Monthly Archives: June 2012

Baby Bed Fun

Since we are expecting a baby, we must prepare for him.  My kind sister told me I could have the crib she used for my oldest niece.  Our mom had bought it for her from a flea market, and after Dawn used it, she stored it in a storage unit.  As you can imagine, it had gotten some wear by the time I got to it, so I decided to refinish it.  This has become a summer project.  I am 20 weeks today, so there’s still plenty of time to finish it.

Well, to refinish something, you must first take it apart and remove the hardware, which I’ve done.  The next step is to strip it of the original paint, varnish, and/or stain.  The best way to do this is through sanding, especially if you’re dealing with varnish and stain, which I am.

As you can imagine, sanding is a messy step, involving A LOT of dust.  Being pregnant, I’m constantly fighting with my nose and sinuses as it is, so today, I decided to tie a bandana around my nose and mouth to keep some of that dust out of my nose and throat.  My dear husband thought it was a funny sight, and I gave him permission to take some pictures.  This is his favorite.  Watch out for the “sanding bandit!”  (Crazy as I may look, my bandana worked.)

Once I get all the original varnish and stain off, I have to go back over all the pieces with a finer sandpaper to smooth it all out.  Then on to the staining.  A couple of coats of that and a couple of coats of varnish, and and the baby bed should be ready to piece back together.  Buy a mattress and some bedding, and it will be ready for our little boy!

P.S.  Thank you, John Wayne and the other cowboys from the numerous Westerns I’ve watched over my life for teaching me the many uses of bandanas.  😀

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Giant Taco Braid

I’ve said it before.  My husband LOVES tacos!  If they don’t top his list of favorite foods, they come incredibly close.  I made this giant taco braid one night for supper, and he ate two portions and had leftovers later.  This is actually not too hard to make.  The “braiding” may be a bit time consuming, but it’s not too bad at all.

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Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs. hamburger meat
  • 1 reg. size can petite diced tomatos
  • 1/2 reg. size can refried beans
  • taco seasoning to taste
  • shredded cheddar cheese (or your flavor of choice)
  • chili powder (optional)
  • uncooked tortilla dough (use only about 2/3 – 3/4 of the dough the recipe makes)*

Directions:

  1. Mix the tortilla dough.  Cover and let set while you make the taco meat.
  2. Brown the hamburger meat in a skillet until thoroughly cooked.  Drain fat off, and put meat back in the pan.
  3. Add taco seasoning and tomatoes to the meat.  If needed, use the tomato can and add about 3/4 can of water to mix the seasoning with the meat.  Let the mixture come to a boil, turn down heat some, and allow the water to cook out.
  4. Once the water has cooked out of the meat, turn off the heat, add the beans, and mix until well blended.
  5. While the meat is cooling some, roll out the tortilla dough in a rectangular shape.  Place on a large, un-greased cookie sheet.  The entire sheet should be covered.
  6. Carefully spoon the meat onto the dough. Place in a log form down the middle of the dough.
  7. Sprinkle liberally with the cheese and chili powder.
  8. Using a knife, cut diagonal 1-inch strips on down each side of the meat.  (The cuts on the ends should go out towards the corners of the dough from the corners of the meat “log.”  This should form a sort of triangle of the ends of the dough.  Also, cut the same amount of strips on each side.)
  9. Fold the ends of the dough like you’re wrapping a baby up in a blanket.  Then, fold the strips from the sides across the meat, alternating left and right to form a braided look.
  10. Bake in a 350-degree oven until dough is cooked through, about 15-20 mins.
  11. Cool, slice, serve, and enjoy!

*Because tortilla dough is used, it won’t take long to cook, and the crust will be dry, like a tortilla.  It may look like a pie crust, but it’s not.  Although, if you want a crust that is more buttery and moist, pie crust dough or croissant dough could be used instead. Just adjust the cooking technique as needed.

**The recipe for tortilla dough can be found here:  https://crystalpoe.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/taco-empanadas-and-flour-tortillas/.

