Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Crochet Bear

I made this little crochet bear a few weeks ago.  I started off with a pattern, then didn't like how it was turning out and redid it how I wanted. So here is a new pattern!


chain 2
1st Rnd: 6 sc in 2nd chain from hook. Join with slip st in 1st sc
2nd Rnd: ch 1, 2 sc in same stitch as chain, (2 sc in next sc) 5 times. Sl st into 1st sc (12 sc)
3rd Rnd: ch 1, 2 sc in same stitch as chain, 1 sc in next sc, (2 sc in next sc, 1 sc in next sc) 5 times. Sl st in    1st sc (18 sc)
4th Rnd: ch 1, 2 sc in same stitch as chain, 1 sc in next 2 sc, (2 sc in next sc, 1 sc in next 2 sc) 5 times. Sl st in 1st sc. (24sc)
5th Rnd: ch 1, 1 sc in each stitch to end, sl st in 1st sc.
6th Rnd: ch 1, 2 sc in same stitch as chain, 1 sc in next 3 sc, (2 sc in next sc, 1 sc in next 3 sc) 5 times. Sl st in 1st sc. (30sc)
7th - 12th Rnd: ch 1, 1 sc in each stitch to end, sl st in first sc. (30 sc)
13th Rnd: ch 1, (sc2tog, 1 sc in next 2 sc) 6 times. Sl st in 1st sc (24 sc)
14th Rnd: ch 1, 1 sc in each stitch to end, sl st in first sc. (24 sc)
15th Rnd: ch 1, (sc2tog, 1 sc in next 2 sc) 6 times. Sl st in 1st sc. (18 sc)
16th Rnd: ch 1, 1 sc in each stitch to end, sl st in 1st sc. (18 sc)
17th Rnd: ch 1, (sc2tog, 1 sc in next sc) repeat 6 times. Sl st in 1st sc.
Fasten off and stuff body. Don't close the neck opening!

chain 2
1st Rnd: 6 sc in second chain from hook. Join with a sl st in first sc.
2nd Rnd: 2 sc in each sc (12 sc)
3rd Rnd: ch 1, 2 sc in same stitch as chain, 1 sc in next 3 sc, (2 sc in next sc, 1 sc in next 3 sc) 2 times. Sl st in 1st sc. (15 sc)
4th Rnd: ch 1, 2 sc in same stitch as chain, 1 sc in next 4 sc, (2 sc in next sc, 1 sc in next 4 sc) 2 times. Sl st in 1st sc. (18 sc)
5th Rnd: ch 1, 2 sc in same stitch as chain, 1 sc in next 5 sc, (2 sc in next sc, 1 sc in next 5 sc) 2 times. Sl st in 1st sc, (21 sc)
6th Rnd: ch 1, 2 sc in same stitch as chain,1 sc in next 6 sc, (2 sc in next sc, 1 sc in next 6 sc) 2 times. Sl st in 1st sc. (24 sc)
7th - 8th Rnd: ch 1, 1 sc in each stitch to end, sl st in 1st sc. (24 sc)
9th Rnd: ch 1, 2 sc in same stitch as chain, 1 sc in next 3 sc, (sc in next sc, 1 sc in next 3 sc) 5 times. Sl st in 1st sc (30 sc)
10th - 11th Rnd: ch 1, 1 sc in each stitch to end, sl st in first sc.
12th Rnd: ch 1, (sc2tog, 1 sc in next 4 sc) 4 times. Sl st into 1st sc.
13th Rnd: ch 1, (sc2tog, 1 sc in next 3 sc) 4 times. Sl st in 1st sc.
14th Rnd: ch 1, (sc2tog, 1 sc in next 2 sc) 4 times. Sl st in 1st sc.
15th Rnd: ch 1, (sc2tog, 1 sc in next sc) 4 times. Sl st in 1st sc.
Stuff the head before its too late!
16th Rnd: ch 1, (sc 2 tog) 4 times. Sl st in 1st sc.
Fasten off and close hole in the back of head.
Attach to body.

ch 2
1st Rnd: 6 sc in 2nd chain from hook. Join with a slip st in 1st sc.
2nd Rnd: ch 1, sc in same stitch as chain, (2 sc in next sc) 4 times. Sl st into next sc.
Fasten off.
Sew onto head.

