Monday, April 30, 2012

Pincushion Pots

Mother's Day is coming up, so I thought I might share a few DIY ideas over the next couple weeks. I saw this adorable pin cushion idea at Homemade Mamas, who were inspired by this extra tiny version found here. Here's how mine turned out.

Since baby food jars have not been in short supply around here for the last few years, this was a perfect project for me.

My mom likes to sew, so I made one for her and one for another lovely sewing friend of ours.

Of course now I'm kicking myself for not making myself one, because I don't feel like rounding up the stuff just to make one for me. Even though it's not like these are complicated. It's an ideal watching-a-movie craft (just not one with subtitles, because hand-sewing + subtitles = headache and lost plot--experience talking here ladies) . I think these are perfect for brightening up a sewing room, or corner if you, like me, don't have an entire room to devote to sewing.

I hope you all had a good weekend! Let's get those Mother's Day projects going; time is flying!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

City Girl Iced Coffee

I recently saw a delicious-looking iced coffee on pinterest. I clicked through and found myself at The Pioneer Woman. It's kind of crazy how much content she puts out; some good stuff too. Anyway, I read through her how-to-make-iced-coffee-at-home post and just thought someone needs to tell this dear woman that she's making this way harder than it has to be. Several years ago my aunt bought my parents a Toddy maker, and a couple years ago my husband and I bought our own. From Spring to Fall we have iced coffee in the fridge AT ALL TIMES.

It's so good, every bit as good as any coffee shop version, and it saves us a lot of money.  Plus with the toddy maker it takes only minutes to make a batch, and seconds to mix up a cup. With the super thick filter, and the long soaking method, it makes pretty much any brand of coffee come out silky smooth. While my husband can be a coffee snob when it comes to brewed coffee (only certain brands are good enough), he doesn't complain about using the cheaper brands when we use the toddy maker. It is the great equalizer of coffee!

It of course comes with a few simple but important instructions. They say it's important not to stir the grounds (unlike the Pioneer Woman). Stirring can make it acidic and bitter.  Sometimes I do add an extra cup of water though. Cover and let it sit overnight.

After 12 hours pull the cork and let out the smooth coffee concentrate. Scoop those grounds right outside into your compost pile. Or see this post on how to use these grounds to make an great exfoliating hand scrub.

Just add ice, creamer, and milk and you'll be in iced coffee heaven. I like sweet flavored coffee. This is my go-to creamer.  It's International Delight's Skinny Caramel Macchiato. It's fat free and only 30 cal. per tablespoon.

This is coffee concentrate so you only want to fill your cup 1/4 to 1/3 of the way with coffee.

I always start with ice, then the toddy, then cream.

I probably use 2-3 tablespoons of creamer.

Fill the rest of the way with your favorite milk and stir well. You might never go out to coffee again.  Supposedly the toddy lasts up to two weeks in the fridge. We usually gulp down a batch in about a week. We both like iced coffee, mucho. Okay, go now. Get caffeinated and have a great weekend!

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Mini Pops Reprise and Plate Markers

You can never have too much of a good thing. Especially when it comes in so many flavors. Did you know they made raspberry lemonade yogurt? I didn't. Pretty much rocked my freezer world. 

In real life these little guys melt super fast, so I barely had time to label them! But now that I know that I can write on these plates with Thing One's markers I WILL be labeling foods. Even if I'm the only one home to eat them read them.

I know it's silly, but I love discovering little possibilities like this. Just imagine how well this would work with markers that weren't mostly dried out from extensive coloring book use.

Thanks for reading!
- Haley

Sunday, April 22, 2012

An Earthy Day

Did you do anything for Earth day? We spent a little time in the dirt. It's been a month since we started our seeds and now they look like this.

Our spinach and lettuce are coming up too.

Remember my herb garden signs? I'm happy to report that they have all settled into their homes. 

If you are growing herbs maybe you already have some favorite recipes. If not, I'm planning to share some throughout the summer. Because it's pretty, but mostly I grow them because they taste good!

Here's to a great week ahead!

Thanks for reading.
- Haley

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Pinned Theirs--Marie! The Baguettes! Hurry Up!

I had more stuff planned for this week, but sometimes we don't know what the week has planned for us if you know what I mean. So I'll share my other recipes later and finish up with this amazingly simple yet impressive looking appetizer. Which I traced back to...Martha Stewart. You can find the original here. Mine came out so similar to the one I pinned, I'm just going to show you mine here (also I'm feeling lazy, so just click over there if you want to see Martha's). 

