Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hillbilly Wine Goblets

Now that we're all settled in after the latest addition to our family, posts will be regular again.  Sorry for the infrequency over the past week or so.

Ok, so I didn't make these.  A customer of my hubby made them and gave them to us.  But I thought they were so cute, I had to share them.  They look pretty simple to make--mason jars, candle sticks, and some glass glue.

And I figured hillbilly wine goblets needed hillbilly wine.  Can you get more hillbilly on a bottle of wine than a buffalo?  Of course, no wine for me these days.  I guess mine is a hillbilly milk goblet? Pin It

Sunday, January 29, 2012

She's here!!

Well, after a 1.5-hour labor, Little Love #6 arrived safely, and thankfully in the hospital, not in the van on the way there.  She's over 8 lbs, 19", nice and healthy, and doing great!  We are so very, very blessed!

Aren't these cheeks to die for?!?!?

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Knitting a Baby Hat

Ok, so I had a midwife appointment the other day and found out that I'm already dilated past 4 but still not in labor!  No wonder my labors are so fast and hard!  So, of course I need to fill my time over the next day or two, until she makes her appearance.  And since I don't have enough projects sitting around waiting to be finished, I decided to start another one.  =)

When Little Love #5 was an infant, she had the cutest little white crocheted hat that I was able to clip hair clips to.  It was ADORABLE!!!  Unfortunately, around the brim was an elastic thread.  She's severely allergic to latex, and we're limiting the new baby's exposure to latex, so the hat had to go.  I wanted one like it, though, so I decided to make my own!

I started by getting a round knitting loom (and why not get a set with lots of different sizes, while I'm at it?!?)  This is the Knifty Knitter set, purchased at Michaels.

I already had some really cute and thin cotton yarn, white with lightly colored specks, that I knew would be perfect for this project.  So I went ahead, read the instructions, and got started.

This was seriously one of the fastest, easiest projects I've ever done.  And I even took the time to teach my 8-year-old daughter how to do it.  Here's the end result (and yes, I know that this is one of the ugliest dolls in creation--and I have no idea who colored on her face--but it was the closest one we had to life-size).

Start-to-finish was well under 2 hours, and that was while taking breaks to show my daughter how to do it, finishing up the day's school lessons with both of my oldest, and taking potty breaks (after all, I do have an 8+ lb baby sitting on my bladder).

I LOVE how it turned out, and it's perfect for putting hair clips onto.  This was a definite success!!

So, if you're looking for a FAST, EASY, and ADORABLE project, I'd highly recommend this.  I can't wait to try out some other projects on these looms!

Do you knit on round looms?  What have you made?
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Friday, January 20, 2012

Nut-Butter "Bread" -- Gluten Free

An acquaintance gave me a recipe for a gluten-free "bread" made with only 4 ingredients:  nut butter, eggs, salt, and baking soda.

I thought to myself, "This lady MUST have left an ingredient out somewhere--like flour?--or else she's crazy."  But I guess I'm crazy, too, because I decided to try it anyway.

You first blend the ingredients in a blender (recipe with amounts at the bottom of this post), then you spread it in a pan.  I lined mine with parchment paper, and it worked nicely.  I used an 8x8 glass pan.  The mixture is a thick paste.

You then bake it.  

Somehow, by some miracle, this thick, gooey, nut-butter paste rises and turns into bread!  Here it is sliced.

It's actually light and fluffy!!

I then topped it with apricot All-Fruit and tasted it.

It was actually good!!  All the kids devoured it and were asking for more.  

The lady who told me about it said that you can also add squash, applesauce, nuts, raisins, etc, and it still rises well.  I think that next time I will either add applesauce, honey, or use a sweetened nut butter.  I used a natural one, so the bread itself wasn't sweet at all.

Anyway, this was a very successful experiment!!  If you add something different and it turns out great (or awful, for that matter), be sure to let me know!!

Here's the original recipe:

1 cup nut butter
4 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

Blend all ingredients in a blender and spread into a small greased or parchment paper-lined pan and bake at 350* until done.  (I baked it for 25 minutes in my 8x8 glass pan).

By the way, my hubby and I wanted to figure out how much this costs to make.  He bought a large jar of Peter Pan peanut butter at Wal-Mart (no HFCS, but still sweetened).  I only added in a couple of cents for the salt and baking soda, as we buy baking soda in bulk and it only uses 1/4 tsp salt in a batch.  The cost we came up with was $1.90 a batch.  Waaaaaaaaay cheaper than the gluten-free Udi's bread, and everybody in the family can eat this, including Little Love #5!!  And if you're the type who's avoiding grains, this is virtually all protein and is very filling!  You also don't need to put nut butter on the bread, since it's already made of it!

ETA:  I refrigerated the bit that was left overnight.  Today, it's just as soft and moist as it was yesterday.  YAY!!!

