Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Little Pain and Gain

Today I experience an emotional conflict.

I mourn the loss of this fabulous storage in our laundry room off the kitchen.

Yet, I celebrate because in its place is the little robot machine that will make our water soft. And boy am I thrilled. My hair can stop being gross and my face can stop being one giant pimple. Garden city water is HARD. I didn't understand what hard water was until living here. And it's loaded with iron to boot. (We live in an area with pretty old pipes.)

Our tub as I was trying to empty the water heater of the old stuff in one fell swoop. No one has taken a bath in there. That's the water straight out of the faucet.
Anyway. It may be the placebo effect, but I took a shower tonight before bed and I'm pretty sure there was a huge difference. Now if only I knew where to relocate that storage to.
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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ice Ice Baby

So it snowed yesterday.

And through the night. But it was pretty wet. And everything that hit the sidewalks/roads melted, and then froze. I have a whole new understanding of ice. I planned to spend the morning at one of the 7th/8th grade schools volunteering and as I was pulling in saw students waddling like penguins with their hands out like surfers. My thoughts: "Gimme a break." Folks, I thought to soon. It was that bad. While in the building, the sun came out and so did the snow melter sprinkles. Walking to my car wasn't too bad. When I got to my car, I let my guard down forgetting that my car had provided a nice shade for the ice outside my car door.
I ate it. Full wipe out. On the ground.
I can't believe more of me doesn't hurt. Maybe because I was so caught by surprise. The only thing that hurts (and it really hurts) is my elbow. I conked it. I never realized how much I use my elbows til today.
Also possibly hurt: my ego. I wonder if anyone saw my. I was right the middle of an empty parking lot.
After that, I went home, where I stayed to wait for the rest of the ice to melt.

While I waited, I worked on a border for this quilt.

Why is it that piecing borders is not nearly as satisfying as piecing the main blocks?
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Monday, January 28, 2013

The Latest Plarn Bag

Is made out of plastic grocery bags from SaveMart. 

In an attempt to give the bag more structure, I have made the base rectangular and seamed it to the circular body.

 This bag is easily holding 10 standard size cans of food. I love how durable these things are!

 This is what it looks like without 10 cans in it. 

These bags are the greatest...and THIS one can be found in my ETSY shop here! 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Swap!

So I've known Derek for a long time! Approximately since this picture was taken! 

 We're both on the bottom row. I'm the second in from the left and he's the third in.
Derek recently posted some sports logo metal work that he had done and of course my initial thought was "AH! Maybe he could make me an 'N'!" Well not only did he make me one...he made 4!!!

I never would have even thought of the relief, but I really like what it's going to add to my N wall! Well I was  so excited for the N's I thought I need to make something for him! So I made this rugged squishy hat that to me just seemed to fit with Derek's active lifestyle! (And short hair cut!)

 As soon as I finished it, I had to put it right in the envelope because I was tempted to keep it!

 Just look how squishy it is! I think I will most definitely be making this hat again and I hope Derek likes it!

Here is my N wall! I'm loving it! I'm also living that more than half of the N's now have stories!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Do I Quilt Like a Chameleon?

There are lots of cows here. I've been saving these quirky farm fabrics for a while and after moving here, I felt like it was time. I'm wondering if doing a farm quilt is my way of transitioning into my new habitat here in Garden City, Kansas. Hence, quilting like a chameleon. 

This quilt is going to Luke's cousins new-ish baby Graham. 

I tried so hard to stay caught up but at least he's not one yet!

The back was pretty fun to piece together with my scraps!

I just love the goofy big eyes on all the animals. I stippled the quilt myself, and used black because I liked the way it mimicked the line drawings around the animals.

I'll be honest, I bought the fabric when I was still playing Farmville on Facebook.  I thought it was a hoot!

I was saving it for something special! I sure hope Graham enjoys it!

 These guys were giving me the stare. This was a farm I found driving by and I borrowed their fence for a few minutes to take my pictures.

The Kitchen

We have a cute little house toward the middle of town here in Garden City. I've been asked for pictures but I'm finding it dificult to use pictures to help ya'll who are far away get a feel for the flow. Here's my attempt thanks to the PhotoSynth app.

Below you see part of our kitchen. Neither Luke or I enjoy pots and pans stacked in a cupboard so Luke put some hooks on boards that match our cupboards and hung them on the wall! I love them! The hutch has been passed down from my moms side of the family, and appropriately I have four generations of rolling pins from my moms side on a interlocking wine rack above the hutch, and to the right of that we have the beautiful quilt by Cindy that goes oh so well with our Fiesta Ware!!

 I've inherited some neat old kitchen tools that I hate to just store. I think neat things like that should be out to see, enjoy and remember. I'm trying to figure out a displaying solution for above the cupboards or something. I've got old measuring cups on the shelves above the chalk board (Where I write food solutions for Luke for inspiration when he's in an eating mode.) I've been playing with different methods for popping the bottoms off wine bottles and my particular love for blue glass has turned into a sort of hanging bottle valence. 
 The laundry room is just off the kitchen. It's here that we have our very first washer and dryer! I enjoy them. A lot. I also enjoy having a shelf for kitchen appliances. This way I can try to be better about putting things away and cleaning off the counter, but at the same time, they're all accessible which means I don't hesitate to get them out and use them. I'm constantly in a battle against clutter. Sometimes I have trouble even realizing it's crept up on me.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Today marked my first day subbing in Garden City. I was in first grade and now that I'm covered in one big cough-sneeze I once again remember why I enjoy the older ones a bit more. Don't get me wrong it was a pretty smooth day, and I hugely appreciate the guidance in understanding school procedures from the other teachers! I just missed the independence and understanding I experience in the 4th-8th grade piece. And the lack of booger stalactites.
Here in GC the 5th and 6th graders are in middle school and the 7th and 8th graders are in intermediate school. I was so lucky to have a tour of the closest of two intermediate schools from one of the principals. It helped me get a feel for the school, student expectations, mission, and goals. I'm excited because at this point I feel like I have a bit more direction here. Yay.

