If you are looking for the continuing saga of the lives of the Bamafam, you can find it at Simply Better Together.
If you are looking for tutorials on making cool things or a great new recipe or some other homemaking-related thing, you can find it at "Simply Better" at Home.
If you are looking for old recipes or tutorials or stories of our lives, they will remain here at this site until I can get them appropriately moved to one of the other two sites. (That may be never)
Monday, June 29, 2009
If you are looking for the continuing saga of the lives of the Bamafam, you can find it at Simply Better Together.
Posted by highdeekay at 9:07 AM
Friday, June 26, 2009
Today is the last day of YW Camp - yippee!
In honor of the camping tradition, here is a recipe you can use next time you go camping:
4 Boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
4 large sheets aluminum foil
1/2 t salt
1 C sliced mushrooms
1 can Cream of Roasted Garlic Condensed Soup
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- Place 1 chicken breast in center of each sheet of foil.
- Lightly season with salt.
- Top each breast with equal portions of mushrooms, soup, and rosemary.
- Fold foil in half over chicken; seal all edges with double fold seals.
- Bake at 425 for 20 minutes (or until chicken is no longer pink in the center)
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
- Photos (or other pictures)
- Straight Edge (metal ruler)
- Utility Knife
- First Aid kit (keep it on hand for when you slice your finger using the utility knife)
- Vinyl Tile Scrap (you can usually purchase these at Lowe's or Home Depot)
- D Rings (you can get these at any sewing or craft center - like Hobby Lobby or Michaels)
- Adhesive (tape, glue gun, or whatever your adhesive of choice is)
- Sewing Machine, Thread, Scissors (or not, if you have another way to fuse two sides of ribbon together)
- (optional) Hair Dryer
1. Choose what kind of pictures you want and then take some photos (or cut out pictures from a magazine or whatever)
2. Measure your tile slightly smaller than your picture (like 1cm smaller on each side) and then cut it.
2a. Using your pencil, mark the tile on the paper (the stuff that covers the adhesive).
2b. You should cut it on the paper side as well. Use the straight edge and utility knife and make several slices along the same line until you have made it through enough that you can bend/break the rest of it in a straight line. (I just looked online for a good tutorial and didn't find one but I did read several places that indicated it helpful to heat your tile using a hair dryer - I haven't done it but you can certainly try it.)
3. Peel the paper from the tile and place your picture(s) on the adhesive side.
3a. Smooth the pictures so there are no bubbles.
3b. Use the utility knife to trim the pictures so that they are flush with your tile.
4. Decide how long you want your ribbon to be and cut it. You will be folding it over entirely so take that into consideration.
5. Loop the ribbon through the D ring and pin it like this:
6. Using your zipper foot, sew as close to the ring as you can get. If you don't like to sew, you can think of another way to enclose the D ring. Perhaps you could use fusing tape (Stitch Witchery) and iron the two pieces of ribbon together.
7. Adhere the ribbons to the backs of your tiles and hang. (I honestly used Scotch tape - several pieces - to do the job.)
8. Hang on a wall in whatever fashion you want.
Monday, June 22, 2009
It has been in the high 90s with humidity to match.
For those who might not know, I'm a cool temperatures kind of girl, I don't like dirt, I love my own bed, I hate bugs, and I get really grumpy when I am hot, dirty, and haven't slept well.
So, knowing those facts, are you wondering why I'm going camping this week?
Well, let me tell you.
This week is our Young Women's camp. The YW (ages 12-18) from the Birmingham and Montgomery stakes are getting together to learn survival skills, sing silly songs, strengthen one another, and strengthen testimonies. I get to be one of their leaders (actually I am a "shadow leader" - they are really good about truly allowing the older girls be the actual leaders). I am so looking forward to this. I am dreading it too. Really, I'm so not a camping kind of girl (especially in extreme heat). We have ten girls going from our branch. There are six 12-year olds; two 13-yearl olds; and two YCLs (youth camp leaders). They are so cute and enthusiastic. I just need to remember their enthusiasm. One of my best buds (Corrie) is coming along too. How will this not be wonderful (oh yeah, the heat)? Really, (trying to convince myself) this is going to be GREAT!
I'll take lots of picture and post a great synopsis when I get home this weekend. Pray for cooler temperatures and that I won't be a grump.
I'm grateful that Phil will be home with Eden. I am really going to miss those two (they are going to come visit me for a day though).
Friday, June 19, 2009
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 1/2 C thinly sliced onions
1/2 C finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes*
1 C Cream of Roasted Garlic Condensed Soup
1 C chicken broth
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
- In large skillet sprayed with cooking spray, cook chicken until brown on both sides.
