Learning each and every day

My quest to edify myself a bit every day

Archive for the month “June, 2012”

Day 183 – June 22

In preparation for our big road trip, I searched the internet for ideas for road trip-friendly food. I came across this recipe for peanut butter oatmeal monster cookies. I thought it would be nice to have a little treat for the babes (and for us, of course) when we got bored in the car. They are cookies, so, they were super easy to make.

The verdict: eh . . . not fantastic, definitely edible, but not fantastic. They aren’t particularly sweet, which is probably a good thing when you are on a road trip with three small children. And they aren’t particularly delicious, which is also probably a good thing. Then we won’t be tempted to eat one after another. But, I DO like that they are mostly oats and peanut butter. So pair them with a glass of milk and some apple slices and there you have a pretty complete breakfast!

The babes are going to LOVE getting to eat cookies for breakfast!

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Day 182 – June 21

Today, I bring you another post about underwear. Well, I guess it’s really about bloomers, which aren’t technically underwear, right. Anyway, for some reason I ran across this pattern by Colette Patterns for mini bloomers, and thought I’d try them out. The pattern instructions were very clear with great pics. The whole project took me maybe an hour, probably less, actually. Threading the elastic was the most time-consuming thing. The rest was gravy.

Overall, I was pretty happy with how they turned out. I used a very lightweight broadcloth since it’s been blazing hot this summer. I also made a few changes to the pattern since, apparently, I’m unable to follow tutorials or recipes to the letter! I didn’t bother with the buttonholes and ribbon in the legs, that seems like more work than it was worth. I just did two rows of stitching using elastic thread. I also altered the shape of the bottom of the pattern as it was curvier than I thought was necessary and made the legs just waayyy to wide. I’ll need to alter the rise some, but I think I’ll be using this pattern to make a pile of pajama shorts. I haven’t gotten new summer pajamas for about 8 years, and I REALLY need new ones! These will be perfect!

And no, I don’t have a pic. Something about posting pics of my bloomers doesn’t sit well with me!

Day 179 – June 18

Well, I meant to write this post 5 days ago, it’s just taken me awhile to get the pics uploaded. So just pretend it’s Tuesday, okay?

So in about a week and a half, I’ll be at the International Babywearing Conference in Washington D.C. While there, I’ll get to meet many of my online friends in real life, go to a bunch of great classes, and in general be a babywearing geek. I’m teaching two classes: DIY ring slings and emergency babywearing. Honestly, I have no idea why I”m teaching this class rather than Jan of Sleeping Baby Productions (aka, ring sling maker extraordinaire). Don’t get me wrong, I’ve sewed tons of carriers in the five years I’m been wearing my babes, but I’m pretty sure Jan has made WAYYYY more ring slings than me!

In any case, I’m teaching the ring sling class. So, I figured I should make sure I had all of my ducks in a row. There are quite a few ways you can do the shoulder of a ring sling. I prefer a gathered shoulder, as that is more comfortable. Other people like to do one of many pleated variations. I decided to learn a new style, the hot dog shoulder, just in case the attendees wanted more options. I also thought it would be a good idea to make a few since the last time I made a ring sling was probably a year or more ago. Although I like ring slings, they aren’t my favorite carrier. As such, I didn’t really want a bunch floating around the house knowing they’d only get used on occasion. I do, however, have three babes that love to wear their dolls, stuffed animals and whatever else they can find. The other day, the toddler has his toy phone safely tucked away in a carrier. lol.

So I set to work making each of the babes a ring sling. I did a different shoulder style for each, so I ended up doing a gathered shoulder, a SBP-style shoulder, and the hot dog shoulder. The hot dog shoulder was the new one, and was super easy to do, even easier than the other two styles. Here’s a pic of the toddler’s ring sling, although I’m not sure how well you can see the shoulder.

Jan’s website here has tons of info on making all types of baby carriers, including ring slings and all of the different shoulder styles.

Day 181 – June 20

Summertime is the perfect time for having kiddie pools. Up until now, we’ve had the very small pools. We started out with something like this, and then branched out to this . But really, those were all too small for the 5 and 3 year olds. So this summer, I bought a larger pool, one that holds about 300-350 gallons of water. I wanted to keep the water from being gross, so I called a pool store. The guy was like, “Yeah, well, that’s only like 30 cents of water, just refill it every day.” Uh, is HE going to pay me 30 cents every day for the whole summer and come to my house and go through the giant PITB that is emptying and refilling the pool? I don’t think so. Needless to say, that conversation ended abruptly.

I did a bit of searching online, and discovered that the best way to keep a kiddie pool clean was just to shock it with a chlorine treatment every now and then. I’d seen some chlorine treatment at the store yesterday, but it was like $25 for a BIG bucket and we certainly wouldn’t use it all this summer. Fortunately, this website suggested using regular chlorine bleach. You use 1/4 tsp for every 10 gallons of water. That, coupled with a pool cover will cut down on the number of times you’ll have to empty and refill the pool. I’ve not tried this yet, but I’m going to give it a whirl and see how it goes. I’m hoping it works, cuz emptying out 350 gallons of water was a giant pain. The babes had fun throwing buckets full of water all over the lawn and themselves, but it was still a giant pain!

Day 180 – June 19

Sometime kids drive me bonkers. Like when they suddenly decide that they don’t like a particular food. Take bananas,for example. They’ll get on a kick where they only want bananas for snack, so I buy a bunch. Then, they go for several days without eating any, and then I end up with a bunch of really ripe and mushy bananas. Gross! That’s when they get a smoothie for snack. Today, I decided to try out a new banana bread recipe.