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And We’re Expecting…

A baby boy!  My husband and I went to our mid-term ultrasound on Friday, and we found out that our little bundle will be decked out in blue.  We both really thought we were going to have a girl, so it came as a quite a surprise.  But once the shock wore off, we got excited about our little feller.  They did all the measurements, checked out the fluid and placenta, and all looks good.  He was moving around and didn’t want to give up his secret without a fight.  I wasn’t real sure if we were going to find out, but towards the end of the ultrasound, the tech was able to get a good view to tell us that he is a he.

We don’t have a name yet, nor do we have any grand plans for the nursery.  My darling husband doesn’t have much of an opinion on the matter, so I’m thinking of doing the colors in light green and dark brown with a few teddy bears thrown in for good measure.  We just want something that can be used again for a boy or a girl and that is simple.  Personally, I’m not that good at coming up with themes and going with them.

Mid-November, watch out world because we will be adding another bouncing baby boy to the ranks!

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Daddy’s Cornbread

cornbread

Growing up, we often had pinto beans, cornbread, and fried potatoes for supper.  For one thing it was cheap; for another it was simple.  Put some dry beans in a pot with water, seasonings, onion, pepper, and a chunk of ham or bacon, bring it to a boil, and let that bad boy simmer the rest of the day.  Or just dump all of the above in a crock pot and let it cook all day that way.  About 45 minutes before supper is served, whip up some cornbread, bake it for about a half hour, and fry up some potatoes and onions in the mean time.  Simple, filling, and economical.

We had a potluck today at church, and I forgot about it until the last minute.  That left me with trying to make something with what we already had at the house.  After a search, I decided beans and cornbread was the menu of the night.  I may have gotten the beans a little spicy, but the cornbread was a hit, which meant that it warrented its own blog post.

Now, here’s a fun little story about this cornbread.  One afternoon (probably a Saturday), my daddy was outside building piers for the house addition he and my stepmom had in the plans.  He called me outside and said to bring a pencil and paper.  As he was carefully constructing a pier out of concrete and rocks, he gave me this cornbread recipe off the top of his head and had me to make up a batch.  It wasn’t that he had memorized this recipe from his mama’s recipe box.  With each ingredient, he used words such as “about.”  I’ve just always been impressed by his and many other people’s ability to guesstimate a recipe and to not really use measuring cups, just eye-ball it.  And now that I’ve related this little story, I’ll let you in on my daddy’s cornbread recipe.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • buttermilk (You can use regular milk if that’s all you have, or you can make your own sour milk using vinegar:  1 tbsp. vinegar to 1 cup milk.)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
  2. Grease a 9-inch cast iron skillet or an 8×11-inch baking dish.  (It tastes better in an iron skillet.)
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, mix the dry ingredients together well.
  4. Add eggs, oil, and buttermilk.  (The buttermilk is the tricky part.  Start with one cup.  You want the batter to be fairly thin, about like cake or brownie batter, not soupy but not lumpy.  Batter, not dough.  It may take closer to one and a half cups of buttermilk.)
  5. Cook until golden brown (20-30 minutes).
  6. Serve warm with butter!

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

You’re reading a blog, so I’m assuming you’ve done your share of lurking on Pinterest.  Heaven knows that I have, and the other day, I ran across a pin of these cookies.  The original recipe can be found at this address (Yet another blog.):  http://picky-palate.com/2011/06/30/chocolate-peanut-butter-sandwiches-from-disneyland/.  Apparently you can buy these cookies at Disney Land, but I’ve never been there.  If you have, then you may have had one of these cookies.  If you haven’t, then maybe you’ve had a supermarket copy.  Graham crackers smeared with peanut butter and dipped in chocolate.  These are yummy!

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Ingredients:

  • 12 graham cracker squares (I broke 6 rectangle crackers in half.)
  • 3 cups milk chocolate chips (real chocolate, not imitation)
  • 2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 4 tbsp. shortening (I forgot to add this, so apparently it’s not overly important.)