ch 6
1st Rnd: 1 sc in 2nd chain from hook. 1 sc in next 3 ch. Working other side of foundation chain, work 2 sc in next sc, 1 sc in next 3 sc. Sl st in 1st sc.
2nd Rnd: ch 1, 1 sc in same stitch as chain, 1 sc in next 5 sc, 3 sc in next sc, 1 sc in next 5 sc, sl st in 1st sc.
3rd Rnd: ch 1, 1 sc in each stitch to end, sl st in 1st sc.
4th Rnd: ch 1, 1 sc in next 4 sc, (sc2tog) 4 times, 1 sc in next 4 sc. Sl st in 1st sc,
5th - 7th Rnd: Without joining at the end of each round, work in a spiral for 3 rounds.
8th Rnd: 1 sc in next 2 sc, sc2tog, 1 sc in next 4 sc, sc 2 tog, 1 sc in next 2 sc.
9th-12th Rnd: work 4 rounds without shaping.
Fasten off and stuff.
Attach legs to the base of body.

ch 2
1st Rnd: 6 sc in 2nd chain from hook. Join with sl st in 1st sc.
2nd Rnd: ch 1, 2 sc in same stitch as chain, (2sc in next sc) 5 times. Sl st in 1st sc. (12 sc)
3rd- 4th Rnd: without jaining at the end of each round, work in a spiral for 2 rounds.
5th Rnd: (sc2 tog, 1 sc in next 4 sc) 2 times.
6th- 7th Rnd: work 2 rounds without shaping
8th Rnd: (sc 2 tog, 1 sc innext 3 sc) 2 times.
9th- 12th Rnd: work 4 rounds without shaping.
Fasten off and stuff.
Attach to the sides of body.

Use contrasting yarn or embroidery floss to sew a nose and eyes.
Tie a ribbon around the neck.

Enjoy your new bear!

This pattern may not be perfect! Don't stress, just fake it!!!


Monday, March 28, 2011

Crispy and Creamy Donuts

Does your family have one of those traditions that is just genius?
mine does.
Twice a year our family watches the General Conference for the
 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. And since it is broadcast on TV we stay home instead of going to church on those Sundays. And since we're all home together for the day, we might as well make an amazing meal (if you can call it that).
So we get up a little early and make...
(we usually have fruit and milk or juice with them and that way justify it as breakfast.) 

Its perfect. We can all watch Conference and eat donuts to our hearts desire.
Which is usually more than we should.

but they are sooo hard to resist.

Growing up we always used the same cake doughnut recipe (which is fabulous and I'll have to share next time), but the past few times we've been trying new recipes. These are the yeast doughnuts we made last time- and they were every bit as delicious as they look!

Jaime has also used this fabulous recipe

Which ever you try, I'm sure you'll enjoy!

here's where we link up!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Grow your own wheatgrass

Who doesn't love the sight of green grass growing after a long winter?! Why not bring some of that springtime cheer indoors by growing your own wheatgrass? Now that Easter is about 3 1/2 weeks away, this is the perfect time to start sprouting wheatgrass in your own home.

Emily and I had a great time growing wheat grass together in years past, and it really is easy. I'm thinking of actually growing it in the kids' baskets this year--wouldn't that be cute! Real grass in the baskets. :)

Want to grow along? Here's what you need to do.

Items Needed
-wheatgrass berries (you can purchase wheat berries from a local health food store or you can raid your food storage. I used hard red winter wheat.)
-spray bottle
-plastic wrap
-a container to grow it in. You can use just about anything: a bowl, a pretty pot or tray, a seed starter flat, the bottom of a milk carton--anything. I actually used plastic catch basins that are typically put under houseplant pots.

To prepare the seeds
First, rinse the seeds using cold water. Then soak them in water for about 6 hours or until they are sprouted. This may take up to 12 hours.

Plant the seeds
After the wheatgrass seeds have sprouted, line the bottom of your growing container with 2 inches of soil. Drain the seeds in a colander and spread a single layer of them onto the soil, trying to cover all the soil without too much overlap in the seeds. Then, sprinkle the seeds with a light layer of soil, and use a spray bottle filled with water to lightly water the seeds.

