Friday, October 29, 2010

Simple Crafting

I have made a few things over the past couple of weeks that I wanted to share with you because they were ridiculously easy.

The first were super girl capes for my girls. I just cut out a rectangle piece of fabric, angled it a bit going up the long sides. Then I stitched a hem all around it and sewed a piece of ribbon to the top for them to tie their capes on with. I also cut their initials out of felt and sewed those to the capes. EASY!
Super GirlSuper Girl
My oldest daughter is OBSESSED with baby dolls (well, so is the younger one) so I made her a sling to carry her babies around in. I do have to admit I was so excited for her to play with this and she hasn't been that into it. I'm hoping that over time she will.
Baby Wearing
This again was so easy! I just cut a large rectangle out making sure it was long enough to go around her like a baby sling and wide enough to fold in half. Then I sewed the long sides together and then the middle seam. EASY!
Baby Wearing
The last thing I made was trick or treat bags for the girls to use on Halloween and in the years to come. I got the idea from this post Kayla Aimee wrote (If you don't read her blog, you need to. She is HILARIOUS!) and she got the idea from HERE.
Trick or Treat Bag
I am in love with banners/buntings...whatever you call them so I went with that for my bags and because I try to stay away from the "spooky" side of Halloween. I tried out Liquid Stitch for this project because sewing things on to a canvas bag with the sewing machine is too frustrating. This was awesome stuff. It was messy on the fingers but it washed right off. It has held up through one night of trick or treating so far too! I made sure to put the glue as close to the edge of the fabric so that it would not fray which seems to have worked. To finish the bags I stenciled the word "CANDY" across the top with orange paint.
University Trick or Treating
Love these!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Blessing Others

I am so guilty of getting stuck in my own little world and not reaching out to others. This is an even bigger problem now that we are in a newer community. I don't know a lot of people here so I don't have anyone to reach out to, right? WRONG!

I have really been feeling the need to bless others around me. I want my girls to look back and remember the times we reached out to those around us. I want them to know it is important to show kindness to others.

A couple of weeks ago at our church's mom's group a woman from within the church came to speak to us about our true value. This was a quote that she shared with us that I have been trying to cling to:
"Comparison is the thief of joy."

It is!!!!! Comparing myself to anyone robs me of joy and the blessings that God has given me and the desire to bless others. It makes me feel dissatisfied with how things are. A direct result of that is that I don't reach out to others. We are called to pursue people but when I am selfishly consumed with me and comparing myself, I don't.

I am so bad about comparing myself. It's not what God wants from me. I am enough. I am perfectly and wonderfully made.

So....last week my daughter and I made 10 dozen cookies that we bagged up and took to some of our new friends. We blessed them with something so small as cookies but it was a delight to see smiles on their faces when we knocked on doors and handed over a bag with a yummy fall snack in it. My daughter and I talked about how it made our friends feel that we did this for them and how it made us feel. She was so excited about this little thing.

I am brainstorming other things we can do together that will bless others and hope to make this a part of our routine for years to come!

We made Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies from THIS recipe. They were yummy and it made 10 dozen which is perfect for giving away.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Comforty Food

It is fall. I am basking in the glory of cooking comfort food type things. They go hand in hand with the colors and smells of the season. Tonight for supper I made a recipe from Everyday food : Fresh Flavor Fast : 250 Easy, Delicious Recipes for Any Time of Day. I tweaked the recipe a bit by changing one thing and adding some other things. I will give you my tweaked recipe.

Chicken and Dumplings
3 T. butter
1 onion, diced
4 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1/2 t. sage (or thyme)
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 c. flour (divided into 1/4 c. and 3/4 c.)
1 - 1 1/2 cans of chicken broth
1 1/2 lb. chicken thighs, cut into 2" pieces
3/4 t. dill
1 3/4 t. baking powder
1/2 c. milk
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen peas

Melt butter. Add onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and sage. Cook 5 min. Add 1/4 c. flour stirring into vegetable mixture. Add chicken broth, bring to boil, stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper. Nestle chicken in the pot, reduce heat to med. low. Cover, cook 20 min.

Dumplings: Whisk 3/4 c. flour with dill, baking powder, and 1/2 t. salt. With fork gradually stir in 1/2 c. milk.

