Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Recipe: Four Ingredient Apple Pie

 Today was our son Levi's ninth birthday. He loooooooves Granny Smith apples and homemade apple pie. Now, I'll tell you, I make a really good pie crust from scratch... but today's pie crust came from the refrigerated section of the supermarket... and if you are lazy like me and count store bought pie crust as one ingredient, then this apple pie is only four ingredients! Nothing fancy but soooo yummy.

 I cut a slice out for the birthday boy straight after it had come out of the oven. It hadn't even cooled yet. So, this picture makes it look like a mushy apple mess... but it tastes the same in the end (and goes really well with some vanilla ice cream and a cold glass of milk)

 Look at that steam!

Ok, enough talking and pictures... on to the recipe. I'll let it speak for itself...

I linked this recipe up at these places:

Monday, April 22, 2013

Recipe: Banana Bread

I got this recipe from my best friend, but she doesn't write a blog (boooooo) so I can't link you to anything to show you all how awesome she is.

You remember this winter when we were all snowed in in the Midwest for, like, ever? People were calling it Snowmageddon or Snowpocalypse. The kids had been home from school for, like, ever. On one of those days (they all ran together) when cabin fever was setting in, I was texting the bff and she mentioned that she was baking banana bread. Oh man that sounded so good... and I had bananas in the freezer! I'm really good about putting bananas in the freezer when they start going brown... but I'm ashamed to admit I had never known what to do with them after that. I've actually thrown frozen bananas away (and then what's the point of having frozen them in the first place?)

Well, she talked me into setting those puppies out and thawing them out (which surprisingly doesn't take very long) and making banana bread with them... and since then I've made this bread at least a dozen times. So easy. So yummy.

Don't you just love how pretty a pile of sifted dry ingredients is? No? That's just me? I'm weird.

The recipe that she gave me and that I'm posting is for two loaves. I ALWAYS half it. Why? Honestly, I don't trust my waistline with TWO loaves sitting around my house. Especially when we were snowed in! I could have easily eaten right through both loaves, solo, in no time flat. Of course though, you could always make one loaf for your family and make one to give away.

Also, you know how sometimes you go about making a certain recipe, accidentally screw something up on it, but it ends up being the best thing you've ever eaten anyway? That happened with me once with this bread. After I'd gotten everything all mixed together and in the loaf pan I was doing one last skim down of the recipe when it hit me that I'd never put the salt in when I sifted the dry ingredients. So, I took a pinch of salt and sprinkled it over the top of the mix that was already in the loaf pan, before I popped it into the oven. That salt sprinkled on top made all the difference in the world! I'm not even kidding. And, now, even when I put the salt in with the sifted dry ingredients, I still sprinkle some on top before it goes into the oven. Just gives it an extra flavor boost. So yummy.

And when it comes out, almost before it's had time to cool (because I can't control myself) I cut a piece out of the very middle... spread butter on top... let my eyes roll back in my head... and enjoy a slice of heaven on a plate. It's also good with dark chocolate chips on top that get melted from the heat of the bread. Yum. 

And since my family doesn't like nuts in breads, I don't add any, but you very well could. I suppose, if that was your thing, it would be even yummier. 

One last thing...

I tried making this recipe once with gluten free all purpose flour and used agave in place of sugar and it was just as good.

Sweet Anne Designs - Sweet Sharing Monday

Friday, April 19, 2013

Lessons In Life From a Nine Month Old

I need to start this blog post by saying that our house isn't really baby proofed.


Before the baby came along, our youngest was 6.

In our living room we use three tubs, lined up end to end stretching from a couch to a chair on the opposite wall. This use to serves as a barrier and baby J couldn't get out of the living room. It contained her to a big enough area to play in without feeling trapped. Because, for the record, she hates exersaucers, high chairs, swings, or anything else that doesn't let her go go go.

