Monday, August 31, 2009

What I've been making...

Not your granny's "granny." A new, more modern twist on the traditional granny square. I made it for a gift and the recipient picked out the bright colors. They look great together! It's really big, though! Each square is almost 12 inches and it kept me busy for the first half of summer.

Next up, Miss Skyleigh's mom requested a crochet blanket for baby girl's 1st birthday. In chocolate and lavender, no less. That girl has taste.

The search was on for a new and different pattern to use for her blankie. When I saw this daisy square I was in love. Well, as much as you can love a pattern. Because people. It has daisies! You know how I love my flowers... I just had to try it.

Then I got the pattern. Forty years of crocheting did nothing to prepare me and I almost. gave. up. Three (!) strands of yarn that must be kept in front, working in front of work and back, stitch markers everywhere. Profusions of yarn strands, markers, loops and near catastrophe loomed. There ensued much weeping and gnashing of teeth.

But.

The persistence. It pays off in the end. And I LOVE it again!

Another variation of a granny square. What do you think?


The birthday girl liked it too. It was totally worth it:)

This pattern for Daisy Charity Square is available from KrochetKrystal. To get the pattern, you need to join her yahoo group. The pattern will then be accessible and is free, but you must crochet a daisy square and send it to her to be added to one of her charity blankets.

Come on. Be brave and give it a try!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

So they are no longer two, but one.


Here are some candid shots from the wedding. I won't have any of the "real" photos to show you all for awhile:)

Uncle Jared helps Nolan (the ring security specialist) with his tie.

Success!

Uncle Matthew with Nolan.

My new daughter, Sara, with Skyleigh.

Skyleigh always has a smile for Uncle Jared.

Skyleigh with Jared, Sara (the bride), Megan (my oldest girl) and Nolan Ryan.

One last thing.

We don't normally wear cowboy hats.

Or boots.

I hope you're not too disappointed.

So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate. Matthew 19:6

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Rainbow For A Grand Girl

This is my granddaughter, Skyleigh Claire. Or as I like to call her, my grand girl. While she was here visiting Nan, she celebrated her first birthday! I happened to see this rainbow cake on the Daisy and Pear blog and knew it would be perfect for a first birthday cake. I used my favorite yellow cake and frosting recipes, then followed the excellent directions from Daisy and Pear. It will work just as well using a cake mix and tub frosting.


I made the frosting purple. Skyleigh likes purple :)


Everyone was surprised to see the rainbow hiding under all that purple.


The birthday girl had fun. Turns out, purple is very messy!


She likes it!


A LOT!


YELLOW CAKE
3 cups flour
2.5 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter
1.5 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 and 1/4 cups milk

Preheat oven to 375. Sift dry ingredients together and set aside. Beat together butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Add milk alternating with the dry ingredients, a small amount at a time. Beat after each addition until smooth. (Divide the batter and add your coloring, if making a rainbow cake). Pour batter into greased and floured layer cake pans and bake about 20-25 minutes. Cool and frost.


NOT-TOO-SWEET FROSTING
8 ounces cream cheese
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups whipping cream, whipped

Beat cream cheese, brown sugar and vanilla until fluffy. Fold in whipped cream. You can substitute an 8 ounce Cool Whip for the whipped cream, but it is really better with the cream :)

Posted to Tasty Tuesday and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Boots to Fill


Three pairs of boots. Waiting for six feet...

I snapped this photo as the boys were getting dressed for my oldest son's wedding a few weeks ago. The biggest boots were, of course, Jared's. The groom. The middle boots were Matthew's. My youngest. He was so thrilled to be the best man. And the wee blue boots were Nolan's. He was ring security. And yes. Those are the same boots he wore to help Nan in the garden. :)

...and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Mark 10:8

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Proper Gardening Attire for a 2-year-old

Nolan Ryan's Garden Fashion Guide:

1. Cowboy boots. Truly the best choice for footwear and must be worn at all times. They really should be blue, if at all possible.

2. A clean T-shirt that you picked yourself. Kindly refrain from wearing a hat in the blistering sun. They are much too restrictive.

3. PLEASE NOTE: Pants are an optional accessory and completely unnecessary.


Please visit Works-For-Me-Wednesday and Decorating Dilemmas for more great tips and ideas!

Monday, August 10, 2009

CRaZy CRuSt MeXiCaN Pie

This is one of those in a pinch, last minute recipes. The ingredients are fairly simple and you most likely already have most of them. If you have precooked hamburger from the freezer, it comes together even faster. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Crazy Crust Mexican Dinner
For the crust:
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup sour cream
1 egg

For the filling:
1 pound ground beef, browned & drained
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 can chili or kidney beans (16 oz)
1 can tomato sauce (8 oz)

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease a 10" pie pan. Throw all the crust ingredients into a bowl and lightly mix with a fork. It will look weird and lumpy. Please do not panic. That's why it's called a "crazy" crust :-) Spread the batter very thinly on the bottom of your pie pan and more thickly on the sides up to 1/4" from the pan's rim.

