Monday, January 30, 2012

trying new recipes

with my husband working 6 12 hour night shifts a week right now (he does a lot of the cooking), i need fast, easy recipes that my kids will actually eat.  luckily i don't have to feed troy, so i can try some things he wouldn't care for (he doesn't like cream sauces, or green peppers, or jalepenos, or green chiles, or soup...) 

i found this applesauce chicken recipe from a favorite site, a year of slow cooking, and luckily had four apples in the fruit bowl.  first, i made some quick chunky applesauce:

4 apples, peeled, cored, and diced
3/4 c. water
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

cook, covered, over medium heat, for 15-20 minutes.  mash and go.  mine weren't quite done, but i figured they'd continue to cook in the crockpot, so i threw them in anyways.



i dumped all of the ingredients in the crockpot and walked away.  i made some brown rice to serve with it, and corn and a salad too. just pretend i took a pic of it.  here's the thing.  my kids didn't like it!  it was sweet and the chicken didn't dry out, but aj said the apples tasted like potatoes.  in the recipe it says to use red pepper flakes, which i left out, but i think it could've used some zing.  i'm not sure if making it with jarred sauce would make more of the sauce for the chicken - it could've used more something, that's for sure.  but, i had a lot of it, so...



i made apple chicken quesadillas for lunch the next day!  these were pretty good!  i think they'd be even better with some pepper jack cheese, but it definitely helped add some more flavor to the chicken.   if you have a great kid friendly crock pot chicken recipe, please share!

Monday, January 23, 2012

chicken tortilla soup

things are starting to come back together around here!  sawyer ended up with a fever and cough, so we went to the clinic yesterday and got him started on tamiflu as well.  it definitely helped him faster than me, then again - i did wait 3 days before i saw the doc.

today is the 1st day i've had the energy to actually move around the house, and so - laundry is almost caught up, vacuuming is done, sheets are being washed, bathrooms are clean.  the kids are *supposedly* working on their rooms right now.  i kept them home from school today, just to be safe.  i don't want to spread this flu any farther.

the funny thing about this flu bug - no stomach issues.  at all.  no nausea, no vomiting, no other stuff.  i didn't realize it was the flu, i figured a respiratory thing, but the flu test probably doesn't lie, right?  my appetite remained strong through the whole ordeal.  luckily i had made potato soup right before i got sick, so i lived on that.  the kids kind of fended for themselves, eating cereal, yogurt, pizza, and take out chinese. which means today there is nothing left in the house.  i scavenged in the pantry to come up with enough food to make this soup.


really, is there anything the pioneer woman can't do?  i had to make a few changes - only one can of beans, one can of broth, added in 1 c. corn, i didn't have cornmeal.  i fried up some corn tortilla chips too.  mmm.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

sew full of love, the sequel

some of you might remember last year, when i did a "sew full of love" event to celebrate all the things i love about my life, this blog, and some of my favorite people?!  if not, you can go meet candice, lauranie, ginger, and stephanie (just click on their names) and you'll see why those girls make my life a better place.



and i had so much fun, i am doing it again this year!

i am looking for a few more guest posters - but i am super excited about the ones lined up already :)  just like last year, there will be some giveaways too - so i hope you'll stop by!  and if you're interested in guest posting or sponsoring a giveaway, let's talk.

now, i'm going to fall into bed.  i've got the flu, and i'm waiting for tamiflu to work it's magic but have been dead on the couch for three days now.  ugh.  i so hate being sick.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

judge me if you want

quokka quilts has a fun survey going on - you can vote for your three favorite blogger's choice bundles!  what a tough job those judges have.  by the way - it's just for fun!  but if you want to toss a vote or two my way, i won't complain (i'm entry #200)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

curse you universe!

so absolutely no progress is being made on any quilts this week.  i'll go ahead and lay the blame on the rural electric cooperative and the mighty kansas winds.  wednesday afternoon, i was stitching along, and was within 2 feet of completing attaching the binding on emma's quilt.  because i was going to watch tv and stitch binding that night, relaxing with my family.  
then, the power began to flicker.  off and on.  off and on.  every time it came back on, the kids would cheer and i'd put the pedal to the metal.   i tried so hard to stitch it out.  but the final time the lights went out, and didn't come back on?  i hung my head and smiled.  of course. 

