31 October 2012

To-Do List Tuesday


Someday, I just know I will have it really together and share costumes with you earlier. Not this year...
I really only had one mission last week. That was helping these two put together the costumes they had chosen. They had some pretty specific requirements. I mean, who knew there was a "Fire" Mario? I certainly didn't (although, that's not really surprising).



Fire Mario

I made his hat out of fleece, using this tutorial. 
I got the gloves at Walmart 
We used a button down white shirt that we already had
I made his overalls out of fleece also (the second time). My first attempt was with felt, and I really didn't like the fit. I used this very helpful tutorial over at Smashed Peas and Carrots.
I free-hand cut the letter M from the abandoned felt overalls
The truly awesome "stache," as he called it, completed the costume.
The entire costume cost about $15.


Fortune Teller

My daughter had a very definite idea of what she wanted. It's really fun to see her take charge of her costume and design it.
Fortunately (hehe) we had some really neat scarves that her Grandmother has brought her from around the world. We used those along with a few we picked up at Goodwill.
The skirt is one she already had - I made it this summer from an adult skirt I also picked up at Goodwill (I will blog about that one of these days).
The crystal ball is a giant Christmas ornament from the Dollar Tree.
the lace undershirt and black peasant blouse were also Goodwill finds. 
I cut the sleeves shorter on the lace shirt and also removed the mock turtle neck.
On the black peasant blouse, I stitched a couple of rows around the upper sleeve with elastic thread, shirring the sleeve and allowing it to be pulled up and bloused around her upper arm. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE elastic thread? I really love it.
Silver sandals from summer and a little of my eyeliner complete the costume.
Cost: $11

What have you been up to? Link up below!


30 October 2012

Menu Plan Monday


We got our October snow storm. It cancelled the last soccer game and was just enough for the kids to build a snow friend. I am trying not to think about how wet that seat is going to be and just hope for a week of sunny days to dry it out so I can store it... any other moms out there conflicted like that? LOL.

Several things on the menu this week are roll-overs from last week. My husband was out of town and we didn't follow the menu plan too well...

MONDAY

Fish Tacos
Chips & Salsa

TUESDAY

Crock Pot Beef Stew

WEDNESDAY

Take-out - between carpool, swim practices, Dr. appointments and Trick or Treat I don't think we'll even be home between 3 and 8, or maybe 9. I really hope 8. Is there any chance I could avoid the Trick or Treat? Anyone?

THURSDAY

Fettucine Alfredo with Chicken
Salad

FRIDAY

Pizza

SATURDAY

Leftovers

SUNDAY

Roast Beef
Mashed Potatoes & Gravy
Veggies
Yorkshire Pudding?
I had planned this for last Sunday, but we ended up visiting friends up north and eating there.

Linking up to Menu Plan Monday!

27 October 2012

Halloween Panic


What I have to come up with by Saturday night (tomorrow!)... because I went out of town and this is payback. No, I could not convince either one of them to be something we already had in the costume box. "That's NOT how we do it Mom!"


AND 



A trip to Goodwill and the Dollar Store yielded some promising results. I'll show you the final version soon!

26 October 2012

Girl's Trip - Salt Lake City, Utah


I know I usually post a recipe on Thursdays, but today I want to tell you about all the fun things there are to see and do in Salt Lake City, Utah.

My sister and I had to travel on a budget this year so we decided to go somewhere not too far and maybe see someplace we knew fairly well, but as tourists. She lives in Utah, so we chose Salt Lake City. Our goal was simple: relax, eat good food, do what we wanted to do. I am going to have to say that we succeeded. Be warned. There is a lot of food in this post. You may need a snack to get through.

Day 1  

I fly in from Denver, my sister and her husband pick me up at the airport and we head to our brother's house to borrow his car. My sister and three of my brothers live in Utah, so it's quite a hub for our family.

On our way to the hotel, we stopped for lunch at Oh Mai, a tiny Vietnamese place in South Salt Lake. Oh my, it was delicious. I had the honey glazed pork Banh Mi. 



For dinner we met my brother and sister in law at Red Iguana. Yum! So refreshing to eat good Mexican Food. Honestly, we don't live in the right part of Denver for good Mexican food.

