Saturday, May 31, 2008

Big Shoes to Fill

I know most of us aren't to happy to have to step into other people's shoes especially if we have big shoes to fill. Piper is ALWAYS happy to attempt to fill big shoes!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Piggy Tails and Dancing

I went on MacGregor's fieldtrip 2 weeks ago. My mother watched the girls. When I came home, Piper's hair looked something like this:
I had no idea her hair could even fit in pig tails. It's as thin as paper and my mom had to wrap the rubberband around about 8 times (NOT kidding). But she did look cute - like a little butterfly.
I decided to do her hair that way more often. Here she is dancing around the living room while I'm trying to capture that cute hair on film. It was a hard task:

She's a cute little muppet - isn't she?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

New Fave

This quilt was made by the YW and their leaders for our one and only graduate this year. It's a signature quilt. The girls helped cut the strips, pin the pieces, sew into blocks and iron seams. Then each girl signed a block. We also had her previous YW leaders and bishop and seminary teacher sign blocks as well, using a textile marker. Because the girls sewed the blocks our seams ended up being quite a bit wider than they were supposed to be. The blocks were supposed to rotate between having the signature strip vertical then horizontal then vertical etc...

Here is the picture from the book:

We ended up with rectangles instead of squares which made it impossible to rotate. We toyed with cutting all the blocks down but then we would have cut off parts of their names. So instead we sewed the blocks side by side and ended up with long signature stripes. It came out pretty well considering....
Sample of blocks:
Once the blocks were all created - the leaders pieced the blocks to the setting triangles (which I had never done before). That was a real learning experience and I'm not so good with spatial relationships and since everything was set on a diagonal I had some issues and had to pick out several rows. (It probably didn't help that we were watching the final American Idol performances.) The leaders then added the borders and the girls tied it for their last activity. I bound it over the weekend.
Close up of the setting triangles and borders:

It was a fun project where I tried and learned some new techniques such as setting triangles (I have been a bit fearful of triangles in any form) also I learned how to attach the long binding strips using a diagonal seam instead of a straight seam which I had never done and I bound it with one piece creating mitered corners which I had done before but it never came out right. This time it did. It was also fun because it was a scrap quilt. I did actually buy a few fat quarters so we would have some continuity because I didn't have quite enough scrap in these dark colors but I would say at least 1/3 of the blocks were made from scraps from my mother or me.
Here is a close up of the back which I found at JoAnn's on clearance for $2 a yard.
I love learning new things and I think Amanda R. will love it too!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Jon and Kate

So my new favorite show on TV is Jon and Kate plus 8. It's on TLC on Monday nights. Its about a family that had twin girls. A few years later they decided to try for one more baby and she got pregnant with sextuplets. So right now they have 2 seven year olds and 6 three year olds. I try to imagine what it would be like to have 5 more Ainsleys or 5 more Pipers. YIKES!!! That is a really SCARY thought and I don't think I'd get up in the morning!!!

Anyway - a few months ago I was talking to someone about the show (I'd only seen bits and pieces of it up to that point) and they told me that the family is from right here. They live in the suburb just south of the city - the same town my grandparents live in. We live just north of the city. NO WAY - So now I really wanted to tune in.

In one of the first episodes I watched - they took the kids to Gymboree. I totally recognized it. It's in the same shopping center as the Chilis I go to every Friday to pick up my chips!! Then they took the family out to dinner to celebrate a birthday at Olive Garden. Yep the one right here across from the mall.

Last Monday they were taking each kid out for a special day with just Mom and Dad. They took one of the twins to the mall to get her ears pierced. Yep - our mall. The one I shop at (ok only ocasionally - I'm not a huge mall rat). But still - my everyday surroundings being shown on national TV. It's just kinda weird. And to top it all off. They took one of the little boys to the Hands On House where Ainsley had her birthday party. It was so cool to see all the things we do when we play there - ON TV!!! I wanted to call everyone I knew and say - LOOK - that's what we did for Ainsley's birthday. There's the grocery store and the fun dress up room - Look there's where we picked corn and sorted eggs (Piper's favorite). Look there's the assembly line that kept Ainsley and Kamden busy for hours in February.

Anyway - check out this show sometime - It really is cute and you'll have so much appreciation for your own life and so much admiration for Kate. Plus you'll get to see all the fun places in MY TOWN!!! cue the music..... This is my town ... la la laaaa la la....

Friday, May 16, 2008

Wedding, Crazy Faces, Wedding Gift

Daniel's head assistant at work got married last Saturday. I was really struggling with what to give them because they had lived on their own for quite a while and have the necessities. I know how much we love our denim rag quilt - we are always fighting as to who gets to use it when we watch TV. So I decided that might be a nice gift. I called the office to see what her favorite color was or what color she used in her living room. My answer was - red, white and blue.

