Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A belated Fathers' Day entry

Well, we had a Fathers' Weekend at our place. Since Fathers' Day is on Sunday and our church is at 9AM I wanted to do Rick's breakfast on Saturday. I went on a crazy shopping spree, went WAY over my food budget and planned of weekend of tasty treats.

On Saturday morning he received homemade waffles (I had to differentiate so you'd know I didn't just pop in Eggos!) that Nathan helped make. We topped them with fresh strawberries and actual whipped cream! (As in I bought cream, added sugar and vanilla and WHIPPED!) MMMMmmmmmm.

Then for lunch we had Club sandwiches - toasted - mmmm. We made strawberry lemonade (ok so I didn't sqeeze lemons - we used CountryTime mix) with stawberry daquari (did I spell that right?) mix to give it a fun color.

Dinner was steak!!!! Oh, man! I totally rocked this! I read up on the internet on how to prepare steak and compiled various tips into a fool-proof method.

I'll share in a minute - but first a side note: It's so comforting to know that there is both rhyme and reason involved in food preparation! It need not be a mystery! Making a good pie crust for me used to be a gamble for me - sometimes it would work, sometimes not. A few years ago I found a great recipe (more like a tutorial) on pie crusts at It was an epiphany! Not only did they explain everything in a linear, detailed fashion that made my math mind cry out for joy, but they explained WHY!!!! Did you know that you should chill all your ingredients first? Wanna know WHY? Remember how all the cookbooks say "cut in butter until you have pea sized clumps"? Wanna know WHY? Well, this is the key to a flaky crust! You need big gobs of butter mixture (hard, that's why everthing is cold, not soft or it wouldn't have the strength and form to do it's job) to create little air pockets of fluffiness all over. Otherwise, if your ingredients are warm or if you cut the pieces too fine, you will have smooched your crust and said goodbye to flakiness. I love you, pie crust tutorial author!!!

Ok, back to steak. The best way to do it is a 2-stage method. First sear the outside over direct heat, then finish cooking over indirect heat. The directions below are for a gas grill since that's what we have. Go to this site to read about charcoal and indoor methods.

So here is what you need to do:
1. ROOM temp. meat (this took more than an hour out of the fridge for me)
2. Turn your gas grill up as far as it will go - and let it heat up. This would be 600+ degrees.
3. Rub your steaks on both sides with salt and pepper or your steak seasoning.
4. Sear those steaks! 2-3 minutes each side.
5. Remove from heat and turn down your grill (this achieves the effect of indirect heat) - leave it open to help it cool down a bit.
6. Brush olive oil over both sides of the steak. This adds that yummy "crust". I added some more seasoning at this point.
7. Put back on grill and cook till done. Medium is 140-150 degrees F.
8. Let the meat rest for five minutes so the juices will stay in the steak. If you cut in too soon the juice will just run out all over your plate.
9. Enjoy!

Ok, so for dinner we also had potato salad and strawberry lemonade smoothies. Mmmmm. For dessert, Ashlyn and I had made an ice cream cake the day before. It was cookie, vanilla ice cream and fudge layers with a whipped cream frosting. Yum!
Then on Sunday Rick got Danishes for breakfast. Lunch was the same as Saturday. We had planned on another dinner and another dessert but we had gone so overboard (and it was almost 100 degrees) that we had plenty of leftovers to tide us over.

The dessert that we had planned was strawberry poke cake and we ended up making it for family home evening this week. Wow - such a great holiday!

For just 85 cents a piece!

This was perhaps my first GOOOD sewing day! This morning I made six bibs for Nathan. And they look good and I don't have my usual, "why did I do this; I'm never sewing anything ever again" feeling. YAY!

A few years ago on the internet I found directions to make a baby bib from a hand towel and T-shirt ribbing. I bought some hand towels at Savers (our Value Village thrift store) and I eventually went to WalMart to pick up some ribbing. Well, I found that the ribbing doesn't come in nice long strips like you see on T-shirts. It comes in a bolt and you have to cut and fold and sew the strip your very own self. Well, I was so disappointed! That seemed like way too much work and a bit above my rudimentary sewing skills.

