Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Resolutions and Lettuce Wraps

I woke up this morning not feeling very nice. Everyone at this house has gone through the Christmas holiday flu and I thought that I made it through unscathed. I was so wrong.

To make it worse, when I looked on Pinterest to get my mind off of my rolling tummy, I was bombarded with pictures exclusively made up of rock hard butts and glitter (only the butts were rock hard, not the glitter) and I realized that the new year is upon us! Everyone is looking forward to their cool parties and to working off all the Christmas poundage for their New Year's resolution.

It's been a pretty long time since I've made up some resolutions so I figured I would make a simple list. So I thought about what I wanted to accomplish this next year, grabbed my snuggle buddy for a couple of pictures (he loves to look at the screen while we take them), and waited for his nap time so I could write them down. Which brings us to now:

2014 Resolutions

1. Be more outgoing.

I have always struggled with this, but now that I'm a stay-at-home mommy, I have to work harder than ever to make good friends. Before, I could easily be friends with the people that I worked with because we had so much in common anyway. Now, I have to find people that I share similarities with, or try extra hard to be friends with people who are really not like me at all.

2. Be more spiritual.

Okay, so these aren't in any particular order. If they were, this one should have come first.

I used to take my spirituality personally, but now I realize more and more how important it is for me to be a good example for my son. I want him to grow up knowing he is a son of God and that there is more to life than just climbing the next great mountain or buying the latest sports car. I want him to learn that he should show compassion to others, not just because it's what he would want for himself, but because everyone around him is his spiritual brother or sister. I want him to know that he can find peace in heeding promptings rather than escaping life through loud music or social media.

The only way I can teach him all of that is by being a good example of faith. He needs to see me take time to be spiritual every day.

3. Lose that baby weight!

I am still 20 pounds heavier than I was pre-pregnancy. I kind of feel like I'm in AA when I say that. I don't care so much about the pounds, but my selection of clothes is not so hot. I'm really trying to save money by not buying a whole new wardrobe. If I can fit into my pre-pregnancy pants before the end of next year, I will be satisfied.

4. Be more productive.

This is a pretty big goal and it's hard to measure. I mostly want to keep the house clean and stick to a cleaning schedule. When the house is clean, I want to eat and cook healthy meals, I am more motivated to work on my freelance jobs, and I feel more satisfied at the end of the day.

5. Stick to the budget.

Evan and I have made a new budget and we're pretty satisfied with it. I am in charge of most of the bills and other things, so it is really my job to make sure we are spending as efficiently as possible. We have a lot of things to save for, so this is super important!

I think those goals are big enough to keep me busy for the next year. I've realized that being a mom means your work is never done. I used to see goals as hurdles to jump over. Now goals are something that you have to start and keep up forever!

Now that you've read up to this point, I have a little recipe for you that was a big hit in our house a couple of night ago. They are Chinese lettuce wraps. I think they are similar to P.F. Changs, but I haven't had them in a while, so I don't know how close they are. All I know is that they are delicious. Enjoy!

Chinese Lettuce Wraps
Serves 4 people

2 large chicken breasts
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
6 Tablespoons soy sauce
4 Tablespoons orange marmalade
1 to 2 teaspoons sriracha sauce
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 green or red bell pepper (finely chopped)
3 stalks green onion (chopped)
course black pepper
1 to 2 heads of lettuce

In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, soy sauce, orange marmalade, and sriracha and mix. Add more sriracha to taste and set aside.

Pour 1 Tablespoon of oil into frying pan and heat. Cut raw chicken breasts into small pieces, about the size of a fingertip. Place chicken into frying pan with oil and pepper and cook until done. Remove from pan and pour more oil into pan. Add garlic and chopped bell pepper and heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Add cooked chicken, green onion, and sauce and stir fry. Let the mixture simmer for about a minute and remove from heat.

Carefully remove lettuce leaves from the head and wash. Try to keep them as intact as possible since this will be your vehicle for the chicken mixture. Put a few spoonfuls of chicken into a lettuce leaf, roll like a tortilla, and eat.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Almond Poppy Seed Loaves

"Hey, what's with all this bread?" you may be thinking. Well, I guess fall is the time for baking. It also seems like the time to put on your extra pounds to keep you warm while the snow falls outside.

