Monday, January 30, 2012

Take One Men's Shirt

Do you know Pinterest?
That new online bulletin board that keeps my daughter online for hours at a time.
Trolling through hundreds of ideas for something fun to do, to make, to eat. 
I'm on Pinterest, too.  I have a few boards, I have a few pins.  I see what other people pin and I think, "oh I like that", and pin it.  I wonder if I will ever use what I see.

ANYWAY, my daughter found this skirt, 

ANYWAY, my daughter found this skirt, with a tutorial, through pinterest. Unfortunately, we ended up with a short-sleeved shirt so she learned a lot of things that the original tutorial didn't address.
Like, how to put a zipper in, and how to piece the back side of the waistband where it won't show, when you don't have enough material. 

This was one project she wanted to do all by herself.  Which she did by the way, with a little instruction about the zipper. 
It turned out very well.  

And she wore it very well.

I like this business of making old things new again.  It fits right into my "don't buy anything new, unless you really have to", philosophy.

I'm training her up right.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Simple Pleasures

I'm having a hard time thinking of titles lately, maybe I'll just have to start reusing them.  I have some pictures of my Barry Boy that are just too cute not to share.  

This sleeper was given to Zane when he was a baby from my brother.  He gave a toddler sized sleeper that the girls wore until the couldn't fit in it anymore and the buttons fell off.  They loved it.  They loved it because it was bright and colorful and they loved it because it came from Uncle Tim.  I love it because it has a zipper, which are so much easier to deal with than snaps.

I haven't had a baby in my bed for 16 years.  Although, I guess I've had baby pictures in my bed a couple of years ago.  

I love my sweetie baby in my old crib, which was his mama's old crib, which was my dad's new crib.

And.....We can't forget my Zaney Boy.  He loves, loves, loves to be outside, and his Grampa is so good to take him in his big boy coveralls, out to play help in the snow.  

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My Daughters, The Cooks

My girls are learning their way around a kitchen.  I didn't have Lorene and still don't have Lynette have regular kitchen duties, but they both have been willing and able to learn how to read a recipe, and a box, and to make a few simple things, like eggs and grilled cheese sandwiches. Even my SON, could do things like that. It helps  that I'm the kind of mom that doesn't care to jump up every time my kids want something. They have legs, and a brain, and if they are hungry between meal times, they can do something about it themselves. 
So, when they want to make supper, I'm all for it 


Its' more about watching these girls working happily together, than what is for supper. This was simply not the case when they were younger.  It was partly the 4 year age difference and partly because they have such widely different interests. They enjoy each other so much more now, and it is lovely to watch.

I'm not the best cook in the world, but I am able to keep my family from starving.  I'm really an ordinary sort of cook that makes ordinary comfort foods. I like to make things from scratch. It's the way my mother cooked.  I don't remember her teaching us lots of things in the kitchen.  I remember doing a lot of dishes. My sister and I fought so much while doing supper dishes, that we were on our own, a week on, a week off.  We were supposed to sweep the floor and wipe off the stove as part of those duties, but it didn't often get done.  When the dishes were done, we wanted to be OUT OF THERE!!   I know I was baking early since I was in  4-H, When I took Home Ec. In Jr. High, part of our Home Ec. grade was to cook at home.  I learned a lot about cooking made a bunch of different things for mom that particular quarter to get my grade, and then went right back to my "only cooking when I was made to" status.  The older I got the more I helped. I was in charge of the potatoes and gravy for Sunday dinner.  I made jello and cookies and pies.  I helped with the canning in the summer.  I baked mostly for 4-H, but I baked for mom, too. Sometimes I even helped with supper.  In those days we didn't have anything electronic to shut ourselves off from the rest of the family.  We were all together in the three main rooms of "downstairs".  So, I had plenty of opportunity to watch Mom cook, and that helped when it was time for me to be cooking for a husband and family.
It was still hard work though.
I remember early in our marriage a very dear, older friend told me that roast, mashed potatoes and gravy was the easiest meal to make.  I didn't believe her.  I struggled to have all the parts of the meal ready together and on time.  
It wasn't until 15 years later, as I was making roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, buns, and jello, (for about the 20th time that year), that is really is the easiest meal to make.  It's easy because I've done it so often I don't have to think anymore.  I just cook.  
You know, I'm hungry just thinking about it.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Good Ol' Ham and Beans

We had ham the other day.  I bought a couple of half hams when they were on sale at Thanksgiving time.  We like the real thing, not that ham and water product stiff.  A real ham has a bone in. I like a good ham bone.  It gives us a good excuse to have old fashioned ham and beans.  I grew up on ham and beans.  Mom soaked her beans over night and cooked them until they were very soft and the juice was still clear. 

