Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What's growing in the garden

I haven't been out in the garden much, mostly because it's winter and I forgot to do carrots when it rained. We haven't had much rain since. Anyway, I have a garden full of weeds and a few other things.

I was so excited to see these big beautiful strawberries growing. They were tasty and didn't have any rolly pollies eating them!


Here are a few things from the trees. The mango's are so delicious. The kids and I go down the hill on the property we live on and pick about 20 avocados per week. They taste so much better then in the store. Then we have some blood oranges and grapefruit.


Here is the only thing other then those few strawberries really growing well in the garden. We haven't had much rain, but the weather has been super cold which makes tasty lettuce.


So, now I am not buying oranges, grapefruits, avocados, lettuce and eggs when I go grocery shopping. I love it!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Recipe - Cinnamon Rolls

About 12 years ago, before Mr. C and I were married, we decided with his sister to make cinnamon rolls for his dad one Christmas morning. We had always heard how he loved waking up to the smell of fresh cinnamon rolls every Christmas morning, so we thought it would be a nice surprise. This very first year we did it, we were all in Mammoth, after Mr. C's parents went to bed, the 3 of us stayed up and started the recipe. Non of us had made bread before. We didn't even think about how long it would take us. Little did we know we would be slaving away for hours kneading, rising, kneading, rising... It was horrible trying to get the bread to rise correctly because it was so cold in that darn cabin. We put it by the little wood burning stove to finally get a little rise out of it.

Well, that night we went to bed with flour all over us and exhausted well after midnight. I am so sad right now because I looked everywhere and I can't find that old picture.

The next morning, early we got up before Mr. C's parents and put the rolls in the oven. They turned out ok, but I was envisioning cinnabon. Boy, oh boy was I disappointed. From then on, it has been our goal to perfect these cinnamon rolls. Each year they get a little better.

Making them gets a little more fun too. Little C's first Christmas...


I have to slip in a little memory of Grandpa all satisfied after eating his roll Christmas morning.


I think little C had the most fun his second Christmas...



Last year, they were near perfect when I made 2 major changes to the recipe. But the dough wasn't quite right, we wanted it a little thicker.


Finally, this year they were wonderful. In-fact, they were the best cinnamon rolls I think I have ever tasted. I made 2 batches for Christmas and one New Year's Eve at almost midnight. They had the perfect amount of fluffiness, sticky gewiness and surgary sweet frosting. 


Now that the recipe is perfected, should I keep it a family secret or post it for the world to copy?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Please don't judge

I know this is a crafting blog and I don't do this very often, but I have had this on my mind and just wanted to get it out. So here it goes, you can read if you want or just ignore it and wait for more cooking, sewing and crafting next week.

I don't let my kids watch TV... most of the time.
I don't spank... well maybe like 4 times.
I try to feed my kids right, no junk all natural... unless at a birthday, special occasion or of course Taco Tuesday dessert.
I don't give my kids drugs/medications.
I don't vaccinate.
I don't believe in cry it out.
I don't feed my kids dairy... except for that grill cheese today with the left over cheese from Taco Tuesday.
I nursed my kids as long as they wanted, some might say too long... I don't think so.
I am NOT perfect, not even close!

I do yell, I pray every morning for patients and understanding when disciplining my kids because I yell and loose my patients too often. My kids do have fits. I have been that mom in the store with the 6 year old acting completely spoiled, whining, crying over some gum that I won't buy him. I have been that mom that looks like she has it all together, so patient explaining why we are not getting the gum and understanding why he is so devastated... but that is on a good day. I have also been that mom yelling at my child that his behavior is completely inappropriate and if he doesn't cut it out, when we get home I am going to take away his favorite toy so he can be more grateful for what he has. I am that mom in the car when my children are bickering and I loose it yelling at them to just STOP instead of calmly talking to them. I have been the mom that wants to get one more thing done after nap so I ask my children if they want to watch a Wild Krats. I can also be that mom that puts my phone down my work aside and plays with my children. We all have an ideal for our families, we all have values we want to raise our kids with and we all have our own idea of health and discipline. None of us can say we have it down perfect. Some days I can say I did great today, but many days I'm saying, "Please forgive me Lord and help me tomorrow."

I am a mom struggling to make all the right choices for MY family. I pray about every choice and I research everything. I rely on my husband for most of the medical decisions because he is a doctor of Chiropractic. I do not however think I have all the answers. Not by a long shot. I do not want to make choices for anybody else's family. That would just be wrong, we are all different, we all have our own strengths and weaknesses. We all have our own circumstances and different bodies that require different decisions. We should all look at each other that way. If someone asks advice I give it, say what I do and why, but I start by saying what is right for my family might not be right for yours. We would be one big boring place if we were all the same.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Robes

It gets freezing cold in our house at night, so in the morning, C has been wearing his old robe that I made him 2 years ago. Needless it say, the arms and bottom was about 3 inches too short.

