Saturday, March 30, 2013

Frozen Whipped Cream (pinterest fail)

So, I found this (what I thought was) AMAZING idea.  It takes time to make whipped cream, and I don't always have whipping cream on hand to make it.  I thought it would be fun to try.

Although the picture doesn't look great, it worked okay and I had that freezer bag full of whipped cream lumps ready to pull out whenever I need them.

A few weeks later I used one for hot cocoa, and pulled out a couple more for my daughter's pudding.  I'll tell you straight, the texture was awful.  They melted like freezer burnt ice cream or something. I don't know how to explain it.  The melting was not a smooth process and the whipped cream was almost granular when not frozen anymore.  I won't do it again, so I thought it'd be fair to share my pinterest fail.  (Most of the things I pin have been wins, though, by the way :).

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

High Fiber foods

Black Beans = 16 grams per serving!

In addition to getting adequate and regular protein, something I need to work on is getting plenty of fiber in my diet.  According to my most recent research it is recommended that women get 25 grams of fiber per day.  I know from the few times I've tracked my eating that I rarely reach that each day.  I am committed to improving in this area for so many aspects of my health (not the least of which is to stop gaining weight!).

I thought I'd collect some mental reminders for myself by posting a list here.  Maybe you need some ideas or reminders, too.

Ways to get more Fiber

Raspberries                 8 grams
Apple (with skin)       4.4
Banana                        3.1
Orange                         3
Strawberries                3

Bran Flakes cereal       5.3
Cooked Oatmeal         4

Black Beans                16   (whoa, dude!  1/2 the daily amount)
Baked Beans               10.4
Sunflower seeds          3.9
Almonds                     3.5

Broccoli                      5.1
Sweet corn                  4

I think the moral of the story is I need to have some beans for lunch!  My daughter loves to make "black bean salsa," which is just drained black beans marinated in Italian dressing.  It's kind of like 3 bean salad with just one bean.  She can eat almost a whole can that way dipping corn chips in it.  I ought to try that!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Dessert Oatmeals

Mmmm, I made a discovery one morning when I cooked my oatmeal in milk?  Have you tried it?  

So much better than water.  It's creamy and thick, like a pudding.

Therefore, add some toppings and you've got a (high fiber!) substitution for some of your favorite desserts.

First:  add brown sugar and frozen fruit...

Berry Pie oatmeal

Or:  add chocolate chips and maybe even pecans...

Chocolate Chip cookie oatmeal

Try it!  It might just add a smile to your morning.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Weekly Chores

It seems like a lot of my remodeling tasks are done way up high in the air these days.

The master bathroom had a wallpaper I showed that border who was boss...

I still find steaming to be the only way to go when removing wallpaper.

It didn't take long (as wallpaper removing jobs go).  Next step in this room is sanding the walls and painting.  That'll include a TALL ladder, too, I'm sure.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Using Up-cycled Box

If I remember right I've shown you how I upcycled this box, using mod podge and an old phone book right?

I just wanted to pop back in and show you how I use it.  It holds some of my sewing tools on my shelves in our "office."  I like it's vintage-y look so well, I made another using a box with taller sides. In it I save scraps.  I think it'd be fun to make a crazy quilt someday piecing together teeny-tiny scraps.  A lot of work, but fun.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Donut Holes

If you are craving fried bread dough, in any of its forms...a quick and easy way to get it from bowl to mouth is just forming little round blobs to fry.

(Click on links for my doughnut and scone dough recipes).

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Their Health and Mine, (wheelchair edition)

Not long after moving into our house, I got the call from the school that my daughter had broken her leg.  I'll start by saying there were lots of tender mercies to help us through the event.  My mom was in town that week she got hurt, and got to spend lots of hours watching the other kids while I went from clinic to hospital to x-rays, etc.

One unexpected experience was my daughter's new life in a wheelchair.  The break was just such that it required a thigh-length cast and completely no weight bearing in any way.  Learning our way around wheelchair life was an extremely eye-opening experience.  I have total awe for anyone who does this day in day out for years, especially if you also have younger children.  Its a maddening dilemma when faced with lifting a baby or toddler or helping the one in the chair.  And bathing like-a-baby a child who weighs much, much more than a baby is work.  We only had a few weeks like that because my wheelchair  bound 7 year old became creatively independent  finding her own little way to do just about everything.