- Arrange onions and tomatoes over chicken.
- In small bowl, combine soup, chicken broth, salt, and pepper; mix well.
- Pour mixture over chicken.
- Cover and simmer 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Remember this post?
Well, today Eden was wearing the brown sandals purchased at that time. I've decided there is a curse associated with those shoes.
We went outside and played (well, she played and I picked up branches downed in our latest round of storms). Then it was time to come in for a nap. Eden wasn't happy but I was firm so in we came. I looked down and noticed that Eden was missing one of her sandals.
"Where is your other sandal?"
"I took it off"
"Where did you put it?"
"In mine house."
She had just been playing in her playhouse/slide thing on the deck and so I thought that is what she meant. I walked onto the deck, looked, but no shoe. I turned the handle of the storm door and was met with great resistance. She had locked it.
After about five minutes of trying to get her to unlock it, I gave up on that approach. I left her crying and fearful and went to my neighbor's house to use the phone. I called Phil (who works 30 minutes away) and asked him to come right home. I spent the next half hour sitting on one side of the glass door with Eden on the other. We sang songs, she cried some, and we did lots of kissing through the glass. She was very brave (which, incidentally is one of her favorite new adjectives).
Then when Phil was about five minutes away, she reached up (without any prodding by me - I had long since given up on that) and unlocked the door.
We are grateful that is over.
Oh, and I found the shoe "in mine house." The real house.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Eden has hit that stage when she just wants to wear skirts all the time. Forget dresses or even pants, she could live in a skirt. The problem? She only has one. So, I thought it would be fun to make her some skirts.
When looking through her clothes, I found a pair of shorts that someone gave us. She has TONS of shorts and I thought these would be a good beginning to a really cute skirt. I had bought some fabric on sale and realized it would actually match.
This is what I came up with (without buying anything new - I love that!)
Here is what you'll need:
- A pair of shorts or pants that fit your child in the waist and bum
- 1/4 to 1/2 yard of fabric
- Measuring Tape
- Embellishments (ribbon, buttons, whatever)
- Sewing Machine
Start out by cutting the shorts or pants above the crotch (you can measure your child down from the waist and determine how long you want this part of the skirt to be).
Next, measure the fabric for the rest of the length of the skirt (however long you want your skirt to be minus however long the cut off shorts are plus a one-inch seam allowance).
Now, cut the full width of the fabric (45") at that length.
Now, finish the edge of both your shorts and the fabric (I used my serger but you can zig zag on your sewing machine if you don't have a serger).
Next, connect your fabric by sewing the two "short" edges together (right sides together - so the seam is on the "inside").
Now baste along the finished edge of the fabric. This is so that you can pull the thread to create a gathered ruffle. You'll want to set your stitch length to a high number (I did 4.5). A longer stitch length makes gathering easier.
Now, gather your fabric by pulling on one thread. If you want a more detailed tutorial on gathering, see here.
Once you have your fabric gathered to the right length (to fit your top piece), pin it (right sides facing) to the top piece and then sew into place (don't forget to move your stitch length to normal).
Now hem the bottom (hint: I used the finished edge of my fabric and so I didn't have to hem). You may embellish with ribbon or whatever and you are done!
Monday, June 15, 2009
Phil was gone all of last week. He was in Utah, Wyoming, Idaho singing with Voice Male. It is so good to have him home. Eden really missed him. At one point she started crying and saying, "I sad, I sad, I sad." When I asked her why, she replied in a soft, thoughtful voice, "I miss my daddy." We talked to him several times every day and she loved that. She was such a good girl while he was gone.
So was I (mostly). I had three goals while he was gone:
1. Surprise him by painting our bedroom.
1a. Only paint while Eden slept - to not sacrifice being an attentive mom just to get my project done.
2. Keep the dishes done (he is the dish do-er and so when he is gone, I tend to let them build up).
3. Be a happy, supportive little warrior and not complain when we talked on the phone.
Here is how I did:
1. I got the bedroom painted but I ran into some questions about which paint went where and so I ended up telling him so I could make sure it was done to is aesthetic satisfaction. We had planned on doing it two-toned but I messed up and put the wrong color on top. That is when I told him and we decided to just do the whole thing in that color (kind of a dark sage/moss green). I really like it and think it is better than it would have been if I had done it correctly. Nikki (one of the YW in our branch) came over and helped one day, that was great.
