Monday, January 31, 2011

Canning Apple Pie Filling

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I finally got to those apples sitting in the basement. I have been meaning to make pie filling but kept putting it off. Unfortunantly I could no longer procrastinate. They were starting to get a bit soft.
I used my apple, peeler, corer but some of them had to be peeled by hand. Made me learn my lesson to get them canned while they are still crisp!
Add a bit of nutmeg, cinnamon, and sugar for the syrup. Then stuff the jars to the brim with apples and syrup.
Is your mouth watering yet?? he he he

This past fall I got in on a great deal for a steam canner. You use it in place of a water bath canner for high acid foods- fruits and tomatoes.
Because it used steam you only have to boil a couple of inches of water rather than a barrel of water.
My dear sis-in-law let me use hers last year so I had to jump at the deal to get one.
I have to say I like mine better for this one reason....
It has a wire rack rather than a more solid one. This way I could see exactly how much water was left in between batches and didn't have to worry about scalding the pan.
My other tool that spoils me when I am canning is this baby...
Dear hubby got this for me years ago. It simply has a magnet on the end to get the lids out of the boiling water wtihout worrying about scratching my pans.
Thanks Babe!
Once your bottles are preped and filled place them on the rack and cover.
Once the steam starts to come out you set your timer. Because you're only heating a couple of inches of water it doesn't take long.
Then, before you know it, you have pie filling to enjoy throughout the year!
Anyone got some vanilla ice cream?
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Valentines Class Party ideas

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I wanted to help with Josh's class party but have to work that day. When I came across these ideas I thought I could still put something together to help his teacher. I love these ideas from Be Different....

Valentines Confetti form This Blessed Nest

Wreaths from their classmates Valentines

Could be lots of fun! I'm thinking I can just send the ideas and supplies...
Hmm, gonna have to talk with Ms. Schofield this week!
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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Matchbox Valentines and other Valentine Projects

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Josh just handed me his class list for Valentines Day, then I came across this...
How cute! He would be the hit in his class...well at least with the girls!
What little girl wouldn't love this to pass notes too?! Perhaps I will make some more like spy gear for the boys.  Check them out at Embellishing Life.

She also has other great Valentine ideas like this map....
I love this conversation heart garland. This would be an easy project to keep in my bag for all the times mom spends waiting- car pool, dr office, car pool, 15 minutes in between pick up and drop offs, you know what I'm talking about...

I can think of a couple of guys this would be great for! So easy. Maybe I will add it to my gift closet stash. It's always good to have something on hand for a last minute gift!
What do you think Kaylyn? Something for Jeff for Fathers day?
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Next week is the Superbowl! We are not big sports fans- I know it's CRAZY! I have a house of boys and have never decorated a room in sports themes (we're kinda nerds- remember the astronomy room? Hey, nerds are cool!). BUT! The Superbowl is one we enjoy. We used to go to my parents house each year. I don't know why, we just got into the habit of watching the game with them. My dad is a sports fan but he doesn't go beserk! It was an enjoyable afternoon. The guys watching the game while my mom and I crafted or scrapbooked.
Well, this year we will be staying home. We are still looking forward to the game and I am searching for great finger foods for my *little* guys to enjoy. I will post recipes and ideas I find. For now here is my menu for this week.

Tuna Noodle Casserole

Crockpot Chicken Nachos

Pear muffins from WW

Steak Fajitas

Grilled Chicken Fajita Fettucini
(gonna have to find where I got this recipe....Yikes I wrote it as an idea but not the source)


BBQ Chicken and Bacon Pizza

Sunday- GAME DAY!
Finger foods!
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Old pants made new

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Every mom I know has dealt with this little problem....
Yep, those pesky levis wear through the knees before they shorten in length. Of course this has absolutely NOTHING to do with the boy wearing them. Honest mom! I don't know how they tore. Neither do they know how a small hole has suddenly become this big, gaping CRATER!
Now, I must tell you my 4 boys all take after their lovely daddy. They are tall and skinny skinny. To say slim jeans are hard to find would be a gross understatement! So usually my oldest especially ends up with buckles in the fabric from cinching them tight enough to stay up where they belong.
(we have a 1 inch rule: no more that 1 inch of your underware showing!)
It's either that or wear hi-waders.
You also know how hard it is to keep kids in pants. When my oldest tried to wear these pants to school I promptly sent him to change and sat down later that day to try a trick I'd read about a while back.
Horray! I got it to work! Now those holey jeans look fresh off the rack. One of the benefits of "Worn" being the in style.
I didn't take pictures along the way but I will try to explain what to do....
First I had to clean up the hole. I trimmed all the strings.
Thenk, I took a piece of levi from another worn pair of jeans and inserted it on the inside of the pantleg. This became the 'patch'. Then I sewed a stitch back and forth on an angle. I like how the angle looks although that was not intentional. I couldn't get the pantleg turned the direction I wanted so I just went with it. I went back and forth over the entire hole several times. With the patch on the backside you get the (very in style) worn look.
My dear son was very pleased to have his pants fixed. Thankfully my boys don't care what they wear as long as it passes mom's inspection. I'm confident though that this would pass even the style police's inspection. I think they look great!
Now if only I could get the other boys skinny pantleg to fit over my sewing machine.
Yep, I think we will make it through the rest of the school year with these jeans!
Keeping It Simple