As I write this I realize that the 6 weeks of wheelchair-bound-child stress I was under was really a mostly positive one.  But the thing with stress is that it is there even when things are positive the stress can become problematic when "stacked" with a number of other stressors in triggering mental illness.  This seems to be the case for me.  I think I have a pre-disposition for mental illness genetically, and while being a generally happy person can, with the right amount of pressures.......POP!  :)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pepper Prep

Since we started shopping at Costco (once I realized I was shopping 2 to 3 times a week and it was time to buy in bulk) I've been more careful about prepping all my foods to make sure I utilize or save them in the proper time frame.

I slice and dice peppers and freeze what I won't have time to use.  When they are used in cooked dishes frozen is just as good as fresh.  I generally use the sliced ones for Chicken Fajitas and the diced ones for homemade chili.

What fruits and veggies do you freeze for later?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Chalkboard Paint Labels

Using chalkboard paint has been so fun for me.  Since I don't have a vinyl cutter (oh, how I wish I did :) I can't just whip out some cute labels.  So I thought I'd just paint some on!

I marked the size I wanted with painter's tape...

and decked them out with three coats of the stuff (yes, still my pictures, I just used green tape instead of blue for the majority of them)

Now you want to see the big reveal, right?  The gorgeous line-up of canisters with cutely written labels in chalk.

Well, ya ain't gonna find that here, honey.  Turns out chalkboard paint sticks to most stuff, but this plastic isn't most things.  It just lifted right off.  Didn't adhere at all.  

Since I've enjoyed my chalkboard paint in so many other ways, I'm not going to hold a grudge.  It's okay lil' can of paint.  I'll find more uses for ya!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Their Health and Mine, part 3

My sweet little 2 year old ended up in the hospital for an entire week.  At first it was predicated to be a day or two, then a few more, all dictated by the way his fever would spike at night despite all their intravenous treatment.  He ended up on two different IV antibiotics, but didn't take a turn for the better until 4 days in.  It was grueling.  At the time we were fine.

Anyone who asked was told we were fine.  We were fine.  Our sweet neighbors were watching our older kids.  We were SO LUCKY to live in a neighborhood full of people who knew us and cared enough to help.  Some brought us dinners when we'd come home to switch "shifts" at the hospital.  So this is what we reminded people if they would ask after us on facebook.  WE WERE FINE!  (when will I learn to stop saying that?)

On my third day there, staring at the wall, as reality that the hospital staff was really not getting on top of this pneumonia and it really was getting worse, my eye zero'd in on the plastic covered print out they had attached to the wall.  It was a page that was fully covered in print.  I had to contain a sob as the reality hit.  I had previously ignored the print out because it was in medical-ease... clearly meant for staff use only.  

But I realized my son's personal info was on it, his age, size, weight...and one of the lines listed a voltage.

Yes, a voltage.

The voltage to be used with a defibrillator to re-start a heart that has stopped. 

Once I realized this I went through the entire sheet and pieced together with my limited medical vocabulary that this entire sheet was "code" instructions to resuscitate my little boy if he started to slip away.  That was the moment I realized HE COULD DIE.    When I trace back the many, many events of the last few years before my panic attacks started, I come back to the scene where I really read that paper and realized the situation we were in.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Their Health and Mine, part 2

After my son's ER visit I didn't think much of the previous Dr's misdiagnosis.  I felt like the bullet was dodged, and at least now we had answers and medicine.  But after the antibiotic injections at the ER, and strong prescription, and round the clock breathing treatments we were seeing no change in our tiny two-year old.

