Thursday, September 30, 2010

An Apple A Day

Lion Brand Yarn's apple.

My apple.

When I was on (this site is great), I found this cute apple pattern.

I whipped one up. The neat thing is that there are other fruits and veggies you can crochet for a little cornucopia. I may start working on them so that I might have a complete cornucopia crocheted by Thanksgiving. I think it would make a great centerpiece.

Note: Do not over stuff your apple like I did mine. I think it would look more realistic.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Crocheted Pumpkin

I was just looking around the blogosphere and found this cute little crocheted pumpkin here. I just had to make one. It was a very easy to follow pattern and it worked up quickly.

I filled this one with candy corn. It would make a great 'happy' (as my Nannie called it).

NOTE: My Nannie would give people what she called a 'happy.' It was basically a little something given to someone for no other reason than to make them happy. It was a kind of 'thinking of you' gift.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Driftwood Lane

As a member of Book Sneeze, I am given books (that I choose) for free to read and review. I chose Driftwood Lane by Denise Hunter. It is a Christian Fiction book and a good love story.

When her father dies, Meridith inherits her 3 younger siblings that she has never met and a Bed and Breakfast that is in dire need of repairs. She goes to Nantucket to sign over the children and the B & B to the children's uncle. When she arrives due to circumstances, she changes her mind and decides to keep the children. How will her fiance react to the news? Where is the children's Uncle J?

Meridith must get the B & B up to code before she can sell it and move the kids back to St. Louis with her. How is she going to tell the kids they can't stay? Summer Place, the Bed and Breakfast, isn't making enough money to cover the repairs, Meridith lost her job back home after her stay was delayed and she's not sure she has enough in savings to cover everything. She then finds out that there are back taxes owed on Summer Place. How will Meridith make it all work? She fears that it won't sell as it is and she can't afford to stay.

Jake a handy man shows up out of nowhere and offers to do the renovations in exchange for room and board at Summer Place. Meridith is torn between allowing Jake to do the repairs (due to the fact that he leaves her so unsettled when he is around) or to try to sell Summer Place as is. It is an offer that Meridith can't refuse.

She is constantly worried about Uncle J showing up and wanting the kids now that she has grown attached to them, they are becoming attached to Jake and Meridith is concerned about them being hurt by loosing someone else when they have to leave Summer Place. Especially after just loosing their parents.

Meridith is faced with so many decisions and total chaos has upturned her very orderly life. What will she do? Why does Jake leave her so flustered? Meridith turns to God for the answers to her questions.

Go to Nantucket and visit Summer Place to find out all about Meridith, Jake, Uncle J, the children, and all the decisions that need to be made.

I really enjoyed the book. It is a great love story and it is a very easy read.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Lots of Candy Corn

I crocheted 10 pieces of candy corn (that I talked about here) and filled a glass candy dish with them. How fallish, I love it.

Aren't they cute?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pretty Pumpkin Tutorial

My mother and dad owned a florist several years ago and my mom and the lady that worked for her used to make lots of these every fall to sell in the flower shop. They were very popular. My mom showed me how to make them and I have been making them for friends and family ever since.

One year we (the 2 oldest boys and I - the 2 youngest weren't here yet) made a pumpkin for every Aunt and Uncle, grandparent, etc.. It is really neat to make a bunch of these and have a whole little pumpkin patch of your own. They are great for decorating. I still have the first one that my mom ever made for me (well over 10 years ago) and it still looks great! [It is just as easy to make a bunch all at once as it is to make one, except I knew I was almost out of paint, so I only made one.]

I got dryer hose (used to vent your dryer) from the hardware store. It was approximately $0.40/foot and it took roughly 2 ft. to make 1 pumpkin. (You will have to measure for yourself to see how much you will need b/c I have found out that dryer hose varies slightly how it is made.) I cut the metal wire with pliers (not shown) and the vinyl part with scissors. I purchased enough dryer hose to do more than one pumpkin. You might could ask the hardware store where you purchase your hose to cut it in sections for you if you do not have pliers, but it is easy enough to cut yourself.

You want your dryer hose to meet, but you do want it tight.

When my mom made the pumpkins, she had a needle nose stapler. I did not have one and I used a regular desk stapler. Let me tell you from experience, if you have a needle nose stapler, it is much easier. I will have to do some investigating to see the cost of one (if it isn't too expensive I may have to invest in one, I make these every year).

It takes about 3 staples, I do the one in the middle first and then top and bottom (doesn't matter if you do top or bottom next).

Here is the dryer hose all stapled and waiting anxiously to be painted. It's starting to look like a pumpkin already.

