice on the middle pair I used the sleeves from the leopard print ones to make the extra waistband. It added a fun dimension. My girls even recognized their old pajamas and were so excited to have them back!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I'm Not As Think As You Drunk I Am

Did you know that imitation vanilla contains ALCOHOL!!!!

So I heard this once but when I checked my vanilla it didn't have alcohol so I haven't worried about it. But my massively huge alcohol free bottle of vanilla ran out (and of course I can't remember where I bought it) and so I put it on my grocery list. As I was price comparing the vanilla at the store I remembered this little piece of information and decided to check.

And sure enough all the brands of imitation vanilla at that store had alcohol. One even had 26% alcohol. That's more than a can of beer!!!!! You should have to be over 21 to buy this stuff!

Now if you're going to be cooking it, the alcohol will cook out and it's not a big deal. But what about frosting? That's not cooked. So all of those holiday cookies we all just ate were silently getting us drunk. No wonders we're always so tired after the holidays. We're recovering from hangovers.

So I ask you to go check your vanilla and let me know if it's alcohol free or if everyone at your house are slowly becoming alcoholics. Hehe! Really though leave me a comment, I'm curious how many of us have been using vanilla with alcohol without even knowing it.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Recovering From The Holidays

I hope everyone had a good holiday. I love Christmas but we have been going non stop. I feel like I need a vacation from vacation. Does anyone else feel like that? So as I am still trying to recover from the holidays, I do not have a new recipe this week. Sorry.

But I will share with you some treats we made. My oldest daughter was born on Christmas Eve so she took birthday treats to school today. And here's what we made:

I saw these melted snowman cookies over at Crazy Domestic (click here to see them). They are so fun that we decided it would be a great treat for her to take to school. I used melted chocolate chips for the arms, buttons, and face and I must say that it was a little hard to handle. Next time I think I'll use chocolate frosting.

I used the same sour cream sugar cookie recipe from my Halloween treat post (click here). To get the frosting smooth I made some thick frosting and put it into a piping bag with a small round tip. Then I outlined on the cookie where I wanted to have the snowman "melt". Then I made the rest of the frosting runny. Using a spoon I spread the thin frosting around the cookie inside the outline. Because it's runny it all the bumps spread themselves out and you get a nice smooth, glossy look.

My kids love them and I think I'll have to make more for them soon.