When I go grocery shopping I like to go down every single aisle, especially if my husband is home with the boy. It serves as my thinking time, and I would be lying if I said I was in a huge hurry to get out of there. Since cooking meals and making lunches is now in my job description, I like to take my time looking at different ingredients and daydream about the different food creations in my future. 

Unfortunately, most of my daydreams will remain in my head since I'm still trying to lose the baby weight. But sometimes I'll splurge on a recipe that I want to try. And I'll usually try to make it for a party so I can give away the leftovers. 

So on one of my wanderings in the grocery store, I stopped for a good five minutes in the spice section trying to get some ideas for the next week of dinner meals. But what I found distracted me from all my dinner planning. Poppy seeds. 

I love poppy seed things. Almond poppy seed muffins, lemon poppy seed muffins, everything bagels... and that's about it... but I love all of them! So although it wasn't an amazing price and it was way more poppy seeds than I could probably use, I waved away the angel on my shoulder saying, "you really shouldn't..." and I marched to the checkout with the seeds and the rest of my groceries. 

And I'm glad I did! It opened me up to so many avenues of internet searching. Here are some recipes that I am going to try eventually: 

Chewy Almond Poppy Seed Granola Bars from Cooking Classy

Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes from Baking with Blondie

Homemade (everything) bagels from Annie's Eats

Poppy Seed Dressing from A Pinch of Yum

Although all of these look really great, I was dying for some almond poppy seed bread. So here's the recipe I made from Our Best Bites. I made just a minor change with the flavorings because I didn't have butter flavor and I didn't make the glaze because I didn't want it to be too sweet. It turned out perfect!

Almond Poppy Seed Bread
(makes 2 normal loaves or 4 mini loaves)

3 cups flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/8 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup milk
2 tsp poppy seeds
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp almond extract

In a mixing bowl, combine all the wet ingredients and the sugar. In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.

Grease 2 normal sized loaf pans or 4 mini sized loaf pans. Separate batter between pans and put in the oven at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

It's funny because if you search for almond poppy seed bread online, you pretty much just get this recipe. It's like everyone thinks they are being original but they all really just stole it from one another! But it tastes great, so why change a good thing?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Spiced Pumpkin Bread

Happy Halloween! I know it's a little bit late, but I wanted to acknowledge the holiday, even if its purpose is a little questionable. Halloween is 1000 times better when you have a kid, I realized this year. It was so fun making all of our costumes so that we could all coordinate. I know that in two or three years he's going to want to do his own thing and it will be more difficult to all match, so this year was really fun!

If you couldn't tell, Evan was Han Solo, I was Princess Leia, and Alex was R2D2

One thing that really surprised me this year for Halloween is that the trick-or-treaters made their way around the neighborhood super early. We were completely cleaned out of candy before 5:30. Maybe it's just because I grew up in the northwest where it gets dark a touch earlier than here in Utah, but I remember always going trick-or-treating when it was dark out. I guess it's safer this way, or they get to go to more neighborhoods. But it made us feel a little awkward because we had to just shut our lights off and pretend we weren't home for a while.

But anyway, Halloween always reminds me of pumpkins and I love pumpkin pretty much anything! We busted out our first can way before October rolled around and there's no sign of getting bored of it yet. One of my favorite things to make is pumpkin bread, and here's my recipe:

Spiced Pumpkin Bread
(makes two regular or four mini loaves)

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup pumpkin (I highly recommend Libby's)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup apple cider 
2 eggs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all dry ingredients into a medium bowl. Mix pumpkin, sugar, cider, eggs, oil, and vanilla together and stir well. Add flour mixture and stir just until moistened. Divide into greased loaf pans. 

Bake 65 to 70 minutes at 350 degrees or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove to continue cooling. 

This is a perfect gift to give out to neighbors, especially if you make them in mini loaves. It's delicious served warm with butter. Or if you're like me and love hot chocolate, you can dip it in a warm, steamy cup!


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Apple Cider

Oh Utah fall, how my Washington heart loves you! To many people, Utah has a great climate. It's hot in the summer and pretty much beautiful everyday if you want to plan ahead for a barbecue or an outdoor wedding. The winter produces fresh snow almost daily for all the skiers and snowboarders. It is the perfect weather for the person who loves to do outdoor activities.

