30 January 2014

I Guess I Started

I guess I started on the girls' bathroom.  I'll let you know how it goes over the next few weeks.

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Salad Breadsticks

These breadsticks are quick, soft yet chewy and are perfect to accompany soup and salad.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup warm water
4 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoons yeast
3 3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 475F.  Combine the water, sugar and yeast.  Let sit until foamy.  Stir in the flour and salt.  Let rise until doubled.  Roll into long strands (twist or braid if desired).  Brush with butter and sprinkle with Salad Supreme seasoning.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden.  Serve hot.
Enjoy!

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29 January 2014

Life for Claire

What life looks like for Claire.  Most days.
Nice job with the interesting camera angles, Claire.
Watching mom paint.

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28 January 2014

Curried Couscous

A friend shared this recipe when I was in a dinner rut and was looking to find some new meals.  It was fabulous!  The curry gives it a hint of Indian cuisine but it isn't overwhelming.  Plus, I love that it's a complete meal with veggies, grains and protein all in one.  Bonus: want to go vegetarian?  Use vegetable stock and omit the chicken.  It's still delicious.

Ingredients:

3 carrots, finely chopped
2 cans beans (try chickpeas, Navy beans, lentils, etc)
1 cup frozen peas
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 teaspoon curry
3/4 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup broth, vegetable or chicken
1 can coconut milk
2 Teaspoons basil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup dry couscous

Combine all ingredients except for beans and couscous in a large pot. Bring to a boil then reduce to low and simmer about 15 minutes or until veggies are soft.  Add beans and couscous for the final few minutes.  Serve hot!
Thank you for the recipe Faith!
Enjoy!

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27 January 2014

Crunchy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

The girls and I whipped up a batch of these granola bars once we realized we were almost out of snack and breakfast foods and we won't be grocery shopping for a few more days.  So, thank goodness for food storage.  These are packed with nuts, seeds and grains and have just a hint of sweetness to go along with a great crunch.

Ingredients:

2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup ground flax
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey (or molasses)
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F.  Sift together the oats, coconut, seeds, almonds, flax and wheat germ.  Pour into a 13x9 pan and brown in the oven for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Meanwhile, melt remaining ingredients (except for chocolate chips) in a saucepan over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.  Combine with toasted oat mixture.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Grease the 13x9 pan and press granola firmly in (spritz your hands with cooking spray if it's sticking).  Bake at 300F for 20 minutes.  Cool completely.  Flip granola out of pan and cut.
Enjoy!


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25 January 2014

Spoiled

More than once, Jack's given me flak about all the special treatment the horses get.  The sweet feed.  The blanketing.  The treats.  But while they're out enduring the cold, snowy dark, Jack's newly arrived Mustang is parked snugly in the warm garage.
Whose horse is spoiled now?
Guess it's my turn to do the teasing.
(But seriously, glad the car finally arrived.  It hasn't been home for over two years!)

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24 January 2014

Stack My Stuff

One of this week's projects has been shelf construction.  Though we've got plenty of space, there aren't a lot of places to put trinkets or unload books.  I was in serious need of a place to stack my stuff.
Braces  up--time for the shelves!
We looked at the store but the shelves were pretty pricey for the quality so we decided to buy a sheet of lumber and cut our own.
One more coat of paint and they'll be ready! (Oh, Kate, you persistent monkey).
A few coats of paint (and a few more yet to come) and some measuring, drilling, screwing and leveling later, the shelves are taking shape.
The peek-a-boo closet ready for the games.
Just in time too.  The games have been stacked in the corner of our bedroom and I can't tell you how awful a mess three curious girls can make with dozens of board, card and domino games.  Let's just say it looks like an explosion.  Once the shelves are finished, order will return.

I hope.


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22 January 2014

Make Your Own Patchwork Rug (for less than $30!)

I've been wanting an cushy area rug for several months and though this is a labor intensive project, it's well worth the effort for the money saved.  Well, for me anyway.  If you're wanting to make one of your own, here's how:

You'll Need:

Bound carpet samples (call around to carpet stores and ask--if you can get them for free, it'll cut the cost of your rug about in half)
Double sided carpet tape
Padding (optional--again, it'll save you money if you choose not to back with padding, but I like the extra cushion)
Razor or carpet knife or rotary blade
Hot glue gun and glue sticks