As the grass grows
Put the basket or container in a warm area of the house that isn’t in direct sunlight. The area should have a temperature of 65 to 75 degrees. Cover it with newspaper and leave it alone for now. Every morning, spray the seeds with water then recover with the newspaper. Too much water can result in moldy seeds, so go easy. The newspaper can be removed once the leaves start to sprout. In about a week and a half, you should have about 8 inches of wheat grass to use in your Easter decorations. YAY!! Then when Easter is over, cut some and blend it up with some fruit and juice for a smoothie – healthy bonus!
Let us know how your wheatgrass grows!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Painting Project for Kids

 Here's another fun painting idea for the kids--painting with balls!

I first did this with marbles, but this time we tried golf balls--both worked great.

And it's easy enough--just tape some paper at the bottom of a box, roll balls in paint and then roll them around on the paper! Super fun. :)


Here's where we link up.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Moss Wreath

I'm LOVIN' this wreath. :)

I can't take much credit for it though--Courtney over at A Diamond in the Stuff made this fabulous moss wreath that I instantly fell in love with--I loved everything about it, so I made one for myself!

It was a fun and easy project and one that I've been very satisfied with. She had a great tutorial on her blog as well, but here are the basic steps.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

What's for Dinner?

Peanut Chicken Saute, Chinese Chicken Salad, and Vegetarian Lasagna

Peanut Chicken Saute This is my new favorite recipe! So easy and so delicious. Everyone devoured it (even the 12-month-old). I highly recommend it. We left the hot pepper flakes out (for the kids' sake) and then added Thai Sweet Chili Sauce to ours (which actually has quite a kick to it). Also, I added some fresh lemon basil (my new favorite herb) to it which made it about a million times better. Super delic. In the future, I think I'll add more peanut butter too.

Frozen fish sticks and 'tots. :) It was a busy day...! My 3-year-old informed me that tatertots were her new favorite food and that "Tomorrow we should have tatertots AND jello for dinner." My favorite variety? Van de Kamp's frozen halibut fillets (there's actually real fish in there and more of it than breading...).

Chinese Chicken Salad. Tulips have been popping up in my neck of the woods, and I've even seen a few robins now, so bring on the summer food! This was very light and refreshing.

To make it, I just cooked some chicken breasts in terriayki sauce and then sliced it and put it on top of a bed of romain. Then, I added sliced cherry tomatoes (I prefer red peppers, but I was out), mandarin oranges, sugar snap peas, sliced carrots, sunflower seeds and Newman's Own Low Fat Sesame Ginger Dressing. Tasty, tasty.

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Shredded Chicken Mexican Salad. I do this a lot because I like it so much--Crock pot some chicken with salsa and spices, then turn it into a salad by layering: tortilla, black beans, rice, lettuce, chicken, and either salsa/sour cream/limes or make a sour cream-lime-cilantro dressing.

Used the leftover shredded chicken from last night to turn into burritos. Added some steamed broccoli.

Vegetarian Lasagna--this is the best lasagna I've ever had and a traditional Sunday dinner since it takes a lot of slow-simmering to make the sauce just so. :)


Vegetarian Lasagna

Super fabulous vegetarian lasagna! Everyone loves this--even it's-not-dinner-unless-there's-meat folks. And if you want, it's easy enough to sprinkle in some cooked Italian sausage. :)

I grew up on this lasagna. It's my family's comfort food. It's the dinner we want when we want something REALLY good for dinner. It's the dinner we would fight over who got the last of the leftovers. We've been known to snitch bites of leftovers even before breakfast. Which is why it was probably so hard to get a whole serving of leftovers. :)

I make this dinner on Sundays because I'm home more. And it's not that it's difficult or even time-intensive, but it does take a lot of simmering unattended on the stove to produce a truly fantastic sauce.

You should make some. I promise it won't disappoint! 

