Friday, December 27, 2013

Cookie time made simple!

Its that time of year again! Sugar Cookies!! Well I decided to make my own frosting. If you haven't realized by now I am all about doing things myself. Making food items yourself, from scratch, is far healthier then anything you might get at the store that's not found in the health food section or labeled organic (and even then sometimes I am left scratching my head.) Well homemade butter-cream frosting is simple delicious and downright decadent! (I feel downright dumb for not knowing this BEFORE.) I gave myself a stomach ache from licking the spoon (and bowl)! The amount I made for roughly $3.00 if the equivalent of at least 4 of the regular cake frosting cans, that are normally $2.99 each, and that's if they are not on sale! And oh my golly-goodness does it taste AWESOME! I am a self proclaimed sugar-holic. Its an addiction. I cant help it! This frosting is destined for sugar cookies, but can be used on anything. I am planning on making banana muffins this week and will be using some to top them. So lets take a look at the various ingredients between homemade and the store bought canister of  frosting. (This is not a direct one to one comparison; but gives you the same idea of what is actually hiding in that innocent looking can of frosting at the store.)

Homemade Butter-Cream Frosting:
Powdered sugar:
    Sugar: Sweetener, derived from sugar cane or sugar beets.
    Cornstarch: Starch ground from the heart of corn kernel.
Butter (Cream (milk)): Made from fatty part of Cow Squeezing's.....LOL
Heavy Whipping Cream: Cow Squeezing's
Vanilla: Comes from the seedpod of a specific orchid plant

Store-bought Frosting in a can: Cream Cheese Verity
Sugar: Refined from sugar cane or sugar beets, used as a sweetener.
Partially Hydrogenated soybean oil: Chemically converted for better shelf life, to add stability to fatty acids.
Partially hydrogenated Cottonseed oil: Chemically converted for better shelf life, to add stability to fatty acids.
High Maltose Corn Syrup: Similar to high fructose corn syrup,  typically created from genetically modified corn. (note the big one here GMO!!! EEK!)
Water: The elixir of life (LOL)
Cornstarch: Starch ground from the heart of the corn kernel. Used as a thickening agent for most of us home cooks.
2% or less of:
Distilled monoglycerides: Binder for ingredients that don't blend easily.
Natural and Artificial Flavor: Yeh when you figure this one out let me know!
Yellow #5 and 6: Artificial coloring agent (AVOID)
Other color added: The label was not specific enough for me to discern the "other" colors.
Polysorbate 60: Emulsifier, stabilizer, and thickening agent......
Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate: sugar replacement, fat replacement, dough conditioner
Sodium acid Pyrophosphate: Creates leavening used for baking (such as baking powder), edible phosphoric acid.
Citric Acid: Vitamin C, found in citrus fruits
Potassium Sorbate: antimicrobial properties, increases shelf life, preservative
Sodium Benzonate: Heavily used in sodas, preservative.

I want to seriously vomit now. The simplicity of homemade frosting is staggering! Why staggering you ask? Its because as a society we have moved away from what is truly simple. Thinking that pre-made is more convenient and better, when in actuality its just making us fat and lazy. It took me maybe all of 10 minutes to measure the ingredients and put it in my blender and make this delicious frosting. I pre-made it the day before my daughter and her friend frosted cookies that way all I had to do was let it soften (cause I will admit it stiffens up, but a few seconds in the microwave, stir and it's just as perfect as it was when I made it the day before.) And oh the flavor was just so wonderful and light! Not heavy like the butter cream you get on cakes at the store. The original recipe I found here. But after tasting it, it was a bit thick so I tweaked it to suit my tastes. I don't like my frosting to heavy. So here is my version of the frosting:

Homemade Butter-Cream Frosting:
3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter (grass fed butter like Kerry Gold is one of the best! Softened)
2 tsp Vanilla Extract (use real vanilla not imitation)
2-4 Tbsp Heavy whipping cream

Put in standing mixer (if you have one) and whip till frothy. You can add more whipping cream, or less, to meed your desired consistency.
*Once you frost your cookies, put them in the refrigerator for a few minutes to allow the frosting to set up, that way when you put them in a plastic container they wont stick together!

Seriously it is that EASY! And it doesn't have ANY of the garbage of the store bought kind. We may save money in the beginning by buying these pre-made products but we end up paying for it, many times over, in the long run, but fighting obesity, diabetes, and many other medical ailments. I will take the simplicity over the complications any day!