Combine the filling ingredients and spoon into the crazy crust. Bake 15-25 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the filling slightly bubbly.

Top with lettuce, tomatoes and grated cheese. Serve with whatever additional taco toppings your family enjoys: guacamole, sour cream, salsa, olives, etc.

Please visit Tasty Tuesday and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday for more great recipes.

Cowboys Go to Church, Too

We love attending Cowboy Church. We look forward to it each year. It's one of our most favorite church services, occurring during Cheyenne Frontier Days. How fun to celebrate the Lord's day outside, in a rodeo arena! The stands are filled with cowboys and girls of all ages, vacationers and tourists, along with local church goers like us.
Some of those who are getting ready for the big rodeo later in the day stop by to enjoy the service from their horses!

More four-legged "parishioners" and their riders.


Susie McEntire Luchsinger was the worship leader. I didn't get a good photo of the preacher, but the message was so good!


Skyleigh was fascinated with the horses.


And Nolan, too! This church is cool :-)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Bestest and Cheapest Laundry Detergent... and you can make it yourself!

One thing everyone needs for back-to-school is laundry detergent. Whether you are home, public or private schoolers, your darling students will be cranking out loads of dirty laundry!

In my quest for all things frugal, one item that was most elusive was laundry detergent. One of my girls is prone to eczema, so it has to be gentle. We don't purchase proctor and gamble products, effectively eliminating about 75% of the product selection. What is left is either too expensive, too harsh, or just doesn't work well.

Then in homeschool science we did an experiment making liquid laundry detergent. It was fun, frugal, gentle enough for my daughter's skin, but when it came to the really dirty stuff like the baseball pants that did a lot of sliding, it just didn't work very well. Plus. It was quite a process to make the stuff.

Enter the homemade powdered detergent. Frugal. Gentle. Easy to make and works on the dirtiest clothes. People. We have a winner!

This is so simple... 3 or 4 ingredients are all you need. Washing soda, borax and bar soap. Be sure it is washing soda (found in the laundry aisle) and not baking soda. The borax is also located in the laundry supplies. Two common brands of bar soap are Fels Naptha and Zout, once again in the laundry aisle. You can also use homemade soap or even Ivory. The optional fourth ingredient is Oxy clean or all fabric bleach powder. I do generally add this to mine.


Grate your bar of soap. I use a hand grater, as my food processor does not like that job. It really, really doesn't. Let the grated soap dry a bit.

In small batches, put the soap, washing soda, borax, and all fabric bleach into the food processor. Put a damp towel over your processor to keep the fine powder from escaping and pulse to break up any clumps. Dump the processed powder into your container and once you have de-clumped all your ingredients, mix thoroughly.


Ta-da! Tisn't it pretty? Now that you have the washing soda, borax and all fabric bleach, you have the ingredients for 4-6 months of laundry detergent. When making subsequent batches all you will need to purchase is the bar soap.

Powdered Laundry Detergent
1 bar Fels Naptha, Zout or homemade soap
1 cup washing soda
1 cup borax
1 cup all fabric bleach powder or oxy clean (optional)
  • Grate the bar of soap, either by hand or with a food processor and allow to dry a few hours or overnight.
  • Pulse each ingredient in the food processor to remove clumps and put it into a lidded container.
  • Mix the processed ingredients well.
  • Use 1-2 tablespoons per load.

Please visit Works-For-Me-Wednesday for more great tips and ideas.

Avanti's Italian Bread

Avanti's Italian Bread
Makes 5-6 loaves
  • 2 tablespoons yeast
  • 3 cups warm water
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 10-11 cups flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl. Add eggs, oil, salt and sugar. Let foam for a 10-15 minutes. Stir in enough flour to make a smooth dough, approximately 8-9 cups. Knead, using additional flour until dough is no longer sticky. Put back in mixing bowl. Cover and let rise 1.5 hours. Punch down. Turn dough over in bowl and allow to rise another 30 minutes.

Here is the fun part: While this dough makes great french bread-type loaves, it can be shaped into any type of loaf or roll. It makes excellent hoagie or sub sandwich rolls, hot dog and hamburger buns, dinner rolls, even bread sticks.

So you can make a couple loaves of french bread and the rest into sandwich rolls.... or all rolls... or all loaves. Whatever you decide to make, divide the dough and shape it accordingly. Place on a greased pan and allow to rise 1 more hour. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-30 minutes, depending on the size of your rolls/loaves.

If you are needing to feed an army, this recipe will make 5-6 loaves or dozens of rolls. Since I am not, thankfully, it freezes well. After baking your bread and/or rolls, allow to cool completely and freeze in zip type bags for up to 6 months.

Please visit Tasty Tuesday and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday for lots more delicious recipes and tips.

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