However, I am not a person like that. I wouldn't say that I'm not "fun", but maybe I'm not the typical kind of fun that most people think of. I love sweats and books and cuddles with my little baby. And I love warm comfort foods and drinks. But I don't like to be restricted indoors either and I'm not a huge fan of snow. So this is why fall is my favorite.

It's cold enough that it brings people closer together to get cozy. It also allows you to reasonably wear sweats to keep warm as well as to hide that extra layer of winter chub. The leaves are changing and the rare desert rainy days are not so rare.

If Utah was fall all year round then I might love it as much as my Pacific Northwest home. Unfortunately, it doesn't last that long, so Utah fall will remain a seasonal dessert that I can look forward to while I cope with the other extreme temperatures.

So enough of my brain skimmings. Here's the point: I made homemade cider.

It was really easy! And the result was a house that smelled like an orchard and a quart sized jar of cider swirling with spices. Here's the recipe:

Apple Cider
(makes one quart)

6 apples (it is best to have a variety of sweet and tart)
1 orange (optional)
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons lemon juice (less if you have an orange)
1 Tablespoon cinnamon, or two cinnamon sticks
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 pinch of nutmeg
enough water to cover

Slice apples and oranges and put them into a thick bottomed pot that has a lid. You don't have to worry about peeling or coring the fruit since you will be straining the mixture later. Add the sugar, lemon juice, and spices to the pot. Pour enough water to cover the fruit. The apples will float, so just remember where the water would have covered the fruit. You want to add enough water to maintain a good boil for an extended amount of time, but not so much that your cider turns out diluted.

Heat the mixture on the stove until it reaches a rolling boil. Allow it to boil for 30 minutes uncovered. Stir and mash the fruit as it becomes softer. Cover the pot and lower the temperature so it is a little more than a simmer. Stir and mash fruit occasionally and boil for 4 to 5 hours.

Remove from the heat and mash the fruit again. Strain through a cheesecloth, a handkerchief, or pantyhose. Taste and add more spices, sugar, or lemon juice as needed.



Monday, October 14, 2013

Easiest Kid Craft Ever

I've been meaning to do this forever. It's been on my Pinterest board for a long time, because it was so easy, even I could do it. Of course, I made it my own by totally making my letters colored and using magnetic rounds instead of strips. Wowza!

All you have to do is get those little wooden disks at Lowe's or Home Depot or whatever. Then you paint them, stick a little letter sticker on them, glue a magnet on the back, and you're done!
My four-year-old monkey decided not to go to bed whilst completing this project, so I put him to work with the magnets. He loved them right away.

He isn't wearing a shirt, because that's just how he rolls lately. He also has a thing for muscle shirts. I'm trying to pick my battles. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Fall Sauce

Right now I am re-reading Anne of Green Gables for probably my fifth time. Whenever I read this book, I seem to enjoy the seasons so much more. This time around my appreciation for nature and the changing seasons seems to be amplified. Maybe it's because I'm a new mom and I am constantly aware that I'm in the presence of a human that is experiencing everything for the first time. Or maybe it's because I am reading this book during the season where the mountains surrounding my house seem to be on fire with the changing leaves.

Whatever it is, autumn has hit me hard this year and I feel like I may never recover.

I am constantly dreaming of new concoctions that I could make with apples or pumpkin. Nutmeg and cloves call out to me from their shelf tucked away. So when I acquired an assortment of apples, pears, and peaches from my mom and grandma, I mentally drooled over the possibilities.

I was originally going to try to make homemade cider, but I didn't have any cheesecloth, and since the day was an I-may-never-get-out-of-my-sweats kind of a day, I decided to stay homebound and find something else equally blog-worthy.

With some prodding from my mom, I decided to make fall sauce. I can't exactly call it applesauce since it was an assortment of fruit, but it's the same basic idea. This was the best idea ever, because not only do I have a husband who loves applesauce, but I have a growing baby who will be able to eat this starter food soon. Who wouldn't want to save the money that they would have spent on baby food?

This recipe was pretty dang easy and it made my house smell magical.


10 medium apples (an assortment will add more layers to your sauce, but I just used Gala)
6 medium pears
2 large peaches
3 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
dash of cloves
dash of nutmeg

Wash, peel, and core all the fruit. Cut it into slices and place in a deep crock pot. Sprinkle the lemon juice over the fruit to keep it from browning. Mix regularly while cutting the fruit. Add the sugar and spices and set the crock pot on low for 6 hours. Stir every hour. After it's done, blend the fruit mixture with an emersion blender until desired consistency. This made a little more that 2 quart sized bottles.

