Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Miracle Tree

There is a tree out my kitchen window.  It is an apple tree of sorts but I have started calling it the "Miracle Tree."  This is mainly due to the fact that it grows two different types of apples.  Yes, you read that right.  To prove it to you I have taken a few pictures for your viewing pleasure. 

As you can see it is growing two very distinct apples.  Some apples that are very small and dark red, I am almost inclined to think these aren't really apples but not really sure what else to call them; and no, they are not crab apples which is what we thought at first.  The other apples are bigger with more of a varied color, they actually look like a Gala apple but smaller in size.
So instead of wondering about this tree as I have been doing all summer, now that all the leaves are gone and I can actually see the apples from my kitchen window, I simply look out as I am doing the dishes and marvel at how pretty these two fruits look together growing on the same tree and wonder if maybe it was done on purpose somehow simply for my viewing pleasure.

What is something you marvel at or get simple pleasures from?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Firefighters at Work

My son has been telling me lately that when he grows up what he would love to be is a rescue helicopter pilot.  In the mean time however he will settle for pretending!
One of the ways he pretends is by getting out his firetruck and driving it all over and hauling things out of "quicksand," making VERY loud siren noises, and putting out fires that happen to me on Mama's pant leg (yes I do make a nice panicked noise if I do say so myself) and in the cupboard and things of that nature.

However this past week he managed to rope most of the family into playing with him!

(Notice the pink fire-woman's hat)
They worked long and hard here in the house.  They even managed to find Ruby her own firetruck of sorts.  Her's had a handle on the top with six little divots out of it (it used to haul little markers but I threw those out because she can't keep them on paper).  They deemed this truck as the perfect water truck.  So, her job was to push this thing around behind West just in case he might need some of that precious water. 
They even got Daddy involved although he didn't last long on the job.  He is getting old after all!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Saturday, November 13, 2010

On My Sewing Table

What is this pile of deliciousness you ask?  These are piles of the beginnings of luscious! scarves.
I work part time for a lady here in lovely Lander, WY who works out of her home making and selling articles of clothing and blankets and bibs for wee little ones.  She is none other than Blair, the owner of Mountain Aven Baby.  She sells all of her wares on etsy (a HUGE online craft fair).  She does do a couple of things for the adults too, a few bags here and there, and this wonderful pile of fabric you see which will soon be turned into scarves.  The backs of these scarves is not your normal chenille as you might expect, no, these babies are backed in what is affectionately known as minky.  It is the kind of fabric you could just wrap yourself up in from head to toe.  So this lovely eye-candy you see above is only half of what you get when you order one of these.
So, go check her out and see what you can't live without!  Because we all know Christmas is coming up and there is no better way to give something hand-made (if you can't make it yourself) than to go to Mountain Aven Baby and order up some hand-made goodness!
Then check back after the weekend for the tutorial on making a reusable grocery bag which we are all going to be wrapping our gifts in this year!
Happy Weekending!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Cold Day

Today was a rather chilly today.  So, instead of pushing my children out the door in the afternoons like I usually like to so they can expel all that energy they like to store up we had to come up with other ways to occupy the afternoon:
They pretended my bed along with pillows and boards from West's night stand were a computer.  Ruby is behind the pillow as it is a talking computer and so she was the voice.
They pretended to be lots of different animals among them were a horse, a bird, a gorilla and my favorite a cat, as this meant he got to impersonate my favorite activity of this animal - lying on the back of the couch looking out the window.
They built lots of things with blocks - this was the last one standing as the best part of building with blocks is the knocking over at the end of it all!
Then there was lots of spinning in the bilibo
and lots of dancing when it wasn't their turn to spin!