Don't laugh, these were frosted by two 4 year old's :-) I think they did great!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Something to try

So I am always up for providing opinions and adding my thoughts to this and that. A friend over on Facebook suggested I head over and get involved with this website  I was like OK, sure why not see what its all off i went, (not really since it was via computer) and checked out the sight. Turns out its a survey and opinion site. Well I have signed up with those before and wasn't entirely sure I wanted to try another. I get tired filling out prelim surveys that then tell you you don't qualify for the survey that the site just sent you. Sometimes taking 20 minutes at a time, which when you don't qualify for the actual survey is allot of wasted time, with noting in return. So as i am checking out this site, I come to find its not like the other survey sites. They actually set up campaigns where they send product out to be tested! I just filled out the needed info and then they send you emails about various campaigns that is most likely to fit with you. i just got the kit for my first campaign and i am really happy with it! We got Cottonelle flushed wipes!! I have a 4 year old and toilet paper doesn't always cut it for various reasons, so having wet wipes on hand is always a good thing. We typically get baby wipes from Costco, but you cant flush them and living in a house with 60+ year old pipes, its not a risk we wanna take. So far we like them, and the website is set up and easy to navigate. So check out the site and see if its something that fits with you. So far I don't have any complaints, and believe me, I would tell you if I did!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Family traditions.......

Since my daughter was born I have looked for ways that our family could make and start our own traditions. One of the things I have started doing is making a christmas ornament each year with my daughters age on it. Last years ornament has a 3 on it (in red glitter) and this years has a 4 in (purple glitter). The ornaments are simple clear balls, and i write my daughters christmas list on a narrow piece of paper, roll it up and put it in the ornament. Eventually, when she is grown and has her own kids, she can use the same ornaments and do the same with her own kids christmas wish lists. Its not some grand huge thing, but its something small and fun, and we can go back and read over her lists one day.I will keep making an ornament each year till shes 18ish or so. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Comparing my Crackers!

So my last post had to do with ingredients in a pretty basic item: Pie crust, so this is a continuation on that theme except with two almost identical items. I went grocery shopping yesterday and I got two boxes of crackers. Same brand and maker, same price. I weighed out a serving from each and its pretty spot on at 1oz. Now the thing that gets me is that the basic ingredient list for both the cracker should have been nearly the same, One had brown rice and the other didn't. so here are two images, one from each box of crackers. The brown rice crackers are really yummy, so yummy in fact I just finished off the box. The other box is decent; the flavor so so.
Box A

Box B 
Can anyone see the difference in these lists? I am quite happy that they actually used a spice as a colorant in both of these crackers, but seriously.....4 additional synthetic colorants....... (in box b) yeh my head hurts thinking about it. I also wonder what some of those "flavor enhancers" are. I mean the first box was damn tasty without having the additional crap the second box has.I know I wont be buying the box B after this and will be sticking with the first one. Same brand, same maker, huge difference! Now lets examine those MYSTERIOUS ingredients.

Hydolyzed Corn protein: The closest information I could find is Hydolyzed Corn Gluten that has applications from human and animal food consumption to being used as an herbicide! If anyone finds more information specifically on Hydolyzed corn protein, please post a link in the comments. Much appreciated!
Disodium Inosinate: "The disodium salt of inosinic acid that is used to enhance flavor, usually in potato chips. It is found in pigs and fish."
Disodium Guantlate: "If a food contains disodium guanylate, it most likely contains MSG in some amount, even if monosodium glutamate is not listed on the label." Well This is interesting!! I learned something new!
Red 40: Synthetic dye derived from petroleum. (no thanks folks!)
Yellow 5Coloring agent (aka tetrazine and E102) banned in some European countries. May cause allergic reactions
Blue 1: A synthetic dye derived from Coal Tar (ummm....I used a medical gel from coal tar on my eczema.....but something from it in my food.....EWWW)
Maltodextrin: Used as a thickener or filler. They use it to bulk foods up without adding any nutritional value... (in other words, avoid)
Malic Acid: a type of acid found in many food, most notably unripe fruit. "this acid is produced in the human body as part of the citric acid cycle." (ever had a war head candy?? This is the stuff that gives you that raw feeling your tongue gets when you eat super sour things. I had this reaction while eating the crackers this was included in. my mouth felt raw.)