In fact it was one of my favorites.  I wish I knew now what my brothers and sister thought of it.  We didn't always have corn bread. Sometimes we just ate them with plain bread.  I can see right now, my dad fixing his plate of beans.  He buttered his bread, (we kids didn't get to, just goes to show about the DAD), then put his beans over the bread.  For some reason I did it differently.  I mashed my beans first, and then spread them on my unbuttered bread, poked holes in it, and poured bean juice over the top.  Another thing we liked was to put diced raw onion over the top.  I makes my mouth water just thinking about it.  
Now that I think about it, I didn't like corn bread in those days.  In our house, you ate what was set before you, so I had to eat it anyway.  I would spread it with peanut butter and swallow it with lots of milk.  I sure like cornbread with my beans now, I wonder if I would have learned to like it, if I hadn't already known it wouldn't kill me. 
Jim likes beans, too.  Every first Sunday, there was a potluck after the first Sunday meeting.  Jim still talks about how good Anna's beans were.  She cooked them the day before and warmed them up again.  I've asked again and again, if my beans are ever like "Anna's beans".  He says, "no".  I am beginning to wonder if the flavor of the years past makes it impossible to make beans like that anymore. So, I don't ask anymore. I make good beans, he likes them and asks for more.  

  I also have a strange memory about ham bones.  Mom always used to think there was something funny about them, and I never understood the joke.  It has to be an inside joke.  The kind of joke that happens when you're young and silly and enjoying life with friends.  I wonder if it has anything to do with this old movie taken when I was a baby, we lived in a trailer house then, and it shows my folks and company passing around this ham bone, and everyone takes a bite.  They were all laughing.   

Goodness, I'm so much older now that she was then, and I'm still doing silly things to laugh at with my friends.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

He's My Brother

It's been pretty easy babysitting these boys at this stage of their lives.  Zane is an independent player for the most part, and doesn't make messes and get into things he shouldn't just for the fun of it.  
Barry is immobile.  
That's the important part. 

I'm not looking forward to the time when Barry starts to crawl.  The biggest reason is that the easy part of taking care of these boys will be over.  Barry will want to crawl on the tracks where Zane will want to be driving and grabbing the engines Zane will want to use.  

But, until then, I will enjoy this time.  Perhaps it won't be as hard as I think.  After all, it's so sweet to see Zane showing Barry his trains. They will be able to share and play together.


At least for a long time yet. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Lynette's Kittens

I'm sorting my photos, on the computer, I had a scare the other day when the power source went out in the hard drive and I had a bad feeling....what about all those photos that are saved no where else but on the computer.  However, the whole process causes more anxiety than comfort, partly because I don't have time to do it and after a protracted session, I came up for air, grumpy, anxious, and no fun to be around.  I got 2009 sorted. I deleted the bad ones, the doubles, and saved it on two separate flash drives.  

While I was enjoying some flashes of the past, I came  across these cute little pictures that Lynette took way back then. Kittens are just plumb cute, even though we have way too many cats around here. I like these better than the real thing. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Barry-4 months

Four months ago we first met this adorable Barry as a brand new infant.  One, who at a couple hours old was lifting his head off his mother's shoulder.  Now at 4 months, he is reaching and grabbing and watching.  He is trying to sit up in his car seat.  He is laughing now, and loves, loves to be talked to.  He also likes to be held upright, facing out, and walked around.  I get tired of that, he's so heavy.  I put him to sleep in the little umbrella stroller part of the time.  
He weighs 15# 9 oz. and is 24" long, which means he's 50% height, 75% weight, just about opposite of big brother Zane. 

Now, Zane is three.  I am beginning to understand him when he talks on the phone.  He has some of the funniest words.  He eats with a "stork", plays with "balloonins", sleeps with his "kiki", and probably has any number of cute other words, that of course, I can't remember right now, because he isn't here.  And if he was here, I wouldn't be blogging anyway, because he would either wanting me to build a train track for him or play a computer game, neither of which are conducive to blogging.  Of course, if I have Zane I also have Barry, who sobs like I've been sticking pins into him after about 2 minutes of playing by himself, and blogging doesn't work well with that either, since I'm standing up.   

But, they sure are cute, aren't they.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Samoa Cookies

We always need something new to do while on break from school.  Lynette has been wanting to make these cookies for a long time, and we had the time while she was out of school.   She has been enamored lately with a new site called pinterest.  It is a rather neat site, when you join you have the privilege of "pinning" things to your account, like a digital bulletin board.  A very nice way to keep things, without trying to keep track of photos and articles and paper. 

So we found the recipe for make our own. Credit goes here: Samoa Girl Scout Cookies. 
Recipe below.

It is a very easy shortbread-like dough. We used a 2" cutter and a lip-gloss cap to make the cookies.

Ready to bake

Toasted coconut

Ready to melt caramels.

It's a real pain to get the caramel/coconut mixture spread on the cookies.  The hotter it is the easier to spread and the burnier the fingers.

 Dipping didn't work, so we spread the chocolate on the bottom.  I think milk chocolate chips would taste better. 

Melt the chips and decorate the tops. 


