Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Pie Experience

One of the highlights of the past weekend. I love baking pies.

Recipe here

My own

I was touched by the sympathy I received over my devotion to small stainless steel drinking cups. What is life without the support of friends?
Just look at what came of it.

Yes, that is my very own.
Melissa spent a morning scouring e-bay on my behalf and she was successful! Six hours after she sent me the link to the auction I won the same and learned for myself that dreams come true.
The treasured item arrived here on Monday and has never once made it to the cupboard. Every time I wash it, someone starts drinking from it before I can put it away.
There are a few differences between my new prize and the beloved of my mother's. Hers, as I've mentioned, are stainless steel whereas mine is pewter. Also the handles on her cups are a bit smaller and of a more uniform width than mine. For reference here's the picture of one of the cups at my mother's house;

And here again for your viewing pleasure is my new heirloom

Now, If I can find copies of Louisa May Alcott's works from the same edition as reside in the barrister bookcases of my parent's living room (My least favorite of which is Little Women, uggh) then I'll be in business.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

This is about poo. Just to give you a fair warning.

Potty training is going swimmingly. Enzo is a super duper potty pooper. There has only been one poop accident and it happened withinn the first diaper free hour.
He likes to do his business in private which suits me just fine. Especially after the experience we had with Zizza who needed lots of moral support in the event of a number two.
This morning I woke up a few minutes to six to the sound of the potty seat clattering onto the toilet. I drug myself up the the bathroom and saw to it that he redressed and washed his hands. Then I sent him back to bed.
Soon it was time for the Mr to get up and leave for his Sunday morning meetings. Before he left he told me that Enz had gotten back up and completed his business in the bathroom (I had apparently arrived too soon, remember he likes privacy) and gone back to his room but he would likely be up and about any minute.
Fifteen minutes later I got up and found him bear bumed on the bottom step. He had his pajama bottoms in his hand. On the step where he sat was a fresh skid mark. I guess the Mr. rushed him too so he had to take a third trip to the bathroom to finish up. I wasn't complaining though. I'd much rather clean up skid marks than full on messed pants.
We proceeded to get the boy dressed, but I could only find one pair of clean little boy underpants. That was confusing, he's kept them dry so he's only used one pair a day and I have done laundry. Further investigation showed that the bulk of the boy unders were in the dryer, forgotten, still wet and quite musty.
I started that load over again and with things thus under control, betook myself to the kitchen to bake a pie. Meanwhile the boy went potty again and came down stairs bear bummed... Again.
This time there were no skidmarks, so that was good news. The bad news is that I haven't figured out what he did with his one available pair of underwear. I have searched this house. I can't find them.
The boys current ensemble consitst of the following; pajama bottoms.
Now I knew he wasn't super thrilled with the underwear he had on earlier. They were tightys and he preffers a boxer short. But did he hide them? Were the tightys so unbearable that he purposely concealed them from me?
You'll have to excuse me now. I can hear that the dryer is through running and I've got to get a pair of underoos on this boy. Thank goodness he won't have to free ball it at church after all.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

When life gives you apples, you make applesauce

When I was little there were some key things I expected of, and looked forward to in adulthood . Wearing high heels, staying home everyday instead of going to school, and peeling apples like my mother did, in one long curled strand.
My closet is full of high heels and I love every pair.
I stay home with my babies everyday, though I now look forward to returning to school someday.
And I've been peeling apples that way for years. When Sleepless In Seattle made the method famous, I buckled own and mastered the skill once and for all. I was glad of it yesterday.

And here's the reason for it all;
Gingerbread warm from the oven smothered in fresh homemade applesauce. It doesn't get much better.
I could pretend I spent my whole day making applesauce because my Mr loves it, (he really does) or because making it myself protects my children from the evils of added sugar and preservatives (true). Honestly though, the only thing on my mind when I ordered that box of apples was the gingerbread.
My A/C went out yesterday afternoon as the apple laden pots simmered away on my stove top. The house was so hot I nearly gave up my dream.
I was able to push through and it was so worth it.
I haven't had that treat in upwards of seven years. I don't remember exactly when, but at some point before I was married my mama popped a gingerbread in the oven at just the right time to eat with the applesauce when it was ready and it changed my life forever.
It's memory has stayed with me all this time, coming to the surface in the autumns when apples are plentiful and waiting to be sauced. It might be that long again before I revisit homemade applesauce. It really is a lot of work. But when the day comes, you can be sure I'll have a gingerbread in the oven.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Curch is a big deal

We all come home pooped, Enzo is no exception. (Today he came home peed too but that's another story)
This affects the entire household. Even cookie monster feels it.
On this day, the poor blue fellow was abandoned, cookie in mouth, when Enzo fell asleep.