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Curtains for boys

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I have been telling Josh I would sew his curtains for a while now. Something always interfere. This week I put his curtains on the top of my list.
Don't mind the mess. It is a boys room after all.....
Amazing the difference curtains can make. I think they soften things and add the finishing touch.
I played with several different styles but decided some long drapes would be the best. Especially with the print on the fabric.
It was kind of a world print with old ships. Brings to mind navigating by the stars. I liked it and thought it went with his room.

Here's a close up of the print.
I like them and more importantly Josh likes them!
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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Valentines bead wreath

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When I hit the after Christmas sales I grabbed some bead garland. I figured there were any number of things I could use it for to make something for Valentines. 
Well, this is what I came up with.....
I had a styrofoam wreath so I painted it a simmery purple.
Then I wrapped the garland around. Hot glue helped to hold it in place.
I repurposed some silky fabric to make the flowers. In a house of boys I wasn't sure I would ever need or use pink and purple buttons but grabbed a few when I was buying bulk buttons. I'm glad I did.
I guess now I need to take down the outside Christmas decor. With the weather warming maybe I will get that done this weekend.
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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Why do I make my bed?

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Each morning I get up, shower, and make my bed before doing much of anything else. I have always made my bed first thing in the morning. It gives me one place of peace and organization. Mostly I just love crisp sheets and the look of a made bed. 
Matthew of course had a different plan in mind. He often does for mom. He was watching Cars and decided the best place was not on but IN moms bed.

But...notice the bed is now rumpled and EMPTY....

Hmmm, what's it like to watch tv from under the bed? Tell us little guy...
Or is it that once the bed is messed up it is no longer comfy? And don't forget to rearrange mom's nightstand.
Ahh, gotta love the little ones in our lives. How boring would life be if we didn't have to chase them around all day.
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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Capri Sun Bag

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I have seen these done before and had been planning to make one for a while. My problem was trying to get my boys to SAVE their trash rather than toss it. ;-) At least they are well trained right?! Plus, they got to enjoy several juices the last couple of days.
I used a zig zap stitch to sew each wrapper together. For the handle I cut 3 in half then folded the half in half.
The bottom is 3 sewn together. I had to trim the ends just a bit. 
Just a warning, sew slowly. My needle tended to stick or grab not sure which...maybe I didn't have the right size needle. It worked best when I just sewed a little slower.
I used it already and have to say it was quite fun!
Up-cycling at its best!

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Valentines Topiary

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I came across this at Gluesticks and LOVE it. Looks simple so I am adding it to my wish list of Valentine projects. Hopefully I will get to it....
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Sunday, January 23, 2011

This weeks menu

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I have decided that planning a menu that is
1- frugal and filling for little boys
2- based on supplies in my pantry
3- low cal thus low points on my WW plan
is INCREDIBLY difficult. It's not impossible but it does require even more planning than just a weekly menu. After reviewing our budget things are gonna be tight the rest of the month so I opted to look for recipes using supplies I have already. I don't about you but that is a lot of requirements to combine. Each one can be done without much ado but the 3 together......
Well, here is what I came up with....

Ham fried rice


Chicken Enchiladas
Oatmeal Raison Cookies

Cabbage Wraps- trying a new recipe from a co-worker
WW desert

Cheerio cookies

Cheesy Italian Chicken - didn't have this last week
Green beans

Green Salad 
Dad's choice

I have been trying to bake up treats to rotate my food supply. Little boys love all sorts of treats after dinner. Plus, although they are generally good eaters and not picky I am not above adding a little incentive. he he he!
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Valentines Crafting with the girls....

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Being in a new town I wanted to meet more people and make new friends. I decided to do what I know best. I invited friends to come craft. The only thing they had to bring was another friend. Well, not many people came but those of us that did had a great time. It was nice to visit and introduce new people. Perhaps us newbies can assimilate into the community a little at a time.
I decided to make some Valentine blocks and washer necklaces. I had already made these so I would know how to and could step in and help when needed. Turns out no one really needed help. The ladies made "LOVE" blocks...

 Since I had these already I made "Be Mine" blocks....

 The best part is that I had all the supplies already. We used blocks left from building our basement. The paper and bling came from my standard supply. 
It was so fun to chat with ladies and to just have a fun morning. We will definantely have to do this again!
Keeping It Simple
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