Thursday, August 30, 2007

Baking, Sewing, Cleaning

I did a little baking, a little sewing and a little cleaning yesterday. I have done the same today as well. Yesterday I baked a Strawberry Bread, like a banana bread but with strawberries. Mmmm is it good. The recipe makes 2 loaves, so I kept a loaf out and put a loaf in the freezer. The bread is moist and not too heavy.

Then I did a little sewing, I finished my valances for my kitchen and then worked on the cafe curtains for the kitchen window as well. I'll have to take a photo at night, the day photo just did not turn out. I have many projects in my head for sewing, but I don't feel enough time to get them done. Baby steps, that what I need to take when it comes to sewing.

I should not have gone to Wal-Mart last night to get curtain rods, I stopped by the fabric department because, it is one of the unfortunate ones that will be closing soon, and they had reduced all of their fabric down to 50% off the regular price. Now, there is not much left, but I did manage to find some nice baby prints (denim days teddy, teddy bear), a nice toile, and a few others that I can't seem to recall right now. What did I buy them for, I'm not sure but a girl that likes to sew can never have too much fabric. And well, it was such a good deal, I'll make some things up to sell.

Now onto my cleaning husband purchased the Shark Ultra Steam Blaster while I was on vacation and let me say, it is the best. I have become addicted to cleaning with this little machine. I steamed my baseboards, floor and window sills in my living room on Tuesday and on Wednesday, I steamed the baseboards, washer, drier, freezer and cabinets in the laundry room. I just love it. I tried to do the bathroom today, but think I may have to wait, 2 boys (potty trained) and a daddy, I'm afraid to do the base around the toilet.

And, onto my vacation photos. These are just a few of the many snapshots that I took. I am going to get the CD's made to send to one friend and the other friend will be visiting next week with her kids, so I can pass along the CD to her.

The view from our room the first day...Hurricane Dean was out in the Carribean and well, we stil had the choppy water. The waves were really rough. By the end of the week, the water was calm and you would have never known that the waves had been this rough early in the week.

The next few photos are of the baby sea turtles that we were fortunate to see leaving their nests. There were nests up and down the beach where we were staying. Twice a day turtle volunteers would walk the beach to survey the nests. Of an evening, if the nest had hatched 3 days prior they would check the nest for any survivors that had not come out yet and set them free. We have some photos of that, however, it was dark enough outside you can not really see the pictures. The photos I do have are of a nest that had 5 turtles come out late in the day (usually they come out overnight) and we happened to be on the beach. One little guy/girl was stuck in a footstep and finally got out, one was stuck on some seaweed and finally got over the hump and then the last photo is of three of them making their way to the water. We also took a picture of turtle tracks from a nest that had hatched overnight and we were on the beach early the next morning. I was definitely being a mom, I did not want those little turtles to get hurt and I wanted them to make it safely in the water, so we stood and cheered them on. Helping them or touching is illegal and you could be fined $500-$20000. So we just watched and hoped they made it.
While walking on the beach picking up seashells, I'll post more about my seashell searching and how I transported them home. We stumbled across a jelly fish, dead, but still a jelly fish. He was pretty big and it was high tide and so the waves were coming up and we would run away from the water and the jelly fish for fear he would get us.

We encountered a large lizard on our last day in Palm Beach Shores. We were walking back towards our resort after doing some gift shopping and came across some lizards. There were at least 2 and may have been three, but I only snapped pictures of one.

And finally, this is the last night nice night on the beach. Saturday night, it was raining, so this was taken on Friday night.

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Updating today...

We have arrived home from our girlfriends trip. I had a great time and I do hope that my 2 friends had as nice a time as I did. We did a lot of nothing, walking on the beach, shopping, eating good food and of course having a dessert everyday, whether it was ice cream, cheesecake or strawberry shortcake.

I have been very busy since I arrived home. My basement had a bit of a catastrophe while I was gone. My husband pierced the water line on the refrigerator and we had at least 3 inches of water in the basement. He purchased a dehumidfier and I empty it 3 times a day because it is full. But now I'm dealing with the smell and fear that there is mold growing. I am going to start moving toys back to their area so that I can work in the sitting area. Any advice how to get the fowl stench out of the basement? I am also burning candles, when I am down here.

What else have I done since arriving home...I have hung drapes in the living room (they have been hanging in the closet since we moved from Erie, IL to Pearland, TX and then to our current home, I just decided that I would hang them and they look very nice. I have also finished my valances for the patio door and kitchen window. My tablecloth I was making is going to become cafe curtains, because we have a new table and it is not wide enough. I am going to post pictures of my completed projects later.

