Sunday, January 31, 2010

Saturday Stuff

Friday after school we headed to my sister and brother-in-law's  to help  tile the washroom floor.  Bud got the cement board down on Friday night and then we got up early Saturday morning to begin.

Bud did most of the work with Kathy assisting him.  I was just their gopher, running to town twice to get much needed supplies like mortar and pizza.  Dale is feeling the effects of chemo and radiation, so he was just a bystander this time. They got it tiled and Kathy will do the grouting this week.  I spent some of my time working on this little piece of embroidery.

Now to get it made into something.  But, I do have a problem.  I went down to my craft room to work on a quilt Thursday night and my iron wouldn't heat up!!  So, I'll be making a trip to town to purchase a new one.  So,  not much sewing can be done until then.

On our way home we went through CR to drop some things off for Trina and Tanner.  Trina is just four short weeks away from her due date.  She grows every time we see her. I'm sure she'll be happy to hear me say that! LOL

How was your Saturday??

Friday, January 29, 2010

Hot Taco Rice

Thanks to Colleen at And Baby Makes Five for hosting this recipe swap.  Check it out.
Hot Taco Rice has become a family favorite at our house.  It's quick and easy plus so tasty!
Hot Taco Rice
1 pound ground beef (I often use sausage)
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups medium salsa
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 1/2 cups instant rice

Brown beef and onion in a large skillet.  Add salsa, tomato sauce, and bouillon cube.  Bring to a full boil.  Reduce heat to low: cover and simmer 5 minutes  Meanwhile, prepare rice as directed on the package.  Serve beef mixture over rice and top with garnishes.

Our favorite garnishes are just cheese, Doritoes, and sour cream. You could also use chopped tomatoes, olives, and tortilla chips.

Enjoy, and have a great weekend.  We're off to tile my sister's new washroom.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

PT Conferences

No sewing for me tonight--I'll be doing Parent Teacher Conferences!

Such is the way of the student these days!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Catch Up

We had snow day #6 this past Wednesday.  Technically it was an ice day.  This is a picture of the ice on my front porch.

And this photo is the inside of the railing which has a roof over it.

All that ice also led to a 2 hour late start the next day.  Late starts are something we rarely have.  Our superintendent doesn't really believe in them. He thinks two hours doesn't make much of a difference.  That leads us to driving on some slick roads at times.  I was thankful for this late start as the snowplow didn't come by until right before I was to leave home.
What did I do all day?  Well, I sewed of course!  I had worked on Trina and Tanner's baby quilt the night before and had almost gotten the top together.  I wasn't happy with it and thought about it through the night.  So, I tore it apart and started over.  Got it all completed and sent it off to be quilted.  I can't show pictures until the baby is born.  They've seen the fabric(The Very Hungry Caterpillar), but I want them to be surprised with how it turned out.
Yesterday I spent a large chunk of time  with these:

They're 41 science journals to evaluate.  It's report card time, and the science grade was the last thing I had to do.  After several hours I had them completed and grades posted.  Wohoo!  Report cards done for another quarter.  Now to get the parent teacher conferences done.
After that I hit the craft room.  I still had those L'Amour charm packs to do something with.  I used one pack and made this table topper. Using the free pattern from The Fat Quarter Shop.

I just machine quilted straight lines  throughout the middle.  Then I  sewed hearts in the border.  I think you can see them in this photo.  It still needs to be washed and dried and then it will be put on my table.

Sore shoulders and an aching back is what I got with all of that sitting, grading, and sewing!  But it's a good feeling of accomplishment.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Chicken Fingers

It's Friday, so that means it is time for a new recipe.  We are trying to watch what we're eating so I've dug out some healthier recipes.  If you're looking for some great recipes that are easier on your waist check out Hungry Girl.  We have eaten these chicken fingers many times and they are great!

Chicken Fingers
6 oz.  Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (raw); cut lengthwise into 5 strips
1/2 cup Fiber One cereal
1/4 cup Egg Beaters, Original
1/4 tsp. Lawry's Garlic Salt
pepper (to taste) 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using a blender or food processor, grind Fiber One cereal to a breadcrumb-like consistency. Add Garlic Salt and pepper to crumbs.  Place crumbs in one small dish and Egg Beaters in another. Next, coat raw chicken strips with Egg Beaters and then with crumb mixture. Place strips on a baking pan sprayed with nonstick spray.  Spray a light mist of nonstick spray on top of strips and place in oven. Cook for 10 minutes, and then turn strips over.  Add another light mist of nonstick spray and cook for an additional 8 - 10 minutes (until chicken is fully cooked and Fiber One looks crispy).  Enjoy!  Serves 1.
Calories:  240  Fat: 3.25g  Sodium: 805mg  Carbs: 26g  Fiber: 14g Sugars: 0.58g Proteins: 42.5g  4 WW points

(Photo courtesy of Hungry Girl)
Check out Colleen's blog for more great recipes!

