Sunday, December 11, 2011

finally made Christmas dresses!

I meant to do this last year and didn't get around to it. This year I was determined. There are so many cute ones on Etsy, but they are at least $35 each plus shipping. I made 2 for that price :) The hardest part was coordinating fabrics and I'm still not thrilled with the green, but it was the best they had and the girls love it so I'm considering the project a success.

me being cheap

Eric's Christmas gift came in the mail this week and I was all out of wrapping paper and tape. I don't like buying paper that is immediately thrown away so I considered other options. The box it was shipped in was filled with brown paper and I had some twine left over from St. Nicholas Day gifts.

The paper was perforated so I didn't need scissors. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

make your own laundry detergent

I have been meaning to try making my own detergent for so long. I just never remember to find all the supplies or I just bought a new detergent and don't need any. I finally got around to giving it a try. There are a few ways to do it and I chose the simple powder for my first try. Here's how it went.

Grate one bar of soap. I used Dr. Bronner's lavender scent, but a cheaper alternative would be Zote or Fels-Naptha which were both available in my local Walmart and grocery store.

Then I added one cup of Arm and Hammer Washing Powder.

And one cup of Borax. Sorry I don't have the box, this is something I've had in the cupboard for awhile.

And here is what we ended up with.

I'm using one tablespoon per load for a regular load in an HE front loader. The first load seems clean and it was bath towels and socks. I have a cold load running now so we'll see if it dissolves and works well in cold water. I'll update in an hour or so :)

If you prefer a liquid detergent you can use the same ingredients and add water. I have enough supplies to try this too so I may add photos when I get to it :)

  1. Grate one bar of soap with cheese grater or food processor.
  2. Put grated soap in pan with 2 quarts water and gradually heat, stirring constantly until soap is completely dissolved.
  3. Put 4.5 gallons of really hot tap water in a 5-gallon bucket (available for free in bakeries at grocery stores, just ask them) and stir in 1 cup of borax and 1 cup of Washing Soda until completely dissolved.
  4. Pour soap mixture from pan into 5-gallon bucket. Stir well.
  5. Cover and leave overnight.
  6. Shake or stir until smooth and pour into gallon jugs or other containers.
  7. Use 1/2 to 1 cup per load.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving menu :)

I only have to make half the meal this year :) We're joining with the neighbors and maybe a few extra single people. My half of the meal includes a ham. I have never cooked a ham. Wish me luck! I got a monster 19 pounder at Sam's Club and it didn't come with directions.

So, my half of the meal:


Mashed Potatoes (I never really follow a recipe, but it will involve a lot of butter)

Green Bean Casserole


Apple pie

Deviled Eggs

Monday, November 21, 2011

my baby is 5!

I am having some trouble believing that my daughter could be 5. Where did the time go?

Anika Mae was born on November 18th, 2006 at 4pm.


She was very quick to walk


and to swim


and she hasn't slowed down

Now she is 5. She loves to play outside and can usually be found digging in the dirt, kicking a ball, coloring with sidewalk chalk, riding her bicycle, or helping Papa in the garden. She is learning to read and is so excited when she can sound something out :) Papa is excited that she is interested in Lego now and they love to build together. In the last year she has enjoyed gymnastics, soccer, and swim lessons and done great in all of them. She is (usually) a great big sister and a very sweet little girl.

I asked her what kind of birthday party she wanted and she replied, "orange". So, an orange party it was :)

Here is a little montage I put together for the occasion. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I am loving Crowdtap right now!

It took me a couple of months of questions and applying, but I got far more than I expected. I received a gorgeous pea coat from Old Navy and my sister got one too. It finally got cold enough for me to wear it and I love it! So warm and it looks great. I will definitely keep "tapping" :)


Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I love pumpkins. 
The plant is pretty

they are fun to decorate with

and yummy to eat

I have always used the canned pumpkins for baking. It's what I grew up with and it's easy. This year our local farmer's market is selling little pie pumpkins that weigh about 3-4 pounds each and cost a dollar per pound. I figured I would give it a try and bought one. Here is what I did with it.

Wash the pumpkin and remove the stem.

Cut in half and remove seeds.

Lightly oil a cookie sheet, place the pumpkin halves face down, and bake at 350 degrees until fork tender.

Remove from oven and turn over to help the halves cool faster. Watch out for the steam. Once they are cool enough to handle get a large spoon and scoop out all the pulp.

I use an immersion blender to puree the pulp, but a food processor or even a potato masher will do the trick.

That one little 3 pound pumpkin made over 3 cups of puree. You can use it right away, put it in the fridge, or save it in the freezer for later. Today I turned about a cup of it into pumpkin muffins. 

Pumpkin Spice Muffins (adapted from this recipe)
1 cup All-purpose Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1-1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Salt
4 Tablespoons Butter, melted
1 cup (heaping) Pumpkin Puree
1/2 cup Milk
1 whole Egg
1-1/2 teaspoon Vanilla

2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 12 muffin tins. I used liners and I do not recommend it. They stuck.
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Add butter. In a separate bowl, mix together pumpkin, evaporated milk, egg, and vanilla. (I never do a separate bowl and it works fine. Less dishes that way) Pour pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture. Fold gently until mixture is just combined.
Pour into a greased muffin pan—batter hardly ever fills all twelve unless you keep it down to 1/2 full. Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon-sugar-nutmeg mixture over the top of each unbaked muffin.
Bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove and allow to cool.

Check back tomorrow to see what I'm doing with the seeds :)