Day 2

We walked over to Temple Square before brunch. The weather was gorgeous after the rain the night before.

Looks just like a postcard photo, right?

Temple Square is beautiful. Not just the LDS Temple, but the gardens. While we were there, they were dividing the spring bulbs and putting up the Christmas lights. It was a perfect morning for walking around and seeing everything. I wish I could be there at Christmas to see all the lights. It's just gorgeous.

On the way back to the hotel, we stopped for brunch at bay leaf. It's comfort food. It's amazing. I had meatloaf with country gravy, fries and collard greens. A bite of meatloaf with a french fry, chased with collard greens. Absolute heaven.



We spent the afternoon shopping and seeing museums. We went to a couple of antique and variety shops in Sugarhouse. We found a couple of cool things at Captial City Antique Mall...


 If you chance to meet a frown...

We stopped by Les Madeleines for a little snack. We tried their Kouing Aman and a Meyer Lemon Tart. Both were delicious, but the Kouing Aman, that was  AMAZING.


You should know that you can order the Kouing Aman online, and they will ship it to you. Or maybe you should not know that...


After our little snack, we went to Liberty Park, to the Chase Home Museum Of Utah Folk Arts. It was completely different than what I expected. It was full of cool folk art, not ancient, but made by local people continuing the traditions from their heritage. It wasn't just doilies and quilts. There were saddles and hand braided reins, beautiful paper cuttings and woven baskets, hand made tools, toys, woven rugs and blankets and all kinds of folk art. Definitely worth seeing.



We had dinner at Mazza in Sugar House. Sugar House is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Salt Lake City. It's a great area, full of quirky shops and great restaurants. Dinner was great. I had the lamb kebab over fattoosh. The lamb was tender and flavorful and the salad was a great contrast.

Day 3 started with breakfast at Ruth's Diner.  It's just a little way up Emigrant Canyon and it's been there for 82 years. They are famous for their mile high biscuit. 

 Photo: Home of the mile high biscuits as featured on DDD
  It really is very tall. 

Then we drove up to Park City. We first stopped at Olympic Park. The ski jumping thing is amazingly large up close.  It was lots of fun remembering the 2002 Winter Games and doing a little skiing...


Later we walked up and down Main Street, did some window shopping and enjoyed the beautiful weather and fall colors. For dinner, we ate at The Farm. It's a fabulous restaurant in the Canyons Resort. It was our big splurge. All their ingredients are fresh and local, coming from within a 200 mile radius of The Farm. We had a little salad frisee and the Farm Rockefeller to start.

Party in my mouth

Then for our main course, we shared the Homemade Tagliatelle Pasta and the Grass Fed Beef. Both dishes came with fresh vegetables that were cooked to perfection. Knowing we were sharing the meal, the kitchen was kind enough to split our steak and cook each portion to our liking - medium rare for me and well done for my sister. In the end, we were so satisfied, we didn't need dessert.

 

To top off the night, we went to the local community theater production of Jekyll and Hyde, the Musical. It wasn't Broadway, but it was lots of fun. The Egyptian is a cool old theater.


After the play was over, we retrieved our brother's car, which we had parked on a hill. I started driving and realized I had left the parking brake on. I pushed down on the parking brake to release it, but it just went to the floor. So there we were, stuck in the middle of Main St. on a hill, in front of a bar, at 11 at night, with a line of Taxi's behind us. I hopped out to look for the brake release lever. Couldn't find it. So, I walked over to a couple of guys having a cigarette outside the bar and asked them to help. They both just looked at me in a bemused fashion. Perhaps I underestimated the amount of drink in them.  Fortunately, just at that moment, my resourceful sister, who had called our brother, managed to locate the lever and released the brake. We drove off calmly, giggling just a little. We stopped around the corner to close the hood, which I had inadvertently opened while looking for the brake lever. Just a tip, in case you were looking for strategies for meeting ineligible men.

Day 4, we had a great brunch at Gourmandise with our brother, another place with some amazing pastries, and then, a highlight for me, a trip to the Sugar House LYS, otherwise known as Blazing Needles. More about that another day. 