We had snow day #6 Wednesday.  Actually it was an ice day, but no school nonetheless.  I managed to get Trina and Tanner's baby's quilt pieced and ready to quilt.  I had a large part of it put together the night before, but I just wasn't happy with it.  In the night (when I should have been sleeping) I knew how I needed to change it.  So, I got up and tore it out and started over.  ( I don't want to share photos until the baby is born.) It was a great day, but I know I'll be wishing we hadn't had it come June!
 It's report card time, so I'm busy with those.  Have a great weekend.

Monday, January 18, 2010

New Fabric and a Swap

I stopped by JoAnn's tonight to look for some Valentine(ish) fabric.

I'm hoping to make a Valentine quilt, although I don't think it will be done this year!  I also picked up some white for a baby quilt and some polka dots just because.

I love new fabric and the projects that roll around in my head when I touch them.  Now, the difficult part is to actually use them!
I participated in a fall swap. I sent a box full of these things to my partner in Canada.

It took a while, and I got a little impatient, but I finally got a box full of these great things:

Unfortunately I didn't get to use the items this fall, but I now have some new things to look forward to putting out next fall!  Thanks, Trudy.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Little Bit of Sewing and A Lot of Fun!

Last week I worked on a table runner for my sister.  It was hard for me to pick out the fabrics because I didn't have her exact wall color in my head, and because her color is kind of a burnt orange.  Orange is not one of my favorite colors.  I hope I chose well.

I tried to hide my stitched on the binding so she can use both sides.

I also whipped up a few of these:

More Teepee Peepees for changing little boys.
I also spent some time with Chance as they spent the night with us and then we baby-sat while they went car shopping.  He is such a happy little guy!

Saturday we all gathered to celebrate the upcoming birth of our fifth grandchild.  This baby shower was girls only to start and then the guys joined us for a late lunch later.
Trina, our Mom to Be

Mom and Dad to Be practicing with Chance!

Our three pregnant ladies posed for me.

Daughter, Trina--due March 2nd, Niece,  Brittany--due June 24th, Daughter, Tasha--due July 14th
All in all, we had a great Saturday!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Sweet Potato Casserole/ Quilty Finish Finally!

We used to have sweet potatoes for Christmas and Thanksgiving.  These sweet potatoes were made like this:  Dump a can of sweet potatoes in a dish, put some brown sugar and butter on and bake.  Just before serving put some marshmellows on and bake until melted.  We loved them!   Welllllllll-----sbout ten years ago my aunt introduced us to this sweet potato casserole.  It is WONDERFUL!! No more canned sweet potatoes for us!  Try it, you'll like it I promise.

Sweet Potato Casserole
3c. mashed potatoes                                  2 eggs
1/2 c. sugar                                               1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. melted margarine
Beat with mixer.  Pour into baking dish.

1/2 c. flour                                                1/2 c. milk
1 c. brown sugar, packed                          1/2 c. margarine
Mix well.  Spread on potato mixture.  Sprinkle with 1 c. chopped nuts. (I use pecans)
Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

This photo shows them just ready to go into the oven.

I forgot to take a picture when they came out as I was too anxious to eat them!  Go on over to And Baby Makes Five to see what others are cooking up!

I finally finished my Christmas wall hanging.

I embroidered squares using Gail Pan's BOM.  I hadn't embroidered in years except to blanket stitch around something.

I really enjoyed it.  I hand quilted it as I have talked about in previous posts.  I am not thrilled with the job I did, but I was convinced to finish it.  I look forward to seeing it hang on the wall next Christmas.

Monday, January 11, 2010

New Fabric and Weekend Work

I was excited to get some fabric that I ordered.  Trina and Tanner have decorated their nursery with the book, "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" as the theme.  Here's the book if you aren't familiar with it:

So, I thought it was only appropriate to make the baby's quilt with that fabric also.  I bought a fat quarter bundle and a panel.

  I'm not sure what pattern or how I'm putting it together, but I'll figure it out.
Hated to see the box too empty, so I also ordered these:

Two fat quarters of Bonnie Blues by Marcus Fabrics and two fat quarters of L'amour by Moda.  Not sure what I'm doing with these yet either!

We have had quite the busy past few days.  My brother and SIL left Texas Wednesday afternoon.  In the meantime, Wednesday Bud was by Maquoketa moving cattle with Travis and killing hogs to butcher with my nephew. He had a slow snowy drive home.  The Texans drove through awful weather, but finally arrived at our house Thursday mid afternoon. Friday we traveled back to Maquoketa to my sister and BIL's home.  The guys put a bathroom in their shed Friday night.  We all woke up early Saturday morning to spend the day butchering eight hogs.  Yes, I know that sounds kind of gross, but they have quite the set-up and knowledgeable people.  The meat is fantastic!  There were between 15-20 people around to help throughout the day.  We brought home pork chops, sausage, roasts, ribs, tenderloin, and steaks.  We should be set for the year.

Sunday morning a group of my BIL's friends and coworkers came armed with chain saws to cut wood to store for the winter.  My BIL just started chemo and radiation and they heat their house with a wood furnace, so they should be set for a while.