1a. I did paint for about 20 minutes after she woke up from her nap on Friday. I was nearly done with the walls and so she watched Leap Frog's Alphabet Factory (she knows most of her alphabet by sound and sight these days!) while I finished up.
2. There was one night that I went to bed with dishes in the sink but other than that, I kept up on the dishes.
3. I was a total whiner on Wednesday but I did well the rest of the week. Glad I could repent of Wednesday. I didn't whine that he was gone, just about other stuff (mostly the paint color mix up).
Now he is home and we are very, very glad. Last night I suggested that the two wrapped gifts in the corner could be seen as "welcome home" gifts instead of father's day gifts. He didn't require much convincing (is that because he knows me so well and figured protesting would be fruitless or does he like opening presents early as much as I do?). He really liked his gifts (I'll do another post about those - probably on a Tutorial Tuesday post). We also made him a fun banner that said, "Welcome Home Dad" and served him one of his favorite meals.
I'm so glad when daddy comes home glad as I can be. Clap my hands and shout for joy place Eden on his knee. Put my arms around his neck hug him tight like this. Pat his cheek and give him what? A GREAT BIG KISS!
Saturday, June 13, 2009
I'd love your input.
I've been thinking lately that maybe I should separate this into two blogs.
1. A personal/family blog that would be by permission only. This is where I'd post the cute stories about our lives and the pictures and stuff like that. It would be by permission only but permission would be granted liberally.
2. A blog for Tutorial Tuesday and Food Friday and other ideas, questions, and tips about being a mother and homemaker. This would be a public blog.
What do you think? Is it better to just keep it all together or does it make sense to make a private blog? I'd love to hear whether you've had similar thoughts and whether you've got more than one blog.
Does anyone know an easy way to copy blog posts so that I can move all the Food Friday and Tutorial Tuesdays to the public blog before making this one private? If not, I'll probably make this one public and start using A Life in Words as the private blog (and not move stuff around).
I'm anxious to hear what people think.
Friday, June 12, 2009
When Eden was born she had extremely LONG toes. It was like she had fingers for her toes - seriously! I don't think they've grown in length in the past two years though. They have grown otherwise. So now, instead of long skinny toes, she has short stubby ones. This makes shoe-fitting difficult. Her sandals (size 5.5) were beginning to rub on her chubby toes and she actually had a couple of sores. Definitely time to buy some new sandals.
So yesterday I put her white sandals on (I had bought them at Kid to Kid a few months ago and this was the first day she actually wore them) and we headed to the Exchange (our local sprawl-center with Target, Old Navy, Kohls, TJ Maxx, Ross, etc.). After looking at a few stores we ended up at Target. We were also looking for a pair of water shoes and so I took her white sandals off and tried on a pair of water shoes (size 7 - she needed size 6). Then she took off. I rounded her up again and then we found a cute pair of brown sandals in the right size. I tried them on her and she LOVED them. I took the tags off so she could just wear them out of the store (and I could still pay for them).
Then I looked and only saw one white sandal. I looked and looked but couldn't find which shoe box contained three shoes instead of two. I asked Eden where she had put the other one but she was either really belligerent or just couldn't understand me (I think it was the former - she was on one!). I was about ready to cut my losses and just leave because Eden was not being cooperative and I was just incredibly frustrated. Finally a woman came around the corner and I explained to her what had happened. I don't think she really wanted to know but she was kind and offered to help. I showed her the shoe I had and then she said, isn't that it right there. Yup, in the box right in front of me. Grateful for help, embarrassed by my blindness, I thanked her and left the shoe department.
Glad that ordeal is over.
2 slices of bacon
4 skinned, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
1/2 C chopped red onion
1/2 t ground coriander
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 C Salsa
1 Red Pepper, chopped
Fresh Cilantro, chopped
- Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until crisp.
- Remove bacon from skillet; crumble and set aside.
- Sprinkle chicken with salt and black pepper.
- Add chicken to bacon drippings; saute 2 minutes on each side.
- Remove chicken from pan.
- Add onion, coriander, and garlic to pan; saute 3 minutes.
- Stir in salsa and bell pepper.
- Return chicken to the pan.
- Cover and cook over medium heat 12 minutes or until chicken is done.
- Sprinkle with crumbled bacon; garnish with cilantro.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
(most of her drawings don't resemble anything)
Eden and Phil outside the Atlanta Temple
- Print out coloring pages.
- Glue coloring pages to each side of the card stock.
Let your child color with regular crayons.
Wipe the crayon away with a tissue or cloth.
I told you this was easy!