The recipe came from Deb over at smitten kitchen. It was a super easy recipe to make, and didn’t even require a blender . . .just a big bowl and a spoon. I made five little mini loaves and they only required 30 minutes to bake. They smelled very yummy and I couldn’t wait to try them. Eh, the were only so-so. I’m not sure what the deal was, maybe there wasn’t enough sugar, and there was a funny aftertaste. I was a little surprised since I usually like most of the recipes from that blog. Guess I can’t like them all. Sadly, I’m 0 for 2 in the new recipe department.

Day 177 – June16

Sometimes I think I should have titled this blog “try something new 365”, since I’m not necessarily learning something new each time, just trying out new things. Oh well, it would be silly to change it now, right?

About 3 years ago, I found a recipe for Black Bean Lasagna at a kiosk at a Bloom grocery store. It is one of our favorites and everyone that tries it thinks it great. I realized I hadn’t made it in a while, so I decided to make some for Sabbath lunch. Horror of horrors, I couldn’t find the recipe! No matter, I figured I could find something on the internet. I found several candidates, and they all were similar, so I just picked this one from taste of home.

I’ll just cut to the chase and be blunt. Not good at all! I was so very disappointed as I was really hoping it would be as delicious as the other recipe I had. It was just very bland, the sauce had no flavor at all, and I even added a handful of Oregano to help it out. I think the two cans of tomato paste did nothing to add to the flavor. DH, of course, thought it was fine, as did the babes. I was sorely disppointed. Sometimes I’m willing to give a recipe another change and change things, this is not one of those time.

After the fact, I did a search for “black bean lasagna” and “wisconsin cheese” since I remembered that the recipe was sponsored by the Wisconsin Cheese people. I found this one which looks remarkably similar to my original recipe. I’m a little nervous to try it out, but maybe in a few weeks I’ll give it a go.

Day 175 – June 14

I suppose I didn’t actually learn anything brand new today. Really, it was just a reinforcement of what I’d figured out a few days ago . .. and that’s that I should quit wasting time trying to figure out sewing projects from tutorials and just do it on my own. I mean, really, I’m to the point where I’m making my own patterns for my children’s clothing . . .I should be able to figure out many things on my own!

Today I made a insulated lunch tote thing to take with us when we go play at the park. The main difference between what I needed and what I was seeing was that I just needed something to place into a bag that I already had. This means I didn’t need any handles, and I didn’t have to find some nice fabric for the outside.

I started with this bag that I bought in the Bahamas years ago.

I then came up with this little insert, and I think it works pretty well.

I took photos along the way, so I’m probably going to put up a tute (yeah, so that others can waste time searching to blogosphere and hopefully happen upon my tute! lol) up on my other blog.

Day 174 – June 13

Strawberries were the name of the game today. I happened to see a pin on Pinterest for drying strawberries in the oven. It looked interesting, so I pinned it. The claim was that it would take around 3 hours, and they would dry nicely and taste like candy, yet be healthy. Uh, yeah, so not true. After 3 hours, I had a try full of shrively strawerries, but not dry. An hour later, not much had changed, our house was hot, and I was going to bed. So, I gave up. When my 5yo saw the tray on the stove in the morning he asked “What’s that?” When I explained he said, “We have a drying thing in here” and he proceeds to open up the cabinet and show me the dehydrator. Yeah, the one I’d totally forgotten existed! Oops! Anyway, drying in the oven was a big, giant flop! Alas!

I also made strawberry butter. I found the recipe over on Mr. Breakfast and it looked easy enough. I don’t remember the exact amounts, but it was something like this:

1 cup of hulled strawberries
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 cup sweet butter
splash of vanilla

Whiz it all up in a blender. Store covered in the fridge.

As I’m sure you’ve guessed, I didn’t have the exact ingredients . . . I used margarine instead of butter. It definitely didn’t mix in very well. I also dumped in some whole milk because my blender was not happy to be blending very little liquid. Despite the unappetizing appearance, it was really quite delicious, and the whole fam gobbled it up on top of the waffles. I’m going to go ahead and assume that had I used real butter, it would have been to die for!

Day 173 – June 12

Strawberries are in season, and we have been buying them up like crazy. The babes love to eat strawberries for their snack, and we use them in smoothies and other goodies. I found this recipe for strawberry biscuits over at smitten kitchen. I was a little reticent to try it because I really hate dealing with sticky dough. I end up with dough sticking to my hands, or a mountain of flour on the counter to make sure the dough doesn’t stick. But, I gave it a go, anyway. The one thing I changed was to sprinkle some sugar on the tops of the biscuits prior to baking.

The verdict . . .very yummy. They were a hit with the family, and the sticky dough wasn’t a big deal. I might have to try them again, maybe trying different types of berries and other fruits.

Day 172 – June 11

Whenever I want to try a new sewing project, I often hit the internet to see if there are any tutorials already out there. I figure if someone else has figured out the measurements, then I don’t have to. But, then I spend an inordinate amount of time searching . . .time that could be spent just figuring it out on my own. Sooo, today I threw caution to the wind and just launched out on my own. And, I taught myself to make a lined, mini duffel bag. I’m really pretty happy with how they turned out. The straps are a bit too short, but I haven’t decided if the babes care enough for me to bother fixing it. They seemed pretty happy with them at the pool today . . . we’ll see.

Anyway, it’s lined with the plastic disposable tablecloths, and each of the babes picked the outer fabric. Really, it’s pretty tiny . . just big enough to fit their swim robe, swimming suit, water and hat. But if they are carrying their stuff, then I don’t have to=)

I took pictures of the process, and I hope to get a tutorial posted sometime in the nearish future . .. probably over on my other blog.

In the meantime, here are a few pics.

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