You just cut a baguette like so, so that there's a high and low side to each slice.

Then tear out a little bit of bread to make a little well. Fill with some veggie dip and a few slices of fresh crispy veggies. I used sugar snaps, yellow and red bell peppers and some fresh chives. 

Fun and fancy-looking.  "Pinned Theirs" success. 

I hope you had a good week. Bon appetite and thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pinned Theirs--Carrot Chips

A lot of projects are trial and error. Recipes especially. Some are a lot harder than they look and others just plain don't come out like someone said they would. That was the case for me with these carrot chips I pinned. I'm not sure where these came from, because apparently you have to have a Tumblr account to go to this site. Anyway, I followed the directions as listed:

I even tried to make the long thin strips like the picture because I thought those looked so nice. I used our cheese slicer so I could get thicker slices.

Tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper.

Then I added a little thyme for extra flavor.

But after 12 minutes at 350° they were soft and limp, not toasty and crispy like I had hoped.

So a few days later I tried again, making the following adjustments. I used my salad shooter to make carrot chips, because it was much faster and a better thickness (Salad Shooter--helps you every day!). Then I tossed them in oil, salt, pepper and thyme again, and baked them for about 20 minutes at 425°. I flipped them using tongs a couple of times to make sure they baked evenly. Much better. Thing One even called them "chips." 

On a different but related note: I had a coupon for Greek yogurt and a recipe I wanted to try, so we bought some Greek yogurt, but now I haven't felt like making that recipe, and my yogurt is about to expire, so today I had to look up other options for using up said yogurt. I found this dip on All Recipes that sounds great to go with these chips. I'm planning to try it later this week, so I can't vouch for it yet, but I thought it would be good to put it with the carrot chips. Here it is:

Veggie Chips Dip

1 C. greek yogurt
1/4 C. chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbs. chopped fresh mint
1 clove garlic, minced
4 green onions, finely chopped
2 Tbs. lemon juice (or to taste)
salt and pepper to taste.

Mix all ingredients and enjoy with root veggie chips.

All in all, I appreciate the idea of carrot chips (especially since I sometimes have issues eating raw carrots), even though the instructions didn't work for me. So, if you want to make them, longer and hotter will give you crispy carrot chips.
Pinned theirs (tried it, changed it, tried it again), done that.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Pinned Theirs--We all scream for cupcakes

A few weeks ago I helped with a baby shower for my sister-in-law. They did not find out if they are having a boy or a girl so we decided to go with a gender neutral and super cute theme: The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Some day I will show you more of the party, but today I just wanted to show you my Pinterest copycat food. All the food was themed from the book, and there is a lot of food in there! Since I had to make cupcakes anyway, I thought this would make the perfect ice cream. 

Here's the one I pinned, it is from a fun cake blog called My Cake School and you can find her tutorial here. She baked all the cupcakes in wrappers and just frosted the top, which makes it easy for party goers to take one. 

I wanted even more of a scoop of ice cream or soft serve look, so I actually baked these without wrappers and completely covered them with frosting, on the sides and everywhere, so it was a plate and fork operation to eat one, but I think that was fine. Since the frosting went all the way to the plate I also didn't bother gluing them down with more frosting beforehand. There was plenty of top frosting doing that... 

I was also a little impatient with my frosting gun (and having to wash it out between colors), so you can see there was still a little orange on the mint ice cream. Live and learn to not take short cuts, especially if you are running out of frosting and can't fix your mistakes. I don't have any illusions of being a professional cake decorator, but I can tell you to always have more frosting on hand than you plan to use. Frosting covers a multitude of mistakes my friends, a multitude. : )  Hope you are having an ice cream cone kind of day!

Thanks for reading!

Pinned Theirs--Oatmeal Squares

Good morning! I hope you all had a good weekend. Ours was a marathon, but sometimes it does feel good to fit in so much, especially when it includes good friends. Anyway, I'm so excited about what I want to share with you this week. Lots of bloggers have been talking about Pinterest; pros, cons, etc. I don't really want to get into much about Pinterest itself, except that I try to always give credit where credit is due, and I don't want to be someone who just collects a million projects or recipes with no intention of really trying them. Know what I mean? I only want to pin stuff that I really want to do. So this is probably the first in a series of posts I want to call: Pinned theirs, done that--food edition.