You can continue on to can your sauce in a canner, but I just decided to freeze my extra bottle. Your refrigerated bottles will last up to 3 weeks.

This sauce turned out to be pretty yummy, if I say so myself. The mixture of fruit and spices really added depth to the sauce. It combined all the sweet, tart, and spicy tastes really well. It's mild enough to give to a baby, but not bland at all so an adult would enjoy it too.

This is a great way to take advantage of the fall apples and end of summer peaches!



Monday, September 30, 2013

I'm Jenn, the old sister. I was invited to contribute to this blog by my cute, talented, creative sisters, and part of me still wonders if it's cuz they thought I would feel bad if I didn't get included. That's ok, at least my posts, while maybe not super helpful, will at least be humorous in my attempts to be fun/exciting. Except now the pressure is on to be funny. I'm really not that either. Maybe I'll just fill space.
Anywho,  I currently reside in Portland, Oregon, where yes, it does rain nine months of the year. I live here with my best friend/husband Brad, and our cute little baby girl Claire. I have a degree in nursing and worked as an RN for four years, up until Claire joined our family. I have always loved arts and crafts, but never been good at coming up with my own ideas. I'm pretty good at copying stuff though. I have recently committed to "clean eating" which will be an adventure for me, so I am happy to post my mishaps here for your enjoyment. If anything, my posts can help you avoid my mistakes. I also enjoy exercise, particularly running, so maybe I'll post some how-tos and tips.

Food: Clean-eating sweet potato cheddar rolls

Clean eating. There are so many levels of clean eating, but what I mean be clean eating is homemade, non-processed, whole food goodness. Or, at least "kind-of-good"-ness. Because, let's be honest, when you're first starting out on a journey of clean eating there are times when you would give anything for something processed with a lot of sodium or high fructose corn syrup. But I digress...

I found these rolls on Clean Eating Magazine's website, and changed it just a bit. They're called chipotle cheddar sweet potato muffins. I photographed my journey, and have it displayed below. I have to admit, I had a horrible cold when I made these, so didn't have the best sense of taste. My husband rated them at a 4/5 stars. Very filling, but not amazing plain.

1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk (I used lemon juice and milk substitute)
1 egg lightly beaten
1/2 cup shredded low-fat cheddar cheese (I used half pepper jack)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp chipotle chile powder (I only had normal chili powder, not chipotle chili)
1 tsp baking powder
1tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 375 degrees f. In a small sauce pot add sweet potato and cold water, and bring to a boil. Boil until fork tender, drain, then mash. Add buttermilk and stir until well combined. Mix in the egg and cheese, then set aside. In a separate bowl, mix remaining ingredients, then add half to sweet potato mixture and fold in. Repeat with second half of flour mixture. Spoon batter into muffin tins to almost full. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes, then enjoy. Store in air-tight container in fridge for up to a week.

So, I doubled the recipe, since I figured making it once would be easier than twice. Once I got the sweet potatoes on the stove, I shredded the cheese.

 Turns out I didn't have chipotle chili powder, so I thought using pepper jack for half the cheese in the recipe would be good.

The dry ingredients...

I used a buttermilk substitute, since I didn't have buttermilk or the inclination to go buy some for this recipe. 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar in the bottom of a measuring cup, then fill milk to the 1 cup line and allow to sit for 5 minutes will give you a good sub.

Here are the mashed potatoes

Here they are with everything added to them

And here they are coming out of the oven! They were pretty yummy, and went very well with our salad that night. However, they are much, much easier to get out of the muffin tin if the tin is sprayed with cooking spray first. Hate to point out the obvious, but since it wasn't explicitly stated in the recipe, I didn't think to spray the tin until about 10 muffins into it, which made for a fun project once they came out of the oven.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Single Serving Pies

This may be the most excited I've ever been about pie. There are some things you learn when you become a stay-at-home mom, and that is that making lunches for your husband is probably as boring as eating packed lunches.

I'm not a cold cuts kind of girl. I've always hated packed lunches from the time I started kindergarten to the end of my college career. Unfortunately my husband is exactly the same. He'll eat whatever I make him, but it is not very satisfying to make someone a lunch you know they won't enjoy.