And our little getaway was done. 

See, there was so much food in this post, you didn't even miss the recipe, right?

Don't hesitate to visit Salt Lake City! Especially because now, you will know where to eat...

24 October 2012

To Do List Tuesday





TRAIL TRIAL TO EAGLE

It's been awhile since I talked about my son's Eagle project. Guess why?

He wanted to build a Little Free Library near a bus transit center and stock it with books (from a book drive, of course). He has spent more than 6 months working with the local public library and the local transit authority. Recently, the transit authority informed us that if he built this structure and installed it on their property, we would have to carry liability insurance to the tune of  $1 million per incident. Naturally, this is beyond what we are prepared or able to do. You can imagine how discouraging this was for a 13 year old kid.   

As the mom, I can see that it doesn't hurt my kid to run up against real life and at the same time I feel really bad for him. I also think that this particular aspect of real life totally stinks. You can't build a little box and fill it with books to give away without considering potential liability. How sad.

Anyway, I meant to spend the day cleaning toilets and catching up on orders that came in while I was having a Girl's Week with my sister, but instead, I spent the day canvassing for an alternative project. I think we found something. I'll let you know. I've done what I can and now it's up to the Scout. He seems re-energized tonight, which is good. 

Did you know it's the 100th year of scouting? He really wants the commemorative patch that goes with getting his Eagle this year. We're running out of time! Keep your fingers crossed. I'll let you know how it goes.


What have you been up to? Link up below!


23 October 2012

Menu Plan Monday


I had a lovely get away with my sister, and I will tell you more about it later this week. It involved a lot of food. Really, really good food. As a result, I am going back to Weight Watchers this week... 
I'd love to hear if anyone has some favorite WW friendly lunches. Lunch is my hardest meal. It is too easy to eat the crust from my son's PB&J and go about my business.

Here's the dinner menu:

MONDAY

Broccoli

TUESDAY

Panini and Salad

WEDNESDAY

Orange Chicken
Rice
Asian veggies

THURSDAY

Fish Tacos
chips and salsa

FRIDAY

Take out

SATURDAY

Chili
Cornbread

SUNDAY

Crock pot Roast beef
mashed potatoes 
carrots
Yorkshire pudding? 

Linking up to Menu Plan Mondays!

19 October 2012

Home Made Apple-Pear Sauce

1 large box apples


 +
1 large box pears 


 =
A very busy night.

 One night in September, I realized I could no longer ignore my boxes of apples and pears. I decided the best thing to do was make apple-pear sauce. Home made apple-pear sauce is one of my favorite things in the world. 

Want to make some of your own? You don't have to make a whole bunch and bottle it, you can just make enough for breakfast or dinner if you want. Here's how:

Ingredients:

Apples
Cinnamon (optional)
Water
Canning jars and lids (if canning)
Sieve 

Wash and chop an equal number of pears and apples. Make sure the apples are nice, naturally sweet ones. This is not the time for Granny Smiths. Make sure the pears are ripe. Put the apples and pears into a saucepan with about an inch of water or apple juice. Cook them over med. to low heat until they are soft. The cooking process will generate more juice. 
Once they are cooked, you will need to process them. I use an old fashioned sieve like the one pictured below. The wooden tool goes to a point and you just push it around against the sieve until the sauce comes through the holes. All the peels and seeds stay inside the sieve.




Once the sauce is all processed through the sieve, put it back on the stove and season with the cinnamon, if desired. Serve it warm or cold. Enjoy!

For a great and very thorough description of how to can applesauce, check out PickYourOwn.org 


18 October 2012

Pinned It: Made It!



Honestly, this is one of the most gratifying projects I have made in forever. Other than sweeping up the random feathers, it was a piece of cake. I pinned it from someone's pin board, I think it was originally off bhg.com, but I couldn't find it. Anyway, I made up my own based on the photo. I think the original uses ping pong balls for bigger eyes, but I liked the idea of having it look more like hidden critters peeking out.

