Thursday, August 30, 2012

Framing kids artwork

I have a little girl who loves to draw and a little boy who loves to color, both of which also like to have all their artwork displayed where we can see it.  I am not a huge fan of having my refrigerator covered, so I don't put it there.  So where am I suppose to display their beautiful works of art?  for the last 2 years I chose to tape it up on the wall next to my sewing machine, since I spend so much time there.  But honestly, it just made the wall look tacky and the room even more cluttered than it already was, and well, I didn't need help with that.  Then one day while on Pinterest I came across this playroom gallery.  I loved it.  I have a big blank wall in my laundry/sewing room that I knew would work perfect.

My sewing room wall.
Old picture frames I gathered from around the house.  I didn't have nearly as many as I wanted so I took a little trip to the local DI (goodwill) and bought 4 more for .50 each.  Not bad.
One blessed day when my children were fighting constantly  (because they wanted to return to school so bad, you know that time of the year, right?) I sent them out to the garage with paint and brushes, clothed in paint shirts.  They were very excited to have a project that was not house work.  

After they finished as much as many they wanted and were playing together happily, I brought out the spray paint and finished.  Much easier, but they needed something to do.  My little artist came up to me and said, "Mom, why did you make us paint if you could have just sprayed all of them."  I just smiled at her and said, "Would you have rather painted or cleaned a toilet?" She ran off real quick.

After all the frames and clothespins were painted, 2 clothespins per frame, (I got mine at Walmart for under $2) I went inside and traced and cut out each from on Kraft paper.  
I laid my frames out on the floor to make sure I had them just right, then measured and hung the paper on the wall.  I started out trying painters tape, don't, it doesn't work.  I ended up using push pins.

After I had it just the way I wanted I got our my laser level, hammer, and nails.  

This is the wall now that all the frames are hung up.  I LOVE the way it turned out.  
I hung up the pictures taped to my wall.  Now I just have to wait for a little more art to come my way!  I am sure my daughter will be drawing up a storm over the next few days.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Peach season is right around the corner! Seriously one of my favorite times of the year...which makes me really sad that I am not in Idaho to enjoy that this year...and many to come. Luckily, a couple of the stores here have had great deals on peaches and I have loaded up! So I thought I'd share of few of the deliciousness of peaches, and things you can do with them.

 I made this peach bake for breakfast one morning, it was super healthy and really yummy! 

  • 2 1/2 cups sliced peaches
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup shredded wheat, crushed 
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar plus, and I used 2 little packets of Truvia sugar, which is a natural sweetener
  • 2 tbsp applesauce
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • A couple spoonfuls of yogurt of your choice
Preheat oven to 350F. Mix the peaches, lemon, cornstarch, cinnamon, 1/2 the salt, and 1/2 the sweetener in a bowl. Let sit for ten minutes. Meanwhile, stir the crushed cereal, remaining sweetener, remaining salt, and applesauce in a bowl until well-blended. Spread the peach mixture in a small baking pan, top with cereal mixture and cook for 45 minutes.
When it's done top off with yogurt and enjoy! **This made 2 servings

My very favorite way to eat peaches is peaches and cream, we usually have this daily when we have peaches. First you boil the peaches for like 30 seconds, and peel the skin off, take out the seed and slice up. And then you can either pour in real cream or I usually don't have real cream so I just put in milk and a couple spoonfuls of sugar and enjoy! It's so good because the peaches are still warm from being boiled, so it's the perfect combo!

**I've heard a trick that if you cut a peach down the middle opposite of the line that is already on the peach, then it's a lot easier to take the seed out. If you do it the other way, a lot of times the seed will split in half.

Another thing I do is boil them, take the skin off, slice them up and freeze them for shakes or whatever else in the future. One thing that came in handy lately, my daughter has been teething HORRIBLY, so I would cut up the frozen peaches into little pieces and she would chew on them, I'd like to think that helped with the pain a little bit.

Here's a few other things I've seen...but haven't tried yet...but will try because they look delicious!
Brown sugar baked peaches found here

Peach and blueberry crumble found here

Peach Dessert found here

I don't have a picture, throw in a half a peach with a couple scoops of ice cream and make a peach shake! YUMMO!
I am going to add to Michelle's because I was going to do a "Peaches" post also!  I just finished making a bunch of my favorite peach treats this past week too!  Since I live right by the famous, "Georgia Peaches," I also LOVE this time of year.  They are DELICIOUS!  So my favorite treats are dried peaches and dried peach roll-ups.  So I will give you a quick intro to how to make them, if you have a dehydrator.  .  They are easy and yummy so your kids will love them.  My son would take a peach roll-up almost every day last year for his school lunch.