Directions:

  1. Melt chocolate and shortening over a double-boiler.  (Like I said, I didn’t use shortening, and everything worked out fine.  It’s up to you.)
  2. Dip each graham cracker in chocolate.  Place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.  Let set up in the freezer.
  3. Spread 2 tbsp. of peanut butter on top of each graham cracker.  Place crackers back in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
  4. Spoon chocolate on top of the peanut butter, and use a knife to “seal” the edges.  Place in the freezer again about 10 minutes to set up.
  5. Store in a gallon-size baggie in the refridgerator to keep chocolate from melting.

*I have not tried it, but you might could add about a 1/3 bar of paraffin wax to the chocolate when it’s melting.  This helps the chocolate to stay hard when not chilled.  We used this when making chocolate candies (such as turtles) at Christmas when I was growing up.

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Soda “Cake”

Although our baby isn’t born yet, I decided that my husband needed a Father’s Day gift.  I recently told him he is at once the easiest and the hardest person to buy for because his one hobby is games.  He also really likes candy.  I can get him clothes, but he would not be impressed with the gift, grateful but not impressed.  He really likes video games, and I know nothing of them.  I’m not a big board/card game player, so it’s almost pointless to buy him one of those.  That basically leaves snacks and candy, and I can’t do that for every gift!  However, for this Father’s Day, I decided that our funds declared that snacks were way to go.  (Not to mention, our baby is still “cooking,” so I figured it should just be something fun.)

I found this idea on Pinterest a couple of days before Father’s Day and thought it was really cute.  Now, I’m no great shakes with numbers, so I did ask My Honey how many cans he thought were used.  He guessed 24, and I went with that.  This is a really simple gift to make, is relatively inexpensive, and looks rather impressive.  It would make a fun “secret pal” gift, too.

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Supplies:

  • 24 canned drinks
  • Ribbon
  • Cardboard circles
  • Big gift bow (unless you know how to make one with the ribbon, which looks nicer)
  • Sturdy tray to build “cake” on (I used a solid pizza pan.)

Directions:

  1. On the tray, arrange 12 canned drinks in a circle for the bottom “tier.”  Set three more drinks inside the circle.  The bottom “tier” has 15 drinks total.
  2. Cut a circle out of cardboard, about 11 inches in diameter.  Place circle on top of the “tier” of drinks.
  3. Arrange 6 drinks in a circle in the center of the cardboard.
  4. Cut a second circle out of cardboard, about 4 1/2 inches in diameter.  Place circle on top of second “tier” of drinks.
  5. Arrange final 3 drinks in a circle on top of cardboard for the final “tier.”
  6. Tie ribbon around each ring of drinks.  Place the bow on top of the “cake.”

*I also placed a box of M&M’s and a package of Hostess cupcakes along side the second ring to hide the extra cardboard.  You can also paint or glue scrapbook paper to the cardboard if you want it to look nicer, or you can buy the cardboard circles that are used in cake decoration.  Just dress it up however you wish!

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Happy Father’s Day

Today we celebrate our fathers.  They are the the leaders of our homes, the strength of the family, and the wisdom that guides us.  Fathers, in our individual families, are what our Lord is for us all.  Leading us, strengthening us, and revealing His wisdom to us.  I found this poem that honors our dads, daddies, pops, papas, fathers, or whatever you call your father.  Thank you, fathers, for protecting, providing for, and caring for your wives and children.  May God bless each of you!

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What Makes a Dad

God took the strength of a mountain,

The majesty of a tree,

The warmth of a summer sun,

The calm of a quiet sea,

The generous soul of nature,

The comforting arm of night,

The wisdom of the ages,

The power of the eagle’s flight,

The joy of a morning in spring,

The faith of a mustard seed,

The patience of eternity,

The depth of a family need,

Then God combined these qualities,

When there was nothing more to add,

He knew His masterpiece was complete,

And so, He called it … Dad.

 Author Unknown

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