I Had Plans. 
and the universe, well, she can't help but mess with you when you think you can Make Plans.

kind of like this weekend.  I Had Plans to knock out a lot of sewing- i am testing a pattern for someone - it's super cute and top secret but i can't wait to show you the whole thing!!

and i was going to bake cookies at a friend's house, had a 1st birthday party to attend,  plus a wrestling tournament for the kids.  anyways, friday afternoon, the dreaded phone call.  the nuke power plant troy works at was offline.  he would be working fri.sat.sun. evening.  sigh. 

anyways, not to complain (even though i do it so well!)  i have gotten a little bit done.  emma's getting taller but not growing anywhere else, so a lot of her jeans are too short.  the next size up is baggy around the waist, and she does not like any "poofiness" there.  belts are a pain.  so i decided to quickly lengthen a pair of her shortest jeans with a ruffle.  easy peasy.


i'm still hopeful that i can get that binding done this weekend - even though it's slow going, due to this.


i really wish i knew how to prevent those cracks!  they take forever to heal!  anyone have any tried and true remedies?  i've tried the liquid skin stuff, and bandaging with neosporin.  it's frustrating, because this winter has been super mild, so i'd hoped i wouldn't get them.  ah well.  there i go planning again...

Friday, January 13, 2012

kcmqg challenges

SHOPPER ALERT! if you were thinking of going into aunt jenny's stitch & stuff in ottawa, i hear that *someone* cleaned them out already!  and no, it wasn't me.  honest.  :D

last night's guild meeting was a lot of fun, i am so glad to be making friends and not feeling so nervous when i go.  i signed up to take an applique class in march from jenifer, which i'm looking forward to!  and i also picked up several more people's shades of gray charms!  hooray!  i didn't get emma's quilt binding finished for show & share, but i've shown her quilt top before, so no biggie. 

we got our newest quilt challenge, and it's a doozy.  here's what i have to use for my inspiration:


landscape with red dots II by wassily kandinsky.  i'm probably the only person who sees this, but if you turn it counter clockwise, it sort of looks like a head with an explosion coming out of it.  that's all i got so far, peeps.  it's gonna be an ugly challenge.  but i keep looking at it, trying to decide what i want to draw from it, whether it will be just the colors or the shapes or what.  we shall see.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

chicken pot pie

now, on to an actual craftyish post.  one of my favorite things to make (and eat) is chicken pot pie.  i use a recipe from a favorite cookbook, the big book of casseroles by maryana vollstedt. 



when i was learning to cook, i tried a lot of recipes in this book.  the chicken and black beans is great.  but the pot pie is my hands down favorite.




i make my own pie crust using this recipe:

2 cups flour
1 stick crisco (butter or reg)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup water

i'm sure there are other recipes that work great too - this one works pretty consistently for me, although it doesn't brown as nicely as i'd like.  i use a pampered chef pastry blender and a fork.

and i also use a bottom crust, which the recipe doesn't call for.  for chicken, i usually cook 6-8 chicken breast at a time in the crock pot with a can of tomatoes, then shred and freeze it for use in future meals.  and someday, i will learn how to make my crusts look like they do in magazines, all perfectly crimped, but i'm usually to excited to get to eating it to worry much about it.



the recipe is loaded up with veggies like corn, carrots, onions, and celery, but i also add in a can of diced potatoes as well as frozen peas.  i love that our kids eat this so well, but if i were to pile all those veggies on a plate, they'd whine and moan and have to be bribed to eat them.  kids, sheesh.


it goes fast, there's usually only one piece left after dinner for me to eat the next day.  i'm a big fan of any kind of pie for breakfast.  especially pecan and pumpkin.  hmm, i may have just added something to my to-do list today...

charm pack winners

i'm a little late getting this posted - last night got away from me, and so without further ado - the winners of the silent film charm packs are:

comment 69 - Brandie



comment 38 - Robin



comment 53 - Giles (a guy!  see, guys do notice me! ha!)



i have sent emails to each of the winners, and if by some chance i haven't heard from them in say, 48 hours, i will draw another winner.  thanks so much to fat quarter shop for sponsoring the giveaway, and to all of you who took the time to enter!  i'm hoping to have lots of fun stuff to give away this year! 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

store closing sale

hey local friends!

i stopped in aunt jenny's stich & stuff in downtown ottawa this morning - did you know they are closing shop?  everything is 70% off - and they were pretty reasonably priced already.  i'm sad to see them go.  it's a great space that's for rent too - in anyone wants to open a craft store i'd be happy to run it for you! 

anyways - 70% off, i couldn't resist.  don't tell my husband.  but check out my haul!



do you see that total?  $29.01.  i got *almost* 4 yards of katie jump rope, 3 yards of heather ross, and 3 yards of that fun tina givens floral dot print, along with a bunch of fat quarters, three packs of schmetz needles, and 6 spools of thread.  pretty sweet, huh?


anyways - kc friends, want me to pick up any FQ for you before the meeting thursday?  they are cheap cheap cheap!!  now - what to make with all that fabric...