Now, C and L have cozy robes to wear and they actually fit.



C wanted a button at the top so none of his skin hit the air and he didn't want to wear a shirt under it because then he wouldn't be able to feel the softness.


Back inside to play legos together.


Now we are all so warm and cozy in our robes!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Recipe - Hearty Pumpkin Muffins

Today's recipe one that is very tasty that I got from a friend. Of course, I have changed it up a bit just like usual. This recipe, however, is delicious on it's own. My version is "Hearty Pumpkin Muffin's"

These muffins are so good and good for you, they have 3 different whole grains in them.


Recipe (My version)
2 c pumpkin
3 c whole wheat flour
1 c flax seed
1 1/2 c white sugar
2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder (aluminum free)
1/3 c oil
1/3 c apple sauce
3 eggs
2 t ground cloves
2 t cinnamon
2 t nutmeg
1 t allspice
1 t salt
1 c oatmeal

Mix all the ingredients together and bake at 350 degrees fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes.

Here is the baking powder that I have found, they sell it at Stater Bros.


Yummy muffins waiting to be baked. Please excuse the blurriness. I got a new lens for Christmas and there is a learning curve with all my settings. I'm not perfect so I didn't think my blog should be either. :-)


Yummy...


They make a wonderful breakfast or snack.


Did I mention, these are kid approved?



These muffins are wonderful with my changes, or you can do a few of your own, like adding shredded zuccini. But, I thought I'd give you the original recipe if you wanted to try that too.

Original Recipe
2 c pumpkin
4 c flour
2 c white sugar
2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder (aluminum free)
1/3 c oil
1/3 c apple sauce
3 eggs
2 t ground cloves
2 t cinnamon
2 t nutmeg
1 t allspice
1 t salt

Happy Baking!
Kristen

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Farmhouse Bench

Finally, it's hear, the bench to go with the farmhouse table...


The bench was much quicker to make. Mr. C did the top just like he did the table. It turned out perfect.

Here is everybody working on the stain.



We distressed the bench a little more then the table top and I really like the way it turned out. We finally got to use our table with friends. It was so nice to have a nice comfortable dinner at the big table while the kids all sat in the other room at the old table. Now, I just need some chairs to match.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Oven Mits

I am so excited to be knocking so many things off my to-do list. I have had these projects sitting out for months and now they are done! I can finally clean the dinning room. I think it was the nice table that whipped my butt into shape. Maybe that and I don't have things to finish before Christmas anymore.

Here is what I've finished:
C's refashioned t-shirt
L's refashioned dress
C's lunch sac

and now, pot holders!


Ok, so they are not the cutest, but I had the fabric and I have needed some for months now. When I envisioned these cute little red and white pot holders, they were so much cuter in my head. The first one I put on some home made binding. It would have been better with white or black. Then for the second one, I had black thread in my serger and started doing the edges. I liked it better then the first with the black so I decided to leave it that way.


Even though they are not totally cute, they serve a purpose and the stay in the drawer anyway. They are better then my old stained ripped pot holder.

Kristen

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Recipe - Soup

I'm not quite sure what to call this soup yet, maybe "Chicken Kale" soup. It's very healthy and yummy too.


I have trouble writing recipes when I just create things. I don't really measure anything when I cook. So, I will give it my best guess.

2 32 oz cartons chicken broth
1 onion (with a little olive oil)
1 1/2 - 2 c sliced mushrooms
1 breast chicken
2 c kale
1 T soy sause
2 t sesame oil

Cook the onions in olive oil till translucent, add the chicken to brown both sides. Then add the rest of the ingredients to the pot and simmer for an hour.

This soup is perfect on a cold night or very soothing when you have a sore throat. We were on a soup kick because everyone in my house was getting sick. I hope you enjoy this as much as we did and stay healthy!

Kristen

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Refashioned dress

I had this lovely dress.


Sure, it looks cute on a hanger, but wearing it is another story. I loved the fabric and I thought it might be a cute sun dress, but it's just so puffy! I kept wondering if it was me or it really was puffy then, I was trying it on one day and little C came in and told me, "Mommy, I'm not sure if I like that dress." I told him I wasn't either and asked him why he didn't like it so much. He said, "It's big and wide, I don't like wide dresses on you." Well, my little 6 year old has a fashion sense. A better one then me sometimes. Good thing the dress was on clearance for really cheap because it will become a new dress for L.

I chopped off the smocked top and shortened it. then cut the bottom to size and sewed them back together. L wasn't so happy to take a picture.


I don't like it when the dress goes straight across that it seems too low on her. So, I cut arm holes and serged the edges. She is still not happy about taking a picture, but now that C is trying to get in, she is cooperating.


Now she is just trying to keep him out of the picture.


