Thursday, July 30, 2009

Belly picture

Now that I am finally starting show, I figured I should probably post a belly picture for those of you who don't get to see me very often. Here you go! This is me at 21 weeks, just over halfway!

My first baby project

I'm pretty excited about being pregnant, can you tell! The first project (of many more to come I am sure) that I decided to tackle in anticipation of our little bundle of joy is crib bumper. We were able to buy the crib, changing table and dresser from a friend of a friend for a pretty good price, & now I want it to be cute!
While we were down in Glendale this past weekend, I took some time to go to Joanns, hoping to get some fabric for this project. Well, not only did they not have a good variety of the gren I wanted, but I wouldn't have been able to bring myself to pay that much for fabric. So, I went to Savers, just a few blocks away.
First I looked through the linens section with no luck & then I got an amazing idea. I went instead to the mens button-up shirts section, which is so nicely organized by size & color. I picked out about 6 different shirts, all with similar hues of green, plus a few black & whites, but in a variety of patterns. I also ended up getting some more black & white prints from Walmart when we got home (like the black & white polka dots, which makes it all so much more girly).
I decided to do the room in mostly greens, black & white, so that if we end up having a boy in the future, I won't have to make a completely new set. I am going to bring the pink in with a quilt & some flowers & wall hangings, which are much more easily replaced later.

I started by cutting strips of fabric, all about 22" long from the backs of all the shirts & from the other material. Then I sewed the strips together to make a piece long enough to fit the front of the crib. The rest of the bumper will be one long piece to cover the other three sides. I used some leftover quilt batting, & also put in a fabric stabilizer that is pretty stiff, to stuff the inside. I added ribbons on the ends and in the middle in order to tie it to the crib, & tada! This is what it turned out like. I am still working on the piece for the other three sides, but it will be done shortly. I am using the extra pieces of the shirts to make a patchwork changing table mattress cover & a quilt. It is going to be so cute! I can't wait to see it all finished!
I've been wanting to can some soups in preparation for my due date, because I'm fairly certain that I won't really want to be cooking all the time. I love having soups in winter, so I decided to can some. I found this recipe in the book A Guide to Canning, Freezing, Curing & Smoking Meat, Fish, & Game by Wilbur F. Eastman Jr. The recipe follows instructions for obtaining the chicken meat for making this chicken soup. Ingredients are: 10 chickens & 8 quarts of water. Well, needless to say, I did not use 10 chickens, I just used some chicken breasts that I had in my freezer. =)

Here is the recipe that I used with my slight variations:

2 1/3 cups chopped celery
2 1/3 cups chopped onion
2 1/3 cups chopped carrots
7 cloves garlic, crushed one at a time
1 3/4 cups cooked, cubed chicken
7 tsp salt
7/8 tsp pepper
24 1/2 cups hot chicken broth

Now, before you start trying to divide all of this in your head trying to figure out how much goes in each jar, I will explain below.
In seven 1-quart jars, place ingredients in the following order: 1/3 cup celery, 1/3 cup onion, 1/3 cup carrots, 1 clove garlic, 1/4 cup chicken, 1 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp pepper, and 3 1/2 cups broth. Solids should not fill more than 1/2 of jar. Leave 1 inch headroom.
Since I really like chicken noodle soup, I did add about 1/2 cup of cooked egg noodles after I'd added everything but the broth.
Adjust lids. Process in a pressure canner for 75 minutes at 15 pounds pressure (unless you live at less than 1000 ft above sealevel, then cook for 75 minutes at 10 pounds pressure). Let pressure decrease naturally, otherwise your liquid will boil over out of your jars, which is a real bummer. Enjoy!

I think that's it, if you have any questions just leave a comment! Don't you just love how pretty they look with all the ingredients layered like that!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ahh, digital scrapbooking.

I'm on a roll

Spiral Pepperoni Pizza Bake

I love this recipe! I'm sure kids would love it too! It is basically a pasta pizza, and is really great as leftovers as well as straight from the oven.