So the three tubs are 1.) a basket of toys 2.) a tub of board books 3.) a Rubbermaid full of clothes she's grown out of. Yes, this third tub should be in the basement and I even made every effort to put it there... but we needed a third tub for our make-shift wall so it ended up staying upstairs. And until just recently our system worked great. It was high enough that it kept baby J contained, but it was low enough that the other kids and us adults could step over the tubs to get into the living. Win/Win

Well, the other day I was in the kitchen and hubby was in the living room keeping an eye on the baby. He left the room for ONE SECOND to bring something into the kitchen and while he's standing in the kitchen we hear this pitter patter that we instantly recognized as little hands slapping the vinyl kitchen flooring as the baby was crawling into the room. CRAWLING INTO THE ROOM? The barrier was up! Baby was supposed to be contained to her play area!

So we picked her up and put her back and we quickly figured out her trick...

She was climbing INTO the tub of books, and climbing back out on the other side.


She's done it a couple of other times since then and this morning, I decided to snap some pictures. I secretly think it's the cutest thing ever and want to have photos to document this stage of her life where we can't contain her to one room anymore.

But it also got me thinking of how I myself have been in a much similar situation lately.

You see, I've climbed into a box

I'm not sure how long I've been in the box. But I'm desperate to get out. I want to start thinking "outside the box!"

I'm ready for the creativity to flow wildly again like it once did. I'm ready to start MAKING THINGS HAPPEN!

Until recently I was happy as a clam to stay in the little box I'd climbed into to. I could sit there and read my books and clap my hands.

I could stay there and make cute faces at people and laugh.

I could get brave and stand up and even bounce up and down.

But, that's where the braveness ended, because, well, I'm in a box. And it's small.

And it gets boring. And eventually you want to climb back OUT of the box.

Maybe even onto higher things...

And that's where I'm at now. Climbing out of my box and onto higher things. Who knows the things I'll be able to see and get into from up higher.

Wish me luck! It can be scary on higher things because if you're not careful...

... you can fall off...

The Shabby Nest

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Mother Like Mine

She's the sky that holds the clouds. She's the lady of the house; a blind believer in all I dare to be. There's no safer place I've found than the shoulder of her white night gown. Oh I've got the best and the worst of her in me.

And I'd share her if I could

So the wars would all be over, 'cause she'd raise us all as friends. And no one would ever wonder if somebody wanted them. We'd walk on grass that's greener, and our cares would all be freer... if the world had a mother like mine

still one of my all time favorite pictures of mom and Audrey. Taken five years ago.

She's our father's one great love; she's the one he wanted most. She's the light in the window of the house I grew up in. She takes the midnight call. She's the bravest of us all; still she sings in the garden she lets her hair down in.

Oh the wars would all be over, 'cause she'd raise us all as friends. And no one would ever wonder if somebody wanted them. Tonight would be easier, and our dreams would all be deeper... if the world had a mother like mine.

The day brought our now nine month old baby home from the hospital. Mama was there the whole time.

She's the sky that holds the clouds. She's the lady of our house. We all need her, but no one more than me.

Oh the wars would all be over, 'cause she'd raise us all as friends. And no one would ever wonder if somebody wanted them. We'd walk on grass that's greener, and the dishes would all be cleaner... if the world had a mother like mine.

 Mama with my baby sister

Happy Birthday, Mama. I love you more than applesauce pizza.

The words in this post are lyrics from a song by The Band Perry called Mother Like Mine. While they aren't my original thoughts, I agree 100% and think they describe my mother beautifully. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

How To Add Mouse Over Pin It Button

This morning I've added code to my blog's HTML that shows the Pinterest "Pin It" button when you mouse over photos in my posts. Try it and see! Now if you want to Pin a picture from this blog, all you have to do is click on that Pin It button on whichever picture it is that you are wanting to Pin and it will open Pinterest in a new tab ready for you to choose the board you would like to Pin to.

Cool huh?

I know I'm behind here in Bloggy world... but if you too are like me and didn't know how to incorporate this little function and would like to, I'd love to show you how!

I'm kinda lost when it comes to HTML but I found a super easy tutorial and I managed to make it work so trust me when I say if I can do it... YOU CAN TOO. :)

This tutorial is for Blogger (Blogspot). I'm not sure about Wordpress.