Yes I bought the crackers so I am eating them. I wont throw my money away (per say) but I also wont be purchasing them again. Box B is on my banned list. Even though I realize I am only one person, I just hope people who take the time to read my blog will take a deeper look at what they are putting into their grocery carts. Before I had my daughter I didn't give a rats patooty. But now that I have a child, and want to have another one someday, I am really examining things to make better choices and to keep my family healthy. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Back to.....the basics.....

Honestly I am all for shortcuts. But for some reason I never find them! I will do something the hardest way possible then find the shortcut AFTER I figure it out. This may seem like it becomes daunting but for me it rarely does. Its just my preference for the way I do things, and honestly after a lifetime of working things out the hard way, why change? Yes, I realize I am weird. I will be the first to admit it. So onward and upward to the reason for this post. A friend of mine recently pinned this great little idea on Pintrest. Pie cookies! They looked so cute and yummy! I was drooling......except the recipe called for pre-made pie crusts. Being ever resourceful, I went looking for a pie crust recipe that used ingredients I already had on hand. I found one and made them and they were yummy!!!! I ate the VAST MAJORITY of them.  Now, after I had eaten them, I wanted to know what was in them.....seriously.....I wrote down all the ingredients in the homemade pie crust I made and that of the recommended store bought variety......Holy burnt toast batman! I could pronounce the names of these........things (thank you college!) but what they actually were was beyond me. So I made a list (checken it twice gonna find out which is naughty or nice) and low and behold......there's allot of ingredients getting coal from me this year!

So here is the run down of ingredients in the store bought pie crust and the home made:
Store Bought pre-made crust:
Enriched flour bleached (wheat flour, niacin, ferrous sulfate, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), partially hydrogenated lard (with BHA & BHT to protect favor), wheat startch, water. Contains less then 2% of salt, rice flour, xanthan gum, potassium sorbate, sodium propionate, citric acid, yellow #5, and red 40

Homemade crust: (consisted of flour, butter and water)
All purpose flour: Bleached wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid
Tillamook Salted Butter: Cream (milk), salt

19 ingredients (store bought) vs.9 ingredients (homemade)

Now I can see you scratching your heads. So let me break down what some of these ingredients are (the non obvious ones):

Thiamin Mononitrate - Synthetic Vitamin B1
Riboflavin - Vitamin B2
Folic Acid - A "B" Vitamin
Ferrous sulfate - Iron supplement
BHA -Butylated hydroxyanisole:  Man made compound used to prevent fats and oils from going rancid.
BHT - Butylated hydroxytoluene: Man made compound used to prevent fats and oils from going rancid
Potassium Sorbate - Potassium salt derived from scorbic acid. Scorbic acid: unsaturated fatty acid. Useful in inhibiting most common microbes that cause spoilage.
Partially hydrogenated Lard - Hydrogen infused lard, having a whipped consistency.
Sodium Propionate - A compound that is naturally produced in the body when certain fatty and amino acids are broken down. Synthesized sodium propinate  used as a preservative in the food industry.
yellow #5  - Coloring agent (aka tetrazine and E102) banned in some European countries. May cause allergic reactions
Red 40 - Synthetically derived from petroleum. (though they say no petroleum is found in the final product)
Reduced ironDe-oxified ironoxide(rust) 
Malted barley flour - Can replace some of the wheat flour; provides a nutty flavor.
Salt - Used to enhance flavor
Xanthan Gum - acts as a natural stabilizer or thickener (I see my sister use this allot, as my niece has Celiac disease)
Rice Flour - More easily digested, used to replace some or all wheat flour
Citric Acid - Vitamin C
Wheat Starch - Functions as a thickener.
Water - No need to go over this one!
Bleached wheat flour - Ground wheat
Cream (milk) - High butterfat later skimmed off the top of milk.

So that is all the ingredients. Each one is linked up so you can read more about them. I sat and looked at all of this information (yes I took notes, I wanted to be through) and I COULD NOT UNDERSTAND why a PIE CRUST needed yellow #5 and Red 40!! I mean my home made crust had a gorgeous yellow color.....Do you really need the synthetics?? Simply put? NOT ON YOUR LIFE!