1 package (16 ounces) spiral pasta
2 pounds ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cans (15 ounces each) pizza sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 eggs
2 cups milk
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
4 cups (16 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 package (3-1/2 ounces) sliced pepperoni

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, cook the beef, onion, salt and pepper over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the pizza sauce, garlic salt and Italian seasoning; remove from the heat and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the eggs, milk and Parmesan cheese. Drain pasta; toss with egg mixture. Transfer to a greased 3-qt. baking dish. Top with beef mixture, mozzarella cheese and pepperoni. Cover and bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Uncover; bake 20-25 minutes longer or until golden brown. Yield: 12 servings.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Corn Waffles Recipe

I got this recipe from the Taste of Home magazine, and it is so good! I did pour a bit more than just 1/4 cup into each waffle spot on the iron because the first two were not very big. Instead of using syrup, I heated up a can of cream of chicken soup with a little milk added and we served that on top. It was very tasty. The recipe also suggests applesauce and honey, though we didn't try it that way. It was a very filling meal. I froze the leftovers in a bag, and am planning on just popping them in the toaster tomorrow to heat them up for lunch. Enjoy!

2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups milk
1 can (8-3/4 ounces) cream-style corn
1/2 cup vegetable oil

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Combine the milk, corn, eggs and oil; stir into dry ingredients just until combined. Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls into a preheated waffle iron; bake according to manufacturer's directions until golden brown.
Yield: 16 waffles.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A New Background

Just thought I would change the background of my blog to reflect the fact that we are going to be having a baby GIRL!

Boy or Girl?

I have an ultrasound today, and we should be able to find out the sex of the baby. Anyone want to take a guess as to what we will be having? Pink or blue?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fishing Trip

Some friends from Ammon's work know a woman who has a private pond that was recently stocked with catfish. We all want fishing on Saturday evening & caught a mess of catfish. It was pretty fun! This is a picture of Ammon with the first catfish of the evening (and he's actually smiling). I caught my very first catfish ever, which was pretty exciting. It was one of the smallest on the stringer, but who cares! Ammon caught 4, Abe caught 6, & Aaron caught one also.

Easy party idea

We had a fish fry last night with 9 people from Ammon's office. We cooked up all the catfish fillets that we caught Saturday night and had a grand old time! In preparing for everyone to come over, I realized that we don't have enough drinking glasses for that many people, so I came up with this idea. I simply tied a different colored piece of ribbon around pint canning jars, taped some scrapbook paper and a label onto the flat that they come in from the store and we used those for drinking glasses. Cute, easy, and cheap!
You could also use this idea for baby showers. Just tie blue or pink ribbon around the jars. And, to make it easier for guests to know which glass is there, you could tie on a number or letter, or even a charm. This would be pretty at weddings, and you could tie the name card onto the ribbon to mark each person's seat.

Another wall phrase

I did another wall phrase yesterday. This one says "Holiness to the Lord" and is above pictures of the Salt Lake & Mesa temples. All of the LDS temples have that phrase on their walls somewhere, usually above the main entrance. I think it adds a lot to the pictures hanging above my piano.

Saltwater Taffy

Who doesn't love salt water taffy? I mean, it is just so good, how could you not like it! Well, I got a recipe for saltwater taffy in an email yesterday, and decided it was something that I would have to try, immediately. So, I made sure that I had everything for the recipe, and I set to work.
Recipe: (you need a candy thermometer)
1 cup sugar
2 T. cornstarch
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1/2 t. salt
2 T. butter
2 t. vanilla

Grease a 9x9x2 (or an 8x8 if that is all you have) baking pan. In a 1 1/2 quart saucepan, mix sugar and cornstarch. Stir in corn syrup, water, & salt. Add butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and sugar is completely dissolved. Continue cooking, without stirring, until temperature reaches 260 degrees on a candy thermometer, or until a small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water forms a ball that is hard enough to hold its shape, yet pliant. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla. Pour into prepared pan. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Butter fingers and pull taffy until it has a satin-like finish and light color. Pull into long strips, 1/2 inch wide. With scissors, cut into 1-inch pieces (best done while the taffy is still warm, otherwise you might break your scissors). Wrap individual candies in wax paper. Makes 1 pound. (I would suggest cutting your wax paper squares while the candy is cooking, since you don't have to stir for awhile. I didn't and so when I went to cut the rest of the taffy, it was a little hard).
Enjoy, it is so good! Be sure to suck on it for a little while before you bite into it, otherwise you might pull a filling out.