Bud, my brother (not in photo) Dale's brother,  and Dale's SIL,  sheet rocked the laundry room so they can get it finished up.

We are all exhausted, but we spent some quality time working and having a good time.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Chicken Cordon Bleu

I am going to join in Colleen's Kitchen Weekly Recipe Swap.  Head over to her blog to check out what others are cooking up!

I have made this version of Chicken Cordon Bleu for many years.  It keeps well in the freezer.  I have taken it to people in times of need.  I usually take it to them frozen.  That way if they have a lot of food at the time they can keep it in the freezer until they need it.  I recently served it for book club and several people asked me to share the recipe.

Chicken Cordon Bleu
Tenderize the chicken breast.  You want it to be flattened to about 1/2".

Next, put in several deli slices of ham like Buddig and then Italian style shredded cheese.

Then roll it up tucking in the sides.  Put toothpicks in to hold it together.  I usually use two.  Finally, roll it in Italian style breadcrumbs.

Then freeze or bake.  These should be  baked at 350 until the juices run clear.  (Obviously it will take longer if you put them in frozen!)

(And here we are with Snow Day #5!! Yikes, a June dismissal is looking likely.)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Snow Day #4

Our current weather.  Believe it or not, it has warmed up.  Temps will be going down tonight.  It will be
 -20 by this weekend!

Outside my window---after 6.5" of snow and still snowing!

The wind is beginning to pick up, which is expected to become a problem.  MANY schools in the area are closed for the day including ours.  Those that didn't close are now closing early in anticipation of the winds and reduced visibility.

On my lap--I WILL finish this hand quilting and get the binding on so I can finish it.

At my feet--Cuddles.  This may be her first appearance on my blog.  She doesn't spend much time in the house--mostly when we have extreme temperatures like we're having lately and when it's REALLY hot in the summer.

My brother and SIL are on their way here, so I will do a little baking--soup's already on.  And what will you do today?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Bits & Pieces

Iowa 24    Georgia Tech 14
What a great game we watched last night!  Adrian Clayborn did an amazing job, and we are thrilled he is coming back instead of going pro!  He is so deserving of his Player of the Game award.  I was disappointed that many of my Texas relatives overlooked this game.  Come on,  you were born and raised in Iowa at least support us!!!
Go Hawks!!

On another note---I am hand quilting a Christmas wall-hanging.  I keep putting it down because I am disappointed in my skills as a quilter.  It has been many years since I've hand quilted much, but it seems I just don't have the touch.  I look at the Amish quilt hanging in CURVES right now, and it has such evenly spaced, even sized straight stitched.  I'm just green with envy.  Now I can't decide whether to finish it. (I'm almost done.)  Or rip everything out and have it machine quilted.  Most people that will see it probably don't know much about quilting so it won't matter.  But it will matter to me.  What would you do?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Vacation is Over

School starts again tomorrow, so that means the end of my Christmas vacation.  While I enjoyed it a great deal, I do feel a little disappointed because  I was sick during this time, so I couldn't enjoy it to the fullest.  I do tend to become a hermit during this time.  It's cold and I have a lot I want to do, so I just like to stay home! 
 I finished up a piece I had started in the fall.  It is now a cute little wall hanging to be packed away until fall or until I decide to give it away.

I also worked on some Iowa Hawkeye bean bags.  Bud made the guys each a bean bag toss game.  We got behind, so they aren't done yet, but they will have the Hawkeye logo on them, so I made the bean bags to go with them.

I'm also working on the hand quilting of my Christmas quilted wall hanging that didn't get done before Christmas.  Hopefully that will be done this week.

One perk of vacation is leisure time spent with friends.  I had some friends out for brunch one morning.

We had great food and caught up with each other. (Don't know why the pic turned that way!)

I think I'd work well with a week of vacation like this each month!  How about you?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Book Club Christmas Celebration

Back in the middle of December I hosted my book club(Booker Babes) meeting for the month.  I made Chicken Cordon Bleu (tutorial coming soon)and Party Potatoes, while everyone else contributed a dish to share.  I always struggle to put together a nice tablescape.  It just isn't my thing, I guess.  But this one was passable, especially with the candle lit and the lights turned low! (I WILL have something other than white tables clothes to choose from next year)

Everyone was asked to bring an ornament in a brown paper bag to give away, an ornament they cherish so they could share their story, and to incorporate an ornament into their outfit WITHOUT it being their necklace!  Yes, sometimes they just aren't creative and you need to nudge them into thinking outside the box!  Jackie certainly won the prize for being creative.  She had blinking lights around her red hat.  She also had a strand of lights as a belt.  Great job, Jackie!

We also collected money to sponsor a family for Christmas.  Since Trina works for Big Brothers Big Sisters I am always well aware of some of the needs of the families and thought that would be a great idea for us.

Everyone left with a little gift I made.  Travel tissue cozies.  I found the pattern here, and I made many of them as Christmas gifts.

Good food, good conversation, & good friends---what could be better than that?