His fever was as strong as ever, so I called back to the ER.  Our discharge instructions said to, and I no longer trusted the Dr's office to steer us the right way.  I called the ER around the same time (two days later) we had been there, maybe subconsciously hoping to get answers from those who had treated us.  My prayers were answered, when upon explaining the situation to the nurse, she gave a high pitched breath and said, "Oh!  The doctor wants to talk to you."  So the phone was handed to the ER doc (never had that happen before!) and within seconds of my explanation of symptoms, he said we've got to admit him now.  This was followed by a little mumbling by the Dr. about how he knew he needed admitted.  I felt very strong that there was so much orchestrating of the saving of my son between these medical professionals, myself, and mostly what can't be seen.

On my (again lone) drive back to the ER with my fevered and struggling toddler I put in a message to my parents to let them know we were checking in.  Not sure why, I just needed someone in the universe to know how real and surreal and scary and necessary and weird! this situation was.  It was pre-dawn.  I knew they were asleep.  But I wanted someone to know.

(to be continued...)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Their Health and Mine

As I've processed the stresses of the past year or two...the major and the mind seems to rest on a few things that I trudged through at the time, not really dealing with just pushing towards the finish line.  Those things brought me straight into survival mode, so I swept off emotion and handled them as they needed to be.  First I'd like to give myself a pat on the back for getting them handled, but secondly I'd like a moment to unburden myself here on the blog with the details.


I was 36 weeks pregnant, focusing mostly on the beastly details of a gestational diabetes diet, as well as my husband's job search in the wake of finishing law school and taking the bar exam.  Although he had interviewed regularly we hadn't been given any firm offers and were practicing intense prayer, including prayer for more faith!  This was in the heat of August.  Strangely our two year old caught some kind of summer bug with a fever that wouldn't quit. 

 5 days and it wouldn't quit!  I knew that was too long for my comfort so I had him checked at the Dr's office.  I was shoo-shoo'd as an overly worried parent with a virus in my house and sent home.  Two days later I woke at 5 in the morning with my son struggling to breathe and my instincts telling me Dr. "didn't care" wasn't right.  I called the nurse line and was told to lift my son's shirt to watch his breathing.  When I did I saw his skin pull in to his ribs.  

The nurse line operator said it was time to go straight to the ER.  Since we had two other kids at home asleep I drove myself with my son to the Children's hospital ER.  As a very pregnant woman you'd think I'd be emotional, but in the face of danger I turn quite the opposite.  I went swiftly, and thankfully had been to that hospital several times for Celiac disease testing for all of my kids.

I pulled into an empty parking lot and was taken straight back.  After about 30 seconds of listening to his lungs the Dr's said, "Pneumonia, right lung."  They then started giving my son breathing treatments while preparing him for X-ray.  He was X-ray'd, diagnosis confirmed and injected with antibiotics.  Within a couple of hours of arriving we were headed back home, nebulizer and antibiotic prescription in tow.

(to be continued)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Tie Dye fun

Project Runway Tie Dye Kit (Google Affiliate Ad)

My oldest daughter saved birthday and chore money for a long time with the hopes of having her own tie dye kit.  And once she had it, it took us awhile to accumulate all the shirts we needed to get a full use out of it.  With a two year old in the house I wasn't about to be storing strong dye anywhere :).  I wanted it all used up.  We bought some extra shirts when we found them on clearance and my mother ended up mailing us a huge batch of white T-shirts too.  I think we had about 15. 

I'll be honest, it was messy.  This table is still permanently dyed, so I'm glad its one we were planning to get rid of years ago, but haven't replaced yet.  We had a tarp on the floor but there were still spills.

It was fun, though, and we have lots of shirts to wear to remember the experience (as well as a few we gave as gifts).

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Making Homemade Fries

 One Friday evening, my husband was out of town for work and the kids and I wanted to do something FUN.  So we decided to have some french fry taste tests.  The girls loved them from McDonald's but a new fast food place had just been built so we decided to try theirs.  We still went home and made our own dinner but for $2.50 we got to do a little sampling.

It was fun, and the kids liked them, but I found them really disappointing.  I love anything cooked in hot grease, I'm loathe to admit, but these were like little straws of air--no detectable potato.

So the next weekend, the girls and I set out to make the fabulous fries we'd been hoping to have.

SO much better.  Mmmm, nothing beats real potatoes.