My husband while I was gone painted my laundry room for me the bright yellow "Sweet Lemonade" that I had chosen and hung a new light fixture to make the room much brighter and cheerier. I have some work to do in there but with the mess in the basement, that comes first.

I'll post pictures hopefully today of my curtains and such and some pictures from my trip.

Monday, August 13, 2007

More sewing completed

So these are the dresses that I completed for my nieces. I used the same pattern from this post
but the other style. I do hope the girls like them and I think they will look cute in them.

This was a special gift for my niece's 1st birthday. I found the pattern at Raggedy Pants and have been making these bunnies for a few years now. Each one gets easier to put together and I think that each one gets cuter and they are all unique, because well they are handmade. Her skirt has ladybugs on it, as does her hair tie. The little rabbit has a skirt and hair tie as well.

Thank you, thank you, thank you...

I was given the opportunity to go and see Kenny Chesney in concert (again). My husband gave me tickets to see him last year with Dierks Bently and Carrie Underwood. Little did he know that I had purchased 4 tickets with some friends. But I gladly sold my 2 tickets when I found out the seats he had for me were on the floor in the section closest to the stage. We were able to get within 5 rows of the stage. Here is a photo:

So, when a friend called me a few weeks ago and she had been given VIP Skybox tickets to see him at his upcoming show and asked me if I wanted to go, I of course said yes.

It was great, we saw Pat Green, which I didn't realize that I liked as many of his songs as I thought.

Sugarland, they are just amazing. Jennifer Nettles has such a powerful voice and she is so much fun to watch sing. She is so full of energy.

But of course, the highlight of the evening, was getting to see Kenny Chesney. He was as amazing as he was last year. The only problem that we had was the group that we were sitting with. Since we did not know any of the people and not many of the other people knew each other, it got a bit ugly. If you had seat numbers on your ticket,those were your seats, if you did not have a seat number, well, you had to sit in the back on the metal chairs. No problem, we had seat numbers. But a few of the people had taken other people's seats and when they asked security about it they came in an clarified. This made the other people mad, so when Kenny came on and we were standing, they went and got security and do you know that we had to sit, yes I said sit, through the concert. We still had a good time and I went and took pictures and stood a few times to get some pictures. He sang his new song "Never Wanted Nothin' More" and his new album "Just Who I am: Poets & Pirates" comes out September 11, 2007.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Time to get stuff done...

Today. much like Friday, has been a day of catch up. I have done some cleaning, some baking, some sewing and some reading (only while I ate lunch). I am currently reading No Greater Love by Mother Theresa and Thomas Moore. The book is written in her point of view, and I have learned so much just in the few chapters that I have read. I have been trying learn how to pray more and how to pray better. The book , though I did not get it for this reason, has taught me that you learn to pray better, by praying more. I also found interesting that our prayers do not need to be long drawn out prayers, just as long as we are grateful. I also read that when we awake in the morning and we are thinking of God, that is a form of prayer. If during the day, our thoughts drift toward God or Jesus, then that is a form of prayer. So, my question if I was able to ask Mother Theresa is, if my mind goes toward a hymn that we have recently sang in church or a song that I learned when I was younger and it is about God, is that a form of prayer? I do hope so. I have caught myself this week, when times have been tough (it's only Wednesday and it's been a long week), saying the Lord's Prayer, and I have had a calming sense come over me. One other thing that I found interesting in the book, is she says that "in order to love, we must be able to pray." That is one that I shall ponder.

I have finished matching dresses for each of my nieces. I have one more thing to do before tomorrow and then I may take a day trip to see my family. I'll take pictures and try to post them later.

As for baking, it's that time of the month when I send cookies to a friend's son who is serving our country in Iraq. This month he is receiving, Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies and Chocolate Chip Cookies. The Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies are a mix of Chocolate Chip Cookies, Peanut Butter Cookies and Oatmeal Cookies. I do hope that he and his friends enjoy them this month. His mom said they wait for the package and then sit down and eat them together. I've also baked Oatmeal Bread which I found here and oh is it so good. Michael said it tastes like Pizza dough, but it is so moist and tender and I highly recommend it. I also made Banana Bread Muffins for my neighbors daughter, she is arriving home today from being gone for the summer, a bit of a welcome home for her. I think that is all that I have baked today.

