Monday, January 11, 2016

Weather Tree

One of my friends posted a weather tree (Hello Stephanie) that she had done with her children throughout a whole year and it was gorgeous.  I decided that this was something we had to do in 2016...and since my blog has been sorely neglected, I thought this would be a good post for the start of 2016 (only 11 days late!).  I made a draft of the tree, and then my wonderful husband updated it and made it look much fancier than I ever could have.

Here is your free Weather Tree...

Please let me know if you are having issues with it printing (I think you will have to copy and paste it into a document of your choosing).

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Homemade Butter

In my quest to make basically everything from scratch, I made homemade butter this morning. I clearly remember making it during our Thanksgiving parties in elementary school, shaking the jar and then passing it along to the next person. This time around I threw it in my Kitchen Aid mixer (so much easier) and basically let the machine do its work. I also really wanted to know if it was cost effective to make your own vs. buying the pre-made stuff in the the end I will give you the cost/lb breakdown.

Start out by dumping your heavy whipping cream into the mixing bowl with the whisk attached.

Slowly up the speed on your mixer. This helps to make sure your precious cream doesn't go flying everywhere. I slowly moved my speed up to the 8 and let it do it's thing. First you will get whipped cream (yummy with some homemade powdered sugar!).
Within a minute or so your machine with start making a slopping noise...this means butter is forming. You will be able to see the difference in color as the buttermilk begins to seperate from the actual butter. Can you see the white cream on the outside and the yellow butter being formed in the center?
There is your butter and your buttermilk.
Now you have to do a little work. Pour the buttermilk off of the butter into a seperate bowl. I did this by just placing a small holed strainer over a bowl and dumping it out. Other people use spoons and press the liquid out and then transfer the butter to another bowl, or use cheesecloth. This seemed the most effective for me and meant I didn't have to toss out or wash any cheesecloth at the end of the process.
Now you will have a nice bowl of buttermilk to be used in other baking recipes or to drink (yuck!). My grandma Harms use to drink buttermilk and once I asked for a glass. It was horrible and she made me finish every last needless to say I haven't had another glass since and I probably won't be tasting this either.
Now with ice cold water you need to wash the butter to get all the extra buttermilk off. If you leave buttermilk in with the butter it will go rancid very quickly. I left my butter in the strainer and with my hand I just washed it under cold running water from the sink until their wasn't any more milky looking liquid coming off of it. Then I threw the butter back into my mixer with a paddle attachment and added about 2 tsp of salt to make salted butter.

In the end I weighed the butter and I had approx. 1lb 12 oz of butter and a quart of buttermilk which cost me $7.99 (and it wasn't organic). Depending on where you buy your butter from and if there is a sale...this is definitely not a bargain! (insert super sad face here) We can purchase 2 lbs of organic grass fed butter for about $7.40. If you add in the cost of buttermilk (which I haven't ever priced because I make a faux version when I rarely need it) it might not be horribly more expensive.

I think that we will probably continue to purchase our butter from the store, unless I can find organic heavy whipping cream on sale or clearance...or until we get a cow!



Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Project Run and Play

Well, my intentions of sewing along with Project Run and Play was a flop. Once again sickness and lack of alone sewing time has left me with only 1 outfit completed. I had intentions to sew along for at least 3 of the 4 hoo hoo. I have decided that I am still going to get those outfits deadline has been set...but it is happening!!!!!

Soooooooo...who's going to win?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Pattern Tester

I was lucky enough to be chosen as a pattern tester for Get Your Crap Together. She created the most adorable Shortie Nightgown and Bloomer pattern. Doesn't it just scream cuteness! The pattern is super user friendly and you can create all kinds of different looks with just one pattern (always a plus in my book).

I haven't done all 3 variations of the pattern yet...but am really excited to make Lainey a flannel nightgown. I know she will wear it all the time! I have the tank version done, just waiting for a sunny day to get some shots of her in the tank and bloomers.