Spray paint the dryer-hose-soon-to-be-pumpkin. Use several light coats, allowing paint to dry in between. I used spray paint (I love to use spray paint). If you use spray paint, make sure you paint the pumpkin from all angles to ensure full coverage. If you do not get the center part of the pumpkin completely orange, that is o.k. It will not show later.

You will have to turn it over and spray paint the other side after the top has dried.

After both the top and bottom have dried. Look to see which side looks the best and that will be the top of your pumpkin.

Now to embellish it. I used a brown paper lunch sack for the stem. (When we first started making them, we used paper grocery bags, but lunch bags are pretty inexpensive. I twisted the paper bag and cut the top off with scissors, then bent the stem slightly and added an artificial leaf attaching them both with hot glue. Then tied a bow with twine. I prefer a rafia bow, but I was out (mental note: put that on my list to buy). I also like to add a little bit of spanish moss around the stem. You could also make some tendrils from floral wire wrapped in floral tape and wound around a pencil to make it spiral.

Who knew that ugly dryer hose could be so pretty???????????????

This particular pumpkin is for Anthony's Kindergarten teacher.

Note: I have tried tearing the brown paper sack for a more rustic look for the stem. I prefer cutting it with scissors b/c if you go to a pumpkin patch to get your pumpkins, they cut the stem with a knife for a clean cut.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Key Issues

Image from here.

When my oldest son was a toddler, he loved to play with my keys. There was a slight problem with that, sometimes he would loose them. So, I went to the toy aisle and bought a set of toy keys for him to play with. It wasn't the real thing and he wasn't the least bit interested in playing with the toy keys. He wanted the real ones, they felt different in his hand, they sounded different from the plastic toy one...basically he wanted real keys.

I thought of a solution. I went into our local hardware store (they made copies of keys) and asked what they did with their 'mistake' keys. (You know, we've all had keys made that didn't work for some reason or another.)

The store clerk said, "We just throw them away. Why?" I asked him if he could save me a few for my toddler to play with. He said he thought that they had some now and left. He came back with 5 or 6 keys. I purchased a key ring and put the keys on the ring and my toddler was happy (and I didn't have to worry about him loosing my keys anymore).

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Key Lime Cake

This summer, I hosted a retreat for our MOPS Steering Team. For dessert the first night I served Key Lime Cake.

One of my best friends suggested it and gave me the recipe. It was delicious and moist.

This would be a neat cake to make on St. Patrick's Day.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Candy Corn Crochet

I love fall. It is my absolute most favorite season of all. Now that the days are starting to get shorter and the humidity is down, the air is a little crisper and cooler at nights, it is really getting me in the mood for fall.

I love decorating for fall. I can decorate in September and leave it up through Thanksgiving. It's great! (I will add a few things for Halloween and then change them out for a few Thanksgiving things, but most things stay out. Like pumpkins, leaves, candy corn, you get the picture.)

I saw this cute pattern from Lion Brand (have I mentioned them before?) ;o) for crocheted candy corn. It is a quick and easy pattern. I made one and now I am going to make up a bunch of these and place in a candy dish. I think it would be a great fall decoration.

They also have a pattern for a Candy Corn Candy bag (you know for Trunk or Treating). If you get started now, you (I really mean me) have enough time to make several Halloween/fall things.

What's your favorite fall decoration? What do you do special for Halloween and/or fall? I'm always open for new ideas.

You can see more here.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Breakfast Butter Balls Recipe

A nurse gave me this recipe. She said it was great for picky eaters. They think they are eating cookies or candy, but it is actually healthy.

Breakfast Butter Balls
1/2 C peanut butter, creamy or crunchy (we prefer creamy)
1/2 C nonfat dry milk powder
1/4 C honey or corn syrup (we prefer honey)
1/2 C flake cereal (I have even used Rice Crispies, but if you used something with more bran it would be even healthier)
1/4 C raisins or other dried fruit - optional (we prefer mini-chocolate chips, I know it's not as healthy, but my kids won't eat raisins in food only by themselves and there is just something about chocolate and peanut butter)

1) In med. bowl, mix peanut butter, dry milk and honey until smooth.

2) Crush cereal by placing in zip-loc bag and crushing with rolling pin.

3) Add raisins (or our personal favorite - chocolate chips) and cereal to mixture above and mix thoroughly.

4) With your hands form into balls the size of a nickle.

5) Roll in powdered sugar if desired. [I have tried it with and without powdered sugar and believe it or not it is less messy with the powdered sugar. It does make it a little sweeter, but there really isn't enough powdered sugar to make it that sweet.]

6) Store in fridge for up to 2 weeks (ours don't last that long) or in the freezer for up to 3 months (ours have never even made it to the freezer and that's with me doubling the recipe).