Then I found some directions for making bibs on a while back that used the T-shirt necks (the ribbing) from old shirts. But I didn't want to cut up any shirts of the kids so I put it off again.

Well, this past Monday was the Savers "50% off everything in the store" sale. I picked up some .69 shirts and .99 dishtowels for 1/2 price and started sewing one the same day!

The directions were terrible and incomplete so my first bib was botched. I salvaged it this morning and used the "spirit" of the directions to experiment and by #6 I think I have it.

Basically, you fold the handtowel in thirds along the length. Then unfold one fold so you have a fold dividing the towel into 1/3 and 2/3. This fold will be where the bib sits on your kiddo's shoulders with the long part (2/3) hanging down their front and the small 1/3 section over their shoulders and down the back.

Next you cut out an oval for the neck hole. You're going to cut a half an oval on the fold so that is an oval when you open it up. To do this:

You mark the center of the fold and go straight down from there about 1.5" and put in a pin parallel to the fold. This will be the width of your oval.

Then measure (from then center point on the fold - so your oval is centered) 3" to 3.25" to either side and make a snip on the fold. These are the end points of your oval. Then cut the folded towel from one snip, around the pin and connect to the other snip. Make it curved so that it will unfold to an oval.

Now for the T-shirt. Cut off the neckband about 1/2" from the edge of the ribbing. You should have a ring of T-shirt neck ribbing now. Find the seam where the ribbing is joined and pin it (right sides of ribbing and towel facing each other) to the center back of your cut-out oval.

Then do the same to the opposite side, pinning the front of the T-shirt neck to the front center of the bib's neck hole. Don't freak out - the neck hole will be a fair bit bigger than your T-shirt neck. That's fine because you will stretch the ribbing out as you sew.

To sew the ribbing onto the towel I used a stretch stitch on my machine. I know nothing about the settings on my machine and have no idea what they all do (tension, width, etc.) but I figured that I wanted it to be stretchy to I'd used the stretch settings. The stitch I chose is like a zigzag with a small stitch perpendicular to each vertex - on both the left and the right. I set the stitch width to 2 and kept the tension on Auto.

Then you sew! Stop every inch or two and stretch the tar out of the ribbing keeping the towel as slack as possible so that you don't have a big gap of toweling at the end. That's why I pin the front and the back. When I start sewing at the back I know if I need to stretch the ribbing more or less by the time I get to the front pin.

Anyway - after I slammed mormonchic's instructions I hope mine are understandable! Here is the finished project:

Thursday, June 21, 2007

June Visiting Teaching

There is a blog that I love to read. The gal's name is Heather and just about every month she posts here visiting teaching handout for the month. And wow does she go all out!

This month her gals got a big drink container with a spigot at the bottom (like the ones you make sun tea in) filled with cups and drink mixes like Kool Aid and Crystal Light. Then she had vinyl applied that said, "A little XXXXX Family Refreshment". So cute! Well, I took a page from her book this month and, even though WalMart was out of the containers, I think I came up with something cute!
I gave them each a water bottle and attached a baggie with some "Fulfill" fitness water packets. They are packets of powder that you add to your water bottle, shake, and voila! You have a tasty drink! Then I made a quick card and inserted some thoughts from this month's message.

Here is what is inside the STRENGTH card:

(front side)
The Visiting Teaching message this month is about allowing Heavenly Father to work in our lives by standing strong and immovable. The quote that I love best from the message is by Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He says, in part, “Your quiet, uncompromising determination to live a righteous life will couple you to inspiration and power beyond your capacity now to understand… You can qualify through that divine power to be instruments in the hands of God to accomplish what you could not do alone.”
If we are living our lives in the best way we know how, He will strengthen us. He can fortify us, lift us, and help us do more than we ever thought possible. I included the water to remind you of what we all can be - pure and open to His spirit. And if we let Him into our lives we can be strengthened, more vibrant, more loving, more forgiving, more courageous and more fulfilled in every way! We hope you have a great month!
With love,
Carol and Erika
Your Visiting Teachers

(back side)
I searched the scriptures for “strength” and found some wonderful verses to accompany the message this month. I hope you have the time to read through them and be inspired!