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Knitting, revisited

I had a friend ask me the other day how my knitting was coming along.  Let's just say...slowly.  It's easy to do, but I must admit that I sometimes get a little bit bored with it.  Part of that may be that I'm just doing straight knitting stitches, rather than switching it up with purling.  Or it might just be my crazy brain that's always thinking ahead to the next project.  After all, even when I'm doing a sewing project or hair clips, etc, I'm always ready to be done with it not long after I start it, just so that I can start my next idea.  That said, I'm still plugging along, determined to get this finished sooner, rather than later.  Here it is so far.

I know it's not perfect--far from it, actually--but I still figure it's not too bad for my first ever project.

I had the problem sometimes of my finished stitches slipping off the end of the needle when I set them down.   So I came up with the super-high-tech solution of putting a clothespin on the end of my needle.

I'm sure there's some more professional way of doing this in the knitting world, but for now, this works for me!

So, I'll keep right on knitting, until this is finished.  Meanwhile, my brain is planning the next project...
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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Quesadillas -- Some Gluten-Free!!

Most of you know that I've been on bedrest for the past several weeks, hoping to put a stop to my preterm labor.  As long as we make it to midnight tonight, she'll no longer be considered a preemie!!!  So thank you so much to those of you who have prayed.  It'll be nice to have a full-termer after my last two being preemies.

Anyway, while I've been on bedrest, my poor Mr. Man has been doing most everything in the house, as well as going to work on work days.  One of the many chores he's had to undertake is most of the cooking.  Thankfully, I have several quick and easy recipes, meal ideas, and snack ideas that he's been able to employ, without resorting to boxed/prepackaged junk food (most of the time).

One such meal is quesadillas.  

Few meals at our house are truly simple, as most people would define simple.  We have three children who are gluten-free, and our youngest is also severely allergic to dairy, tropical fruits, and tapioca, among other things.

We start quesadilla meals by making peanut-butter-and-fruit wraps for our youngest daughter.  We make these on corn tortillas, sometimes fried, sometimes not.  She doesn't care either way.

Next, we do the quesadillas for the other gluten-intolerant children.  They also get the corn tortillas.  Last, we do them for my hubby and I and our older children, typically with whole wheat tortillas.  Simply put them in your skillet with the filling of choice--over medium-high heat--and cook for a few minutes until the cheese melts or your filling is warm, flipping once or twice.

When we need something super-fast, we just put in cheese.  Sometimes we do them like pizzas, with pizza sauce, pepperonis, and mozzarella cheese.  Tonight, my hubby made simple ham-and-cheese ones.  

They're also good with scrambled eggs, green peppers, and bacon for breakfast ones.  Great dipped in salsa or by themselves, they're easy to wrap up and take on-the-go.  They literally take minutes to make, and everybody loves them!

What interesting fillings do you like in your quesadillas?
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Monday, January 9, 2012

Helpful tips

The other day, I saw an awesome list of helpful tips on Alderberry Hill.  (I especially love that cookie bowl idea!!)  I decided to give you more helpful tips from a friend's wise grandma!!  Some of these I've tried, some I haven't yet.  If you try any and they work (or don't!), let me know!!

Take your bananas apart when you get home from the store.  If you leave them connected at the stem, they ripen faster.  [Of course, they don't last long enough at my house to ripen too much.]

Store your opened chunks of cheese in aluminum foil.It will stay fresh much longer and not mold!

Peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating. Peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking.  [Hmmm....I wonder what you do with the pepper that has 5 bumps!!]

Add a teaspoon of water when frying ground beef. It will help pull the grease away from the meat while cooking.

To really make scrambled eggs or omelets rich add a couple of spoonfuls of sour cream, cream cheese, or heavy cream and then beat them up.

For a cool brownie treat, make brownies as directed. Melt Andes mints in double broiler and pour over warm brownies. Let set for a wonderful minty frosting.

Add garlic immediately to a recipe if you want a light taste of garlic and at the end of the recipe if you want a stronger taste of garlic.

Leftover Snickers bars from Halloween make a delicious dessert. Simply chop them up with the food chopper. Peel, core and slice a few apples. Place them in a baking dish and sprinkle the chopped candy bars over the apples. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes!!! Serve alone or with vanilla ice cream. Yummm!  

Heat up leftover pizza in a nonstick skillet on top of the stove, set heat to med-low and heat till warm. This keeps the crust crispy. No soggy micro pizza. I saw this on the cooking channel and it really works.

When you buy a container of cake frosting from the store, whip it with your mixer for a few minutes. You can double it in size. You get to frost more cake/cupcakes with the same amount. You also eat less sugar and calories per serving.

To warm biscuits, pancakes, or muffins that were refrigerated, place them in a microwave with a cup of water. The increased moisture will keep the food moist and help it reheat faster.

Use a wet cotton ball or Q-tip to pick up the small shards of glass you can't see easily.  [I've never tried the cotton, but a slice of bread works GREAT!!!!]

To keep squirrels from eating your plants [or digging in them], sprinkle your plants [and soil] with cayenne pepper.The cayenne pepper doesn't hurt the plant and the squirrels won't come near it.