The other neat thing about this quilt is that I was able to incorporate 3 pair of Amber's jeans into it. The office manager was making a denim quilt for her niece's graduation and had asked people from the office to bring in old jeans. She ended up getting enough family jeans (more sentimental) so she gave me Amber's. I incorporated the pockets and one label from Amber's jeans. I hope she notices. So here's the result. It's just a TV blanket but Dan told me to make it big. Amber and Dave are both pretty tall. It's 8 blocks by 10 blocks or 64 inches by 80 inches.


Here is a close up of fabric choices. I used 3 blue, 3 red and 3 cream (you can't find white flannel).

I was so excited when we got to the wedding and the church was decorated with huge flower arrangements of red, white and yes - blue roses. Her dress was gorgeous with a red band around the top and bottom. Then the thinnest red thread traced all of the beautiful embroidery. I had never seen a dress with color like that but it was really pretty.

Here you can see that the cake was decorated with red, white and blue flowers as well as the rest of the reception. I forgot to mention that Amber and Dave are both volunteer fire fighters. The reception was held at the fire hall. That could be where her love of red, white and blue come from.
Amber wanted a picture with all the people that were there from work. I thought it would be fun to take a silly picture as well as the norm so I asked them all to make a crazy face. UMMM who is that guy on the right? - I certainly don't recognize him.
Let's see that a little closer:
Who knew he could make such a face but I guess it runs in the gene pool. Here is one of MacGregor's "before" pictures. Before his hair cut. That kid always has a face on.

I'll explain these pictures of Ainsley. This was the day of her pre-school graduation. She walked into the chapel (her school is at a church) looking so cute and sat down with her class while another class performed. 2 minutes before she was supposed to go on her teacher brings her to us bawling. Apparently she was sitting on her knees in her dress and leaned to far forward. She was sort of trapped in her skirt and couldn't get her balance and hit her head on the corner of the brace holding up the pew in front of her. She had a huge purple goose egg on her head. She did not perform but did go up for pictures with her class at the end. But you can tell that she wasn't very happy. Luckily by the time she got to walk up front to get her diploma she did have a smile on. In the crazy pictures - she was trying to see the bump on her forehead.So much for getting her all dressed up and spending an hour curling her hair. I was so sad she couldn't perform because she was really excited about it. And my mom drove 45 mins to see her but that's life I guess. You never know what's going to happen!

Sunday, May 11, 2008


A few months ago MacGregor had an orthodontic apt or some reason he was out of school. While we were out we ran and got him a hair cut because he was way over grown. When we came home I mentioned to Chase that we really needed to get his hair cut too. He made a frowny face and said he didn't want it cut. He wanted to grow it out. - - YUCK!! I thought. I know it's sort of the popular thing right now but it doesn't mean it looks nice. Chase has never had an opposing opinion about anything. He's a good kid so we just let it go for a while. And go and go and go. It was getting really nasty - over the ears, so long on top we could get a pony tail in it I'm sure, growing down the neck... It's not like he has a wave or a curl - and we all know long straight hair on boys is just ugly.

Finally after weeks and weeks of asking him when he thought he'd like to get it cut - He told me - in 2 weeks he would let me buzz it. That was a whole lot more than I expected. That was the middle of April. It ended up being more like 3 weeks later but we finally cut it. This time we did it at home and had a little fun during the process.

Here are some before pictures. In these first two (one is above) I had wet my hands and pulled the hair through my fingers to see how long it really was.

I first took a bit off the top and shaved the sides real close but left his bangs. As I was taking these pictures I thought how much he looked the boys from when I was in Jr. High. They were into the skater look with long bangs (in their eyes) and real short around the sides.

In these next few we were just being silly. I love the pointed bang look - don't you?

And here is the Asian warrior look with his cute little pony tail on top.

Here is the final result - after his shower. What a difference! I love the clean kid look.

We cut MacGregor's hair the same night although he wasn't nearly as bad off as Chase. He wanted some before and afters too.

After: This kid is such a HAM!!


Thursday, May 08, 2008

What's for Dinner?

Shana- aka Conn Hens - posted asking for ideas and recipes of what people were making this week for dinner -

I don't have an entire week but I did actually make a few good things this week. The recipes will follow.

Sunday - Honey Ribs (cooked in the crock pot)
White Rice
Steamed Broccoli

Monday - a baseball day so we had left over ribs, rice, and broccoli but also added a can of corn

Tuesday - Tostadas with refried beans, meat and all the fixins
Leftover Canned corn -I get the giant ones
Canned pears

Wednesday - Cream of Cauliflower soup (the recipe came from my friend from Spain and it's delightful) Open face broiled sandwiches, fresh strawberries and mini bananas.

