Wednesday, August 29, 2012

One step forward...two steps back

Brent took the kids to their Jr. MYF church group tonight, so I thought I'd get some crafting done.

I wanted to start some more projects to fill my Etsy store with.

I wasn't prepared for the frustration that just escalated as the night went on.

I'm planning on making more framed cork boards, some pillows...  (similar to these, as well as some other designs)...
Paper covered composition books with embellishments (

some distressed wooden candlesticks similar to these wooden items...

and maybe a fall wreath or I made last year.

I had plenty of ideas swirling around in my head, and yet, each thing I worked on, made me go one step forward and two steps back.

I fought with the sewing machine and we almost came to blows.

I struggled with getting the framed cork board just right and not throwing it out the window instead.

By the time everyone came home, I was severely frustrated.

I will try again maybe tomorrow night, and  hope it goes better.

By the weekend, I hope to have more things listed for you to see.

Thanks to all of you who have already purchased items from my Etsy store.  I appreciate it greatly!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

It's Official...

It's official.  Not that is wasn't already.

We've been back to school for a week.

Long enough for it to go from great, cool, taunting you with fall weather, back to hot, humid, throw summer in your face weather.

Just in time for all the kids to be cooped up in a school building where you're not allowed to open the windows.

Yeah, that's right.

Where was I going with this...

Oh, yeah, back to school.

Grace has been officially initiated into Junior High and seems to think I was doing all my worrying for nothing.


Obviously she's never been a mother!

Well, anyway, school is going great for both Grace and Evan, and tomorrow, we'll find out just how well for Grace.

While she's enjoying volleyball practice, Brent and I (or maybe it'll just be me, we haven't decided) will be shadowing a day in the life of Grace.

It's back to school Welcome Night for Parents.

We get to go to school, and follow along with our child's schedule, going to class, getting books out of the locker, etc. and see if we can make it on time.

THIS  is why I STILL sometimes have dreams about not being able to open the combination lock on my high school locker!
I wake up in a cold sweat because I've forgotten  my combination and can't get to class on time, and I have to go to the office and grovel until someone comes to help me.

I'm getting a cold sweat now just thinking about it for tomorrow night.

It's been 20 years since I was a high school senior.

Yep, I've said it, now you know how truly old I am, and sometimes feel.

High school had some of the best times of my life, but do I want to relive it?

For Grace I will.  It'll be fun to meet her teachers too, and see the parents of her friends.

Then when she's done with Volleyball, we can laugh about how stressed I was getting to each class in 4 minutes.

Her classes are all spread out all over the building.  I think I'll wear tennis shoes, and take an ibuprofen before I go.

However, the first day of school, I made her a detailed map of the school and where her classes were (color-coded if I may add) so she wouldn't get confused.  We'll have to see if I remember the map.

Wish me luck.  I bet I'll come home and have the dream about the locker combo when my head hits the pillow.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The best secret...?

I have a friend Catie who has the best advice.  She's an extremely talented sewer and she has a sister in law who shared with her a great secret for making jams, etc.

It was a secret to me, but maybe it's not to you.

Have you ever heard of canning in the oven?

Me neither.

Supposedly if you usually use a water bath canner to process your canned goods, you can substitute the oven for the water bath.  Process as many jars (as many sizes as you want) at 200 degrees for 68 minutes.  That's right. 68 minutes.

I had pizza sauce to can the other night, and with crossed fingers, I tried it, hoping that I wouldn't have to throw the whole batch out.

After all, these are precious commodities in the garden that don't last all that long unfortunately.

I used my copycat Pizza Hut Pizza Sauce recipe as follows:  (this makes alot, so I always reduce the recipe down.)

2 1/2 gal. tomato juice                    1/2 gal. (64 oz.) tomato paste
8-10 onions, chopped                     1 c sugar
4 green peppers, chopped               2 T basil
2 T hot peppers, chopped               2 T oregano
1 pt. salad oil                                  1 T italian seasoning
2 T parsley                                     1 t garlic powder
1/2 c salt                                        6 bay leaves
3 T McNess pizza seasoning
Simmer all ingredients for 1 hour.  Put in jars and cold pack 10 minutes.  Makes 13 quarts.

I went to work, filled my jars, sealed the lids on, put them on a cookie sheet (all 12 pints) and slid them in the  200 degree oven for 68 minutes.

They ALL came out and popped.  NO PROBLEMS WITH SEALING!

It was amazing.

I was giddy.  This will revolutionize all the former water bath canning I do.  I can get so many more done at a time!

So tell this really a secret?  All the seasoned canners I told at my church meeting last night couldn't wait to try it....they all whipped their pens out of their purses and wrote it down.

Best advice I've heard all week!

Thanks Catie!  You're the best!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The last Hurrah...

You know how you feel when a big event is coming up....

or even ho hum...

Our big event is that school starts back up tomorrow, and this is the first time in 5 years that I will not be working at the same school as the kids.

I have a new job, which I've already started, and which I LOVE...but I won't have my eyes on the kiddos anymore.  (I have to let that go...I know...)

AND, to top it all off...Grace moves over to the high school tomorrow for her first year of Junior High.

She's very excited, and I, (being the person that I am...) is nervous.  Nervous about her getting to each class on time.  Nervous for volleyball practice/tryouts to start this week, and nervous, well, just in general.

Evan, however, is the big man on campus this year.  A sixth grader.  He is thrilled.

He got the teacher he wanted, and the status of being a sixth grader, at a school, for once, without his sister.

They are growing up.

