Thursday, September 30, 2010

this isn't pretty

My dad sent me this: He wants more cases.

He likes the elastic on the sides:

I made up this:

this isn't pretty:

Scrapping that plan...

(as I look at the pictures... it doesn't look that bad. It is. It's all kinds of crooked. New plan. )

edited to add: Here are the two cases I came up with this evening. No elastic, but more presentable. The next one will have some velcro at the top. I think I'm getting closer.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

stacks and stacks

Stack and stack and stacks of coffee cozies. There are still more to go.

If you're in the Portland Oregon area, you can find my coffee cozies for sale at Tea chi Te. Someday I'll go and enjoy the bubble tea.

If you're like the rest of us, and not in the Portland area, you can find them for sale in my Etsy shop.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

crock pot chicken Quesadillas

Alright, I'm using some canned goods and blogging about the recipe as part of "I canned a whole LOTT, now I'm cooking in my Bistro."

This is another one of those recipes where there aren't a lot of rules.

I used a pint jar of corn and a pint jar of salsa. I also used some zucchini from the freezer. You could of course use store bought of all those too.

crock pot chicken quesadillas
Chicken (either frozen or already cooked up, whatever) - I used frozen meat that had been picked off a whole chicken last month.
corn - one pint or about 1 cup frozen or 1 can store bought
Salsa- 1 pint or 1 1/2 cup store bought
Black Beans- about 1c or 1 can
other veges if you wish- sliced or chunked peppers, onions, shredded zucchini (no one will know)

shredded cheese, sour cream, flat bread or tortilla shells

We usually enjoy them on this flat bread the first night and use tortilla shells the next night. We eat up all the flat bread the first night and there isn't any leftover.

Here's who else is participating this week: (Must have been a busy weekend for the others!)

Monday, September 27, 2010

I need a reminder

I've had to remind myself lately. Sometimes frequently.

Someday I'll have organized closets, a kitchen floor that doesn't need swept 15 times a day, couches without juice stains, the ability to sleep in and get places on time.

I have to remind myself that I will miss the juice spills and 15 potty trips on the way out the door.

Someday I'll miss the craziness of kids running through the house because they'll be at their own houses. I'll miss not being able to find my shoes because someone with little feet wore them around the house.

No one will need my help finding the lost blankie or need my mama-nurse super powers to patch up a barely bloody knee. I have to remind myself that some day I'll miss having monster jam trucks all over the family room floor and couch cushions and blankets all over the living room as part of some elaborate fort.

I will wish there were more dirty clothes to wash and dishes to do because it means my little people are home. Some day they'll be able to pick up after themselves and do their own laundry... and they'll be doing it at their own homes.

I get frustrated with my little people when they don't pay attention in the grocery store and run in front of people's carts and with having to get up during dinner 17 times to get them more water, another napkin, replace a dropped fork, and retrieve ketchup. I try to remind myself that those things are temporary. I'm blessed to have two healthy wonderful kiddos.

They drive me crazy sometimes, they make me pull my hair out... they make me smile, they make me happy. I have to remind myself that sometimes.

Didn't mean to get all crazy sentimental and stuff. Regular blogging to return tomorrow.

Friday, September 24, 2010


Here's a simple little color project that Lou brought home from school this week. It's the same thing I did with my kids too; we all do the same craft. He said his teachers followed it up with Little Yellow and Little Blue by Leo Lionni, which was perfect.

The kids did a print of each colored hand then rubbed their hands together to get a new color. All of my kiddos like the blending part. I think this would be a great way to teach any primary color blending to make the secondary color.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

snack bags

I haven't been making any snack bags lately. I've been discouraged about using vinyl as the part that touches our food. Angry Chicken shared some super easy cotton snack bags. They literally take 5 minutes and are working for us just as well as our old snack bags.

They are made like old school style ziplock, pre zip locked tops. These have no velcro or anything fancy. They are just folded and sewn fabric.

The only thing we will do different next time is avoid white fabric. Our gold fish made spots that went through the fabric.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

that's it

This is it for today. Pictures from the yard.

The neighbors have given us some hints on attracting more gold finches. They sometimes have 8 on their feeder at once. We will keep working on it.

We have at least two bunnies that visit. This one is Lou's. His had some injury and has a noticeable scare on it's side.

Hannah took these two flower pictures.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

food question

Today is Tuesday and I'm supposed to have a post up about cooking with a canned good, but the meal I was going to make and photograph is yet to be made. Friday we ended up going out to dinner (thank you free kids meal coupons from the library reading program), Saturday we ended up eating up leftovers, Sunday we ate at a friends house, and Monday another neighbor brought us a lasagna! I'm sure it will get made up this week and will be here next Tuesday.

Here's the food question: Last week I made Cornish game hens. I took a plate over to a neighbor, whose wife in on a mission trip (wearing this lovely number). He said that he had never had them before. So I mentioned to someone else that we had enjoyed Cornish game hens the night before and she had never had them before either. So I was curious and asked a few other people, none of whom had ever had them. Am I missing something? Do they have a bad reputation? Am I unaware of it since I ate them growing up? Could they be regional?

I have now googled it... perhaps I know why now....

EDITED TO ADD: The only thing I've learned about them is that they are a young bird, 4-6 weeks old. Maybe some people have that whole 'veal' feeling about eating a baby. Also, they are fed a lot of food during their short life. It's not a force feeding, it's just they are offered frequent food... the farmers probably put them in front of the TV too.