In Design, go to Template > Edit HTML

Now scroll down until you see </body> and paste this code right above it:

var bs_pinButtonURL = "";
var bs_pinButtonPos = "center";
var bs_pinPrefix = "";
var bs_pinSuffix = "";
<script src='' type='text/javascript'></script>
<script src='' type='text/javascript'></script>
<!-- please do not alter or remove the following code -->
<div id='bs_pinOnHover'><a href="">Blogging tips</a></div>

VOILA! Save your template and see if it works. It should. And now, when people are visiting your blog and see something they want to pin to a board on Pinterest, all they will have to do is mouse over whichever photo it is they want to Pin. Easy Peasy.

Giving credit where credit is due... I found this tutorial HERE

Monday, April 15, 2013

Dinosaur Birthday Invitations

I am excited to share this project today not only because I love it, but because it's an original idea! This is not one I found on Pinterest or "stole" from someone else. In fact, I made these invitations a few years ago before Pinterest was even a twinkle in her mama's eye.

When our youngest son was 3 - 4-ish years old he was going through a dinosaur phase so I created these cards as invitations to his dinosaur themed 4th birthday party. Well, as birthday parties do, the guest list kept growing and growing and I didn't want anyone to feel left out by not receiving a handmade invitation so... I never sent any of them. I KNOW, RIGHT?!?

But all these years, I've held on to them and recently met a little boy who was getting ready to turn four and LOVES dinosaurs! So... I graciously gave them to his mama. I hope she sent them out, unlike me!

And that little boy of mine who loved dinosaurs... will turn NINE in nine days! Waaaaah.

Ok, so here's how I made the cards...

1.) First I Google searched images of dinosaurs. I stuck to the ones that most people have heard of: T-Rex, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, etc. 

2.) Next, I laid a piece of regular (not cardstock) scrapbook paper over my computer screen and drew the outline of the dinosaur and just a few details. The backlight from the computer screen acted as the perfect light box! Now, back then I had just a standard desktop computer. You know... the clunky kind that takes up the whole desk! Now, I have a sleeker more modern computer and one of its fancy characteristics is a touch screen. I don't know if there's a way to turn that option off, but when it's on it wouldn't work for this project. So if you have a touchscreen computer you might want to look into that. Also, if you know how to turn that option off (if turning it off is even an option) please let me know how!

3.) After I had the dinosaurs drawn onto the paper, I cut around the drawing, leaving just a tiny tiny (yes, that's two tinys) margin. Then I used that cut-out as a stencil to lay onto thicker cardstock (of a different but coordinating color), traced around it, and cut that out. If you lay the original tracing cut-out onto the cardstock cut-out and offset them just a little bit, the cardstock will look like a shadow behind the original drawing.

4.) For the letters spelling out the number four, I used some cardstock scrapbooking letters as stencils and draw the letters onto the same paper I was using for the dinosaurs and then cut them out. Remember though, this was six years ago, before I owned a Cricut. But if you own a Cricut or Silouette machine (or something similar) I would definitely save time by going that route.

5.) To put them all together I arranged them onto blank cards and I made sure to make each one different, not that anyone else would know... but I knew and I thought it made them original, unique, special and fun. I made some to open vertically and made some to flip open horizontally.

and because I'm a perfectionist when it comes to crafting... I made my own coordinating envelopes gluing the same paper I used for the dinosaurs to the inside.

And there you have it! Of course, don't just stick to dinosaurs. These cards could be made in a variety of themes. Just pick a basic image with not too many details.

Happy card making!

I linked this project up 



Sweet Anne Designs

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DIY Show Off

Saturday, April 13, 2013

To Be Seven Again...

... To stand in a not yet overgrown hay field and make a birthday wish on a balloon...

... To chase after those wished-on balloons with two of your very best friends (and brother) until you think you'll reach the spot where that hay field meets the sky...