It's hard, but exciting as a parent to see it.

So, for the last night before school, they went outside with dad for some smores.

I was working on my first batch of canned pizza sauce, so I opted out this time.

When we do smores, we like them with Reese's peanut butter cups in them instead of Hershey's.  They are beyond delicious!

(A hastily made fire pit in the area which will soon become my concrete patio...)

A cool summer night, a fire, smores, and the heroic, totally devoted dog, Rudy.

Could it get any better?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Just added...

I added 6 new items to my etsy shop this morning.

I felt inspired yesterday since I hadn't added some things for awhile.

I got on a creative streak last night, and watched 3 movies while I was creating.  One movie twice.

Oh well, the juices were flowing, and while everything I listed wasn't homemade, some were.

Here's what I listed this morning...

The bunting idea came to me just the other day when I needed something for the "picture window" I have hanging above our desk in the living room.  I made this one and loved it...

and decided...Hey, I could make some of these to I did.

The other items, except the denim pouch, was bought at tag sales and goodwill, and served me well for awhile, but I don't need them I'm selling them.

To see what else is in my store, just click on my etsy button over on the side of this post.

Thanks for looking!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

This is what I mean...

I'm not a summer kind of girl.

Sure, it's great being off school and work...DON'T GET ME WRONG...but I'm not very crazy about the weather.

Give me the coolness of spring or fall any day.

Today's high was 74 degrees.   It was heaven.

The windows came open today for the first time in months.  The cool air felt so good and refreshing.

It made me wish I could take the volunteer pumpkins in my garden right up to the porch.

I had a hankering to start decorating for fall.

And I can't wait to start dressing for those cool weather football games, either.

I even made these incredibly yummy cookies today (recipe here)
because that's what you do in cool weather...bake!

I'm jazzed because the rest of the week is going to be cooler than all summer.

Bring it on Mother Nature...bring it on!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Occasionally I feel...

Occasionally I feel behind the times.

Take for instance the fact that I just, a week ago, got my first smart phone.

I know. I know.  You can stop laughing now.

I was totally against paying the data fee each month on top of my phone charges, but I didn't really have a choice.

My phone was starting to need charging each night just to keep it active, and when I went in to get a new "free" phone, my kind were so expensive it wasn't even funny.

I got a Verizon HTC Rhyme and I LOVE it.

Best thing this side of sliced bread.


The best part, though.

I got connected to Instagram.

I have been wanting to do this like FOREVER.

Funny about it, though, I had no idea how to download it.

I went out to the garden one night, and Grace downloaded it onto my phone for me.

These kids these days...technologically fearless.

So, I'm posting my first Instagram pics from my phone.

Crazy, I know, but SO MUCH FUN!

Sure, I have some kinks to work out.

Ok, I have quite a few, but I'll get it figured out.


Anyone else out there who uses instagram...I can use all the help you can give me.


Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

What is...

What is yellow, sticky, has hair, and takes forever to put away?


Yep, we're in the midst of it.  The other day when my sister was here from South Carolina, she helped me do 2 1/2 5 gallon buckets worth.

Last night, Brent and the kids went outside to take the remaining ears off what is in the corn patch.

They ended up filling 12+ more 5 gallon buckets!
I was in the house shucking it as fast as I could, and cooking it at the same time to slice off and put in containers.

We started around 6:30 and by 10:30 I was still working on it, with 6 buckets in the basement to go.

That's for today.
This year Brent planted more than ever... because it seemed we never had enough to last all winter.  He planted SO MUCH this year, I don't think we're gonna have that problem.  So far, I have 35 containers made and in the freezer with more to make.

For all the work that goes into freezing sweet corn, it is awfully good to eat throughout the winter.
At least it wasn't ready the week of the fair like it was last year.  That was too much!

Anyone putting anything in their freezer now?

Up next....canned pizza sauce.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

See...I'm in style too!

So, I suppose I remember what it was like to be in Jr. High.

Grace is heading there this year, and cannot absolutely wait to go.

I'm shaking in my boots.

THIS year, more than any other so far, determines just how strong of a girl she really is.  There will be peer pressure like nothing she's ever experienced.  There will also be plenty of fashion faux paux I'm sure.

She's already told me of mine.  Many times.

'Course she's also reading fashion magazines, which she thinks are real life, but when you live in a tiny little rural town...oh, honey, it's not real life!

So, back to those fashion faux paux.

I try to stay up on the latest trends as much as any 38 year old should.  I realize skinny jeans and heavy eye makeup are not for me, however.

But, when I see a great deal on something I KNOW is IN as well as EXPENSIVE...well, I'm all OVER IT!

I saw these at Goodwill yesterday.
Tennis shoes, so what, right?

WRONG in Grace's opinion.

If you are currently living with a 12 1/2 year old (going on 25) like I am, you know at a glace that these are SPERRY shoes.  It's what all the girls's reminiscent of the boat shoes that were cool when I was in high school.  Oh yes, fashion trends DO come around again!

So, I picked them up.  MY SIZE.  It was a sign.  Then I started looking them over.  They were listed as $10.
BUT I had my $5 off coupon, so they would only be $5!

They were the real deal too.
Then I looked them over really well.  Each front toe area was split away from the seam.  I was pretty sure I could fix it with my mad sewing skills.

I did, but it was a little tricky.  I hope it will hold.  And I suppose if you look closely, you can tell, but they will be on my FEET, so whose gonna look that close?
Let's just say, I was jubilant over my deal of the day.

I looked them up online and they were listed for $70.

Not bad.  so do you have a great deal?