Saturday, January 29, 2011

Busy Week to Come

January has been a crazy month.

My uncle passed away suddenly last Sunday & we were awash in sadness at his passing. My aunt will be learning life without her dear husband and struggling to tend to the needs of my Grandma (still in nursing home). If you can remember to pray for MaryLou, please do.

On our home front, the boys have been sick all week with fevers that have now become coughs. Charlie is obsessed with Magic School Bus and has been watching it on a "circuit"...permitted because it is better than him running around & starting a coughing jag. Note: I know all the words to the theme song.
My etsy store is doing well! I sold a pair of mittens this week & last night a leather bag. It sold quickly for $50. Guess how much I paid for it? $1.50. YES, a buck fifty. T man spotted it at the thrift store and I looked it over carefully, wondering why it said $1.50 as is. I suppose a little dirty leather made them thing it was a hopeless bag. A little saddle soap, elbow grease & buffing later-voila! BEAUTIFUL. You can check out my etsy page at: Check under sales and you can see the stellar results.

Need to contact a woman who called me about a cookie order. I completed an order for her last year & she was wonderful to work with.

Finally, I am so excited to cook for Ladies Game Night this Saturday. We have 40 people signed up so far, possible more after tomorrow's sign-up deadline. Per a few requests, I will be making my chicken, mushroom & wild rice soup. Not sure about the other soups yet. Maybe black bean for a vegetarian option and probably chili so we can gussy it up with topping options. Original plan was to make several pies & have hot bread as well. My mind is simplifying some of those details, but it will all be good!! My friends Jessie & Kelly & maybe more are going to be cooking with me & adult conversation will be one of the highlights of the week for me.
The picture I posted was from the last Ladies Night that I cooked for. Our sweets table!

And I hit my goal last night for January-working out 20 days of the month. Woohoo!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Upcycling Joys

Charlie's favorite thing in our kitchen is his big boy chair. We have a small house and his Peg Perego highchair was so big for our table space. In addition, it seemed like he was on his own island away from our table when we would eat dinner every night.

My Aunt Margaret always had a tall chair at her table for her children. This chair was perfect for little ones who wanted to sit at the table yet were still to small for a regular chair. Online searches found similar ones, very well Amish made children's chairs. The price was more than I wanted to pay & that's how our very own child's chair was fashioned....

One afternoon, I spotted a Jenny Lind style high chair. Old, wooden, solid and $8!! T & I hauled it home and got down to business. Below is an example of a similar high chair:

We removed the tray and then the metal hardware (that attached the tray to the arm rests). We sidled the chair up to our kitchen table to check measurements. It was necessary to cut the arm rests back a few inches and trim the bottom of the legs a bit. After we made the changes, it slid up to the table.

Next, we sanded and then painted our chair. After it dried in the sunshine, we brought it in & Charlie has been sitting pretty ever since!

He enjoys being able to climb up all by himself and I love how the chair looks great at our kitchen table. It matches our glossy black spindle chairs perfectly.

As promised, here is the Swiffer cloth idea.

I made my cloths from leftover flannel scraps, but the microfiber cloths from the dollar store would work really well. (You probably wouldn't even need to sew/serge them).
No worries about exact measurements, just about the size of a paper towel. The main thing is that you are able to tuck it into the place on the Swiffer that "catches" the cloth.

The flannel gets better the more it is washed. Great for a dry sweep or a light damp mop. Just toss into your washer when finished.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

The reason that my blogging has slowed a bit is due to the fact that I have been making exercise a priority.

Not a New Year's resolution nor a desire to drop several pounds (although that would be lovely).
I am really enjoying the energy that comes from a regular exercise regime. This endeavor has not been easy with the cold weather as I generally hit the gym around 8:30pm and come home at 10:00ish. Chicago has been especially cold this week and it would be wonderful to sit at home with a mug of hot cider and read a good book.
However, I have been encouraged by scripture as I seek to implement this discipline in my life.
Romans 7:15
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
OK, I am not saying that sipping cider at home is a sin, but laziness is not honoring God or the body that He gave me. And when I do take care of my health, there is the added blessing when I feel less tired, irritable, etc.
Truthfully, I am already a bit fearful of "falling off the wagon". But I have seen spiritual blessing in my life because of my quiet time discipline so I am hoping that my fitness discipline reaps fruit as well. Not overnight, but slowly and steadily.
This week I will be posting a tutorial on making your own Swiffer cloths-so easy and eco-friendly. Using old flannel or dollar store microfiber cloths. In addition, I hope to post a guide on how to turn an old wooden highchair into a cute toddler/child chair for your table. Looks cute & slides up to the table so your little one feels like a big kid.
Oh, I almost forgot!! My etsy store is up & running. Here is the link:
And yes, I did go to the gym tonight!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Baked Oatmeal

We are lovers of breakfast at our home.