The point of this post? Make it yourself from start to finish. Shortcuts are great, but not when you get a load of crap with them. I would just as well take the long way round and come out crap free.

And if you are wondering the jam filling is also homemade (fruit, sugar (reduced amount) and pectin)!!

Here is the pie crust recipe: (This is not my own, and I tried to find the link but I couldn't!)
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups butter chilled
1/2 cup ice cold water

In standing mixer cube in the butter till it has a crumbly consistency (Honestly, I left it along for about 10 minutes then came back and mixed it some more, and it came together wonderfully!) Dump water in and continue to mix till it all comes together. Remove from mixer and form a ball and smash it a bit so it looks like a wheel of cheese. Wrap in wax paper or saran wrap (tuck all edges under) and place in refrigerator for an hour. After an hour pull out, divide and roll to desired thickness. These circles were about 1/8 inch thick. I did use egg white around the rims to make the edges stick together better (I had some burp all over the baking sheet when I cooked them.) Use this for a regular sized pie or as these pie cookies. It had a wonderfully buttery taste and flaky texture. All that I look for in a pie crust and WITHOUT THE CRAP!

I baked them at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes (just depends on you oven. You have to watch them, LOL)

UPDATE: I am eventually going to try and get my pie crust recipe down to 2 ingredients! I am going to try my hand at milling my own flour and making my own butter!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Basic Pasta Sauce

I made pasta sauce for the first time this year. The tomatoes i used are from last year so they have been in the freezer since then. These are not your standard rhoma tomatoes. In fact I don't even remember which kind we planted! Anyways, since I froze and have thawed the tomatoes they have released allot of the liquid. I put a hole in the bottom of the bags, small holes, and let the water drain off, then I toss them in a colander and drained even more water off. After that I put them through the food processor to break down the skins. YES! I use the skins in my sauce. Why waste all that good stuff by removing the skins?? Now they are ready for my 6qt sauce pan and be made into sauce. The pan was about half full of sauce and gave me about 5 pints of finished sauce. Dice up one whole bell pepper minus the seeds and stems, about 5 cloves of garlic pressed, and one whole onion (I used the normal yellow onion in one bath and a purple in another. in the end it doesnt matter) and about 3tbsp Italian seasoning, and 2Tbsp apple cider vinegar. Let it cook on the stove to simmer and boil down for a 2 hours. I added some of the liquid I drained off back to the pot. You don't want it to be too thick. But you don't want to make a soup either. LOL. Once it has reached a consistency you like then can them as per normal canning instructions. This is a total off the cuff recipe that has yielded delicious results. I don't think you can make any mistakes with this one. I spent allot of time looking over various pasta sauce recipes and I didn't find any I liked and allot of them called for red wine. Well i don't drink wine (I know, that's blasphemy for some of you) and I didn't want to have to buy and open a bottle use 1/2 of it then toss the rest down the drain. It would be a waste. So this is what I came up with. One of the recipes I did look at was from Americas Test Kitchen (One of my fave shows and one of my fave cook books is by them) added the apple cider vinegar to help balance out the acidity of the tomatoes. No argument from me. It all turned out great! I will make a list of what I added to make it more reader friendly.

Mamma Seiders Basic Pasta Sauce

Italian Seasoning spice mix
1 large green bell pepper
1 medium sized yellow onion
3-5 cloves garlic
Slice up tomato's removing any blemished spots and stems; freeze them. this helps them release moisture.
Thaw and drain off excess liquid. reserve this for later
Pace tomato's in food processor and liquefy them.
Once you have pureed your tomato's pour them into your pot on medium heat.
Cut and removed seeds and stem of bell pepper. dice and toss into pot.
Remove peel and ends of onions, dice and toss in pot
Add Italian seasoning to your taste. I used 3 tablespoons.
Mix in 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar.
Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 2 hours stirring occasionally so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan. if your sauce has gotten to thick add some of that reserve liquid to thin it out.
Once your sauce has the flavor and consistency you like follow normal water-bath canning directions. and TA-Da! Delicious homemade pasta sauce!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Something Found

Holy smokes!! I haven't been on here in ages! Shame on me! We have been doing lots of stuff around here from our elk hunting trip to roasting sugar pumpkins and Halloween! The last few weeks have been jam packed with all kinds of fun. I have also started my Christmas gifts and one of them is HUGE this year. But anyways onto the post!

