Friday, August 30, 2013

Furry Friday

Leo has mastered potty training.  Woo Hoo!  I feel like that is a major milestone.  He is still in the destructive phase and not to be trusted on his own for long.  Fortunately he enjoys playing in his outside play yard.

He new "trick" is protesting an empty food bowl.  He carries it in his mouth while he marches around whoever is in the room.  There is no barking or clanging of the bowl.  He just quietly circles me or W until we fill the bowl.  He is more serious about his Kong which he drops in my lap when he wants it filled with a treat.  I end up having to hide it from him as he wants it filled over and over. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Maple Vanilla Peach Preserve

I do not like to make homemade jams, jellies, and preserves only to have them full of twice as much sugar as fruit.  I think I have already mentioned that I love Pomona's Universal Pectin.  The company recently came out with a cookbook full of recipes using the pectin.  The beauty of Pomona's Pectin is that you can use sweeteners other than sugar.  I honestly have better luck with the jams, jellies, and preserves jelling than I do with traditional pectin. 

I received the cookbook for my birthday.  (Can anyone guess that I like cookbooks? )  I noted several recipes that I wanted to try.  Peaches were on sale recently so I knew it was the perfect opportunity to make Maple-Vanilla-Peach Preserves.  I already had vanilla beans, lemon juice,  and maple syrup on hand.  The process is really simple with step by step instructions.  The book has lots of tips as well. 

If you look closely, you can see the vanilla bean seeds.  It has a delicious maple flavor that compliments the peaches.  You can find the recipe here.  I am anxious to try it as a filling for turnovers.  This is the first of many recipes I want to try from this great cookbook.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Crafting for Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child is one of my favorite charity projects.  Not sure what it is?  Check it out here.  I like to make some items to include in my shoeboxes each year.  This year I made felt purses for the younger age groups.

I cut some felt into a rectangle and cut two strips for handles.  I used a cookie cutter as a pattern to cut a flower shape from felt.  First I sewed a button to the center of the flower and then sewed the flower to the felt rectangle.  Then I sewed the handles onto each end.  Finally I folded it with right sides together and sewed up the sides.

I also made some bracelets/headbands using weaving loops.  I cannot find the tutorial I originally used to learn how to make them.  This one will give you good instructions though.  This is a really quick craft and was apparently very popular with the girls.

It starts out bracelet size but can be stretched and worn as a headband or necklace.  The weaving loops can be bought in a large size bag for around $10. 

The collection date is less than 3 months away.  I usually work on my shoeboxes all year long and am always looking for a good deal on items that can be included.  Two of my favorite blogs devoted to Operation Christmas Child are Clip with Purpose and Life Inside the Box.  They have some wonderful ideas and tips for packing boxes on a budget.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Pineapple from the Garden

Last week I picked two pineapples from the garden.  These will be the last pineapples for a while since I have no other plants that are even blooming right now.  


The best part about growing a pineapple yourself is that you can wait until it is ripe to pick it.  This pineapple was super sweet and does not compare to anything that can be bought in a store.

Of course, the top is rooting in water and will become another pineapple plant for my collection.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Miss Me? I was Busy Baking Cupcakes

Between being sick and having Internet issues everything computer related has fallen by the wayside.  Once I started feeling human again I spent some time trying out the cupcake cookbook (Martha Stewart's Cupcakes) I got for my birthday.  I tried the marble cupcakes first and made them glazed and unglazed.

The unglazed were actually better to me.  It was a moist cupcake that was not overly sweet.  I also made the peanut butter with peanut butter frosting but forgot to take pictures.  Those were a bit overdone on the peanut butter.  I will do them next time but swap out either the cupcake or the frosting with chocolate.

This past weekend I made the yellow buttermilk cupcakes and used this Nutella frosting recipe.  It was a nice balance for the plain cupcake. 

I really prefer baking from scratch.  I find that my cupcakes are lighter than when I use a cake mix.  All three of the recipes I have tried have been good.  I seriously doubt I will get through all 175 recipes, but it has been fun to experiment a bit.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Saved from the Trash - Countertop

A year or so ago W was somewhere and someone (it has been so long I do not remember specifics) was tossing out some counter tops.  Nothing was wrong with the counter tops; they were simply being replaced.  These perfectly good counter tops were headed for the landfill.  (*I will save my rants on waste in America for another time.)  He asked if he could have the counter tops and was soon loading them on his truck.  Over the past year the various pieces have been used here and there around our house.  One piece remained which W was saving for my craft room. 

I dreaded packing up everything so he could move the table that was in there to another corner and making room for the counter top.  Finally he just forced me into it.  I am not a fan of chaos, but in the end it has been worth it.

I have room to leave my sewing machine out and still work with my Cricut.  I can also slide everything back/to the side and have room to cut fabric.  The table which is just a piece of plywood is in another corner and gives me space to leave my stamping supplies out.  I can get much more done since I am not constantly putting one thing up so I have room to take another out.  A perfectly wonderful item was saved from the trash, and I got a free counter!

W is always bringing home treasures so I will be sharing more items that were saved. 

Monday, August 5, 2013


I am not going back to school, but the teachers and school aged children in my area are headed back this week.  I wanted to do something special for the children in my Sunday night Bible class.  I saw a couple of ideas on Pinterest, but I ended up taking an idea and making it my own.

I took the easy way out and bought refrigerated cookie dough.  I used a postcard template to make four bag toppers per page.  I printed the message at the bottom of each postcard so I could fold them in half over the bag.  The only complaint was that I did not give them milk to go with the cookies.