Prayer Requests: Openness to Gods plan for me here in GC, strength to keep back the tendency toward introvertedness (It doesn't bode well for making friends and keeping them.)

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Freezer Food- Pulled Pork and Black Bean Goodness

These sandwiches are a perfect freezer lunch, snack or dinner. I just microwave them for about a minute  and if I'm able I toast it to crisp up the outside. Home made goodness with freezer aisle convenience.
Prep: Start some pulled pork cooking in the crock pot with some water and diced onion, for flavoring I put some fennel, rosemary  chili flakes, and large ground pepper in a tea ball.) Make up some dough (pizza, zwieback  whatever your fancy) and let it rise, then cook some black beans with all the seasoning you would put in taco meat. Onion, pepper, cumin, garlic, chili powder, etc. mine were not getting soft so per the bean council I added just a bit of baking soda. That did the trick. Then mash them a bit so they're kind of spreadable.
 Take a small piece of dough (smaller than a baseball, bigger than a golf ball) and roll it out as thin as you dare. Spoon the beans onto one side. I didn't want mine centered because I wanted to fold the dough in half and roll the sides closed.
 Add a slice of cheese. My cheese is kind of dinky because technically speaking we're both lactose intolerant but we love cheese. If you can eat it, I suggest a couple more slices.
 Next add some of the shredded pork and salsa. (Luke's only regret on this recipe was that I didn't put enough salsa, or could have added some green sauce. I thought this was just the right amount. I'm a weenie when it comes to spicy.)
 Fold the dough over the filling.
 Press the top edges into the bottom half of the dough.
 Then roll the bottom half of the dough up over the top edge.
 I wanted the outer edges to crisp up so I put a good layer of olive oil in the bottom of the pan. When placing these on the pan I would first put them top down, coat them in the oil and then flip them.
 I think I baked them around 375. No time sorry. Keep an eye on them.
 Half way through baking them, carefully turn them over.

 Some of the seams held, and some didn't, leaking moisture onto the pan and causing the bottom to stick when taking them off the pan.

 Some of them stayed closed and some kind of rolled open as they baked. I don't know what would make the difference. Any ideas?

Last problem...what do I name them?  Taco Pockets?

Chili Cook Off

The crock pot has been busy this week! The golf club had a chili cook off so I made some lentil chili. Part of the competition was table design so of course I went the Fiesta ware route. I love my dishes. 
 The dishes also eliminated the need for food cards as I was able to write on the plates with a whiteboard marker! All went pretty well. I was worried I'd be chastised for my liberal use of beans since were so close to Texas and supposedly chili means just mean and flavor. Alas the only problem I encountered was that the outlet my crock pot was plugged into was dead and my chili was cold! Ack! 
I won a prize for my table decor!

Freezer Food- One Potato, Two

Luke's new job encompasses food and beverage as well so his weird hours just got weirder. It's made life interesting when he comes home hungry at the crack of midnight. I've been working on coming up with some semi healthy, microwaveable midnight snacks or quick lunches.
One of the first I tried was twice baked potatoes.
I scooped the insides out and mashed them up with some ranch dip mix, milk and a dallop of sour cream. Then I gently stirred in some chopped up green onion.

Before scooping the mixture back into the potato skins I cooked some broccoli (al dente)

And put two or three in the bottom of the potato skin.

Then I scooped some of the mashed potato mixture on top.
Add a light sprinkle of cheese and green onions. Then I began to experiment. I baked half of them before freezing and then froze half to see if it made a difference when reheating them to eat later.

It didn't. So if your re-creating this, my suggestion is to freeze these goodie on a tray or plate

and then put them into ziplock baggies for more stackable storage. I do two at a time to help the consumers with portion control otherwise we'd eat them all in one go!
When you're ready to eat them, take them out, microwave in one minute increments til hot. (We got a weak microwave because I wanted to hide it in a cupboard, so ours takes about 3 min.)

I hope you enjoy as much as we do!

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Saturday, January 19, 2013


My interest in gingerbread began this October when I decided to imitate some skeleton gingerbread men I saw on pinterest. I was in charge of the teacher snack the week of Halloween so these were snack and I brought a crock pot and mulled cider! It was tasty!

 Then I found this gingerbread tissue box at Target! (It was November.)

 Then I made some gingerbread to take to California for snacks!

 Below is the evolution of my gingerbread girls. They went from the syrup lady to kind of cute!

I was trying to get Luke to let me host a gingerbread night at the golf club. So then I decided I better make a sample to see what I would be getting myself into. It turned out pretty cute!

Next year I think I'm going to try to make one that looks like our house!
Through all of this I discovered and stuck with Eileen's Spicy Gingerbread Men recipe which I found on It was pretty tasty and sturdy enough for the house too!