1) Arrange the squares into the desired pattern
2)  Send excited children to bed so you can work without interruption
3)  Cut off the binding on any INSIDE seams, following closely to the edge (if you want to use a ruler, go for it but eyeballing it worked okay for me--the carpet was pretty forgiving about filling in the gaps once it was taped together).
4) DO NOT CUT OFF THE OUTSIDE BINDING.  Cut off the inside seams only and save some "extra" binding to finish the edges.
5) Press carpet seams together tightly and remove one side of tape plastic, pressing firmly onto the carpet.  Make sure the intersections of the carpet squares are neat and line up.
6) Run over tape with a rolling pin (or walk across it, etc) to get it to bond as tightly as possible.
7)  Once one direction of tape has been laid, run tape the perpendicular direction (I removed the backing to the first layer of tape so it would bond to the second layer and give more strength to the intersection of four pieces).  Run the rolling pin over the top of the second layer of tape and remove the backing.
8)  If using the padding, carefully roll out along the length of the rug.  Roll pin (or child) across seams.
9)  Flip rug over and cut off excess padding.
10)  Trim extra binding to about 1/2 inch and remove the stitching.
11)  Remove carpet and backing, leaving only the binding.
 12)  Place dab of hot glue at the end and fold over.
 13)  Spread hot glue along length of binding and carefully wrap over binding of adjoining rug, making sure to pinch tightly along top and bottom while avoiding gluing carpet fibers into the binding.
 14)  Give the rug the vacuum treatment, cut off any excess strings.
 15)  Relax and appreciate the efforts of your work.
 Enjoy!

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20 January 2014

Quick Knit Dishcloths

Having been dishwasher-less for nearly a year, I've become rather picky about my dishcloths.  Adding in a personal goal to become a better knitter, I've started making my own.  This pattern is a great refresher and is great for beginners.  They're so straightforward and quick, I can knit one in less than an hour (which is usually the downtime I have during naps).  Plus, you can customize the size for larger dishcloths or smaller for face washcloths.
You'll Need:

1 skein cotton yarn
Knitting needles (the larger the size, the larger the cloth will be with less stitches)
Yarn needle to finish off

K-knit
YO-Yarn over
K2tog-Knit two together

Cast on 4 stitches
Increasing section: K2, YO, K to end
(Continue pattern to desired number of stitches--I made my dishcloths 40 stitches across)
Decreasing section: K1, K2tog, YO, K2tog, K to end, down to 4 stitches
Bind off and finish loose ends
Though dishcloths can't wash for you, they make easy work of a sink brimming with dirty dishes.
Squeaky clean!

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19 January 2014

For The Cause

The slivers.  The dry, chapped skin.  The unkempt nails.  The blood.  All for the cause.
(And not NEARLY as much blood as Jack, like when I dropped siding on his head or when he got stitches in the middle of building the horses' fence.  That's sacrifice!)

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18 January 2014

Beaded Bleach Shirt

We love horses, of course!
I had the rare occasion to take Claire shopping one-on-one and instead of buying a fancy new shirt, we picked out a blank pink sweatshirt off the clearance rack and made a beaded bleach shirt.  They aren't difficult to make and the possibilities are endless.
You'll Need:

1 blank shirt
Contact paper
Bleach
Small spray bottle
Cardboard
Permanent marker
Embroidery thread
Small glass beads

1) Choose your design template.  Print but don't cut out.

2)  Using a light box or holding the design up to a window, use permanent marker to trace the template onto the contact paper.  BLEACH WILL CAUSE THE PERMANENT MARKER TO BLEED SLIGHTLY. IF YOU DO NOT WANT A DARK BOARDER ON YOUR BLEACH SHIRT, FACE THE BACKING OF THE CONTACT PAPER TOWARD YOU WHILE TRACING.  IF YOU DO WANT A DARK BOARDER, FACE THE BACKING AGAINST THE PAPER TEMPLATE.

3)  Cut out the design, peel the contact paper from the backing and place sticky side down on the fabric.
4) Place cardboard in between layers of the shirt and place cardboard on top of any area you don't want in contact with the bleach.

5)  Pour undiluted bleach into the spray bottle and test the stream.  A mist will bleach out the entire area and thick drops will give the design a splattered look.  Spritz the design lightly and wait several minutes in between any additional treatments (it takes a while for the bleach to take effect).
Already spritzed with bleach but it takes a while for it to work.  Patience!

6)  When desired effect is reached, dry shirt, wash in cold water then dry again.
7)  With embroidery floss, back stitch around desired boarder, adding one glass bead to every stitch.  You may back the embroidery to give it extra strength.
Wear and Enjoy!

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