So we had our elk hunting trip this year and 7 of us went. 6 adults and one child. It was allot of fun and the weather was at its absolute finest! There have been years when we have gone that it was freezing cold, raining and snowy. This year we had NONE of that. Not till the very last day and that was just fine by us. We went on walks and played Deer poop Bingo. Yes. That is a game I made for us to do while we were out and about. It was actually allot of fun, and my 4yr old daughter had a blast looking for things on the card. Since she cant read or spell yet, each item was a picture. Totally kid friendly. With a dry erase crayon in hand we did our best to check things off the card (this is also not part of the reason for the post, LOL.)
We did allot of walking on this trip.

Kept us from going stir crazy. And while we walked we had a bag with us and we picked up trash as we went. We all just marveled at the absolute carelessness of people. I understand that this land is way out there, where very few people venture except during certain times of the year, but common people! Pick up your trash! We had bags for the things that we were taking back down the mountain with us, and those items, plastic bottles, tin cans and what not were recycled. So why do people insist on just chucking stuff out their truck windows, or drop it on the ground as they walk?? Why? You packed it in, Pack it out! Anyways, we always took a bag with us on our walks (which generally consisted of us 4 ladies and the dog as our chaperon) and we made it a bit of a game to see who could spot trash as we walked. At one point we stopped at a pond up there

Evidence of goldfish in the pond.

(someone had put goldfish in it, we can only speculate as to why) and we found a bunch of .22 bullet casings from someone who was shooting their pistol/rifle for the fun of it. Again, not sure why they didn't police their brass, but it was a great find for me! So instead of tossing the brass into the bag with the other things we had collected, I pocketed them and brought them back to camp, and brought them home. Because sometimes someones trash is someone else's treasure. this is the case for me! We collected 32 casings and they will all be used! I will be placing items I have made with them up for sale in my shop. Finding and reusing things is actually quite fun. you just have to keep your eyes open! It's also been my thing to teach my daughter to leave places better then when we find them. And so far it has been a good lesson to follow, and because we all reinforce this lesson with her, its become and everyday thing.

This is the first pair I made using cream and pastel pink seed beads with feathers. I love how they turned out!!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The value of Farm Stands

Thursday on our way to a play date with a woman who I haven't seen since high School (which by the way was a super fun 3.5 hours of play for our kids and catching up for her and I.) I popped by a family friends farm stand to pick up some yummy's for the kids to enjoy while we were at the park. I spent $10 and this is what I got.
There were originally 8 peaches, but we ate some at our play date.

Now for those of you who do your produce shopping at the grocery store (much like we do in the winter months) Sit down and calculate how much of your shopping receipt is produce......Ours is roughly 30% on average. Since I decided to get healthier back in January, our produce amount has doubled, going from 15% to 30%. When the summer comes around, and to cut costs, we hit the Horse Creek Farm's "fruit shack." I do allot of canning and preserving and this year I ended up picking 20lbs of strawberries, and 70lbs of peaches for jam making. (I admit I was ambitious on the peaches, and they are in my freezer waiting on me to get crack-en!)

Here is the breakdown:
                                                 Apples:           Zucchini:            Onions           Corn              Peaches
Farm stand price                       .69 Lb           $0.20 each          $0.69lb            4/$1              $0.95lb
Grocery store price                  $1.29lb           $0.99 each          $0.88lb            2/$1             $1.49lb

( I had to make the font smaller so it would fit on here *eyeball roll*)

I am pretty sure I have the farm stand prices correct and I know I do on the grocery store prices. The stores have huge overhead costs they have to cover, so everything is so much more expensive. Have you noticed that the healthier something is the more expensive it is? And the crappier something is the cheaper it is? Take a little time, when you can, and go to the store and look at this discrepancy. Its HUGE. Farm stands dont have that overhead and so they are able to SAVE you money, while you SUPPORT your local farmers and economy!

The other thing we have done, despite living in town, is have a small garden with vegetables that we use alot.  Like tomato's, peppers, squash and cucumbers. My husband also TRIES to grow corn. I say TRY because we have never actually gotten any corn off the stalks. This year he may get lucky and actually get a few cobs. LOL.(Here's hoping) (I also have had strawberries and green beans in my front flower beds, I call it veggie-scaping!) I guess the point I am trying to make is support local farmers. With urban sprawl taking up much needed farm land, farmers are having a harder and harder time trying to make a living. FARMERS FEED AMERICA (and most likely the majority of the world.) Without them we would literally be up shit creek without a paddle; and that's somewhere I DON'T want to be. According to some reports we loose 2 acres of farmland every MINUTE to urban sprawl.