First, you have to blanch them (place in boiling water) for about 5 min.  This will help the skin to come of quickly and easily.

Next, cut them in half, remove the pit, then remove the skin.  Slice the peaches into thin slices.  Try to get them about 1/4" or less.  This will help them to dry faster.

Lay them out in a circular pattern around the tray taking up as much space as you can.  They will shrink a little as they dry.  Make sure to use the mesh liner to put the fruit on.  Once you have all of the trays filled, start the drier on 155° for 2 hours, then drop it to 135° for the remainder of time.  I will generally rotate the trays every 2 hours putting the bottom 2 on top each time.

This is what they look like after they are dried.  Go ahead and take them off the tray and put them in a ziplock bag.  I also then put that in like a plastic shoe box container so they don't dry out before they can be eaten. 

For the fruit roll-up, you will do the same initial process of removing the pit and skin.  Place the halves in a blender and puree.  I never add sugar or anything else.

Pour out evenly on the tray thickly.  Make sure to use the solid, plastic liner for these.  You do not want to see any of the tray through it.  Use the same settings for the drying times too (155° for 2 hours, 135° until dry).

This is what they roll-ups look like dry.  The trick with them is that once there is no more wet areas, you start getting out approximately 6" pieces of plastic wrap set on the counter.  Do not turn the drier off!  Only take one tray off at a time or your roll-ups will become brittle.

Tear them into half, and then tear each half into half.  Place 1/4 of the fruit on each tray at a time quickly rolling up onto the plastic wrap after.  I store this again, in one of the closed top shoe box size, plastic containers and they stay fresh for at least a year.  They are usually gone by then so I can't guarantee any longer!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Health Corner

   I want to introduce an idea that we, the sisters, have discussed doing for a little bit.  We are going to call it "The Health Corner".  I am a nurse and have been now for almost 10 years!  I work in a NICU and have been a NICU nurse for 6 of those years, working post-pardum and nursery 3 before that and about 8 months in a Surgical Unit just after graduation.  I did take a year off to be with my boys after we moved to Alabama. just in case you are wondering why the numbers don't add up!  I have also been the sickest of the sisters and have had many weird aliments the others haven't experienced, some they have, and some I hope the others and other people can avoid or get help for if they knew where to look for it.  So, this is where this idea has sprung up from!

  I guess I will start by saying some of the ideas I have to share and then any feedback or questions from you all would be awesome.  Now please remember, I am no doctor and this is not your personal professional advice.  This is just things I have learned through my experiences and if you do have any of these problems/symptoms, you DO need to talk to your own physician.

  1.  That being said, here are my thoughts on where to start.  For the past 12, almost 13 years I have been developing more and more allergies and not just to things like ragweed and pollen.  Yes, I do have those too, but it is things like all fruits (minus berries), nuts, and vegetables.  This all started in college with Ibuprofen.  I had taken it many times and never had a problem and then one night at work I took it for a headache and all the sudden, my face was so swollen, I looked like Quasimodo.  Next, it was any time I ate Mexican food, my bottom lip would swell and my tongue would itch.  This went on for months before I finally figured it was because of the avocados in the guacamole dips.  Next was fresh bell peppers; then bananas; then tomatoes and just kept getting worse and worse until I could not longer eat any veggies unless they were cooked or processed somehow.  I guess that changed the proteins in them enough that my body didn't recognize them as foreign.

   This has been VERY frustrating because I love fresh fruits and vegetables.  I also love nuts.  This makes for a very limited diet and variety!  The last food I had to give up was lettuces.  Good bye salads!

    2.  I also started having migraines like crazy a few months after my first child was born.  I was having 4-5 a week.  I went to a doctor and they put me on Allegra and an antidepressant.  This helped for a few months and then they started coming back.  They have come on and off like this for 6 or so years now. 

    3.  I have also had periods where I am so tired I either take a nap every single day or I wake up so tired I just want to go right back to bed.