Vegetarian Lasagna
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper (any color, or a combination), chopped
32 oz. crushed tomatoes (diced if you like it chunkier)
2 8-oz. cans tomato sauce
2 6-oz. cans tomato paste
2 Tbsp. parsley flakes
½ c. red wine, cranberry juice, or water
4 garlic cloves, pressed
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. dried thyme
½ tsp. dried marjoram
¼ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. sugar
1-2 tsp salt (to taste)

About 8-10 lasagna noodles
Baby spinach, washed

Cheese filling:
1 egg
1 lb. small-curd cottage cheese
1 lb. ricotta cheese
½ c. freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
1 lb. mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced or grated

1. Saute the onion and bell pepper in a little olive oil. Add the rest of the ingredients for the sauce and stir to mix. Simmer until it cooks down to about ½ of the original volume (about 1-2 hours).
2. When the sauce is ready, cook the lasagna noodles according to package direction. (Or, turn it off and wait until about 1.5 hours before you want to eat and then cook the noodles.)
3. Combine the ingredients for the cheese filling.
4. Put a small amount of sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13-in pan. Add a layer of noodles (half of the noodles cooked). Add about ½ of the cheese mixture on top of the noodles. Then add a layer of spinach and cover that with sauce.
5. Arrange half of the mozzarella cheese on top. Now add another layer of noodles (the other half), the remaining cheese mixture, spinach and sauce.
6. Place in a cold oven and bake at 375° for 20 minutes. Place a layer of mozzarella cheese on top. Continue to bake until the sauce is hot and the cheese is melted. Cool for 10 minutes before cutting.

Click here to print.


Here's where we're linking up.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Blueberry Muffins

You should probably know that I LOVE muffins!
Not just like... LOVE.
They should be their own food group.
and this recipe is just one of the reasons why...
Just a warning- these muffins are HUGE! They don't look it in the picture, but they are.
The recipe is about twice as big as a regular muffin recipe, but still only makes 12.

Blueberry Muffins

3 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
10 Tbsp butter (1 1/4 sticks) softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
1 tsp grated lemon peel
1 1/2 cups blueberries
1 Tbsp flour (if using defrosted berries)

Adjust the oven rack to the middle-lower part of the oven. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar, beating until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating until incorporated after each one. Beat in the lemon peal.

Beat in one half of the dry ingredients until just incorporated. Beat in 1/3 of the yogurt. Beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients then the second third of the yogurt. Beat in remaining dry then remaining yogurt. Do not over beat. Fold in berries. If you are using defrosted berries, coat them in flour first.

Use a standart 12 muffin pan with paper liners. Distribute the batter evenly among cups. (Batter will heap over the top) Bake until muffins are golden brown and toothpick comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes Set on wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Remove from pan and serve warm.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Corned Beef and Cabbage

Mmmmm, Corned Beef and Cabbage--a great Irish dinner, perfect for St. Patrick's day. 

image credit: Benjies Deli

So, what's the deal with "corned beef?"  Is there corn mashed in together with the beef or something? No. :)  It actually has quite an extensive and secular history, but is most famous for its origin in Ireland. The name “corned beef” derives not from the vegetable but from the process of curing the meat using large pieces of rock-salt kernels, which are called “corns of salt”. Up until the 19th century, the Irish were the main exporters of corned beef, finding the preserved and salted meat a necessity for the famine-stricken country. There is great debate about whether or not corned beef and cabbage is authentically Irish or not, many arguing that the dish came about after the Irish immigrated to America. Authentically Irish or not, you can’t deny the deliciousness of corned beef and cabbage! -Benjies Deli

Corned Beef and Cabbage is also about as easy as it gets to make.
We like to round out the whole meal and add potatoes and carrots as well. A few years ago we found this recipe on and have been so pleased with it that we've found no reason to look for another. Here it is for your cooking and tasting pleasure! Happy St. Patrick's day everyone!

Corned Beef and Cabbage
3 pounds corned beef brisket with spice packet
10 small red potatoes
5 carrots, peeled and cut into 3-inch pieces
1 large head cabbage, cut into small wedges
optional: other veggies like turnips, mushrooms, quartered onions

1. Place corned beef in large pot or Dutch oven and cover with water. Add the spice packet that came with the corned beef. Sometimes we add a few garlic cloves here. Cover pot and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer approximately 50 minutes per pound or until tender.
2. Add whole potatoes and carrots and any other vegetables you may be using, and cook until the vegetables are almost tender. Add cabbage and cook for 15 more minutes. Remove meat and let rest 15 minutes.
3. Place vegetables in a bowl and cover. Add as much broth (cooking liquid reserved in the Dutch oven or large pot) as you want. Slice meat across the grain

Enjoy. :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

DIY Terra Cotta Pots

Be forewarned--this is quite the saga!