7) This recipe makes approx. 30 balls and each ball has about 43 calories. (The ones with chocolate probably more.)

Even though the title is Breakfast Butter Balls, I make them and keep them in the fridge for healthy after school snacks. I usually have to double the recipe because my whole family loves it.

Ghostly Necklace

I saw this cute crocheted necklace on Lion Brand Yarn and I just couldn't resist whipping it up for Halloween (it's not too far away you know).

This is a quick and easy necklace to make. You can find the free instructions here. The only change I made, was that I crocheted the necklace part in black (instead of grey). I think I like the grey better, but I already had the black on hand.

After I had crocheted the 3 ghosts and before I could attach them to the necklace part, Rance was playing with them as finger puppets. That would be another way to use them. When the older boys got home from school, they saw the necklace and immediately asked me if I could make them some ghost finger puppets. Hint: Lion Brand actually has a pattern for those too, you can find that here.

I love the Lion Brand website. Can you tell? No, they haven't paid my anything to say it, nor do I get anything from them at all. Actually, they don't even know I exist, I just like their free patterns (you can find just about anything knit or crochet).

One of these days, I am going to teach myself to knit. I tried it once and made a small dishcloth and it turned out o.k. for my first time, but that was so long ago that I've probably forgotten everything. I'll have to start from scratch. But that's another project for another day.

Happy Halloween, uh, I mean have a Great Labor Day!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Easy Breakfast

My Aunt told me about these Breakfast Cups. They are so easy and it is a complete breakfast - super good for an 'on the go' type breakfast.

Take canned biscuits (I used 1 can of 10 biscuits) and flatten them out (I do this with my fingers, you could roll them out I guess, but that's just one more thing to wash - so I don't). I try to make them the shape of the muffin tin.

Then you take several eggs and lightly beat with a fork (I think I used 8 eggs for the 10 biscuits and it was a little much, so 6 or 7 might do just fine), add a little salt and pepper to taste, add cooked meat and stir together. [I took 1 lb. of bulk sausage, browned and drained the fat off of it the night before and kept in the fridge until the next morning. It could all be done in the morning, I was just trying to make my morning a little less hectic. You could also used crumbled bacon or diced ham or whatever in place of sausage.]

Then you spoon the egg and meat mixture into the center of the flattened biscuit (while the biscuit is in the muffin tin).

Sprinkle with shredded cheese and bake until biscuit is done.

What isn't eaten, place in a zip-loc bag and refrigerate. Reheat in the microwave.

You can customize them any way you want them, you can add peppers and onions or whatever you like. You can also make the whole thing the night before and just reheat in the microwave the next morning.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Tractor and Crown Cake

Here is a cake that I made and iced, then my husband decorated for me. (It's not fair, I took cake decorating class and he can just do it - I tell him what I want and he does it). All I did was add the little dots (after Lee suggested it) and then I did the shell trim.

It was for Rance's 4th birthday and my niece's 3rd birthday (their birthdays are less than a week apart - so we usually have some sort of family get together).

Friday, September 3, 2010

Sports Cakes

Oh, wow! I was looking through some pictures that I took several months back and realized that I never posted any pictures of these cakes that I made.

This one is a baseball cake (I hope it is obvious, but just in case it isn't).

This is just a different angle of the cake (to show the ball in 3D a little better).

This one is a soccer cake.

I used a large rectangle cake pan and the mini ball pan that I used here (you can order the pan here). The mini ball pan was used to make the balls on the cake 3 dimensional. I thought that it added more interest than just drawing a picture of a ball on the cake with icing.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Pretty Pajamas

I know that I haven't posted much lately, but my blog is for fun and I don't want it to interfere with family time so I do it when I can.

Even though I haven't been posting, I have been crafting and creating and taking pictures. I will get them posted eventually. Here is a start...

I found this great Tutorial on Sew Mama Sew. It is for a cute nightie (you can find the tute here).

I made mine with some of the fabric that I showed you here.

I made my nightie a little different. At Sew Mama Sew the tutorial is for a night gown. I decided to make mine shorter (like 'Baby Doll' pajamas, or a pajama top) and then I made shorts to go with it. I also used wide grosgrain ribbon for the straps instead of the spaghetti straps that were shown in the tutorial.

I am really pleased with how they turned out. They were rather quick and easy and now I feel pretty.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Handwriting for Elementary School Children

The schools where my children attend, teach The 'Denelian' method for handwriting. This is not what I was taught in school, so I find it difficult to work with my children on their handwriting.

I found this great website, that will help you help your child with their handwriting.

You can check out the site here.
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