All-in-all I think it was a most energy burning day on their part. 
Here's to hoping tomorrow they will go outside!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Monday and Thursday Mornings

What is our latest and greatest outing these days you ask?
Well swimming of course!
I was nervous about Ruby since she likes to dive out of my arms when swimming with me and thinks she can do it all on her own even thought she sinks over and over every time I let go of her; but in the end there was nothing for me to worry about.  They both love the teacher and for that half an hour every Monday and Thursday morning at 10 they become little fish splashing, and swimming, and laughing, and diving all while learning a little bit more everyday about how to swim.  They are loving it, especially Ruby.  She was up at 6 this morning ready to go, and crestfallen when I told her we still had 4 hours until it was time to go!
I will definitely need to find swimming lessons when we get to where the Army sends us, no doubt about it!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

It's Snowing in These-Here Parts of the Country

It was a rather late night for me last night, and because of this as I finally lay in bed looking out the window that is above me I noticed a sight that could be rather strange to those of you who don't live in snow country, but one that is quite beautiful to me and one that I look forward to every year - the sky, in the middle of the night had become very bright.  It was of course snow coming in and all the lights of the town reflecting off of it giving the illusion of light in the middle of the night.
Of course the first thing West had to do was get his snow shovel out and shovel all the walks for us, which is great since that way I didn't have to do it; but then if I had waited about 20 minutes it would have just melted off for us anyway.  But what the heck, my 4 year old boy is a "workin' boy" and needs to work.  So, before I even had my clothes on I pulled my shoes on and trudged out to the shed and got his snow shovel for him so he could get to work before Ruby had to get on the bus. 
As I took Ruby out to the bus I looked down the street at the mountain and the picture above is what I saw.  There is a lot of snow up there!  It does a nice job of making that mountain even more beautiful than it was yesterday.
That first snow of the season: it almost feels like a breath of fresh air, like we can all finally take a deep breath for the fist time in awhile.  We all just wanted to be out in the cool crisp air today soaking it in.  And to top that off, I know tonight this town will smell of burning fires in fire places, one of my favorite things about this town.
Hope you all enjoyed your fist snow of the season if you were as blessed as we were today!

What makes you feel like you can finally take a deep cleansing breath of fresh air?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Great Idea for Christmas Gifts!

As we all well know plastic bags are a big nuisance in many many ways.  I can name one - they can't wrap a gift very well! 
So thanks to sew mama sew the idea for using reusable grocery bags to wrap our Christmas gifts in this year has come about.  I personally will be making the bags that will be adorning my gifts this year!  I thought it would be nice to offer up a free tutorial for all of you out there who would like to make theirs but just don't quite know how to go about it.  So be looking for that in the very near future!
In the mean time check out the original post from sew mama sew!

Green Grocery Bag Challenge

We at Sew,Mama,Sew! are proud to collaborate with many crafters and sewers and givers all year long. There are hundreds of people who inspire us to make and create and give back. One of the women who continues to amaze us year after year for her continual determination, generosity and focus is The Green Bag Lady, Teresa Van Hatten. Teresa has been making and giving away cloth grocery bags for several years. In fact very time we have a Giveaway Day Teresa gives 100 bags plus 100 kits to make a bag! At last count there were nearly 13,000 Green Bag Lady Bags in use! We love the fact that Teresa has used her sewing skills to help the planet by getting thousands of reusable grocery bags into the hands of consumers.
This year we asked Teresa if we could help her in her efforts by organizing a holiday sewing project. We really hope that you’ll join us. Without further ado, we’re pleased to present to you:
Green Grocery Bag Challenge

The Green Grocery Bag Challenge: A Holiday Sewing Project Benefiting Mother Earth

Fact 1: US consumers generate 4 million tons of wrapping paper and shopping bag waste during the holiday season alone.
Fact 2: The US goes through 100 billion single-use plastic grocery bags every year.
Fact 3: This year, you can make a difference!
How? The challenge is this:

Wrap your holiday gifts in reusable cloth grocery bags.