Monday, July 13, 2009

A visitor

We had a visitor the other day. Ammon was out in the garage, building his workbench, and Jack & I were just sitting out there watching, when this cat just wandered into the garage. Lucky for it, Jack was on a leash, because he really wanted to chase it! I took Jack inside, and then we took the cat back outside in our yard to see if it would run back home. Nope, it wanted to stay in the garage. So, I picked it up and knocked on a few doors until I found it's owners. I guess she had escaped from their garage, so maybe she just thought ours was home.

Friday, July 10, 2009

A Wonderful Magazine

I am in love with this magazine, Where Women Create. It features the studios & work areas of women in all kinds of genre of art, whether it be sewing, painting, & all other kinds! It is a wonderful magazine that tries to feature all kinds of women and all kinds of art. The artists give their advice & just share their stories. I really want the latest copy, & might just have to wander into Hastings tomorrow to see if they have it.

Neat trick in Elements

I was fiddling around in Photoshop Elements, trying to figure out how people get the neat edges on their photos, where it's just slightly darker in the corners or on the edges. I found a place online that told me how to do it, and once I figured it out, I started messing with some of my wedding photos. This is what became of my playing, and I thought it looked so great that I thought I would share it with all of you. I hope you don't mind the blast to the past & just enjoy the fact that I have conquered another aspect of Elements. I'm pretty pleased!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Easy Skillet Bread

I found this recipe for easy skillet bread on a blog today. I made a batch of it in about 20 minutes, including the prep time. It is wonderful! Here is the recipe for your enjoyment!
2 cups flour
1 T. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 1/2 cups milk
2-4 T. butter
optional mix ins: cheese, bacon bits, green chilis, cornmeal, taco seasoning...use your imagination
Stir together the dry ingredients, then stir in the milk until a smooth batter forms. Place an ovenproof skillet in the oven while it's heating up and put the butter in. Once the butter is nicely melted and bubbly, pour the batter into the skillet. (please remember to use a hotpad when removing the skillet from the oven, and also when putting in back in with the batter. I forgot once I had the batter in, and now my hand hates me) Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until the top is nicely golden brown (mine wasn't golden brown on top, but the bottom was well down and nicely crisp, just make sure the top is firm). You may either slice it into wedges to serve, or simply tear off chunks...yum.
I did add a handful of cheese to the batch today and it is so tasty!

Happy Fourth (a little late)

We went camping near Kaibab Lake for the 4th of July. Ammon & I got there a day earlier than my family, & it rained most of the night. Thankfully our tent stayed dry! I love this picture of Jack with his head resting on the doorway of the tent. You can kind of see my legs in the background. I was taking a nap, & Jack was keeping an eye on me. He was so good for the entire trip. He really wanted to chase the cows that kept coming near our camp, but he listened very well. I loved being free to run around & really enjoyed himself. We had been planning on camping in the established campground, but it was full, so we drove out on a dirt road about a mile & found this beautiful spot! It was pretty open, in a meadow, but had just enough trees to offer some shade. We had a great time, & it was so nice to be completely alone, rather than surrounded by barkind dogs, noisy generators, & loud neighbors. What a great camping trip! This is me in all my fishing glory. I am wearing the vest because I was also fly fishing. We caught tons of crappie with the fly rods, which was a lot of fun! Mom let me borrow her hat because my neck got sunburned pretty bad the day before. I know, I look amazing! When Ammon & I went fishing the first day we were there, Jack would flinch & run away each time one of us cast our line out. By the next day, he decided he really liked fishing. He would lay near us, & each time anyone reeled in he was right there waiting. If the fish was too small we would toss it into the water near Jack & he would get to play with it, & poke it for a little bit before it swam out into the water. Jack loved fishing! This was the large-mouthed bass that Allyssa caught. I'm holding it because the hook was stuck in it's throat, & I had to get it out.
We definitely had to get the traditional shot in front of the tent trailer. I guess that thing was made in 1967, & my parents have had it for almost 20 years now! Wow! It's still holding together, for now.