    4.  I have had a c-section, as well as one of my sisters.

    5.  I have had thyroid problems even though my thyroid tests have all been normal.  (Dry skin, black eyes, hair falling out, high cholesterol, fatigue)

Now I know you do not just want to know about me.  I will start with these 5 areas and share the things I have learned or learned how to deal with them and then either answer questions or move on to things that plague my SISTERS!  I also want to throw a disclaimer in there that this may be only as much as once a month.  I am not faithful as Rachel and Michelle with posting but I will try to be!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Crayon Roll Tutorial

When I had my second child and neighbors, ward members and friends started bringing over gifts for the baby, my little 2 year old started to get a little jealous.  She still liked her new baby sister, but really did not understand why the baby was getting all the attention and she was not getting any.  Then one of my husband's medical school buddies came over bearing gifts... for both girls.  She was so excited!  I was so impressed that someone (a very thoughtful single man, mind you) thought of this.  I had never thought of that. Of course my little girl would start to feel left out, she has been the center of attention her whole life and now all the sudden this baby (which she loved) has come in and taken over and no one is paying as much attention to her.  
Since that day, I have tried really hard to do something for that older child, just so they still feel loved. 
Lately, my ward has been popping out babies like crazy!  By the time I deliver in November there will have been 18 babies born this year!  18!!  And I live in a very small rural community.  I don't know if I would come out and drink the water here, it seems a bit contagious!  :)

My little 4 year old really likes to color, and he loves his crayon roll because it is little and it is his.  So I thought I would make up a few crayon rolls and get some dollar store coloring books to have on hand as I go deliver baby gifts.  These are a pretty easy gift to make.  It can be done start to finish in less than an hour. Sometimes I can get 2 done in an hour if I do them at the same time.

So here we go.

Supplies you will need:

2 pieces of the same fabric for inside and out   5" x 16 1/2"

1 piece of coordinating fabric  6" x 16 1/2"

1 piece of flannel  5" x 16 1/2"

30" of ribbon

Disappearing ink marker

box of 16 crayons

I found that I could get 3 coordinating fat quarters for pretty cheap and it makes 3 different  (but almost the same) crayon rolls. 

Let's get started...

Fold the pocket piece (6") in half and iron flat.  

Next lay out the flannel piece (this just gives the roll a little more stability), then layer with the front piece (5") with the right side up.  Next line up the pocket you just ironed along the bottom with the fold at the top and the 2 open edges at the bottom.

Now you pin the sides so that nothing moves.  Take your disappearing ink marker.  
find the middle of the fabric (8 1/4")  You are going to draw a line the length of the pocket.  
Now draw a line every inch until the end on each side.  I like to move my fabric so the the line I just drew in the middle is on a line on my cutting board and so it is easy to draw lines every inch.
I am sorry my lines are so light, I tried to make them as dark as I could, this fabric was just not perfect for that.
I hope you can get the gist of it with is picture.  :)

There will be more than 1" left on each end, but don't worry, this is just giving you room for your seam when you sew it all together at the end.

Once your lines are all drawn it is time to sew.  
Start with the middle line again.  
Start sewing about 1/4" down from the top of the pocket.  BACKSTITCH.  This part is very important, otherwise all of the little pockets will start coming un-done very soon.
I like to sew the whole right side and then move back to the center and sew the left side.

Now it is time to add the ribbon.  Fold the ribbon in half.  Pin the fold on the right edge of the fabric, about in the middle, but it does not need to be perfect.  
Now sew back and back about 100 times.  Just kidding, not quite a hundred, although it may seem like that.  
My daughter walked in the room as I was doing this step and said, "Mom, did you just keep missing?"  "No sweetheart, I meant to do that."  "Oh, that's weird."  :)
I sew back and forth 5 or 6 times.  Remember, little hands are going to be pulling, tugging and dragging by these ribbons.

Now take the last piece of fabric, your 5" outside piece and place it face down.  So you want both right sides together.  Pin these together all the way around.  

You need to leave a 2" opening, so that you can flip the roll right side out.  I like to mark my opening so I don't forget, because I do forget.

Now sew all around (except the opening).

 Trim your corners so that they can make nice square corners.  

Now pull the crayon roll through the opening so it is flipped right side out.  I gently use an un-sharpened  pencil, little dowel, or chopsticks and push my corners out.