Level of difficulty: Super easy
Cost: $18

Supplies:

1 wreath base (I used straw, but foam will work fine)
black crepe paper or fabric strips to wrap around the wreath base
glue
3 black feather boas ($8 at JoAnn's, use your coupons)
Googly eyes - a pack of various sizes
straight pins
Wire for hanging

1. Wrap your wreath base with crepe paper or fabric so only black shows through. Put a little glue on the edges as you wrap to hold it in place if you want to.

2. Most feather boas come in a circle, so cut it so it's one long strand. Use a straight pin to pin through the boa string into the wreath. Make sure you pin the string the feathers are attached to, not just the feathers.

3. Wrap the boa around, pinning where you feel it is needed, continuing with the other two boas in the same fashion. Because you wrapped the wreath base in black, you don't have to worry too much about perfect coverage. The feathers cover most of the area anyway.

4. Glue on googly eyes where you want them.

5. Wrap wire around the wreath base and twist into a loop to form the hanger.

6. Hang it up and enjoy!

I also put this together - the idea originated from the Pottery Barn catalog:


I put a white poster board behind it for the photo because it was reflecting me and everything else... 

Materials:

2 bags smooth black rocks (Michaels)

Cost: less than $5 for the rocks and if you need to buy the chalk pen, it's about $8.

If you have smooth rocks already, that's great. It doesn't work so well with rough rocks. The writing is bumpy and hard to read. The best part is that you can wash the chalk off and use the rocks for something else.

What are you doing to decorate for Halloween?

17 October 2012

To Do List Tuesday

Photobucket

Accomplished this week: something that's been on my list for a year and a half. That's a long time. In May of 2011, I re-decorated my daughter's bedroom. The only thing I never finished was the bedspread. It just kept getting pushed to the bottom of the pile. Well, this week, I finally did it. 

It is quite plain, but there is a lot of other frou-frou going on in her room, and I also wanted it to be really easy for an 8 year old to make her own bed. All she has to do is match up the corners.




If you have never made one before, it is super simple. I have included directions below, in case you are interested.

1. Measure the bed length and width, clear to the edge. You will take that measurement and add on 1/2" for seam allowance.

2. Measure the drop and add 1/2" seam allowance and a 1" hem allowance. The drop is the distance you want the fabric to fall on the side of the bed. Depending on how the bed is situated and whether you think you will move the bed, you may want to include a drop on all four sides, or just three, etc.

3. Use math, or a guide like this one to calculate how many yards of fabric you will need.

4. Measure and cut the fabric. 

I really believe the old saying "measure twice and cut once". Anyone who has sewn anything has probably experienced the results of not measuring twice... I know I have (more than once).

I cut out a large top piece at the measurements of the top of the bed plus 1/2" seam allowance. I then cut out 4 drop pieces, two short and one long, with 1/2" seam allowances and a 1" hem allowance.


Note that I have a small pleat at the corners of the bedspread. If you want a pleat at the corner, you will need to cut your drop sections longer than the actual edge of the bed. For my small pleats, I went with about 2.5 inches longer on each end. I then centered the drop section so that the extra 2.5" extended on each side. If I ever do it again, I will probably go with larger pleats, but I am happy with how these turned out. 

5. Hem the drop sections with a 1" hem. If you wish, turn under the corners so the edge of the hems don't show. 



6. Sew or serge the seams, right sides together. When you come to the extended pieces, continues, sewing them together as an extension, then sew down the short edge to make the side seams. When you turn it right side out, you can then create the pleat by tucking in the extra fabric and securing it to the inner seam so it doesn't pop out.

I apologize for not having a good photo of the inside of this process. I thought I took one... if you have questions, leave a comment and I will respond. 

Pop it on the bed and pat yourself on the back!



16 October 2012

Menu Plan Monday

 

It's fall break here, and it's time for my yearly sisters' week. This year my sister and I are headed for Park City, UT. We're going to take in Jekyll and Hyde and eat some great food. I'll tell you all about it next week. 

Since I am leaving my husband for a week, I thought it would be nice to get some freezer meals ready for them. Something my 13 year old son can put in the crock pot while his Dad is at work. They are perfectly capable of fending for themselves, but I know I will enjoy my fun with less guilt knowing I've provided options.