The other issue that we are having is that people (who have ZERO idea about what it takes to farm) are dictating what a farmer can use on their fields for pest and weed management. In Oregon, farmers were allowed to field burn. It took place during designated times of the year and it was, at least from all that I have seen and herd, the most effective way to eliminate weeds and pests from crop fields. Because some stuffed shirt somewhere decided it was "environmentally bad and detrimental to our health" it has now become illegal, or you have to jump through a thousand hoops to even attempt it. There are certain times of the year that I look forward to and field burning season was one of them. I love the smell!! Now, farmers are forced to rely on chemicals to do the same job that the field burning did. Quite frankly....I want the field burning back! I am no expert and I don't know everything, but I listen and learn, and what I am learning isn't very pretty.

Sorry if this post is a bit choppy. My thoughts come in spurts so I write what comes to me. It may not flow prettily, but it works!

Added Aug 19, 2013
This is one of my cats, and this is PROOF that the produce you get from a farm stand is far superior (at least in my mind) How many cats would do this otherwise?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Linn County Fair 2013

Over the last 6 years or so I have gotten to the point that I like entering competitions!! Its so much fun to see your things on display for everyone to see and to see a ribbon sticker on your name tag! Oh yeah, its a bit of a rush, OK at least it is for me. This year I entered 8 photographs and I came away with 6 ribbons!!! How awesome is that?? 5 FIRST place and 1 third place. I was beyond happy! One of the first place entries was for the image that best represented Linn County. Linn county is the self proclaimed "grass seed capitol of the world." Lets not go into detail on the amount of grass seed that is produced. Its ALLOT! I don't think there was grass seed in the field behind the subject, it could have been wheat......or annual rye grass....ummm yeah....not sure though I am sure my husband could tell me. LOL So here are the pictures that took ribbons, in no particular order (OK the Linn county one is first) (just ignore my watermarks)

First place Linn County class

First place Agriculture class

First place in Animals/Pets

See that baby? That's one I did. Third place in People/Portraits.

First place in People/Portraits

Hard to see this one but its a sunset image I took when I was at Paulina Lake this summer with my family.
First place in Sunrise/Sunsets

The other things that i love to enter into the fair are artistic jewelry pieces. I had 6 entries and 4 of them too first place. Which was also very exciting for me!! Woo Hoo! I snapped a few quick pics, but the items that people entered were so poorly displayed.....

Anyways, that marks the close of the Linn county fair for me! Next up state fair. I have 5 jewelry exhibits and 3 photographs I am entering. This should be fun!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Dirty Dash 2013!!

Another year another dirty dash completed! We had a blast, again, and my 14yr old niece was able to come and slop in the mud with me and my girl Kelly. She thought it was awesome. Of course my daughter did the piglet run, as did Kelly's girl. We had mud in places you couldn't even begin to imagine. The one thing we love about these kinds of "races" is that there is no timer. You push yourself at your own pace and have fun!
Kelly and I decided to have our shirts printed for us and the company that did it is local to Albany Oregon and they are called NoDinx (a dink is apparently a volleyball term.) They did a wonderful job and I highly recommend them for your screen printing needs. What we had done was not actually screen printing, that would have cost more, but a process called cad cutting and was significantly cheaper. We loved the end result. You cant see the back of out shirts but they all have a 31 in honor of both Kelly and I turning 31 later this year. We hand painted the girls "I love mud" shirts. You cant see it in the pictures, but the hearts are glittered in silver :-)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Vacation or Stay-Cation?

My family and I went and did our vacation (or is it a stay cation??) from June 5-10th. We went to a "local" (meaning we stayed in state) lake and camped for 5 nights and 6 days. My husbands family has actually been visiting this area each year for the last 30 years. We had a wonderful time and I suggest a visit to these lakes for camping to anyone who enjoys the great outdoors. Paulina Lake and East lake are located in Newberry Volcanic National Monument outside of La Pine Oregon. So gorgeous!! We fished at both lakes and came away happy with the amount of fish we got, which my husband smoked and is oh so delish!!