Saturday, January 7, 2012

good times are exhausting

what a great weekend!  friday was alex's 6th birthday, so we had cake.  a quickly done mario themed mess of a cake.  my cake supplies are seriously low - no red food coloring, only one bag of p.sugar, so i used (gasp!) canned frosting! bleah.  and i cut out a coloring picture for mario, taped it to a popsicle stick, and voila!  mario cake.  he liked it, that's all that matters, right?


but my fondant was awesome, have you ever made your own fondant?  this is a great recipe, and i used my kitchenaid dough hook to do the kneading for me.  pretty tasty stuff.  i did coat the counter with crisco to keep it from sticking, and it made it nice and pliable. 

then their favorite babysitter kirby came over to stay with them, while we went to a surprise 40th for his brother jeff.  it was at the beer joint in town and was a blast.  the hangover, not so much. ugh. why? why do i take shots when i know i'm way too old for it?

my partner in crime kelly
so we recuperated on the couch most of the morning, and later i took the three older kids(and froggy!) to see chipwrecked.  they had gotten movie passes for christmas.  i love going to the movies - anyone seen sherlock holmes yet?  i'm dying to go!  the movie was cute, the kids liked it.


today troy took emma and alex to a wrestling tournament - aj's first!  we are planning a quiet day sewing, just dance 3 on wii, and doing nothing much else.  the first of the charm squares has arrived, so i'm planning to get mine cut too.  i am very behind on a bunch of stuff, so cross your fingers for a productive day!

***update!  alex has lost one match, and won one - if he loses the next he's out, but troy said he's doing awesome!!

TO DO:
do. good stitches blocks for december and january



quilted notebook for cricket
cut charms for swap
package purple outfoxed FQ for swap
package etsy orders to ship monday
finish cleaning sewing nook

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

blogger's choice fat quarter bundle


introducing - modern spring fling! 

i've been wanting to make a quilt with these colors forever now.  lots of white sashing, that luscious joel dewberry heirloom print - i could live in these colors!  unfortunately the mister can't.  and it's a bit too grown up for my little girl.  so, someday...

1. children at play by sarah jane
2. ruby by bonnie & camille
3. american banner rose by minick & simpson
4. aqua red by michael miller
5. lanikai by dear stella
6. heart garden by robin zingone
7. lanikai by dear stella
8. heirloom by joel dewberry
9. weekend clubhouse 2012
10. heart garden by robin zingone
11. weekend clubhouse 2012
12. stitch organic by betz white
13. bella solids navy
14. bella solids teal
15. michael miller fuchsia cotton couture

go to quokka quilts to link up your own fat quarter shop blogger's choice bundle!  someone's going to win yardage of their choices!  all of these fabrics are available at fat quarter shop!

hey swappers!

i've sent an email with shipping info to everyone in the swap - except for MELISSA - yeah you!  i need you to get in touch with me, you are a no-reply blogger :) if i don't hear from you tonight, i will give your spot away, sorry but the deadline is approaching!  if i have missed you or you have questions, you can leave me a comment on this post.

or get ahold of me through the flickr group:

http://www.flickr.com/groups/shadesofgray/



meanwhile, here's what my darling husband did for me last weekend.  he was on call all weekend, so he couldn't go anywhere!  he hung a bunch of trim in a couple rooms and finally put up my shelves!  i got them at the goodwill, painted them white, and i just love it!  they hold fat quarters perfectly.

Monday, January 2, 2012

hello 2012! come on in!

sign ups are still open for the shades of gray charm swap!  we only have 11  3 spaces to fill, the sooner the better, so if you're interested, go here to sign up!  and if you'd like to take a double spot - let me know.  i'm filling two spots myself, using alexander henry diamond eye for one of my fabrics.  



i am so far behind on everything.  the house is starting to recover from the mess of the holidays.  so much trash!  next this year - cloth gift bags.

the view from here
we stretched our holiday out - starting at his mom's with all his sibs, then our home for two days, then at my folks' with my brothers for the last couple days.  sawyer's cutting bottom molars, and he's not happy about it.  he doesn't sleep well when teething, and wants to be held a lot.  it's been an exhausting week, waaay too much coffee has been drunk, and i am not ready for vacation to be over.  i still need one!

anyways. one great thing about this weekend was that my husband was on call all weekend, so he had to stay at home.  and he cut trim for a bathroom, crown moulding for the mudroom, moved furniture around for me, and hung several shelves.  things are looking much better now.  i'll be taking lots of pictures later this morning to share with you!

i tried to tackle a few smallish things before the new year began.  i didn't get far though.  just finished trimming this dish towel - using vintage linens and grosgrain ribbon.  i did a little hand stitching with some perle cotton. 

working on my blocks for do. good stitches.  gray with a pop of green.



binding emma's quilt.

making a quilted notebook for my new friend cricket - who is very patient. 

hope you all had a great christmas, and be sure to enter the fat quarter shop giveaway!

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