Psalms 27:14 Zech. 10:12
Eph. 3:16 Eph. 6:11
Phil 4:13 Prov. 3:5

And Ether 12:27 - And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

I loved them! And the message this month was great don't you think? Well, Carol and I are heading out tonight to visit the last of our ladies so I'd better jet!

Hope you're enjoying the first official day of summer!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Where are you?

So what happened to posting comments on the blog? I have sitemeter people - I KNOW YOU'RE THERE! :)



New posts!

I had planned on doing these in small doses to keep you all coming back (yes - all four of you who read my blog!) but it's just so much easier on me to do it all at once when I have the time. Today that is during nap time and BOTH of them went down. So why clean the house without interruption if I can play with and post pics? Yup, I don't know either. I'll leave it up to you to pace yourselves. Perhaps you can ration your viewing to a post a day and by then I'll have posted something new!


So you've all been asking about the camper...

... so here it is!

Yup, just in case you don't want to go outside in the middle of the night to freeze your hiney!

A day at the park ... in pictures

My parents would be so proud!

Ahem... presenting...



Yes, that is correct. This is the first time that I have ever mowed a lawn. It was always the man's job at my house - something that the man took pride in doing. I remember the only time growing up that I saw my Dad in shorts was to mow the lawn. He had a pair of jean cut-offs that were reserved for only that occasion. Anyway, it was never my job and I never had tried to do it. Once, soon after we moved in to our first home (which is still our home) I tried but I couldn't even get the mower started so I gave up. Well, Rick tinkered with the mower soon after that, but I never got out the mower and did it for myself ... until this day!

Didn't I do a great job?


Last Days of Preschool

Well, May was the last month of preschool and Ashlyn't last year with Miss Patti. She was heartbroken - it was so sad!

She left not a pre-schooler, but almost a Kindergartener!

She'll always look back with fond memories!

Oma came up for a few days to see her "end of year" program and hang out. I'm sure that having a fun oma here took the edge off of not being a preschooler anymore!

Catching up a little...

We were able to see Grandma and Uncle Jake as they flew out to OK for a baby blessing. We were very excited to have an opportunity to see some family since they (YOU!!! since you are the ones reading this) live so far away. And Jake is about to leave for a mission in Madagascar for two years so we wanted to make sure and grab some pictures of him and the kids.

We went to a place near the airport called Ted's for buffalo burgers and a little family bonding time!

And on the way home Jake told an updated and very animated version of the Three Little Pigs to the kiddos - good memories!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Genealogy is cool

This is "Franklin" (cuz you know all the cool oldtimey people named their homes - and my relatives were nothing if not cool).

It's about 2 miles out of Charlottesville, VA. The 600 acre plot was purchased in 1789 by Dr. William Bache (the typing is bad so I may have botched the a and/or e) son of William Bache of Philidelphia and Sarah Franklin, daughter of Benjamin Franklin. It was purchased by John Hough Craven (my 4th great grandpa) in 1821.

"Franklin" is said to have been built by Benjamin Franklin for his grandson, Bejamin Franklin Bache. (I know that doesn't make sense with the name above - I'm just writing what I found).

It is said that Meriwether Lewis once resided here, riding on horseback each day to "Monitcello," where he acted as one of Jefferson's secretaries. (John Hough Craven's daughter married into the Lewis clan, and the Lewis family also later owned this home so this is probable).

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

"Where in the world is Carmen San Diego?"

or "Erika's been playing in Photoshop -- can you find the REAL prom picture?"

Where's my Mr. Darcy?

Well, apparently I'm shockingly beautiful and intelligent - nice, eh?

I am Elizabeth Bennet!

Take the Quiz here!

You are Elizabeth Bennet of Pride & Prejudice! You are intelligent, witty, and tremendously attractive. You have a good head on your shoulders, and oftentimes find yourself the lone beacon of reason in a sea of silliness. You take great pleasure in many things. You are proficient in nearly all of them, though you will never own it. Lest you seem too perfect, you have a tendency toward prejudgement that serves you very ill indeed.

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