I'm going to go and get some more stuff done, so that I can perhaps post some pictures and get my shop up and running.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Playing Catch Up

With sewing that is. I have several projects that I need to finish up. I have completed 2 thus far today and plan to get a few more done. My niece celebrated her 1st birthday a few weeks ago, I know I'm running late, and I made this cute little dress for her. I used Simplicity It's Sew Easy pattern 3740. I made a few changes though. The straps are supposed to be stitched inside of the bodice (so that you do not see the ends) and then just stitched on the outside of the back. Well I cut the back facing in half and stitched the straps in there as well and now my sister-in-law will be able to tie the straps together versus having to stitch them in place. I really like how it turned out. I am planning on making her and her sister the other dress from the same pattern. That is on my cutting table right now.

The next project that I completed today was a simple log cabin block. I thought it sounded like a simple way to use up some leftover scraps of fabric. It turned out cute. I have to decide if I'm going to add it to a quilt or if I'm going to make it into a pincushion or perhaps a coin purse. I'm not sure. The fabrics that were used are from several projects that I have completed over the last few months and just have pieces left.
And the last project that I completed today was for a friend of my mom's. She requested a Rooster or Red bird bag for I believe her sister or a friend (I'm really not sure). And so, I took the time to get this project done as well. Because when I send my niece her birthday present I can put this bag into the same package and perhaps save a bit on postage.

I guess you could say that I have been busy. But I am going to have to take a break and visit the eye doctor and pick up the dogs from their grooming appointment. They always smell so girly when they get home and since they are boys, they want to go outside and roll in the dirt and grass to get the smell off of them. We'll see what else I can get accomplished today and over the weekend.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Thankful Thursday

I have participated and not participated and decided that if I participated today perhaps I could move myself from a funk. Thank Iris at Sting my Heart for hosting Thankful Thursday. If you are interested in participating or just reading about what others are thankful for go and visit Iris.

  • I am thankful that God has gifted me with being crafty. Creating has made me feel closer to the creator.
  • I am thankful that God has blessed me with wonderful friends that are willing to listen to me ramble on and on sometimes about nothing and sometimes about everything.
  • I am thankful for God patience with me as I learn to pray more regularly.
  • I am thankful for Father Dennis' homily on Sunday. To hear him say that you are never alone that God is always with you. So on those days when I feel "alone" I no longer have to I can turn to God and say thank you for being with me today.
  • I am thankful for my kids. Although they can cause me to feel a bit crazy most days, I would not change a thing.
  • I am thankful for my stash of fabric...this keeps me busy. But my creative mind never stops and I find myself with many projects started and not a lot finished.

What are you thankful for?

For the love of STRAWBERRIES

Anyone that knows me very well, knows that I love strawberries. My grandpa would tell stories that he and grandma would take me to the strawberry patch and then to the store to get some whipped topping, but before we made it back home I had opened the strawberries and started eating them. I still love them. Especially when my nonnie would make me her homemade Strawberry Shortcake. Mine never turns out as well as hers did, but I occasionally make, usually on my birthday. Nonnie always made me one for my birthday. Not a day goes by that I don't think of her and miss her very much.

Last night I decided that I would finally try a new recipe for a simpler Strawberry Shortcake, it was more like a trifle. But oh soooooooo good. Here is the recipe:

  • 1 large angel food cake (I made one as I didn't have a box mix)
  • 1 - 8oz package of cream cheese softened
  • 1 - 12oz package of frozen whipped topping, defrosted
  • 1 - 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3T cornstarch
  • 3T strawberry gelatin
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries - quartered (I used more strawberries and sprinkled with 2T sugar and let sit for a bit)

Slice the cake using a serrated knife or tear apart. I cut the cake in half and then tore it into pieces. For the custard: Mix together the cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk and frozen whipped topping. For the glaze: In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, cornstarch, stawberry gelatin and water. Cook over medium heat until the mixture becomes thick. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Fold in the strawberries. To assemble the Strawberry Shortcake. Take a large glass bowl and place half of the cake in the bottom of the bowl, cover with half of the custard and then top with the strawberries. Repeat one more time.

The side pictures did not turn out very well. But it is very pretty layered in the glass bowl. And I of course had to taste it almost immediately. It was good, but not as good as letting it sit in the refrigerator overnight and let the flavors combine. It's not nonnie's but it will do. This one is much simpler to make on a regular basis and I will save her's for special occasions.