I guess He probably prefers that to being abandoned without a cookie in his mouth. Still, he's lucky to be a stuffed monster and thus immune to choking, otherwise he could have run into some trouble that day.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Cup of life

There are two of them. They are about two and a half inches tall, and they're loved like no dish has ever been loved before. When I was in Utah last my mother said that if ever one went missing, the first place she'd look would be in cupboards of her children.
It pains me that she has so little trust in her offspring. To think that any one of us would pilfer cherished items from her home!
Earlier, I was so distraught about it all I could do was sit by my window and play sad songs on her ukulele.
Those stainless steel cups are one of my favorite things in the world.
I use them for nearly all of my water drinking when I'm there. Since they only have the capacity to hold about a half cup of water, it's necessary to stand at the sink and refill repeatedly until your thirst is quenched.
I so consistently choose the little stainless darlings that once when we were there last June and I tried giving Zizza a drink in a different cup she looked at me like I was mad and asked where the silver one was.
My bestest, Cassandra has an appreciation for them as well. She never visits there but we end up at the kitchen sink draining cupful after stainless steel cupful. Sometimes only one of the cups is available for use. When this happens, we take turns passing the one cup back and forth until we've both had our fill.
I asked My mother once if I could someday inherit the cups. Surely no one could love them as I do, I never see any of the others standing at the sink for extended periods of time in order to maintain their daily water requirements.
She said she was pretty sure that in fact, everyone in the family loves them as much as I do (for all they don't show it). To make matters worse, the two cups entered the household as gifts to a pair of my older siblings from a visiting aunt and so those two have first rights.
If you know where I could find cups like this to purchase I'd be indebted to you.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Indian Summer Shirt and Skirt GIVEAWAY!!!!

I'm loving this. I wonder if I copied it I could convince Zizza to wear it. She usually has to be cajoled into wearing things I think are precious.
Indian Summer Shirt and Skirt GIVEAWAY!!!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Take that, diapers

Today I started potty training in earnest. I've been pussy-footing around it for months now and it was time to act.
I also started canning my pears for the year. I've got a batch of pear butter in my crock pot right now making my house smell like a big slice of heavenly pie.
You'd think I would have shifted one task or the other so they wouldn't land on the same day but neither could be delayed so both it was, and actually, it was a pretty great arrangement.
I kept Enzo and his potty nearby while I worked in the kitchen. He was busy helping his doll go potty and I was busy peeling pears. Every so often I'd call over my shoulder and ask him if his pants were dry.
Having a task to keep my hands busy kept me from sitting there, staring at him, waiting for him to pee and that made all of us more happy.
One of those times a few months ago when I was going to bite the bullet and get him out of diapers I made a whole stack of little boxer shorts.
Now I finally know what a rip roaring success that project was. Enz loves his underpants. He gathered the whole array in his arms and took them to bed with him at quiet time. Also, they are easy for him to get on and off all by himself.

I worried about how poop-accidents would go in a boxer short situation. The thought that it would all fall straight out one leg or the other almost had me running to the store for tighties. We had one of those incidents today, and thanks to my decision to make the shorts with a gusseted seat, everything stayed contained. That gusset is like a little poop hammock, it caught the mess and kept it off the floor.
I'll bet you could have gone your whole life without hearing the phrase "poop hammock."
You're welcome.
The Orange Crush was his reward for peeing in the potty. Thanks to his love of, and generally limited access to, soda pop together with it's tendency to shoot straight through a person, he peed on the potty three times before lunch.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

For a bouncing baby boy

I promised my friend Mindi I'd always make the clothes for her babies to be blessed in.
Here's what I made for her new wee boy.

I used this method to fell the sleeve seams, and it was everything I hoped it would be. I'll do it that way from here on out.
I had to get creative to make the snap tape line up the way I wanted it to. Next time I buy that stuff I'm going to look for closer snap placement.

I made a choice of ties. Dots...
or stripes.

Now, my only concern is whether it ended up fitting. When I talked to Mindi before I started sewing, the little fella was a seven pound peanut. That combined with my memory of how bitsy tiny a baby his big sister was led me to make his outfit on the small side.
I met the darling boy the night before he was scheduled to wear the ensemble and he had chunked it up! Such a sweet little butter ball you never did see! I haven't heard yet if his clothes fit or not.
What if neither of the bands for the ties was big enough to stretch over his round little head? I'm giving my self heart palpitations worrying over something that was over and done weeks ago.
Excuse me, I've got to contact the child's mother immediately to find out if it fit him or not so I can sleep tonight.