I forgot to take pictures of this part, but it should be ok.  
Remember that opening you just pulled everything through?  Now you will notice that it likes to fold its self inside, and this is good.  I spray the whole front side with water (this helps the disappearing ink not become permanent) then line up the opening so it is nice and flush with the rest.  Now iron the whole thing flat.

After you have ironed it you need to stitch around the whole thing, one more time.  This takes care of the opening, and gives the crayon roll a nice finished look..  I stitch about 1/8" away from the outside edge.  

Now just add the crayons, roll up, and give to a child you loves to color!!!

These really are a great thing to take with you everywhere.  We have one in the car, in the church bag, and sometimes in my purse.  

Hope you have fun making these!  And don't forget to check out our blog for other fun posts!  

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Another Good Series to Read!

     So Michelle is the one who got me to read "The Hunger Games" series and I thank her for that!  I loved it!  She had not told me it was a series at first, just a good book to read.  When I got to the last 20 or so pages of it, I thought, "There is no way this can be over in 20 pages!"  Sure enough, it said, "End of Book One" on the final page!  I immediately called her up to find out what was next.  At the time, the 3rd and final book had not been finished and I ended up having to wait about 6 months for it to come out after completing the second book.

     A couple of weeks ago, I was asking her again if she knew of any good series to read again and she introduced me to the "Matched" series by Ally Condie.  She told me it was a bit like "The Hunger Games" in that it was a "Society" that dictates the way this group of people eat, think, work, marry.  It has a great love story and keeps a pretty interesting story along the way too.  It is definately a book that makes you mad to think about what others may have to live like and grateful for what we are blessed with!  At the current moment, I have just finished reading the first book.  Infact, I finished it just this afternoon.  I will pick up the second book, "Crossed" at my library later today.  I am once again in the same predicament as "The Hunger Games" though and will have to wait until November 13, 2012 for the 3rd book, "Reached" to come out!  Sad day!  I do anticipate both of them will be great reads also!

If you want to go to this link (here), you can watch the book trailers for the first two.  They were pretty good too! Enjoy!


Matched (Matched, #1) Crossed (Matched, #2) Reached (Matched, #3)

Well, I finished reading 'Crossed' last night!  It was very good too!  It continues the love story for Cassia.  She begins to show her independance and understand that she CAN do things without the society to find something more.  However, there is a twist in the end I wasn't really expecting.  Actually, a couple.  I am sure we will find out in 'Reached' if they are good twists or not!


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Crockpot Chicken and Rice

This is a VERY easy and delicious recipe that my family really likes.  My husband will even eat it as leftovers, and for us, this is HUGE! 

5-6 Frozen Chicken Breasts
1- 8 oz pkg of Cream Cheese
1 pkg Dry Italian Dressing
1 Can Cream of Chicken Soup

Let this cook in the crockpot for 5-6 hours.  About 30 minutes before you are ready to eat, make approximately 6 servings of rice.  Mix it into the crockpot and serve!  It is good to have with broccoli, beans, peaches and a roll. 

I made it again last night, so here is the picture I promised!


Monday, August 20, 2012

Fruit Pizza

We went to our friends house this weekend for dinner and to watch the Hunger Games. I know it's been out for a while, but we usually wait to watch it until it gets out on movie because we hate spending that much to go watch a movie in the theater...anyways LOVED IT!!!! It's been a couple years since I read the book so I thought they did a FABULOUS job with the characters and...everything! So if you haven't seen should! we were in charge of bringing a desert, and Adam wanted me to make a fruit pizza. Which I was so excited because it has been YEARS since I've made/had one.  So I thought I'd share the recipe because it turned out really yummy!

Here's what you need:

1 16 oz pkg Pillsbury Sugar Cookie Dough 
1 8 oz pkg Cream Cheese
3/4 Sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla 
A handful of each of the fruit you want to use on it (blueberries, strawberries, peach, kiwi, Mandarin oranges, ect.)
1 Tbsp Corn Starch
2 tsp Lemon Juice
1/2 cup Pineapple juice (is what I used but you could use any fruit juice from the fruit you use)

Smoosh the cookie dough so it covers the whole bottom of your cookie sheet (I used a small cookie sheet, you could also use a pizza pan and make it circle) and cook it according to it's directions. Let it cool completely.