Topped with Lawry's seasoning salt, and we were in French Fry Heaven.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Infinity Scarf FAIL

Let's not call it a "FAIL," let's call it a "TRY," okay?

I had the best of intentions when starting this T-shirt scarf.  Not only that, but I had the best T-shirt.  For the others I had used solid colors.  I loved the navy pattern on this one so much more than those.  So I set out to make an extra special scarf.

99 cents at Goodwill

If I had quit here, and just stretched this out I'd have had a perfectly decent, maybe even cute infinity scarf.

But I had to make it complicated and sew a seam.

And then turn the tube I had created.  And while turning realized I had an infinity I couldn't turn out of.  So I had to cut...

It was still cute, but not "infinity."  And my brain was too fried to decide where to go next with it.  I'd already made a number of T-shirt scarves that day.

So I looked over at my cute toddler and gave it to him to play with.

And that truly made it all better.

So we won't call it a fail, right?  It was a TRY.  But dang, I wish I had a cute scarf with that fabric.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Make Your Own sensory box

This was my oldest daughter's idea and she made it herself.  She is very independent and motivated when it comes to getting projects done.

She simply opened a can of rice.  We keep a lot around because she can't have wheat and we follow the practice of Food Storage.

She covered a Costco box from a recent shopping trip, with duct tape.  Imagine that, huh?  :)

The texture of the grain between your fingers is relaxing, and she has really enjoyed it.  This would be a great FREE craft to make for toddlers to use as long as they were well supervised :).

Sunday, March 10, 2013


These are my husband's hiking boots.  They were one of our first big purchases when we were newlyweds.  Casey loves to hike and backpack and great boots really make it more enjoyable.   

Sadly, he didn't do much hiking in the years between us being newlyweds and now.  When he went on his first few big campouts this year, this is what happened.  The shoes had "aged" without being used.  It's probably for the best because they are also just enough too tight to not be comfortable.  Hopefully in the next year he'll get a new pair. He's been doing lots more camping and even planning backpacking adventures with the kids.

I'm getting really excited for spring and summer.  The older the kids get the more fun it is to enjoy these hobbies and see them through their eyes.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Personalized Art

I am going to re-post some projects that got lost in my switch to a dot com.  This is the third piece of wall art that will go in the grouping.  Can't wait to see it all together!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Entry Art

One of the most exciting projects for me was re-doing the entry.  I stripped wallpaper, pulled carpet nails and staples out one by one, and bleach treated the pet stains on the stair sub-floors.  I "sealed" in our bleach treatment with some wild paint + primer mix we were recycling.  As you can see by this picture I discovered a LOVE of heights when working on projects.  Who knew?

To fill this long entry space, we came up with some personalized art.  I did the first couple of pieces.

But what I am really excited to show you is the final touch on the grouping:

Casey made me this hat rack out of branches.  This winter I fell in love with all kinds of branch art I found on etsy.  One day I showed him a picture of a rack just like this, and the next day he was working on it.  I really, really love it and can't wait to see our stuff up on the wall.  

P.S.  The frame of this piece was what I did the wood weathering technique on.

P.P.S.  I'm sharing here:

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Make-up Skills

This was the casualty of a relaxing evening...he made his way upstairs to try put the makeup on himself and the bathroom cabinet...

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


This child is so creative.  She drew up plans for the bed she wants her dad to build for her.

This is the bed she modeled it after :).

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Pumpkin Pancakes

The air is not crisp with the smell of fall, but it is still cold and I have some pureed pumpkin the freezer begging to be used.  Here is a recipe I put together combining my favorite aspects of several.  I fry them in a skillet with coconut oil.  And the whipped cream on top is a must!


2 1/2 C flour

1/4 C sugar

4 t baking powder

1 t cinnamon

1 t ginger

1 t nutmeg

1 t salt

1/2 C milk

3C pumpkin puree

1/4 C melted butter

2 eggs

Monday, March 4, 2013

A Pool????

No.  In the climate in which we currently live, no.  No reason for a pool.

But we did live in hot, hot Texas.  And if we were back there...or in California...or Florida....

Oh!  Or Arizona!

The pictures sure make it tempting.

So which is your favorite?