The one day we had clouds the sunset was GORGEOUS!! Couldn't have asked for better!

You can hike all the way around Paulina lake. East lake doesn't have a route, which is a bummer, but we walked a small part of the route (while picking up other peoples trash, DONT get me started on the litter bugs. We made it a game for our 4 yr old and she was excited to leave the trail better then when we found it)  and enjoyed it!

For some reason Paulina Lake is always an aqua blue color to me (That's Paulina Peak in the background)
And East lake (below) is always a dark blue or green color. in all the years we have been going to these lakes, it never has changed. 

 Some more cloud formations which i thought looked really cool!

Both lakes have lodges where you can rent cabins, boats, canoes, and fishing poles (if you don't already own them.) We have rented the cabins before, while my daughter was young and they are pretty nice. Paulina lake is open almost year round, and in the winter they offer snowmobiles for you to get to the cabins you rent. We have done that one time for Christmas. I was scared spit-less we were gonna wreck, but my daughter had a blast. She loves to ride anything fast. LOL. So I highly recommend visiting these two lakes whether for the day or for an extended stay!

Found this lil guy while walking the lake beach.

The water wasn't the warmest but it didn't stop my daughter. If you are wondering as to the green stuff in the lake there was "lake weed" and the clouds of green swirly stuff was POLLEN!! From the trees. It was strange and cool to see at the same time. Didn't faze my girl at all.

All in all I highly recommend a trip to the great out doors! Get back to nature and enjoy some crisp clean air!

Friday, May 10, 2013

The women we love

Mothers Day is in two days. I wont get to see my mamma as shes visiting my sister in California. I miss her. It sucks not being able to see her and it sucks that I have to remind my daughter that grandma isn't at her own house. She gets bummed. This mothers day is bitter sweet. We lost my aunt last night. OK we didn't loose her at all, we know exactly where she is at, sipping sangria's with my grandparents on a beach made of clouds. But her corporeal self is no longer part of this plane of existence  She was loved and will be missed. Cancer is a bitch. A nasty unforgiving hormonal bitch that needs to be slapped down into submission. So hug your mamma, aunt, sister, cousin, niece tight to you. Life is a fickle creature, and ends far to soon. Spread love not hate and may you be happy!

This was so true when I was younger. My mom and I would have massive fights about once every three months or so. I am bipolar and when I was a teenager it was hard. We had to have a blow up so we could move on, get it all out, and we were better for it. My mom helped me through so much.

Now that I have my own child. This is so flippen true!!

Yes it is. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Swiffer pad up-cycle 2!

So yesterday I posted the first tutorial for these. Well this morning I got to work and made the second one. Its edges are "finished" and looks nicer then my "quick and dirty" one from yesterday. I'm not picky myself but I know some people are :-)

This time I used the blue washcloth as it was larger and since I am turning it inside out I wanted to have enough fabric for this purpose.

Make sure to read the first tutorial as I skip a few sets in this one, cause why be redundant??

1.) Trim off the surged edge of the washcloth. Because we will be turning it, this will cut some of the bulk off the edge and it will be easier to get under your presser foot.

2.) Fold in half and cut along fold (you need to do it for this one.)

3.) Cut batting slightly smaller then the size of your washcloth. This will also reduce bulkiness when you turn it right side out.

4.) Measure and cut your elastic (same way as in the tutorial I Previously posted.)

5.) Layer your pad in this order:

Fold back the top two layers and line up your elastic and then pin in place.

6.) Off to the sewing machine! Sew around three of the edges. leaving one of the short sides open so you can turn this right side out!

7.) Reach your hand in, grasp the other edge and turn that bad boy right sides out!

8.) So you still have that open edge? Yup! Fold IN the edge and pin in place. (this is the ugly part of this pad.) you can go two ways at this point. You can hand stitch it using that really great invisible closing stitch (this will get rid of the "ugliness" factor) or use your machine. I went ahead and just top stitched it with my sewing machine.

9.) Trim any loose pieces of thread and TADA!! all done! The difference between this one and the one I posted yesterday is that it has finished edges. The one from yesterday has raw edges. So have fun making these! I love things that are functional, useful and can save me money. No more having to spend $10 a box on swiffer pads! When I mop I go through at least 2-3 pads each time, and there only one sided! Now I have two double sided pads! SAWEET!