Stir peas in the pot. Return to simmer and drop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls, leaving space between dumplings. Cover and simmer 20 or until dumplings are cooked.

***Tonight I boiled a whole chicken for one hour then took the meat off the bones. I used about half of the meat in this recipe so I didn't need to cook the chicken for 20 minutes. It worked fine!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Yumminess of Fall

Fall has been so majestic this year. It is simply divine. We had some rain move through earlier and I am hoping beyond hope those drops that quenched our dry earth did not take down the beauty on the tree tops.

I took my girls to an apple orchard last week to pick apples (only to discover that there were no more apples to pick) and discovered a new favorite fall treat, the apple cider slushy! It was so good that when I saw a sign for another orchard two days ago on a quick trip to the zoo, we stopped so Mama could get a slushy!

I also needed another half gallon of fresh apple cider. My favorite thing to do this time of year is warm a mug of cider at the end of the day. It's fall in a cup!

I have also been stocking my pantry with canned pumpkin. I am afraid of another shortage so every time we hit the grocery, I grab a couple more cans. The other night for supper my daughter voted for pancakes so I found a great recipe for Pumpkin Pancakes HERE on allrecipes. It was scrumptious. I loved that they weren't too sweet since you add just a bit of brown sugar. That way when you add the syrup you aren't getting a sugar overload. I also loved how they became light and cakey. This is a keeper recipe for me!

Tonight as the weather cooled during the rain, I made a new soup recipe, Roasted Vegetable Minestrone found HERE from the one and only Pioneer Woman! It was really easy and very good. I did add a few cloves of garlic to the onion, celery, and carrot sauté. This recipe made a huge pot of soup, so we have left-overs for tomorrow plus a big container freezing for later use. Next time I think I would add a can of tomato sauce as I like my minestrone more tomatoey. (I know that isn't actually a word.)

What are you cooking this fall?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Grab a Straw!

As I approached the street my heart skipped a few beats. I flicked my turn signal so I could make the left hand turn. Two sweet little girls were sound asleep behind me in the van so I could lose myself in memories. How is it over a year already? It feels like just yesterday we walked down that familiar block to the little park with a picnic in hand and a baby in the stroller.

I came to a complete stop at the three way stop as I always did after being kindly reminded by an officer a few years back. There were the two Victorian homes that looked like they belong in the pages of a book about doll houses. There was the chain link fence marking our driveway which was now filled with two cars that I don't recognize.

There is the house...our home. Oh, my heart almost floated away. I have missed that house so much. It looked so different yet so much the same to me. I wanted to turn in to that driveway, take my girls out of the van, and scurry in to get supper started but I drove on. I drove on down the street to the end and turned.

I saw a new mother pushing her new baby in the stroller with tears streaming down her face as she fought feelings of inadequacy and being overwhelmed. (She was on her phone so I am sure she was talking to her best friend who told her she was doing just fine and it would get so much easier.) Then I passed a mom pushing a little girl who was a bit older and she had that pregnant glow on her face. Then there just a ways up the street was a mother pushing a brand new baby with her big sister in front. She looked pretty sleep deprived but she was beaming with pride over her brood.

Then I came back to the main street, the beautiful tree lined main street and turned to head out of town back to my new home.

I kind of wished I could go back in time to that younger mom and tell her, "Enjoy this moment. Live it to it's fullest. Don't take it for granted. Change will come as it always does. Suck the marrow out of what you have now and hang on during the ride."

As I drove south with those two older girls asleep in the back, I realized that is what I need to do now. Suck the marrow out of this moment. (I love that line that I got from Kelle Hampton. She has inspired me to want to suck out the marrow!) Yes, I live in an apartment. Yes, my husband goes to school full time. Yes, we are in a way, starting over in our mid-30's while everyone else around us seems settled. Yes, change scared the heck fire out of me. BUT I have this moment. I will never get it back. So, pull up the stool, grab a straw and start sucking out the good stuff.

I found this quote on a friend's Facebook page today and boy, did it hit me in between the eyes.
"You are the way you are because that's the way you want to be. If you really wanted to be any different, you would be in the process of changing right now." (I couldn't make out the name of the person who said this quote. Sorry!)

Start looking at the glass being half full and not half empty!