Oh, by the way I'll be making another of these this week and taking photographs along the way for a tutorial. So If you've got a little boy to sew for, stay tuned.

We partied

I didn't take nearly enough pictures, but here are a few,
The cake was fantastic in spite of having slid during the car ride. One side was slightly smushed but I just turned that to the back and pretended it wasn't there.
Here's the cake minus the frosting. That skinny layer in the middle is the monster to my Dr Frankenstein. I used it, and I wasn't sorry.

I almost always have some home made hot fudge in my frigidaire, (necessities, you know) In what may have been my finest culinary hour, I drizzled that between each layer to cement them together. My nephew declared that he wants his next cake to be frosted entirely in in hot fudge, and I've got to agree with him that it's a great idea.
Evidently, my brother in law enjoyed the potato salad.
The New One spent her time being adorable in her birthday tutu and chatting it up with her guests. Also, putting things on her's one of her favorite pass times.
Enzo, ran, played and ate cake. I hardly saw my two older children all evening. They were so busy with cousins and friends.

Zizza ran off first thing and made a "Sand Angel." Thanks, Curious George for that idea.
She spent the next hour itchy and scratching the heck out of her little arms. Finally I rinsed off her arms and legs with a water bottle and her uncle came to the rescue and finished the job with baby wipes. She was much happier after that, and I'm pretty sure she'll give up sand angels and stick with the snow variety in the future.
Thanks, to everyone who came and if you need lunch anytime this week, stop on by. I've still got enough food for a small army.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

We boiled

Pasta, potatoes, eggs.
All for salads on Saturday.
Also, I baked the last layer of the cake.
My fridge and freezer are getting very full.
Do you live in these parts? If so, you're invited.
Unless you're a psycho killer or something dangerous like that, in which case I'd rather you didn't come.
Seriously though, let me know if you're interested and I'll send you an invitation.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


What's that?
Ground beef, browned and frozen solid on account of The New One's birthday is Saturday and we're serving sloppy joes at her party.
This afternoon I brought the the stuff in from the freezer and crumbled the sheet pan shaped expanses of meat into alternate containers to store until I'm ready to make the joe sauce on Saturday.
Upstairs in the sewing room the party preparations take a more attractive form. I've got table cloths to hem.

I baked the first layer of the cake today too. Sadly, I didn't toothpick test it when I took it out of the oven. As it cooled and the middle sunk lower and lower, my regret grew and and grew.
When It was entirely cool, I decided to take steps to see just how bad the damage was and save it if possible.
First, I cut off the puffed edges of the cake so the top was nice and even. It was looking pretty good at this point. When I inverted it though, the doughy center stayed in the pan.
The last thing I need is an unusable but delicious cake sitting around asking me to eat it. So here's what I did;
I got a spoon and scraped out what was left of the gooey center (yeah, I don't know what I was thinking taking it out of the oven. I guess I wasn't. There's the problem) then I took the scraps of deliciousness I'd trimmed off the top and filled in the hole.
That patched up cake is in the freezer hoping I'll deem it worthy to serve as a layer in the finished birthday cake.
I guess that's one of those secrets that's never supposed to leave the kitchen, but it's out now.
What do you think, should I use the cake?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

And the winner is...

Because there's a first for everything!

Thanks, everybody for playing! I have a few more things around here waiting to be given away, so keep your eyes open for the next little while.
I planned on doing four give aways when I hit post number 400, but it snuck past me. This here is post number 423. I'm still going to give the stuff away, but without all the pomp and circumstance of 4 at 400.
See you soon!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Catherine Tilney?

I started reading "Northanger Abbey" last night and I dare say it's my favorite of Jane Austen's works. Aside from "Pride and Prejudice" which, like Christmas, is in a category all of it's own.
If you ask someone what their favorite holiday is and they say "Christmas" you have to assume one of two things about that person. Either they didn't understand the question, or they have no imagination.
Yes, of course you like Christmas. It's fabulous. There are parties and presents and good things to eat and let's not even get started on the wonders of Christmas music. All of that is exactly why it can't be numbered among the other holidays. It's more of a holi-month. The mere holi-days can't possibly compare.
Incase you wondered, my favorite holiday is Halloween. The love of costumes runs too deep in my veins to give anyother a chance.
Anyway, back to the book. I knew I'd found a favorite after the frst page. The assertion only grew in strength as I read on.
I love that the Mother is neither unpleasent or dead.
I love that the heroine is one of ten children, like myself.
I love Miss Austen's assides to the reader. Her tangent on the reading of novels by heroines of the same was fantastic.
Finally, I love Mr. Tilney. So far, Catherine has only had the one conversation with him. I don't know yet whether he is the hero, but in that one conversation I decided that hero or not, he is one of the best male characters I've read.
Maybe it was because he talks dresses so well. Maybe it's because reading an actual conversation between a heroine and her newfound love interest was so refreshing. Maybe it's because I personally found him charming. Anyway, I like him.
Can't wait to finish the book.