*I printed the coloring pages from the new nursery manual. You can find them here. Click on the right picture column (there are usually two pictures, a painting or photo and then a coloring page, the coloring page is usually the one to the right). These are what I take to supposedly entertain Eden during Sacrament Meeting. It doesn't always work. Eden doesn't understand why she shouldn't provide commentary through Sacrament Meeting the way she does the rest of her life. I'm so glad that I encouraged her to have good verbal skills by giving her a running commentary for the first year of her life. Now I will spend the next many years listening to her running commentary. Smart, I am.
Monday, June 8, 2009
This Gardenia bush was the only thing left after we had the front trees cut and after we removed the ugly (my thought, not Phil's) irises. It was very sickly looking and it didn't look like it would make it through another summer. I convinced Phil to keep it and give it one more chance. Well, with a little pruning and lots of rain and watering it looks great. It is even producing blooms! Yeah!!!
This gardenia bush is at the side of the house. It has done much better than the front one and looks great too.
I have always loved gardenias. I think they are so delicate and yet strong. I love their velvety pedals. Of course, the scent of a gardenia is strong and beautiful. I picked this one and gave it to Eden. She sniffed it (an act that somehow engages every facial muscle) and declared, "mmm, it is deee-licious mommy."
This is one of our fire plants. It is so amazing that the same plant produces different colors. We like them lots.
Some recent Edenisms:
Saturday we went to the Atlanta temple to witness the sealing of some friends. Eden was so excited to get to go to the temple instead of being left behind with a babysitter. As we drove I explained to her that she would see the Dewsnup kids and stay with them while we went inside. She exclaimed, "yay! they are very nice to me."
Sunday evening I was wearing a shirt that had Simon and Garfunkel* on it. I don't wear many printed tees so Eden was intrigued. She kept asking, "who's that guy?" while pointing to each of them. During her prayer she said, "thank you mommy, thank you Eden, thank you daddy, thank you that guy (pointing to Paul Simon) and thank you that guy (pointing to Art Garfunkel)." What can I say, she knows good music.
You may not know it, but you were likely called yesterday. I wasn't feeling well in the afternoon and Phil was at meetings. So, while I rested (using that term lightly), Eden laid on my bed with me and used my phone to "call" people. She really did call a few people but mostly she dialed 2222222222222 and then pretended to talk. It was hilarious to hear her say things like, "hello? Merleelee (my sister, Merilee)? how doing? hmmm? oh, uh huh?" The best was when she called Corrie and her husband, Brian, though. The "conversation" went like this: "Corralee, hello. I miss you. I talk Brian. Brian, hello. You obey? huh?" At two she already knows the order of things.
* several years ago when Simon and Garfunkel had a reunion tour I really wanted to go to their concert but I didn't really want to pay the huge amount of money and so I had some friends over and we watched the DVD of the Concert in the Park. We made a real party out of it with Simon and Garfunkel trivia etc. One of the activities was to make your own "concert tee." It was pretty fun. We used to do thematic parties all the time. What happened? Oh yeah, Eden is the new theme and life is the new party.
Friday, June 5, 2009
Here are some great looking recipes I've seen online lately:
Awesome Blueberry Muffins (or craisin muffins or chocolate chip muffins)
Corn Flake Chicken Nuggets
Noodles with Mushrooms and Lemon Ginger Dressing
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Remember this post?
Well, I got one of my handmade gifts done and in the mail. Becca said she wanted me to create something for her cousin who was expecting her first child. She told me to think of a gift that we got and loved and see if I could make one. I immediately thought of our great diaper changing pad/bag.
I wondered if I could figure out how to make one.
I think it mostly turned out really well. I may have to refine my process and start making these more, it was pretty fun.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
I wanted to have some fun toy to help Eden learn her "dressing" skills. After looking online for different toys I came up with the idea to create my own dressing cube. There are lots of tutorials out there to help you make a block so I won't be redundant. You can look here or here or here for that.
So, now that you've looked over those tutorials and understand how to make a cube (or block) I will show you how I made a dressing cube.
1. I made a list of the skills I wanted to teach: zipper, buttons, snaps, tie, velcro, etc.
2. I cut out 6 squares (mine are 9 inches squared) using a canvas black fabric I just had on hand.
3. I looked through old clothes (hers and mine) for items that could be repurposed.
4. I found this fleece jacket with HUGE buttons. Eden loved this jacket last fall but it is too small now. I cut out the middle section then pinned it to one square. I sewed a seam on each side (so the middle is still open unless buttoned shut.