To get something out of a heat register or under the fridge add an empty paper towel roll or empty gift wrap roll to your vacuum. It can be bent or flattened to get in narrow openings.

Pin a small safety pin to the seam of your slip and you will not have a clingy skirt or dress. Same thing works with slacks that cling when wearing panty hose. Place pin in seam of slacks and... ta da!... static is gone.

Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring cup, fill with hot water. Dump out the hot water, but don't dry cup. Next, add your ingredient, such as peanut butter, and watch how easily it comes right out.

Foggy Windshield? Hate foggy windshields? Buy a chalkboard eraser and keep it in the glove box of your car. When the windows fog, rub with the eraser! Works better than a cloth!

If you seal an envelope and then realize you forgot to include something inside, just place your sealed envelope in the freezer for an hour or two. Viola! It unseals easily.

Use your hair conditioner to shave your legs. It's cheaper than shaving cream and leaves your legs really smooth. It's also a great way to use up the conditioner you bought but didn't like when you tried it in your hair.

To get rid of pesky fruit flies, take a small glass, fill it 1/2" with Apple Cider Vinegar and 2 drops of dish washing liquid; mix well. You will find those flies drawn to the cup and gone forever!

Put small piles of cornmeal where you see ants. They eat it, take it "home," can't digest it so it kills them. It may take a week or so, especially if it rains, but it works and you don't have the worry about pets or small children being harmed!

ETA:  Stacy wrote the following in the comments:   A note on the cornmeal. I did try this and it didn't work for us. I ended up having to use diatomaceous earth to get rid of the ants. THAT worked. The fruit fly remedy really does work. I used just ACV (w/out the soap)in a canning jar. I used a lid that had several large holes in it. The flies go in but can't get out. 

Thank you, Stacy!!!!

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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Happy Three Kings' Day!!

Three Kings' Day is one of those holidays brought into our family from my Puerto Rican background, celebrating the wise men's arrival to visit baby Jesus (yes, we know they were wise men, not kings, and that nobody knows how many there were, but it's still called Three Kings' Day.  We also don't know when they arrived to visit Jesus.  And if you ask any Puerto Rican, they'll even tell you what their names supposedly were, as well as what they looked like.  Not exactly scriptural, I know.).

 On the evening of January 5th, we take the kids outside to gather up grass into bowls or shoeboxes.  We also fill a bowl with water.  The grass and water are put under the tree for the wise men's camels.  They "arrive" during the night, the camels eat the grass and drink the water (aka mama and daddy throwing the grass and water out into the yard), and in return, the wise men thank the kids by leaving gifts.

This year was a little messed up for us.  I normally have my tree up until January 6, but we had already taken ours down to make room for the baby swing.  The kids' small trees were still in their rooms, so we brought one of those out to the living room Thursday night.  Also, we didn't yet have any gifts for the kids.  Whoops!  Being on bed rest has thrown a huge wrench into...well...everything!  Life in general!

Nothing like saving things to the last minute and improvising!  Anyway, I ended up throwing fruit snacks and Starburst candies under the tree.  Our kids very rarely get candy, so this was a special treat.  They were so excited, and it was a success!

I hope you all had a wonderful Three Kings' Day, too!! Pin It

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Fun Eggs

My Mr. Man has taken over most of the household duties while I've been on bedrest.  When he's home, he even does all of the cooking for everybody, and he often tries to make it fun for the kids.

Tonight, he took my Mickey Mouse pancake molds and made the kids eggs in them!

The kids loved eating them!

Kids love eating foods with fun shapes.  I have TONS of cookie cutters that I use to cut shapes out of sandwiches, pancakes, etc.  I've also used them for fun-shaped frozen yogurt and even fun-shaped soap!

What things do you do with fun shapes to entertain the kids?

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Monday, January 2, 2012

So, I've taken up knitting...

...because, you know, I didn't have enough projects and hobbies already sitting around waiting for me.  =)  The problem is, when you're on fairly strict bed rest, there's only so much you can do.  I can't sit at my sewing machine.  I can't stand at the stove (not that cooking is one of my hobbies--I don't really like to cook, to be honest.  But I LOVE to eat!!), and I've already made a gazillion hair clips and head bands.

I'm the type of person who has a busy brain and busy hands.  I can't stand for both not to be working at once.  I can't watch a movie or listen to a podcast without doing something with my hands.  And I can't make hair clips or sew without listening to a podcast or watching a movie or something.

I LOVE reading, but I can only do that for so many weeks straight.  Same with movies and making hair clips.  So I needed something new.  So last night, I found a few sites online that had free videos teaching knitting.  My wonderful Mr. Man ran out to the store and bought me the needles and yarn I wanted.  And now I'm knitting.

If I manage to keep this baby in for another few weeks (which is highly doubtful), I'll probably get tired of this, too.  So if you have any other ideas of projects I can do while laying on the couch, feel free to pass on the ideas!  Meanwhile, I'll post pictures of this project once it's finished.  It's going to be a blanket, but we'll see if it'll end up big enough for the new baby or one of the girls' dolls.  =)
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