 ~ Homemade Samoas

(also known as Caramel de-Lites)
Makes about 3 1/2 to 4 dozen

The cookies involve four steps: 
1. Make the cookie Base
2. Top with Caramel-Coconut mixture
3. Dip bottom of cookies in melted chocolate
4. Drizzle tops with melted chocolate

The Cookie (base):
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
up to 2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350F.

Cream together butter and sugar in a large bowl. Mix in flour, baking powder and salt at a low speed, next, the vanilla and milk, adding in the milk only as needed to make the dough come together without being sticky (you may not need any at all). The dough should come together into a soft, pliable ball. Add in a bit of extra flour if your dough seems sticky.

It's easiest to roll the dough out in 2 or 3 batches (between pieces of wax (or parchment) paper to about 1/4-inch thickness (or a little thinner) using a 1 1/2-inch cookie cutter to make rounds. Place on a parchment lined (or on silicone mat) baking sheet and make a hole in the center. I used the small end of a large round piping tip. Nicole comments that you can use a knife, or the end of a wide straw, to cut a smaller center hole. Repeat until the dough is used up (it's okay to re-roll, this dough is shortbread-like and very forgiving.)

Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes, until bottoms are very lightly golden brown around the edges.

Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, to allow them to firm up slightly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
12-ounces good-quality chewy caramels
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons milk
8 ounces dark or semisweet chocolate (chocolate chips will do)
(If you prefer milk chocolate, by all means use that.)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees (F)

Spread coconut evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden. Watch carefully, especially near the end of toasting time; the coconut toasts very quickly once it begins to become golden.

Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Unwrap the caramels and place in a large microwave-safe bowl with milk and salt. Cook on high for 3-4 minutes, stopping to stir a few times to help the caramel melt. When smooth, fold in toasted coconut with a spatula.

Using the spatula or a small offset spatula, spread topping on cooled cookies, using about 2-3 teaspoons per cookie. Reheat caramel for a few seconds in the microwave if it begins to firm up, to make it soft and spreadable once again.

While topping sets up, melt chocolate in a small bowl. Heat on high in the microwave in 45 second intervals, stirring thoroughly to prevent scorching. (I melted mine stovetop using double boiler method.) Dip the base of each cookie into the chocolate and place on a clean piece of parchment paper (I used silicone baking mats instead). Transfer all remaining chocolate into a piping bag or a ziplock bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle finished cookies with chocolate. (Melt a bit of additional chocolate, if there is not quite enough for each cookie.)

Let chocolate set completely before storing in an airtight container.

Recipe credit: Nicole @ Baking 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A New Year

All of my friends are writing profound and pithy thoughts on the coming new year.  I had the time this year to think a little about the year ahead because we haven't gone anywhere and had much company.  Composing here I am reminded again why I didn't have time to think about the new year in 2011.  I am reminded rather strikingly, actually, since we had a startling and unhappy ending to the old year.

It all started with a lovely plan to meet up with my brother and his family to go skiing during Christmas break.  We met at a nice small sort of ski resort in Salida, Colorado, and prepared to have fun.

Pizza and Cousin time in the Motel.

Instead it turned out to be disappointing and upsetting.  The first day, before noon one of the boys along for the trip hit his head and was acting so strangely, someone took him down to the emergency room, where he was diagnosed with a concussion and had an MRI to make sure nothing serious was wrong.  That evening, one of the moms that was along, felt like she was having problems with her heart and went to the ER, and stayed over night. The next afternoon, as I was staying back at the motel with the rest of the party that didn't go because of injuries, illness and lack of desire, I got a phone call that Nathan (my son) broke his arm.  At first I thought someone was being funny, but we soon realized it wasn't, and also, that this was no fracture.  His arm was broken, just above the wrist.  As we discovered, in an ER at a hospital near a ski slope, patients are taken in according to the seriousness of their injuries, therefore, the one with the potential head and back injury, jumped to the head of the line, and the one with the sprained knee was near the bottom.  We were somewhere near the middle.  The orthopedic surgeon was at the hospital that day, so the surgery was done late afternoon with three pins put in.

Even in ER Nathan is on his phone.

My brother and the people they brought with them, went home that afternoon.  We missed supper because of the surgery. We bought a nice steak supper for Lynette and Nathan, and I think we ate some leftovers in our motel room.  We stayed another night, with Nathan's arm propped on pillows, and plenty of pain medication to help him feel better.

Ready for the night.

So, there you have it folks, the end of last year.  This was the 30th of December.  We drove all the way home on New Year's Eve, stopping once to take the kids over the Royal Gorge, which was another thing, I probably shouldn't have done, since it was a ridiculously large amount of money for 15 minutes of walking over a very high bridge with butterflies the size of bullfrogs in my stomach.  

And one other thing, Jim says, the next time we go skiing, it will be after the first of the year, so if something does happen, it will be in one medical insurance year, not two.

Cheers!!  Whatever last year was like for you, may the next one be better as someone said on facebook, or something like this, and when I went back to quote exactly, it was gone!!, (or I couldn't find it.) 

And if you want to know what pithy means, look it up, is a good source.