5. I found this pair of pants that were well-worn but that have a button, zipper, and tie. It also has great pockets so that was an added bonus. I cut out the section I wanted to use and sewed it onto one of the canvas squares. It is sewn on the bottom and along the sides but the top is open.6. I found this shirt of mine that was well-worn and headed for the garbage. It has a great zipper - I especially like the pull on the zipper. I cut out the section I wanted and serged (you could zig zag) around it so it wouldn't fray. Then I sewed it on one of the canvas squares.
7. For the velcro pieces I decided to use felt and cut out my daughter's initials. I first made a pattern for the letters.
8. Next, I sewed the scratchy side of the velcro onto the "extremities" of the letters.
9. I did a zig zag around the part of the letter that would be open and then I pinned the "base" onto my canvas squares. I zig zagged the base on so it was secure. Then I sewed the soft side of Velcro on to the right spots on the canvas square. The picture below shows how the stem of the K (the straight line) is secured to the square while the arm and leg are loose unless fastened with the velcro. (The reason you want to put the scratchy side on the felt is because if it is on the square, it will snag the felt and create problems.)
10. For the last square I needed to present snaps. I thought it would be fun to make some flowers and so I made some yo yos (see tutorials here, here, or here) and fastened some ribbon to them and then one part of the snap on the back. Then I cut out some felt grass and sewed it on to the canvas square - leaving the top part open (forming a pocket of sorts). Then I fastened the other end of the ribbon (stem) inside the pocket. Finally, I sewed the other part of the snap onto the canvas square in the appropriate places. This makes a cute little flower garden. The flowers can be inside the grass pocket and then "grow" up and be snapped into place.
Let me know if you have any questions. Also leave suggestions for how this can be adapted. Have fun!
Monday, June 1, 2009
"Dear Heavenly Father, thank you ... day; thank you ... daddy, thank you ... mommy; thank you ... grandma; thank you ... door. Open door! Swing! (oh yeah, I'm prayin' here) Thank you ... grandma; thank you ... daddy, right here (pats Phil on the arm, Phil and Grandma bust up laughing, Heidi says, "in the name of ..." and Eden ends the cutest prayer ever!).
Friday, May 29, 2009
This is the meal that Phil made me for Mother's Day!
6 large slices sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 C cooked ham
1 red bell peppeer, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 green onions, sliced
2 C shredded mozzarella cheese
2 C milk
2 T Dijon mustard
black pepper to taste
2 dashes bottled hot pepper sauce
4 oz (1/4 lb) Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
1/3 C chopped toasted walnuts (optional)
- Spray a 7x11-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
- Spread half of the bread cubes evenly on the bottom.
- top with half of the cubed ham, bell peppers, green onions, and mozzarella cheese.
- Spread remaining bread cubes evenly over cheese and top with remaining ham, peppers, onions, and cheese.
- In a blender, process milk, eggs, mustard, pepper, hot sauce, and Gorgonzola until cheese is finely crumbled.
- Pour mixture over casserole and sprinkle with walnuts (if desired).
- Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight, covered.
- Bake (uncovered) in preheated 350 degree oven 45 minutes (until golden brown and puffed).
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
and if you have a toddler or preschooler (and therefore not much time), then
this is a project for
- Several (you determine the number) pieces of cardstock cut to squares (approx. 6" x 6")
- Desired Images (found on the internet, made by yourself, cut out of a magazine, etc.)
- Source of Music
- Decide what you want to teach your child.
- Find images that will meet your need (shapes, letters, numbers, colors, etc. - see suggestions below).
- Cut cardstock to squares.
- Glue images to cardstock. (Suggestion: use both sides, I did shapes on one side and vowels on the other thereby getting two games out of one.)
- Laminate cards.
- Trim laminate as needed.
- Turn on the music.
- Stop the music and call out an image (e.g. "Triangle!") and watch your toddlers scramble to find the right card to stand on.
- Repeat steps 7-9 until everyone is tired and ready for a nap.
I know, it sounds simple but toddlers LOVE it and it is a great way to teach. Depending on what you are trying to teach your child, you can put various images* on the game pieces. You can find free clip art online by simply doing a search such as "triangle clip art" and then click on "images" when the results pop up.
*Some Ideas for different types of cards:
- Alphabet Cards
- Various Animal Cards
- Number Cards
- Shape Cards
- Color Cards
- Scripture Cards (images from different scripture stories)
- My Family Cards (pictures of different family members: aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.)
- Simple Word Cards (CAT, DOG, HAT, etc. - you could include an image of the item too)
Be creative and share your ideas in the comment section.
P.S. Any wonderful suggestions for how I can clean up that fireplace (seen in the video)? We haven't used it and it is driving me nuts!