That’s it! By doing this simple thing this holiday season you will cut down on the amount of wrapping paper entering the waste stream, while also getting multi-use bags into circulation. Not to mention the fact that your gift recipients get a bonus gift that they can use all year long! It’s win/win for earth and your loved ones!
We’ve asked some friends to help motivate, inspire and instruct, so over the next 6 weeks we’ll be providing links to free grocery bag patterns, ideas for wrapping creatively with a cloth bag, tips for sewing lots of bags at once and more!
If you’d like to get involved beyond the sewing and wrapping, here are just a few ideas:
  • Spread the word about the Green Grocery Bag Challenge (feel free to take the graphic!)
  • Write about your experience using and/or giving cloth grocery bags.
  • Write about your own efforts to reduce waste.
  • Post a free tutorial for a cloth grocery bag on your blog.
  • Take photos of ways to wrap gifts in grocery bags so they don’t look like, well…groceries.
  • Send your friends and family members to the Green Grocery Bag Challenge Facebook page.
  • Make a video of how to “mass produce” a bunch of bags at once.
  • Teach your friends how to sew a simple bag.
  • Involve your children in producing lots of bags.
  • Tweet #greengrocerybagchallenge.
  • Organize a Green Grocery Bag sewing event in your community.
Let us know if you’ve written a tutorial or motivational/inspirational post on your blog–we’ll include it in a roundup and/or put it on FB or tweet it. kristin@sewmamasew.com
We really hope you’ll join us by presenting some of your gifts in cloth bags this year. We have an opportunity to change our wasteful holiday wrapping traditions by sewing a gift that everyone on your holiday list can appreciate, including Mother Earth.

Monday, November 8, 2010

And The Race is ON!

So, the other night West had the great idea of having a potato-sack race.  We didn't have any potato-sacks so West had the bright idea of using his pillow case as the sack.   Then he thought what a good idea it would be to have the pillow left in it just in case he fell.  It's a good thing too because he managed to fall a few times!
Ruby had a little trouble at first and didn't have a very big jump happening and didn't really win very many races until West put that pillow to good use!
All-in-all it was a good time had by all!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Saturday, November 6, 2010

In the Kitchen

Pork Chili Tacos
About two years ago I learned how to make these tasty treats and today I will be sharing them with you.  Aren't you excited?!

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbl Baking Powder
  • 3 Tbl Crisco
  • 1 1/4 cup hot water
  1. Mix together dry ingredients
  2. Add Crisco and mix until will dispersed
  3. Stir in the hot water gently.  Once lightly mixed put out onto the counter and finish kneading in all the loose flour.
  4. Let rest for about 15 to 20 minutes (this makes them easier to press out)
  5. Pinch out or cut into small balls, you should get about 12 to 15 balls of dough.
  6. I use a tortilla press similar to this one.  This allows me to press and bake them all in one.  Growing up we did roll them out with a rolling pin and cook them on a cast iron skillet similar to this one so either can be done, but the press is so much easier and faster.
  7. I keep them warm by wrapping them up in a clean light hand towel.

PORK CHILI (the filling)
  1. You start with the package of pork stew meat.  I like to cut it up so there are bite size pieces of pork in your taco.  Brown the pork with a little bit of olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  2. When the pork is cooked through I add a 16 oz jar of El Pinto Mild Salso and simmer until you are done cooking the tortillas.  By this time it will have kind of reduced the liquid so you don't have lots of liquid in your taco.

For this particular set of tacos I used El Pinto's green chili sauce.  I usually use the red and tonight I was reminded as to why!  The green is way hotter than the red and I do not like to be assaulted by my food.

I also like to put sour cream on my taco.  A few fresh tomatoes when in season thrown on top and some good lettuce on occasion.

    Friday, November 5, 2010

    Garden Bed to Construction Site

     Recently we put our garden bed to bed! We had a wonderful crop this year of peppers and oh so many purple carrots and red beets and spinach and a huge harvest of tomatoes (thank you late fall).  We spent so much time out there building and planting and tending and picking and eating and everything else you can think of to do in a garden.  The kids loved it and I of course loved it as well; and don't tell anyone but I think my husband enjoyed it as much as the rest of us did.

    Then my kids, in an attempt to help me finish cleaning everything out, decided they needed some heavier equipment to really get the job done - out came the dirt digger and the trucks.  Lo-and-behold my garden bed is no longer a bed used for growing those oh-so-yummy vegetables, it is now a very convenient construction site.  What wonderful dirt to dig in - nice and soft and perfect for little humans to work in.  It is a constant discussion as to why that particular dirt has to stay in the bed but all-in-all what a great way for these two to fill their afternoons!