A couple of weeks ago, I happened across this post over at Six Sisters Stuff. I thought, 8 meals in one hour? Really?! I have put up freezer meals often in the past, but it usually involves hours in the kitchen. Of course, I'm also doing more than 8 meals, but still. Well, last Thursday, after a quick trip to Sam's club and the supermarket, I put together 11 meals (doubled some up) in a little less than 2 hours. Only one of the meals required some cooking. The rest was just mix and dump. My kind of project! The bonus? They are all crock pot friendly.


Here's what they will have to choose from - should they desire:

Slow cooker BBQ Spareribs (2)
Black Bean Taco Soup
Chicken Broccoli Alfredo
Chicken Cacciatore
French Dip Sandwiches
Hearty Beef Stew (2)
Maple Dijon Glazed Chicken 
Cilantro Lime Chicken
Cranberry Pork Chops (my own recipe)

I'll leave it up to them which day they eat what, and hey, if they don't use any of it, that works too.

Linking up to Menu Plan Monday!

12 October 2012

Apple Pie Filling


In September, I ordered a big box of apples. Right after the apples came, I got really busy. We ate apples as fast as we could, and they were delicious. The variety is called ginger gold, and they are sweet with a little spice to them. They are kind of soft and buttery, if an apple can be described that way. We couldn't quite eat them fast enough to avoid preserving, so I made some applesauce (recipe coming next week), and I think they will make wonderful pie filling.

My very most favorite apple pie filling is a recipe from The Freezer Cooking Manual.
It makes the most savory, tender and delicious apple pie ever. 

Freezer Apple Pie Filling
The Freezer Cooking Manual

1 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 ½ Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. butter
4 cups cooking apples, peeled and sliced
¼ cup lemon juice

Mix sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and flour in a small bowl. With a fork, blend butter into sugar mixture until it is crumbly. Place the lemon juice in a large bowl. As you peel and slice the apples, place them in the lemon juice. When all the apples have been coated with the lemon juice, pour them into a colander and drain well. Mix drained apples into sugar mixture.

Put apple mixture in a labeled freezer bag or container. Remove excess air, seal and freeze.
To bake, thaw filling, pour into pie shell, top with crust or crumb topping. Bake at 425° for 10 minutes then reduce heat to 350° and bake 30-40 minutes more until browned and bubbly.

Makes 1 apple pie.

We used some this weekend to make birthday pie for my husband. Just as delicious as we had hoped.


11 October 2012

PINNED!



Just a collection of some of my favorite pins on my Halloween Board. 

I also love:


the moveable mummy from Family Chic

to frame

Free printable from Moms By Heart
 
and...
 
Vampire Cocktails - Blood Bar #halloween #bloodbar #vampire #twilight #parties #blood 
The Blood Bar from One Charming Party 
 
 
What do you have planned for Halloween?


10 October 2012

To Do List Tuesday

Temperatures dropped to around 25 F the other night. We got a dusting of snow, and I am declaring gardening season officially over. Fortunately, last week we harvested most of what was left in the garden.


There's just nothing in the world like the feeling you get when you plant a tiny seed, water and watch over it, and then get to harvest an enormous watermelon. Of course the biggest shock for this young farmer was the discovery that watermelons have seeds in them! Wow, right?
 

Because of the late start and the huge hail storm, our tomato harvest was not what I would call bounteous. However, we had a nice large bowl full and some decent size jalapenos. Enough to make about 8 pints of salsa. Yum!

So, this week, we're cleaning and mulching the garden. What are you up to? Link up below.

09 October 2012

Menu Plan Monday


We had a little bit of snow over the weekend and it got down to 25 F. We can officially give up on the watermelon patch now and clean up all the dead, frozen tomato plants. I like that almost as much as planting the garden in the spring. Wonder why that is?

MONDAY


TUESDAY

Nachos

WEDNESDAY

Ravioli with tomato basil sauce

THURSDAY

Leftovers

FRIDAY

Pizza Night

SATURDAY

Baked Potato Bar

SUNDAY


Linking up to Menu Plan Monday!