Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
- sort broken and peeled crayons into piles of your liking (they can be totally mixed if you want or in theme colors such as primary, patriotic, etc)
- preheat oven to 350
- fill a muffin tin with your crayons
- turn off the oven and place the crayons inside, keep the light on so you can watch - they go pretty quickly
- remove the melted crayons and let cool overnight or place them in the freezer for 10 minutes to cool
Savannah can't take her eyes off the "crayon muffins."
Some of the finished products. We ended up making 2 dozen!
I also finished making some gifts for my new nephew. He's getting a very boy themed blanky and burp cloths with fire trucks and cars. I was hoping to find fire engine fleece but no luck, so no matchy, matchy. Every baby needs something colorful, soft, machine washable, and thick enough to keep them warm in cold cars or to avoid painful head bonkings on hard surface floors. Here's my tutorial for this baby blanket.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
This is our favorite recipe for pumpkin bread and I often make extra loaves for neighbors in the autumn. It will fill your house with that perfect pumpkin baked good smell. (I have to confess to actually stepping outside just to step back in with a fresh nose so I can inhale the wonders of my autumn kitchen.)
FAVORITE PUMPKIN BREAD
Grease a 9 x 5 loaf pan. Position oven racks in the lower third of oven, then preheat to 350.
Whisk together these dry ingredients:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
In a glass measuring cup combine and set aside:
- 1/3 c milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
In a large bowl (all your ingredients will eventually end up here) or kitchen stand mixer beat until creamy:
- 6 TB of softened unsalted butter (NOTE: don't use margarine and reduce salt above if you don't have unsalted butter for baking)
Then add in gradually:
- 1 c white sugar plus 1/3 c brown sugar
Add in one at a time:
- 2 eggs
- 1 c pumpkin (NOTE: I usually add an additional 2-4 Tb of pumpkin)
Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the liquid mixture beating until just blended (I sometimes do this part by hand or on low speed on my stand mixer).
Spread into pan and bake for about 1 hour (sometimes it needs a few more minutes for the center to firm, but don't overbake.)
- 1/2 c pecans or 1/2 walnuts (fold in at the end)
- 1/3 c dates diced or raisins (fold in at end)
- 1/3 c shredded coconut, carrots, or zucchini (fold in at end)
This moist bread is great plain, with butter melted on top, with cream cheese, or for breakfast with an egg. If you're hankering for something extra sweet, you can mix in a small bowl some room temperature cream cheese with powdered sugar to make a frosting as well. I also sometimes wrap up a slice and HIDE it in the fridge (as only moms can do) because if I don't, I'll never get a second slice of this bread. Kevin and Savannah make it disappear like a rabbit in a hat.
With the additional pumpkin in the can, we usually make a pumpkin smoothie with pumpkin, ice, milk or milk substitute, 1/4 tsp of vanilla and 1/4-1/2 tsp of pumpkin pie spices. It is a delicious treat and a great way to use your leftovers.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Savannah's new car quilt - we use them all fall and winter so she can stay warm while the car takes its time to warm up... Wish I had one too!
Stippling turned out remarkably well, considering I had to fight the feed dogs the whole time I was quilting.
Friday, September 12, 2008
In a heavy bottom soup pan, add 3Tb of olive oil plus 1Tb of unsalted butter. Heat to medium low and add slices from 3-4 (very well washed) leeks. Saute for 6 minutes then add 2 large diced and washed Yukon Gold potatoes with skin on for another 3-4 minutes.
Add 5 cups of water and 3-4 teaspoons of chicken bouillon (be sure your bouillon is free of MSG (monosodium glutamate) - I prefer to use Organic Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base)
Cover with lid and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.
Add 1/4 cup half and half, 1/4 cup Parmesan and freshly ground pepper (and maybe extra salt)to taste.
I also usually add a pinch of herbs de Provence and sometimes flat leaf parsley.
I like to serve the soup with open-faced tomato and avocado sandwiches with a shake of Herbamare and pinch of powdered garlic on top and a side green salad.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
3. Using your favorite seam length from 3/8" to 5/8", sew around the perimeter of the blanket leaving a 5-6" opening in the middle of one end. If any of your seams are uneven or larger than 1/2", simply trim away the excess fabric. If perfection is your thing, you can pin and use a walking foot rather than a regular foot.
4. Using the opening, pull the right sides out being sure to pinch the corners so they turn sharply. You can also shape these after the blanket is turned right side out.
5. Once you're satisfied, topstitch around the perimeter (I usually topstitch in contrasting colors and about 1.5"-2" inside the seam).
Here I am topstitching with my walking foot and I have a line drawn on my machine so I can sew a relatively even seam. I used a water-soluble fabric marker for the line - it washes off the machine very easily and if any rubs on the fabric, it comes right off in water.6. Next sew up the opening by hand using matching or invisible thread. Voila, a super-soft fleece baby blanket.
This one is for my friend Melissa whose baby's sex is a surprise. I thought the bright colors and navy backing were neutral enough for any kiddo plus, babies love the contrasting stripes, even before their eyes can see colors. I might make one just like this for myself as well.
This one is for a high school friend in NY who is having a baby boy with a sailboat themed room. Something about these blue stripes said French Navy to me.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
First I'm proud that I was able to knit them at all, considering that when I began, I had no idea how to turn a heel or what a gusset was. Secondly, I'm proud that they actually fit Savannah's feet! It was fun to have her try them on before I completed the toe to see if they would fit her or not. Next time I think I'll close the toes just a little earlier though! Mostly, I'm proud of myself for finishing a pair of something! If there's anyone out there who could make just one sock and stop there, it's me, although in our house any poor sock missing its mate is instantly turned into a sock puppet.
Here's the free pattern I used that was so easy to follow. I had to remind myself how to SKP and do the Kitchener stitch but I found a video from the knit witch on you tube that showed me how to do these things. I made them from Sugar 'n Cream 100% cotton, a yarn I don't typically knit with. It's machine washable, which is great, but not so easy to work with and less forgiving than blends.
Monday, September 1, 2008
I made Savannah a new skirt today, inspired by watching Sewing with Nancy (one of the PBS shows I love to record and skip through for ideas). It's made by cutting out strips that measure 2" on the waist end and 3" (or more) on the hem, then sewing them together. She was thrilled with it and so was I until she went to help her dad do oil changes on the cars and returned with a huge oil spot on the butt...so much for that skirt.
More modeling, with typical four-year-old attitude.