Now she is picture happy. Now that she is playing that is. And, it doesn't even matter that it's not even January (when I'm typing this), L will just throw a jacket on and maybe some tights if it gets any colder.


Perfect summer, I mean winter dress.

Kristen

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Work Bench

Remember that beautiful hand crafted table I got from my husband? Well, he hurt his back 2 times while making it. Yes, a chiropractor hurt his back 2 times in 2 weeks! Because of this, he insisted that he needed a work bench. He left for Home Depot one day and came back with all the supplies and now this is what is in our garage.


It is all organized now, but it won't be long before it looks like this...


At least daddy and son have matching benches now.


They can work together. It is very cute. Plus, remember my table? Well, I'm already getting a bench to go with it. It should be done in about 2 days. I am so excited.

Kristen

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Recipe - Cranberries

I never really like cranberries growing up. It didn't matter if they were fresh or canned. They just weren't good. Until a couple of years ago, a friend brought some to our Thanksgiving dinner. She had given me a jar a couple weeks earlier, but I hadn't opened them yet, so I didn't know what I was in for.



The difference in these are the spices added. This is one recipe I have not changed!

Recipe:

4 c cranberries
1/2 c water
3 cinnamon sticks
5 whole cloves
5 allspice berries
2 c sugar

Directions:

Put the cloves and allspice in a little spice bag or a tea thingy. Yep, that's what I call it. Add that to the water and cranberries. Cook till they pop. Add the sugar and cook down a bit.


That little white thing is cheese cloth. The kids played with my tea thingy one too many times and I don't have any spice bags so I made one.

The cranberries are perfect on pancakes! I jar them and eat them year around because you can only get fresh cranberries in the store during November and December.


Kristen

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Lunch Sac from Scraps

At the beginning of the year, I made C a little lunch sac. As you can see, it wasn't so cute. Since then, I have had a new one on my to-do list. Originally C wanted a camo sac, but they were all out of camo at the store. Then I remembered I this.


I managed to get some squares out of it.


This is what I came up with for C's new lunch sac. It has velcro on the inside and little handles that are much better then the first lunch sac.


I didn't have quite enough squares, can you tell?


At least the black strip matches. Maybe I should use a lint brush on it before I take a picture next time.



Kristen

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Refashion T-Shirt

Mr. C had this shirt that wasn't so old, it just didn't fit him so well. I decided to cut it up and make a smaller one for little C.


The color is a little off because of the lighting and my camera settings. I'm learning.

Anyway, I just cut the front out of the front and the sleeves out of the sleeves.


I sewed the sleeves on before I sewed the sides. I wanted to try the other way of doing sleeves. I think this way is great for t-shirts. Putting the sleeves on last I think works better for more fitted shirts.


But sleeves usually aren't a problem for me, it's the necks of t-shirts that give me the most trouble!


Can you tell? It's a little stretched out. I did have to rip out the neck and re-do it, that never seems to make it any better.


The shirt is a tad big because I used a new shirt of C's to trace that is a bit big. I wanted it to fit for a long time. I don't want to do all that work to have him grow out of it in a month. But other then that and the neck, the shirt is perfect. I guess that's not quite perfect.

Kristen

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Recipe - No Bake Energy Balls

Now that I am feeling a little less overwhelmed, I am back to blogging and surfing blogs again. Today I found this wonderful recipe for energy balls at Smashed Peas and Carrots.



Too bad, my picture isn't quite as good as hers. Even so, it looked like something my family would love so I had to try it. The only thing is, I can never follow a recipe exact, I'm always changing things up a bit. So, here is my version.

1 c oatmeal
1 c unsweetened coconut
3/4 c flax seed
1/2 c all natural peanut butter or cashew butter (for those that can't have peanut butter like my son)
1/3 c honey (actually almost 1/3, add about 2 T agave first then fill the rest with honey
1/4 cup semi sweet soy free chocolate chips or 1 packet Nestle chocolate milk powder (this change was because it was the only choc. I had in the house.)
1 t vanilla (optional, but goes good with the chocolate milk powder change)

My ingredients:
I buy oatmeal in bulk because it is cheaper and we go through a ton in our house between these energy balls and breakfast. Since my son can't have wheat, corn, peanuts or soy, I can't do normal sandwiches for lunch. These energy balls are a great protein to replace peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or processed lunch meat.

My coconut comes from the bulk bins at Sprouts.

Our chocolate chips must be soy free again because of my son.

I usually buy the nut butters at Trader Joe's because they have a smoother texture and stronger flavor.

I always get local honey at our weekly farmers market. It helps with allergies.

Mix it all together.



Form it into little balls, it helps to wet your hands every few balls to prevent it from sticking to your hands. Then refrigerate. I store mine in the fridge because I used the peanut butter you have to stir. They were delicious! My kids loved them. I loved them. Mr. C loved them.


Kristen