Friday, September 4, 2009


Ok, I'm about to tell you something awesome.
Do you read The Pioneer Woman? You know how she always has dreamy giveaways but since approximately forty-three gajillion people enter every one you never think you have any sort of chance at winning?
For a while I entered every time anyway. Even if the prize wasn't something I was interested in winning. (like a kitchenaid mixer. They're fantastic, it's true, but that's why I already have one) Eventually I quit entering for things I didn't want and then I even quit entering for stuff I did want because thinking about my forty-three gajillion to one chances of winning was too discouraging.
Finally I reached a healthy place where if she was giving away something I'd be thrilled to win, and If I had something worth saying as a comment, I would enter.
So a while back, Ree hosted a giveaway for a $300 shopping spree at Blue Q. To enter, you wee to leave a comment stating the last thing you bought just for yourself because you're worth it. I had submitted the order for these shoes literally minutes before reading the giveaway post so I entered.
And I won.

That's me, Eva commenter 13,445.
I saw my name there, and I gasped. Then I said to the Mr. "I think I just won a Pioneer Woman Giveaway!" then I searched through all of the comments to make sure I really was number 13,445. When I found that it was indeed me, I looked up with shinning eyes and said "It's like I'm famous!"
I have corresponded with Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman. How cool is that?
Anyway, $300 goes a long way at Blue Q. I pretty much went through the entire site and got one or two of everything.
It was fabulous! Here is all the stuff I got.

Somethings I ordered for mine own self, some I planned as gifts. I've even given some away already. I also planned to give a little something away here.
To enter, tell me how crazy jealous you are that I won.
Ok, not really.
Just leave a comment and I'll pick a winner after a while.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Paterning a Back Pack

I set out to make this back pack for two reasons.
One, I had this adorable elephant canvas that I bought for Zizza. She would ask every day when I was going to make her something with it and what the something would be.
Two, She was starting preschool and the back pack I made for her last year isn't large enough to hold her preschool folder.
I started my pattern with the folder. What ever I did, this standard sized school folder would have to fit inside.

I allowed for an inch of wiggle room on each side of the folder and quarter inch seams. Then I gave it three extra inches at the top, and rounded all the corners. This process gave me the template for the front and back pieces.
Moving on, I considered straps. I made my strap pieces six inches wide, they were a little wider than necessary but better safe than sorry. I wanted the finished straps to be about 2" wide. I planned on tri-folding the fabric around something poufy, (and I did that) so I needed 2" for the front of the straps, 2" for the back, 1/2" seam allowance and an unknown amount of allowance for the poufy ness. The six inch width worked fine, but there is an extra inch of seam allowance inside my straps.
To decide the length of the strap pieces I measured diagonally from the top center of the front/back piece to the bottom side. That measurement was so close to the width of the paper I was working with, I just cut a 6" strip of the full width and called it good. The straps were a little longer than needed, I trimmed about 2" off the top before I sewed them on.
Here's what my strap piece looks like in comparison to my front/back piece.
For the long strip that would make up the sides and bottom, you'll need to measure around the edge of your front/back piece. Subtract the length of your zipper, and add seam allowance. I like to ere on the side of too long so I planned for an inch of seam allowance at each end of this piece.
I made this piece 4 1/2" wide. After taking 1/4 " seams on both sides, the depth of my back pack is 4".
You'll also need a piece equal to the length of your Zipper (mine was 18") Make it the same width as the piece for the sides and bottom, then cut it in half. So you'll have 2 pieces half the width of the side/bottom piece and as long as your zipper.

Time for the pocket. To decide the width of my pocket, I measured in 2" from each side of my front/back piece.
I made the about 1/3 the height of the back pack, and curved it's corners.
For the sides of my pocket, I measured it's circumference, added a generous seam allowance and cut a 2" wide strip of that length.
I finished up with this little fella, and my pattern was ready!
Now, here are some more photos of the finished product.

If you'd like to make a back pack of your own and have questions, I'd be happy to answer them.
If you've never made your own pattern before, this is a great place to start. Don't be scared, you can do it! This project is all rectangles and you don't have to worry about a person fitting inside. Go for it!

Making a Back Pack
part 1
part 2
part 3