Personally I love the bloomers the most! What little girl doesn't look cute in some elastic legged bloomers.

Definitely a Lainey approved pattern!
The pattern will be out February mark your calendars!


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Project Run and Play January 2014 - Winter Wonderland

Have you heard of Project Run and Play yet? If not you have to check them, amazing right? I have been following them for a long time and every time I say I am going to sew along. Well this is the year it wasn't just something I said!!!

I present to you Lainey's Snowy Sequins Winter Wonderland Outfit

I had seen an outfit similar to this in Chasing Fireflies last fall, and instantly thought Lainey needed an outfit like that. I drafted all of the patterns myself and lined everything in a royal blue and green flannel.

What girl doesn't need a fur bomber hat with sequins?! And of course a flannel lined fur muff to go with it?!

I lined her sequined flat front shorts with white flannel.

She loves it!

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!!!


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Homemade Granola

Homemade Granola

Last year we decided to we were going to work really hard to eliminate processed foods from our diets (mainly due to soy being in everything). This of course means no cereal for the kids. A good alternative for us has been homemade granola. Here is my simple recipe (nothing is exact in this recipe, you can eliminate or add as you see fit).

Homemade Granola

6 to 8 C oats

1/2 C wheat bran

1/2 C flax seed (doesn't have to be whole)

2-3 C chopped nuts (I used almonds, walnuts and pecans)

1/2-1 C sunflower seeds

1 C shredded unsweetened coconut flakes

1/3 C chia seeds

1 1/2 -2 1/2 raisins and/or dried cranberries (could use any dried fruit you like)

3/4 - 1 C honey (could also add maple syrup or a mixture of honey and maple syrup)

1/4 C coconut oil

1/2 C sugar (I used organic cane sugar, but you could also use brown sugar. Also you can change this amount or even eliminate the sugar.)

2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon

Mix all of the dry ingredients together(do not include dried fruit) in a large mixing bowl. In a saucepan heat the wet ingredients and spices until they are just beginning to boil. Remove from heat and pour over dry ingredients and mix well.

Pour a layer of the mixture onto a parchment lined cookie pan and bake in the oven for 20 to 30 mins at 325*, until light golden brown. Let cool for 20 mins, return to mixing bowl and add dried fruit. The granola will begin to crisp up as it cools, then place in an air tight container or just put some in a bowl with yogurt, milk or ice cream. YUMMY!

(makes approx. 1 gallon)

This reminds me a lot of the cereal Great Grains which my dad LOVES...thinking I could tweek this recipe and make some great cereal for my dad...Father's Day Gift?


Friday, January 3, 2014



A couple of months ago I was having a play date with a former co-worker and I went to change my child's diaper. I once again had not gotten to the cloth diapers before I ran out and was using disposables. She commented that she use to think I had it so together. She didn't mean this in a negative way, but it really got me to thinking how I am not the person or mother I was before my 3rd child.

My 3rd child has done me in, he is extremely needy and wants his mother all the time (he will cry so hard he makes himself throw up if I don't pick him up exactly when he wants). This of course means I get VERY little done because I just can't let these little ones cry. I use to make all of my children's snacks, have the laundry done, the house mostly clean, always had my cloth diapers washed, played with my children, created cool crafts for my children and I to do, and many, many, many other things, I did all of this while still working part time during the school year. I did have it together.

I feel lazy a lot of the time, because I sit and hold a baby for many hours of the day, (this is just my perception of myself). I want to get my old self back and not neglect my children at the same time. I want to do a lot more sewing. I want to have a clean house and I want to get rid of the pile of laundry at the bottom of my stairs. I want to have fun with my children every day... I am really going to work on creating a daily rythm for my family. I have felt like I am floundering and every day is ground hog's day for the last 10 months. I am going to get out of this funk and go back to the mother and wife I was. I need to, for my own sanity! Look for lots more blog posts....welcome back Mary Jane, 2014 is going to be a great year!