I read different blogs for different reasons (although I often get several different things out of the same blog). I read some for ideas, some for tutorials, some that make me smile, some for sewing tips, some for inspiration, and some for recipes. My favorite food blog is definitely How Sweet It Is. I love her sense of humor and I've actually tried several of her recipes since I started reading a few months ago. 

She made this oatmeal bake a couple weeks ago and last week, it was our Saturday morning special.

Strawberry Banana Cream Oatmeal Squares from How Sweet It Is

It feels pretty healthy since it has two kinds of fruit and oats in it.

And it tastes like breakfast and dessert. Banana bread meets strawberry cobbler. I would call it a breakfast cobbler. It was delicious and I would definitely make it again. It's nice to try something new for breakfast. 

Get the recipe here. P.S. I didn't have heavy cream, so I just used milk and it still turned out great. We had a couple pieces left over and it tasted just as good warmed up the next day and was a perfect quick breakfast before church. 

Pinned theirs, done that. One down. See you tomorrow!

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Mercy Party Projects

I promised a couple more details from the Mercy House party, so here we go. When the box of stuff arrived I excitedly opened it up and admired each piece. When I saw these wristbands I  thought they were cool, but since I knew all my guests were going to be ladies, I have to admit,  I wondered if they would sell. 

Then my sister suggested that they could be more than just a bracelet. So I tried it on my favorite travel cup, which is always kind of slippery anyway. Now my coffee cup says something great and isn't slippery. It did take some patience to get it on there, but I don't plan to take it off since you have to hand-wash those cups anyway.

You know what? The wristbands were the first items sold out. If you want to make over your coffee cup you can get one here for only $5.  {By the way, Kristen from We are THAT Family has a new e-book out and part of the proceeds go to support the Mercy House. Check it out over here ------->}

I also wanted to do a little decorating for the party. I didn't have a lot of ideas or a lot of energy, but I decided to get out my silhouette and cut out some vinyl Africa shapes. I added one to this water carafe. 

Then I made some little shopping bags so everyone could put their small purchases in them. It feels more like shopping when you get a bag for your purchase, right?

I thought they turned out cute. These are the kind of projects I pictured doing when I was lusting after the silhouette. It was fun to go from designing the image to having professional-looking decals in just a few minutes. I'd like to do more stuff like this; maybe make Thing One some homemade stickers.

Anyway, that's the rest of the Mercy House party. I did make some fun food, but I'll share that with you next week. I'm going to do a week of foods that I pinned on Pinterest and then actually made. I'm really excited about how they turned out. It's going to be a delicious week!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Have Mercy

I'd like to introduce you to our good cause for April: The Mercy House. This is such a cool ministry. It's a mother house in Kenya for young pregnant girls who come from heart-breaking circumstances. The girls are given a safe place to live, counseling, prenatal care, taught about nutrition, learn craft skills, and an have the opportunity to earn money and save for their future while they are in the program. You can read all about the need and the vision here. And how all this came to be here, on the We Are THAT Family blog. It's such a cool story of God orchestrating things years in advance to bring the right people together to start something amazing. 

So where do we come in? Well, Mercy House has a shop where you can purchase the handmade jewelry and art that the girls who live there make. I've purchased a few things for myself over the last year, so when I heard that they were going to start home parties I was super excited. This week I got to fill my house with this gorgeous stuff and some great friends.

I love these necklaces. Bowls, coasters, t-shirts, I really think there's something for everyone.

I saw the whole "Keep Calm and Carry On" and it's many variants all over blog land for a while, but this is my favorite version, and on a sweet bag to boot. 

Typically I am not a fan of home parties. I've never had one. But this was different. You can send all your guests to the Mercy House shop beforehand to see what kind of things will be for sale and to learn more about the scope of the ministry. It feels good to know that every purchase makes a difference in the lives of these girls and their precious babies.

A little birdie told me there's a waiting list to have home parties right now, but the Mercy House Shop is open and ready for business, so everyone can shop. Will you consider shopping with a purpose? Mother's day is coming up and their necklaces are super cute! Even shopping can make a difference.

Thanks for reading.

I have a couple of fun Mercy House party details to share with you on Friday, so I'll see you then ok?
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