Thursday - another baseball night - so more leftovers. We used the leftover tostada fixins to make Nachos Grande, finished the ribs and had steamed corn on the cob.

Friday - ?? usually Digiorno's Pizza or anything I can make to go with Chili's Chips and Salsa, like grilled chicken and homemade potato salad or brats and hot dogs and baked beans - any hang out in the backyard kinda food.

Here are the recipes:

Honey Ribs and Rice

2 pounds boneless ribs

1 can (10 1/2 oz) condensed beef consomme - Whatever that is -and 1/2 cup water, I use 1 cup water with 1 beef bouillon cube

2 TBSP maple syrup

2 TBSP honey

3 TBSP soy sauce

2 TBSP barbecue sauce

1/2 tsp dry mustard

1 1/2 cups quick cooking rice - I always just make my rice on the side with a rice cooker

Combine ingredients (except rice) in Crock Pot, stir to mix. Add ribs. Cover and cook on Low 8-10 hours or High for 4-5.

It says you can remove ribs and cook the rice in the left over juice if you use the quick cook rice. I just do my rice separate and let people pour the sauce over the rice and ribs if they like.

Shred and serve on or with rice.


We just use the Mission brand tostadas which is a round corn chip circle - like a flat hard taco. We season our refried beans with taco seasoning and season our meat with taco seasoning too. We then just build a taco on top - beans then meat, followed by cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, sauce, sour cream etc... We like them because no one cries that their taco's cracked or broke or everything fell out. And I'm all about a taco with a crunch.

The sandwiches we made were also inspired by my friend from Spain. They are very Mediterranean.

Open faced Bikini Sandwiches

I buy bakery bread - sometimes Italian, sometimes whole grain rounds but this time it was Portuguese Saloio which was delectable. I think it has been my favorite.

We slice the bread and lightly butter it. Bake in the oven for just a few moments to toast just slightly. Take out of the oven and then top with cheese followed by thinly sliced ham or this time we used turkey and ground pepper. Then top meat with thinly sliced tomatoes - lightly drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and top with ground sea salt. Broil on Low til cheese is melty. I don't like my tomatoes too mushy cooked so I only broil 5 or so minutes. I watch the whole time. YUMMY!! Everyone in the family loves it and I think they are pretty healthy.

This next recipe was great as well but I couldn't find saffron at the grocery store the day I was making this so this is what I did .... we love saffron rice. We buy it by the package so I opened one of these packages extracted just the seasoning and poured it into the broth. It worked I guess because the soup was wonderful. Now I'll have to visit a specialty spice place to buy saffron for the next time.

I also froze 1/2 the puree without the half and half cuz this recipe makes alot. Now we'll have another dinner we just have to reheat and add cream. All but one in the family loved this! And pureed soup TOTALLY reminds me of being in Spain.



4 C water

4 C low-salt chicken broth

1/4 teaspoon coarsely crumbled saffron threads.

6 Tablespoons butter

4 C chopped onions

3 pounds cauliflower, cut into 1/2 to 3/4 inch pieces

1 1/2 C half and half

Thinly sliced fresh chives


Combine 4 C water and 4C low salt chicken broth in medium saucepan. Bring mixture just to simmer. Remove from heat. Add saffron threads. Cover and steep 20 min.

Melt 6 T butter and sauté onions until very tender but not brown, about 10 min. Add cauliflower pieces and stir to coat. Add saffron broth. Bring to simmer over high heat. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until cauliflower pieces are tender, about 20 min.

Working in batches, puree cauliflower mixture in food processor until smooth. Transfer cauliflower puree to large saucepan. Stir in half and half and bring to simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with sliced fresh chives and a few cauliflower florets that we should have kept, which we can boil to al dente and saute with some butter, olive oil, salt and pepper.

This soup can be made 1 day ahead.

Hope this inspires a few of you and if you decide to try any of these recipes - let me know how they turned out and what you thought of them. If you have any questions - just give me a call.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

May Flowers

My friends David and Laura just adopted a baby girl from China. This is the quilt I have been working on for her. I found a quilting magazine that had the top 8 quilts from a baby quilt competition and I really would like to make them all. The lighting is really bad for this picture - I couldn't really capture on film what the colors look like in real life.

This one I liked because I learned how to applique using a fusible web and then blanket stitch around it. It was very time consuming and hard to be accurate around the dips and curves but it was fun and I really like the look of it. I have decided though that since baby Caitlin is almost a year old this quilt is too small so I am going to add a 4 -5 inch border around the whole thing. I'll take another picture when that is done.