Another one of my favorite strawberry recipes is for a Strawberry Vinagrette. I found the recipe in a Weight Watchers magazine 3 years ago and just love it. Here is the recipe:
  • 1 cup quarted strawberries
  • 1T + 1tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1T canola oil
  • 2tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pinch of black pepper

Puree all ingredients in a blender. Makes about 3/4 cup. I store it in the refrigerator for up to a week. It usually doesn't last that long.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Simple Pleasures

Simple pleasures are what makes my days seem bearable. In the spring, I had grand ideas about all of these flowers that I wanted to plant and grow. Being a mom of 3 busy boys, my plans did not go as smoothly as planned. I planted a package of Peppermint Zinnia in with my Gladiolus. Well, the only thing that came up was the Zinnia's, the rabbit ate the other flowers and I had to tell the kids everyday, don't dig there, mommy has flowers planted. Here are some snapshots of the pretty little flowers. The plant is full of blooms and it's a perennial, so it will come back (I hope).
This crazy vine is my clematis. I love the flowers when they bloom. However, this crazy thing has not bloomed. Last year it consumed our entire deck. The sides of the deck are 6ft by 6ft. And it was all over it and at least 3 feet thick. This year, after much research, I decided to cut it back and see how well it would do. I expected it to not do well this year and then take off again next year. I have a double-shepherd's hook next to it and on the right side a wire trellis. Obviously me cutting it back did not harm it. But I would really like for it to bloom. I'll just have to wait and see.
Finally, these next few shots were taken at the park last Saturday. The older boys have a Supersports Class and they were going to be playing soccer. We arrived at the park early so we let the three of them play on the playground equipment. This one is of Ethan climbing out of a tunnel. He wasn't quite sure how to get out of it. In this picture, you can see that Michael and Trevor are dribbling the soccer ball. Well, Michael is anyway, Trevor is just looking at the other kids. Finally, Trevor decides that he should kick the ball. Once he got started he didn't want stop.
SCORE! Michael scored a goal (actually they all scored a goal). But he was so excited. He really seemed to enjoy it. His uncle would be glad to hear that he likes the sport.
Just one more note. I read a passage today that was titled Desire, Ask, Believe, Receive. The passage talked about worrying and how worrying can be such a thief of time. The article said that you should take notice of what causes you to worry, what sets you off. And once you recognize the signals, you can remind yourself that you need to stop yourself from worrying. I have found that worrying causes me more stress and grief than not worrying. It can turn a wonderful day into a miserable day. It steals my time away from me. I am learning my patterns that cause me to worry (the house isn't clean enough, the kids don't like what I fixed, do the kids have clean underwear) and making myself stop and say a prayer or have a conversation with God, Jesus, Mary and/or the Holy Spirit. This has helped me to overcome my worrisome habits (or at least I'm trying to get them in control). The article says "Desire, Ask, Believe, Receive begin by praying or conversing in that order and you will see the abundance of amazing grace that is available to us". I have also taken a liking to a phrase that Scarlett O'Hara used "I'm not going to think about this right now, I'll think about this tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is another day."

Tried some new recipes

When my mom and pa came to bring my dogs home a few weeks ago, a friend of my mom's had given her some zucchini. My mom gladly accepted knowing that I would use them for something. After some thinking and letting them sit I decided that I had better do something with. I made a wonderful Parmesan Zucchini Bread that I found here. The kids loved it, Ethan kept asking for more, he had 3 pieces before we even had dinner. I then wanted to use up some more, zucchini, so I made a Baked Zucchini and Rice Dish it was okay. I did not have any swiss cheese so I substituted mozzarella cheese. The kids did not touch it. They just looked at it and gave me this "mom I'm not eating that" look. Not even the baby, who eats anything, would eat it. On a mission, I wanted to make one more loaf of bread before bed. So I made, Lemon Zucchini Bread. We really enjoyed this. It adds just enough of a lemon taste to make it stand out. And of course, rave reviews from the boys. Now what to do with the rest of the zucchini. Some advice from a friend and I shredded the remaining 16 zucchini's and measured out 2 cup increments and put it in a zip top bag and put them in the freezer. I now have 18 cups of shredded zucchini in my freezer along with the 18 cups of sweet corn. It is nice to know that I am stocking my freezer for the winter months. What to do this afternoon? I've been organizing. I cleaned out my side of the closet and I am no longer ashamed of my side and feel comfortable leaving the door open, however, I do need to do some work on the husband's side. I also needed to move the cereal. The kids like to get into the cereal and spread it throughout the house. Not a good thing, it attracts ants. So I moved some kitchen cabinets around, decluttered as I went, found a new home for a few things. And well the kids can no longer reach the cereal (not even with a chair) and I have put cleared an eyesore countertop by clearing another cabinet out and using it to store the kids' schooling/coloring supplies. Perhaps I should take a picture. Next project to tackle today, organize the rest of the pantry. Grandmas will be embarking on my house in 18 short days to keep the kids while I go on a trip with my Girlfriends. Most of my cleaning and organizing has been because the grandmas will be arriving and I don't want them to decide to clean for me. Not to mention we are getting ready to turn our house into our home. But more on that at a later time.