Enter: single serving pies.

If there is one dessert my husband loves, it's apple pie. So these on-the-go pies are perfect for his lunches. You will need the half pint, wide mouth, short Mason jars for this recipe. It is important that you get the ones with the straight sides so they are easier to fill and eat.

You can use any pie crust recipe that you love, but here is one that is perfect every time. This recipe has been passed down at least three generations, if not more, and it produces a flaky, delicious crust that I dare you to try and beat.

Mom's Flakey Crust
(makes one standard size 2-crust pie)

2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup shortening
5 Tbs cold water

Combine the flour and salt. With a pastry cutter, incorporate the shortening into the dry ingredients until crumbly. Once all the flour and shortening are incorporated, add the cold water one tablespoon at a time. Mix lightly with a fork between each tablespoon. Do not overwork. Gather the crust into a ball and roll out on a floured surface.

For these pies, you can cut out the tops of the crust with the lid of the mason jar or you can use the crumble top recipe.

Crumble Topping
(makes about 6 single-serving pies)

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons cold butter
3 tablespoons of oats

Stir sugar, flour, and cinnamon together. Cut butter in with a fork or a pastry blender until incorporated. Add oats and mix together. Add two to three tablespoons of mixture to each pie top.

Apple Pie Filling
(makes 4 to 5 single serving pies)

2 to 2 1/2 cups of sliced and peeled apples
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch of nutmeg
1 pinch of cloves
1 tablespoon of butter chopped into 4 to 5 pieces

Add all ingredients except the butter in a bowl and stir. Coat evenly. Fill each crust with a little space remaining at the top. Add the pat of butter. Top with the top layer of crust or the crumble topping. Make sure to poke holes in the top layer of crust for vents if you aren't using the crumble topping.

Heat oven to 375 degrees and bake pies for 45 minutes or until the tops are browned.

You can eat these right away and use the baking instructions above, but I doubled the recipe and saved a lot to freeze. Don't cook the pie first if you are going to freeze it; just assemble it in the jar and screw the lid on tight! 

To bake after freezing, heat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the jar on a cookie sheet and remove the lid. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the top is browned. So if you are packing this in your lunch, bake it far enough in advance that it is cool enough to travel in your lunch box. You can then eat it at room temperature or give it a little zap in the microwave before eating. 

This idea is also great for really any kind of pie, so the sky is the limit. Be creative and enjoy!


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Cheesecake–Mousse Lovechild

I'm already behind on my posting, and I'm horrified! I actually made this little recipe several days ago (and consumed all of it) but haven't been able to post until now. So here's to holding my breath that Baby Al won't wake up too soon.

Sometimes I daydream of food. Sometimes I even night-dream about it. Often my dreams don't pan out to anything tasty, but I was pretty pleased with the results of this dessert. The day I made it, I spent a considerable amount of time drooling over a picture of a no-bake cheesecake that I saw on the Inter-web. I usually don't like no-bake cheesecakes because they seem kind of phony to me. So I had a minor heart attack wondering if I was pregnant again, calmed myself down, and started mixing.

Here's the line up of ingredients (minus some butter and powdered sugar):

Looks pretty simple, right? It is! It took me about 10 minutes tops to make the whole thing. First, I made a graham cracker crumble. I blended about 5 crackers in a blender and mixed it with about 1 to 2 tablespoons of melted butter. 

Then I mixed 4 ounces of cream cheese and 1/3 cup of powdered sugar together until they were all incorporated. I melted about 1/4 cup of chocolate chips in the microwave blended it in with the cream cheese mixture. However, I found that it just wasn't enough chocolate, so I ended up with probably 2/3 cup of melted chocolate chips. 

You could probably just put in some cocoa powder instead since the rest of the ingredients are pretty sweet all by themselves. 

Then I folded in 1 1/2 cups of cool whip. I was careful not to mix it too much. 

 Finally, I layered graham cracker crumble and cream cheese mix a couple of times in some sundae dishes. I topped it with whipped cream and more graham crumbles. You can put it in the refrigerator to cool it more, but most the ingredients were cold to begin with and the cream cheese mix was already a good consistency, so there's no need to wait!