Soften the cream cheese, either let it sit out a little bit or put it in the microwave for 10-15 seconds and mix with 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/2 tsp vanilla, spread over the cookie.

Cut up the fruit and arrange it how you'd like it :)

And then for the glaze that you'll put over it so your fruit doesn't got shriveled and brown, I mixed the pineapple juice, lemon juice and corn starch together in then pan then added 1/2 cup sugar. Heat on med. until it boils, and then let it boil for 1 minute and remove from heat. Let it cool off for a couple of minutes and then spread a layer on top of fruit. It doesn't have to be very thick, in fact I had about half of the glaze left over.

Then put in your fridge and let it cool for a few hours and enjoy!

Here is one my cousin and I made a few years ago for the 4th of July. There was a little extra room on the side so we put USA in chocolate. :)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Easy Delicious Tender Ribs

We went to Walmart and found out an awesome deal...every day after 5 they mark down their meat like 40-50% that is expiring the next day...AND THEN when you go to check out you get an extra 50% off of that! So whenever we go to Walmart in the evenings we always go check it out. One day was awesome because we got a few racks of ribs! I was so excited because we never gets ribs because they are pretty expensive. For one it was originally almost $10, and we got each one for $2.50. We just went home and threw them in the freezer. So check your local Walmart and see if they do that. (Also, from 12-4 each day they do the same thing with bread.) Anyways, I thought I'd share my rib recipe I used because they turned out AMAZING! Seriously...they were SO tenderrrrrrr they would just fall right off the bone!

2 lbs Pork Loin Back Ribs (is what I used)
1 Cup BBQ Sauce
3 tbsp Brown Sugar
Salt and Pepper to taste,  about 1/2 tsp each

I sprayed the crock pot with a light coat of vegetable oil, and then mix the BBQ sauce and sugar together, I usually just do it in the crock pot, and then put the ribs in meaty side down, and coat the top with the sauce, and let it cook on low for 6 hours, high 2-4 hours depending on how your crock pot cooks...mine cooks super fast! And enjoy!!

(Sorry about the day hopefully I can get a really nice camera so the food actually looks yummy in a picture)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Rolo Cookies

Melanie and Steven introduced me to these wonderful cookies with a surprise in the middle.  I, not being a huge chocolate fan (I know, I am weird), love these cookies, because they have a caramel-ey middle.  I LOVE caramel!!  And Rolo's have always been one of my favorite candy bars (if you can call them that). 
So after I had heard Melanie and Steven talking about the, so much I finally got to try one.  I literally went straight to the store bought the ingredients and went home to make them.  I love them that much.  When my Young Women made a dessert recipe book, this was the first recipe I thought of to put in there.  
So now I would like to share with you one of the easiest recipes, ever.

Rolo Cookies:

1 pkg Rolo's  (I have also used just caramels and they worked great!)
1 box Devil's food cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 C. oil

Preheat oven to 350*  Mix cake, oil, and eggs.  Take a small ball of dough and form a ball around the Rolo.  (Only use enough dough to cover the Rolo so it can spread through the cookie).  Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 7-8 minutes.   Makes 3 dozen. 
Dust with powdered sugar if desired.

There are enough Rolo's in a package to make almost 2 batches.  :)

Hope you enjoy!!


Birthday Banner Tutorial

I got my supplies at Hobby Lobby. This is what all I used:
**1 Roll of Wrapping Paper
**2 Super Cute Pink Boa's
**13 Popsicle Sticks
**Hot Glue Gun
I first cut out the pieces and did them 5" across the top and 9" Long
Then I added pink vinyl letters to it, you just have to be careful when your pulling off the transfer tape so you don't ruin the paper, I ended up just cutting right around each letter so you don't have much to pull off.
I figured that since it was wrapping paper it would be flopping and blowing around when it was hung up so I hot glued a Popsicle stick to each one to weigh it down (but later I put the pictures on and that would work just fine to weigh it down) 
I found it was easiest and I didn't burn myself as much if I turned it around to glue it on, then you can see where you gluing it, because this boa has a rope that runs through the middle of it.
And below is the final product! 
If you liked the Zebra cake you can find the tutorial here!
PS...Hobby Lobby has a ton of different patterns of wrapping paper and different colors of boa' hopefully they will have something that matches your party needs :)
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