I have some terra cotta pots for herbs, but they don't look like these beauties.

(Clockwise from top left: labeled pots from Martha Stewart, striped pots from Martha Stewart, chalkboard pots from The Robin's Nest, rustic pots from Pottery Barn, and bright yellow perky pot from Apartment Therapy .)

I wanted to snazz mine up a bit, but I've been having this huge delima about it. You see, what I LIKE best are the old, beaten-up looking ones like in the bottom right corner of the above collage. LOVE them! Totally my favorite. BUT my kitchen is bright and perky. I like it that way. The rustic pots would look good in pretty much any other room in my house, but not my kitchen and since that is where I want to keep my herbs.... What to do, what to do--pick something I like most? pick something that would match the most? redo my whole kitchen? :) (as if redoing my kitchen to match a 50 cent terra cotta pot would be a good idea).

I decided to go with something yellow and perkier and save the rustic pots for elsewhere. My first idea was to maybe tie some yellow ribbon around it (after all, I already had the supplies from a canopy I made for my daugthers room...more on that later....)

Well, the ribbon idea was going to be cute, but not what I was going for. Too pretty.

So, then I had this great idea to paint them yellow, label them with a Sharpie like in the top-left corner of the collage, then spray a high-gloss varnish on them. I was totally loving them, until this happened:

I was not a happy camper!! I was trying to spray one more glossy coat on them before heading out for a "Fun Friday" adventure with my kids and dropped one--right on top of the other. Grrrr.

So, I stopped by the local Hobby Lobby to buy some more (they were on sale this week) and saw these cute little metal pots in the Easter section (the one on the right) (excuse my dishes drying on the counter top) so I bought them, thinking they'd be even better.

Hmmm, not so much. I like them, but not as much as I like my yellow pots with the Sharpie labeling. Back to Hobby Lobby to take back the metal pots and get more terra cotta pots....

All that trouble for a couple of pots. Sheesh.

I do like how they turned out though.


Here's where we're linking up!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Pretty Little Girl

If you've noticed a lack of posts from me lately there is a really sweet reason why.
This wide-eyed little girl has been too much fun!

She has perfect little fingers

and tiny little toes

and even though this happens occationally

we still think she's precious as can be

and did I mention that she even sleeps?

We couldn't ask for more!

Thanks to our friend Christia for taking such fun pictures. What talent.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hooded Towels (Baby Size)

This project is one of my favorites and has been a go-to baby gift for a while now.

These towels are the perfect size for a baby. (A little small for a toddler)

 Start with a full size bath towel. Cut a square as large as you can and round the corners. I usually trace the edge of a bowl to make sure they're the same.

From the scraps, cut a hood shape by tracing one of your corners. Cut any ears, spots, noses, or anything else you'll need (depending on how you're decorating your towel) from towel and fabric scraps. If you're making ears I recomend using one layer of towel and one of cotton.

Attatch your face shapes using heat n' bond lite (iron-on adheasive) and sew around the edges.

 To make the ears, put the right sides of your cotton and towel shapes together. Sew around all edges BUT the bottom. Turn right side out. Lay the ears on the hood and pin in place.

 Align the hood with one corner of the towel (right sides together). The ears will be sandwiched between. Sew the hood to the towel by sewing along the top hood edge. (I usually sew over this a couple times to make it extra secure). 

 Turn right side out.

 Sew the trim (extra-wide double-fold bias tape) around the towels raw edges.

Add any finishing touches- like these button eyes.

 Fold it up and give it away- or keep it. :)
Here's a frog version. You can see the shape of the towel and how the trim goes around in this picture.
 Sometimes I roll them up and tie with the extra bias tape.

Enjoy your new hooded towel!

Do you want the pattern?
 I have the dog, frog, and many, many more animals all designed and waiting for you to create!
Check them out here!

Here's where we're linking up!