Here's the recipe:

Makes about 4 servings

Graham Crumble
5 graham crackers blended
2 Tbls melted butter

Cream Cheese Mix
4 oz. cream cheese softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2/3 cup melted chocolate chips
1 1/2 cup cool whip

Whipped cream for topping

Mix graham crumbs and melted butter together and set aside. 
Blend sugar and softened cream cheese together. Melt chocolate chips in the microwave, heating in 15 second increments, stirring between. Add chocolate to cream cheese mixture until well blended. Fold in cool whip until it is mostly incorporated into chocolate. Some white streaks will remain. 
Layer graham crumbles and cream cheese mix until desired amount. Top with whipped cream and garnish with graham crumble. Enjoy!


Monday, September 2, 2013

How to Make a Braided Rug Without Really Knowing What You're Doing

I am making a braided rug. It's my very first time, unless you count the attempt when I attended an American Girl tea party when I was little, and after I finished braiding the rug I realized I wasn't done yet, so I gave up. I don't count that time, though "I'm still not done?" has crossed my mind a few times during this project. However, being the strict disciplinarian that I am, I've told myself that I can't start on any of the fun, groovy projects I have planned that will make me look awesome until the rug is done. This is how far I am:

Don't be deceived. It's not as cute as it looks, sitting on my brick patio. It's lumpy, you can see my messy stitching that took me forever to decide how I wanted to do it, and it's also still pretty small. Still, I feel accomplished, because I did most of it while watching shows and that means I was productive! Yay!

This is only my third attempt, which is about how many attempts it takes to complete a project for me. There were a couple techniques involved that I learned a long time ago, but had to re-learn for this project. For example, you can't simply tie the pieces of fabric together when your fabric strips run out. You have to do a special, small knot that won't feel uncomfortable when you step on the rug. It's hard to explain how it's done, so I doodled the instructions out for you:

First, you put the two strips of fabric, one on top of the other, matching corners. The bottom one will be the old strip and the top one will be the new one that you want to attach to your braid. See that dotted line? That's where you make a little snip with your scissors through both strips of fabric, making sure that you don't cut up to the top. You want a little hole there.

Next, take the top strip's tail and wrap it around to the back of both strips of fabric with the top strip still in its position. (P.S. Are these doodles helping at all? Blink twice for "yes".)

Finally, while holding the strips together tightly, pull the strip's tail through the hole until it forms a pretty little knot. Sometimes the top strip misbehaves, but mess with it until you have a knot. There you have it!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

About Lisa

Hello blog readers! My name is Lisa and I am excited to start this new blog and document all my attempts at domesticity. Does that sound enough like a sub-par cover letter? Writing the first post is always the most intimidating. Here's some information about me: 

I got married a little over two years ago to a pretty awesome guy. We met at work while going to college, became friends, started dating, and got hitched as soon as possible! 

Fast forward to the present and we have a two and a half month old baby boy with a perpetual look of alarm and concern on his face. 

Now I am a full-time mommy and college graduate with some little writing gig on the side. After I was thrust into this world of staying home, I realized that I could really improve my home-making skills. So, with open arms I am embracing my new life, and hoping you'll come along for the ride. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

About Robin

I'm grasping for interesting tidbits about myself. I'm a mom of two spunky little boys, and I'm married to the luckiest man in the world (just joking, hon. I'm the lucky one). I graduated in new media journalism, but don't take that as permission to critique my writing too much.

My crafting, cooking, and anything else covered in this blog certainly has its roots from watching and learning from my mom, a veritable jack-of-all-home-skill-trades. I still came away from my childhood not knowing much more than the basics; she tried to teach me more, but I resisted. One of the most important home skill lessons I came away with, I think, is knowing what good food tastes like. I may not cook like a pro yet, but I have pretty high standards for what I want my cooking to be. Another lesson I learned is to try new things. Growing up with her as my mom, I just assumed she knew how to do everything, but come to find out later she did a lot of experimenting that happened to work out for her.

I guess that is what this blog is for me: following in the footsteps of my mom, trying to teach myself both skills she learned and some others that she may not have explored. Except, being more accident prone, I'll probably be keeping the fire extinguisher handy.

My crafting is very budget, and health motivated, because we have little expendable income and my husband has health concerns that keep us on the hippie food track. Oh, and we are starting to home school. We might be crazy, so read with caution.