... To join hands with those friends and swing in circles until you get dizzy and collapse on the ground in fits of giggles...

... To hold hands and run through that hay field with a beautiful breeze carrying the scent of spring and the sounds of farm life...

... Without a care in the world...

Happy birthday my beautiful big girl. A whole new year awaits you.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Good Morning. A Few Random Thoughts

There's really no point to the picture in this post except for that isn't it some blogging rule that posts should have pictures with them or they aren't exciting to read? So, there's mine. And I dare you to find a cuter picture on the web. I mean, really. 

Hubby got the kids up, dressed, fed, and out the door to school this morning, letting me sleep in until it was time to say goodbye to them before he drove them into town. He knows better than to leave without letting me make sure our first grade daughter has brushed her hair and her clothes match say goodbye. Yes, the bus runs out here but our kids go to a small K-12 school and when I found out that my kindergartener (at the time) would be on the same bus as Seniors in high school that don't drive, I said no way! I know I can't protect and shelter them forever. I know they see and hear stuff every day going to a public school that I would cringe at. But this one little thing of riding a bus vs. driving them into town is something I CAN do. So, we make the very small sacrifice to get them out the door and into town and then back again every single school day. And it's worth it to me, I don't care how high gas prices get! If I had it my way I'd homeschool, but that's another topic for another day. Let's just say I'm totally envious of people that get to do that.

So hubby is now out in the tractor somewhere feeding hay to our cows, the baby is down for her morning nap, and here I sit with my first cup of coffee. First place I log into every morning is BlogLovin' to catch up on the blogs I frequent. (Do you follow me there yet? Click the link on my sidebar!) This morning, one of them linked to another blog and from there I discovered a whole wealth of blogs that I didn't know about! BlogLovin' has got to be spazzing out right now from all of the new follows I did this morning.

Oh my goodness I can't even make this up... Right after I typed that last sentence about my computer spazzing out, my wireless keyboard crapped out! I had to change the batteries in it. Ha!

Which made me think... Do any of you ever have this conversation in your house?:

Kid: "mama can I have ten double A batteries?"
Me: "Sure, if you buy them yourself!"

Am I the only mean mother who makes her kids buy their own batteries? Those things are expensive, yo! And someone is ALWAYS needing batteries around here for something! My bark is really bigger than my bite. I almost always end up giving in and letting them have some of my battery stash. I'M WEAK!

Anyway, I digress.

I want to know... what blogs are you crushing on this week??  I love finding new blogs to read. If you want me to read yours... leave a comment with a link back to your blog! We might just be new friends :)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Nothing Like Waiting Til' The Last Minute

This morning, Hubby and I sat down and worked on our taxes. We have an appointment today with our "tax lady." Yeah... we waited until the last minute to make an appointment and then yeah... we got ready for the appointment ON THE DAY OF. Cause, that's how we roll.

And to be 100% completely honest here... I didn't even make the appointment myself. I got a text message from a friend who works at the tax office that literally said "Hey, I was going over the list of who was left for taxes and you were on it? Want to set up an appointment?"

Two things:

a.) How sweet is it that I got that kind of text in the first place? One of the many reasons I love small town living. I can almost guarantee city folks don't get a text like that from their tax office. (I said ALMOST guarantee. I obviously don't live in the city so I don't know. But I'm guessing they don't have a personal relationship with their tax lady.)

b.) I almost laughed out loud that she put the question mark after "you were on it?" Like, that surprises her. Hahahahahaha. Funny.

So, we are getting our taxes done today. And, here's what I would love to buy with our refund:

Faux Wood Beams for a Kitchen re-do
 Photo Courtesy of AZ Faux Wood Beams

 Handscraped hardwood flooring for a Kitchen re-do
 Photo Courtesy of Lumber Liquidators

 Camera Equipment

But in reality, here's where the money will probably go:

Photo Courtesy of Google Images. Gas is more expensive here than what it represented in this picture!

What about you? How are you spending your tax refund this year?

Just for grins, here's a picture of our adorable little tax deduction this year

June 2012


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