Monday, September 20, 2010

canning broth

Since we've been getting all these whole chickens, we've ended up with all this wonderful chicken broth. At first I froze it. Now that the freezer is full of shredded zucchini, corn, tomato soup, and a months worth of meat, we needed another way to preserve the broth. I was hesitant about canning a meat product, but my in-laws say it's fine and they are pro canners. Plus, there are dozens of recipes for canning meat in my pressure canner manual. And, if I come across 'possom or frogs, my old Ball book can help he can that too.

Sometimes I roast the chicken in the oven, but it's generally easier for us to throw it in the crock pot. I throw in the frozen chicken, a couple of cups of water, and a few random vegetables (carrots, celery, squash, whatever) first thing in the morning. I put mine on high; I have only two temperature settings. Later in the day, I turn it down to low.

After I take out the chicken and vegetable out and pull all the meat off the bones, I throw all the bones and such back in the crock pot. I usually set the crock pot in the fridge and work on the broth the next day. (funny: when I type crockpot, spell checker wants to change it to crack pot)

The next day, when the crock pot is taken out of the fridge, there is a nice layer of fat on top of the mix. I skim that off and throw it in my jar of fat in the fridge. I don't reuse this, I just keep it in the fridge for storage. See all the layers of bacon grease, sausage drippings, etc. When this is full, I'll just toss it. It's in a canning jar only because the top was chipped and I was going to toss it anyway. (It appears we are in dire need of an orange juice run!)

I warm up the crock pot again and get it all hot. Sometimes I add some more water. I don't think there are any real rules. Once it's super hot, it can be poured through a strainer to separate the bones and what not. If you wanted, I've read that you can strain it again through cheese cloth to remove more 'particles.' I'm good with this level of straining.

I clean up the jars and get them all ready.

Pour the hot broth into the hot clean jars. Clean up the rims and put the lids on.

Into the pressure caner they go.

The manual with my canner says pints of meat broth need processed 20 minutes at 10 pounds pressure. Quarts 25 minutes.

This is a jar of beef broth, but I can them the same way. This canned homemade broth seems to have a richer taste and we love it. The above pictures are actually Cornish game hen broth... pretty sure its the same as chicken broth.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

garage sale goodies

These are just two things among the several yard sale goodies we picked up this weekend.

I've been keeping an eye out for 100% wool sweaters to use for crafting. Saturday I found two. The gray one was 50 cents. It's Lands End. The multicolored one was $2.00 but it's HUGE. It's an Abercrombie XL. They are nice sweaters; I fully plan to felt and cut into them! There were lots of felted wool crafts floating around last fall and winter. I will have to find a fun one. The house where I bought the colored one said they want to see what I come up with.

Friday, September 17, 2010

fries for me

Here's an idea I got from my Aunt. She brought the kids some things to play with from her classroom when we went to visit her this summer. This is one of them.

I just went to McDonalds and told them I was making a math game and they happily gave me all the fry boxes I wanted. Hubby was surprised that it was that easy. I told hubby that I probably could have gotten them to fill them with fries for me for free too. People love teachers! I used to get the local grocery store to donate granola bars and apples on field trip days. Walmart even donated fish food and hamster bedding a time or two when we had an ark full of class pets.

These are yellow sponges from the dollar store. They came 4 in a pack and I bought 4 packs. Each sponge made 4 fries. So I got 64 french fries for $4. Each fry box is programmed with the written numeral and the written number word.

We added a pair of tongs which ups the fun level tremendously.

We count with them, then play a little, then count some more, play some more.

Here's the drawstring bag I made up to hold them. It's just a rough applique using scraps. The green strip fabric is an old thrifted pillowcase. It was perfect for a fry box.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

more color matching

Three year olds get to work on patterns and colors and matching. A lot. Here's another activity for preschool that qualifies for all three.

I inherited hundreds of these inch blocks. I used them often when I taught 2 and 3rd grade. We used them for making patterns, introduction to measuring, working on perimeter and area, etc. They are pretty open ended. To make the pattern cards, I cut out inch pieces out of construction paper and glued them on 3 inch strips. Then I laminate everything of course. I'm taking them to the nature center today for my early arrival kids to try out.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

2 bags in one night

I said I was addicted. Last night I made up another buttercup bag. I also made up a satchel style bag I'm calling the one hour satchel bag. I've been embarrassing myself wtih the bag I've been carrying to school.

For this buttercup bag I added some felt in-between the outer fabric and lining and also in the strap. I think it makes a sturdier bag. I have fabric cut for two more and will be adding felt to those too.

It's lined with some leftover fabric from the teacher bag.

On to the messenger bag. I have been embarrassing myself carrying a torn-on-the-bottom old grocery tote bag to school. Before you could buy reusable grocery bags, I had made up a bunch of fabric totes. My favorite was worn on the bottom in several spots. I can't remember why, but at some point it was full of groceries and was dragged on concrete. I was brewing a plan for a bag that was thin and really just big enough for my plan book, a few file folders, and a book or two.

It's lined and has felt in the middle to sturdy it up a bit.

The only pocket is on the back. If I hadn't given myself just one evening to make it, it would have been fun to have a bunch of pockets inside too.

It's just the size I was looking for.

Check out the cute shirts all the teachers at my school ordered. They say I (heart) preschool and there are three little people. It's all rhinestone bling. We all got different colors.