Most mornings, the boy's breakfast of choice is waffles, sometimes with maple flavored sausage. My breakfast is usually a bowl of oatmeal, skim milk and a hot cup of coffee. Lately, I have been enjoying Fiber One but learned that eating huge quantities of said cereal is not a wise choice.
Unfortunately, the computer can't send you the wonderful fragrance of the baked oatmeal that just came from the oven. My friend, Ann, is a fantastic cook and she passed the recipe to me a few years ago. I have changed it up a bit to suit our tastes as well as a means of incorporating ingredients that I have on hand.
Last year, I made a huge quantity of homemade apple butter and found that it is an excellent substitute for some of the oil. Applesauce would likely work well, but eliminating all the oil will result in a dense, sponge-like texture.
Tonight I threw in a peeled and chopped D'Anjou pear. We have a bowl full of VERY juicy, delicious pears and I think pears are an excellent complement to the tart cranberries and apples.
1/2 cup apple butter or apple sauce
1/4-1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
3 1/2 cups oatmeal
1 Tbs. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 cups milk
2 large tart apples, peeled, cored, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries, cherries or raisins
1 cup fresh cranberries
Mix all together and place in greased 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until center is set.
*This is a great recipe to freeze after you bake. We just microwave in the morning for a quick breakfast.
For more yummy sweet recipes, there is an excellent blog called:

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Words Cannot Express

A couple lessons to be learned here:

1) Dog grooming is not my thing
2) Do not try to "fade out" your Sheltie's haunches
Josie had not been brushed, especially around her haunches, after her surgery. Mostly because I didn't want any brushing to be tugging at her sutures. As a result, she had several matted spots that I cut out tonight. Then I tried to remedy my trimming. Not a grand idea.
Will post tomorrow...bring on Monday!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Fun Project from Whitney Sews- Tattered Flowers

There is a fantastic series on youtube to which I recently subscribed. Here is a tutorial for a hand sewn project. Really simple, really lovely. She has many video tutorials for sewing projects and even some cooking ideas.

I made 2 of the tattered flowers this afternoon during C's nap and finished them off with some vintage buttons. The taffeta flower is quite frayed; I used a remnant of black & white plaid taffeta that was in my late Grandma Fitzgerald's sewing box. The pink rosette is from a vintage satin chemise that I found for 45 cents. I think I may make several of the pink ones for a Valentine's bunting.

Think I may attach to a small elastic & use to secure a ponytail.

Happy Monday & Thank You to Whitney Sews!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

And.....We Have Pants!

My sister & I adhere to a $10 spending threshold for our kid's Christmas gifts. This year I decided to make pajama pants for my niece Rachel as well as a matching pair for her doll. Never having sewn from a pattern before, I had a lot of trial and error and gained a deep respect for accomplished seamstresses.
Rachel opened her pants on Christmas Eve but a glitch with my new serger meant that her doll's pants would be finished at a later date. Tonight I finished them and they are pretty adorable. The frosted donut fabric is a soft flannel and the lavender ribbon is grosgrain. Rachel's pants have a cuff that is a pink polka dot flannel.
My hats off to the women who sew with ease and confidence. I am getting there, slowly but surely.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Food Favorite

So I have succumbed to the Greek yogurt craze.

Yes, it lives up to the hype & then some. Fage, the brand pictured above, is particularly good: creamy, VERY thick, and rich. The fat free is the only type I have ever and it is excellent. Tomorrow I am making a trip to Trader Joe's since their own Greek yogurt is rumored to be as good as Fage.

My favorite way to enjoy this treat is with a small spoonful of homemade bing cherry jam. The sweet jam offsets the tangy of the yogurt.

Here are the stats on (1 cup of) Fage (taken from the back of my container):

Fat: 0 g
Sat. Fat: 0g
Trans Fat: 0g
Calories: 120
Carbs: 9g
Sugars: 9g
Protein: 20g!!!!

The only downside is the significant cost in comparison to regular yogurt. Crossing my fingers that Costco sells a bulk-sized container.

We rang in 2011 with a group of friends. Looking forward to all the ways that we will be awash in wonder, beauty and love this year. For my praying friends, remember my Grandma. She is not doing very well and is currently in ICU. My mom & Aunt Betty traveled to see her today.

Coming etsy store!!